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Hello Monkey Face

Yes, I went to visit my mother.

First though, I got off my a$$ and called the cable company today to remove the phone and lower the channels on her subscription.

After yelling at the automated lady on the phone to get me a freaking REAL person, I still had to press five more buttons, listen to Time-Warner tell me how Tom Terrific they are for ten minutes, and then TELL THE REAL PERSON EVERYTHING I ALREADY TOLD THE AUTOMATED PERSON...

We commence:

- Hi my name is Chrystal (silent 'H", she told me later), how can I help you?
Me: I need to remove the phone and change the channel subscription on this account.
- Phone number and address on the account?
Me: (oh I got this one - wrote the phone number on the bill, clever little me) blah blah blah
- Last four of her social?
Me: (CRAP! oh wait...I have that tattooed on my inner right thigh) blah
- She's saving $20 a month, she's getting a good deal 
Me: (How in the world is $108 a month a GOOD DEAL?!) Really? Well that's great, but she no longer knows how to use the phone.
- I understand
Me: (no, you fu@king don't) She has dementia, she can't dial and doesn't know to answer it if it rings.
- I understand.
Me: (OMG)
- Does she have another phone for emergencies, like a cell phone?
Me: [voice raising an octave] She lives in a facility, they have all the emergency phones she'll ever need in there.
- I understand
Me: (blood pressure goes up a couple of points)
- Her name is unusual (says Chrystal with the silent "H"), is that a nickname?
Me: It's a [very common] nickname for ______________ (Mom spelled it with a zi instead of the normal sy)
- Now kids are named Apple and...(at this point I just drift off) without the phone it would be $69.62 (I snap back to the conversation) and just the local channels would be $21.19. 
Me: Ding ding ding - we have a winner!
- You need to return the modem within three business days or they will charge you for it. Would you like the address of the nearest equipment drop off location?
Me: (no, why would I want that?!) Yes, thank you very much.
(We then have to determine that I am not in Columbia SC)
- Here's the phone number for that location.
Me: Great! Thanks Chrystal with a silent "H". (It will turn out that when the number given above is called - it routes you right back to the main 800, making it impossible for the very nice man in Morrisville to give me a landmark for a location in Chapel Hill.)

I agree to do the survey and give her all 5's (the best).

Then I MAKE MYSELF go to CB to get the modem.

We watch Say Yes to The Dress (Atlanta) and HGTV in her room while we play with dolls.

After telling this baby it looked like a monkey, (making me guffaw), she decided its name might be Baby. (Bunky was the other tiny baby that she really doesn't like)
She said we were "dumb and some".
I see a Jim Carrey movie in there somewhere.


The 27 Club

Do you know what the 27 Club is?
It's musicians who have died at the age of 27. Kurt Cobian, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin...there's more, but those are the ones that roll off the top of my head.
Amy Winehouse has joined that club and it pisses me off. I am really mad at her.

Sometimes we have an interest in people we don't know and what happens to them affect us for reasons not explainable to us. Amy was one of those people for me.

As you know, I am an avid reader of The Daily Mail Online, a totally trashy UK tabloid. I'm not proud of it, but I love that site and visit it daily (it IS the Daily Mail after all). There were often articles on Amy and from my seat in the Durham on the other side of the pond, I encouraged her to get rid of that POS husband, get cleaned up and start making music again. It seemed like she was making a go of it for awhile. She had a new boyfriend, put on weight, and was looking healthy.

Now she's dead. The newest member of The 27 Club.


The Pendulum Swings

As an antidote to the previous downer post - here's the other side of my brain.

I've been watching True Blood juxtaposed with Deadwood. A weird combo - vampires and whores.
Anyway, I am completely infatuated with Eric Northman, a 1000 year old Viking vampire. I don't even like blondes or really tall guys, but he is the rule's exception. He's played by Alexander Skarsgård, son of actor Stellen Skarsgård
Here's a little montage for you. (safe for non-vampire likers)


Forgive me readers for I have sinned. It has been twenty-two days since I've seen my mother.
Is there absolution for that?

WHY is it so hard to go over there?
Don't answer that, I know why.

The real question is:
WHY am I such a fecking baby about it?

My head is full of everything and nothing, deep thoughts that swim away as soon as I open a New Post, restless and guilty, and nestling up to the dull knife blade of melancholia.
Still I don't go.

I think back twenty years ago, when she was my age. What was she doing? Retired, back in her ancestral homeland of Florida, going to plays with Etta Mae, being the treasurer of TOPS, kids all  raised, a few grandchildren, husband not totally sick yet. My grandmother was of sound, if cranky, mind and living independently.

Then I beat myself up a bit for not selling her house sooner. For not dropping the price sooner, for losing all that money. For not having the hindsight to see this was happening before it was too far gone. For not seeing the behavioral changes for what they were.

I KNOW. Stop.
This solves nothing, serves no purpose. Yet I do it anyway.

"...we don't tell each other all the little things that we need; we work our way around each other as we tremble and we bleed..."


Fried Corn - Start to Finish

CSA Silver Queen corn
Google "fried corn" and you'll find a lot of recipes out there that add sugar, water, and whatnot. Really not necessary.
I make it the way my mother made it (the way your mother makes it is, as everyone knows, the right way), except I substitute olive oil for bacon grease. (she used vegetable oil in the later years)
The one rule - it HAS to be done in a cast iron skillet.
Shucked and clean

Thirteen ears of  corn - off the cob
Here's the recipe: corn, salt, pepper and some kind of fat. I can't tell you how long to saute the corn, you just know when it's done.

I put a lot of pepper in mine because, well, I like pepper.

When you pull this out of the freezer in winter - it's like a summer miracle.
I could eat this all day and all night. It was one of the foods I asked for when I came to visit.
Great-grandmother's cast iron skillet

The finished product - ready for the freezer


Smarter Than the Average Bear

Yeah, you are - all ya'll are.
I'm sure you've noticed I am NOT sticking to my Mom visitation schedule. Gah. Nothing like showing my flaws to thirty five people over the interwebz. Well, so what. I'm imperfect - now you know.

I'm going to distract you with a photo:
Is that photo blurry or is it the Gruner Veltliner?

Here's another:
The fan is going (even though it doesn't look like it) and that girl is enjoying the breeze.

It's been HOT and HUMID - for example - two days ago it was 79 degrees at 8:00 AM and we topped out in the triple digits.
Today it was in the 80's. Lovely. 65 at 7:30 AM. Nice huh?

My niece, who lives in Juneau, Alaska, has been complaining about how hot it's been up there. Their idea of hot is 70. Oh hush now.

My friend Steffi is in Portugal for a week, then off to Cannes to meet our mutual friend Barbara, then they are both heading to Italy. Steffi comes back and Barbara stays in Italy for a few months.

Speaking of travel, I'm reading The Cruelest Journey by Kira Salak. She retraces the journey of Scottish explorer Mungo Park down the Niger river to Timbuktu. Except she does it solo - in a kayak. It's the kind of book my dad would have enjoyed.

Taking a hiatus from  Deadwood. Because there's a short wait for Season 1 Disc 3.
Huh? Do I have so much influence that everyone is jumping on NetFlix to rent the DVD's? I think not.
So WTF NetFlix?
Burn Notice is in the queue now, then True Blood.

One day soon, I am going to write something interesting. Really.

In the meantime - I'm going to need the broomstick of the witch, okay? (Pay no attention...)


Completely Random Sunday Stuff

First, this Wikihow:
Scroll down to the video; it's hilarious and the guy deer is really cute.

CSA yesterday:
No eggs, hot Italian sausage was substituted [insert your own off color joke here].
Figured out to use the Foliage setting, it softens the light; up until last week I didn't know there was such a thing as a Foliage setting on the darn camera.

No worries food photographers of the world - I'm keeping my day job.

I need to address Deadwood  stat
As much as Anon CP, Bo, N., and I like it - it is not for everyone.
It's very realistic. There's mud, blood, whores, killing and dying from various means, flesh eating pigs afterward, and sex (where there's whores, there's sex). There's A LOT of swearing and we're not talking the garden variety hell, damn and occasional F-bomb type swearing either.

SO...those of you who feel compelled to watch Deadwood because of my recommendation - consider yourself forewarned. (and please don't judge me. If there was a time machine I would pick that time period, actually the early 1800's, and be a mountain man. Just as long as I could travel back before I was eaten by a grizzly or got my leg caught in a trap.)

I can't say why I like Deadwood so much. Maybe it's the whores (or as Anon CP would say, wh*res).
Have I ever told you about my fascination with harlots, slatterns, trollops and the like?
Well then...
Remember once upon a time I talked about "blood memories"? I did, but I'm too darn lazy to find the link.
Blood memories are a Native American version of deju vu - except you weren't someone else, someone in your direct lineage has been there, done that and the memory of it has been passed down in your DNA.
Makes sense to me and explains why I feel so tied to Northern Ireland (and Scotland. why bagpipes give me goosebumps every time I hear them); that's my gg grandparents came from - I have a blood memory of it.

Now the hooker part - I do not want to be one (let's make that clear), but I love books, shows, etc. about them, especially those set in England in the 18th and 19th century. I can name three books right now that I have read several times - The Dress Lodger (own it), Slammerkin, and The Crimson Petal and The White. Perhaps an ancestor (ancestress?) was one and I have a blood memory of it.
Just saying...

Anyway, what else?
Oh, can someone explain to me why I can't back up a 1 GB computer on to a 4 GB flash drive?!
Tells me there is not enough space. I'm no math whiz, but how is that not possible?

Finally, a 24 second video of Finn grazing on fresh kitty crack (a.k.a. Nature's Choice grain free Green Pea and Chicken cat fud (Gary Larson reference)).
Oh to click or not to click, huh?



For the past few days in the afternoon the sky has opened up and drenched us with an inch or two of rain in about an hour.

Here's the view from my car around 2 PM today in the Sam's Club parking lot:
University Ave. was flooded in front of Kmart and a couple of cars were stalled in the small lake that appeared. I was able to turn around in time and go back from whence I came. 
Behind Sam's Club

Okay, what you are about to see is a ONCE A YEAR meal. Or needs to be (heh).
That my friends, is the Breakfast Burger from Only Burger (say it with me - Best Meat on The Street!).
There's a fried egg, fried green tomato and pimento cheese cloaking the burger.
I prefer the Carolina (chili and coleslaw).

Now I'm off to watch Deadwood again (LOVE that show. Love love love love it. No, really, I mean it. I love that m*$%&^#@*ing show)

Oh, discovered another great show by the writers of The Wire and Homicide (both also much loved by me) called Treme. Set in New Orleans three months after Katrina. Terrific music plus character actor heaven.

Oh wait (sorry people who get this blog in an email - do you get an email every time I edit something? Gack.).

(Oh, if you DO want to get this as an email tell me. there's a lottery - only 10 people (boo hiss Blogger) can be so designated. And if you are on the list and DON'T want to get it - please let me know and I will swipe your email off that list so fast your head will spin. But you won't know why. Unless you remember this.)

So as I was saying - Oh wait...I forgot to tell you about the amazing tattoo I'm supposed to get of a raven on my right shoulder. I saw it in a dream a few mornings ago; the tattoo was so fantastic - like an Audubon illustration - and then it ruffled its feathers and croaked at me. 
And it was time to get up. 
I can't stop thinking about it.

Okay, you can go now.


At Last

Today is my anam cara's wedding day. You know that saying "friends are the family we choose ourselves"? She is that to me. For close to twenty years we have laughed and cried and hoped and dreamed about everything - not just weddings.

So my dear dear anam cara, this song's for you - and your beloved...

photo by Fawn



If it wasn't for the heat and the humidity, I'd like summer just fine.
A couple of weeks ago we had two days in a row of low eighties with no humidity. They were just about as perfect as perfect can be.

Here's what I do like about summer:

Tomato sandwiches with too much mayonnaise and salt
Fresh (not from the grocery store) picked corn on the cob with too much sweet butter and salt
The sound of cicadas


Picture Show

Oh, the CSA stuff today...lovely.
Blackberries, tomatoes, eggs, cukes, rainbow chard, red onion.

 After dropping this beauty off at home, I went to the movies by myself - the first time in quite awhile.
I love going to the movies by myself. I have friends who never have, they don't get the appeal.

I've also had people ask me, "Do you really? Or are you just saying that because no-one will go with you?", with a look on their face that is usually reserved for a "bless your heart" (meaning you poor pitiful thing you).

The answer is YES.  
Going to a matinee feels like sneaking off while everyone else is grocery shopping or getting their oil changed. Risque, a little naughty. Of course there's the allure of getting in a tiny bit cheaper.

The price one pays for paying less is there are a lot of older folks at the earlier shows.
Who talk loudly - well into the previews and sometimes the show itself.
"So you think I could get both legs done for $90?" (what in the world?!).
Then there's the coughing, the noises getting up and down (oops...I sing in that choir), and the where-do-you-want-to-sit conversations:
"Where do you want to sit?"
"Doesn't matter. Wherever you want."
"Are you sure? How about here?"
"It's fine. Is it okay with you?"
"Sure. Are you sure?"
"Actually, do you mind if we sit a little [closer] [further]?'
"Well I don't mind, I just didn't want to sit in front of those people."

Just don't sit by me.

I went to see Midnight in Paris. It was charming, mostly because Paris is a character in the movie. If you never wanted to go to Paris before, you will after the movie. They show only her good side.

I might still be a bit tender from yesterday (and the day before at work - fie on work relationships, seriously.), because the two trailers - Beginners and Buck made me cry and my popcorn got all wet.

The nice thing about going to the movies by yourself - you don't have to 'splain that shit to nobody.

Another song I heard yesterday that I liked a lot...


Go Easy on Me

My glasses broke right in half the other night. Ordered new ones, but it will be a couple of weeks before they're in. In the meantime, I'm using another pair from a few years ago with a slightly different prescription, they'll do in a pinch. Still, typing this post is more challenging than usual.

Could be that it's not the old prescription at all, could be my eyes are damaged from watching six episodes of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on YouTube last night. Wow. Like a hot pink train wreck. You just can't turn away.
I only stopped because there weren't any more episodes uploaded. (if you find out there are more - do NOT tell me!)
Actually it's a fascinating series about the Irish traveler culture in general, not just weddings; one episode featured a Roma, who seemed a bit low key compared to the Travelers.

Anyway, I took today off so Mom and I could do mani-pedi's. They took off the gel nails (too much maintenance, not to mention the fungal possibility); they do manicures at CB once a month (today of course). Here's my blueberry toes (Playing Around Midnight). Mom stuck to Flashbulb Fuchsia.

While I was at CB, I checked on the DNR (I had asked the acting administrator about it, now the real administrator's back, so we'll should have some action.). Also let her know she needs to call the funeral home in Florida to make arrangements, because apparently they have some in with funeral homes up here and can make the transporting cheaper than if we were to call ourselves.

A. said Mom seems to have taken another step down, her language skills are disappearing (iggy iggy iggy). I think so too. She repeats one word over and over (not just iggy) - more more more; anything anything anything anything...and then dissolves into nonsense. Like a baby learning to talk - but in reverse. Sigh.
When The Boy was learning to talk he would string together a paragraph's worth of sounds and what he was talking about would be the last word and clear as a bell. "yadayadayadayadayaydablahblahbalhbalhyada bird."

There was a woman, (new to me, Mom declared her nice), walking around in her black robe down on Mom's wing. She came up to us saying she didn't know where her husband was. That they had bought this place and they were living there, but she couldn't find him. She was worried and didn't know what to do.
I can't find my mother either. Even though she's standing right here. Saying iggy over and over.

Jiminy Christmas.

We ate at McAllister's after the nail salon. On the way home, iggy turned into hickey. I asked her if she had a hickey.
Suddenly all coy she said, "What do you think?"
Frankly, I do not want to think about that at all.

We blew some bubbles in the parking lot. I had more fun with those than she did.

Then I went to see The Dude and collected a little cash from some work I did for him last month.
Then promptly spent it at Southern Season. (AMAZING hand lotion from Italy Olivella; a verbena and bamboo Thymes candle (their Frasier Fir smalls just like Christmas); Gruner Veltliner (a nice light German wine) and a few other sundry things.). (Note to self - just because it's a sale doesn't mean you HAVE to spend money.)
Helped a man find a jar opener, because he asked me if I knew where they were. I did. Told him a thin mouse pad works perfectly, but he became enamored with the design of this one by Zyliss:

Turns out he was an engineer. We had a little chat about whether his wife would be so enamored of the price (20% off brought it under $20).

As I came out of Southern Season into University Mall, an older couple sat at one of the tables, the husband sitting behind the wife; he was stroking her hair.
"Is my hair messed up?"

For Pete's sake.

I guess I'm SUPPOSED to cry in public today.