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Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Is Decidedly So: My Sources Say 8

Yes, without a doubt, it is certain that the Dept. of Nance is eight!  Way back in 2005, I started this site, and I am still here eight years later.  To what do I attribute this Longevity?  Let's see if the Number Eight holds any clues.

8 Parts of Speech--Oh, I do so love marshaling nouns and dynamic verbs, those expressive adjectives and actively precise adverbs.  And while I am not too proud to admit an Unhealthy Obsession With The Semicolon, I still appreciate a well-placed conjunction here and there.  Yada yada yada, and holy crap! (That's an interjection, by the way (prepositional phrase right there), and do you--pronoun alert--see what I did there?) we're done.  I suppose the Defender of The Language would have a few things to say about not using brackets instead of double parentheses, but maybe she'll let me slide on my Eighth Anniversary.

8 Tiny Reindeer--Holidays, and all of my family's Rules And Regulations concerning them, give me great ideas for posts.  My disdain for Halloween; my deep admiration for Thanksgiving; my antipathy for Christmas inflatables (and my hidden desire to be a BB Gun Vigilante and deflate them all); my No Christmas Music Or Displays Before December First Rule; my battles and joys regarding The Perfect Christmas Tree and its upkeep are all subjects I've written copiously of both here and at my now-defunct co-authored blog Stuff On Our List, which Jared and I abandoned years ago. (But you can still read all the posts.)  Imagine my horror when yesterday, 21 AUGUST, I heard my first mention of The Holidays and Christmas Layaway on television.  Outrageous.  IT IS AUGUST.  Please, all Overachievers, kindly refrain from exclamations of "I've already started/finished/wrapped/given all of my Christmas presents!"  Don't make me come over there.

8 Virtues of the Samurai--As enumerated in the Bushido, the 8 virtues are Rectitude, Courage, Benevolence, Politeness, Sincerity, Honor, Loyalty, and Character.  I know, right?  What in the hell does this blog have to do with any of these traits?  The key here should have been in the word "Virtues."  I'm 54.  My days of Virtue are Over.  In all seriousness, however, I am, as I have always maintained, on a Continuous Journey Of Self-Improvement.  In the past, I have, for a variety of reasons, equated Kindness with Weakness.  I have come to realize that this is a serious flaw in reasoning.  I have also tried to become more Courageous.  Loyalty and Sincerity have always been important to me along with, thanks to my father's influence, Character.

8 Rules of Fight Club--Let me say firstly that I really don't care for this film.  (It is, unfailingly, the favourite film of teenaged and twentysomething males.)  The first two rules of Fight Club are the same:  You do not talk about Fight Club.  It's private.  I get that.  I'm a Very Private Person.  Even though I have a public blog, name myself, my husband, and my kids here, I don't identify much else.  At least not much that you can pin down.  It's laughable, really, because there are eleventy billion blogs out there, and who cares who I am?  Or where I am?  It's not like I'm in the Witness Protection Program, or that I'm a secret IRA operative, or that I'm CIA or something.  It's just that I enjoy my privacy.  There are a few people out there who might want to know where I am, and I'd rather that they didn't.  I like an uncomplicated life.  But a few of you have wondered/asked several times about what I look like.  And it's not really a cat with glasses.  So, for those of you who are, as one of you once put it, "painfully curious", I've put up a few photos on a new page tagged "It's Me".  I'll leave it up for a little while.  But no Facebook.  Do not talk about The Facebook. As the Magic 8 Ball would say, "Very doubtful. Outlook not so good."

But, where are my manners?  What kind of Samurai would I be if I were not Polite enough to offer you some birthday cake?  Let's go for something a little lighter this year.  After all, I'm not getting any younger, and those Meno-pounds are getting really tough to lose.



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delicious cake found here


Monday, August 12, 2013

And Now, A Public Service Announcement For My Readers

The Dept. of Nance prides itself on being a timely commentary on our Culture (or, in some cases, our Lack Thereof).  That alone is a Public Service.  Today, however, the Dept. is providing you with a Consumer Alert! so that you can begin preparations for the imminent demise of some products currently available on your local marketplace shelves.

How am I in possession of this Closely Held Knowledge? you may ask.  Based upon my personal history, I can accurately predict which products will be discontinued, pulled from the NEO market region, reformulated, or sold only in certain warehouse clubs of which I am not a member or are not located in the Midwest.  This has happened to most of the products I have developed a bedrock loyalty to, that have made me happy, that have solved a problem for me, that made my hair look wonderful consistently, or have merely been a damned good product for the price.

Did you ever use/love/eat/cook with/depend upon:  Garnier Fructis Body Boost Hair Gel?  Bath & Body Works Breathe Comfort Vanilla Milk Scent?  Mr. Yoshida's Gourmet Sauce?  Reynolds Plastic Wrap?  Flex Shampoo?  The Original Herbal Essence Shampoo? Aziza Mascara? Olay face soap?  Purina One for Overweight Cats?

Well, NOT ANYMORE!  Gone. Done. Discontinued or Reformulated into useless crap. 

I know because I loved them and used them all, only to sadly bid them goodbye.  First, there were marvelous markdowns; then, they became difficult to find; and, in the final stages of their death throes, I'd find stashes of them at discount grocers and dollar stores.  It was So Sad.  So Terribly Sad.

Get ready.  Here is the latest roundup of products that I have loved too deeply and now must lose:

FOODS
1.  KC Masterpiece Teriyaki Marinade
2. Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
3.  Contadina Extra Thick n Zesty tomato sauce
4.  Bertolli EV olive oil

HBAs
1.  Organix Cherry Blossom & Ginseng shampoo
2.  Garnier Fructis HiRise root lifter
3.  TreSemme Superior Hold hairspray #4
4.  Clear Care contact lens solution

HOUSEHOLD
1. Awesome

Allow me a brief commentary for each section. 

While I certainly can and often do make my own teriyaki marinade, I don't always feel like it or have all of the ingredients.  KC Masterpiece is the only one I have found to have the taste I like without being overly salty or fake-tasting.  It also makes a decent stirfry sauce base if you add it at the last minute as a glaze.  This has disappeared at the local chain and suddenly appeared at the discount grocery.  And if some of you have not yet tried TJ's Meyer Lemon thins, go now and get a box.  Holy crap, are they good.  Crazy good.

I am painfully and mortifyingly aware that the preponderance of my health and beauty aids are for my hair.  Currently, I am ignoring my hair, in that I am not going to the salon and am trimming my own bangs.  I saw my stylist about a month ago, and she said, "Oh, are you growing out?"  I said, "I have no idea what I'm doing."  (Sadly, this is true of about 85% of my life at present.  I'm leading a Nike-Inspired existence in that I'm Just Doing It.) Anyway, if it were not for the three products above, I would not leave the house.  And I blame Shirley for leaving the Organix in my shower last year when I visited.  She is my Shampoo Pusher, and now I am hooked.

Finally, we here at the Dept. are just as environmentally conscious as the next person as long as that person is not wearing hemp capris and shoes made from recycled soda bottles.  But there is only so much that vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can be relied upon to do.  What's left is handled by a spray or two of Awesome.  Got a bloodstain on your towel? Awesome will remove it immediately.  Got a grease splatter from stirfry that the dryer set in?  Awesome will take it out.  Is there mildew all over your patio furniture?  Awesome.  Ink on your car seat?  Awesome.  Wine on the tablecloth?  Awesome.  I am not kidding you, this stuff is...awesome.  AND IT IS ONLY A DOLLAR for a 16-oz. bottle.  Oh, it's probably loaded with awful chemicals, but holy crap.  It's nuts how great it works.  And I personally used it for all of the above scenarios. 

It is only a matter of moments now before these wonderful products will be gone.  (Look what happened to the Mars bar.  Not even available in the USA.  And I loved them oh so much.)  You know I'm right.  It's happened to you.  Tell me all about it in Comments. 

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Monday, August 05, 2013

In Which I Am A Poor Excuse For Mister Rogers

Last year at around this time, give or take a few months, I took you with me on a walk around my town.  (I think more than a few readers didn't really understand that it was, in fact, really my neighborhood in which I found every single one of those signs I pictured.) This year, though, I'm not out and about as much as I was before.  It seems like I'm either down with a migraine or getting over one, or there's something else taking up part of my day.  Add to that a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of Sloth, and there could be a maximum security prison under construction around the block unbeknownst to me.

 Probably, it wouldn't surprise me.  Ours is an old neighborhood--or was, until the mainstays started dying off.  Now it's a little schizophrenic.  The Old Guard died, and their heirs, already ensconced in homes elsewhere, couldn't always easily sell the parents' house in a cold real estate market.  Our street is now an odd mix of rentals, New People, and suddenly, children again. 

Rick and I are now The Old Guard.  We are The Mainstays.  And hell be damned sure I don't want to die on this street.

But it's funny.  Every once in a while, this town can make me laugh.  Not at it, but just laugh.  I stopped at this stop sign because, well, it's a stop sign, but also because of this:
I swear that this had to be printed on an old dot-matrix printer.  Part of it was colored in with pink marker.  Who does this?  This isn't Justin Bieber's advance team doing guerilla marketing in Northeast Ohio towns of 50K.  Jared got this pic for me when we were out on errands, and then another day, I drove around looking for any more of these fliers.  None.  Honestly, I felt bad that I didn't tell anyone to tell anyone that Justin Bieber's new single is coming soon.  This helps me feel better, and I hope that little eight-year old girl and her friend had a lot of fun that afternoon in her family room.

"That's so random!" one of my students would say about the next sign I happened upon.  I feel like it is, except it looks like a fair amount of work went into it.  It was tacked up on a telephone pole at a busy intersection about a block away from the hospital.  It was at a stop street, so it got a fair amount of attention.  It either fell down or was taken down about a month after it appeared.
I think the signature/tag on the bottom right reads "Smash," who I guess is the creator of both the sign and its sentiment.  Why or how Smash was moved to create and then hang this sign, we will never know.  That's what I love most about it:  knowing Smash is out there, ready to Take It To The Streets when he/she is so motivated.

You know how when you go to the DMV/License Bureau to renew your driver's license, and you look at the people and wonder, "Where the hell are all these people from?"  Because, you know, they look like someone hosed out the drunk tank at the jail and told them all to wait there.  Or like it's Central Casting for a show called "My Life On The Streets."  These are The Neighbors You Don't Want To Know. It's bad enough that there's proof positive that They're Out There.  You don't want to have to stand behind them while they "git a sticker fer th' trucks."  And how is it that so very many of these individuals own boats?

But I wouldn't mind catching a glimpse of Smash on a late-night sign-hanging run, sign in hand, staplegun safely cached in a hoodie's tunnel pocket.  Or seeing the two little Beliebers giggle as they run and scotch-tape their sign on a nearby post, clapping and hugging each other when they're done; then sharing an earbud each to listen to Justin himself on a pink iPod while they dance.

They're my neighbors, after all.

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