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Tchotchkes

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Location: Connecticut, United States

marybb1@gmail.com

Friday, March 31, 2006

Dicks: I Miss Them

I woke up thinking about Dicks and I have no idea why. But you don’t see too many of them lately. Where have all the Dicks gone?

It’s as if they have grown out of fashion; not popular anymore; or maybe they just had their time and now, if you do find one, it's connected to an old man.

There was a time when Dicks were on the ball field, television, schoolyard and at almost every cocktail party.

My guess is Dicks are dead, defunct and deceased.

They’ve morphed into Ricks and Richs or maybe the trend to use the formal name: Richards.

I miss Dicks. Both heroes and villains have sported that name. One of my favorite Dicks was Dick Tracy and one of my least favorites was Dick Nixon.

Today we have Dick Cheney who is certainly aptly named.

(So, let’s see, that would make Mrs. Cheney and Mrs. Nixon chicks with Dicks?)

In kindergarten I had a love of two Dicks. Dicky Riley and Dicky Patterson.

I’m sure they aren’t Dicks anymore.

Once there was a plethora of Dicks and now there are no Dicks around.

Yes, the Dicks of the world are all gone and we now live in a Dickless world with few, and I mean very few, exceptions.

I can still come across a few heads with the name, especially when I’m driving. But folks, other than that, we are left with the memory of lots of Dicks and not much more.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lewis: A Tale of Two Kitties

The big news in Connecticut is this: Lewis the cat has been put under house arrest for attacking an Avon lady.

Lewis, maligned by neighbors for being feisty, fresh and perpetually stalking prey, including a few passing ankles, is now forced to look out the window with an aching heart for the great outdoors.

Neighbors are tired of watching Lewis parade around town with something small and furry or feathery in his mouth and are fearful of his prancing and pouncing, especially when he’s headed in their direction.

They even point to his six-toed paws as proof that he has quite an arsenal of weapons at his claw tips.

Lewis, hero or hellion I ask?

I say hero.

Lewis is just being a cat, doing the deeds of cats and doing it with aplomb. Stalking and pouncing are typical cat behaviors and do not prove in any way that he is purposely terrorizing the neighborhood.

Yes, he might have grabbed a few neighbor’s ankles as they passed by his yard, but it was all in play.

Lewis is not a monster but a misunderstood feline. I think counseling and perhaps accelerated rehabilitation would benefit Lewis.

Lewis has a brother Thomas who has no restrictions upon his comings and goings. How unfair for Lewis to watch Thomas mouse hunting outside while he must never feel the soft grass upon his paws again: One brother free to roam and one restricted to the mouseless, birdless and yes, Avon Lady-less confines of his home.

House arrest for Lewis --that’s cruel and unusual punishment.

And why?

Because he refuses to talk?

Was he even read his Miranda Rights?

Is there a whisker of truth to these charges?

Free Lewis I say. Let him join Thomas in outdoor play once again. Let’s face it, no one’s purr-fect, not even Lewis. But he deserves due process, and should be able to hunt without a license.

Lew-Is, Lew-Is, Lew-Is.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How Grandma and Ann ended up in the Closet


It was a Saturday in August 1933 and the temperatures were well over 95 degrees.

Grandma and Grandpa were only married a little over six months, but a lot had happened in those six months. Grandma’s appendix had burst when they were only married a few weeks and after surgery she developed a bad infection that kept her from working. Grandma and Grandpa were just about to split up when Grandpa found the money in the down pillow in the attic of their first apartment. This windfall kept them together and their love began to grow.

So there was bad and good in their young marriage, but now it was all good.

They had just moved to a darling apartment with big bright windows and a front porch. Grandpa was paying the bills and Grandma was just about recovered from her health problems.

The new apartment was in a complex where their good friends Harry and Ann Bolton lived. Harry had been Grandpa’s friend since they both lived in the orphanage as children and Ann and Grandma soon became best friends.

Although they didn’t have enough money to go to the movies or out to dinner, the two young couples played cards at least once a week.

Harry, himself, was a “card” Grandma said, and he’d always come up with a practical joke or funny story to keep them laughing. Ann was reserved and would pinch her lips and shake her head at him when he pulled one of his stunts, but it was obvious she adored him.

So on this very hot day, the two young couples were playing cards and drinking gin and tonics with ice chipped from the block in the icebox.

Grandma said you could watch the sweat form on their brows and drip down their faces. The men used their white handkerchiefs to dry their faces while the women used their tiny, crocheted hankies for the same purpose.

In those days, women wore “foundations” Grandma said, and stockings attached to their rubber-like girdles. Then on top of their bras and girdles and stockings, women also wore full slips. “We used to wear more things under our clothing than you wear out to the grocery store today,” Grandma said.

On top of the full slip each woman wore a summer dress and it was bloody uncomfortable this day when the air refused to move and a moving fan was a luxury they didn’t own.

It was Harry who got the idea and whispered to Grandpa what to do. Between card games, the men made an excuse to go in the basement, and when they came up, each man was wearing his boxer shorts and only his boxer shorts. They had taken off their trousers and undershirts and paraded into the kitchen in their boxers and nothing else!

Grandma and Ann blushed and laughed and shook their fingers at the men…but it did make sense. The heat was unbearable and Grandma assured us you couldn’t see anything with lots of emphasis on anything. Not that she stared at that “area”, she said in all seriousness.

When the men got up to mix drinks and change the radio station, the women whispered together and created their own excuse to leave the room. Quickly they scrambled into Grandma’s bedroom and took off their dresses and stockings – now standing in front of the mirror in only their girdles, bras and full slips, they felt impish enough to surprise the men and come out in their lingerie.

Grandma said full slips covered everything...just like a dress. The straps were wide, the neck was high, the fabric opaque and the slips came down past their knees.

Still, it was a gutsy move on the women’s part and let’s face it, a bit risqué for the time, but the gin and tonics, relentless heat and the freshness of the men to strip down to their skivvies bolstered the women’s courage and they scampered back into the kitchen giggling like school girls --waiting to see the men’s reactions.

Naturally, the men loved it. There was much laughter –especially at Grandma who, losing courage as they approached the kitchen, had grabbed an apron off a hook and held the apron in front of her chest.

Soon, everyone was through laughing and the sight of two men in boxers and two women in full slips lost its impact and the card game began again in earnest.

Then the door bell rang.

Grandma and Ann were frantic. Who was at the door? All the shades in the house were pulled down to keep out the sun and they couldn’t see out just as no one could see in.

Grandpa said: "Quick go in the closet and I’ll see who it is and get rid of 'em."

Grandma wonders why on earth she and Ann didn’t retreat back into the bedroom, but they did what he said, piled into the front hall closet where there was enough room for two small women to stand among the coats and umbrellas.

They stifled giggles at the thought of being forced into a closet and waited for Grandpa to answer the door, which he did.

Then they couldn’t believe their ears. The person at the door was Ralph, one of Grandpa and Harry’s friends and Harry the jokester was inviting him in for a long cool icy gin and tonic.

Grandma waited for Grandpa to come up with something to tell Ralph that would send him on his way, but instead Grandpa was telling Ralph to come in too.

“What a hell of a hot day, huh Ralph?” said Grandpa loudly. “How about that gin and tonic? A nice icy drink, you know you want one.”

Grandma and Ann were not dying from the heat yet, but both of them were furious at the thought they’d have to stay in the closet while the three men had a drink or else come marching out in their slips which would label them as women of ill repute at best.

So they stayed in the closet sweating and swearing under their breath while the men laughed and clinked their ice chips in their highball glasses.

Grandma says they weren’t in the closet for more than a half hour but it seemed like a day.

It was Grandpa who told Ralph he had to leave –making up some lame excuse-- and as soon as the front door closed out came Ann and Grandma, hotter than hell and madder than a hatter.

On hearing this story we said, “Grandma, you were really something weren’t you? I’ll bet you wanted to kill Grandpa and Harry for pulling that joke on you.”

“Oh yes,” she said, “Ann and I couldn’t believe they encouraged Ralph to come in, knowing we were sweating in the closet. It wasn’t one of Harry’s funniest jokes, I’ll tell you, although Grandpa and Harry laughed about it for years.”

“So if it was that hot, why didn’t you and Ann take off all those undergarments you had on, especially those rubber girdles…and just wear your summer dresses with little or nothing underneath, wouldn’t you have been cooler that way?”

“Really, now…girls! No self-respecting lady would remove her underclothing and then slip on a dress. For heaven’s sake, just what are you thinking?” Grandma replied.

What we were thinking was it would have been lots cooler and they wouldn’t have had to dive for the nearest closet when they heard a knock on the door.

But Grandma didn’t see it that way.

“You wore a girdle from the minute you woke up till the minute you went to bed. That’s how it was back then; and women today would get in a lot less trouble if they did the same thing. Those damned girdles were miserable to get on and miserable to get off.”

Oh how we wanted to laugh but knowing Grandma, we had to keep our nonchalant demeanor, or she’d be sorry she even told us the story and we lived to hear about her life and adventures.

We’ve laughed about this story for years. But, even now when I laugh, and even knowing Grandma is long deceased, I look around as if Grandma is going to come back and chastise me. And if that should ever happen, I know one thing, she’ll be wearing her girdle!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tonight I Sleep with Ivory

Leg Cramps anyone?

Today I read in the local paper that if you place a bar of Ivory soap under your bottom bed sheet, you won’t wake up in the night with leg cramps.

I read this in an “Ask the Doctor” column. He said he has no idea why it works, but it just works.

I’ve blamed leg cramps on too much to drink (alcohol) and not enough to drink (water).

I’ve blamed them on wearing heels for too long and wearing flats for too long.

I’ve blamed them on exercising and not exercising.

I’ve blamed them on too much calcium and not enough calcium.

Leg cramps hurt like a summanabitch.

They make me jump out of bed and hop around causing sleeping dogs and cat to jump up and bark or meow (as the case might be) and run wildly around the bedroom causing husband to wake up and hiss and growl, “What the hell’s the matter with you?”

Night-time drama and adrenaline rushes are just not something I’m into…so Ivory Soap is coming to bed with me tonight. I hope this trick works. I’d love to be 99.99 percent free of leg pains and I’d love to pull the plug on this nocturnal soap opera.

If a bar of Ivory soap kept kids from swearing in the 1950s, I hope it can keep leg cramps away in 2006.

In this case, hope definitely floats.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

We’re There and Guess What? We aren’t Going Anywhere!

It was comforting to hear the prez tell us yesterday, that we could expect troops to stay in Iraq for a long, long time.

This way we don’t have to worry or wonder when our brave soldiers are coming home to stay. We know for sure they’ll be there for years and years.

Right now, maybe you have a preteen or teen daughter or son, maybe they’ll go to Iraq too. Maybe your unborn children will also go.

When the prez was asked if he foresaw a time when U.S. soldiers were no longer needed in Iraq, he said he did not think it possible for a "complete withdrawal" during his presidency.

"That, of course, is an objective," he said, "and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

Oh bring on those future presidents pulleeeeze.

Bush says his strategy is working…and that strategy is sending thousands of young people, year after year, to Iraq where they do not want our help and prove it on a daily basis.

September 11th, 3000 people died in the terrorist attacks. George Bush only has 700 more bodies to go until his war equals the amount of dead from 911.

Of course, we don’t count Iraqi civilians (30,000 to 60,000)…because they don’t count –not to our government.

If they counted, we’d get our butts out of there and back home where they belong.

(I need to stop reading the news. I read a lot of foreign newspapers online and America has gone from being a respected superpower to a hated or mocked third world country-- bought and sold by the religious right.)

Too bad we can’t fast forward time to the next election. I’d be willing to lose that time from my life if we could elect someone new…at this point, mostly anyone would do.

Depressing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wedding Bell Blues


I went to my friends’ (Doc and DJ), civil union this past October…I had mixed feelings. I was so happy that they were going to get some rights after being together for 25 years…but I wasn’t happy that they couldn’t legally marry.

So today, they start on a legal pursuit of their lifelong dream: To be just a regular person enjoying all the normal parts of being a human being – being married, for example, and not merely “unionized.” The real deal, the whole enchilada, the till-death-do-us-part kind of union. What we call marriage. What straight people can get with ease, even if they pull a “celebrity” marriage and divorce in a month or two.

A Connecticut Superior Court judge begins hearing arguments today about their lawsuit for the right to marry the person one loves.

I hope this judge really is “superior” and that Doc and DJ are elevated from second class citizenship to full citizenship and that very soon I’ll be dancing at their wedding…

Husband wants to be best man and I want to be matron of honor…or flower girl…I’ll accept that role too!

So all my best wishes to Doc and DJ on their long quest for equality. Much luck and much love and continue to fight the good fight!

Monday, March 20, 2006

It’s Spring!

Time to pick up the mountains of dog poop that I let “slide” during the winter months.

Time to pick up all those little twigs and sticks that are scattered across the lawn. (Only after the dreaded poop scooping.)

Time to move some spring clothes down from the attic.

Time to move some winter clothes up to the attic.

Time to think about grilling food outside. (Only after the dreaded poop scooping.)

Time to shave legs on a routine basis, including upper legs.

Time to do some heavy duty cleaning. Throw open those windows and let some of the sweet, spring air come into the house. (Only after the dreaded poop scooping.)

Time to wash baseboards, get the rugs shampooed and wash windows.

Time to plant some flowers or a vegetable garden. (Only after the dreaded poop scooping.)

Well, I guess you can figure out what I’ll be doing today. Scouring the yard for dog doo-doo. What a delight!

Two hundred pounds of dogs generate a fair amount of doo-doo. I do try to keep up with it all, but it’s hard to find the motivation to go outside with my pooper-scooper in hand when it’s icy cold, or raining, or snowing.

I do get a little behind…I’ll admit.

So as all of you enjoy this first day of spring…picture me in boots, gloves and bandana over my nose – scooping my little heart out.

Spring has sprung and I’ve got a date with dung.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Morning After Quiz

How am I, you ask?

HUNG
TODAY

Friday, March 17, 2006


Happy Saint Patrick's Day Dear Friends


May your Guiness be cold, your corned-beef be tender, your cabbage be sweet, your whiskey be smooth and your day be filled with laughter and joy.

To my grandmother, who is no longer with us, Bridget Ann Conroy -- We'll all be wearing green in your honor!



Erin Go Bragh



Thursday, March 16, 2006

Word Verification Feature Must be Controlled by Russian Sadists


Okay Word Verification. Enough’s enough.

It’s one thing to show a picture of letters that must be entered into a space in order to post on Blogger– it keeps spammers from mucking up one’s blog and that’s good.

But when Word Verification becomes a sadistic game, I know that someone evil is attempting to raise all of our blood pressure readings, encourage temper tantrums and cause an outbreak of hives.

Why do the letters have to be soooooooooooo distorted?

How much time do I spend wondering: is this a j or an i – is this letter a d or a c positioned very close to an l? Never mind the damn q/g problems I have.

I’ve decided that the Vicious Word Verification Villain must speak Russian.

Lots of the “words” I have to copy down in the space – to my ear as I sound them out – are Russian words.

Zdcrstochye – that sounds Russian doesn’t it? Or how about Skjjiolki – these are two WVs I recently wrote down after numerous attempts at commenting and getting nowhere fast.

I always have hated the idea that because one person in East Jesus stole a blouse from a department store, forever and ever I have to try on clothing with big white plastic doohickies sticking in my armpit.

ARRGGHHH!

I hate the fact that because some people do bad things --the rest of us have to suffer for the rest of our lives. Every rule and law we have is tailored to the lowest common denominator of society. I think that’s wrong.

Anyhow, it’s those very people that caused the whole Word Verification feature that we all are left to deal with now.

Stinking Spammers!

I once could comment without fear or trepidation. Now when I comment I cross my fingers for an easy word like AZZPO rather than one of those horrendous words like PSKIJINKHT!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I Wonder on a Wednesday

I woke up this morning thinking about Jill Carroll, the journalist who was captured in Iraq and who hasn’t been heard from now in weeks.

Is she okay? Is she alive? What hell must she be living through? Why oh why would she choose to go to Iraq and risk her life?

I often wonder who killed Jonbenet Ramsey.

Apparently no one did. Yet a little girl’s dead body was found in a basement wine cellar. Years have gone by and the name once in the news constantly is fading away. I still think about her. I still wish someone could have nailed the murderer. I still think I know who did it – but of course, my suspicions are only based on logic and not facts.

Natalee Holloway – her parents have created a cottage industry out of her disappearance.

Her mother seemed to spend more time on Fox News than deemed reasonable considering that was one place for sure, she wasn’t going to find her daughter. She swore she wouldn’t leave Aruba without her daughter…and of course she did -- and spent the next few months on every cable news show, talk show, or media outlet that would have her. I watched her get prettier as her hair was tamed, lips rouged, lashes blackened.

Then came the law suit…

Now there’s a book coming out, co-authored by Natalee's father, a film in the making and numerous speaking engagements for mom.

Hair! Make-up! Lights! Camera! Action! Autographs! Monetary settlements!

I guess we all mourn in different ways…

One dead child; two missing women.

A multitude of questions without answers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Weird Phone Call Day

Did you ever have a day when you were almost afraid to pick up the phone? Or maybe, like most people today, you have caller ID – and there’s no surprises.

I refuse to have caller ID because I don’t want to know who’s calling before I say hello. I’m not sure why I feel that way, but I’ve never had a need to know beforehand, who was on the phone.

I have an answering machine, and if I’m really not in the mood to talk – I let the machine pick up and then make my decision.

I am also frugal and Caller ID is an extra charge on my bill which I don’t need or want.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I had about 6 oddball phone calls. Almost as if I were being pranked.

1) Hi I’m Attorney Talksofast in Boston; would you put a note on your neighbor’s door saying I’m trying to get in touch with her? He then gave me an address and a name of someone who doesn’t exist on my street. I said I couldn’t nor wouldn’t do that and he started to thank me profusely. (He must not have heard me right, I thought)

I interrupted him and said:

I 'm sorry, I said I cannot do that for you.

He said: I know.

I said: Then why are you thanking me so profusely for not doing something? He hung up loudly in my ear. Ok.

2) Hi, Wanda, this is Carol.

I say: I’m sorry you have the wrong number.

She says: No, that’s you Wanda, stop kidding around.

I say: no, I’m not Wanda and you have dialed incorrectly.

She says: How do you know I dialed incorrectly.
I say because there is no Wanda living here. Another loud hang up in my ear.

3) I let the machine take this one: Hello, Mrs. Cortland…this is Mrs. Willows, Caitlyn’s preschool teacher calling. Caitlyn appears to be coming down with the flu…she vomited…..

I pick up the phone…now I have to let Mrs. Willows know she’s got the wrong number or poor Caitlyn will be left at school tossing her cookies while Mrs. Willows thinks Caitlyn’s mom will be coming to get her soon.

Mrs. Willows at first swore she dialed correctly and asked is this 555-5555? I said no. She then asked me what she dialed. I said I didn’t give out my phone number over the phone. She abruptly hung up, but no slam.

4) Another ringing and another “I’ll let the machine handle it”. Hi. This is Ed from the garage, your car’s ready. Grand total, with the new linings is: $578.22. Should I charge this to the card you have on file with us…3435 – 2220…

I pick up quickly as I don’t want to know this card number and I feel obligated to both Ed (and the car owner) to let Ed know he’s got the wrong number.

Ed was nice. He didn’t quiz me about my phone number or who I was – he just thanked me and didn’t slam the phone down.

5) Phone rings again and I pick it up…might as well. Obviously it’s a weird phone day and who knows who this person might be. "Hi, this is Bonnie with Verizon."

I’m on the no call list -- state, federal and galaxy if I could register there. I say to her, is this about my account?

She says we have some new programs you might be interested in.

I say, if this call is not directly related to my account then I don’t want to speak to you.

I hang up abruptly this time…beating Bonnie before she can do it to me.

Then there are two hours that go by without the phone ringing. It is peaceful but a bit nerve wracking as I feel another call is going to come in…I can feel it in my bones.

Briiiinnnng

6) Hello, I say.

Hi, we’re trying to locate your house but seem to be lost, we’re delivering the ½ yard of stone you ordered. Can you give us directions to….

I say: Whoa, I didn’t order any stone.

You didn’t order the white, garden bed stone?

No I didn’t.

Is this 555-5555?

No it isn’t.

Is this Mrs. Selkowski?

No it isn’t.

You didn’t order any stone.

None.

Well, are you saying you won’t accept the order?

I’m saying I didn’t order anything.

Okie dokie…but we’re not coming back with it. If I take this stone with me, it’s going back into the yard and you’ll be charged a fee.

I’ll be charged a fee or Mrs. Selkowski will be charged a fee?

Come on…you people do this all the time, decide after you order something you don’t want it.

I put the phone down on the table and came up to the computer where I played about a dozen games of Alchemy before I came back and hung up the now dead phone.

I don’t think I’ve ever had so many wrong numbers in one day.

Full moon, I thought -- until I looked at the calendar and realized the full moon is today.

Hope all the lunatics got their weird calling out of their system yesterday. But one thing I know I’m not picking up the phone today no matter what message is left on the machine.

Friday, March 10, 2006

What the Hell Did I Buy?


Yesterday, I spent about 3 to 4 hours in Target.

I hate to shop. If I have to buy something, I shop online.

Maybe that’s why being in an actual store jazzed me up-- I seemed to want or need, everything I saw in Target. I was store-starved. I needed to see and touch, in person, every single thingTarget was selling and I wanted it all.

Crap I’d never even think of buying looked marvelous to me.

I love those damned dollar bins. I must have spent an hour fingering every item in the dollar bins.

I bought what I wanted; what I thought I might want and what I know I’ll never use. I bought things for people I don’t know. I bought two of the same thing, in different colors.

I wandered around the store and didn’t miss an aisle or a department.

I put things in my cart. I took things out of my cart. I went back and put things I’d removed from my cart –back into my cart.

Target carts are big.

They deceive you.

You think you only have a few items – no budget busting stuff -- until your items start to be scanned. Beep, beep, beep. (Times 50)

Then you see that all those dollar items can add up…and upper…and uppest.

Target must pipe something into the air which makes normally sane people, turn into super-shoppers. Maybe they have subliminal messages scattered throughout the store. I don't know what it was.

But yesterday, I wanted it all…

Now, back at home after some sustenance and some sleep --with my breathing back to normal and my blood pressure stable – I look at the sales receipt and the slew of Target bags, and I wonder. What happened to me yesterday?

And,what the hell did I buy?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Grandma and the Tag Sale


One year, Grandma decided to have a tag sale. We all came to her house the weekend before and cleaned, sorted and tagged the items she had picked out to sell.

It was fun.

We also dug through boxes in the attic and scoured the basement for more items to sell at her tag sale. We swept the garage, set up card tables and lugged the items out to the garage for the sale.

Tag Sale Day came and we were there early in the morning to help out. Grandma had made a large pot of coffee and cinnamon buns for our breakfast. Grandma was so keyed up – she couldn’t wait for 9 AM when the sale would start. She had an old cigar-box filled with coins and dollar bills so she’d be ready to make change if necessary.

Ready to rake in the cash, we sat in lawn chairs at the end of the driveway and waited for the first customer. Grandma’s cheeks were pink with excitement.

First customer was an older woman in a new car.

We saw Grandma’s lip wiggle. Okay what was wrong here? We knew that look.

Grandma whispered: “What’s she doing here…look at that car. She could pay full price for anything she wants.” Grandma’s brow was furrowed and we got a sense that this tag sale experience wasn’t going to be quite as much fun as we had originally thought.

The woman browsed the items on the tables and selected two glass candlesticks with a matching candy dish in an etched floral pattern. Grandma had priced these items as $2 for the candy dish and $4 for both candlesticks.

The woman placed the items down by Grandma -- who was acting as cashier -- and handed her six ones.

Grandma looked up at her with a frown. “Where’d you get these from?” she said sternly.

“On the table with the red cloth. That one,” said the woman pointing to one of the tables.

“Well, I’m sorry I can’t sell you these. Look at the price. It’s all wrong. These are antiques. My kids must have priced these because anyone would know one candlestick alone is worth five dollars or more.”

The woman looked shocked. Examined her items again, and said to Grandma. “Okay…I’ll give you ten for the pair of candlesticks and I won’t take the candy dish then…”

“Oh no..no..no…they’re a set,” said Grandma, “They have to go together. I won’t break up a set and that’s that.”

“Well what do you want for the candy dish then?” said the woman whose voice was beginning to show her utter frustration with Grandma.

“Twenty dollars. It’s worth twice that.”

The woman gave Grandma a look that would kill and walked away from the tag sale without an item.

We looked at each other wondering how the rest of the day would go and we soon found out --exactly like the previous incident.

Every time someone would attempt to buy something, Grandma would rip off the stickers saying the item was priced wrong or grab it and put it by her side saying it wasn’t meant to be sold in the first place.

We got blamed for over-pricing items, under-pricing items, and for attempting to sell family heirlooms without her permission.

“But Grandma, it was you who said you wanted a tag sale . You who picked out what you wanted to sell and you who priced the items,” we said gritting our teeth.

“Well don’t pay so much attention to the whims of an old lady,” she replied, gathering up her now very cherished tag sale items and bringing them back into the house.

That day Grandma sold a grand total of $6.75 worth of merchandise. One thing she let go was an old waffle iron which she sold for $1.50.

The man who bought it returned it within the hour saying it didn’t work.

Grandma told him, “You bought it, you own it – no returns…no refunds.”

Now picture this four-foot eleven woman, with bad arthritis, bad eyes and seven-feet worth of audacity, shouting these words at a six-foot two, two-hundred plus pound man holding a broken waffle iron.

One of us walked over to the guy, whispered to him to dump the waffle iron at his leisure and handed him two dollars for his trouble.

Once we finished cleaning up, we all met at the local neighborhood dive for pitchers of beer to unfray our nerves and we laughed till our sides hurt as we recalled Grandma’s unorthodox tag sale, where nothing was really for sale.

So that’s why in our family, when you promise something and then renege for any reason, you’ll hear, “Oh, I get it, you’re having one of Grandma’s tag sales, aren’t you?”

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I Double-Dog Dare God to Please Phone Home


I’m up to my armpits in religion and I’m drowning in dogma.

Attempting to read the newspaper this morning, I was struck at how many articles focused on the rights of this or that religious group. How this or that religious group was offended by this or that law, concept, menu, hairstyle, television program or weather predication.

Religion has now taken up residence in the body of the world and is seeping out of everyone’s pores. It’s being forced down throats, worn on sleeves, plopped right down in the middle of one’s forehead and up-chucked nightly on the cable news channels.

Best of all, because there’s more than one religion, there’s constant fighting over whose religion is the best. Whose god is the true god -- and then millions of words written thousands of years ago --about what each one of the gods have said about contemporary subjects, no less.

So I’m putting a stop to it right now: Will the real God -- whether God is a Christian God, Jewish God or Muslim God or any other type of God, please stand up, phone home, make an appearance on Oprah, do an infomercial, write an Op-Ed article for the Times, star in a reality show or appear somewhere other than on a taco shell, tree bark, piece of sheet metal or grilled cheese sandwich!

God, for a couple of thousand years now, you’ve been hiding. The only people who swear they have seen you or talked to you in person have stopped taking their meds.

It’s time to show up and stop the wars, the hate and the poverty. It’s time to unite all religious people under one religion, which of course, is your religion God.

So what is that religion? Come on spill! Should we all be Jews? Christians? Muslims? Scientologists?

It’s time to whip our world back into shape. What are you waiting for, God?

Come on out of hiding.

Come for lunch today and we can sit down over a crisp Pinot Grigio and hash things out. I’ve got home-made turkey soup in the fridge and a most delightful loaf of Ethereal Bread for toasting.

Cappuccino and raspberry tarts for dessert. Sounds good doesn’t it?

It’s time for an appearance; too many years have gone by and you need to make a pit-stop on Earth and quickly.

I dare you, double-dare you and double-dog dare you, God.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Worst President Ever and Other News

Looks like Brownie was doing a helluva job after all.

He spelled out the Katrina disaster to the prez who nodded, then went back to vacationing, without saying a word. Four days later, the lying sack of chips said no one ever expected the breach of the levees, yet here we've got him on tape listening to the impending disaster (including predictions about the levees being breached) in what was described as "agonizing terms".

Yup Brownie did a helluva job, it was the prez who doomed News Orleans to hell. Maybe his god told him he'd provide since I can't imagine listening to such devastating news, and doing nothing, saying nothing and continuing to vacation. He says god talks personally to him..but perhaps what he's listening to is merely a soliloquy - a megalomaniac's monologue.

Kansas - what's in the water there? Chuckleheads abound.

As reported in the Hartford Courant:

"Kansas is one of 12 states in which underage sex - under 16 in this case - is a crime even when it involves teenage peers. In 2003, state Attorney General Phill Kline, a bandstanding pro-lifer, interpreted that law to require doctors, educators, counselors and health care workers to report virtually all sexual activity by those under 16 to the state.The Kline Theory goes something like this: If sexual activity between teens is illegal, there's no such thing as consensual sex, and thus every act is harmful.

"These acts include any lewd fondling or touching of the person ... with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires.In short, health care workers have to rat on 15-year-old sexual criminals who are lustily and mutually "abusing" each other in the back seat of a Toyota.

"The health care workers sued, and the recent trial produced some pretty odd exchanges. When lawyer Bonnie Scott Jones of the Center for Reproductive Rights put Kline on the stand, she asked if anything beyond kissing was acceptable.

"Is oral sex performed by a boy a reportable crime?

"Yes, said Kline.

"Oral sex performed by a girl?

"I'm not certain," he said.

(As mentally he imagined a kick ass blow job and wanted to be sure these would be available to men of all ages-- my guess for that ridiculous exchange.)

Cool, you can get married at 13 in Kansas and you damn well better get married if you are going to pet - otherwise it's a crime. Boys and girls of Kansas -- get married the day you turn 13 or face prosecution.

Is there a state more backwards than Kansas I ask? Oh yes there is. We have South Dakota banning all abortions.

A misguided friend said to me: They would allow abortion for the health of the mother.

Wrongo. Not the health of the mother the LIFE of the mother, her health could go to hell.

What a sicko country so obsessed with sex, with controlling women's reproductive rights --it makes me want to vomit.

Try as you might Kansas or South Dakota or anywhere, you can't stop sex. No one has been able to stop it. It will never stop no matter what laws you make.

Leave women's internal organs alone. If you don't, women will be out collecting black cohash, tansy, pennyroyal and other toxic herbs - never mind coat hangers - to do the job themselves just like they have since the beginning of time.

The anti-abortion, anti-everything, right wing fanatics should be allowed to do protesting, lobbying, and spread all the misinformation they want, provided they show proof of adopting one child each year.

Adoption of living children? Who gives a whit about living children?

Well, that's not their concern, unless we're talking about singles or gays adopting -- then the same people who want single women to have unwanted babies, don't believe that single mothers or fathers or anyone who's gay or lesbian are fit to parent.

I said it before, and I'll say it again, women, kiss your uteruses goodbye - they will soon belong to the state.