August 28, 2012: Not Without My Kitten

09/04/2012 - 2 Responses

Not my “son.”

          It happened again the other day. I bumped into someone I know a little bit and hadn’t seen in a while. I remembered her name and that she had a daughter named Kelsey, so I asked how Kelsey was doing.

          “Oh, she’s great!” my pal yelped. “She’s just started fourth grade and she’s in band this year and she’s thinking about joining Girl Scouts! It’s so cute!”

And then she said this thing that I hear every once in awhile and which always makes my toes curl.

          “How’re your cats?”

          I responded as I always do. I looked briefly confused, and then I replied, “They’re okay.” And then I changed the subject.

          Note to all and sundry: My cats are not my children. You don’t have to ask after my pets because I have never fathered a child. We have other things we can talk about.

Thing I Hate Today: Superstition

August 27, 2012: I Despise Week Men

09/03/2012 - One Response

Okay. But what is the movie about?

Thing I Hate Today: Yellow mustard

August 26, 2012: Rocks Off

09/03/2012 - Leave a Response

What we expected.

          This is what one gets for attempting, however briefly, to revisit one’s childhood: A puddle of purple sludge.

          I’ve been doing one of my annual purges of the house, where I go through every closet and cupboard looking for stuff to get rid of. Last night I found something I have no memory of buying, but which Tevye says the Easter Bunny brought him last March: a packet of Magic Growing Crystals.

          “Can I throw these away?” I asked Tevye.

          “Let’s make them, then throw them out,” was his genius idea.

          I followed the instructions, which were obviously (but not very clearly) translated from some other language, pouring warm water into a fishbowl and then covering rocks with what looked like grape Kool-Aid. Every 45 minutes or so, Tevye and I would peer into the fishbowl hoping to see something. Finally, we gave up and went to bed.

          Twenty-four hours later, we have this:

What we got.

Thing I Hate Today: Unfulfilled promises

August 25, 2012: Not So Contemporary

09/02/2012 - One Response

          I am apparently quite old.

          I was invited to read a couple of my essays at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art last night, along with four other local writers. I read “Uncle Sam at the Piggly Wiggly” (a satire aimed at annoying pop-psych catch-phrases) and “The Mysterious Song of the Elusive Plastic Butterfly” (about the night, two summers ago, when I awoke in my childhood bedroom and thought, for a second, that it was still 1978 and I had dreamed my entire adult life).

          After I read my essays, I asked Tevye, “How’d I do?”

          “Fine. Grandpa.”

          It seems that I took rather a long time removing my eyeglasses from the pocket of my blazer before I began reading. My glasses didn’t go unnoticed by anyone, it seems.

          “I really liked the story you read about taking care of your parents!” a nice young woman told me at the meet-and-greet after. “And you were so cute in your glasses! My mom has a pair just like them!”

Thing I Hate Today: Karen Carpenter jokes

August 24, 2012: Road Rage

09/02/2012 - 2 Responses

     I am shopping for a new car. Or, as I like to say, “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.”


Thing I Hate Today: Shopping for a car

August 23, 2012: Can’t Smile Without You

09/02/2012 - 2 Responses

          The Jehovah’s Witnesses returned today.

          It had been an especially trying morning. Mom awoke, as she occasionally does, upset because her card club was coming over, and she wasn’t prepared. Over and over again, I had to pretend to telephone the president of the club (who died in 1978) to tell her that my mother didn’t feel well and could they please not come over.

          After the seventh such fake phone call, Mom said, “What do I have?”

          “Alzheimer’s,” I said, too exhausted to come up with a clever lie.

          “Well, it feels like a cold.” she said, frowning.

           The doorbell rang. The two old ladies on the front stoop were talking before I got the door open.

          “Here we are again!” the one named Bertha called out. I recognized her and her companion from last weekend, when they’d tried to corral me into talking about the anointment of Abaddon or something.

          “We’re walking the neighborhood talking to our friends about the good word of the Lord!”  the other one cheeped.

          Well, this friend has a sore back and is all out of Vicodin, I thought. This friend is an atheist and a homosexual who’s about to explain to you in detail about how both of those things work, just for the fun of it.

           But instead—for once—I closed my mouth. No, I thought. I’ve been delivering that particular sermon for more than 30 years. This time, I’m going to offer something different.

          “Won’t you please come inside and talk to my mother?” I asked, opening the door wide for the ladies.

 Thing I Hate Today: Lint

August 22, 2012: Please, Santa

09/01/2012 - Leave a Response

Please please please.

I want desperately to believe that this is a real thing, and that new mothers across the land are shoving plastic star-shaped fittings up their children’s asses. So that Little Tommy can shit a constellation!

Hey, it’s possible. I mean, peanut allergies are “real.”

 Thing I Hate Today: The word “locavore”

August 21, 2012: We Are Not Alone

09/01/2012 - One Response

     I am working on a writing project for a local home-care company, and so I’m spending a good chunk of time these days talking to other people who are caring for family members. We’re a weary bunch, prone to bitterness and crying.

      I try to keep the interviews short, but there’s no way to make them cheerful. “My father has no legs and my mother has Stage IV colon cancer.” And: “My child broke his neck when he was three, and that was 22 years ago. I’ve been caring for him, full-time, ever since.” And, over and over again, this refrain: “Then the extended care policy ran out and the nursing home kicked her out and I had to bring her back home.”

          Maker’s Mark has been calling my name all day.

Thing I Hate Today: How my 7,000 CDs are now suddenly “old-fashioned”

August 20, 2012: He Shot the Sheriff

09/01/2012 - Leave a Response

          Occasionally, a routine visit to an artist’s studio to look at his latest work turns into an event. When I saw this painting, entitled “Welcome to Arizona!” at Eric Cox’s studio today, it very nearly wiped away my daily desire to throw myself into traffic.

I’ll be featuring this beauty in my next exhibit.

Thing I Hate Today: Mr. Arpaio has been cleared of all “charges”

August 19, 2012: Blended Prune Pie

09/01/2012 - 3 Responses

I’m glad this book still has its (tattered) dust jacket, otherwise I’d have no idea why Ruth Ellen Church is the author of Mary Meade’s Magic Recipes for the Electric Blender. Turns out, according to this book’s flap copy, that Church is Meade, although there’s no explanation printed here about why she used a pseudonym as author of a syndicated food column in the 1950s.

Probably the author didn’t want to put her real name on recipes like Codfish Delight or Party Avocado Mold, which sounds more like a dampness problem than a festive side dish. The gimmick here was that Fifties housewives could use their then-newly popular electric blenders to make every course of each meal they prepared. The best section is the desserts chapter, which is oddly placed at the front of the book and wherein Meade—I mean Church—goes batshit with soft, creamy confections, among them Nesselrode Pudding and something called Fluffy Prune Pie, one of the few recipes that includes a caveat (“…cut the pieces small!”) that’s possibly code for “This dessert causes diarrhea!”

FLUFFY PRUNE PIE

Rich stuff, so cut the pieces small!

Place in blender:

¼ cup orange juice

1 small piece lemon rind

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Blend until rind is grated. Without stopping blender, add gradually

1 pound of pitted prunes, cooked until very soft

Blend smooth. Add

 1 cup walnuts or pecans

 Blend a few seconds to chop. Pour into mixing bowl and mix in

 ¾ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

 Beat until stiff, then fold in

 2 egg whites

 Pour into baked 9-inch pie shell and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. When cool, top with whipped cream to which you have added 2 drops almond extract. Pie is rich and sweet, so I prefer not to sweeten whipped cream for it.        

 Thing I Hate Today: Prunes