Socked In!

Youngest daughter gave me a pair of flannel sock monkey  pajamas as a sort-of gag gift at least ten years ago.   She also provided matching slippers, but those got chewed to smithereens three dogs ago, although I still wore them chewed until two dogs ago.

The pajamas are so thick, they require a drawer by themselves,  since my other nightwear refuses to mingle with them.  I’ve taken them out countless times to donate somewhere. . . perhaps to a museum at this point. . . but I always end up saving them for one more year.

The thing is, besides the fact that they’re inappropriate for a woman of my golden years, fashion sense, and incredible sophistication, they’re too hot for any human of normal body temperature to sleep in, no matter how cold the night.

BUT, when I get whammed with a virus that flattens me, only the sock monkey pajamas can take away the accompanying chills.  Even my Dearly Beloved, who shuns cough syrups and medicines, has resorted to wearing them on such occasions.

I’m talking daywear.  Other than perhaps in a cryogenic state, they’re still too hot for one to wear in bed, yet to schlep around from sofa to bathroom to bed during a siege of flu, cold, sinus infection, they’re pure magic.  The top has two patch pockets large enough for tissues, nasal sprays, cough drops, cellphone, whatever, all at the same time.

The 2016 version of pestilence and disease in the Lee household struck about the same time the ghost of Marley would have shown itself.  It was a doozy.  I donned the pajamas, hit the sofa, and settled in for a long winter’s bout.

Dearly Beloved offered incredible support by letting me binge-watch Hallmark Christmas movies without so much as a whimper about all the games he was missing on TV.  A prince among men!

By Christmas evening, the prince was feeling pretty lousy himself.  His Christmas dinner consisted of my takeout leftovers from the previous week and a slice of pumpkin bread a kind neighbor had brought over, along with a glass of wine.  Mine was four saltines and a glass of water.

The pajamas are an indicator of how one is progressing because they become suffocating to the wearer as soon as one starts to turn the corner back to good health.  Hah!  I didn’t find any corners for five days.  The sock monkey pajamas were all that was holding me back from the abyss.  Well, those and the Hallmark Christmas movies.

Yesterday, I felt good enough to move into sweatpants.   I even cooked dinner last night:  Italian-style meatballs and marinara over spaghetti squash.  Granted, the sauce was jarred, the meatballs made by the butcher, we had no olive oil, and DB had to halve the squash for me, but that three-ingredient dinner was fabulous.

I may even feel mended enough to do the laundry today.  I need to wash those pajamas.

Dearly Beloved is having chills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Need A Hug?

Of all the statistics being tossed around from the Presidential election, the one that perhaps surprised me most was that 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump. Not that they should have voted for Hillary Clinton because she was a woman, but because they voted for a man who demeaned women publicly and privately.

(He also bullied and ridiculed the weak, put down minorities, and reviled immigrants.  I’m guessing that, unlike those white women,  they expressed their disapproval of his behavior with their votes.)

This election spawned a support group called Pantsuit Nation on Facebook, giving women of all ages the opportunity to interact and talk of their passions and frustrations with others who felt just as strongly.  But the bravest group of all, I thought, called themselves Republican Women for HILLARY.  At a time when even the most assertive members of Congress fear being even slightly out of step with their party line, for these women to publicly proclaim their intentions was, to me, amazing.

Within my own family, some of us were crushed by the election results intellectually and viscerally.  When my devastated older daughter went for a walk Wednesday, she came upon this house and, on impulse, felt compelled to ring the doorbell.

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She could do little but introduce herself to the woman who answered the door before bursting into tears.  The woman, a complete stranger to my daughter, reacted in the same manner.  They hugged and sobbed on the stoop before my daughter continued her walk.

Shortly afterwards, the woman changed her sign to this:

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To his credit, Donald Trump has been inclusive and gracious in his post-election comments.  It would be wise for members of Congress to behave in a similar manner, for most of us are sick of the terms Democrats and Republicans.  I for one, would like to simply be American now.

Be honorable when no one is watching.  Compromise.  That doesn’t mean “it’s MY turn now.”  It means working together: mutual concession, respecting each other’s differences.  We should be able to manage that.   We call ourselves, after all, the United States of America.

Let the hugging begin.

 

 

 

 

YANK!

Early fall is training time here for precinct workers, to ready them for the  November election.  The classes are mandatory, even if one has worked at the same job for 20 years.  Every year, something changes.  My class this year was, as always,  a roomful of Republicans and Democrats working together in good faith to make sure this election is carried out as seamlessly as possible.

The room was packed.  I’ve mentioned before that the location I select is a windowless room in a county office building that was previously used as the overflow morgue.   Although there are training locations all over the city, this one is nearest my house.  I sign up for daytime classes.  If I see a shadow, I want it to be my own.  Others must feel the same way.

I took one of the few seats available, next to a pleasant-looking older woman who has snagged an aisle seat.  (Okay, it’s possible that this “older woman” could have been about my age.) As we exchanged pleasantries, I realized that I was not looking her in the eye,  mesmerized as I was by a significant hair growing under her chin.  No peach fuzz. . .  this one was a doozie,  so long it had a slight curl to it.  Upwards of an inch, at least.

As she talked on, I wrestled with myself about what to do.  Should I avert my eyes and ignore it?  Surely, she didn’t know it was there!

Recently I read that a friend is someone who tells you that you have lipstick on your teeth.  Isn’t a long chin hair in that same category?  It is hard to know exactly where to draw the line in these matters.

Once I attended a morning brunch and encountered a similar incident.  One woman I didn’t know very well shouldn’t have been there because she had a terrible cold.  (Her husband was a doctor.  You’d think he’d have told her.)  As we chatted, she wiped her nose with a tissue.  Unfortunately, she dislodged. . . um. . .  mucus (can I say wet booger here?) which smeared across whatever that space is called between nose and upper lip.  I quickly did a motion across that space on my own face and told her to wipe again.  It was either that or start gagging.

So back to the whisker lady.  I rationalized that she must not have any friends or they’d have told her she needed to tweeze.

“You have a long chin hair right there,” I said, squeezing my index finger and thumb under my own chin in a pulling motion in order to designate the location.

She answered, “I know.  It won’t come out.  I tried to pull it out and my friend tried, too.  It won’t come out.”

I was stunned into silence.  My fingers were itching to reach over and yank.

I could have had that sucker out of there in five seconds with my bare hands, even if the other end was rooted in her nostril.  Furthermore, , I not only carry a small Swiss Army Knife, but tweezers, clippers, and scissors as well.

Errant hairs, beware former Girl Scout leaders..

Heck, if the woman’s whisker truly required something of industrial strength, maybe the morgue folks left something behind.  I’d have been willing to search on her behalf.

“I’m so sorry,” I told her, then buried my face in my elections manual to forestall any further conversation.

Today I went to lunch with some of my precinct friends (Democrats and Republicans) and told them the story.  They were horrified, but laughed  hysterically that I had been so rash and bold.

So now, unless that woman has a second friend with stronger fingers, she is going to work the entire Election Day with people staring at that eye-catching chin hair.  Oh, the embarrassment!  By Election Day, it may have grown enough that she can tie her name badge to it.  Give that bad boy a purpose.

You may rest assured that I will definitely be checking myself in a magnifying mirror for stray eyebrows and facial hair before I show up to work on Election Day.

And let this be a warning to my fellow precinct friends:  if you notice lipstick on my teeth and don’t tell me, I’m going to do some hair pulling myself.   Yours.

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Independence, Yes, But NIMBY!!!

Ivy, our granddog Goldendoodle arrived yesterday to stay with us for a week while her Peeps spend a week at the beach.

We were thrilled at the chance to have her for a week.  She’s a fun dog AND Ivy chases squirrels!  Oh, the thrill or seeing those little bastards scatter!  They are as fearful of her as they are contemptuous of us.  When we run out yelling at them, they give us the finger before sauntering off to lean against a tree, waiting for us to leave.  When Ivy goes out, they head for the treetops at top speed.

So, when Ivy’s family headed out yesterday, we came inside to enjoy looking out at our tree rodent-free yard.  Some time later, we heard Scout at the gate, barking loudly, which she rarely does.  Dearly Beloved called the dogs inside, but only Scout came.

Ivy had disappeared.

Imagine our panic!  Her folks hadn’t even reached the beach yet and we’d already lost their dog!  I fired off a Lost Dog e-mail to the neighborhood with a regal photo of Ivy.  I didn’t text my daughter.  I put  Version 2 Scout on a leash and asked her to play bloodhound while we walked the neighborhood.  She began sniffing immediately and my hopes soared.  Hah!  She was just looking for a place to pee–twice, before we even got to the corner.

In the meantime, DB had already headed out in his car.  He was so determined to find her that he said he was prepared to search all night.

While I was waiting for Scout to finish, I received an e-mail from someone in the neighborhood saying that Ivy was safe–she’d seen her with a couple who were trying to locate her owners.  They had called the number on the ID tag, but Voicemail was full, so they couldn’t leave a message.

The clever couple took Ivy home with them and sent a text to the number on the tag, since they couldn’t leave a message.  So, our daughter, on her way to the beach, received a text from strangers, saying, “We have your dog.  She is safe.”

Ivy loved the adventure.  She played with the couple’s Great Dane until DB arrived.  She’ probably bragged about it to Scout.  Ivy’s ID tag had broken off previously and Daughter had handed it to me when they arrived, asking could we fix it and put it back on her collar.  DB did so immediately.  Daughter was so grateful that he’d done so that she may even let us keep the grandkids again.  DB and I figure that we lost only five years of our lives at most.   Scout is giving us reproachful looks that say, “I TRIED to tell you that she’d broken out of the joint!”  

Trauma is exhausting, so DB and the dogs are napping.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  But first,  Ivy has a message for you. . . .

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Fooling Around

I read somewhere that it takes 15 or 20 minutes for coffee to get someone started in the morning.  Since we make ours with half-decaf, half-regular,  it doesn’t seem unreasonable for me to take 30 to 50 minutes to vacate the twilight zone.

Sunday morning, before the coffee even finished brewing, Dearly Beloved looked out the sunroom window and casually announced:  Look.  There are two squirrels copulating on that oak limb.”  

He continued his narration without any encouragement from me.  “Now he’s run  off and she’s up there cleaning herself.”  

TMIBC.  Too much information before coffee.

A similar scene took place in plain sight later that afternoon.  DB figured it was the male practicing free love.  It made me curious, so I looked up some information on the mating habits of grey squirrels and learned that it was the same female probably, different male.  What a bunch of bastards those tree rats are.   Sheesh!

The female is fertile for less than a day, however, she puts out a scent that calls male squirrels in the neighborhood, thus filling her dance card all day.

We may as well forget Groundhog Day.  It doesn’t matter how much more winter weather we have because my plantings will be screwed right along with those squirrel hussies.  Let’s see. . . the gestation period is about 45 days, and it takes mommas about seven to 10 weeks to wean them.  Yup. That means the little bastards will hit the ground to start digging and chewing about the same time all my warm weather plants are starting to really look good.

Furthermore, the females will be about ready to put out the word, er. . . scent again.  The obnoxious little bastards mate twice a year.   Wonder what we can do to counteract that sex scent next time, assuming we can’t lock all the fertile ones under the house for the day.

For awhile, I thought I had the solution.  Remember smudge pots?   There are to be zillions of them sitting in road construction warehouses everywhere, a dime a dozen, right?

Wrong.  The smelly old kerosene ones might work, but they’re pricey.  The new ones burn lamp or citronella oil.  Not enough stink.

Speaking of stink, I admire the Kentucky legislator who’s raising one in her state. Have you read about Rep. Mary Lou Marzian?  After the KY legislature passed another pro-birth measure, this one making any woman seeking an abortion to have counseling 24 hours prior, Rep. Marzian came up with legislation which could help prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwelcome sexual advances.  Her bill, HB396,  would require men seeking erectile dysfunction-type drugs to have at least two visits with their doctors as well as a permission slip from their wives.   Only married men would be able to obtain the drug and they would have to swear on a Bible to use it only with their wives.

Rep. Marzian is a medical professional and knows that the drugs cause risks for men and she wants to protect them from themselves.  Headaches, runny nose, body aches, vision problems, dizziness. . . .  If her bill passes, those pill users would have their permission slip-signing wives right there to nurse them back to health.  It would reduce medical costs, something any legislator should embrace, right?

As for the problems in our garden,  if Monsanto and Dupont and all those GMO-loving companies want to produce a corn containing birth control for tree rats,  I’ll see to it that ours are the best fed critters on the block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authenticity!

I’ve never been to Mardi Gras or, for that matter, to New Orleans.  In fact, I’m not even sure I’ve ever been to a Cajun restaurant,  although I did win a  Cajun cookbook on Velva Knapp’s blog a few years ago.

It was time for my Dearly Beloved and me to step out of our evening routine.

Mardi Gras night, here we come!  DB wasn’t as enthusiastic as I.  He’d pictured an  evening by the fire with a glass of wine, watching the New Hampshire primary returns.

We were stepping out, all right, but at our age, we step cautiously.  Our favorite little neighborhood restaurant was doing up Fat Tuesday.  Close enough!  They’d promised a King’s cake direct from New Orleans.   How much more authentic could it get, I ask you?!   Not only that, one of the restaurant owners is a Louisiana native and used to march in the Mardi Gras parade.

He was 8 years old at the time and played clarinet.

Even though we arrived before 6,  all the tables and booths were full.  They had outdone themselves;  decorations adored the walls and hung from the ceiling, and twinkle lights in Mardi Gras colors encircled the room.

We bellied up to the bar to wait for a table.  I passed up a Hurricane drink in favor of my usual glass of red wine, content to watch the bartender mixing a steady stream of the cheery-looking drinks in large glasses.  I slipped several strands of the necklaces around my neck.  They were strewn around everywhere.  Authentic beads!  Oh yeah!

Dearly Beloved could not decide between the specials for the evening, so he ordered a trio of Red Beans and Rice, Shrimp Creole, and Shrimp and Crayfish Étouffée.  He pronounced it one of the best meals ever.

When our server came around with the King’s cake,  I chose carefully, not so much in search of the baby, but opting for a slice that wouldn’t turn my teeth purple.  I selected one in the golden yellow section.  DB told me too bad, that if I’d gotten the Baby Jesus, all my sins would be forgiven for the year.

I think it meant I’d get a free dessert.

DB said he’d had King’s Cake often during our years in Memphis because one of the guys in their office went down to New Orleans and picked one up every year.  He hadn’t particularly liked it–he remembered it as tasting very vanilla-ish.  This one wasn’t; it was deliciously light, with a hint of lemon.   I was glad that DB is gluten-free these days–he’d have loved this one.  In fact, I was tempted to order a second slice to bring home for breakfast this morning.

The atmosphere was festive and bright, yet cozy. DB admitted that it was much better than the evening he’d planned.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

This morning I was telling a friend about our evening and how much we enjoyed it.  DB came in toward the end of our conversation and asked,   “Did Mary tell you about our big Mardi Gras night?”

“She said it was fun and that the food was great,”  our friend answered.

I knew what DB was going to say next before he opened his mouth:

Did she tell you that she ordered pot roast?

sigh.  No.  I’d omitted that part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Sense A Lack of Appreciation

No, I did not miss Squirrel Appreciation Day yesterday.  Someone made certain I knew of it. . .  the same person who sent me this birthday card:

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Thanks, Beanie.

There’s a DAY for that?  Who the heck came up with that idiotic notion?

Huffington Post says:

Christy Hargrove from Asheville, North Carolina started Squirrel Appreciation Day on January 21, 2001. Christy is a wildlife rehabilitator in North Carolina, and is affiliated with the Western North Carolina Nature Center.

Holy crap!  One of my own kind!!!  It sounds so SOUTH Carolina-ish!

Here’s the thing, Christy. . . In Asheville, you have forested mountains.  Now that’s a good place for the tree rats to live.  Here, I have flower beds and not a mountain in sight.

ROAD TRIP to Asheville!  Wonder if I’ll need to rent a truck.

Wayside Gardens, a wonderful source for plants of all kinds, also sent notification of Squirrel Appreciation Day.  In fact, they included an article by listing all the reasons we should have such a celebration.   Read it and weep.  I’ll give you the gist of it.

Gag me with a peanut, it had to be a real stretch for the author to come up with any pluses.  Squirrels aerate the soil?  In my world, it’s called, digging up my darned flower bulbs.  Squirrels  add nutrients to the soil when they break off branches and stems.  Again, in my garden it is described as the little bastards are ruining my trees.  Oh, here’s a good one:  they sometimes forget where they buried their nuts, thus planting new trees.  Yeah.  That answers the question of why are all those freakin’ oak seedlings coming up in my rose bed?  

Here’s something interesting, according to the article:  Their four front teeth never stop growing, lengthening about six inches a year so they aren’t worn down from all that chewing.  That explains why my dogwood trees look like teething rings for the little bastards.

We’re having a snowy/sleety/freezing rainy weekend here.  The birds have flocked to our feeders, tanking up, but amazingly, we haven’t seen a single squirrel all day!

Now THAT’S something I can appreciate.