27 September, 2018

Passing Thought

...I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die....

When I cut myself while
I'm cooking, I'm careful
to not bleed into the food because
what if
my family likes it?

Vampire Weekend; Finger Back

16 June, 2018

Hello, Honville

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

She: Riding on a Lark style-scooter, steering one-handed, rounding the corner of an obscured street onto Ritchie Highway.

He: Perched on a shelf on the back of the scooter, hands braced on her shoulders, toes of his dirty sneakers tucked under a grey plastic shopping bag full of... something.

It: Sitting, held on her lap like a toddler in need of an allover haircut, tail draped trailing over one ample thigh.

Could've been kids. Should've been, probably.

But they were all over 40.

Well, I don't know about the dog.

09 June, 2018

Archaeological Unearthing

...learn to work the saxophone/ I play just what I feel/ drink Scotch whiskey all night long....

This from my Yes, It's True That I Never Get Rid Of Anything, Not Ever file, otherwise known as my email inbox. It's my third or fourth one so far. Third or fourth email inbox, not YITTINGROANE file, as that's simply theoretical, and if I'd thought about it longer, I'd've come up with a name for it that results in a better anagram. I haven't gotten rid of anything in the three previous email inboxes, either.

Probably. I think.

Cue low sultry saxophone music.

I was meditating on the veranda... I call it a veranda, but it was actually more of a fire escape. I call it meditating, but it was really more relaxing than meditating, though smoking a cigar can, I suppose, be said to be meditative. In fact, here goes: Smoking a cigar can be meditative. I said it. 

At any rate, I was on the fire escape, smoking a cigar, the New York Times crossword half-finished on the coffee table inside the window... I say half finished, though it was somewhat less than half finished; considerably less, in fact; the fact is, it was barely begun, which would have been fine had it been from today's New York Times, but it was last week's, which, if you care to know the actual facts of the matter, was by this time, in fact, last month. 

I was meditating on the veranda, the New York Times crossword unfinished on the table when She walked in. I say walked, but it was really more of a glide, if it can be said that a wiggle is glide-like. 

So there was nothing to be done but step in through the window to greet my unexpected guest- or perhaps client- and carefully stub my cigar in the ashtray- I call it an ashtray, though it was actually a china cup with no handle from my great-Aunt Florence's second-best china service. I looked at her. She looked at me. It was in that moment wherein something perhaps magical was about to begin, that I suddenly remembered I was not wearing pants.

Once I realized I wasn't wearing pants, it became imperative that I pretend I hadn't realized I wasn't wearing pants. I say 'imperative' when what I actually mean is 'preferable' or 'inconspicuous', though neither of these are synonymous with 'imperative', as any idiot who'd actually finished a crossword puzzle would know. 

Rather than shamefacedly admit to Her that I'd forgotten, omitted, left out or realized I had no clean laundry during an important step in dressing myself this morning, I behaved as though I were wearing pants, or as though no one went round anymore bothering with the silly, passe trousers of yore. And whether She was pretending to not notice that I was pretending to have not noticed that I was not wearing trousers, or whether she in fact did not notice that I was not wearing trousers is a mystery that puzzles me even today.
"You have to help me, Mr. Dresden," she said, in that high-pitched breathless baby Marilyn Monroe voice that gets all men like a sucker punch to the breadbasket. I say sucker punch to the breadbasket, when what I mean is aphrodisiac, or headrush, or mind erasure. I struggled for something clever to say. If only I'd finished the crossword, I might've been able to think of something.....

Fade mournful sax.

To Be Continued....

...or maybe better left alone.

Steely Dan; Deacon Blues

08 June, 2018

March Snapshot

...a ship out on the sea/ contradicting words/ that’s not how it’s supposed to be/ caught in a battle that’s not your own.... 

March 22, 2018-

I arrived a bit before 11 am, found evidence that Mother had let the dogs outside and fed them. There was no indication that she'd eaten any breakfast, and she was in the bed, but with clothes on. They may have been yesterday's.

I offered breakfast, and even though she said she had eaten breakfast, she came down while I prepared oatmeal with banana, 2 eggs fried in olive oil, buttered English muffin with fig jam, juice, coffee, meds, vitamins and a whole pear, sliced, with Swiss cheese. She ate and ate until about 12:15, and then we walked dogs around the block together. I bundled her up really well with boots and gloves and everything. Jackie tried to tuck a tissue into her bra strap and eventually laughed when she realized she was having trouble doing that because she wasn't wearing a bra. 

12:30 pm- When we returned, I got started shoveling and she I guess looked at the newspaper or rested on the sofa. When I came in, I encouraged her to shower so we could go out. She did, and I gave her a lunch of tuna salad, celery sticks and crackers, I went back to shoveling. She poked her head out and said, "Aren't you done yet? Leave that; it'll melt soon enough. I can make you some nice hot cocoa." I told her I wasn't done yet, and would be in after a little while longer.

No one seems to understand that being out while it's snowing, driving during snowfall and shoveling the snow, that's really the only bit of winter weather that I enjoy.

Once I'd finished, I shot a pic of her walk to send to EAS, and of Mario and Mother's cleared walks to put on Timmy's FB so he'd know I'm keeping an eye and headed indoors. Mother told me she'd made me some nice hot cocoa. I said that was sweet but I'd rather have water. Did she finish her tuna sandwich and celery?

"Yes, of course I did," she told me.

Of course you did.

"Oh. I guess I didn't make that cocoa for you after all."

I told her I'd rather have a glass of water, as I was warm from the exercise anyway. After that, we went out in search of cocoa packets, as she was down to only 2, including the one she 'made' for me. 

3pm- Costco was open and mostly empty and had no cocoa. I bought seaweed salad for her, though, and Pillsbury crescent rolls, and a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread, which I hid on the bottom pantry shelf, in the corner. Then we went to Aldi. Aldi ALSO had no cocoa packets, but I bought bananas for her. She said, "A Casa, Jaimie," but I was intent on those cocoa packets, so we went to Shop Rite, and she bought cocoa packets, Belvita biscuits, banana chips, yogurt pretzels and raisin bread with her card. 

By then it was 5:30, and the light was waning. Instead of removing our coats, we got dog leashes and walked around the block before it got all the way dark. I put some crescent rolls in the oven while I did a bit more shoveling, and then heated Jambalayah for her supper. She ate supper around 6:15 or so, two crescent rolls, a bowl of Jambalayah, and finally drank her juice. I fed the dogs about 6:30.

6:45- I asked if she wanted to play with My Singing Monsters. She did not. After a dessert of a lemon tea cake, she was ready for bed. We brushed teeth together and she swished with Crest rinse. She didn't want me to help her put on a nightshirt, so I went downstairs. By 7:10, I heard no more pouncing from upstairs.

I washed dishes, freshened her pillboxes, put out a fresh can of wet dogfood near the food bin where she could see it and removed a few sale circulars to the recycle bin.  I made snack packets with the snacky things from the grocery. 

8 pm I turned out lights, locked up and left. 

It was a good day. Little Jackie had very little looping, no snotty remarks and wasn't argumentative at all. She exercised some, ate plenty and did not grab for all the cookies at any of the grocery stores we visited. She was pleasant and good-humored, and we enjoyed the pretty snow. 

Sean McDonald; Flower In The Snow

11 May, 2018

Skin Deep

...I don't believe them when they try to tell me / life is more than / skin skin skin skin deep...

"Are they actually more lovely, pound for pound, measurement for measurement... than any other women you've known? Or is it that they just... well, act beautiful?" –Dr. McCoy, Star Trek TOS
Which is the point of the episode, in case you don't remember.
"It wasn't until years later that I realised people weren't making a fuss over me because I was some incredible beauty or genius; they were making a fuss over me to compensate for my being slashed. I accepted all the attention at face value and proceeded through life as if I really were extraordinary." ---Tina Fey
Of course it's arguable that she actually IS extraordinary, or became so. Self-fulfillingness and all of that. Predetermination because she was smart and clever and funny, and that was never going to not be realized.

Why one should never say "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," from The Book Of Life blog:

It’s a phrase with the power to silence. Once it’s been uttered, trying to keep up a dialogue about the merits or drawbacks of certain visual things can come across as shrill, anti-social or just plain rude.

This tendency to surrender to relativism is a paradoxical symptom of a scientific age. Science, the most prestigious force in modern society, deals in objective truths. The things it passes judgement on are obviously simply not in the eye of beholders. One can’t fairly say: ‘Well I don’t really feel that way about the boiling point of water or the nature of gravity.’ We have to be subservient to the facts science hands down to us.

Although lately, even science has been subjected to subjectivism. Everything is. Bad behavior "on all sides," a legitimate investigation termed "witch hunt," any sort of criticism becomes "bullying," and calling someone out on actual bullying is "reverse bullying." Beauty seems simpler, because it is superficial and everyone knows it, or should.

I'm a big fan of The Bombshell Manual Of Style, as is xoJane who is very obviously much MUCH younger than I as evidenced by her remark about Britney Spears in 2001.

At any rate, the Bombshell Manual, in addition to being rather foundational for my own Principles of Princessness, casually remarked that women who are beautiful treat themselves as if they are beautiful. The inverse is also true. Women who treat themselves as if they are beautiful (and, as Dr. McCoy suggests, "act beautiful") ARE.

I adopted that awhile ago, in hopes that treating myself like a bombshell would help me feel like one (it does) and that would reflect in my approach to most everything (it has) and encourage self-care while staving any temptation to 'let myself go' and not in the Frozen way.

Someone hoped I wouldn't be offended that he shared a remark about a co-worker who just loves my rear end.

Yeah, I get that a lot. It's been following me around almost my whole life. 

Mind you, this is YESTERDAY, not a decade ago.  I've recently been feeling a great deal of angst about my own age-related irrelevancy and fading attractiveness. The world is harsh for women such as me, who haven't yet achieved the goddesshood of Emma Thompson, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Glen Close, Jane Fonda or Betty Davis. Although, last week, a young intoxicated man who was celebrating his birthday, the same number Pugsley celebrated in February, was about to get separated from his friends, and I said he should hurry to catch them or risk spending his birthday with me.

"I dunno, you seem pretty cool," he replies. I insist he should party with people his own age.
"Oh, come on," says he, "What are you, like, 32?"

Wondering how many beers exactly he's already consumed, I reveal my actual age, at which he goggles.

I'm really good with makeup.

In any case (and I may have mentioned this) I don't take remarks about my own looks particularly seriously. I don't get to keep them (though I'll fake them as long as I can) and the Legendary Ass will eventually degrade into myth. I've tried to cultivate Cute And Fluffy, along with Charming and Witty, because I maybe CAN keep those, and no one is ever going to notice my large and beautiful brain.

Which, if my mother and grandmother are any yardstick, I also won't get to keep.

Vanity and fear, my defining qualities. Nice.

Crack The Sky; Skin Deep

10 May, 2018

Sunny Day

...I need to laugh, and when the sun is out/ I've got something I can laugh about....

The weather has improved, and with it, Mother's mood.

Not to mention mine.

By 'improved' naturally I mean 'changed to something I prefer' because weather isn't intrinsically either good or bad, just preferred or non-preferred. Tornado chasers, for example, probably wouldn't care for these nice warm days of full-on sunshine and Fahrenheit temperatures in the 60s and 70s. I still don't know what that is in Celsius, which, because I am That Old, I sometimes still refer to as centigrade.

My shift is due to start at 9:30, which is impossible today, but I arrive at 10:10 without too much stress. The back door is locked, but she's been up. Dog dishes are on the floor, with food, which suggests Second Breakfast. She doesn't remember whether she's fed them or not, and doesn't remember either to mark or check the chalkboard that tracks that very thing. The chalkboard is for us, the caregivers, to tell each other, or to use to remind Mommala that the dogs have eaten already, thank you very much. The other day, I pointed it out, and she said, well, I'll just give them a little bit, then.

Because it's not about the dogs, and whether they need nutrition or not, it's about Jackie Junior (have I told you that story? Remind me to tell you that story. Mother can still tell that story with a remarkable degree of clarity) and her needs.

Give them each a cookie instead. That's what they're for, right?

"What? I'm just going to- -"

No, give them biscuits. See, they're in the bear.

She gives me a look of extreme annoyance, but fetches the clear bear-shaped container that once held animal-shaped cookies for humans to eat, and now holds 'bone' shaped biscuits for canines to eat. She gives a cookie to each, but is irritated by my over-ruling her wishes, as usual.

The OTHER other day, she picked up dishes from the floor, headed toward the dog-food bin, turned to me and asked, "Have I done this already?" I wanted to applaud.

You have. Look, it's marked on the chalkboard.

"I see. Monday, 4:30, dinner."

I can tell it's Second Breakfast because there's food left in both dishes. Dogs eat all of First Breakfast, usually. A grapefruit knife is on the counter, and beside the toaster, the egg carton, a package of English muffins and the butter dish. I guess I know what she wants for her Second Breakfast, the first being her half of grapefruit, the rind of which rests in a bowl on the dining room table.

I bustle her upstairs, cheerfully telling her I'm going to toss her filthy ass into the shower, but I'll lay out clothes for her first. I make the bed hastily, so that she'll get into the shower instead of back into bed. I tell her so. She sits down on the made-up bed, flings her body backwards and pretends to snore.

You're ridiculous, you know that?

She pops up and bursts into laughter.

All right, go on with you, get your filthy self into the shower and don't come out again 'til you're clean. I don't want to see you EVER AGAIN until you're clean.

"I don't want to see YOU ever again until I'm clean, either."

Better shut your eyes, then, coz here I am. 

She laughs again and goes into the bathroom. I lay out some linen gaucho pants and a tee shirt, with bra and panties. When she puts out her own clothes, it's panties, socks, a bra, socks, tee shirt, socks, a sweater, socks... she just gets a little stuck. Today she doesn't need any socks, it's that warm. I tell her so, though I expect when I see her, she'll be wearing socks anyhow.

I hear the shower start and scurry out with the dogs. I've surreptitiously been teaching Panda his new name, Yogi. Why she would call a redheaded Golden Retriever Panda is still a mystery to me, but when I introduce him, I tell people he's obviously a Red Panda, which, by the way, isn't exactly a bear.  We go an extra half-block or so, hurrying to time our (my) arrival to coincide with Junior's exit from the shower. I call to her, to see if I should start cooking eggs.

You dressed yet?

"I'm clean!"

That sounds like No to me.

"I'll yump into my clothes in one minute and be right down."

I start the eggs.

After breakfast and pills ("rattlers," since every time she sees her meds and vitamins she says some variation 'I'm going to rattle with all these pills') we take the dogs out. There are men in front of the house milling around a plumbing truck so we cross to the other side of the street.

Shall we go around Church Circle, the way we used to do?

"We could do that."

As we round the far edge of the circle, we spot some children milling around outside the church with their parents.

Would you like to pet the dogs?

When children look interested, I ask, because the children won't ask, and the parents won't intrude. Not often, anyway. We cross and make the dogs sit down. The children pet the dogs by turns and are pleased. The dogs are pleased. Mother is pleased. We say goodbye and head homeward with nary a fuss.

Mother sits outside with the dogs, comes in again, sits outside again, comes in, while I work on baseballku. When I've finished, I ask if she's ready for some lunch. She is. I make a tuna melt for her which I cut into four triangles. She is more likely to finish a sandwich cut into four pieces than one cut in only two pieces. I imagine there's some psychology to that, but I don't know the specifics of it, only that it works.

After lunch, she goes outside with the dogs, back inside, back outside, inside again, back outside. My cold or whatever it is isn't gone even now, so one time she comes in as I'm blowing my nose.

"Who let a moose loose in my house?"

It'was me. I'm very moos-ical.

"And a-moos-ing!"

Moost we continue with the punning around?

"Of course we moost!"

We've been punning for as long as I can remember, and longer, by Mother's accounts. It's encouraging that she retains this, as well as her sense of humor. I've always loved her sense of humor.

Shall we head out now?

"Do you need your lunch?"

I've packed lunch for the ballpark, stowed it in Mother's fridge. As a reminder, I put a Post-It on the window of the back door, because my lunch will do me more good if it's with me at the ballpark rather than in Mother's refrigerator. She reads me the note.

"Cybele, do you have your lunch?"

Good call, thank you. Yes, now I have my lunch. 

"For the ballpark?"

Yes, while I'm working at the ballpark. I'm all set now. Are you ready to go?

"What are we doing?"

Going to the bank and then getting some frozen custard if their machine is working and a donut if it isn't. 

"Sounds like a plan!" She fetches her purse.

She doesn't need her purse, of course. But when she doesn't have it, she frets about it, and I grow weary of reminding her that she left it home. Plus it gives her something to do in the car. She plays with the visor mirror, fishes around for a lipstick, finds a tissue, blows her nose, fiddles with the mirror, finds her hairbrush, brushes her hair, puts back the brush, finds lipstick, applies lipstick, puts the lipstick away, finds a tissue, blows her nose, fiddles with the mirror, fishes for her brush, finds a lipstick, puts on lipstick, puts lipstick away...

...all the way to the bank. While we're at the window. All the way to Paradise Donuts.

Would you close the mirror, please? I'll forget, then when I go to work, I'll park the car and leave it like that, and when I come back, the battery will be dead.

(Actually, I think the car has safety features that prevent that, but it's a thing that certainly used to be true, even if it isn't anymore, and she won't know the difference.)

"Wouldn't want that!" She closes the mirror, after checking her lipstick.

Inside, the counter guy explains that their frozen custard is too thick for the machine, so they just scoop it now.

"Vanilla or chocolate?" he asks.

I turn to Mother. How about it, Mother, would you like vanilla?

"Hah! As if!"

Silly question.

Beatles; Good Day Sunshine

03 May, 2018

Overwhelming Options

...too many fish in the sea/I said, there's short ones, tall ones, fine ones, kind ones....

[Productivity includes finishing unfinished posts, when creating a new one is Too Much Pressure. I've been down with a virus nearly a week now. I'mma cut myself some slack in this portion of my Kick Your Own Ass And Get Your Shit Together mission]

Too many choices is TOO MANY choices. Leads to immobilization.

I stood for, I shit you not, half an hour in front of a toothpaste display at my local Target, trying to select the right product for my family's needs. There were twelve feet by five feet of choices, shelves from ankle to above eye-level.

I ended up going with the Pepsodent. There were only two sorts, and it was easy to sort out which of the two I wanted.

A custom sewer I know mentioned indecisiveness on the part of a client, that the back-and-forth was time consuming. Wondered if she was offering too many choices, and maybe that made decisions more rather than less difficult.

I agreed, and think more than 4 leads to overwhelming. Suggested she ask a screening question: brights, pastels, earthtones, or black and white?

Then once the screening question has been answered, show 3 options in that category.

3 is psychologically right.

Good, Not So Much, Yuck. Or Blah, Better, I Like It.

(Additional branching is possible after Good/I Like It is achieved, if required.)

Though if the customer says Meh to all three, maybe offer additional options. HOWEVER.

It's just a baby carrier. You are not responsible for the permanent abiding lifelong happiness of your client, just that they have a carrier they are rather pleased to wear for the duration of time their child fits into it. I would think washability and disguise of spitup would be of more import than pattern.

However, mine is a post-parent brain. Presumably someone shopping for a babywearing sling is still in pre-parent mode, and likely pregnant. That first child teaches one's brain quite a bit.

Only brain surgery is brain surgery. Everything else is less pressure.

Marvellettes; Too Many Fish In The Sea