Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Night's GOP Debate...National Cat Day...And (hands down) Best Halloween Idea- EVER

Yeah...and that pretty much says it all.

It was hard to watch.

 Not just the rhetoric and in many cases out-and-out lies. Not just the way they turned on each other like hyenas fighting over the carcass of a leftover wildebeest. Not just some of the comments which had to suck the I.Q points of everyone in the room several points lower.

It was hard to watch because these candidates...vying for the top office in the United States...refused to even extend the courtesy to the other members of their own party to wait their turn to talk.


Didn't we learn that in Kindergarten?
The taking turns talking and listening thing?

No. They spent two full hours shouting each other down, belittling each other,  questioning each other's ability to be The POTUS...and talking about how terrible Our Government is in general.

Since these candidates are pretty much asking the American People for a JOB in The Government. And the Debates are kind of their "Job Interview"...well imagine that type of scenario playing out at an interview with ANY other JOB.

Screaming over one another. Attacking each other. Refusing to stop talking when the interviewer says you need to. Not answering the question but going off on a totally different agenda/tangent. And not only saying horrible things about their current employer...but bad-mouthing the very "company" they are asking to employ them.

Would you hire anybody for any job who conducted themselves like that?

By the end of it all it was just like this:

 WTH, people.

Totally disgusted. is October 29th which also happens to be

So, in a show of solidarity, I enjoyed a long nap! 

Before which, I hosted a luncheon with my friend and fellow cat lover, Donna.
Her stray-cat-turned-taking over the house. Furry Lord of the Manor: "Critter" is just adorable. Of course, for Tucker...every day is Cat Day, too.

 She is getting ready to deal with some pretty heavy care-taking with her SIL (they are very close) who is coming home from a post-op bilateral radical mastectomy...alone. So having a break from real-life for the afternoon...and relaxing...and a meal that she didn't have to fix or clean up after...and later home-made beignets and  chicory coffee, was in order. Chris drifted over, too. He has always referred to her as "My Second Mom", and he and Dayne have been close friends since they were around eleven years old. Eric really helped take Chris under his wing when Bill died and she sat with me in the hospital in 2011 when I ended up with pneumonia.  By the time Donna left today...with hugs and encouraging words and leftover beignets we were joking and she was not nearly as stressed out.

And that is what being friends is all about.
What we are all here for, folks.

Being there for each other.

Nicole and I finishing Halloween Plans tomorrow. The end of the Soccer Season...which is good...unless they want these kids playing in SNOW. Tonight it actually felt and smelled like snow out. Probably soon. I think I am wearing a PARKA to Saturday's games. And thermals.

And that's okay.  We have had an outstanding Autumn. I am kind of anticipating the first Real Snowfall! 
By February, I won't be saying that...of course!

Saw this yesterday on the Internet:

Has to be the BEST Halloween Decor I have seen this year. Seriously, going to do it here next year (on a smaller scale)  On the Arbor. Crouched on Tucker's Box. Climbing the wooden support pole for the balcony or hanging off the flag-pole.

Absolutely loved the whole concept.
Too cool!

More anon...

Monday, October 26, 2015

The 24 Hour Without Technology Experiment...or Surviving Electronic Addiction

OMG...I think I speak for both of us when I say

 "Thank God THAT is over..."

And neither of us held out the full 24 hours, I might add.

I did make 18 [if you didn't count the use of the camera]...okay?

And the first thing I immediately realized Sunday morning is I use entirely more gadgets in my day to day life than one would even imagine.

And yes, Laura, a "blow-dryer" does so count.

Anyway...I had my Keurig and my Stove...oh you wanted toast with that? had best stick it under the broiler in the oven then.

And I realized immediately that in the 21st Century "No Technology" wasn't even realistic. It wasn't like I was going to unplug the refrigerator/freezer for 24 hours. And the block that keeps the laptop charged. Or the AC/Heat set auto-control to 70. And I certainly wasn't reverting to a chamber-pot when I have a perfectly serviceable flush toilet.

Anyway...there was a moment early on Sunday when I realized that the instant connectivity to the kids, my friends and family, the news et al was, in fact, an addiction.
No different than any other addiction.
It actually made me a bit edgy.
It felt strange.

Coffee without news and chat.

It was an extremely productive morning. Got around to taking care of and cleaning things I had been putting off for a long time.

Worked more on my Afternoon Water Lily Painting which I have dubbed "Four-Thirty", a nod to Monsieur Monet who once told a reporter he needed to be there to see his water gardens before 5:00 PM as

"the lilies are closed by then".

And, not quite finished but set it up beside my "Morning Light" piece done earlier in the year...just to see the lighting contrasts. Going to detail a few of the lilies to half and full closed blossoms. Hence "Four-Thirty"

(ah ha...maybe that was the reason for Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, and Van Gogh's success and prolific production of painting after painting. No Cell phones or Internet.)

Monet:  "Hey Renny, sending you my latest via Snap-Chat"

Renoir: "OMG...WHAT is THAT???"

Monet: "Oops, sorry...just something Henri sent...filthy little bad!"

Came in and was going to work on a manuscript I have started then realized


Well, crap.

Maybe I will just dump the photos I just took from the camera I wasn't suppose to be using anyway...this may be the whole DENIAL stage I was talking about yesterday.

Except that would involve...

MY LAP-TOP and Editing Software. 

By now I am so forlorn...rattled...jonesing...that I went to the Keurig to fix a cup of Peach Ginger Tea with a touch of Peach Whiskey.  Ostensibly, to soothe my jangled psyche. In all reality, probably just so I could touch/use something electronicListen to the soothing motor purr to me that connectivity is only another 9 hours or so, away.



OMG...I can cook! 

There is HOPE!

So, I chopped and minced and crumbed and made an amazing meatloaf with peppers and onions and such.  Pared fresh red potatoes and set them to boil for mashed potatoes with butter. Opened a jar of put up green beans and seasoned them with bacon drippings.

Obviously THIS is why the Amish cook so well. No electronic interference. Lots of time on their hands.

 Insufferable bastards.

Made sweet tea and settled into the best meal I had prepared just-for-myself in a while. Sat outside in the crisp Fall air afterwards with Tucker who also appreciated my much slower Sunday and better cooking.

When we came back inside it was STILL only 5 PM.

(...without technology you are in some kind of alternate reality time warp I have found...where a day lasts a lifetime...) 

Lit the candles...drew a wonderful bubble bath.
Settled in for a hour's soak.

It was relaxing...but when I re-emerged it had just hit 6 PM.

I think this may be ANGER.  

Pretty sure announcing to The Cat

"This is STUPID"


"Screw THIS"

validates that.

Or it may have been the ravings of an addict without their "fix".

Either 6 PM...I checked The News. And found a good movie to watch.

And turned the damned lights on.

And used my Magic Bullet to make the Smoothie I had been wanting all day.

And it was GOOD.

Oh...and checked my e-mail, where there was a note from Laura that simply read

"Fuck This."


Time Stamped a Full Hour and a Half before I had caved.

It was interesting experiment, though.  
Try it yourself sometime. 
It may surprise you. 

Anyway, it is over...the house never looked better and I have almost completed my second Impressionist Painting and have ideas for the third and last of the Water Lilies Series.  I love playing with the lighting and reflections and water. Am contemplating an overcast day with raindrops on the pond and surface of the lilies next.

We will see.

 I can understand Monet's captivation with the Water Garden and Lilies and Reflections.

I get it!  
(...and there is that carp...look closely...)

Like waking from a bad dream...this morning life returned to NORMAL! Toast popping up from the toaster. The reassuring whirr of the blender and my Peach Smoothie. The final sputter of my Keurig, the smell of Chicory Coffee...and a couple of Sweet Potato Pancakes both gifts from my Louisiana friends, Deanna and Paula, while they were up! Tucker meowing for breakfast then curling up in a purring ball then snoring beside me.
That after-breakfast cat nap.

And the laptop's dim glow...and my Newsfeed...and saying Good Morning to my kids, assorted friends and family via FB...and later Coffee and Chat with "Idgy" like we have for almost ten years now.

Either in real time or online  (in the we refer to it).

Like the cat...I crave my routine. 

"Idgy" and I, making Plans for next year's combined Birthday and Fall Adventure!

We have only settled on a few points right now...squirrelling back about $20 a week "mad money" (or as she called it-  bail money) between now and then for Fall Doings together. Also...instead of a Bonfire Birthday Cake like this year...we are fixing these:

Birthday Strawberry Daiquiris. Four candles on hers and 5 on mine. And whipped cream and sprinkles, of course!   And playing in the leaves. 
 Beyond that...who knows?

Can't wait to share The Fall (again) together!

More anon...


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hermiting: A Drive By Treating...and Reflections on The Past

This, among other reasons is why I have the BEST daughter-in-law....ever.
It has been a long emotional week.

Yesterday after my Fall company left, I made the decision to pretty much "hermit" for the entire Weekend. I let everyone know that I was "Closed" until Monday. Unavailable. Sleeping in. Staying in pajamas and eating Chinese Delivery. Taking a two hour bubble bath in the middle of the day. Reading or watching a film with no interruptions.


So this morning early Nicole pulled a "Ding-Dong, Ditch", and outside the door was a bag filled with home-made treats (peanut butter and butterscotch fudge and the above pictured Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter M&M Balls) and a lovely note!


It made the day perfect!

The  Fall Colours pretty much at their peak now...and many of the trees are quickly losing their leaves.

Fall in my Corner of the World.

And Tucker and I hanging out together on the patio until the rain came in...

Or we were...until he realized he hadn't been FED yet.

                          ...and you have to love that "resting BITCH face"...

So it has been a really relaxing day full of reading and writing and "hermiting" and Chinese Food and Chocolate Dipped M&M Peanut Butter Balls!

Because tomorrow I have been challenged to an Impromptu Adventure, of sorts.

Back in touch with a girlfriend I had not seen since my 20's.  Laura was always great. Could talk me into...well...anything.  We moved a cop car once. Seriously. Just to the other side of the City County Building. It was left running. I don't think they would have accepted that as a "good reason".  It seemed funny as hell at the time. These days, I realize it is called a "felony".

Back "in the day" (as the kids would say) we also had much the same dream. We were going to have the cabin in the woods, no electricity or running water, oil lamps, candles and a well. A kitchen garden, rabbit hutch, chickens, goats and a milk cow.

Nowadays, of course, the cabin would have to have WIFI and a Hot Tub. And, if you hear Laura talk, a dishwasher.

                         ...hey...I think I've found that dishwasher...
                                                   Will he do?

And it was that line of conversation that spawned The Challenge.

Today in the era of constant connectivity if I miss FB for one morning, I have 6 calls waiting for me by afternoon. And Chris or James and Nicole are stopping by to make sure I am okay. Yeah,I know...pathetic...right?

To make matters worse FB has just came out with a widget that will tell you exactly how many hours you have spent on the site to date this year.

Trust really don't want to know.

So it was in this spirit that Laura and I were discussing

"Just how long has it been since either of us have had a completely technology free day?"

I don't know. When did they INVENT cell phones and the internet, again?

Yes...once again...pathetic.

And I so wish that Angie was home this weekend...because we would drag her into The Challenge, as well.

At first we said  
"Completely Technology Free Sunday" 


Then we started the barter process...which sounded a lot like The Kubler Ross' Death and Dying Process, actually.

Her:  Well, I HAVE to be able to answer my cell...but I can do without the kitchen stuff.

Me:  I have no problem ditching the Cell and the Internet...but no way I am giving up the Stove and my Keurig for the day.

Her: How the hell am I suppose to do the dishes?  (...dishwasher queen...)

Me:  By you were always suppose to...

Her: Luddite.

(...this from the woman who loaded my dishwasher once...a lifetime ago...then noticed we were out of dish powder so she filled the little square with liquid dish soap...which filled my apartment with overflowing bubbles...we laughed until we cried...)

After 30 minutes of bartering she gets her Cell and Dishwasher.

I got my Keurig and Stove.

Elizabeth referred to these stage as "Bartering" and  "Acceptance" (and I am thinking that Denial, Grief and Anger will probably show up tomorrow)

The Challenge runs from Midnight tonight until Midnight tomorrow night.

Absolutely no other electronic devices of any kind. 

It should be interesting. 

Or impossible...

Hard to say.

Full Report on Monday.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Future...Our Future...and a Moment of Zen came yesterday.  The Future.  And while we don't have flying DeLoreans...we do have the Terrefugia

  Tony Hawk has tried out the Hoverboard.

And, it seems appropriate that Michael J. Fox got the first pair of (real) self tying shoes.

All three proving that if it can be can BECOME.

Remember when retinal scanners...fingerprint ID technology...voice commanded computers...three D Movies...and teleconferencing/Skype were just concepts in a science-fiction movie as well?

Dare to DREAM.
Think outside of the BOX!

Which dove-tails nicely with my next subject: The Future.


I am not sure when we became such a nation of whiners...and blamers, and "We can't do..." people, but it has to STOP.


I suspect this may be a post-Reagan phenomena...but I digress.

Together we can accomplish anything. We just have to start believing in Ourselves (as a Nation) again. We need to espouse the ideas that made this country great.

Out of Many...ONE.

We need to stop digging for our differences and instead embrace our similarities.

And we need to stop (literally) supporting a government and representatives who have long lost sight of  "We the PEOPLE" and whose loyalties lie with Corporate Overlords, Super Pacs, and Special Interest Groups.

I am tired of being told "We can't do that."  when the conversation turns to Universal Healthcare or College Education. Ironically, by the very people that never have to worry about seeing a doctor through their Federally funded (read OUR TAXES) healthcare programs...or never batted an eye at growing college expenses.

As Hillary Clinton pointed out in the debates  "This is not Denmark" certainly isn't. In Denmark they have had Universal Healthcare for ages, also livable wages, paid family leave, Fully funded colleges, and they invest in their Infrastructure (before it collapses).

We could learn A LOT from Denmark...and many of the other civilized Nations.

As a Nation....we are so very young...and yet we approach the situation like a mouthy teenager.

We act like we know EVERYTHING there is to know in the entire WORLD...and we certainly don't want any of the OLDER civilizations (or those with a system that actually works) to teach us a damn thing...thankyouverymuch.

And those who naysay against the Scandinavian model aren't doing so because it doesn't work or is a failed program. Actually, it is very successful. They rail against it because they KNOW if it were implemented here it would effectively end their gluttonous feed they have come to enjoy at The Trough of America.

While most of the Global Community is working on how to adapt to/survive/slow Climate Change (Global Warming) many of us (here) are still arguing whether or not it exists.


My glimmer of hope.

A Geriatric Jew from Brooklyn.

Bernie has touched a nerve with the American People.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media is shoving Trump and Clinton down our throats like we are Linda Lovelace at a Convention.

Both, of whom, are being shunned by the sentient members of their respective parties. 

Which is another reason I have great hope for Bernie.

He is crossing all party lines.  Democrats, Moderate Republicans, Independents. Old and Young, All Religions and Races.  All gathered for a "Purple Revolution".

We were told that Barack Obama was "unelectable"...and yet he was elected in a landslide...TWICE.

Despite being blocked at every turn...sometimes even by his own party...we managed to change a great many things.

The Lily Ledbetter Act.

Same Sex Marriage in all 50 States.


Being brought back from a Recession that was sliding into a Depression to rival The Great Depression.

to name a few...

Imagine what could have been accomplished if we worked together instead of fighting each other at every turn. If the tax dollars used for fighting one another were spent on US.

Imagine what our Nation could BECOME if we invested as heavily in our own people/care/infrastructure as we do our Military and Pentagon.

We recently air-lifted 50 tons of weapons into Syria.  Can you imagine what 50 tons of weapons even costs...much less the ability to air-lift and drop them. Now can you understand that our TAXES paid for those weapons.  For all my anti-abortion friends...why do you oppose federal funding for abortions...but have no problem with your tax dollars being spent in this manner? Isn't this the equivalent of aborting someone in the 200+ trimester?


What do you think they are going to do with those weapons, anyway?

(...not JUST the Republicans, I might add...)

Maybe it is time we stop and divide the pie a little more equitably. 

Our Military Budget equals roughly 57 cents out of every tax dollar. Everything else is squeezed out of the remaining 43 cents.  And that is a hell of a lot of everything else. Yet somehow, a great deal of us have been brainwashed into believing that the single mom or dad down the street...the homeless guy on the corner...the unemployed woman or man who was downsized...the elderly on Social Security or the Disabled
                              THESE are the enemy.


People, this is called "Creating a Scapegoat".

If THEY can divert your anger and attention to the marginal....the powerless...the infirm...anyone "different"...

They can continue picking your pocket and playing on tax-payer expensed yachts while Grandma eats cat-food, Grandpa put off his hip-replacement, and Little Sally dies because she couldn't afford medical care.

Just sayin'

Pay Attention.


Spent the first part of this week like this.  Just one of those mind-numbing, soul crushing funks that feels like it is never going to end. No light at either end of the tunnel. Dealing with a personal mess so insane...if they made a movie about it...people would say "No way" and "Unrealistic"...and to be honest, it feels that way to me, too.

(...and no...I don't want to talk about it, yet...okay?)

And this too, shall pass.

But not today.

Or maybe today.

Maybe today is the perfect time. 

Looking back at Monday through Wednesday and realized that I completely wasted 3 irreplaceable days of what is left of my life.
72 hours gone.

Devastated to the point of immobility. And those who know me...know that is so NOT me.   
            Not at all. 

So today I am going to spend cleaning...and sorting...and outside a while basking in the Fall colors/smells/crisp air...

And I am GOING to Center.

And I am going to get past this. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Orchard and Vin et Fromage (deux)

So the day was a lot like this...

And this,,,

and this.

As Nicole and I headed out to the Orchard with the kids for the day!

All of us riding the hay-wagon to the pumpkin patch...and the kids were even allowed to pick individual apples to eat (after washing) from the orchard!

I found bulk Caraway seed inside the little store for my next round of Caraway Honey Bread...and we got Hot Apple Cider to enjoy around a bonfire as the morning temps had not even reached 60 yet. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

It was wonderful!
 We ended the afternoon with a Chinese Luncheon and beginning to teach Brenden and Emma how to use chopsticks.

I love "Grandma Rose" time :) It is the very best!


Two of the wines have arrived...and the third (the Champagne from Champagne) is en route.

Sampling will begin Monday with the Red, and later in the week the White with appropriate cheese pairings and fresh fruit!

Photos and descriptions at the tasting!  

Can't wait!

Realized that this year how much like James she really two halves of the same coin...and remembering the Year he officially won the Rainbow Head Award.  No wonder they are perfect together.

And back to dark brown for the Fall/Winter...but when summer comes she says she will definitely be a blonde again.

The girl is fearless!

And an inspiration. She actually has me looking at this seriously...

The Color is called Salted Caramel.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Photo-Shoot with "Red"...Chris' Birthday and "The Trip"

My neighbor, friend and car buddy, Tommy, just got Red's new scoop and paint finished...and although she will now have to be shown in the Modified Class...she looks so fine we had to get her out for a few shots!

Soon to be finished out with the rest of the underbody.

Slowly watching Red "becoming" beastly.

So....tomorrow my BABY turns 26. Over a quarter-of-a-century old.

 How can THAT be right?

 He and Tina and I, celebrated this morning.

With a new George Martin prequel to the Game of Thrones series....the joint effort of cash to help him get a hand-held retro gaming system he had been wanting...and Final Fantasy 9 (...a return to childhood moment...)

Also, a Pumpkin Pie- baked from scratch.

Later, enjoyed a drive-by James-ing this afternoon as he made his way to Dan's Music shop to pick up his bright shiny new electric guitar and amp! Working hard and playing even harder.

The FlameKat Series.
 Making plans with him for a future outing soon, and Halloween!

This week's book: The Trip by Debbie Davis.

If you are a Warholic...this is the book for you!

Andy Warhol's Coast to Coast trip from New York to Hollywood in the early 1960's.  So much more than that, as it followed his genesis from "Raggedy" Andy Warhola (his Slovakian family name) the Silver-Wigged Pop Icon that returned from that Journey and dubbed himself Andy Warhol.

Well written. Engaging. The Author using receipts and miscellaneous from one of the many cardboard boxes Warhol kept through they years [he called them them "time-capsules"] to re-create his trip and follow his path down Route 66 to LA.

Well worth a look...whether you like Campbell's Soup Can and Brillo Art or not. 

Have a great Weekend! 

Tucker seems to have got a jump on the weekend.

Looking forward to Our Trip to the Orchard with the Grands, Nicole!