14 August, 2014

Do-gooders, Attend:

...If you need me, let me know, gonna be around/ if you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down....

AN OPEN LETTER FROM A DEPRESSIVE TO ALL “WHAT-CAN-I-DO-ERS” EVERYWHERE


Look, I’m probably not going to call you. I’m not up to saying “fine” when you ask how I am. I’m certainly not up to explaining to you how I ACTUALLY am. I’m not up to listening to you tell me to cheer up, to tell me I have so much great stuff in my life, or how bad YOUR life is in some weird attempt to point out how comparatively well off I am.

Honestly, I’m not even up to searching you in my phone or pressing Call.

I know you love me. I know if I called and asked you to take me out to lunch, you would. I know if I called and asked you to pick up a carton of ice cream and drop it off, you would. I know if I called and asked you to come watch a whole season of Angel with me, you’d wait until you hung up to sigh and roll your eyes. But you’d come.

I can’t. I can’t call you first. I can’t even make myself get in the shower.

I know some of you non-Depressive types are all, Oh, I don’t shower every day all the time. Like, once a month I have a No Shower weekend. Or I go to bed still in my clothes all sweaty from the gym. Or, yeah, I’ve skipped it a couple of times myself. This is not that. Not at all. I am in the clothes I wore, that I slept in, from three days ago. Every day, I INTENDED to get in the shower. And then didn’t. It seemed like too much trouble.

Do NOT ask when the last time was that I brushed my hair.

I can’t ask you to come over. There’s nowhere on the couch for you to sit. Some of the laundry is clean, but at this point, I’m not sure which pile it is. I’m sure some of these papers are important, but I can’t sort them to find which ones. I certainly don’t know what to DO with them. And some of them are probably VERY important.

There are a lot of them I haven’t even opened. I can’t make myself do it.

I can, however, develop a shorthand with you.

If you were to call me, for example, and ask how are things, I might say, “Not great.”

You might understand that by Not Great, I mean that I am creating an ass-shaped hole in my sofa, wearing unmatched pajama separates and haven’t done any grocery shopping in two or three weeks.

If you were to call and invite me to lunch, I probably would say No. If you asked would I go with you to a new place you wanted to try, you might understand that “Okay, sure,” is as close as I can get to “That would be nice.” If you were to call and ask me to help you choose a new comforter, I might say Yes, especially if you told me you’d pick me up in an hour. I probably would even shower.

If I had any clothes clean.

If I could ask, I might ask you to come over and just BE with me, without talking about My Problem, or really anything. If I could ask, I might ask you to make me some soup, tea, cinnamon toast. Do not ask me if I am hungry. I can’t remember the last time I cooked an actual meal, which you can probably tell by all the cereal bowls I haven’t washed and the pizza boxes I haven’t thrown away. You could tidy up, or help me. I won’t ask.

If you were here, you might find me a set of fresh clothes and a mostly-clean towel and send me to get washed.

I don’t advise drawing me a bath.

You might pack up my booze and hide it in the trunk of my car, or the trunk of your car, if you think I’m likely to abuse it. You’re probably right. If I say something horrible, forgive me. Let it pass. I’m not my best self.

If you were here, you might clear off the sofa a bit, find the remote, dig something from the freezer to put in the oven and queue up some old movie or television show I like. Watch it with me. Don’t make snarky comments, unless that’s something we usually do together. I’m not up to snark, but it might be reassuring to hear you. Don’t expect conversation from me, but if I do feel like talking, don’t try to ‘solve’ things.

You may understand when I say “Been better” that my meds aren’t working. You may ask if I’ve been taking my meds. You may ask when my next doctor’s visit is scheduled. You may offer to drive me to the appointment. You may offer to call and schedule my next visit. You may offer to pick up my ‘scrip.

I probably won’t believe you’ll do those things, but it’s nice of you to think of them.

It would make me cry if you actually did them, but in a good way.

If you’ve gotten me to agree to go out somewhere with you, don’t ask me where I’d like to go. Ask me if I have a preference. If I say “coffee shop”, please don’t ask which one. If you ask “is Starbucks okay?” I will probably make a face and tell you they burn their beans, but whatever, and will drink a Starbucks something or other. You choose the size. I can’t keep up with the stupid names they have for Small, Medium and Large. Don’t make me make any decisions. If I say “Whatever, “ know that it means “You choose. I can’t.” People-watch with me. You’ll need to start. Notice someone’s flashy jacket, excellent haircut or silly walk.

If I have kids, offer to take them out, to that new movie, or Trick-or-Treat, or someone’s birthday party. If I’ve agreed to a manicure or pedicure, bring them along and walk around the mall or park with them while I’m in the chair. Offer to have them over for dinner, or a sleepover. They’re not having a good time here with me, and I feel just dreadful about it, but I can’t let myself think about it too much or I cry and that scares them.

If I have a hobby, ask me to show you how to do something. I’d like to show you, and it might kick me back into doing it for myself. I probably know where the stuff for it is, and could tell you. You may have to move a few piles of crap to get at it, though.

You really must not mention the condition of my house. I KNOW.

If it’s a nice day, suggest we walk together. Bring the dog along, if either of us has one.

Give me a hug. Don’t worry if I don’t return it. If I do return it, wait for me to let go first. Give me another hug. Lean against me, or let me lean on you while we share popcorn and a movie… nothing too deep or challenging, though. A ‘60s monster movie, anything from the ‘40s, especially the Marx Brothers, almost anything with Adam Sandler in it. Pour more hot water in my teacup. Ask if you could make more popcorn.

If I cry, hand me a fresh tissue and bring the wastebasket in here with us. Keep handing me fresh tissues. Pat me and be soothing. Don’t tell me to stop crying. I will, eventually. Don’t look at me, though. I’m embarrassed.

Remind me that I didn’t always feel this badly. Remind me of something fun we did together. Suggest we do something fun together soon. Schedule that. Schedule it now. Show up for it.  Dinner, a show, beers. A haircut might be nice. A massage is too much commitment.

I’d have to shower.     

                                                                                                             -Cybele Pomeroy, 13 August 2014


ABBA, Take A Chance On Me

09 August, 2014

Sticky Situation

...just enough of that sticky stuff/ to hold the seams of your fine blue jeans/ I said yeah, yeah....

"No, Mom, we have to go RIGHT NOW. Wednesday says she's glued to the cat."

It was kind of a non-sequitur for me, too. Just so you know.

She's glued...?

"To the cat, yeah."

Pugsley and I had been discussing taking my mother out for ice cream after having traumatized her with a newer computer tower, importing her bookmarks and a few other changes, none of which greeted with happy acceptance.

Glued to the cat?

"He got into something sticky, and she tried to clean him and now she's stuck to him."

We're out the door and into the car now, with the lighter fluid my mother pressed into my hands as a solvent. I thanked her without mentioning any of the ideas that sprang like pop-up ads into my brain associated with putting lighter fluid on a cat.

Sticky enough that SHE is glued to the cat?

"I guess; she said something about a box. I told her to try using water to get unstuck."

The cat got stuck on a sticky box and now Wednesday is glued to the cat.

"Mom. Just drive."

Wednesday was no longer stuck to the cat when we arrived.  She and the cat were both agitated, but not nuclear. They were closeted in the downstairs bathroom, him in the window and her in front of the sink, trying to remove sticky from herself. She's almost a grown-ass woman, so I investigate the cat.

You got yourself unglued.

"Yes, but he's still got globs of it all in his fur. It's not as bad as I first thought- mostly his arm and a little on his belly. And my hands are all sticky."

Pugsley has found, as requested, with almost NO searching, the bottle of Skin So Soft I keep handy for many reasons. One of them is sticky stuff. The cat, with a minimum of squirming and complaining, allows me to settle him on my lap and apply SSS with tissue to his fur, then wipe off the glue. Wednesday is still scrubbing at her gluey hands with water. I suggest she use the SSS also, and continue to squash the cat against me while I de-glue him.

Wednesday tells me "It's in the trash can," when I ask about the box. Pugsley finds it- turns out. the sticky box was one of those insect traps, which had been on the counter to rid us of ants. The cat had evidently laid upon it. There were no ants in the trap, just cat fur.

We've finished the ungluing. Everyone is safe. I phone my mother to say we'll have ice cream after dinner.

So, he's just greasy now. If we have any clean laundry, don't let him lie on it.

"Can we not have those ant traps now? They're not doing what we hoped."

Yes, Pugsley. We can get rid of them. 

A day or so later, Gomez comes home. We do the dinner thing, the television thing, the late-night snacking thing and turn in for the night. He's almost asleep when I remember the misadventure.

Remind me in the morning to tell you about Wednesday getting glued to the cat.

"Mkay. Which one?"

Because that, naturally, is the logical question one asks when hearing that one's daughter has been glued to a cat. Which one, indeed.



 ZZ Top, Velcro Fly

18 July, 2014

Good Ass

...everybody will stare and they’ll gawk astounded/we’ll give you an ass so big, you gotta walk around it/you can have knowledge, self-esteem, and class/but who needs all that when you gotta nice ass?....

Too long to haiku, too good to let go.

I'm at the sink. Wednesday says, "Whoa, Mom. Those pants make your ass look great."

Really? Is it the pants or the wedges I'm wearing? I slip one foot out, descend to flat-footed posture.

"No. Actually, it's even better flat. You should wear flats more often. Especially with THOSE PANTS."

Seriously? I believe her, because when we shop, trousers are deemed "good ass" or "not good ass" pants. Badass pants are something else entirely.

"Yes. Like, if you weren't my mom, and were a little bit younger, I'd maybe be a lesbian. At least a little."

Pugsley protests. "A LITTLE?" I wonder, too.

"What?"

"A LITTLE bit younger?"

"Yes, like 30 or something."

"That's ....creepy."

"Only for women, though. If I were dating a guy, it would be creepy."

I don't think I can participate in this conversation anymore. It's too weird for me. I leave the kitchen. They continue discussing.

"Yes, a guy should be twenty, twenty-two, like that. But if I was going for a woman, thirty is okay."

"That's... no, you're just nuts."

Of her having an opinion of his mother's hindquarters, he has no comment. But his sixteen-year-old sister mentions that she doesn't consider a 30-year-old woman out of the question and earns his censure.

(I recognize the difference between Wednesday saying something and Wednesday thinking something. They're frequently different. I'm not sure my forthright Pugsley remembers that always.)

You can't date anybody who's twenty or older. Nineteen's the limit.

"Wait, did you forget who've you got me engaged to?"

Well, yes, J's in his mid-twenties. But you're engaged. It's not like you're DATING him.

"Seriously, I wouldn't date a 30-year-old woman."

"That's your problem, isn't it?"

Bent as bonsai, yes, they are. Boring? Newp.




Your Favorite Martian; Booty Store






28 April, 2014

Writing Notwriting

..a traffic jam when you're already late/a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break/it's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife...

Oh, not much really; why do you ask? Seriously? You noticed I hadn't been posting? That is SO ODD. According to Dan Tobin, blogging is dead. And I'd never argue with Dan Tobin. I can't find his blog.

Short attention spans get ever shorter these days. Recently, a girl was killed moments after posting on Facebook that she was listening to the song Happy... while she was driving her car.

Yes, ironic, in a way that Alanis Morissette couldn't possibly understand.

Anyway, it's not that I haven't been writing. I HAVE. REALLY.

Okay, it's been mostly Facebooku, but for reals, I seriously have.

No.

I haven't.

But I have been reviewing theater. I mean, it's sort of like writing, but with a topic I didn't choose.


(Alanis Morissette; Ironic)

20 March, 2013

Sound Byte

...you're running every red light/...just relax/safer if we'd hitch-hiked/...give me some slack/Missed a turn a mile back/..alright, where's the map/you know, you could be right/you know, you could be right ....

So I'm teaching Fluffy to drive (I know, right?!) and I let him drive to the Camden Yards light rail station. We talked about the possibility of a processing delay, the time it takes for the words coming out of my mouth to turn into some corrective action by his hands or feet. He agreed that maybe an additional second would be helpful. He's gaining confidence, but is not all that motivated to Get His License. I have weirdly mixed feelings about that. I mean, at 18  (I KNOW, right?) he really ought to have his 'real' license, not a nine month old learner's permit, but he also ought to have had Driver's Ed, which he hasn't.  Myself, I drove for a year and a half on an expired learner's permit, despite having completed Driver's Ed. Well, whatever. If my boy needs Mama to drive him places awhile longer, I'm okay with that.

Anyway, we got to the light rail stop, and I got out of the car, hugged Fluffy and said, "Good job. A little sloppy, but you didn't scare me at all." He patted me and said, "Thanks! That's good, uh, I mean, Oh, Damn. I'll do better next time."

Waitresses, It's My Car

21 September, 2012

Memory Tea

...A B C D/ Can I bring my friend to tea? /E F G H I J/ I love you....


Hey, Mom.
"Hey, what?"
‘Member that iced tea stuff you used to make in summertime? It had Tang and maybe cinnamon?
"Yes, probably."
Probably you remember, or probably cinnamon?
"Probably cinnamon. Remembering? You know better."
So, what else was in it?
"Lemonade mix, I seem to recall."
Right, and instant iced tea. This Lipton instant, is that it?
She shrugs. I pick up the jar. It’s glass, and I can see through the bottom.
Yes. This looks familiar.
She laughs.
What?
"I don’t know how you can look at that when you’re thinking of something I made a hundred years ago and say that it looks familiar."
The tea, it looks powdery. Little fluffy round crystals. That’s what looks familiar.
I show her. She agrees.
"Let me know how it turns out."

It’s not likely that she remembers the proportions, if she ever had any. She may have just taken all the containers, dumped them together and stirred in as much cinnamon as she felt like using, then portioned the whole mess back into the empty containers. That was her style.

I didn't believe that I’d find the recipe online, but doubting the web isn’t a bright thing for me to do. I found several recipes, all very similar.  However, all of them refer to this beverage as a hot drink. I remember my mother mixing it up in pitchers and serving it over ice. I think it was her crunchy granola hippie compromise for soda.

I bought the ingredients, but haven’t mixed them yet. I’m a little afraid that no matter what I do, I won’t capture in my mouth the memory in my mind.
Resee Witherspoon’s version sounds like my mother.
"My grandmother had this spiced tea recipe — it's very southern. You take instant powdered tea, a can of Tang, a can of powdered lemonade, and you mix them all together with some nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm telling you, southern people will know this recipe. And you shake it all up, then you put it in a Mason jar, and put a piece of fabric on top and a piece of ribbon around it. Then, whenever you want, just put two scoops in hot water. It's the most delicious thing in the world."

Read more:
 Reese Witherspoon's Recipe for Spiced Tea - Good Housekeeping 

This one sounded right, and referenced Girl Scout days. 

 
Spice Tea with Tang
1 cup instant iced tea (plain, lemon, sweetened, unsweetened)
2 cups Tang instant breakfast drink
1 tablespoon of allspice or pumpkin pie spice

Mix well and use as is, or add some Jello (lemon, orange, lime,?) instant lemonade mix, or powdered apple cider mix. For a mug: Add one heaping tablespoon of the mix to a mug of boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Drink when it’s cool enough to stand it.

http://chickensintheroad.com/farm-bell-recipes/spice-tea-made-with-tang/


My mother might have learnt it through Girl Scouts, except she was a scout troupe leader in the late ‘70s, and I remember drinking this stuff when we lived in Indiana, in the early '70s. She couldn’t have learned it when she was a Girl Scout, because Tang hadn’t been invented yet.

Yes, whippersnappers, I remember when Tang was invented. Shaddap. Also, it used to come in grape.

This one came up on the Cooks.com recipe search. It has enthusiastic reviews!! Note the enthusiasm!!!

SPICED TANG TEA

1 c. instant tea
14 oz. Tang
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. lemon flavored Kool Aid
Mix all dry ingredients well. Add 1 cup of sugar to mix or sweeten to taste. Use 2 Tbsp. for 1 cup of hot water.

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,183,152163-254199,00.html
"I had a severe case of bronchitis and lost my voice. My mother-in-law made this for me but substituted allspice for the cloves. Within 2 days I felt so much better and I had my voice back!! I don't know if it's all the vitamin C from the Tang or what but if you're sick this stuff is a definite necessity AND it tastes great!!!"

"This is awesome stuff for sore throat, sickness, and a yummy evening or morning beverage. This has been passed down two generations in my family."


This last one sounds most like what I think I remember, and has suggestions for packaging it as an inexpensive gift for a child’s teacher.

Spiced Tea Mix Recipe

2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (Tang)
1 cup lemon flavored instant tea powder (has sugar mixed in)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
TO MAKE A CUP:  Mix 3 teaspoons of mix to a mug of hot water.  Mmm, enjoy!

Okay, and I lied. I did mix it all up, and taste-tested it both hot and iced. The moment the cinnamon hit the Tang/tea mixture, my nose said, "Ahh! THAT's the stuff!" So. But because I had an array of bakin spices, I fiddled around. The cinnamon's the important bit... to me. The other spices are just gilding.

Here it is:
Memory Spiced Tea Mix
(regular batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Cups Orange Tang
1 Cup Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Cup Lemonade Mix
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(This is because I had Mace, which I usually don't and is completely unnecessary and just a bit too posh for this homey little recipe. If you don't have Mace but want the posh version, try 1/2- 1tsp ground nutmeg)
(large batch)
In large bowl, mix together:
3 Cups Orange Tang (one whole container)
1 1/2 Cups Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 1/2 Cups Lemonade Mix
3 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Mace
(this will fit nicely into 2 large Mason jars)
(gigantic no-leftovers batch)
4 22 oz. Mason Jars, with lids, empty and clean (or mix it together then put it in all the empties)
In large bowl, mix together:
2 Containers Orange Tang Powder
1 Jar Lipton Instant Iced Tea Powder
1 Container Lemonade Mix
6 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 tsp Ground Allspice
3 tsp Ground Ginger
3 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Mace

Use 1 -2 heaping Tbsp per glass or mug. Share and enjoy!


If you try any version, let me know how it turns out.

( The Beatles; All Together Now)

10 March, 2012

300 Words

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

I'm embarrassed to even post this as an entry, but I've been delinquent in posting at all. Go on, give me a D+ for it, if you like.

A website asks for a 'writing sample', one that 'demonstrates ability to write concisely on a topic', which, as a matter of fact, I CAN. I just usually don't. Unlike some other writers of my acquaintance, I actively enjoy the process of writing, the language, the mechanics and the unfolding progression of thought as I write. On occasion, I need to write about a thing before I am able to understand how I feel about it.

However, the assignment is 300 words that demonstrate...yadda, yadda. So I must choose a topic, first of all. "Write what you know" is a great idea, unless you're writing science fiction, which by definition is something the author doesn't know. But at this point in my life, I know so much stuff. And a lot of it is purely boring. Also, I am obviously stalling. I'd like to write about something other than cooking or child-rearing or knitting, something that will capture the attention of the site's editors. What do I know that other folk don't know?

whiteface makeup application
stilt walking for beginners
how to build a fire-eating torch
I-Ching readings at parties
preparing for a gig
how to write a murder mystery
sewing a pair of stilt pants

Make sure your hands and face are very clean. Oils left on the skin will interfere with the application of the greasepaint. Place a small amount of the greasepaint in the palm of your non-dominant hand, and rub it gently until it is very soft and pliable. With fingertips or a makeup sponge, apply greasepaint evenly to your face, working symmetrically so as to avoid streaking. Crusted blemishes on your face will be a problem at this point, so simply dab a little glob of makeup on them, and leave them until later. Be sure to work the makeup well into your eyebrows and the 'corners' of your nose- the crease where the sides of your nose meet the lower edge of your cheek. Cover to your hairline, ears and chin, or some predetermined edge. Scrunch your chin up to ensure that you're all covered even when grimacing.

When your face is evenly coated, with your ring and middle fingers covered in white, gently pat all over your face. This works the makeup into your skin and hides your pores. Your makeup should feel tacky, but not thick or goopy. If you've left any blobs of makeup on your blemishes, now is the time to gently and carefully cover them, blending the edges of the makeup blob without disturbing any scabbing you may have. Check the mirror. Do you look good? If so, it's time for powder.

Classically trained clowns like a powder sock, which is a deceptive term. An old gym sock isn't the thing at all. A trouser sock, made of pantyhose material is better, but what you need for a good powder sock is a densely woven material that permits the powder to seep out, without leaving textural marks on your makeup. A child's dress sock is often a good choice, but be sure to only use white socks, as sock dye can bleed onto your powder. Some clowns avoid the sock entirely and simply shake powder onto a puff and pat their faces with the powder-coated puff, or dip large fluffy brushes into a powder box and brush the powder onto the face. These are more wasteful and messy than the sock method, but a novice will wish to try each method to determine personal preference.

Once your face is completely powdered, (tap or stroke your face all over with your fingertips- any stick spots require more powder), you will use a large soft brush to remove the excess. When you make faces in the mirror, you shouldn't have powder flaking off- if you do, brush again.

Check your face again, turning side to side, up and down, and brush your eyebrows back into place. Now you are ready to paint on your details.

Okay. My word processing program says this is 458 words. But it's a start.