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Puddin' Cat

While I'm on the cat theme, here's Oscar enjoying the down filled couch (made in NC mind you).
I hardly ever sit on the darn couch, if I do, I get looks.
Looks that say - what are YOU doing on here?!
If the evil cat stink eyes don't get to me and I hold my ground - I paid for it dammit, I get to sit on it - then the claws and teeth in my scalp will. Finn sometimes takes umbrage with my head being inside his personal cushion bubble. Either that or he will use my shoulder as an additional butt pillow.

Oh, and just so you know, it is going to get cold again (it was over 60 today).
You know why?
I took the silk comforter off the bed today.
That's like lighting a cigarette while waiting for the bus. Pretty much guarantees it's showing up in about thirty seconds.

Catching Up

Whew, is it Sunday already?! Tomorrow starts my first full week of work.

Yesterday I went with RM to pick up her third Ragdoll kitten. Her other two Ragdolls are a blue lynx point and a seal point mitted. I think the lynx point is my favorite look.
When the kitten (my "godcat") is grown, he'll look similar to this:
This marking is called bi-color.

Oh..I'm sorry. I completely drifted off into Crazy Cat Lady Land there.

Later ate dinner at Bull McCabe's, an excellent Irish pub on
Main Street, before going to see Kathleen Madigan, who was very funny.
I had Elizabeth's Spicy Veggie Burger - tasty good. Great garlic fries too.

Today, I did some laundry and bagged some leaves (two bags - only thirty more to go) - hey every day can't be as exciting as yesterday! Another post or two - about nothing (this is the Seinfield blog) and then Lark Rise to Candleford for a few hours.


Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

Yes, I have re-entered the realm of employment, and boy am I tired. So much to learn, so few brain cells.

This is what I feel like:
Had a MAJOR freak out about money yesterday morning and was almost in tears. Then, I heard a small voice say, "Trust me."
Now I'm never sure if that's one of my multiple personalities (JK) or the teeny voice of G.O.D.
Then today a post from my friend Rosemary showed up and it heartened me - so much so that I printed out this part to hang on the wall so I see it every day (every day I'm in my guest room closet/office):

...3 major affirmations:

First: “I am God’s child, Laughing, running, jumping easily, unburdened by the weight of years. I am whole and happy, wrapped in love, transformed by light.”

Second: “I rejoice in my sense of divine prosperity. I am financially secure and my rewards from participating in the flow of abundance increase constantly.”

Third: “I am held, like a beloved child, in a warm, secure family. I am surrounded by love. I am not alone, but perfectly supported.”

Okay. Ready, set, go.


Mrs. GoodWrench

So today was nail day. It's been awhile. Those gel fill-in's were almost grown off her nails. I know, I know.

One of the aides had brought in one of her dog's nine (!) puppies. Mom was sitting on the couch petting it as it dreamed little puppy dreams next to her. She liked it. They said she'd babysat it all day.

I opened the car door for her and I guess she thought that meant she was driving since she got in on the driver's side. I had to go get her and bring her around to the passenger side. As I helped her with the seat belt, she said, "Get the slap on and let's get going!"

We went over to Mimi Day Spa because it's close, attractive, doesn't stink and has good magazines for the help (that would be me). They remember her and take a good long time (hours) to do a mani/pedi.
She talks nonsense to them, they answer back in their accents, no one understands much and everyone laughs. Good clean fun.

It was after five (suppertime) so we went next door to Dickie's Barbecue. Mom liked saying Dickies.  She said her coke was hot. Dipped her hush puppies in the barbecue sauce (after I stopped her from drinking it), and also ate some potato salad with one.
As we went to the car she belched and said "Pardon my wrench."
Then thought it was really funny when I said it a few minutes later.
It don't take much.
After we got back to CB, she was in the bathroom and wanted the aide to ask "her wife" something. A few minutes later I was back to Mommy again.
Oh, and I have purple shoes.


Forgot This

This is my sunroof from inside the car after the last snow storm on January 10. The ice was about 1/4" thick.

I know my brother laughs his arse off at us goofy Southerners - he says "Fie!" to winter and grills brats with a beer frozen to his hand. (keeps it cold)
Heck, the kids stand outside to catch the bus until it's -10. Not sure why -10 is the marker. Like -9 is okay, but -10, oh hell no - that's too cold?

Merry Christmas!

Earlier this week a package arrived. I laughed so hard when I saw the return address said PMS.

Part of the package was for Mom, so I took them over today.

First the photo book:
 The note on the envelope said to press the back for the message.
We poked and pressed and prodded. When I finally found the right spot and the recording started - it startled her.
Then she wanted to hear it again and again.
 She liked the magnet, but has no magnety place.
She had a hard time getting things open. 
A replacement mirror is in the little bag on the arm of the chair.
When she got to the last package she said,
"What did I get - five dollars? Don't ever say that to her. What the hell?" 
"Gee, those are great and they're all cooked!"
She decided they would be a good place for her necklaces.

We went to K&W for lunch, haven't been there since Thanksgiving. 
As we were waiting for a light to turn green, some neu-neu head started honking. (if I were queen, horns would only work in an emergency - not when the person behind me decides I should go a nanosecond after the light changes!) 

Me: [irritated] What's with the honking? (the light was still red)
Mom: "Where's the honkies?!"  
!!! I almost couldn't see to drive from the tears of laughter.

Her lunch consists of deviled eggs, country style steak, rice, some potato casserole thing made with ranch dressing, and buttered coconut pie. Most of the things she says she doesn't want when we get to the table. Oy.
Picking up an egg with her fork she said, "Okie dokie. I have a dokie, he died, quickly."

Okay, confession time.
There was a lot of eye rolling on my part during lunch today. Sometimes I just can't take it. The wrong utensil usage (eating meat with the knife blade) and the wrong usage of the right utensil (fork scooping instead of spearing), food dropping in her lap because she doesn't lean over the table, using the napkin to wipe her nose, (crap I just used ten seconds trying to recall how to spell wipe - scary!). SERENITY NOW!

PMS had sent me a big photo album - a .whole year in the life. It was in the car so Mom could look at it. 
She touched pictures of Sam when she was going through her Lupus treatment, "She has a lot of that (her face was very swollen from steroids). That makes me sad."
Then we'd turn to the back of the album, after Sam had completed her treatment so she could see Sam was looking like her old self.
A picture of Dakota playing soccer - she made car noises, "He's getting 'em."
A picture of my brother - "He's looking bigger. (older?)" 
She really liked one of Russ and Dakota showing their six four two packs. And the one (this was in her album) of my brother wearing a child's red cowboy hat on his grown up head.
Of a photo of Russ and Jill - "Are they still doing that?"

More Durham Good News

The Herald-Sun - TROSA Grocery opens

I can't say enough good things about TROSA. I always use them when moving - or just unpacking. They are the best deal in town and every single person has been friendly, personable and polite.

Last year they opened a grocery store in an area of Durham that sorely needed it. Hopefully, this will be the start of revitalizing another area of Durham.

Actually, even in the trendier parts of the Bull City there's an issue of walkability. Maybe you can get to a bus stop or great dining - but there's no grocery store.

My old apartment in California gets a whopping 92. Here, a 38. What's your score?

I'm Late, I'm Late!

What have I done, semi-committing to a post for every day of the year?! Yikes.
I am already two days behind and feeling like the White Rabbit. Then there's THE PRESSURE of thinking of something scintillating to say. Because I am not that interesting.

Taxes are looming. AND VA paperwork that needs to be completed before March 1st. It's such drudgery.

Saw "The King's Speech" yesterday. Someone deserves an Oscar for making the rather mundane subject matter of a stuttering prince/king and his speech therapist absolutely riveting.


Number 35

Last night I met a friend at a photography opening at Through This Lens in downtown Durham. Aside from the exhibit - ChemoToxic, there were some great prints of Durham by K. Brown that were just lovely. The photos have a surreal quality and showed Durham, which gets maligned sometimes in comparison to Chapel Hill, in a really lovely light - both literally and figuratively.

Durham is clawing her way up in the world. Downtown has been revitalized, old tobacco warehouses are being turned into lofts, and restaurants - really good restaurants - are popping up all over and making the most of the bounty of the Piedmont.
In the January 7, 2011 issue of the New York Times there was an article on The 41 Places To Go in 2011 - and right there, between number 34 - Iraqi Kurdistan and number 36 - Kosovo, was number 35 - Durham, NC!

After buying some note cards (affordable art), my friend and I braved the arctic chill that had descended and walked around the corner to Dos Perros - one of the great newish restaurants in town. I had the Kale, Turnip and Bread Soup (so good), the Sweet Potato Empanadas with Chipotle Fig Sauce (repeat performance for those), and finished off with the jalapeno-lime sorbet. 

Look out Kurdistan - we're gaining on you!


Turns out SAHS was PERFECT for me. They provided pencils, paper, anything you needed. There were no lectures. If you came to class for five days, you got credit for six. All one had to do was show up, complete at least one chapter out of the textbook for the class and turn it in. I regularly completed three to five chapters per class. After I was finished with the textbook, I read or helped grade papers. 

In my three student "English" class, I edited and typed the newsletter, the other two wrote songs (they were in a band). Mr. O'Malley was also a photographer and donated his own black and white development equipment to the school; in a large storage room by the office was a darkroom. I was smitten.

 I loved seeing the picture form in the gentle rocking bath of chemicals - pure magic.

My camera - a Kodak Instamatic. That's right. The one with the square flash cubes. I don't remember where or when I got the camera, perhaps for Christmas or a birthday. (It's not the camera - just remember that.)

Lord knows we were not allowed to touch my mother's SLR Minolta.
It's surprising:
A.) there are any pictures of Mom at all because she could barely bring herself to relinquish the camera to anyone - even my father, a responsible adult.
B.) that the rare pictures of her aren't all of her reaching towards the lens and mouthing - no! no! don't TOUCH that! Just push that button - no! Don't TURN anything! I had it all set up! Hurry...oh just hurry up! Give me the camera!
And then she would whisk it away to minster first aid and wipe off any offending fingerprints, muttering condolences and apologies.

I'd love to post some of my photographs from that era, but I THREW THE NEGATIVES AND PHOTOS AWAY. It's like getting punched in the stomach every time I admit that. Ah, the dangers of being a purger.

Mr. O'Malley hung one of them in his classroom. When I came back to visit several years after graduating, it was still hanging in his classroom. I confess, it made me feel good.

Once he let me borrow his Pentax (with a light meter!). I walked across town taking pictures, but got lost going back - I kept walking past the street I needed (had not paid attention to the name of the street) and was late by about an hour for the after school ride home.
Mom of course thought I was laying in a ditch somewhere and her and Mr. O'Malley were getting ready to send out a search party.
Ah, life before cell phones.


I Come From The Weirdest State

I could probably do a blog just on weird news from Florida. Today on CNN was this story. What?!

Did you read "The Orchid Thief"? Oddly fascinating book about my home state and the people who live in it. "Adaptation" was the movie made about trying to adapt the book to a movie. It's a bizarre movie.



An acquaintance was re-doing her house and mentioned that because of her eighteen year old cat, she was trying to find carpet the color of cat vomit. I thought that was hilarious!

Until I had three cats.

I don't know what it is about carpet and what is known around here as cat HUCK, (an onomatopoeia if you will.), but like peanut butter and jelly, they just go together. Whether you want them to or not.

Go ahead, put in hardwood floors. Oh clever you, thinking you've outsmarted them. HA HA!

They're laughing at you behind their furry little paws. (I imagine it sounds like Muttley  - even though he's a dog.)

Cats will find, and upchuck on, the one scrap of carpet in a house. Perhaps it's in front of the back door, so you can unknowingly track it through the rest of the house. Area rugs? Fair game sister.
Have carpet in your bedrooms only? Of course it's in the white/beige color palette. So inviting.

I'm not sure which is worse - camouflage, (aids in the stepping in - usually when you're barefoot), like the rug to the right or the stains on the above.

It doesn't happen often. Just enough to keep me on my toes (ha!) and wishing I owned stock in paper towels.

I believe all three of them plot the deposit of their next present during the day while I'm out, laughing like Muttley all the while.


What's That You Say?

Boy, I am tired of going over there. I suck.
It might be because it's like going into a prison (well, I can only imagine).
Ringing buzzers to get in or out, locked doors, then realizing I forgot her room key in the car, necessitating either finding an aide to start another round of buzzing out and back in OR unlocking her door- errgghh. (Either way a pain in the arse for everyone.).

Anyway, I went.
Mom was sitting in the living room watching Wayne Brady host "Let's Make a Deal!". Another woman - let's call her Sally - came up and showed us a picture of a lovely family: Mom, Dad, girl and boy. First she said it was her and the small children were hers.
After a stroll, Sally came back to sit beside us after asking if she could. Now the photo was her children and grandchildren. Mom was bored and let Sally know we had "been there, done that."
A few minutes later Sally's Birds & Blooms magazine was delivered and she made the mistake of letting Mom look at it (still in its cellophane packaging). I almost had to arm wrestle Mom to get her to give it back.

A bit later Sally told someone else that her daughter and son in law had been given money to buy two children and those were the two they got.

Mom said, "Come on, let's get going somewhere." Off we went to her room which was locked, then we had to find someone to let us in (because I left the key in the car). We changed shirts (she wanted to), got her coat and then went out to wait for someone to buzz us out. Gah.

We decided on Chinese for something different.
"Wow. Pretty hot," she deemed the silverware (heavy?).
"I could've had a whole watch [straw]."
Mom even ate two of the steamed dumplings (starting by poking it with her straw) and "thought she might like them."
She ordered pork fried rice. There was enough fried rice to feed an table of six.
She mounded it up, smoothed the sides, and played with it like the mashed potato scene from "Close Encounters of The Third Kind." I don't think we even ate one quarter of it.

We headed back and went to her room to hang out and watch a little TV (I live vicariously through her cable since I have none.). Someone - guessing it was her - had made all the channels disappear, but after a channel search we were back in business.
Came across SNL's "The Best of Will Ferrell" which I will watch no matter how many times I've already seen it.

When I went to find someone to let me out, three or four people shuffled up to me. It feels a bit like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". One woman quietly said several things I didn't catch, then a soft "They're great." Mom said "With no clothes on?!"

And with that I made my escape.

On a totally different makes-me-so-proud-to-be-from-Florida note, read this news story.


Some New Pottery

Yes, yes - you can call me a pottery tart!

Last weekend I went up to Cedar Creek Gallery - I had a $50 gift certificate (from my former employers) burning a hole in my purse.

For under $4.00 I picked up this fabulous mug by Ellen Shankin. 
Isn't her stuff lovely? It's so graceful; has a Japanese feel to it. I almost got the butter dish, but this mug caught my eye and the price allowed me to get something else.

The something else was this...cup? bowl? by Ira Burhans.
Has my favorite ash glaze with a great celadon green interior.

Last but not least is an adorable bowl done by Steffi, (she's not at Cedar Creek - YET!) which was a gift.
(thank you!)
I'm waiting for it to tell me what to put in it.
(Pottery just can't rest on its arty laurels around here, it has to work too.)

What I'm Reading

"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. Her and her family took a year off the food grid and bought/ate only local food for one year. They grew a lot of their own vegetables and did not eat anything if it was out of season.
The book's been out for about three and a half years, but it took me awhile to recover from "The Omnivore's Dilemma".
If you haven't read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" - it could cause you to become, at the very least, a vegetarian - if not a vegan, or it will put you off anything but grass fed beef (and truly free range chicken/eggs) for the rest of your life. And since I can't foresee my future without an occasional burger, I choose GF.
Yes, when I consume a burger in a restaurant (McDonald's is not a restaurant people), I am not getting GF beef. But when it comes to making purchases for home cooked meals, I buy local GF beef. All the meat, from hamburger to T-bones, comes from one animal at a time.

Barbara's book came out a little after The OD, and it has a similar message - we spend WAY too much money and fuel getting out of season food to us all year long.
When Fawn was here she noticed how much of the produce in Whole Foods was from California. And usually the stuff doesn't even taste good. (Tomatoes being a prime example.)

Some of the "big farm" (i.e. Monsanto) stuff will just curl your hair.

Listen to this - Peru used to grow over four thousand (!!) varieties of potatoes - now they only grow around twelve.

We are heavily dependent on two crops - corn and soybeans - they feed just about everything other thing we "grow" - especially protein sources. Not to be a doomsayer - but being too dependent on one food source is what caused the deaths of one million people in Ireland. (the potato didn't take a lot of effort to grow or a lot of space. It also served as food for animals. They did grow other crops, but they were "cash" crops for paying the rent, as the Irish were not allowed to own land. That's right - not allowed to own land in their own country.)

She mentions that (it is true in my case) - we have gotten away from farming in about two generations. Our school year is still a hang over from those times - when children were needed at home to help with agricultural chores. My father grew up on a farm; the chickens were really free range, until one got caught for supper. They raised one hog a year, slaughtered in the fall. Milk and butter came from cows in the barn, that grazed in a pasture all day (not on a feedlot being force fed corn and antibiotics). Vegetables came from the garden, fruit came from trees or bushes, not from a grocery store. Now I would no more know how to pluck a chicken than I would knit a sweater.

Anyway, I don't mean to sound preachy, sorry. These kind of books make you me think. I know I'm fortunate to live in an area where people value heirloom tomatoes and goats (yes even domestic animals are in danger of extinction) and raise pigs fed only organic vegetables and table scraps. And I'm also fortunate enough to be able to afford the choice.

I'm going to try to do better.
Sadly, only the pottery is local.


Oh Noooooo

I'm two days behind on my posts! I had a reserve built up and it's gone.

Well, today was jam packed.
First a walk, followed by a trip to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit at NCMA - it was SO crowded you couldn't get a good look at anything. I'd like to go back during a week day (make the most of being unemployed!) and see the Audubon collection as well as the Eric Carle exhibition.
Then happy hour at P.F. Chang's (which BTW, PF, was better before you changed it).

Watching "The Prisoner" (from Netflix) What a trip.
Why is British TV so much better than ours? A question I often ponder. One thing - they know when to stop, unlike us. We let series go on. And on. And on.
"Life on Mars" (one of the best police/sci-fi type shows ever) - only two seasons. And the ending? Brilliant.

Anyway, guess that's it for now.

Oh - I had a job interview on Friday. The first one since November.We'll see. I'm saying no more...


Moving Day

Most likely because of our nomadic life, about every three years I get restless. My brother said this happens to him too.

In my two and half years of marriage we lived in seven apartments in four cities - which was a little on the too much side. After that, The Boy and I lived in another four places before settling down at the same address for fifteen years - he went to the same school district his whole life!
Isn't it funny how you want what you don't have? Here I was kinda envious that he could recognize people from kindergarten walking down the street (and expect me to as well), and proud of the stability. And he hated living in the same place all that time. Go figure.

I don't remember the school grade by my age - until junior high. Before that it was where we lived. Kindergarten and half of first - Hawaii. Half of first through half of fourth - Guam. Half of fourth through sixth - Miami.

After moving back to Florida I lived in three places (one town) in seven years and the same here in NC (three towns, Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Durham).
Six out of the seven years I've "owned" a house, which leaves two options - new furniture or moving the furniture around. I usually pick the cheaper option. Even if it only stays that way for a day or two, it somehow calms the restless beast.
For another three years.

Just When You Thought I'd Forgotten

A post about Mom.

Since it might snow tonight, everyone is in a dither - the schools closed or out early, people lining up their personal days for the possibility of icy roads tomorrow, rushing to the store, checking the Weather Channel app on their iPhone, or NOAA every fifteen minutes, or visiting their mom.

I myself am guilty of sending several text messages, some including the word snow, to Pam because we're meeting at Southpoint this evening. I know! I got sucked into the panic vortex. She asked me to pick up some cocoa crack popcorn at Whole Foods. After that I had some time to kill, so I went over to Mom's.

On the way I saw this sticker and it made me laugh out loud. People are funny.

I'm A Freak - Touch Me

Mom came toddling over to the door holding her arms out. When I came in, she said "Mommy!" and hugged me.
We decided to hang out in her room. She was wearing some lime green striped sockies with her outfit - they just didn't go. As we looked for a different pair of socks to wear, I took the opportunity to organize her underwear drawer.
Mom informed me she was going to "make me a woman" and then said I was lovely. We organized that drawer and the pajama drawer and sorted out some other clothing items.

This baby doll has been hanging around for awhile, I asked Mom what the baby's name was. She didn't know.
Let's name the baby.
I hold the baby in front of my face - name me name me.
She is the best audience ever and thinks that it is damn funny.
Mookie? Mary Jane? Melinda?
She says yes to all of them.

"I don't want to name the baby. I don't like the baby."
You don't?! It's been hanging around for awhile. Look at its toes, they look like a chimp's. We could call it chimp baby.
She laughs and laughs. Picks up her hand mirror from CP and starts tapping the baby, "Bing!" (maybe that's its name!)

Then decides she needs to use the restroom. A ten minute event. Including figuring out the difference between up and down and the task of hand washing.

She sits on her bed (not the stool absconded from the activity room).
"I only had one every time. The baby looks just like you. I have to get sixteen thousand more."

Suddenly the mirror, which is laying on the bed, starts cracking - neither of us are touching it. What's the bad luck rule on that?! (no escaping the Irish superstition gene, especially if one's grandfather was known for it) If it breaks itself, is the bad luck null and void?
I throw the mirror away (hope she doesn't drag it out) and get her to sit in her chair, where she proclaims hers are different.

We're still on the baby topic (I think):
"I didn't know they'd come out different and poof! He's cute except he ain't purty. Most of 'em do of 'em. Wheee! I guess we better keep him with us and then we can be tender. He's weary. I know, but I wasn't the only one."
(thanks Memo [tool on my phone]. That was an exact quote.)
You're funny, I tell Mom.
"I've always been funny. You just found that out?"

I ask if she wants to watch TV. She walks over and picks up the phone.
Anyone there?
"No. I was just checking."

We alternate first between the local news (Snow! OMG! Ice! OMG! School closings! OMG! Snow! OMG!) and the Wake County Animal Shelter cable access show. They were demonstrating how they assess the temperament of the dogs before adoption. Mom enjoyed that. Then between "Everyone Hates Chris" and the weather. (Because OMG! snow)

"You better keep your next son. Whee. Whoo."

The episode of "Everyone Hates Chris"was about Chris "adjusting" a less than stellar grade he'd received in math. Mom said [basically] she'd never done that and asked if I had.
Oh yeah. I did.
What better time to confess?


Contrary to Popular Belief

Crack does not look like this:

But like this:

Imagine Cocoa Puffs and popcorn got together and had a baby.
A delicious crunchy chocolaty baby. That's what this is. Times ten.

That Best By date of March 14, 2011?
Completely unnecessary Popcorn, Indiana people.

It won't make it to tomorrow.

Drag Bingo!

What a fun time we had last night! Finally made it to Drag Bingo at the Armory in Durham.

Drag Bingo raises money for (and 100% of the money goes to) Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolina (AAS-C), whose Mission Statement is: "The Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina’s mission is to serve people living with HIV/AIDS, their loved ones, caregivers, and communities at large, through compassionate and non-judgmental care, prevention, education, and advocacy." 

My friend Bill died of AIDS in the late Eighties. He was a kind, sweet man and I miss him. Anyway, before I start crying (again), back to Drag Bingo.

Last night's theme was Madonna, so in between bingo games, a fabulously dressed drag queen would dance and lip sync to a Madonna song. Campy fun was had by all.

I happened to win the first game. Won another game too, but didn't call it, didn't want to seem greedy. 
Plus it's hot up there on that stage! If you win, it's up on the stage for you to be gently interrogated (name, where you're from, etc.) by Mary K. Mart and John Paul, the Mistress and Master of Drag Bingo while your card is being verified. 

When I got home, I signed up to volunteer.  

Me and Mary K. Mart (Mary on the right, in case there was any question)


Things I Can't Live Without In The Kitchen

My spurtle (or spirtle) I use the rounded end in the pot, not sure if that's the proper end (and frankly my dear...), but it's what feels right.
This came from the now [sadly] defunct Chapel Hill Museum's Gift Shop. 

I will kiss on the mouth the person who came up with tomato paste in a tube. GENIUS! You know the drill, the recipe calls for a mere two tablespoons of tomato paste, then you're left with practically a whole can that you can't just throw away - it's wasteful! With really good intentions (soup! tomorrow! promise!) you put it in the frig. And then that sad little tin languishes there, somehow sliding further and further back...until one night, you're pushing containers around looking for a snack..."What the hell's...oh, right, that can of tomato paste I opened...when was that...over a year...GAH! Call a HazMat team!" Perhaps those forgotten tomato paste cans are where they got the idea for "The Blob."

My short wooden spoon from Sign of The Bear Kitchenware in Sonoma, CA that fits in my hand. It's probably close to twenty years old. I recently found another spoon at Kohl's from The Food Network that seems promising, in case I need a back up.
If you ever find yourself in Sonoma, check out the store, it's right on the Plaza. It's a small store crammed to the gills with every kind of cooking utensil, books, linens. That's where I heard the Gipsy Kings for the first time.

The Joyce Chen kitchen scissors that I use at least once a day (thanks again SG!).

L & M Fountain

After we moved from Kodiak to California in 1973, I went through a bit of a rough patch. Very likely depression. Back then you muddled through that sort of thing sans pills.

The entire school from kindergarten through 12th grade in Kodiak had less people than Petaluma High did in just three grades. (but check out the alumni, knew about Winona but not Lloyd)

It was horrifying.

To make it even more special, there was an hour long bus ride every morning. We lived in the middle of dairy country and it took the bus that long to make the rounds to pick up all the "farmers", as those of us who rode the bus were known. If you haven't already guessed, "farmer" was a derogatory term.

My crying started on Friday night because Monday was only two days away. Even my Dad felt sorry for me.
I did some things to avoid being there - faked my way into full blown asthma attacks, skipped school and sat through Latin mass in the pink St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church downtown.

In order to get transferred to another school I had to see some sort of ologist. I made sure to look extra sad that day (not a stretch). Turns out there was another school - a "continuation" school, but that's where they sent the hoodlums and the heroin addicts, (I remember him saying that vividly).
Was I sure I wanted to go to school with heroin addicts? Absolutely - serial killers, heroin addicts, prostitutes - I didn't care as long as there were less people in the school.

My transfer to San Antonio High School was approved. P.S. - that guy was such a liar, there were no heroin addicts, that I know of. Kids with learning disabilities (like me, although I didn't know it then) and the behavioral problems that can sometimes go with them or who were bored out of their minds in regular school.

However, this meant no bus, so my mother drove forty miles a day to take and pick me up from school. Even though this forty mile trip was surely a huge time suck in the middle of her day - not to mention she was NOT a morning person, Mom never complained [to me] and never made me feel like it was a burden. We listened to her country music on the radio, Dolly Parton's "Jolene" was big then.
In the afternoon since school got out around 2, we would often do a little shopping, have lunch or both before heading back out to Dairyville. (I actually liked it out there.)

Sometimes we would go to the L&M Fountain which was on the corner of Western and Petaluma Blvd. They made Cokes with syrup and soda water that were oh so good. Nothing beats the bite of a good Coke.
All the waitresses and the cook (also a woman) were probably eligible for Social Security or very close. Although that could have just been teenager sight.
Our favorite waitress was Paula (or Pauline), she would ask if we wanted our usual - egg salad on toasted white for Mom and a tuna/egg salad combo for me - untoasted. With a side of the best macaroni salad ever. (even though they gave us the recipe, it wasn't as good)
Even after we hadn't been there in almost two years - Paula/Pauline remembered us and ordered us up our usual.
Now that's a waitress.

Sometimes even now, a really good Co-Cola or a great egg salad sandwich will transport me back to 1974 Petaluma, CA, the L&M Fountain, and hanging with my Mom.


A Goal - Maybe

I don't like to make commitments. I made the track and basketball teams two years in a row in High School, but always backed out.

Anyway, I was thinking of trying to make 365 entries this year.
WARNING! This is not a resolution!

Because I hate those.


Perhaps in an attempt to make up for the glitch in the system that caused him to send me an email saying I had missed my appointment - when I was sitting in the lobby, the unemployment counselor asked if I had ever been told I looked like someone.

Of course.

I waited for the usual response of either a teacher or an aunt. Oddly on more than one occasion, I've had complete strangers walk up to me and ask if I was a teacher.

It's weird.

He surprised me by saying Shirley Jones. She of "Oklahoma". And perhaps more famously for some of us - "The Partridge Family".

That was a new one and certainly the most flattering.
(Of course I have no idea what people's teachers and aunts look like - maybe Shirley Jones.)

 I have never been that pretty.

But it's possible we look similar in one aspect now - the hair.

My grandmother and great aunts all had/have gorgeous white hair and my cousins who were born the same year as me also went gray early. Something in the water, Mom always said.

Mine started as a teenager, around eighteen or so. My sister was braiding my hair, when suddenly she exclaimed with what was an extraordinary amount of younger sister glee - "Look what I found!", and began plucking out hair by what seemed like the fistful.
This painful process went on for quite a long period of time and I was beginning to wonder if there would be anything left to braid.
Mom noticed what was happening and screeched in horror - "Seven more would grow in its place!" My sister stopped, but I don't think she really wanted to.

Guess there was something to that particular superstition (or it was the water). By thirty the top of my head was completely white (it started at the top and worked down.)

Here's how it went down at the DMV when I got my first driver's license at almost thirty-one:
(employee makes eye contact with the form only as he checks off items)
Weight? (They did that in California - the horror!)
The man's hand stopped in mid-check, he lifted his eyes and ever oh so drolly asked, "Ma'am, grey or white - which do you want?"

As a cautionary tale I told The Boy this is what happens when you have children very young (I turned twenty the day after he was born), which may have backfired since I still don't have any grandchildren.

On the up side - senior discounts have been offered since my early forties.


Guess what? Turns out when you're FU Over Fifty, you can stop shaving your legs and underarms.Which is really great news, because it frees up time to focus on my face - where it appears the hair from balding men all over the world is showing up. That's right - on MY face! Or would that be - my FACE! No, wait - MY FACE!


You know the perfect place to see all those wayward facial hairs? In the car, in direct sunlight. And where, speaking for myself only here, I NEVER HAVE A PAIR OF TWEEZERS. Nor is that the sort of thing you can do as you're, say, sitting in the driveway.
Dang it.


Things That Are Bugging Me Today

1.) Why is my blog list over there on the left suddenly not updating three or four sites? Land of Cotton for one. and then kate for two. Or saying it can't find the URL - when I am on the very website Blogger says it can't find? Errrgghhhh.

2.) A. Feeling like I've had WAAAAAY too much caffeine, when I haven't.
     B. Feeling really tired.
     C. Feeling both of the above - at the same time.

3.) Getting an email from my unemployment counselor warning me that I'd missed my appointment - as I was sitting in the lobby wondering why he was fifteen minutes late. (Good thing I checked my email)

4.) Noticing I had mud on my pants during the above meeting.

5.) Getting "Pillars of the Earth" Disc 2 before "Pillars of the Earth" Disc 1.

Okay, enough of that. I'm not living in a tent in Haiti worrying about cholera, right?

My aunt and her husband came yesterday, a surprise visit. Mom seemed to recognize her sister, like she does me - perhaps not a name, but definitely as someone who "belongs" to her. We went to Bob Evans for supper. Mom ate her mashed potatoes with her knife. And wondered where her feet were.

My aunt asked if my siblings were helping out monetarily and seemed taken aback that they weren't. (and I thought to myself, why should they? We all got our own crosses to bear.)
It seemed goofy to ask that question and be offended when she didn't do it for her own mother (that I know of). 

My mother did all the post-op care after my grandmother's mastectomy, all the paperwork to get her/keep her on Medicaid, did her taxes, her grocery shopping (and listened to the complaining after the shopping), filled insulin syringes, made meals for everyone who sat at my grandmother's table in the nursing home several times a week, did her laundry, made almost daily visits, took her out to eat and shop, to doctor visits, etc. - all with a cancer riddled husband. From my view point it looked like my mother did all the work and mostly got a bitch slap for it, while the daughter who never even visited her after the mastectomy got all the glory.

Lest you think I be comparing my mother and my aunt to me and my sister, whoa there Nellie, I am not.
Because 1.) I am way more selfish than my mother could ever be. 
2.) my sister put up - to the tune of six weeks out here in a six month time period.

I just had a moment of firstborn bear totem-ness - as in - hey! only I can talk shit about my siblings. Not you. It's always been like that with our aunt. Goes back to her slapping my brother (oh no you di'int!) when he was like four. Funny how the pattern doesn't change.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Except - aren't families weird?



Patton Mood Syndrome affects three out of five Pattons. Males are generally more at risk than females, although females have been known to have severe cases.
Appears to be genetic, passed down from the fraternal side and is possibly related to being introverted.
PMS is not fatal, however spouses/partners may experience strong feelings of malcontent towards those afflicted with the syndrome.

Symptoms (this is not a complete list, symptoms may vary):
A reluctance to participant in family occasions, especially around holidays or birthdays, is common.
May grunt and/or have gruff responses to routine questions such as, "What would you like for dinner?"
May indulge in excessive reading, TV watching, or puttering in the garage.
May experience a temporary paralysis of their sense of humor.
May have selective hearing.
May appear to have a sleep disorder.
May leave the house without telling anyone where they are going.
May refuse to talk on phone to other family members.
May appear perfectly normal, even jovial, when others outside the family are around. Reverts to silence when outsiders have departed.

There is no known cure at this time.
Often symptoms disappear on their own when holidays are over.

Bad News - Update

My French press broke this morning. The filter separated from the plunger part. I might be able to fix it, will investigate after it's not so hot.

Speaking of hot, Oscar, in a mad attempt to get a post breakfast head rub. stepped on the hot stove this morning. Ouch, Buddy!
I usually put the kettle back on the burner - for that very reason - but it was still whistling so I had taken it off. Guess Oscar can't see that little light that says "hot burner". He doesn't like his feet touched so it will be tricky accessing the damage. Tricky as in - he will bite me.


Oscar is fine, isn't even limping, so yay! I bet he will stay away from the stove from now on.
In French press land - the screw that holds the filter sandwich together had come unscrewed, so all is well there too.


Guess I'd Better a post this first day of 2011.

Ha! Now what?

Okay, see this? This is the best apron ever. Bought it at a garage sale in California for fifty cents back in 1996. This picture does not quite capture the garish lime green background color. It's very study, twill or something. I love it.

I have no resolutions. Not even fantasy ones, like I will never eat another starch/cookie/piece of chocolate/pie/cake again and I will weigh 140 by the end of January - wait! the end of this week.

Brunch was great, lots of good food and the usual suspects for good company, plus some new suspects. I wanted to say the food was delish, but then I'd sound like Rachael Ray and I'd want to punch myself in the face.

I think RM might be mad at me for fussing at her [gorgeous] Ragdoll cat Nicky when he got on the counter amongst all the food. Starting the new year off right. Making amends - day one.

I forgot to mention, if you make the Black Eyed Pea Salad, cut the oil down about half. It calls for a cup, a 1/3 or 1/2 cup is fine.

It feels like Sunday. Doesn't it? Next year it will be.

Hmmmm....I could read.
Or not.

Oscar is trying to tunnel through the door - can I not have a moment's peace?! Might as well have a dog. Discovered one reason why Lillie fusses (a.k.a. meows constantly) at me when she's in here - she wants my chair! 
Chair thief
Okay, posts can only go up from here in this new year, right?