23 April 2007

Sunday = OK. Monday = Sucks. Tuesday = sucks X 2. Wednesday...

So, yesterday, I went to my first friend in Memphis' house and tilled his soon to be fantastic garden. But this didn't happen until taking my husband to the airport early in the morning so that he'd be gone for 5 days. (I hate Northworst Airlines -- bonus, perhaps, the ugly troll who has been C.E.O. for the last several years is apparently being replaced. NOT bonus, he'll take the paycuts from every person who makes the airline fly -- including my husband's -- as his golden parachute as he leaves). Needless to say, jumping ahead, that's why Wednesday will suck more than Monday or Tuesday. It's my birthday and Cameron will be gone.

Anyway, Sunday was OK because our bowling team vindicated ourselves against the Lesbian team "The Slots" after they narrowly beat us out of first place during the first half of this year's league. We ended up winning first place for the year. Sunday would have been fantastic if Cameron had been at Winchester Lanes to share in our glory. He helped make it happen and couldn't be there. Suck, but not totally.

The Mamas and the Papas lamented Mondays many years ago. I've tried to ignore that lament over the years, but today, I'm right there with them. I don't blog about work because there are people there that read this crap. But, today, I am making an exception. Monday = Sucks. Why else would I have been at work well past 8 PM? Was it perhaps because a schizophrenic client didn't remember something that she has needed every year for the last several and now is behind the proverbial "eight ball" demanding a layout today (starting at 11:00 A.M.)? YES. Was it because someone I was working with didn't understand my instructions? Yes, because that thing ended up landing on my desk to figure out and put me two hours behind. Was it because I was asked by one of my favorite people to participate in a concepting session that apparently involved a brick wall (a coworker) that couldn't see beyond the obvious (what the brick wall refused to look around) was putting me two hours behind? Um, you betcha. Was it because I couldn't get copy revisions (two "F"ing words!) for a presentation I have to make at 10 o'clock in the morning? Most definitely.

I arrived home at 8:15 to two very anxious and exited young ladies, and a third less enthusiastic-but-nevertheless-glad-to-see-me Edith. Time to go potty. Time to get some dinner (for them). Change their water. Clean Edith's cat box. Get the mail. Fold the whites. Start the gigantic load of jeans. Water the plants that Greg gave me on Sunday that currently live in a recycling bin. Lament that the dishwasher is clean because I just wanted to throw the few dirty dishes in it. Inspect the fridge and realize that because I wanted to eat Cameron's best spaghetti ever I had to cook more pasta.

Now, while I've been catching up on e-mail, working on planning tomorrow, cooking pasta and giving Doris and Billie cookies each time I get off of this stool, I realize it's 10:15, I haven't eaten, I have a meeting in the morning, I have clothes to iron (because I haven't had time to pick up my dry cleaning during business hours) and it's time to throw the jeans in the dryer.

In the morning, I'll most likely end up writing the copy I should have received from the copywriter (um, nevermind), rush to get the boards printed and mounted and be a sweaty mess by the time I leave the office for my presentation. And, guess what? The day after is my 46th birthday and my husband will be in F-ing Raleigh-Durham. What an exciting night for us both!

Screw it. I'm having another martini. Doris will wake me up in the morning. I can count on it. She doesn't suck.

19 April 2007

Second Coming

When I walked outside last night after coming home from work/gym, I kissed Cameron "hello". He was talking to his mother on the phone. I fed the fish and turned to Doris who was collecting her Frisbee so she could show me she wanted to play but never let me have it without a fight. As I approached the middle of the deck I was overwhelmed with the scent of roses.

This has never happened. Our roses have had a roller-coaster ride of good and bad health for the eleven years we've lived here. Some were planted when we first bought the house. Some were already here. They've been moved, some twice, some three times. They've been pretty much where they are for roughly five years, though. And, for each of the last two years, though, they are looking better.

But, with the late frost we had a little more than a week ago, some of the promise of beautful blooms was in jeopardy. I figured that this was the best I'd get this year since the buds had already begun to open.

But, with the exception of the few buds that were frostbitten, the roses look better than they ever have. There are hundreds of blooms and twice as many buds. The two Thomas Liptons that flank the arbor probably have one hundred or more between them.

Thomas Lipton

The Oklahomas' blossoms are huge (except for the ones frostbitten in our late frost).


The Tropicanas are vibrant and smell lovely. The Don Juan that Cleo gave us many years ago was finally taken off of the climing trellis it refused to grow on and is now filled with over 20 blooms (and early signs of black spot).


Queen Elizabeth is a vivid shade of pink.

Queen Elizabeth

The red and white striped blooms of the Scentimental rose that Don Morgan gave us eight years ago that has been moved at least three times has a couple of handfuls of blooms open and has a bumper crop of buds waiting to burst.


I am thankful today for this beauty.

17 April 2007

Crystal Clear

Cameron and I have been watching Dateline NBC's umpteenth recount of what has happened at Virginia Tech. While I am horrified about this tragedy I am sick of the media's approach to telling us what happened. Take a look at my earlier post which was a link from Rosie O'Donnell's blog.

I am sick to death of Stone Phillips (what the hell kind of soap opera name is "Stone" anyway?) and Chris Hansen pecking like vultures to try to get someone to blame the administration for the two hour lapse between shootings.

Stupid idoit, nobody can predict anything like this. Are you an alarmist? Are we reverting back to the 1950s? Stop, drop and roll? Duck and cover?

Apparently according to these talking heads, within our new world of heightened security, homeland security or whathaveyou, we're supposed to be able to predict the future actions of a disenfranchised, obviously disturbed, antisocial, dejected student.

Too much is unknown and I am damn tired of the media's idea of "what is news".

Clearly, the living victims of this tragic event have the right attitude. They are supporting the president of Virginia Tech. They are not pointing fingers. They are supporting each other and doing the best they can to get through this horrible part of their lives.

It's way too early to try to determine "What went wrong? How could this have been handled in a better way?" Can we point a finger at VT adminstration, the police, anyone who is a mark to make the news more sensational?

No, not really.

Try to lock down a 2,600 acre campus. Unless you have the National Guard on staff 24-7, it ain't gonna happen in an instant. So, suck a rock Stone Phillips. And Chris Hansen, go back to chasing predators. You're so good at what's sensational.

Ratings, ratings, ratings.... People's hearts and emotions be damned.

Wah, wah, wah

OK. It really is funny.

Or, try this: Sofa King

15 April 2007

Sista Kicks It

Don't know exactly what I find hot about this chick, but I do.

Lori Mason's Mom, Where Are You?

We once had a potluck in Mrs. Richardson's third grade class at Sellersburg Elementary. The mothers of the kids in class prepared something for this event. I can't remember the reason for the occasion, I can't even remember what my mother made for it. But I do remember Lori Mason, a small dark-haired, friendly girl, and the okra and corn casserole she brought to class.

It seems to me that I may have been reluctant to try the casserole because there had been an okra incident at home some years before. It was a stormy night involving lightning, thunder, a power outage and candles on the black and white Formica table decorated with white fleur de lis and gold glitter.

The power stayed on long enough for my mother to finish an okra and stewed tomato dish on the electric Frigidaire range. I remember Lisa, Tina and I sitting at the table each with a white melamine with grey speckles dinner plate -- ones which were part of the set that my mother had collected in 1958 from the Kroger on Baxter Avenue in Louisville where she and my grandmother shopped -- with everything gone but the okra and tomatoes.

A melamine gravy boat like my mother's.

We weren't allowed to leave the table until we cleaned our plates. I am sure we whined that we were full. Dinner took a very long time that night. I decided then that I was no fan of okra. But being the great teacher she was, Mrs. Richardson encouraged me to try Lori's mom's casserole. And, I loved it.

As an adult I have grown quite fond of okra. I like it just about every way I have eaten it with the exception of boiled (too slimy). I like it in vegetable soup. I like it pickled. I am very fond of a recipe for "Picaninny Creole" in one of my old cookbooks that includes okra, tomatoes, corn, celery, onions and green peppers. I have searched for a suitable substitute for Mrs. Mason's okra and corn casserole. I keep coming up empty handed. The few recipes aren't that great. I've tried creating it from memory. It ends up being good, but not as good as hers.

There are a few cobs of corn left from last night's dinner with Cleo, Greg and Nigel. Greg brought some ground beef from a breed of Dutch cow that has been absent in America for years which his father is helping bring back to our farms. He also brought a chuck roast from an English breed of cow. We got out the KitchenAid and its food grinder attachment, and ground the roast to make hamburgers. They were awesome -- the flavor was something like I hadn't tasted in years -- they were like the Ranch burgers we used to get at Ranch House when my mom would pile us all into the black Sedan de Ville and take us to get curb service under the wavy canopy.

An example of our 1956 Sedan de Ville

So, tonight I'm going to try making okra and corn casserole again. I know there is okra, corn and onions involved. I remember crushed saltines on top instead of buttered bread crumbs. I don't know if I should use a a canned cream of celery soup or make my own white sauce. I'll write down the steps I take and hopefully, this time, I'll be taken back to that first bite of Mrs. Mason's delicious casserole.

11 April 2007

Love Her Even More Than Before

I found this on

Finance Guru Orman Comes Out, Bemoans Gay Marriage Ban
by The Associated Press

Posted: February 25, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(New York City) Financial guru and best-selling author Suze Orman says she wishes she could marry her partner Kathy Travis, partly because it would save them both a lot of money.

"Both of us have millions of dollars in our name," she told The New York Times Magazine in its Sunday edition. "It's killing me that upon death, K.T. is going to lose 50 percent of everything I have to estate taxes. Or vice versa."

In a wide-ranging interview, the host of CNBC's "The Suze Orman Show" talked about her seven-year relationship with Travis and her personal finances.

With a liquid net worth of about $25 million and real estate holdings of $7 million, Orman said she enjoys spending money and playing the stock market. She said she has about a million dollars in the market, "because if I lose a million dollars, I don't personally care."

Orman said, "women don't understand money. They will go into debt to pay for this and that."

Orman honed her financial skills as a vice president of investments at Prudential Bache Securities and as an account executive at Merrill Lynch.

She has written five consecutive New York Times bestsellers including "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke" and "The Courage to Be Rich."

Her latest book, "Women & Money," is due out in March.

© 2007

10 April 2007

On What Sucks and What Really Sucks

For years, I have used vintage vacuums. My first one was a Hoover Constellation. I bought it for four dollars at Renslow's Bargain Barn.

Even though I had to buy any store's complete supply whenever I found Hoover Type "J" vacuum bags, my Constellation was a trusted way to keep my hardwoods clean. It was one of the earlier pale yellow models designed during the height of the hovercraft craze in the 1950s. The exhaust port was located on the center of the underside of the machine, causing it to float across the floor. It was an elegantly designed, functional piece of art.

A vintage ad for a later model of the trusted Constellation.

A bit later, I found a vintage Hoover upright I figured was a mid-1930's model based upon a limited amount of research. It was brown. I found a similar model on Paul Linnell's Vacuum Cleaner Museum as Hoover Model 150, circa 1936. Turns out, This machine was designed by Henry Dreyfuss, celebrated industrial designer of the 1930s and 1940s. And until I continued doing research for this vacuum, I didn't realize that he designed the Constellation, as well. No wonder I was drawn to it. It was an Industrial Age classic. To have this beauty join my arsenal of vintage appliances and further complete my time warp of a home, I paid Norma, five dollars. This machine would suck dust from the hardwoods through the oriental rugs and take all the cat hair with it.

These two were my mainstay of floor cleaners (besides my O Cedar dust mop and a good old fashioned natural cane broom) until Cameron and I moved in together. As with most appliances in our house, I have several of just about everything. At this moment, there are at least five irons in the laundry room. This is because I love classic design and I don't mind a little inconvenience of less than the most up-to-date to have something that works very well, is dependable, and is beautifully designed. Some don't appreciate that, but my neuroses are mine, and I own up to them proudly. Anyway, back to when we officially became a couple. Cameron bought an estate house in St. Petersburg a couple of years before he accepted the position at Northwest. Included in the purchase of the house was a mid-70's (estimated) self-propelled orange and white Hoover upright that weighed about 5-million pounds and was ugly as hell. But, as was standard back when there was "nothing like a Hoover when you're dealing with dirt,"* the thing sucked. So, I used the old one less and less and eventually loaned it to a friend. I regret not going to pick it up when he moved. Apparently it was still in the house when he left and God knows what has happened to it since. I hope it didn't end up in the trash.

A few years later, Thom came to live with us after he completed training to become a flight attendant. He hated all of our vacuums. So he bought one of the new Eureka plastic pieces of shit. He paid several hard-earned dollars for it. It had a HEPA filter. It worked well enough, until one day when Cameron went out to empty the bagless dust canister. He didn't notice that when he beat the cone shaped pre-filter on the side of the dumpster to clear the collected dust that a foam thing fell out of the piece making the vacuum useless. As a result, I promptly went to Value City and bought a refurbished "Cadillac" of Dirt Devil uprights. The refurbished model was over $250. It was amazing. It did as well as the old Hoover upright, had a lighted fascia, a lighted indicator telling me when the carpet was no longer dirty and a buttload of attachments no longer found on newer vacuums, like a crack/crevice tool that's longer than four inches. It lasted for maybe two years before bolts, screws and sundry other pieces started flying out of the back of it while I vacuumed the living room carpet last summer. I threw it 20 feet out the back door onto the patio. It met the garbage truck shortly thereafter.

Following the Dirt Devil, there is the hand-me-down Kirby that was on it's way to the curb until John told me what he was doing. I said, "I WANT IT." A couple of hours later I had an early 1980's model Kirby "Heritage" with ALL of the attachments (even the hair trimmer). It was making an odd noise, which is why John wanted it out of the house that he and David share. Of course, the Kirby made the horrid noise because David's ex stupidly decided to vacuum the patio to get rid of leaves before a party. With a $35 repair and a new guidelamp bulb, I had a Kirby!

Um. It sucks. Really. It's unbalanced because the motor is located to the left of center of the machine body. It tends to tilt to the left on the backstroke which leaves the right side of the area vacuumed virtually untouched. In order to use the myriad attachements, or even the upholstery brush, one has to remove the beater bar (or half of the vacuum) by twisting a mechanism on the front of the machine that releases the belt from the drive. And, as of two weeks ago I discovered a large crack in the resin-coated fiber tube from the motor to the bag that was allowing as much dust as it collected back into the air.

So since I sold the Constellation to Cleo for $5 at a yard sale a few years ago (yes, a dollar profit from my close friend -- shame on me -- but she still uses and loves it), lost the late thirties upright for putting off picking it up, sold Cameron's orange monstrosity in a yard sale, threw the aforementioned Dirt Devil out the back door and now refuse to use the Kirby because all I am doing is circulating dust, I went to buy what I've wanted all along at Sears this past Saturday.

It's not nearly as sturdy feeling as the one I begrudgingly vacuumed my mother's house with when told to do so thirty years ago, but it's exactly what I've wanted.

Retractible cord just like I used to scare our cat with. Powermate. The usual attachments. But this one has a telescoping wand that allows me to clean the crown mouldings without a ladder or adjust normal vacuuming to someone taller than five feet, a mini-Powermate for cleaning upholstery and it is QUIET. I was actually able to talk to Cleo on the phone on Sunday while continuing my vacuuming chores. So, it sucks. And, I love it.

*Thank you, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner for the Hoover reference from "This is a Recording"

09 April 2007

03 April 2007

Thank You, Rosie

I'm just now hearing the latest Rosie O'Donnell "news". I found a link to this on her blog:

02 April 2007

Busier Than a One-Armed Paper Hanger?

I don't remember most of the cheesy phrases that I've heard that make reference to being extremely busy. I think this title is one of them. But, I so often screw up phrases of that nature saying things like "ox in a china shop".

Oh, well. Whatever.

We went back to Hernando last Saturday and went through the 30 or so house plans that I had pulled. Becca and Petey looked through them with us and I think we've narrowed our search down to five plans. Some of the ones we've picked will need the master expanded by about five feet and we may modify some other aspects of the plans.

Now, if we can find an available lot...