In Which My Life Resembles An Episode Of Glee Without The Music


I saw who it was on the phone before I picked it up.  I knew that the monologue conversation would be long and twisted.  Still, deep down, I like X, so I said “hello.”

[Here’s the cast of characters.]

X is a woman who I’ve known for some time.  She knows lots of information about issues such as politics, books, and real estate– which is good.   But she is someone who, by her own admission, likes to stir the drink when interacting with other people.  This I would describe as bad.

X had called to tell me gossip on Z.  As I have only met Z once, all I can tell you about him is that he seems nice and has curly hair.  I’m not really too interested in knowing more about this guy, but that didn’t stop X.  She had a story to tell.


And it involved Y.  Now Y I’ve known for a very long time and she suffers from the disease to please.  She doesn’t seem to have much backbone of her own– so she is a perfect pawn for X.

[It was at this point in the conversation, when I heard Y’s name mentioned, that I sat down at the island in our kitchen and laid my head down on the cool granite countertop, knowing that this was going be a lengthy chat.]  

So come to find out, X had obtained her gossip about Z by getting Y to sneak around on Facebook.  X had convinced Y to leave “noncommittal comments” on various individual’s FB walls so that those people would respond to Y– and tell her what they knew about Z.  Apparently X’s master plan had worked, because Y had found out the gossip about Z.  And then being Y, she dutifully reported back to X.


[You have no idea what a good communicator I am.  I have just condensed 20 minutes of dithery-ness into one succinct paragraph.  Maybe Journalism 101 was more useful to me than I previously thought.]

All of which brings me to what floated through my mind after I hung up the phone with X.  And it is this:

“Oh my goodness, I’ve just experienced an episode of Glee in which Sue Sylvester [X] gets one of the Cheerios, probably Brittany [Y], to spy on Will Schuester [Z] and to report back to Sue with the latest news [gossip].  Then Sue, feeling proud of herself, brags to Emma Pillsbury about what has just happened.”

Which means that, continuing this line of reasoning, I’m Emma Pillsbury!  Guidance counselor.  OCD sufferer.  Total flake.

And you know what?  As much as I understand Emma and her problems, I don’t like playing that role.  In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say that the next time when X calls, I’m not picking up the phone.  Let someone else be cast as Emma.  The role is just too much for me.  😉


[All images via glee wiki.]

Those Were The Days. Not.

“Boy, the way Glenn Miller played…”

I’ve had the theme song from All In The Family trapped in my head for the last few days.  Most unpleasant.  I’m not entirely sure how the song got there.  I haven’t been watching much TV besides reruns of The Big Bang Theory— which are on a hip channel that is the antithesis of a nostalgic channel that’d be showing Archie & Edith.

So I don’t think that I’ve seen any commercials that would have put that song into my head.  Wonder where it came from?

“Guys like us, we had it made…”

I never really liked All In The Family when I first saw it on TV.  I understood that Archie was a reactionary, selfish male.  I got that Edith was a doormat who never stood up for herself due to some misguided sense of duty toward Archie.  And I realized that Gloria, in her attempts to help her mother, was locked in an never-ending battle with her father.

“Didn’t need no welfare state…”

But the satire of the show was lost on me.  In fact it wasn’t until a few years ago that it dawned on me that some people weren’t laughing at Archie.  That instead, some people were laughing with Archie.  I have my FIL to thank for that revelation.

“Gee, our old LaSalle ran great…”

I couldn’t tell you when I last saw an episode of All In The Family.  I imagine that if I saw it now, I’d probably get the two-sided humor and enjoy it.  I’m older, wiser, and much more open to different points of view– as happens when you mature and are comfortable with who you are.  So the satire might appeal to me now.

“And you knew who you were then…”

But, quite frankly, with all the political nonsense that is going on in the USA now, I don’t think that I’m up to watching yet another old white male pontificate on things that he knows nothing about.  My patience for such rhetoric, humorous as it can sometimes be, is all used up.

“Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again…”

Which, now that I think about it, might explain why this theme song has infiltrated my brain.  Discourse during these last few weeks, to put it politely, has involved way too much looking backward and not enough going forward.  Reminding me, and any woman who can think for herself, that trapped in the past is no way to live.

Don’t fool yourself, those weren’t the days.


“Those Were The Days”
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse

Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.
Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.
And you know who you were then, girls were girls and men were men.
Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.
People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.
Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win.
Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin.
Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
I don’t know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.



The Lighter Side Of Marital Miscommunication

We were watching a football game on TV.  And by we were watching I mean Zen-Den was watching the football game and commercials, while I was looking through a stack of home decor catalogues… and aware that a game was on TV.

In one of the catalogues I saw an outdoor small table with two chairs that at first struck me as something that we might want.  The table and chair were made of metal but looked like twigs had been put together in such a way as to create a table and chairs.  Very chic.  I thought that they might work on our deck over against one wall for me to use at noontime when I’m eating lunch by myself.

So I started to show Z-D the photo of the small table with two chairs, but in mid-show I decided that I didn’t like the table and two chairs after all.

Z-D wasn’t really paying much attention to what I was doing.  No surprise there.  Instead he was staring at a commercial for Cialis— and as with all commercials for Cialis the serious male announcer voice was telling us very important information.

TV commercial:  “Blah, blah, blah… When the moment is right, will you be ready?”

Me, referring to the photo in the catalogue:  “That’d make nervous if I had to look at it very much.”

Z-D, thinking that I’m watching the TV commercial:  “Why?”

Me, staring at the photo:  “Because pieces of it stick out funny.”

Z-D, still thinking that I’m talking about the topic of the TV commercial:  “Why would you care about that?  That’s not your problem.”

Me, getting ready to turn the page in the catalogue:  “Because I’d have to sit on it and that’d be uncomfortable.”

Z-D, finally paying attention to me:  “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”

Me, handing him the catalogue with the photo:  “This chair that looks like it’s made of twigs.  Why?  What’d you think I was talking about?”

Z-D, dissolving into laughter: “The commercial on TV for ED.  I thought you were watching it.”

Me, indignant then realizing what I’d just said:  “No, of course I wasn’t watching that… HEY WAIT A MINUTE.  You thought I was talking about THAT?”

Z-D, staring at me in amazement:  “Yep.  And you were darned funny, too.”

Weekend This & That

{january – monday – early morning}

√  I’ve been making small tweaks here on my blog since the beginning of the year.  Have you noticed?  Over the weekend I think that I finally got each of my posts entered into the proper category where each post belongs.  Now instead of Monthly Archives I have a list of 7 Categories where you can find all of my past posts.  By category.  Obviously.

√  We started putting together our traditional winter project, a jigsaw puzzle!  Years ago after seeing an episode of Northern Exposure where a married couple had a fun time putting together a puzzle, we decided to give it a try– and found that doing a puzzle was a harmless distraction from the winter gloom.  So now every winter we do ONE puzzle.  Yes, I know– not the most high-tech, cutting edge thing to admit to doing.  But it’s fun.  

√  I tried a new recipe for cupcakes that uses Blue Moon beer.  The cupcakes were good, not at all beer-y– but not orange-y enough to make them interesting.  I made some notes on the recipe and will try it again later this winter.  I think some clove and more coriander are in order.  Maybe a drop of orange extract?  If I ever perfect the recipe, I’ll post it here.  If.

√  We did a test on the stair railing to see how difficult it would be to strip the old stain and varnish off of the railing and posts.  Our conclusion: not difficult at all.  But because of the fumes and mess involved with this project we decided to postpone it until late spring when we can open the windows for ventilation.  Plus they’ll be more daylight then– which can only help us see what we’re doing.  Always important.

Which One?

When I was a little girl Saturday morning was for watching cartoons and commercials.  On a black and white television, of course.

[My mother refused to buy one of the “new” color TVs until our old one quit working.  Let me assure you that those old b&w TVs were very well-made.  But I digress… ]

I found the two commercials below on YouTube.  While I don’t remember either one, I’m putting them here as examples of what was on TV way back then.

[Or maybe a little bit before my way back then.  But you get the gist of what I’m showing you here, right?  Something in black and white.]

After watching both commercials I’ve decided that I prefer one of the characters over the other one.

So, how about you?  Are you on Team Sugar Bear [“Bet your booties, Granny”]?

Or are you on Team Trix Rabbit  [“Oh, rubba, rubba, dub”]?

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Autumn, Attitude Adjustment, And Ambush Journalism

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “A.”

•  Loving.  Now that it’s mid-autumn, the leaves on the trees behind our house are at their best.  In fact, this year, the wettest year ever on record, the trees look stunning.  There are more show-off colors among the leaves–shimmery gold, crimson red;  less dreary colors like rusty orange & dried-up grayish brown.  Amazing, really, how letting go is so pretty.  A lesson for all of us who hold grudges and keep objects long after their usefulness has passed.  Move on, people.  Let it go.


•  Laughing.  I’ve always been one to drink whatever alcoholic beverage is set in front of me [the exception being rum which I hate].  I loathe being perceived as fussy.  Yet, thinking back about our very social summer, I’ve realized that the parties/dinners/events where I had the most fun were the very ones where I did not drink any wine.  At all.

This got me wondering why I even drink the stuff to begin with.  I don’t like the taste of wine all that much and it often makes me itch.  What I decided is that I drink wine because I have this notion that it is good for me.  And I drink wine because I am polite.

My logic– such as it is— goes something like this: in the Bible, Jesus made wine and the party continued.  So, by drinking the stuff without complaint I don’t offend Jesus & I’m not a party pooper.  In theory, this seems like a win-win. But in practice it just sets me up to do something I don’t really want to do– which is drink wine.

Pity Jesus didn’t turn the water into a fifth of bourbon– or a few bottles of beer.  Then I’d have no problem at all.


•  Learning.  I was watching CNN the other morning.  The conversation was about “ambush journalism.”  I’d not heard of this term before.  It means that through deception and aggressive behavior a journalist inserts himself or herself into a situation hoping to provoke controversy by launching into a series of challenging questions. Apparently, some guy did this with VP Biden earlier this week, and Biden refused to take it.  Biden fired back with: “Don’t screw with me.  Let’s look at the facts.” 

Politics aside, I’m with the VP on this one.  Hassling people is not a substitute for journalistic inquiry;  it’s just stupid, attention seeking behavior.  In fact, it seems to me that if journalists want to continue to have access to our political leaders, then they need to grow up, use some common sense & not engage is such antics.  Bad dog, no biscuit.


And So It Goes

 Kind of a bittersweet week for me.  Endings: small, medium & large.


Our tomato and pepper plants are at the end of their growth cycles.  I doubt that we’ll get more than a handful of tomatoes– or a couple of peppers– before the fall chill kills the plants.  It happens every year this way;  I’m always surprised.  This year the difference is that the other day I noticed two chickadees goofing around in the tomato plants.  At first I thought that they were after the tomatoes, but as I kept watching I realized that what the birds wanted is the cotton string that we use, with the wooden stakes, to hold up the plants.  They were pulling on the cotton string with their beaks, but unable to get it lose.  So I decided that  when I dismantle the tomato plants later this month I’ll cut the used cotton string into lengths and leave it out on the deck railing.  Maybe the chickadees will use the cotton string to make their nests.  We’ll see.


Zen-Den and I have very few traditions.  We don’t do the same thing for any holiday.  There are no “but we always do this” restrictions on us.  It comes from being on our own for so long– and from not having kids, I suspect.  That being said, every September we look forward to our first drive into the countryside to go to a small, locally owned apple orchard that has the best apples ever.  So this last weekend we got into the car and went out there, all excited about our first apple foray of the year.  But when we got to the orchard, it was closed;  a sign out front said: “Semi-Retired.  Closed for Season.  Be back Summer of 2012.”  And with that, our one tradition went *poof* and we found ourselves apple-less in the countryside.  Humph.


As you probably know, All My Children ends this week.  I still can’t quite wrap my head around this.  I grew up around AMC– first at a friend’s house, where her mother was addicted to it;  and then at my house, once my mother retired from teaching.  The fact that my Mom, the happy hermit, watched a soap opera never made much sense to me;  but she said that it gave her day structure and that Erica reminded her so much of her freshman year college roommate that she couldn’t not watch it.  In fact, she watched it every day until her death fifteen years ago.

So here’s the odd thing: even though I never became a fan of the show, I realize that I’m going to miss it.  Knowing that AMC was always on TV gave me a feeling of immediate connection with my mother.  Rational?  Not in the least.  But it’s what I’ve kept tucked away in the back of my mind all these years.  Of course, now with the end of All My Kids, that last connection will be gone.  Forever.

Life’s busy now. More chit-chat next week, gentle readers.  Talk at ‘ya then.