To Pee Or Not To Pee

The City Council here had a policy discussion on gay rights last month and much of the ensuing kerfuffle centered around bathrooms and whether or not an individual had the right to use the bathroom of one’s sexual identification rather than the bathroom of one’s genitalia.    Eventually, they took bathrooms out of the discussion. . . then decided to vote down the whole proposal anyway.

I’m perplexed as to why a person chooses to vote against someone solely because of their sexual orientation.  I’m for putting equality on the front burner and leaving sex to simmer in private on a back burner.   My gaydar antenna is still in the original wrappings.  I don’t care whose team a person plays on–just make the rules fair for everyone.

As for the bathroom issue, I admit that I’d be taken aback if Bruce Jenner walked into the Cracker Barrel bathroom right behind me, but at the same time, I don’t think someone should have to drop their drawers to prove where they’re allowed to pee.  Just make sure the bathroom is clean.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my Dearly Beloved and I enjoy going places together, but we have different ideas about the road trip.  While I’m for stopping at interesting places (okay, they usually involve shopping) along the way, he points a laser beam to his destination and would prefer not to stop for anything.   I like to wait and buy gas in South Carolina, where it’s about 20 cents a gallon cheaper.  He fills the tank here the day before we leave and it’s fine with him if we reach our destination on fumes.

He does, however, know that bathroom stops trump everything.  In fact, he even asks me, “Do you need to go to the bathroom or should I keep going?”  because parts of our trips often go through No-Bathrooms Land.

During a pit stop on a trip a couple of months ago, Dearly Beloved pumped gas at one of those Gas/Fast Food/Junk stations along I-85 while I went inside to use the ladies room.  I walked in and headed into a stall like I always do, used the toilet, and walked out.

It was like I’d entered The Twilight Zone.  Although I don’t recall anyone else being in there when I went in, there were FOUR MEN using urinals went I walked out.  I was flabbergasted, but it was minimal compared with the stunned expression on their faces.  They froze.

How had I managed to overlook the Men’s Room sign on the door and the urinals on the wall on my way in?   If I could miss all that, might I have been so intent on my mission that I overlooked a guy or two standing around?   For all I know, Bruce Jenner might have been in there.

I didn’t look up and I certainly didn’t look down.  Nothing for me to do except say, “Pardon me!” and get the hell out of there.  I didn’t even stop to wash my hands.

So. . . I’m not about to attempt to solve the problem of who gets to use which bathroom, but other people have much interest.   I understand that some states are working on laws to ban transgender folks from using the bathroom of the sex they identify with.   Might I have been arrested for an Oops?

I did learn one thing from the experience:  If unisex bathrooms ever become commonplace. . .  as long as they’re clean, I may not even notice.

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Get A Room!

When my friend Beanie took two of her grandchildren to the Washington Zoo in the fall, she was expecting that she might hear questions from them about some of the 1800 animals in the zoo.

But she WASN’T expecting to run into this Aldabra tortoise scene right by the entrance.

Get a room?  I carry it with me!

Hard to tell him to get a room when he already has a house on his back.

Looks like that makes her a two-story.

(Many thanks to Beanie for the picture.)


As The Worms Turn

Okay, I know I’m being lazy here, but I’ll bet that some of you probably know the answer to this without my having to interrupt my Netflix movie .

My Memphis Friend, DirtWoman, asked me a question, not that she’s expecting an answer from me.  But maybe you know.  Why, after a heavy rain, does she find earthworms all over her garage floor?  She says there are two dozen or so where the garage door comes down and many more in deeper parts of the garage.  She feels that there is no way they can wash in there, with all the brick edging, walls, doors, thresholds, gaskets, etc.

We’ve had heavy rains, too,  but haven’t seen any earthworms in our garage.  I do see them on sidewalks after a rain, but that’s easier to understand.  Of course, I have our garage so full of junk that even a blind earthworm might seek neater quarters.

Now a silly question from me. . . .

Does anyone else read Brooke McEldowney’s comic strips?

Even though I don’t always understand them, I am fascinated by the way this man’s mind works.  Yes, MAN, although I thought woman for a long time.  He writes two strips, quite different, with brilliant artwork in both.  I’ve been wanting to mention them to you, but when there is a continuing story line, one can’t just start in the middle.   Pibgorn, for instance,  retold Romeo and Juliet in absolutely charming, non-traditional drawings several months ago.  Other times, always on a weekend, the cartoonist may come up with a single thought, without a drawing at all.  It’ll be a zinger, frequently religious or political,  always clever.

Then there is the always fun at 9 Chickweed Lane, the sassiest address in the comic world.  The strip has just enough different characters to sometimes confuse me about the relationships, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it.  There have been stories about double agents having affairs, a pretty young vet stealing mistreated cows and starting an affair with her Scandinavian handyman right there in the barnyard.  The romance angle continued long after the cow issue was resolved.  There are ongoing panels about a hot-blooded couple who are often in concert.

I’ve never seen either of these strips in a newspaper and I’m sure the papers that do carry them get letters, but the cartoonist has won multiple awards and his drawings are perfection.  The artwork is what drew me to the strips in the first place.  I read them on go

Reading online comments about comic strips is like turning over a rock;  Lunatics Anonymous lurk there, waiting for the next panel to appear.  (That’s odd, because blog commenters are almost always lucid and delightful.  Seriously.)   Anyway, Mr. McEldowney  disallows comments on either of his strips.  If you don’t like ’em, don’t read ’em.  I like his logic.

His comic strips may not win you over, but give them a few days to see if they grow on you.  I suspect you’ll love them or hate them–nothing in between.   As for me, I find that a  little chuckle every morning is a very good thing.

Heh, heh.







Temporary Insanity

Last week the weather forecasters in our neck of the woods predicted that we would be getting T-E-N inches of snow.  Ten inches of snow in this part of North Carolina has lower odds than a $10,000 scratch-off lottery ticket.

The city sent out a letter letting us know that they were slagging streets, salting sidewalks, putting transit personnel on 12-hour shifts, and advising us to prepare to hunker down.  Schools were closed before the first flake fell.

I went about my hunkering preparations by making sure there was plenty of wine, toilet paper, and bread.  Yup.  We were good to go stay.

Then I looked outside at our tacky assortment of suet holders and bird feeders.  Practically empty!!!  Worse, so was our supply cabinet.

There were no lines at the hardware store because everyone else was at the grocery store at the other end of the shopping center buying bread and milk.  I selected a variety of suet and two different kinds of bird seed, then walked around the display to see what else might be helpful.  On the bottom shelf was a large bag holding peanuts in the shell, dried corn kernels, and an assortment of other nuts and grains.  My mind waged an argument inside my head:  don’t do it!  vs. but it’s going to be 10 inches!   The but it’s going to be 10 inches! side sent out images of a backyard littered with furry frozen you-know-whats.  I shoved the bag into my cart.

God help me, I was buying squirrel food.

Next morning,  the ground was white all right, but it was less than half an inch and already beginning to melt.  I looked out at the feeding station and saw the birds waiting while a squirrel suctioned a bird feeder like his name was Dyson.  The clay saucer of squirrel food remained untouched.  I rushed outside, screaming and clapping my hands, and the offender jumped off and sauntered up the pine tree, but only a few feet, leaving no doubt that it was only a temporary detour.

Sure enough, I had barely sat down again when he swaggered down the tree, flexed his muscles under his fur jacket, popped his knuckles, then made a gymnastics leap (I’d give it a 9.4) onto the bird feeder.  He latched on immediately, like a suckling pig.

The sympathy truce is over.  There will be no refilling of the squirrel feeding station.  This is war.

I’d like to pass the rest of the food bag on to that squirrelly weather forecaster.






Travelin’– Or, As They May Say In Michigan, ‘Raveling.

Whenever we go on a trip, I tell myself that I’m not going to take any photos of weird things along the way, then I see situations that tickle me and I change my mind, but by the time I pull out my phone and aim the camera I end up with a series of blurred photos.

Here are my blurs and blobs, with explanations:

IMG_0259  The license plate on this car says “UDontNoMe”

This one says, “YOUKNOWIT.”  IMG_0262

I know that in the South, we have a tendency to drop our G’s at the end of words.  This truck is from Michigan.


Notice anything missing?

And last but not least, since this story made the front page of the Wall Street Journal last week, I thought I’d include a photo of the peachoid along I-85 in South Carolina.


Although it looks like it’s wearing a winter bonnet, the Gaffney, SC water tower has actually been under repair for some time.  The Journal article pointed out the town had “hoped to get cracking last fall,” but it wasn’t that easy to find an artist who can mix the 12 shades  and paint in the air like that.  It isn’t just a simple one-color job and the end is not in sight.

Depending how you look at it.


Hello, I’m Not Your Grandma

Maybe if I had more pockets, I’d do better about keeping track of my cellphone. More often than not, it’s in the bottom of my handbag amongst sticks of sugar-free peppermint gum and wrinkled old sales receipts.  It’s generally off or muted.  That means that I’m a bit hard to reach.

Actually, my most frequent callers are people  I don’t even know.  They leave messages, sometimes several a day, and I have not a clue as to the identity of the caller or the callee.  Since the message on my voicemail greeting is my own,  you’d think they might realize that the grandma they call is not the grandma they know.  Alas, no..

The Missed Call list shows that it’s a Wadesboro, NC,  phone number.  I’ve had messages from various members of the family,  phoning to leave a long message for “Grandma.”  Whoever the caller is, she’ll leave a message, then shout, “Does anybody else want to talk to Grandma?”  A child will then add her own message, chattering away as if she doesn’t expect a response.

I  had this problem years ago when I bought my first cellphone  in North Carolina.  The cellphone company claimed they retired numbers for a year before reassigning them.  Hogwash.  That number was so fresh that even the guy’s own mother didn’t know he’d changed it.  She was leaving messages along with dozens of other callers, most related to the guy’s work.  He was in the entertainment business, so the messages involved  changing bookings,  giving him party dates, etc.  I felt too guilty to ignore them, so I’d call his mother and leave the messages with her, figuring she’d track him down if they were important.

After a couple of weeks of that, I called the phone company and requested a different number.  They gave me the one I’m still using, which has worked fine until the Wadesboro family began calling.

One day, after turning on my phone and finding four long messages from them, including one from the woman telling Grandma that she didn’t know whether Jerome was going to try to make it to Charlotte because of the bad weather.  I called the Wadesboro number and left them a message,  saying that Granny wasn’t getting any of their messages and she’d probably appreciate knowing that Jerome wasn’t coming before she started fixing dinner for him.

And yet, the messages continued.  Sometimes I found my phone in time to answer and each time I’d say they had dialed the wrong number.

They continued to phone.

Once I called them and reached a member of the family, the mother I think.  I told her that I knew that Granny’s number must be very close to mine because I was receiving her messages.  She  laughed and said, “Yes, very close!”   I replied that they were leaving very nice messages and that I felt sure that Grandma would have enjoyed hearing them.

Didn’t help. The messages still piled up.

One night last week, after watching a late movie in bed, I turned off the light and settled under the covers.  I was nearly asleep when I realized that I’d left my phone on.  Since I hate the little beeps that sound to let me know of messages, I fumbled around in the dark to locate my phone and switch it to Off.  Somehow, I hit Redial and a voice answered with a sleepy, “Hello.”

It was a little after 1 AM.

I quickly turned on the bedside light and saw, to my horror,  that I’d redialed the last call received, which happened to be the people in Wadesboro.  I apologized, saying that I had hit Redial and called them by accident.

Would you believe that I haven’t had a single call from them since?   I don’t know the reason.  Perhaps Granny has gone to that great phone booth in the sky, or perhaps they decided that it would behoove them to dial more carefully in order to prevent any further late-night calls.

I’m knocking on wood, however.  I realize that the calls could resume at any time.

It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have granny’s number.  I’d be inclined to call to make sure she’s okay.  She might want to talk awhile and complain about her children never calling.


Some one invented the telephone,
And interrupted a nation’s slumbers,
Ringing wrong but similar numbers.
~Ogden Nash, Look What You Did, Christopher

Anytime I see someone blocking the aisle in the supermarket while talking on a phone, I want to ram that person with my shopping cart. ~Richard Turner

Paper Town? Paper Leaves.

Last fall I received an e-mail that someone was making a movie here and would be filming several scenes in front of a couple of houses up the block from us. The movie was based on a young adult book–Paper Towns. so I assumed the movie would also be one for teenage audiences.  George Clooney had no role in it, so my interest level was not high.

Around Thanksgiving, someone taped a reminder to our front door advising that they’d be blocking off parts of the street during certain hours.  Some of the filming was done late at night, so it wasn’t much of an inconvenience.  There were huge lights placed next to the curb, up and down the street, for use when needed.IMG_2527The trucks left parked on the street were a minor annoyance.  Not as many trucks as when Homeland was filmed in this same area, but since the Homeland crew rented a nearby church parking lot, they’d been out of sigh for the most part.

White trucks lined the street some days and were more of a nuisance.  It’s not a very wide street.  IMG_2523

I apologize for the blurriness; I took all these pictures from the car.  It was slow going on this day.  Here, they were rolling some equipment down the middle of the street.


Although the trees were losing leaves, the storyline must have been set during warmer months.  Why do I think that?  Because men on ladders meticulously removed the scarlet leaves of the two dogwoods near the house and wired fake green leaves in their place.  Also, the crew was constantly blowing away dead leaves.

The first picture shows the trees with their fake leaves and the second is a closeup to show just how real they looked.  Unless they were supposed to look like dogwoods.

FullSizeRender 2014-11-13_13-29-23_237

Dearly Beloved happened to be walking past when we heard someone yell,  “Roll it!” so he took a quick snapshot of the scene.  If that was a love scene with guys practically breathing into the car, acting must be harder than I thought.  photo

But here’s my favorite picture from that week.  Alas, I never walked up to take a closeup, but see the little white square in the bottom of the photo below?


It was a handwritten sign telling where the women’s restroom was located.

 The wide screen reminds me of a roll of toilet paper.
-Yasujiro Ozu