Here Come the Excuses...

Let's see... The major reason for not writing since May is... jeez, I forget... Oh, I know - when all else fails, blame ADD. Procrastination fueled by forgetfulness. Yep, that's the ticket.

To my reader(s)... I apologize. I have a lot of folks who like to "read me" because I'm just as much of a train-wreck as they are. Not helping the 'trainwreck' is my health clinic's seeming inability to send my monthly scrip to my pharmacist - Concerta lets me avoid the 'watch paint dry' tendency of Prozac. Not taking Prozac makes me the wicked bitch of the midwest, trust me on this. I love my primary care provider at the clinic, but she's protected by medical troops who do appointment triage to a degree once known only at the Mayo Clinic, I suspect.

So, after eleven years, I'm leaving that clinic to go with the group of clinics associated with the major hospital in my area. My former MD and I had an excellent rapport - she knew I am an intelligent woman well aware of my body and its rhythms. Everything is working excellently in concert with the meds I'm taking ... in other words, if it ain't broke, there's no reason to fix it.

Last week I saw the new clinic's family MD in my area. Not for internal stuff --- I had a toenail that was growing up instead of out, like a souffle' rising in the oven. First thing he wants to do is is take me off Concerta, citing studies that show a potential for heart and pulmonary problems. However, I've been on it for about 8 years with no adverse effects, and a raise in Prozac has put my OCD overeating way into the past, 70 lbs worth. When I don't take the Prozac/Concerta combo in just the mgs that's used now, I gain weight. So, doc... which is worse for my HBP/heart, the drugs that work, or the inevitable morbid obesity that ensues without them. Sigh. It's going to be a tough few months.

Jeez Louise!

Has it really been THAT long since I wrote?? Gotta remedy that. Stand by.


About yesterday's post...I forgot to mention...

While there was a lot of 'do's' in yesterday's post, I left out a few important things.

First, do what 'suits' your body's needs. I have ADD, so I need meds for that. On top of that, I'm prone to 'free-floating anxiety.' I have a savvy doctor who worked with me to find the right balance of Prozac and Concerta so I can become 'normal and average' - in other words, just like most people. A level playing field. Other than that, which would be part of my life anyway, I don't do diet pills of any kind. "Better living thru chemistry" - but make sure it's the right chemistry. Speed may speed you up, but the crash is, I'm told, horrible.

And have little goals. I was lucky enough to have been given a LOT of clothes in descending sizes by a lady who was moving to Florida and wanted to buy a whole new wardrobe. At 'new retail' prices, I got probably a couple of thousand dollars worth of clothes. I did fit into a couple of them right away, fit into still others around the 50 lb mark (now getting too big!), and I have a few waiting for the next 20 lbs. It's fun to try them on now and again to see how close I'm getting to actually wearing them. (I hate snug clothes, so while some technically 'fit', I won't wear them yet.) It's a great 'carrot' to work toward!

Another thing that works for me is avoiding nitrates/nitrites like the plague. They make me puffy; I can tell when I have inadvertently ingested some because my Berks become snug. No, it's not water-weight, I've been taking Lasix for decades, and I seldom salt anything. It's not easy to avoid nitrate/nitrite additives, and some occur naturally, but I can sometimes find hot dogs and sausage that specifically state that the product does not contain them. I never ever get frozen pizza or commercial meat products such as ham...and boy, do I miss it! But I can have fresh pork - it's definitely the additives that torture me.

I drink a LOT of water. Probably over 100 ounces each day. Not that I'm thirsty; if one waits for thirst, that means dehydration. I don't give dehydration a chance. Now, water can be FLAVORED, just not sugared or sweetened with anything caloric. I love unsweetened tea. Crystal lite is great, too. Oh, and when I get a craving for yogurt, I get a big tub of PLAIN (not vanilla, PLAIN) yogurt (some 'plain' has sugar added...watch out for that), put a glob into a glass or cup, and mix a little crystal lite into it. Tastes just like the high-calorie/sugar stuff and it's great for me. One benefit drinking a lot of fluid has - I'm rapidly approaching my seventh decade and I don't have any facial wrinkles. A few crinkles around my eyes from habitual laughing (at myself and others) but no wrinkles. Not that I WON'T, but not now. This is something that one can't start AFTER the little buggers appear, but hydration seems to keep them at bay if you've been a habitual 'fluidizer' all your life. Smokers can't count on that effect, though. You just have to look at pictures of Eunice Kennedy to see what smoking and too much sun does to a face.

Going cold-turkey off coffee and diet soda was, for some reason, very simple for me. I can't point to any particular benefit diet-wise, but it's been very healthy for my budget.

I cook at least one turkey each month. I package a lot of it for the freezer, but I leave a good-sized portion just for whittling. No stuffing, no gravy, just me, a knife, and the turkey. Since I don't do classic breakfast/lunch/dinner, grazing has suited me particularly well. I understand it would be very difficult for a couple or a family to live this way, but it works for me, and as the old saying goes, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.'


Well, my kiln is sold... I loved the romance I had with it, but like a high-maintenance SO, it was too expensive to feed. I'm still crocheting, and I still love beads, so I'm on to making the two compatible in ways seldom thought of. (Sorry about the preposition...)

In the weight-loss area, I'VE LOST 75 LBS!! I'm not sure the months-long plateau has broken for good, but I keep on doing what I have been (more about that later). I think the magic moment was when I decided I didn't care if I lost weight or not, but I wanted to hunt down and destroy what was sabotaging my lifelong efforts. I won't go into it, since it bores even me, but I did find what buttons I was knee-jerk-pushing and how to leave them alone. It's a personal quest; everyone has to find their own path. No compass directions here, sorry.

That said, I do have some do's and don'ts... I shop for the month (being single that's easy), and there are certain aisles I just won't go down. No chips/dips or other 'snacks.' I'm still obsessive-compulsive about snacks...it's a 'clean your plate' mentality. If I must have a candy bar (haven't in several years), I know to get one regular bar, not the little pillow-packages of miniatures to put away for when I want one. There will be none left within the hour. So - I leave that aisle alone, and if I still need one when I get to checkout, there's always 'point of purchase' displays of anything I could want.

Popcorn. Couldn't do without it. Those convenience bags of microwave popcorn are killers in more ways than weight. I use my air-popper, and --ready?-- PAM. I get the butter flavored variety and spray it liberally on my air-popped popcorn, and there is more fiber than calories in each huge bowl. Maybe 300 calories in one huge salad-bowl sized 'helping' and if nothing else it feeds my compulsion.

I've only had one 'can't do without it' moment, and that was with pizza. The craving went on for days, and was causing me frustration and anxiety, so I ordered a large veggie thin-crust pizza, had it delivered around noon, and just grazed on it all day. It had light sauce and light cheese and was SO yummy! Lots of crystal-lite later, I was pizza-satiated and months later have not had a craving again. I think it was because I allowed myself to have it, and fit those calories into the day. At any rate, it wasn't going to put the skids on anything, and life went on.

I do that with 'eating out' also, although if I had a car I suspect that "75" wouldn't have happened. Learning to delay gratification is extremely difficult, and it's been tough to learn when to delay and when not to. Since I can't get to restaurants and fast-food joints at will now, I allow myself whatever I want when I go out with friends, which is not all that often. I even allow myself dessert - the last one was a banana-creme cake, and it was yummy. Not feeling guilty about it was crucial; it allowed me to not enter into a eat-in-frustration/guilt loop for a change.

Most important, I eat only what I like. Dieting and martyrdom don't mix. In fact, as you can see from the above, I don't consider myself 'dieting.' Just eating. If I 'need' quantity, I find what I like (for me it's kale) and dig in. I eat a whole bag of salad, maybe two, THEN have a portion of pot roast that I've cooked, portioned out, and frozen. A quick zap in the microwave AFTER I've had my fill of quantity-food... hey, maybe I don't really even want it now...

Plateaus? The pits. I've just come from one that lasted over a month. But since I've adopted the attitudes outlined above, I just learned to be philosophical about it. Where it would have put me into an 'I'm not losing so f***it' mode, I've learned to just keep on living life, one day at a time. Good slogan. Not original.


Stuff and Nonsense

A very pleasant pastime on the 'net these days seems to be watching a tiny hummingbird tend to the two eggs in her nest. Watching her is like cuddling a compliant kitten...it's hard to stay angry with one's day after a while. She's here.

I'm not particularly a bird-watcher; in fact, I've had negative experiences with more birds than I've enjoyed, such as the woodpecker who seemed to always know what part of the house I was relaxing in, and pounding its little brains out on the wood siding where, inside, my brains happened to be. Usually he was working on a knothole, and when he finally knocked the knothole out, he'd leave for another spot and a common grackle would move in and nest there between the inside and outside wall. Drove me nuts.

Another bird I had problems with was a mockingbird. In fact, the whole neighborhood (Cupertino, CA) had problems with it. It would fly to the top of a utility pole about 5am, and hold a ritual dance there... he'd fly straight up about 4-5 feet, 'saying' something that can only be described as 'doodle-ee-ooo' as loud as any bird could possibly vocalize. This would go on every 10 seconds or so for about two hours, then he would leave for the day. Back he would come, day after day... After a couple of months he suddenly was gone. I know for a fact at least 2 neighborhood BB/pellet guns were trained on him at one time or other... maybe someone got 'lucky.' I seldom wish an animal ill, but that damn bird was a sociopath.


This and That and Snippets...

Question (to reply here or just think about): If you could be any celebrity, who would you be, and why?

Me, I would love to be Whoopi Goldberg. We couldn't be more different physically...she's African American, I'm Scots-Irish, she's within 'acceptable' proportions, I'm ... um... not. (...although I did lose 4 more pounds after TWO DAMN MONTHS...(sigh)) But she is so very intelligent, grounded, and wise, I tend to hang on her every word. When she took over the moderator spot on "The View" I immediately went back to watching it after having fled during the 'reign' of Rosie the Ridiculous. I'm going to start watching everything Netflix has to offer in which she appears...she's so much fun even when she's being a bit 'blue' verbally. So who would YOU choose to be?

Went to see an endocrinologist this week - after discussing the idea that a sluggish body might contribute to a sluggish healing process where my leg ulcers (2) are concerned. He didn't think so, but since I had been on thyroid medication 'way back when' he was willing to see if there might be a tenuous link. Me, I was secretly hoping that it might have something to do with my lack of progress diet-wise after 60 pounds worth of losing. 1400 calories a day can be REALLY annoying if there is no weight-loss progress to see. "Plateau" should be a four-letter-word. Anyway, he seemed to be more interested in what my cortisol level might be than in any possible thyroid problem. Cortisol? I thought it was a made-up word the infomercial folks made up to hawk pills. A search of the term on Google gave me a lot of technical terms but not much more understanding of what it is/does/means than I had when I started. I need a "Cortisol for Dummies" book. HELP!


Open Letter to Obesity Researchers...

Listen, guys. No, pay ATTENTION!!! You want to help us folks with predisposition to weight gain and make a minta money too? (Now, I'm not talking about those folks with an obesity agenda, who for whatever reason feel the need to gain weight, consciously or subconsciously. )

I'm referring to those of us who have overly efficient bodies that store every little extra calorie in case there is a worldwide famine. Those of us who smile when we see Jessica Simpson with a bit of 'meat on her bones.' Those of us who watch runway models and immediately recognize how the outfit would look on praying mantises. We are there among the folks others deem 'gluttons' and/or mentally ill. We need for you researchers to get on the stick and start recognizing the reason for OUR obesity.

We like taste. Simple as that. We don't need potato chips fried in Olestra. We don't need ugly-tasting fat-free salad dressings. And we certainly don't need the never-ending advice to 'just say no' and 'push yourself away from the table.' Over the centuries society has always used eating as part of a social fabric. (DaVinci didn't paint "The Last Domino Game"... It was the last supper Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles and disciples prior to ... well, we all know the story.)

Rather than all the diet pill research, all the diet variations and methods of every kind and stripe, why not look to synthetic "faux-food" instead? Find/create a substance with no calories that would pass harmlessly thru the human body (no diarrhea, please) along with more substantial foodstuffs like veggies, fruits, and lean meats and fish. I'd be delighted to stick to a 1200 calorie diet if it meant that I didn't have to stop tasting when I reached that magic intake number. Create synthetic cheesecake and let me have all I want. Make a synthetic steak (uh oh...maybe stick to manufactured goodies - I don't want a national beef council on my back...). Making a synthetic candy bar with no calories but with the taste of popular brands could solve a whole bucket of problems. The manufacturers of the original product could sell the synthetic form right alongside of the 'real' stuff and increase their total sales dramatically.

Jelly Bellys are one of the leading candy products in the U.S., and they are beloved for one essential reason - those folks learned how to copy FLAVOR. If you crave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sucking on a one-two combo of JBs of those flavors answers that siren's call for quite a lot of people. I love pina coladas, and damned if the JB people didn't get that taste absolutely perfect - and I didn't have to have a designated driver afterward.

So please, researchers - forget the 'diet aids' and get cracking on making a really great tasting [whatever] which would satisfy our desire for taste and would mimic our favorite foods without the calories. Let those who hide behind their wall of fat for protection go to their therapists, and concentrate on those of us who just love the taste of stuff!


I wish....

...someone had told me when I was a young woman that saving for a 'rainy day' was not just preparing for emergencies. Silly me, I thought being a single mom of two and working hard would be enough. True, I'd opted for marriage rather than a college education (yeah, like that worked out) because the guy I'd dated all thru my junior and senior year of high school was my One True Love and we were going to be together forever. Well, forever lasted for a little over three years, but I still loved him and just knew he would be concerned for and provide for the 1.5 children we had at the time of our divorce. However, it seems the golden glow of true love tarnished for me when I learned of the .5 child his girlfriend was going to bless him with. Provide? Um... well, he did provide me with the dubious satisfaction of putting him in jail, but with very little else.

Soldiering on, I did manage to keep the three of us out of the 'welfare neighborhoods' by working full-time during the week and doing ironing on weekends. With the help of foodstamps and Medi-Cal my kids grew up healthy, if not wealthy, and as it turned out not all that wise. My daughter has been married a gazillion times and is not all that familiar with the truth, and my son seems to be bitter that he didn't have more of everything growing up and is not what you'd call a caring thoughtful dad. I dunno... nature? nurture? All I know is that I haven't seen either of them for years and am not all that eager to change that state of affairs, although I do wish with all my heart that I had relationships with my grandkids. I'm not about to be a hypocrite, however, and chase after them. At least they will not have a life without the opportunity to know their grandparents, like I did. As the only child of parents without living parents of their own, they will not feel the isolation I always have felt. So I guess the moral of this story is...what...keep one eye on the far future, because as far off as it may seem, it can still circle 'round and kick you in the ass.

What brought all this on? I suppose it was having to ask my landlord to hold my rent check because the simple act of paying shipping and handling on a 'free sample' offer put me, unknowingly, on a recurring charge agreement that tapped my bank account just as the rent was due, and since I live on soc. security only, my careful correographing of my budget went south with the unexpected charge. Perhaps if I had thought more about my own future rather than theirs I'd be in a better place financially now. Please let this be a lesson...if you can, find a way to make a few bucks at home after work to just put away for YOU, in a retirement account. Trust me, old age ain't for the faint of heart.


Oscars...and stuff

Ok, 'stuff' first.
Those of you who have been following along as I (usually belatedly) blog will appreciate the gusto with which I scream "THE HOUSING NAZI IS GONE!!! Quit in December, she did. Apparently I'm not the only person who won't miss her, but the less said about that the better.

I'm in orbit about the new 'general manager' of my community. Her CV is astonishing, and besides that, she's a Unitarian minister, which is such a bonus I can't begin to explain how delighted I am.

Ok... to the Oscars. I've only seen one of the movies, but it was the one that counted - The Hurt Locker. Sparse on plot, but sensational on character study/development. I'm due to see Precious (et al) soon, too. Those were the only two I was interested in, but I may 'buy' "Crazy Heart" if only to stare at Jeff Bridges. He's just the vintage and has just the craggy attractiveness I find irrestistible at my advanced years.

Did they HAVE to have "Boobs" Shepard do the red carpet interviews? I didn't see a lot of folks lined up to be interviewed by her... Sorry, but in my opinion that woman is as dumb as a box o' rocks.

Fashion notes and tips: I do dearly wish white women -- particularly VERY white women -- would stop wearing colors like pale pink, pale peach, etc. Someone with nearsightedness is going to see a tall slender post (especially if the wearer is also blonde). My favorite dress? Nichole Richie's, for style, color attentiveness, appropriateness, and just plain wowness. Absolutely classy and classic.

I do think Spring is almost here. I say 'almost' because each year at this time the weather perks up enough (say, 60F) to coax snow-weary homeowners to the nurseries where they buy every colorful flat of flowers in sight. Then... about two weeks later comes the LAST heavy frost of the season and... back to the nursery to replace the limp and frozen-to-death plants they were so enthused about planting earlier.

Again for old-timey readers... I sold the car. I thought it best to do so before it managed to sneak into my house and run over me in my sleep. After all, what more could it do to me? I was brutally honest in my ebay classified ad, and a nice young family man with an intense love of Hondas bought it, knowing that the value of the engine/transmission was more than I was asking for it, and the interior was in excellent condition, too. The only negative to the whole thing was the fact that someone had stolen the new battery I'd put in before it quit running. Please, if anyone has a SmartCar they want to give away, get in touch with me. I'll be happy to take it off your hands.


Finding Julie / Bits and Pieces

Reading some of the Barnes and Noble reviews of "Julie and Julia," it feels as if most of them read a different book than I did. I loved it, but I'm an adult with ADD, and I suspect Julie Powell is, too. When she starts a project it seems to become a compulsion - I'm in that boat, too... my hats are now my project. A lot of the readers say that the book lacks the Julia background that the movie gave. Well....duh! When you have an actor like Streep, you don't relegate her to the shadows. In point of fact, the book wasn't about Julia, it was about Julie's determination to cook all the recipes in Julia's book about mastering the art of french cooking. The little snippets of Julia's life were an extra treat to be savored like the mints on the pillow of an expensive hotel room bed. Her writing is delightful, her husband is a saint, and her friends are very much like mine - that is, mostly all kooky in their own ways. From some of the reviews, I got the feeling they would have been happy to have a warning label on the cover of their copies reading "Danger, Democrat inside." Julie wrote honestly about her feelings, her experiences, and her opinions. If she'd tried to please everyone, it would have been a dull book, indeed. As it is, I recommend it to anyone who can boil water.
I don't remember what show it was on last night, but someone was shown doing computer keyboarding wearing what looked like work gloves. Isn't anyone paying attention to these details???
I was in Walmart today doing my monthly grocery shopping, and in the few minutes - maybe 15 - it took for my ride to show up, at least 7 big-screen TVs went out of the door. I hope the Superbowl is worth it this year - I remember one year the score difference was so wide you could park a Buick in it.
Finally trying to sell my car. Using ebay, although at least one person is interested here locally. I haven't been without my own wheels for close to 50 years, and it will seem very odd indeed to look out of the front window and not see a vehicle in the carport. On the upside, maybe now I'll stop having recurring dreams of having lost my car. I'm not at all sure, though, how I'm going to get rid of the ones where I'm naked in public...


The Mad Hatter takes on Mediacom

At right is one of the hats/caps I've been making in order to not fiddle around in the refrigerator. Twenty and counting, so I've got to start selling some of them! I'll be putting them up on Etsy soon; I'll mention it here when I do. In the meantime, anyone who's interested in seeing what I've been doing, check it out here. If you're interested in having me make one for you, just email me at kellythek(at)gmail(dot)com. We'll get together and you can send me the yarn you want it made from, and choose the pattern.
Today is the last day of my 6 month exile from all the good cable stations. It's way too expensive to get even the so-called 'family pack' (close to $60 a month, and adding even the slowest broadband internet connection brings my bill to just a wee bit under $100 per month. So I opted for basic (channels 2-13) for half a year in order to eventually qualify for the Mediacom specials. Now the fun begins, because it's going to have to be a VERY special offer indeed now that I've found out I can actually do without my cable favorites (Discovery, History, A&E, etc...). So much is on the internet in those great rebroadcasting sites like Hulu, that pretty much everything is already at my fingertips. All I'd have to do is bring my easy chair into my workroom so I could put my feet up while I watch/crochet. If it weren't for my Mediacom DVR I'd pare things down even further...all the better to buy yarn with. So, Mediacom, if you want me all the way back, your offers are going to have to be sensational.


Bits 'n Pieces

As I mentioned earlier, my prescription for 'elevated legs' means a lot of TV watching as well as the crocheting that seems to have taken over my life. Usually I just 'go with the flow' but sometimes something will just annoy me all out of proportion (so to speak) to being my business.

For instance, I really enjoy watching "The View," mostly because I'm a big Whoopi Goldberg fan. Lately I've been averting my gaze when they all come out to greet the audience, because Sherrie really annoys me. Not her personality, which seems to fit the formula of blended personalities, but her physical looks.

She has a pretty face and a delightful smile, but her over-the-top pride in her own boobs is getting on my last nerve. They are WAY out of proportion to her height, and pretty much any other woman who looks to be about 5'2" with a bra size of (my guess) about 32HH is probably saving her $$s or pleading with her health insurance company for a breast reduction. Sherrie has, instead, opted for wanting a ....ready for it??.... butt enhancement. She will look like the letter S if she does it. Not a pretty mental image, IMO. Healthwise, I give her another 5 or so years before just the weight of them starts to cause physical problems. And considering the density of them, I hate to think what might be lurking within. How easy is it to get accurate mammograms when the tissue is about half-a-foot thick?

It's hard not to think that Sherrie relies on her breasts as the sum total of her image, that without them she would be just another run-of-the-mill African-American TV celebrity. If that's true, that's sad. But I do think she's more than that, and she needs to believe it, too, then go get a breast reduction. A size C or even D would be pretty much perfect for her, in my opinion. As it is, they look like weapons.

Now and again she chats about finding a guy to share her life with. I don't think it's occured to her for even a moment that those breasts might intimidate the kind of man she's looking for. True, there are guys out there who would start baying at the moon at the mere thought of seeing those mountains undraped---but I doubt if that kind of guy is what she's looking for. If it's difficult for women to be around her without gazing at them, think how difficult it must be for the average nice guy to have a conversation with her without focusing, at least in his mind, on trying not to look at them. Sounds like too much work, to me.


Oh, C'mon....

It's not that I'm jealous of TV people who have a lot of money. Hell, at least SOME of them are basically in some part of the 'middle class' spectrum. Some of them, especially a couple of weekday hosts of national shows, make multi-millions each year. I'm envious, but not mad at them. However, I have trouble with them sometimes, when they suddenly whine about the high cost of grocery items.

Sigh. Yes, it's difficult for me when the cost of eggs goes up, or the utility company sends me a little missive that hints about increased costs of bringing me my gas, lights and water and sorrowfully says they will just have to pass it along to me.

But when someone who's just signed a three-year contract for $8,000,000.00 WITH NO OVERHEAD starts bitching about an extra 23 cents, I just want to go into orbit. These folks can BUY the damn grocery store, supermarket, and/or all its branches and still have money left over for a Mazzerati each year. C'mon, y'all...get a life!!! If you're trying to identify with your audience, fuggetaboudit. It ain't workin.'


A Happy Hooker...

The creator of the item that was pictured here asked me to take the photo down, so I have done so. Anyone interested in what this artist is about, please feel free to go here.

With all this crocheting going on, I get to put my legs up a lot, and --yippee!--it's making a difference in the healing of my leg ulcers. It's nice to have a rationalization for the many caps and hats that are piling up around me. (Want one? Maybe I should put them up on Etsy or Ebay...) Although, as I emailed to my friend Jael, if I ever get to the point I'm making something like the item above, just take me out and shoot me. Well....I did say 'commit' but I'm not sure that would help. AND... if anyone has a neat hat/cap crochet pattern they'd like to share with me, please send it to me at kellythek (at) gmail (dot) com. If you have yarn to get rid of, let me know and if I can use it, I'll reimburse you the mailing cost. Most of the items I make go to the folks at Generations of Hope (www.generationsofhope.org) so it would go to a good cause. (Anything I *sell* is from my own (or Jael's) material.)

I'm watching far too much TV, but since it's part of my medical regimen it's excusable (at least to me). Sometimes I accidentally get pulled into Judge Judy's show, and then I get pissed. I was watching a local 'ask the lawyer' show last year, and they were asked about Judge Judy - the consensus was that she'd probably get disbarred if she behaved on a 'real' bench (the TV judge-shows are arbitration) the way she does on TV. She used to be interesting to watch, but now she's like watching slow-acting acid eat thru litigants' hearts. Compare her to three of my favorites - Judge Joe Brown, Judge Alex, and the gal who took over "People's Court." They get to the heart of the matters at hand without insulting folks. I especially like the way Brown sometimes just leans back, smiles to himself, and listens as the opponents reveal more of the truth in their bickering back and forth than would be achieved in any question/answer session. Judge Alex, who has been a cop and an attorney before becoming a judge, seems to enjoy his position and show and pretty much people in general. They're fun to watch in a way Judy will never ever be.

BTW, I want to say thank you to all the nice people who read my blog-stuff. Sometimes I'm sure I'd find a lot of agreement among my readers; sometimes I really wonder if I've touched a resonant cord or if folks are just too polite to show their disagreement. Hopefully, readers will let me know either way - unless the message is simply too abusive to share, I'll be happy to 'approve' it for sharing here in the 'comments' section of the page.


I hate Hanks!

No, not people named Hank. I mean those torturous wads of yarn which require winding into a ball before any sane person can use them. Whose evil idea, apparently before the beginning of recorded history, was this, anyway?

I remember seeing homey pictures of old-timey housewives winding yarn from the hanks their husbands patiently held before them as they sat (and presumably chatted) by the fire. Well... I don't have a husband OR a fireplace, and I find the winding of these things into balls to be exquisite torture. So much so that I refuse to buy any yarn ever again that comes in hanks.

The machine-wound loaves of yarn are fine... they unwind on their own and the pattern of winding is fascinating in itself. It's the damn wads of fiber like that shown above that kerfluffels me. I've tried knees, feet, and the backs of chairs, as well as cardboard boxes and drawers...nothing makes the winding go smoothly. No matter which direction I start from, there is always that moment when the hank takes on vengeful human characteristics and twists itself just a leeeeeetle bit...just enough to compromise the unwinding. I've learned to take some deep breaths and NOT pull on it--that will only tighten the potential knot-loop and/or draw up one end of the hank into an absolutely unforgiving wad of intermingled strands. At that point the only thing to do is apply the business end of a pair of scissors and put up with little knots in the item this unsolvable puzzle will eventually become.



Busy days...

Been busy trying not to overeat - the current cold snap is invading my budget again, and I just worry about paying our unforgiving utility company if I don't
have something to do with my hands and attention span. As I mentioned earlier, I've begun to do crocheting, a skill I tucked away about 35 years ago. It was slow, this plumbing the depths for what was a dubious talent to begin with, but I've found I can even learn new techniques...enough to make this 'newsboy' cap. (It's actually a grey-green) I want to sell it, but I want to keep it, too...it represents 'old dog learning new tricks.' Anybody wanna make an offer???


Gloriosky...I can't believe I'm creeping toward 70 (5 days and trying to not count...) - 67 is close to 70, but at least not as close as 68...
I'm grabbing every doorjamb and whatever else I can hang onto, but it doesn't seem to help. Then again, I'm crocheting, I'm getting to love the smell of lavender, and my house is even less cluttered than it usually is.

What's happening to me??? I used to use a pretty full palette of makeup... eyeliner and shadow, eyebrow pencil, dozens of shades of lipstick... Now I only use eyebrow pencil (due to missing outer-third of eyebrows, which I must mention to my MD since it is one of the indicators of hypothyroid problems) and lipstick (remembered only when I'm going out).

This must be some kind of 'winding down.' I have been thinking occasionally of what I'll leave behind. Not money, heaven knows.... not on my $650 per month budget... but STUFF. I think of thinning it all out, but as usual I think "maybe I'll need it" but with a twist...now it's "maybe someone will be able to use it." Now THERE's an interesting rationalization as I wait for the light. "Sorry folks, but don't look on it as a mess... think of it as potential..."


Puberty test...

Snowing lightly outside, nothing but crap on TV... I'm going to go do some needlework and watch a DVD of Dracula. Not the Lugosi version, or (god forbid) the George Hamilton version, but the Frank Langella version. This is the sexual/sensual R-rated version that makes the perfect test of whether your kid has reached puberty or not. If his/her jaw drops and a flushing of the face occurs, you know you're in for trouble.

Looking at Langella now (he played Nixon in the recent docudrama about Nixon and David Frost) you would not take him for a romantic leading man. He's aging well, but not in a 'beautiful' way. But when this movie was made, he was handsome enough to curl the toes of just about every 'straight' woman with a pulse. Redford was handsome in a wholesome way; Langella was 'bad-boy' handsome, the kind of guy who, if he took your daughter out for the evening, you weren't sure she'd come back quite the same.

It's almost a given that remakes are not nearly as good as the original. "Fun with Dick and Jane" was, in my opinion, way better in the original. Nothing can beat Nicholson in the low-budget b/w "Little Shop of Horrors" or Steve McQueen in "The Blob." Can you imagine anyone improving on the original cast of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?"

But now and then a remake comes along that is magic. "The Taking of Pelham 123" with Vincent D'Onofrio is one. (And hard to find...) Frank Langella's "Dracula" is another.

As pointed out in Langella's interview in the Bonus section of the DVD, it was somewhat eclipsed by "Love at First Bite," a parody with George Hamilton in the title role. But while the latter has faded, thankfully, Langella's version has become a cult classic. I'm not sure what earned it an "R" rating - maybe it's the very tasteful sensuality that, nonetheless, leaves no hormone untweaked. Maybe it's the not particularly explicit violence. Certainly not language... the Count was much too classy for that. Maybe the folks who do the ratings looked at it and thought, 'uh oh...here comes trouble...especially for the 17 year olds..."

Do rent it. Only this one...accept no substitutes. It's stunning.


Rhetorical questions needing thought....

Sometimes my horoscope (horrorscope?), biorhythms, and mood all line up and dump rhetorical questions into my rapidly shrinking brain. Maybe tossing them out will bring some answers. Or...maybe they will simply become 'brain-worms' enticing others to ponder and wonder right along with me. I'll add some throughout the day, probably, since every time I conclude one of these blogs I think of more things to add...

1) Often when I'm watching Sunday Morning (SM) I get trapped by the show following it, Meet the Press, which tends to make me think even as it neutralizes the Good Feelings SM leaves behind. Today they talked about the medical reform 'public option' and the items standing in the way of its implementation. Of course abortion is part of that - the anti-abortion folks are geniuses at tossing that into pretty much all the pending legislation it can. Why are the most outspoken 'anti' legislators old men? And why don't they provide an alternative to forcing women to have children they can neither provide for nor want? How about requiring every elected legislator who votes against a woman's right to chose be made to adopt at least one unwanted child? No? Really...

2) I was playing Scrabble with a friend and commented on using 'medfly.' That word always reminds me of the series of fly-over sprayings a lot of California was subjected to in the '80s in order to eliminate the threat to citrus and other crops which would otherwise be devastated by that nasty little bug. Ever the negativist, the first time I heard those 'copters fly low overhead I remember thinking "Oh, boy... I bet there's a whole lot of Viet Nam vets diving for cover." I've never read anything about the reactions felt by them as the spraying program went on. Not a peep. And I refuse to believe there weren't any reactions.

3) What's the big deal about 'regifting?' If someone regifts, it tells me that the person who GAVE the gift in the first place did not know the recipient well enough to know that person's likes and dislikes. So is it better to have that item set aside for awhile, then donated to a charity or rummage sale, Or to go to someone the recipient knows would like it? True, it would be awkward to get one's original gift BACK, but that can be ameliorated if the original gifter has chosen to give something they would want themselves. And isn't that the most basic rule of gifting??

4) Haven't the hard-core GOP eyeball-spinners learned anything yet? I see that they are criticizing President Obama now for using 'happy holidays' rather than "Merry Christmas" when doing seasonal well-wishing, smugly and subtly intimating that he is anti-Christian or worse. So... if he says "Merry Christmas' will they then rant and rave that he's anti-semitic, or anti-Native American, or perhaps anti-African American because he has 'ignored' Quanzaa? And if he mentions any one of those in a stand-alone manner, will the conservicants peck at him for that, like a band of demented ducks? To me, "Happy Holidays" is a thoughtful alternative to listing every single religion in the world whose philosophy is celebrated in some manner during the "holiday season." Do they think reasonable Americans (especially those who put Obama in office) aren't hearing and remembering this business-as-usual horse-hockey? In this period of joyfulness and happy celebrating, their bulbs are getting dimmer and dimmer.


I'm gradually adjusting to the fact that my car is never going to get fixed. Anyone want to donate one? No tax breaks -- does gratitude from a land-locked senior citizen count for anything?


...and I got Ds in American history when I was lucky...

To the right is an image of Ken Burns, one of my few TV idols. He does documentaries for PBS - mostly spellbinding 'before film' programs comprised of stunning photos, a few paintings, and riveting prose. I'd like to think that Matthew Brady is sitting on his shoulder. (Google Brady if you don't know who he is, please!)

The average soldier in the Civil War was amazingly brave, and uniformly noble. This is not to demean our current and 20th century warriors, but that was neighbor-to-neighbor, American against American. It must not have been an easy thing to do, to 'take up arms' against one's national peers. (Suggestion: rent "Friendly Persuasion" to understand a bit just how hard...)

I'm trying to figure out how to say something without angering people...I'm going to make an attempt...

When a country's military engage drone (pilotless) aircraft to bomb an enemy, it may be practical, it may be effective, and even warranted. However, to my mind it removes the term 'noble' from a description of the mission. No, I would not prefer that soldiers get killed...I would prefer the war and the reasons for it did not exist. But to my mind there is nothing noble about using computerized planes to fight without risk. It's fortuitous that we developed them first, we who are dedicated to the proposition that all people should be free, rather than some renegade country whose leaders believe that might makes right, or at least one's 'god' makes right. (I wonder which would make them madder - a person being of another faith, or those few who dare to be agnostic/atheistic...)

I've purposely declined to post before this about the current war. And what I do have to say has less to do with the cause or the warrior than it does the administration that sent them there. It took me until Bush landed on the carrier with his 'mission accomplished' horseshit (apologies to horses everywhere) that I 'chose sides,' so to speak, on the side of those who think there must have been a better way. But I'm no tactician, so I just sit and watch the news and try to keep my opinions to myself, except for two things:

1) Given that we have a volunteer military, at least for now, it really angers me that we keep 'redeploying' the same soldiers over and over again for tours (such a quaint word for cannon-fodder...) to the point that children born during their first trip are in elementary school before they can form any meaningful relationship with their dads (and occasionally their mothers). If I had my druthers, I would disallow consecutive deployments to combat areas. Allow them to breathe safely for alternate tours and I suspect we'd have a lot fewer shattered men in VA hospitals or psychiatrists' couches. Let them come home and be part of the family, or try to rebuild what is left of it, for a number of weeks, alternating with stateside duty nearby. Then, if necessary, send them back into combat reasonably refreshed. They might just have a heightened attitude toward the job at hand rather than being plunged into depression at the thought of a never-ending, hopeless cycle of consecutive battle redeployment.

2) On top of this, we insist on cutting every corner we can regarding armament and transportation. Tanks and vehicles should be impenetrable. While little can be done about those nasty buried roadbombs, we can at least make it so vehicles are reasonably safe from the kind of assault getting ever more common here at home - the drive-by shooting. Stop getting supplies and vehicles by lowest bid 'cause you're gonna get what you pay for.

That off my chest, I'm going back to what I was doing...crocheting a baby blanket like a good senior citizen.


Aw, c'mon....

I was doing some major selfish shopping today at W-mart, and got a bathroom scale (!) and an electric blanket (now called 'heated blanket' so as not to scare the horses, I guess).

One thing I *didn't* get - diaper pins (to hold the blanket control to the mattress so it wouldn't fall down between the bed and the wall). Couldn't find them **anywhere**. So I asked an 'associate.' She said, "what's that??"



One of the things I'm thankful for...

...are the commercial jingle writers who actually have talent enough to entertain me while inflicting their 'buy early, buy often' messages. Watch my all-time favorite earworm (a disgusting name for those little ditties that burrow into your brain and won't leave for hours and hours...) below.

Ordinarily I wouldn't share a commercial since it's like giving fruitcake for the holidays...everyone already has more than enough, thank you. But this one is local to Illinois and cuter'n a kitteh.


Think YOU have problems??

This is for those of you who dread the holidays because of the potential for mishaps and little emergencies....


Even Optimists have bad days...

...and yesterday was definitely one.

I have venous stasis problems, and little boo-boos can become major ulcers on my lower legs. I have two of them now - the right leg not as bad as the left one. I've been going to the Carle Wound Center for several months now, and have made some headway with the right leg ulcer, but the left one (a big one, about 2x4 inches in size) is defying healing. Ordinarily they are just slightly tender, but yesterday they were raging, and several nights ago were so bad they kept me awake and popping oxycodone for 5 hours straight. The pain was so severe that it woke me up about 11pm, and I didn't get to sleep again until after 4am. I don't like taking oxycodone (I call Limbaugh an oxymoron and don't want to stop...) but neither do I want to go thru another night like that. Anyway, yesterday was particularly nasty, to the point that the MD couldn't debrid the left side at all, and after applying some dibriding medication and compression-wrapping it, all agony broke loose. It was fun driving 12 miles home like that. It was also the first time the term 'skin graft' was used. That was classic 'good news/bad news.' I hated to have gone that far downhill in my healing, but damn...whatever works, and 'working' would be a blessing.



If I had the time and energy, I'd appoint myself the queen of procrastination. It's been a VERY long time since I've posted here; I kept thinking, 'one of these days there's going to be something actually interesting to write about.' But nope, just day after day stuff.

Just went thru another of those lovely housing inspections last week. I hate those - there have been vacancies since they started the inspections, and I'd like to think that having people tromp thru one's home, checking out the stove, wandering around the basement... but of course no one will tell them that. We have become a nation of polite passive-agressives who would rather run first and complain later. Can't say I blame them, because who wants to deal with explaining how diminished ones sense of home can get when we can't even be in control of who we let in, and when? Just sayin'.....

Oh, BTW - I've been on a strict, self-imposed diet and have lost 35+ pounds! I'm not about to say how much more I have to lose, but at least I'm getting into clothes that I hadn't even considered possible earlier this year. No real secret - I use 'LiveStrong' website, calculating how much I can lose taking in a certain number of calories, then sticking to it. Sometimes I go way under, occasionally going over, but I think doing that fends off the metabolic stall a low-cal routine can generate.

Starting some crochet projects... going back to a skill like that is NOT like riding a bicycle. I still remember how to do it, but I seem to have forgotten how to do it WELL. Pity the poor baby who gets the first blanket I complete... it does help keep the hands busy, and busy hands are great for keeping the feet from wandering into the kitchen. That, and air-popped popcorn, plain - no butter, salt or other flavorings. Lotsa fiber and great if you just HAVE to have something to chew on. It also defines whether you are truly hungry or just bored...it tastes so much better if one is truly hungry. [grin]


Slowly, like I said...

It's been a long month. I've been really busy making 125 nametags from business card stock and polymer clay, and I'm weary. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed doing it, getting my creative juices flowing again, but as usual I put it off until the last minute and had a couple of nights with little sleep.

Now I'm in the same boat again - time for the housing nazi to examine the place again. It drives me nuts for her to imperiously say, "You know, this rug was brand new when you moved in..." - jeez, lady - I've been here 5 years.

Spending a lot of time on the computer lately, and I'm so grateful for AdMuncher. No more ads, no more pop-ups! Learning to exempt some sites takes a little concentration and logic, once that's mastered, it's a breeze. As a bonus, it eliminates those annoying commercial breaks from sites like Hulu. If you're interested, it's here. If I remember correctly, there is a free trial. I was without it after trying it, and couldn't stand it, and became a customer - and that doesn't happen too often on my budget.

More later today as I take breaks from my frantic un-cluttering. Volunteers welcome...


Coming back, slowly but surely...

I've got so much to do today - this week, in fact - I figured now would be a good time to get to blogging again.

I volunteered to make nametags for an anniversary month of a community in which I'm involved...about 150 of them. Good excuse for not doing 'spring' cleaning, but will have to do it eventually or I won't be able to find my way to the computer.

I also have to clean the kitchen after setting fire to a frozen pizza. This is really easy if you're tired and don't realize that there is a cardboard circle underneath, hidden under the edges of the pizza. No real fire, but a lot of glowing cardboard, smoke EVERYWHERE, and because the kitchen door was closed, a delay in the smoke alarm going off. Top of pizza - lovely. Bottom of pizza - not so much. Oven - smoke and ashes. Kitchen - still smelling like burned paper. Ate the pizza topping but decided the crust was a little too 'done' for me. And yes, there was that unintended 'smoky' flavor, but overall, not bad.

I've noticed the upsurge in tattoos lately, especially on entertainment folks. Strange. I realize most of them got into show business wanting to be famous, but then they complain about the lack of privacy. Then they go get a big honking (and often stupid) tattoo that screams 'look at me!!!.' I bet the studios just love it, too, what with all the time that must be spent hiding them for period movies and parts which require elegance. And how do you answer a 13 year old who is screaming for a tattoo when instead of saying 'everyone does it' he/she says, 'Well, GRANDMA has one!'

I do love henna 'tattoos', though. The classic ones ARE elegant, and what's more, they are temporary. You don't go into your twilight years with a picture of KISS on your shoulder. They fade, and then they are gone, all in a matter of, at most, weeks. Check out some lovely ones here: http://www.shophenna.com/Gallery.htm .No reason these henna tats can't be done in the more 'stylish' (aka 'weird') art of today. Just so they are temporary...the mind is an easy thing to change...


Climbing out of my primordial ooze...

I'm slowly crawling out of my funk. Not sure what has been causing it, although the lack of transportation, both with my car and this small village without a public transportation link to anywhere else, hasn't helped.

I haven't posted because a whine without a chuckle is just boring, and my sense of whimsy had pretty much disappeared. To me, a crisis is a situation that hasn't ripened into an absurdity yet, and it's that absurdity that is vulnerable to being laughed at. Not much chance when the 'situation' goes on and on and ON. I even tried to sell my car on eBay. However, the best offer was $600, and since that is half what it is worth running, and it would cost about $200 to fix, logic won out and I will be saving to fix it, instead. Again. To that end, BTW, I'll be posting stuff on Justbeads and on Etsy... focal beads and some sets. Remember... the Holidays are less than half a year away... [insert lopsided grin here...]


I'm Still Alive -

Sorry to have been so absent - my brain has pretty much been absent, too. Lots of things have been going on, not the least of which is that my bluddy car is once again dead (surprise!). A couple of friends are in crisis mode, and it's difficult and guilt-making to put my problems ahead of theirs, although mine are every bit as real to me as theirs are to them. I don't even have to ask if any of you know the feeling... As an adult child of an alcoholic, I sometimes envy my father's ability to just anesthetize himself out of life's problems - I know that simply postpones the inevitable.

So I will be back soon. Please don't give up on me.



Apparently it was 'just' hay fever -- no Montezuma or its opposite effect, no temp. But the chills made up for it, often becoming violent. Vertigo, causing me to bump into doorjambs and almost pitch forward into furniture. No sinus problems or chest involvement, making it difficult to figure out just what to medicate. Just a little rain in the middle of all this caused the symptoms to receed somewhat, giving me the clue that it was hay fever caused by the moderate pollen count plus the enthusiastic mowing (without grass bag) of the spacious community lawn. Once the rain quit, the symptoms came back with a roar, but antihistimine really helped everything but the vertigo. At any rate, a week of this is just way too much. It would be nice if we could have a light sprinkle every other day until the pollen subsides. Someone please take note...


Please, Michelle - don't do it!!

Please, Michelle... don't put on that hat!

There is something about a black woman in a hat that is just perfect. In an era when hats in general have fallen out of style, 'women of color' of whatever heritage still know that their dressed-up look is complete only when that hat, chosen carefully, is lovingly added as the finishing touch. In fact, a charming book about the affection between African/Jamaican/etc.-American women and hats is entitled "Crowns," a perfect title if ever there was one.

Dunno why, but white women just don't look quite right in hats. (Sorry, Your Majesty, but that means you, too.) Take pretty much any hat and try it on a caucasian gal, and it somehow looks like an affectation. Hand that same hat over to a black woman and it will more than likely look like it was made for her. The last white women who really carried off the hat as stylish accessory were Jackie Kennedy, and to a greater degree, Audrey Hepburn. And only the latter could have made the hat above look as charming as it does on even the average black woman.

So I beg of you, Michelle. Don't go making hats 'in' ... Silly women not of black heritage will go jumping on the bandwagon (or in the hatbox) and make fashion fools of themselves. You have a fantastic style sense, and I bet you look just as wonderful in hats as do pretty much any of your 'sisters.' It's because we white women don't that I beg you to withstand the temptation.


Parents: Time to Have THAT Talk with your Kids...

No, not the one about the birds and the bees, etc. This is one that shouldn't be put off until after your child goes to playschool, head-start, or any pre-school tot-group they might be headed for.

I'm referring to a chat with your kids about other kids that are 'different.' When they get to group play of any kind, they may encounter kids who are in the middle of cleft-palate repair or other necessary reconstructive surgery for readily apparent facial or other noticable abnormalities.

This is something that parents don't often take into consideration when 'socializing' kids. I remember my first encounter, as a grade-schooler, with a little boy going thru cleft-palate repair. He had a 'mild' cleft, apparently not intruding into the nostrils, but just up to it. Not ever having seen anything like it, and since it seemed to eminate from his left nostril, my unformed and uninformed cause/effect logic figured that it was the result of nose-running.... lots of snot, in other words. As I remember, I did way more nose-blowing than necessary for quite awhile.

When I was in Junior High, and a bit more sophisticated about birth defects, I was standing in line at the nurse's office for some reason, behind a nice kid named Jerry. His birth defect was one of missing fingers on both hands....3 on one, and 2 on the other. I was cool with it, but the girl behind me literally began screaming and pointing and demanding to know what happened at the top of her lungs. I shushed at her, and when that didn't do anything, I punched her really hard on the upper arm. She then began screaming at ME, and of course I got in trouble. As I remember, I didn't mind that too much, especially after I explained what happened.

All this is leading up to the plea - don't wait to chat with your kids about physical defects among their peers, both current and future. Kids that would never physically bully another child often don't think a thing about joining in on the ridiculing of a kid who is 'obviously different.' I think there is a bit of fright or apprehension about this cruelty...that maybe laughing or ridiculing it will ward off the same thing happening to them. When they don't know what causes it, it's hard to judge what reaction to have. You can do your part in explaining that sometimes, not very often, [God/mother nature, whoever] has caused the baby to be a little bit different when they were in 'their mother's tummy' and that it's unkind to make them feel bad about something they could not help.

Of course, if the ridiculing kid is a teenager, you've way missed the boat, but do your best. To my mind, the perfect time is the first time your child has his feelings hurt, because it's the perfect time for him (or her, of course) to relate to the pain they might inflict.

The little girl in the picture? She has extreme scoliosis...click on the pic for a good article. Love your kids, keep them safe, and do please keep them nice.


It's embarrassing to be an Illinoisan Sometimes...

I can't believe folks have nothing better to do than actually complain to a company about this.
Tell you what... if President Obama objects to it, I'll change my position. Until then, to everyone who complained... yer all nutz!


Speaking of Love...

Such a simple, well-bandied-about word. Full of meaning and yet often signifying very little. It's this latter type of 'love' I'm going to blog about. I'm going to use the word in the same way we say "I just LOVE Burger King," or "Simon Baker" or whatever. Just a way of further introducing myself.
Because it's still on my mind, I'll start by saying I just loved the show "Life On Mars." Feh to the network for dumping it. But I'm grateful they sewed up the series in the finale. A few years ago I faithfully watched a police procedural called "High Incident" which ended it's season with a MAJOR cliffhanger, never to be seen again.
I also love "Treasure Quest"... they'd BETTER find a lotta treasure to keep that ship afloat!
*Flavored coffee creamer in hot water, sans coffee. Very much a 'comfort drink.'
*Unsweetened Kool-Aid without any kind of sweetener... no sugar, no artificial sweetener.
*a turkey in the fridge to pick on, rather than regular meals.
*'real' Volkswagen beetles, not the kinda-sorta ones they offer today
*printer manufacturers who don't sell cheap printers with outrageously expensive ink. I have a friend who just buys new printers that come with cartridges in place and an extra set in the box. He uses the printer until the inks are gone, then buys another computer and sells the old one on Ebay. He actually comes out ahead doing this.
*Lavender-Vanilla spray scent that Walmart sells. It must agree with my personal body chemistry - I've had a lot of inquiries about it.
*cold pizza for breakfast
*replies to my blogs
From now on, I think I'll append other blog entries with a few 'I love's' as they come to me.
Anyone have any opinion on the Kindle? I'm just curious...what's the benefit over and above a paperback, aside from immediacy?


A Little of This, A Little of That

A bunch of silly little things occurred to me today.

It must be hard-wired into humans to go for the negative when there is news of any kind. Granted, the report that Michelle Obama put on a sweater (aka 'covering her arms') to see the Queen was a relatively neutral observation. But those who didn't wonder aloud or in print why the Queen carries a purse in her own drawing room were swooning away or waiting for lightning to strike when Mrs. Obama actually TOUCHED the Monarch's back. That the Queen touched HER back first makes it all the sillier. This was, among other objectives, a fence-mending that sorely needed doing, and according to various reports, it was successful. Must be a slow news day...

I'm about halfway to getting my car fixed. I'll be sending money to almost cover the cost of the part, tomorrow. The mechanic (Corky's of Rantoul, IL) is charging me very minimal labor, but that distributor (Honda Accord '92) costs a BUNCH of money (over $300). This whole thing makes me long for what I consider the best car I've ever had... an almost new (6000 miles on it) Suzuki Samurai. Sold it after 9 years because it needed several repairs, and still got a decent price for it from a mechanic who wanted it for his son to learn the trade on. That said, I've always had good luck with Hondas save for this one. THIS one is trying to gaslight me.

Reminder to those who are allergic to bees: Time to update your bee-sting kit! I neglected to do so last year and was looking around every bush and tree for the bee/wasp that would do me in. Of course, once I got in the house and near the phone, I promptly forgot to call my MD, but I got the jump on the problem today, and hopefully that yellow plastic kit will be in my purse by this time next week.

I'm sorry to see Steve Wozniac leave Dancing with the Stars. Not because he's such a good dancer - he's a better 'sport' than a hoofer - but I loved seeing those holier than thou judges get into such a swivet with his take on so-called 'classic' dancing. Same for Cloris Leachman last season...good for both of you!

Speaking of 'reality' shows, I've been a fan of 'Survivor' since the first season. The show's editors have finally caught on to what I've been enjoying for years...the plotting of one or two 'lesser' players to take down the inevitable 'arrogant bastard' who pops up in every season. Love that 'blindsiding'!

Finally - as I type, Illinois is waiting for the lengthy indictment of our idiot former governor Blagojevich. And where is Blago? At DisneyWorld. Somehow that seems so very appropriate.


Meet my new Love - he's an ANIMAL!

Not much time to devote to the computer today, so I thought I'd introduce you to my new heart-throb...


Cars aren't the Way Fleer Promised they were going to Be...

When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, pretty much everything kidly came with some kind of trading card. I wasn't interested in the sports cards, but oh, I loved those cards that showed 'cars of the future.'

This was during a time when pretty much every kid could name any make of car by sight, including the model and year. That was just part of being a kid. Cars looked different, too, one from another. A Chevy didn't look like a Buick, a Plymouth didn't look like a Ford, etc.

What happened to those cars of the future? They were really neat looking. They were low, and sleek, and aerodynamically perfect, with very little wind resistance. What would our reaction be to the Scion, above, as a 'modern' car of the 2000s? I'll tell you.

We'd quit collecting cards.


It all ADDs up

Adult ADD is a strange and sometimes wonderful thing.

It causes a lot of trouble. But the rewards can be interesting, too. I have a friend who also has it (I refuse to say 'suffers from'). We are both artists, which is a common trait of AADD'ers. Many writers share the syndrome, as well as actors, scientists...it is often an unrecognized aid to focused and determined research and other endeavors. It can turn nasty, it's true - we start things and cannot finish them if we lose interest unless you drag us kicking and screaming back to it. We tend to be impulsive and too quick to act on untried ideas. (We are best at being the idea-person in a group, letting the follow-thru'ers act on them.)

What AADDers do wonderfully well,though, is chat. We understand, intellectually, about staying on-topic for long stretches of time...we just can't do it. We'll be talking about a tv show plot, then something one person says ignites an idea and off we go on another topic, only to change the subject again in another few minutes. It's like watching a verbal tennis match. Or My Dinner With Andre without the boredom.

We hate boredom. That's why the picture above is wincingly appropriate for a lot of us. We are, or can be, attrocious housekeepers. It's just not as important as what we're already doing, and what we're already doing inevitably leads to something else not connected with housework. Then, suddenly, it's bedtime. Tomorrow is another day.


The Strange Case of the Multiplying Meds

I don't know if anyone else has this mysterious experience, but my meds seem to be multiplying, even factoring in the 28/30 day months during the year.

I take a lot of meds for a lot of minor but necessarily medicable reasons, such as an arthritic knee, sensitivity to nitrates/nitrites (which require antihistimine), prozac (for free-floating anxiety) and Concerta to counteract some aspects of the prozac that causes one to want to sit and watch paint dry. Lasix for fluid retention. and a couple of potassium tabs to avoid charley-horses from the lasix. That half-aspirin just for luck. Finally, fish oil caps and big honking vitamins.

For some reason, the prozac and the lasix seem to be multiplying. I hate to have the Rxs stopped for any reason, since that causes all sorts of problems with the health care programs, requiring a new scrip in some cases - a big problem for me until I get my car fixed. So I sit and listen for signs of shenanigans from these two meds, because I can't explain the voluminous amounts of both I have on hand any other way. Being frug...oh hell...cheap, I can't bring myself to throw them out, and they have miles to go before they expire.


The Best in Shorts

I really have nothing much to say today, so I thought I'd instead share what I consider the best short story ever written. It's not long, so don't, please, read the last paragraph out of order. And when you encounter references that might make you wince, remember that it was first published in 1930.

A Rose for Emily


Out of My Mind About Bernie

Just have to add my (last) two cents to the Madoff affair.

First, I have to wonder what went thru Madoff's mind as he closed the door to his penthouse for the last time. At his age, he must have known that was the last moment for a LOT of things, not just the high life. If he has grandkids...no more uninterrupted contact with them. No milk/cookies dunking and quiet chatter with them. No more staggering sleepily out to the kitchen for that first cup of coffee with the day unfolding in front of him, ready for his choice of agenda. No, his days will be planned for him, and probably not to his liking. And probably having nothing to do with spreadsheets, either.

Letterman (one of my guilty pleasures) is making a huge deal out of 'where did the money GO??' Well, a lot of it was bitbucket-money. It never existed, except on Madoff's profit report. See...if you gave him $100 to invest, you got a wonderful report of what that money was doing, advancing like a fiscal pregnancy, growing by leaps and bounds. You might even get a 'dividend' or so to keep you 'on the hook.' (In reality, other investors' money.) You THOUGHT, and he told you, that it had grown to $5000; that is what you'd see as your loss. However, your actual loss was your initial deposit - nothing more. The other $4900 was your expectation. One of these days they will figure out what the real losses are, and it will be WAY lower than the beaucoup billions touted now. Did people "lose it all"? Oh, yes. But 'all' isn't the amount they think right now. Little consolation.

Another possibility regarding the 'disappearance' of the actual investment money is 'other folks' crimes.' Huh? you say...

Think about this - Madoff hired 'accountants' supposedly unsophisticated in the day to day profit/loss shenanigans going on within and around the faux accounts being massaged by Madoff. It's likely that most of them had no idea they were links in a financially diabolical scheme.

But it only takes one or two. Just suppose, in one of those over-the-watercooler moments, one of those more-savvy-than-you-thought employees sidled over to ol' Bernie and mentioned how interested the SEC, FBI, IRS, and probably NBC would be in his wonderfully creative investment abilities. However...just put some real cash in this sharper-than-average employee's hands (not in an account, please) and lips would be sealed.

In the course of 20 or so years, there could have been quite a few employee realizations of what was actually going on, all completely separate from the others.

That's quite a bundle of blackmail payouts. It could put a serious dent in one's actual unmassaged financials. And given the possible personalities of said 'employees' it could even induce an old goat like Bernie to plead guilty rather than answer questions about where 'all that money' went, rather than put himself or others at risk. Not that Bernie is a softie at heart - he asked his 'best friend' for a few million to invest just a day or so before being arrested - but an implied or actual threat to immediate family might have found a way into that stainless steel heart of his. A message such as 'you talk about our hush-money dealings and there won't be anyone left to come visit and buy you vending machine coffee' could inspire all sorts of guilty pleas to avoid pointed prosecutorial questions.

I'm just sayin....

(c)2009 KellyK


Way back when, around January, I posted a sad tale about my car (not quite like the one above). Here's an update. It's still dead, waiting for the $450 repair cost that isn't forthcoming as long as the freezing weather lasts and my money (literally most of what's left after the rent is paid) dwindles into my village's utility coffers.

It's amazing I've lasted this long without going completely insane, since I'm a single person in a town without even a bus service. It looks glum for the foreseeable future, too, since the utility bill is always a month behind real life; the result of energy frugality during one month only shows up about 6 weeks later after everything is tablulated and the most costly spin (it seems) put on it by the utility company.

I wanted to go to nickel bingo today. I didn't have any cash with me, but I had access to my Paypal account, which could, thru various massaging techniques, result in a $5 payment to a friend in another city. So last Friday I sent an email to her, requesting that she put five $1's in the mail to me in return for a $5 Paypal payment (a 'currency' she is accustomed to using). She didn't get the message in a timely manner so that's still pending, but she did some eyeball-rolling, presumably because it all sounded so silly.

But was it? She wondered if someone in the neighborhood had a five or five ones, forgetting that I didn't have actual money to offer, but Paypal funds which were trapped in my computer. Once with the $ in hand, the in-village mini-bus was available by regular route to go to 'geezer lunch' (my name for Peacemeal in-house lunching) + bingo, but what point is there to go to nickel bingo without a nickel? Hop in the car and go to the market or bank, where I could get change back? Hardly...no car. Walking would be fine for the kids in the neighborhood (if it weren't for the distance to store, etc.), but when you have an arthritic knee it produces diminishing returns.

How did this relatively new invention get to be the main 'ingredient' in so much of our daily life and survival? It's not by accident that the strength of a car's mobility is measured in horsepower.

I am quietly going nuts.


Breaking the laws of physics...

...sometimes weighing someone's words can give a negative value...

Much has been said about the former President's term, but no one can say it better than the man himself:


Doing it better the second time around...

Serious title, but I think it fits. The Oscars are a guilty pleasure of mine, and I usually think better of the broadcast than the critics do. This time, though, I really feel they fell down on the Memorium segment. Hard to read, hard to see in some shots. Roger Ebert agrees, and he posted the following UTube clip in his blog. Thanks, Roger...I'm passing it along:

Not earthshaking, but people who bring us joy, touch us in some way, devote their lives to sharing their talent should be acknowledged in a seemly manner.


Now for a change of pace...

I'm not a movie critic, like I'm not a connoisseur of anything (well, sushi maybe...), but I viewed a DVD yesterday that I really liked, and made me think about even now.

It's called "The Ruins." It doesn't have a load of A-list stars. In fact, it doesn't have *any* A-listers, and that's a good thing for this film, because one really has to identify with the principals in order for it to work. Like with "Blair Witch Project," it wouldn't have worked if the audience thinks 'oh, it's Brad Pitt playing [whatever part].'

The one star it DOES have is Ben Stiller, as executive producer. Nice work, Ben, because on the commentary section, many alternate choices were considered for important scenes, and in each one the right choice was made.

The plot? A group of young adults on vacation decide on the spur of the moment to assist a new acquaintence in finding his brother, who has gone in search of some ruins but has not returned. That's all you need to know, and don't let it make you think you've seen/heard the story before. You haven't.

CGI? Not so much. And clearly only where there was no other choice. I'm not a fan of kablooie for kablooie's sake. Nor do I like special effects which create situations or results which otherwise would be law-of-physics impossible. Let the special effects crews [SEC] create, not the computers. And in "The Ruins" the SEC comes thru with a bang (which is really the only bang in the flick).

If you liked Hitchcock's "The Birds," you will like this. For reasons I won't go into now because it will spoil a lot of the essence of it, I won't explain why I feel that way. If you are reasonably perceptive, you will understand why I say that after you've seen it.

The acting is good, and low-key for a thriller. There's good reason for hysterics from the principals, but the director chose to make the group level-headed and intelligent. What flip-outs there were, were logical and brief.

There is much to get nit-picky about - why did they [whatever], and why is this [whatever], and 'that wouldn't have happened.' Well, to that kind of movie-goer I say, 'just stop that!' "2001, a Space Odyssey" wouldn't be the classic it is if it got pecked to death by cinema-ducks. Movies depend on willing suspension of disbelief. There's not that much to suspend in this film, so if thrillers are your thing, just sit back and enjoy it. Or not. Your taste, your choice, but give it a try, since there's always the off-button if you don't.


Fiscally 'real' life...

This may lose me some readers, but I have a suggestion to help turn the economy around. Decriminalize pot. Before you run screaming or start yelling at me, there are things to consider, cost-wise. (And no, I don't use it, although I have...at night before I went to sleep. Very relaxing, and the dreams were delightful. Now - not in the midwest I won't...it's not treated nearly as casually as it is in California.) Anyway, that said:

For those with a head for studies, here is a very on-point website: http://www.drugpolicy.org/library/thies2.cfm
For those who like their information pre-chewed: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/?c=columns&id=255&inc=article&x=drug-roar-20080429_c=columns&id=255&inc=article&x=drug-roar-20080429

For a purely fiscal point of view, consider these direct and indirect costs (in no particular order):

- relieve law enforcement of pursuit of small sales (up to, say, 2 oz) for personal use and get them back to big-time drug- and crime-fighting.
- get personal use out of the courtroom and free up huge time/cost factor, unclogging court calendars for more important issues. If you've never considered the cost of one prosecution of a personal-use bust, start with the cost of the court clerk, thru wages of prosecutor, court stenographer (or whatever they're called these days), Judge, bailiff...see where I'm going with this?...
- upon conviction, the cost of jail for the convicted person. If probation, you have to factor in the wages of the probation officer.
- absolutely the worst possibility... it might be the third offense (and remember, an ounce of pot can be a felony in some states) and that might be -- and in some cases IS -- a mandatory 25-life sentence. Can you picture anyone doing 25 years for being caught with a grams-sized bit of grass? Well, it's happening. And if you thought the cost of trying a personal-use case is excessive, do a little research on the costs of housing/feeding one inmate in general population for one year, then multiply that by 25. Check this site for state-by-state acceptance (or not) of use/cultivation... it will make you dizzy.
- Also, there is the cost of international pursuit of growers and their 'middle-men.' Free up THOSE officials/officers to pursue the cocaine/heroine/etc hard drug conglomerates. On the "positives" side, regulate and tax it like we do cigarettes, which are WAY more dangerous to one's health. Make driving while high the same as DUI (and take the impaired driver's license away while usage is under determination). Make adding ingredients to the mix to make it addictive a MAJOR felony with mandatory prison time (I personally think this should be in place for cigarette companies...). Regulate it thru the FDA.

Not only would this one simple decriminalization decrease the costs to the
cities/counties/state/feds, it would increase revenues of those same entities. It would allow those with diseases for which pot is indicated to use it without fear and/or guilt. It might even redirect potential alcoholics to a 'mood altering substance' which is far less likely to cause health/social problems.

And to the folks that have fallen for the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug...use your head. If marijuana is legal, you've removed the 'gate.' If it is no longer on the drug dealers' list of substances, you've eliminated the source of the enticement to go on to cocaine, heroin, and crack. How many drug dealers sell Burgundy? Vodka? Pina Coladas? If there's no profit, there's no point for the illicit drug dealers to sell it. Let the profit go to the various governments and watch their budgets change for the better.