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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

In Which I Dust Off Some Cerebral Bric-A-Brac And Wax Philosophically Amish

Kind of a mixed bag today as I pull together several bits of Cerebral Bric-a-Brac. Have you a moment? A snack or beverage? Let's on, then.

~*~Alphabet Medicine. Despite following Doctors' Orders strictly and religiously, my followup labs last week were...disappointing and scary. My Vitamin D had dropped back to previous concerning levels, joined this time by Vitamin B12, a lab ordered not just by my Superhero Neurologist Dr. B, but also by my new PCP, Dr. Rebecca. I had suspected the Vitamin D issue since the old symptoms had been making a dreadful comeback, but was hoping I was merely tired or stressed out. But as they marched on, worsening and flattening me by noon each day, I started getting truly afraid. The lab confirmation was pretty much a formality. So I'm back to megadosing, then will double my D from 2K to 4K daily. Apparently some people need more Vitamin D to keep their levels up. And the B12 supplementation will help my memory issues. "You need to stop being so hard on yourself, too," Dr. Rebecca said. "And you have got to mitigate your stress." Sigh. This is now the third doctor to tell me these things as if they were Easy.  I keep thinking of Sartre.

~*~Hirsute Irony. One of my more upsetting symptoms is that my hair is falling out. Longtime Dear Readers here know how much this pains me; I am probably the single most vain individual in the world (not named Kar--shian). Most days, the only human who sees me is Rick, and he wouldn't care if I stayed in my jammies, uncombed hair, and no makeup all damn day. I do not, however, EVER do this unless I am gravely ill. Longtime Dear Readers also know my struggles with Cat Hair Overmuch, as in my two ungrateful rescue cats produce enough cat hair to create, independently, several other small cats a day. Why is there not a way for me to marry these Two Problems into One Solution? Would I, though, actually wear a Cat Hair Wig of orange marmalade and grey tortoiseshell? (It would really be the epitome of Recycling, though.)

~*~Language Cringes. Rick was reading some forum postings on the Nextdoor app, where he keeps in touch with news about the lake community. He asked me to look at a few. This proved to be a mistake, as I immediately began to focus not on the content of the messages, but on the dire grammar, mechanics, and usage of so, so many of them. Honestly, they were painful to try to read (especially since a significant number of their authors had not heard of Punctuation). One woman was lamenting that she was concerned about a local farmer being singled out as "an escape goat until it was proven that it was his farm that was the problem." Another poster was irritated about something in the bylaws being sneaked past him, and who knows what would "be the next thing coming down the pipe." After those two butchered idioms, I gave up. That was no way to mitigate my stress.

~*~Simple Pleasures. I've written here many times before about our community-wide garage sales down at the lake. September's weather was perfect, for a change, and my brother, niece, and I enjoyed visiting with each other--and our customers/neighbors--while all sorts of people picked over and bought some of our stuff. We had very few Amish customers this time; the men were lured away by a big steam engine exhibition at a nearby fairground, but their wives were out to buy some household goods. And yes, we did give out a few Victoria's Secret bags to some Amish matrons for their purchases, which were always met with much appreciation and German commentary between them, sotto voce. But far and away, my favourite customer had to be this one because of the figure she made, clutching her very, very iconoclastic purchase. Careful not to reveal her face, I quietly and unobtrusively took her photo from a distance. It is charming, I think you'll agree.

Image property of Nance Donnelly/deptofnance.blogspot.com

That crayon bank was a steal at 50 cents; the set of cereal bowls (Corelle, maybe?) went for maybe two bucks.  She was happy, in her calm, barely smiling, Amish sort of way.  I hope she gave it to her little boy or girl, and that the child was excited and clapped his or her hands in joy.  They would have had to be as surprised about that enormous purple crayon as I was when I took her money for it.  Honestly, it made my day.  It made my brother's day as well, and I know we'll talk about it every time we have garage sales from now on.

As I find myself stuck in The Slow Lane once again for a little while, struggling for that elusive Wellness, I'm striving for those Simple Pleasures and Small Gains--the Low-Cost Joys in a sort of Garage Sale Life.  (With cat hair, of course; always, with cat hair.)

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

And Now A Brief Political Message



Knock Knock

Who's there?

Donald Tr--

Oh, god.  Still?

Yes.  It hasn't even been a year yet.

F*^k.




original image found here

Friday, September 15, 2017

Driving With Irony In My iPhone: It's Better Than Booze In My Travel Mug

Getting around in my area is a Nightmare lately.  I'll spare you the horrific details of closed roads, new traffic patterns, and So Much Orange.

So.  Much.

Anyway.

Rather than dissolve into a weeping tirade of empassioned profanity every single day, I use the inevitable delays on these roads to whip out my iPhone and take pictures.

Because, in the words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Here are a few from this week:


1.
So Basic!
Okay!  WORKERS.  We're for 'em!  Or...we need some!  Or...what now?



2.
Is He Winking?
I'm not making any cracks about this one.



3.
Don't Show This To Kirk Cameron!

If size really does matter, then it's easy to see who's winning.  If it's about jobs, jobs, jobs, then...same.

Help me out with Captions (or just chat away) in Comments.


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Friday, September 08, 2017

TGIF Nance Style

The Acronym TGIF has long ago ceased to have weighty import for me--Retired, you know. Each day flows seamlessly into the next and I often lose track along the way as to Which Day It Actually Is. Of course, Rick is home on Saturdays and Sundays, so that's Nice, but aside from weekending at the lake during the season, Fridays hold no special cachet for me.

That's why I liked the idea I got from Bridget (who got it from someone else, actually) to use the letters TGIF in a totally different way. So, without further ado, my spin on TGIF:

T is for Temperature: It's suddenly and decisively Autumn here in Ohio, jump-started in August when we had a string of days in the 60s and nights in the 50s. Now in September proper, we are lucky to see upper 60s, and our nights have gotten as low as the upper 40s. I would largely be okay with this if: 1. I were normal and not always freezing to death; 2. I had any idea of what to wear. Right now, my fingers and feet are like ice and my nose feels like a big old Labrador's. I had to put the furnace on so that I wouldn't be suffering and miserable in my own home. And, is it permissible now to wear sweaters and leggings and boots SO THAT I DO NOT FREEZE TO DEATH? And yes, I am painfully aware that some of you are still wearing shorts and sandals. HOW DO YOU DO IT?

G is for Grocery Store: This week at my grocery store, I was stunned when I observed a young woman suddenly lift her shoulder bag, unzip it part way, and start speaking into it. "Hey," she said. "Stop all that. Just relax. Relax. You hear me?" It was then that I saw a small dog head peek out--only for a moment--and then disappear. I moved past her, but she made eye contact with me briefly and with no expression. There was no emblem on the bag to indicate that this was a service or comfort animal. What would you have done? Same thing I did, I'm sure. I zipped on past and kept on shopping. Sigh.

I is for Insult: In order to try and get back to Reading the way I used to, I have been Re-Reading, mostly history and mainly books about President Lincoln. The more I read, the more I see the current administration as a grave and profound insult to not only the Office Of The President Of The United States, but to this country and its history, especially with regard to the Civil War. It goes without saying how shamefully ignorant 45* is of American History in general and the history of the Presidency specifically. His willful disregard of basic facts and respect for the country's journey, evolution, and struggle, let alone the people who made it possible, is pathetic. Usually, I feel pity for someone so needy and ignorant; in this case, however, I find myself unable to muster it.

F is for F*#k: Oh, what a terrible Disappointment it is to admit that The Eff Word has barged its Big Old Self back into my Everyday Vocabulary. I thought I had eradicated it, for the most part, but IT'S BAAAAAACK! I do try Very Hard to curb its appearances in Pleasant Company, but sadly for Rick, he hears it quite a lot these days. Most probably, it is a Stress Reliever Mechanism and an Anger Management Strategy. As my Dearest Readers know, I do not subscribe to the Myth that profanity is a crutch for people with poor vocabulary or bad verbal expression skills. That's a load of bullshit---er--baloney. Cuss words are explosive and feel good to say; they release tension, dammit. I'll save my SAT words for another time when I feel serenely erudite.

TGIF! Unwind in Comments.


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Time Flies When You're...Anyway, The Dept. Of Nance Is Twelve!

gifts-of-gratitude.blogspot.com

Guess what? The Dept. of Nance is Twelve! Once again, I almost missed it. Twelve Augusts ago, The Dept. of Nance was born, and Twelve Augusts later, it's still here. Lots of things come in Twelves, like the Days Of Christmas (a truly annoying song, even when sung by the Muppets), the Disciples, the months in a year, the hours on a clock, the signs of the Zodiac, and the steps in the Alcoholics Anonymous Program. And since twelve things make a dozen, some really nice things come in Twelves, too, like roses and eggs and, for some of you, doughnuts (ugh--you all know how I feel about those).

But I don't feel inspired by any of those things. Right now, I feel a little like a Twelve-Year-Old. Sorta in-betweenish. Sorta like I don't fit into a category. Sorta like I Don't Wanna And You Can't Make Me-ish. Kinda like I'm too old for a babysitter, but I would love the company.

BUT DON'T TRY AND BOSS ME.

So rather than some sort of Creative Twelve Post, here are some Random 12 Lists.

12 Foods I Need To Live

1. Butter
2. Olive Oil
3. Tomatoes
4. Potatoes
5. Pasta
6. Coffee
7. Wine
8. Basil
9. Chicken
10.Half + Half
11.Plain Greek Yogurt
12.Honey

12 Things I Alternately Hate And Love

1. Driving
2. Grocery Shopping
3. Knitting
4. The Cats
5. The Internet
6. Smartphones
7. Other People
8. Summer
9. Air Conditioning
10.Potato Chips
11.Mary Worth Comic Strip
12.Writing

12 Shows That I Cannot Believe Are Still On TV

1. The Bachelor
2. The Bachelorette
3. The Real Housewives Of________
4. Family Feud
5. Family Guy
6. Hell's Kitchen
7. Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda Kotb
8. Harry
9. General Hospital
10.Days of Our Lives
11.The Young and the Restless
12.The Bold and the Beautiful

12 Cravings I've Had This Week

1. Cake
2. Palmiers
3. Thick-cut French Fries
4. Chinese Food
5. Twist Ice Cream Cone
6. Refried Beans
7. Cheeseburger
8. Bad Mexican Food
9. Frosted Sugar Cooky
10.Peaches
11.Italian Food
12.Root Beer

12 Things People Said To Me Lately

1. Comparison really is the theft of Joy.
2. Why do you care?
3. Thanks for making the effort!
4. Do you know how to work an iPhone?
5. I think our naked rats were my favourite pets of all.
6. We're probably more like our father in that respect.
7. Don't overdo it and wear yourself out today.
8. You're wearing your red glasses today! They're my favourite.
9. Can you recommend a good red wine for me and my girlfriend to try?
10.You eat bread?! That's a huge disappointment to me.
11.I'm trying not to get too excited, but I had a second interview today.
12.And I'm like, how much are we willing to invest in a 12-year old cat?

12 Things I Refuse To Give Up On

1. Reading
2. Cat Hair Mitigation
3. Contact Lenses
4. Knitting
5. My Country
6. The Resistance
7. Learning Patience
8. My Streamlining/Decluttering Mission
9. My Search for the Perfect Sandal
10.My Search for Red Leather Boots
11.My Hair
12.My Campaign Against Rampant Abuse of The Language

12 Things That Always Make Me Happy

1. Bunnies
2. Zydrunas
3. Napoleon Dynamite
4. The (new) Gong Show
5. Slow mornings with cats and coffee and The Plain Dealer
6. St. Patsy's text message emoji parades
7. Wine tastings with Rick
8. Sunset boat rides with our buddies J and J
9. Falling asleep and missing the end of Dateline
10.Listening to Jared and Sam tease each other
11.When Rick asks, "Want me to run a tubby for you?"
12.Fleece blankets

It's been a very satisfying Twelve Years for me here at the Dept. I consider it a privilege to have a two-way Writer's Relationship with many of my Readers, via Comments. That interaction is quite important to me. Thank you, and thank you to all who read me, however you read me. I hope it is a relationship that continues for years to come.

Won't you all add your own stuff to the Lists Of 12 Things, too, in Comments? And make your way to the Celebratory Desserts Table, where there is something sure to appeal to you (and disappoint the same person who I saddened with my Bread Consumption).

www.sprinklebakes.com

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Real Reason They Are Closing Over 100 Applebee's, Probably

Earlier this month, the group that owns the restaurant chain Applebee's announced it was closing up to 135 of its restaurants. It gave a broad range of reasons, from location to shifting habits of diners to its own mistake of trying to attract millennial diners.

Okay, whatever.

All I know is, the sign in front of the Applebee's near my favourite grocery store was so mind-numbingly awful in its total disregard for The Language that I pulled into a neighbouring parking lot after shopping so that I could pop off these photos IN SUCCESSION.

And put them here. For everyone.

Because I had to do Something.


I'm starting you off small, with a simple, yet always annoying, error


...which they repeated, of course, because why not?


Here, the Sign Programmer is still befuddled by the Use Of Apostrophes.  Or, he used them all up in the previous signs, so he could not properly place one in IT'S.  He obviously follows the St. Patsy rule of exclamation points (More Is Better).   And I guess if you don't understand the nuances of apostrophes, then compound words...well, forget it.


This is my favourite one, I think. I honestly don't mind the little exclamation point after HOT. It's creative and fun. But I think the fine people of Nashville (and I) might have a bit of an issue with the new spelling of the town.

Sigh.  That sign is STILL there, in all its horrific wrongness, over a week later.  So painful.



rottenapple

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming To Bring You This Severe (St. Patsy) Weather Alert...Whether You Need It Or Not

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has been an alarmist about The Weather. As soon as skies would darken with storm clouds, she'd start scanning the horizon for low-lying, purple-black ones and a well-defined, heavy cloud deck. She'd peer out the windows, sometimes even venturing out on the porch to check the skies for lightning and to listen for that telltale "freight train sound" that foretold the one Terror Above All Else, a Tornado. In the days before The Weather Channel, the Internet, and even before network meteorologists broke into regular programming to report a simple summer storm, my mother's own Weather Alert System was often in overdrive as she looked for signs of Apocalyptic Weather Events.

Her precautions were many and legend, and we had no choice but to follow them: Don't talk on the phone during a storm! Don't take a bath when there's lightning! Get your hands out of the dishwater--there's lightning out! Turn off the TV; can't you see it's storming out? Every one of you kids get in here now; I saw lightning and it's coming this way! I don't like the look of those dark clouds over there; I think we'd better get down the basement. The weatherman says to take shelter; let's go down the basement right now.

And lest you all forget: I did not grow up in Oklahoma, Kansas, or Nebraska. I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, where, yes, there was actually a tornado in my hometown in 1924 (and, ironically, the Lorain Tornado was my father's nickname when he was a professional pitcher many years later), but my mother's fears still seem excessive. Especially since she grew up in Ohio, too.

Things have not changed much, as I found out not too long ago.

Scene opens on Rick and Nance at the lakehouse. They are chatting, finishing up dinner and talking about heading out for a boat ride. Nance's phone chimes, indicating a text message.

Nance: It's Mom. (reads aloud) Bad weather in your area. Watch out! Stay off the boat!!! That last sentence had three exclamation points. (looks outside at the calm lake and cloudless sky) Wow. I'm confused.

Rick: I'll put on the local radar channel. Maybe something is headed this way.

Nance: (types back) Really? It's nice here right now. Nothing threatening that I can see.

Rick: The radar is absolutely clear. I don't know where she's getting this. I'm confused.

Nance: Well, she says (reads aloud) They have tornado warnings for the Mansfield area and a tornado watch for Wayne and Ashland Counties, so you are in the area! Watch the sky! Stay off the boat!!!! That last one had FOUR exclamation points. And no emojis. She is really exercised about this. Let me bring up my app. (brings up weather app as Rick sits, exasperated, in front of television radar, still seeing nothing) I don't see it, either! What the heck is going on? This is like a Twilight Zone moment.

Rick: I'm getting the boat ready.

Nance: (types) Ok. We have the TV on and have not seen that. I just checked my iPad weather app and didn't see it there, either. You have the scoop, I guess. (to Rick) I can bring down my own wineglass and water bottle if you can carry the wine and your glass.

(Nance grabs a bottle of water out of the fridge; she checks to make sure the cats have water. She grabs her phone, wineglass, water, and heads down to the dock. Once on the boat, her phone chimes with a text message.)

Nance: (reads aloud) I am sorry. We were watching the soaps recorded from yesterday and that was the weather for yesterday! I just realized that!! Sorry!!!! (laughing hard) I'm not even going to tell you how many emojis and exclamation points are on all of that. Oh, brother. That's so great.

Rick: (laughs, shakes his head)  Doll. That may be her best one yet.

Nance: Wait. One more message. (reads aloud) Senior moment!!

Finis.



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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

My New Mantra When Things Get A Little Too Real

facepaintforum.com
Even though I don't feel at all ashamed about Getting Real last week (it was so Cathartic), I have to tell you that my problems pale in comparison to this woman, who lives in a town not too terribly far from where I live. Longtime Readers already know you don't even have to click that link because I'm going to tell you everything you need to know.

While I'm bitching and moaning about cat hair, bathroom hair, English Language abuses, and other non-life threatening mundanities, a middle-aged woman was lying in her front yard telling a 911 operator, "I have a boa constrictor stuck to my face".

I know, right?

And you think you have problems.

Because the nine ball pythons she already owned were lonely, perhaps, the woman had adopted two boa constrictors the day before (or "rescued", as she terms it in the 911 call, at first amusingly misinterpreted as "arrested" by the operator). She decided, apparently, to take one out and give it a cuddle, and it...reciprocated, as five-and-a-half-foot boa constrictors are wont to do. Unfortunately, “it was wrapped around her neck and biting her nose and wouldn’t let go,” Fire Chief Tim Card said. “They had to cut its head off with a [pocket] knife to get it to let go of her face.”

Yikes. I mean, who would have thought it? Everything I know about snakes is that they're so nice and sweet. So easy to train and so obedient. Just the best pets, ever.

The snake (with its head, I presume) was summarily tossed in the town's garbage bin out back of City Hall.

One local animal handler opined that perhaps the woman handled the boa constrictor too soon after rescuing it; that a waiting period of at least one week is advisable to prevent trauma. He also felt the snake could have been saved if they had just used a few drops of rubbing alcohol on its head, which may have gotten it to release its jaws. Sigh. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

All I know is this: I had a few rough days last week, but at no time was a snake stuck to my face. Also, thank goodness snakes can't walk or fly. Or drive. That town is pretty close, and obviously, that woman is...a Little Bit Goofy when it comes to snakes.  But bless her, I'm glad she's okay.

This reminds me of back in 2014 when I wrote about the house near me that exploded right before Christmas. Remember that? I used "at least my house didn't explode" as my mantra for months, helping me to have perspective when anything went wrong or I had a setback or a bad day. It worked pretty well for a while, especially during the holidays.

Well, now I have a new mantra for when things get rough and I'm not feeling up to par. At least I don't have a snake stuck to my face!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Welcome To The Show! I Hope You Brought Your Melted Butter, Or, Come To Think Of It, A Mallet Might Be Kinder.


Welcome to Getting Real With Nance. Today's show will feature Nance Getting Real on a variety of topics, mainly because she's Crabby, Over It, and generally Irked. Let's jump right in and join her Already In Progress, while vacuuming.

Nance: I mean, it just does not matter! I brush them every single damn day, yet all they have to do is WALK INTO A ROOM, and it is covered in their hair. No. Lie. The carpet is covered. The tables are covered. *I* am covered. It is a Losing Battle, this war between me and cat hair. But I refuse to surrender. I will never stop wearing black, either. Never. Never!

Voiceover Announcer: Nance walks into the bathroom to put away towels, setting off a new, but related, monologue.

Nance: Holy crap! Look at the hair in here! It's my hair, it's Rick's hair, it's everywhere. I simply cannot escape the hair around here. If it's not cat hair, it's our hair. How do we even have any left on our heads?! I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Voiceover Announcer: Later, after a frantic and manic bathroom cleaning session left her exhausted, Nance rests in her chair. Unwisely, she browses the Interwebs.

Nance: How hard is it? How hard, everyone? The word is YEAH. The correct spelling is Y-E-A-H. Not Y-A, like you're speaking a foreign language and pronouncing it YAW. Not Y-A-H, like...holy hell, I don't even know why you would spell it like that, ever. And while I'm at it, the word is VOILA. It's French. It means "there you are" or "there it is." It is pronounced VWAH-LAH. It is not some bastardized funsy American word spelled WALA, WALLA, WALLAH, WAH LAH, or WA-LA. Every time I hear or see someone use it incorrectly I wish I could haul the offender up and smack her. Or him. And do NOT get me started on "low and behold" for "lo and behold." So, so painful.  And so symptomatic of What Is Wrong With America on so many levels.

Voiceover Announcer: Unable to rest, Nance is up again and shifting laundry in the basement.

Nance: I deserve nice clean sheets to sleep on. So what. I hate doing sheets. Hate it. It's exhausting. And the load goes off-balance in the washer. And I have to stay down here to make sure it finishes the cycle. And then I get to look at other stuff that needs to be done. Which reminds me, I need to clean litterboxes. And that means sweeping the floor because Marlowe is an aggressive litter scratcher. Because of course she is.

Voiceover Announcer: Back from shuffling laundry and taking the used litter outside to the trash, Nance makes a quick snack of yogurt and fruit so that she can take her bigass vitamins.

Nance: Oh, hell. I forgot that we ran the dishwasher last night. How sad is it that I'm ready to complain about unloading dishes that I didn't even have to stand at the sink and wash? Someone should smack me. But if that someone could sweep my kitchen floor first, that would be great. Or scrub out the tub--even better. Anything, really. Then smack me. Smack away.

Voiceover Announcer: Jared arrives. He needs to use Nance's iPad in order to participate in a West Coast podcast. It is 12:30; the podcast starts at 1:00. He has to search for and download software. He also announces that he will be taking a shower since he came straight from the gym. Lunch may also happen.

Nance: Jared...how...? And I'm warning you now--I'm really, really crabby. Almost violently so.

Jared: Mom. It's okay. And have you tried dancing? Here, watch this.

Voiceover Announcer: Jared dances. Nance is motionless and helpless. Jared spends twenty minutes trying to contact his people on the West Coast to figure out the software download; finally he is successful. He tells them he will jump in at 1:15, takes a shower, and mixes up a "blue drink" which he may or may not have drunk in the shower.

Jared: Mom, I'm surprised you don't have the air on. It's supposed to be hot today.

Nance: I think it's comfortable. I'm sick of air conditioning. If you get too warm in the office during your podcast, turn on the ceiling fan.

Voiceover Announcer: Nance goes down to do the final laundry shift. On her way she belches loudly and uncomfortably.

Nance: Ugh. These damned vitamins. Can't I just get some sort of timed-release implant or something, like that birth control thingy? Or a patch, like they do for people who want to quit smoking? Wow. Did I really just say that? I am so, so crabby. It would not surprise me one bit if I looked down and my hands literally became big, red, pinchy claws.

***

Voiceover Announcer:  This has been Getting Real With Nance.  Nance urges you to Get Real in Comments. You know what she always says: Wallow A Little, Bitch A Lot. Or maybe it's Bitch A Little, Wallow A Lot; she can't ever remember. Either way, let loose your Real and feel no shame.



(original crab photo via Synapse Science Magazine)


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Would An RV By Any Other Name...?

Oh, Dearest Readers, I Am Back. Back from gorgeous and wineful Niagara-on-the-Lake, and back from the Grey Sad Doldrums of Vitamin D Deficiency. I feel so much more Myself; there is so much more Nance-ness bubbling inside me. The Blah in my bones is almost gone and my energy is returning. My ankle sprain didn't slow me down much at all, and Life Is Feeling More Like Living.

I'm so very grateful.

But enough about all of That. I want--almost Need--to talk about something else right now. And that something is RVs. Campers. Trailers. Recreational Vehicles. Because let me tell you--while we were driving from Ohio to Ontario, Canada, and back again, they seemed to be everywhere.

Now, I'm not a camping kind of person. Or even glamping (i.e., glamour camping--a term coined out of necessity because so many RVs and campers are so deluxe now).  I can't stand to think of dragging such a bigass vehicle all over the country, looking for campgrounds with hookups and then worrying about who I pull up next to and all of that. The cost of gasoline alone would send me into a panic. That, however, is me. Judging by the volume of campers Rick and I saw on the road, glamping is Hot Right Now. And a Big Deal.

I'm sure lots of people (who are Not Me) love the idea. It sounds very adventurous and pioneering. And, in a way, exciting and liberating. You can grab some basics, throw them in the car/motorhome, and start driving and explore the country. Or whatever.

What does NOT sound very wonderful are the names of some of these vehicles. I started noticing the names on the sides and back ends of campers and RVs and, let me tell you, whoever is naming these things should be out of a job.

The first one to puzzle me was Avenger. For a little old plain white trailer. It looked like the one my grandparents, Ethel and Joe, used to haul behind their Chrysler to Florida every winter. In what way is a trailer an "avenger"? What is it avenging? When I think of an avenger, I think of something dark and quick, something slightly sinister and sharp. For those of you who are more into comic books or films, you're probably thinking of The Avengers. Trust me, in no way did that little metal sugar cube look anything like any one of these:

http://img09.deviantart.net

Then we passed a Cyclone. This might be the worst name ever for a trailer. I think we all know of the unfortunate association between tornadoes and trailer/mobile home parks. Is this really the sort of image one wants to conjure up to boost camper sales? What are the other campers in this line--Toto, Dorothy, Tin Man, Kansas, and the deluxe model, Oz?

Other RV names were just clunky and ugly, like the one called Work and Play Ultra. Do that many people really buy an RV for work (or want to), let alone ultra work? This thing was as big as Rhode Island, so I'm sure just parking it was ultra work. Another one was called Dutch Star. I'm struggling to think what the Dutch have to do with RVs, driving, or stars. I know the Flying Dutchman was the legendary ghost ship that was doomed to never make port, but even that makes more sense for an RV name than Dutch Star, which, by the way, had absolutely no stars in its paint job, nor anything Dutch.

I started wondering why the RV and camper names were so goshdarned terrible. Was it because all the good names were taken by cars, like Roadster, Scout, Traveler, Pathfinder, Voyager, and the like? Why can't they start using literary names that are in the public domain then, like Ivanhoe, Lancelot, Caesar, Othello, or Beowulf? Even some animal names would be better, or some astronomy terms, or natural entities: Timberwolf, Solstice, Tumbleweed. I mean, come on. I would rather they gave these vehicles actual name names, even, like Stephen, Mirabel, Chris, Jose, Vilnius, Gretchen, or Anne. 

Even bottles of Coke have better names.

image via pinterest via google

Tell me you wouldn't rather have a little camper named Wolfgang than Work And Play Ultra. Or Cyclone.  I know, right?

Think up some good camper/RV names and put them in Comments. And tell me how you feel about camping.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is Anyone Out There?

Anyone at all?

Oh, I do hope so. I'm popping in for a Quick Hello, just to check in and give a brief Update Of Sorts, and then I am planning to get back to Business As Usual after my Jaunt next week. I've just about Had It with Being Unwell and even moreso with Talking About It. Let's wrap it up, then, and Move On.

The Medicals: My labs were a sort of mixed bag, but the whole Vitamin D Thing, which was the Most Important Of All, showed a massive recovery. I am well into the satisfactory/healthy range, so I am on the maintenance dose for life, and feeling so much better. No pains, no fatigue, and while my stamina and strength are still an issue, they are s-l-o-w-l-y increasing. My autoimmune system is still, in a word, terrible; however, unless I am plagued by recurrent infections (I am not), it's not a cause for concern. I no longer need to see my Superhero Rheumatologist who gave me my life back, but will now see the Internist she highly recommended. I burst into tears thanking this doctor and all but prostrated myself at her feet in a weeping huddle of gratitude.

The Universe Is Cruel: My dear friend Shirley wrote me a nice email, and in it she expressed sympathy overall regarding my health struggles, and mentioned specifically how difficult it is to practice serene self-care and recovery whilst the Orange Nightmare/Toddler In Chief is wreaking shitful havoc. It's absolutely true. I feel abused by the Universe, which allowed this abomination, yet felt it necessary to screw me again on Sunday, when it put a rogue piece of gravel in my path, and I fell and sprained my ankle. Because, Life is not difficult enough for me. At least I am used to resting--A LOT--and the sprain was mild. I am almost fully recovered today although stairs are a bitch. (Count me as a fervent disciple of the RICE protocol for sprain treatment).

The Jaunt: I am a little overwhelmed at the thought of, but am looking forward to, our upcoming Niagara-on-the-Lake jaunt as a true getaway from Everything. I think I need a real change of scenery. My wine-drinking capacity is sadly and sorely diminished, but I have no problem doing the Swish-n-Spit as we look to restock our depleted cellar. I only hope Rick is not too bored since we cannot do our usual long, lovely walks by the lake and into the trails. That will have to wait until autumn. In the meantime, we will find other things to do, like attend theatre and taking Short Walks.

I'm anxious for Things to be all back to Normal again. My patience--such as it is--is very frayed. I am restless and bored. This is not the life for me. At the same time, I am beyond grateful that my condition was reversible and treatable. I know so many people whose lives are forever changed by serious illness, and I know how very fortunate I am.

Thank you for staying with me. I'll be back real soon.


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Friday, June 02, 2017

In Which I Quote Adele And Check In For Just A Moment...

Zydrunas
photo courtesy Sam Donnelly

Hello from The Other Side. I still don't have a Full Tank, so to speak, so I can't stay long, but I wanted to let you know how I was doing and to thank a couple of people.

Firstly, I am feeling a great deal better. The pain is almost entirely gone. Certainly the jolts of pain have been eliminated altogether, and the deep aching in my arms and lower back has been reduced to a once-in-a-while twinge. I still have to use the gel insoles in my shoes for heel pain every now and then, but not nearly as regularly as I did even a month ago. It is very encouraging and wonderful progress.

What I am left with now is a sad lack of strength and stamina. My arms, especially, are astonishingly weak. Even now, after typing only this much, they feel heavy and shaky. Driving more than twenty minutes or so is very uncomfortable and, at times, impossible. My kitchen cupboards have been reconfigured to put heavier items on lower shelves to minimize problems and with an eye to my safety. I continue to try and take short walks, but my stamina is always a variable. I worry about being able to make it back home. The biggest struggle I have right now--besides Patience--is knowing that Fine Line between Building Stamina and Overdoing It.

I have been stacking up more and more Good Days--days when I feel more like Myself. Days when I can think quickly, speak confidently, intelligently, and fluently, and whip through a crossword puzzle in no time flat. I even picked up a little freelance editing work, made almost impossible by the vinyl siding crew working next door (playing thrash metal music at top volume, naturally).

I am tired, however, still very tired much of the time. Large groups of people wear me out; activity, whether I am involved or merely watching it, wears me out. I think the act of Trying To Keep Up With Anything is tiring to me. But I press on, always, for I am anxious to be Well.

No words can express my emotions for Jared's Mother's Day post, which was a complete surprise to me. I am always thankful for the human beings my sons have grown to be, and Jared's thoughtful essay affirmed that he is a caring and introspective adult. That he attributes some of his best traits to me makes me happier and prouder than he could know.

And I want to say a warm thank you to Jill and Wes Wanders, too, who have taken some time out of their busy, busy lives and emailed me expressing concern, inquiring about my progress, and/or informing me of this and that along the way.

Finally, I want to mention my mother, St. Patsy. She has, without fail, sent me an encouraging message--full of emojis--every single day from her trusty iPad. Knowing my general dislike of phone calls and how holding the phone can tire me, she cheerfully embraces this medium of communication despite being in her late 80s. And she has agreed to abide by my rule of limiting the pictures of great-grandchildren to one per day. (That was a tough one.)

Things are getting better, albeit more slowly than I would like. Compared to the Fear and Panic and Uncertainty I faced a few months ago, however, life is much better.  In a week I will have more labwork done; at the end of the month, a followup appointment. And in July, we have plans to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake to replenish the cellar.

Lots to look forward to.

Cheers!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tell Your Mother You Love Her. A Mother's Day Guest Post



Hello, Jared here. I am not great with graphics, HTML, or general Blogging Fanciness like Nance is, so this post may lack some of the aesthetic pinache of a Typical Nance Post. While she takes a break from blogging, and in honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to contribute in her stead.

I remember spending the morning at the desk in my bedroom with my brother. We were so young, and we wanted it to be perfect, so we spent a long time trying to figure out what the perfect picture to draw was. Trying so hard to fold thick awkward card stock precisely and sharply. Thinking long and hard about what we wanted to say so that everything was perfectly put in a way to conjure up memories and the good feelings that we had so that on Mother’s Day, our mother could open up the handmade card and know how much we love her.


Things aren’t so different now. Sure, Sam and I don’t live at home. We aren’t folding handmade cards. We both put to rest any idea that we were artistic enough to do accurately portray all of the things that we had. Some things, though, are remarkably similar. Sam and I share an apartment. We both want to do special and nice things for our mother and father. We both still have no idea how we can possibly do that in a way to radiate the love that we have felt every single day.
Those cards from my youth were full of things like “whether it is going to a movie and lunch, or talking about books”, and trying to come up with our favorite things about those moments, about our mother. All of those times, those wonderful experiences still matter. I still carry them around with me every day. I still remember leaving the theatre and talking to my mother about the film in a way that made me feel very adult, very smart, and very complete. Now, though, there are different things to take away from those times, those moments, and those feelings.
My mother often says to me,  when I find myself in a time of anger or hurt, that “it doesn’t cost anything to be kind”. And yes, while there is no financial obligation associated with commonplace kindness, there is a real and tangible cost. You can set yourself up for vulnerability, let down, and more hurt or anger. My mother knows this, and, in my adulthood, I’ve come to understand exactly what she meant by those words. Simply, there is no cost that is too great to pay to do a kindness unto someone that you love.
2017 has, for a few reasons, not been tremendous for me so far. I have leaned on my mother more frequently in the last handful of months than I have needed to in the last handful of years, it seems. No, her taking my aimless phone calls during boring and lonely days doesn’t cost her money. The dog and I showing up at her house with little to no notice causes her exactly zero monetary hardship. There is, however, a cost to all of those things, and my mother pays it over and over with no thought to how it may affect her because in her mind, being there for me in those ways is simply practicing what she preaches, and the cost of kindness for someone that you love is always zero.
I have learned a great many things from my mother. My gift with language, my analytical nature with feelings, films, and books. My practicality, empathy, and compassion. (And apparently the Oxford comma). Most importantly, I have learned to be kind and patient and to always do the best I could to think outside of myself, the moment, and what was best for me. I think that the best way to put all of those things under one umbrella is to say that, simply, my mother has taught me how to be an adult, and she did so through an unrelenting practice of the best ways that I can find to describe kindness.  
People make jokes about “turning into their parents” on television and in movies all the time. I can feel myself turning into my mother. I’m prouder of the man that I’m becoming now than I ever have been in my 32 years. It would be foolish to ignore the fact that this change, this sort of acceptance of self and circumstances has come in the time that I needed and relied on my mother the most.

So, on this Mother’s Day, I ask you not to think of times, gifts, or tangible memories of your mother. Instead, reflect on what those things mean. The intangible aspects of what those times were, and how they shaped you.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I Stop Somewhere Waiting For You

Things have been quiet here at the Dept., I know, although I've been visiting your places and chatting here and there. I'd like to explain, take a little more time away, and then get Back To It here as soon as I possibly can.

For months and months now, I've not been well at all. I'd been losing ground at physical therapy--which had been keeping my Migraines at bay--and I could not shake this crushing fatigue. Then the deep bone pain and muscle pain started, and then lower back pain, too. And all along--for months and months--I'd been feeling so unlike myself. Confused at times, indecisive at others, still other times, I'd search for a word in the middle of a sentence while talking. (So embarrassing.)  I felt like I was in a fog all the time. Writing became such a chore; reading, an impossibility. I'd also seen my eye doctor back in December for severe dry eye and gotten on a prescription for that, with his suggestion that I get a doctor to test me for Sjogren's Syndrome once he heard the rest of my complaints.

That's where and how my Odyssey began.

I won't bore you with all of the details. My quest took me from the eye doctor to dear Dr. B., my neurologist, who ordered some labs to test for Sjogren's and a few other things. From there, I went on to a waiting list at a rheumatologist. All the while, I was losing more strength and stamina. Pain kept me from being able to sleep and carry on with my normal life. My weekly grocery store trips became my last vestige of normalcy, and they cost me dearly in terms of their aftermath of pain and exhaustion. Many times, I sat in the parking lot, waiting until I could bring myself to drive home, leaving heavy items in the car for Rick to bring in. Putting things away took forever as I rested often.

The rheumatologist's initial diagnosis was palindromic rheumatoid arthritis and possible Sjogren's, and a couple more labs were done. No results were conclusive. I had a brief respite after a steroid blast, but another try a month later when the pain roared back gave me no relief. In desperation and in debilitating pain, I contacted a friend who is a sonographer for the Cleveland Clinic. She pulled some strings and got me in to a top rheumatologist there.

In a two-hour consultation, this doctor took an extensive history and then narrative of my condition: its origin, development, symptoms, and affected areas. Then she examined me and asked me about my lifestyle, diet, and habits. Then she ordered twenty-two lab tests. And she identified at that moment what she thought it could be, something simple and, most importantly, reversible, although it would take some time.

The labs confirmed a couple things I already knew: one, that I have a lousy immune system; two, that I do not have TB or any thyroid issues. But the labs also confirmed what this doctor suspected from my symptoms and examination: my problem is not rheumatoid arthritis--those factors came back negative. So did Sjogren's. My problem is a severe and prolonged Vitamin D deficiency.

It's astonishing to me that something that seems so small and so banal-sounding can wreak such havoc. I was being tested for heavy metal poisoning, aluminum poisoning, arsenic, Lyme disease, even Parvo! They were testing my blood for markers indicating lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and other frightening things. But they all have some of the selfsame symptoms in common, and let me assure you, these symptoms are frightening to endure. I am beyond grateful not to have those illnesses, and I look forward to the end of my misery, whilst sufferers of some of the aforementioned illnesses must only manage theirs.

My deficiency is such that it will take months to recover my health. I am currently megadosing twice a week (50,000 IUs) for two months, at which time I will be retested. The doctor is confident that I will recover completely from this, but has told me that I will need to supplement Vitamin D3 for the rest of my life.

I can do that.

In the meantime I have to work very hard at Being Patient. That, as many of you know, is not my gift. I want My Life back. I want Me back. I want my brain back. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of not being able to Do Anything, especially the Things I Love. And I am so very, very tired of Pain. My heart breaks for those who must live with it as a Constant Presence Lifelong.

I hope I find someone here when I can finally return.  And I hope I am finally Me when I do.


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Thursday, April 06, 2017

In Which I Wonder Why I Ever Leave The House At All, And Leave All Of You To Make The Obvious Pun Involving Eggs

ACT I.  Scene opens on Nance, standing in yet another ridiculously long line at the grocery store. Sympathetic Manager catches her eye, waves her into a new lane, just opening.

Nance: (to Manager) Oh thank you! (begins to place items on the belt)
Cashier: Hi, how are you today?
Nance: Fine. How are you?
Cashier: Good. Hey, do you have any heavy items under there?
Nance: Yes, I was just going to tell you--
Cashier: (interrupting) Okay. I'm not allowed to bend or lift anything heavy.
Nance: That's fine. I usually leave the cases under there and let the cashiers--
Cashier: (interrupting) If you push your cart up here, I'll give you the scanner and let you scan 'em.
Nance: Whatever works for you. (finishes unloading and pushes cart to cashier's station)
Cashier: Okay, here you go. Just scan the one, and I'll double it here.
Nance: Got it. All set.
Cashier: Yeah, no heavy lifting or bending for me. Found out I'm not just fat--I'm pregnant!
Nance: (not sure how to respond to this, or if it's even required, continues preparing to pay for eventual final total)
Cashier: (blithely continuing with great aplomb) Yep! Thirty-seven weeks. At first I thought it was all the holiday eating, but nope. It wasn't just fat. (looks directly at Nance, expectantly--no pun intended)
Nance: (truly stuck now) Oh...my. Well. There you go!
Cashier: Huh?
Nance: Um, did you subtract that coupon?
Cashier: Yep! Sure did.

(They are interrupted momentarily by another shopper who, upon leaving, mentions very discreetly to the Cashier that her bagger, a young man with special needs, is losing his pants. Not wanting to embarrass him then, she hopes that perhaps this Cashier might speak to him.)

Cashier: Okay. Thank you. (turns toward bagger, several lanes down, shouts) Hey! Hey! Darrin! Pull your pants up, dude! Pants!
Nance: (mouth starting to dry out from being agape, closes it)
Cashier: Okay. Here's your total. I can print that check for you. Oh, by the way, I see you got large eggs. Didn't you know that the extra large are the same price this week?
Nance: Oh, no. I didn't. Had I known, I'd have gotten the extra large.
Cashier:  ( pityingly)  Yep. They are. Okay, here's your receipt. Have a great day!

ACT II. Scene opens in living room, later that evening. Rick and Nance are on the couch. Nance is telling Rick about her grocery store adventure.

Nance: (still not over any of it) ...and then, after all that, she waits until she has rung the total and is sending me on my way to tell me about the eggs! Why?! I should have said, "I'll stand here while you go get me the extra large" or "I'll wait here while you send someone to get me the extra large" or...something!
Rick: (laughing) Really? That's what you wish you would have said?

End.

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Saturday, March 25, 2017

I Cannot Believe I Am Writing About...Cars

In a million years you would never, ever guess where I spent time last weekend. I was in Cleveland at the IX Center at The Piston Power Show, looking at...cars. Nothing but cars, cars, and more cars. There were so many cars there that I thought for sure I would throw up.

Or die.

Did you know that it is Entirely Possible to walk around and around and around and around and around for hours and hours and keep looking at cars, cars, and more cars and still not see all the cars in a show?

Because it is. It absolutely is.

And lots and lots of people--other people--do it. I did it just this once because This:



That's my son's car (before display setup), which I tell him looks like a big saddle shoe. Sam bought a gutted, destroyed old Honda Del Sol and rebuilt and modified it into a little race car. The Piston Power Show was his first big show, and I wanted to go and support him. He won a Second Place Trophy in his division. Not bad for his very first car project.

Despite my obvious pride in my son's accomplishments, his little car was still not the best or cutest car that I have seen lately. No, Dearest Readers, and it was Not Even Close. Not when this is Out There:



I. Know. And I saw it In Person! At the grocery store!

I could not wait to get into the store to zip around the aisles and see if I could determine who the driver of this Fantastic Vehicle might be. Would there be an actual clown in the store, grabbing bags of balloons or candy or an illicit pack of cigarettes? Or would there be a middle-aged woman dressed in Bohemian garb, scarves flowing and bracelets clacking on her arms as she piled cans of dog food into her cart? Maybe there would be some way to tell--some way--who the driver of such a joyful and ostentatious vehicle was!

Alas, my powers of observation failed me.  Try as I might, I was unable to discern who among my fellow shoppers owned this Magical Mystery Car.  I left the store with no idea of its owner, but with so much Cheer In My Heart.  This is The Happiest Car On Earth.  And I bet these dogs are plenty content, too.

Why this car wasn't in the Piston Power Show, I don't know.  I would give it First Prize in the Bliss Division.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Bunch Of Stuff Off The Top Of My Head

Obviously, I'm in a Writing Slough Of Sloth. If I wait until I have Something Valuable To Say, this spot will collect cyber-cobwebs and digital dustbunnies. So! I'm going to just reach into my head, grab whatever I find, and see what we think.

Here we go.

Wake Me Up When: 1. Winter is really over. 2. republicans knock it the hell off/are extinct. 3. He's arrested and frog-marched out of the White House with his staff. 4. Wine is the cure for migraine. 5. Joe Biden is President*.
*Since we can't have Hillary, because Woman. (And actual Fake News. Thanks, Facebook.)

Either No One Ever Told Me Or I Was Young And Therefore Stupid: Holy Crap, what is the deal with suddenly becoming as dry as those bleached bones in the desert? I used to have oily skin, oily hair, plenty of spit, and the ability to wear contacts and grow my nails long, longer, longest. I had to wash my hair every day--hell, when I was a teenager, I would sometimes use dishwashing liquid! Now that I am technically Too Old to be termed even Of A Certain Age, I can go two or three days before my hair becomes oily or flat. My contacts are a misery; my skin is taut and painful this winter. My hands are strangers to me, with their ragged cuticles and peely nails kept short by necessity. Did anyone ever foretell this Sadness? Probably I laughed merrily, tossed my brilliant locks, and waved them off with my long-nailed hand. What a heartless bitch I was, surely.

When Your Husband Is A Carpenter And You Are A Knitter: As you, Dear Readers, well know, I accompany Rick on many of his Outings to stores For Him, such as Home Depot and Harbor Freight and the like. It's not always All Bad, as there are more than a few things there which are Multipurpose and Handy for other things, and some of the stores, like Rural King, even have baby ducks, which are the most charming animals in the world (possibly). After seeing me linger over one Handy Item, my husband bought me one as a gift, so it could become my Knitting Caddy. Here it is, and I love it:



It has a place for everything! Eight side pockets hold my stitch markers, spare glasses, lotion, stitch counter, tapestry needles, scissors, you name it. Deep end pockets hold a small tablet and pen, pattern, and circ needle packet. A loop on the end even holds a large safety pin, used to hold stitches when I make my charity bears. And, as a bonus, when I hold it on my lap and prop my elbows on it, it keeps my knitting at eye level and my shoulders squared, just what the physical therapist ordered to combat my cervical myofasciitis. (Bonus: it is, apparently, an Excellent Cat-Chin-Scratching-Edifice.)

Everyone Stop:  1. Quoting Twitter as a News Source. 2. Overusing the word amazing (still!). 3. Telling me that Spring Officially Starts Next Week. 4. Saying Daylight SavingS Time (THERE IS NO 'S').  5. Putting up holiday decorations if you cannot take them down in a timely manner.

Okay.  Your turn.  I can't wait for you to peel off a little brain banana or two in Comments or chat about mine.



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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Contents Of Our Character

At first I didn't notice anything different as I pulled my car into a parking spot at the grocery store. The forecast was calling for rain, and the skies were already threatening. I wanted to get what I needed in pretty good time and get out--a daunting task at Marc's, which has a large closeouts section that bogs me down. In it, I can find anything from garden rakes to wall clocks, room-sized rugs to purses. But I was resolute as I grabbed my bags and started towards the door.

Suddenly, I saw the police car. It was pulled up parallel to the front of the store. Its lights weren't flashing or anything, so I figured they were probably grabbing a few things themselves. But as I came closer, I saw the back door open, and an officer had a young woman by the arm. Neither one looked particularly distressed, but it was clear that he was going to put her in the squad car. Another young woman, who looked nearly identical to the first one, was standing there calmly asking, "Do you want me to drop off the car? Do you want--?" and I stopped listening and looking.

That sort of thing bothers me, and I don't like to gawk. It's clearly None Of My Business, and no one needed my help, obviously. It wasn't Entertainment.

I'd like to say that everyone else had the same philosophy, but of course, you all know that's not the case. There was almost a traffic jam of people and their shopping carts trying to come out of the store, caused by the two or three Elderlies with full carts, standing stock-still, watching this unfortunate drama unfold. I had to almost thread myself through a few more just to get through the IN door.

Once I did, however, I was soon stopped in my tracks by a monologue spoken loudly enough for everyone at the front of the store to hear. A woman's voice, speaking conversationally but assertively, said, "Just cut their hand off, that's what I say. If they want to steal, cut off a hand. For a first offense, maybe a finger, but if they do it again, then cut off the whole hand. Maybe then they'd think twice."

Aghast, I turned around and was astonished to see that the speaker was one of my favourite cashiers, a woman about my age, maybe a little younger. She was always so pleasant and kind to me, making sure to pack my groceries so that the bags were light. She was unfailingly chipper and chatty, talking about weekend activities and even inquiring about my health when I hadn't come in for a while. To hear her speak so easily about such brutality was jarring.

This happened a week ago, and I'm still struggling with it. So much is so wrong about it.

With everything in me, I wanted to challenge that cashier. I wanted to ask her if that is truly what she believes, that maiming a young twenty-something woman for what may well be the one mistake of her life is really what she considers to be Justice. I wanted to ask her if she knew that she was advocating for Sharia Law when she invoked these penalties for theft. I wanted to know how she could find such bitterness and hatred in her heart for a stranger, and for someone who had done nothing to her personally. And I wanted to ask her if she had ever stolen anything--anything--in her life; and if not her, what about her kids? What about her friends or co-workers? Did she really want something ugly and primitive to be Justice In America?

But I didn't do that. I didn't confront her then and there. I decided to wait and go through her line, speak to her civilly and calmly, but then she wasn't there. And now I know my chance is gone; I won't go through her line anymore.

I feel lousy. I feel as if I didn't Stand Up For What's Right. Like I let her get away with a big load of crap and spread it around, unchecked.

These days, any little Inch becomes a Mile pretty damn fast. I hope that, by my silence, I didn't help start a superhighway.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

They're Out There And They Voted: I Can't Go To Home Depot Anymore

I'm sorry. Massive, cavernous stores already have a strike against them by being dauntingly huge and tiresome. At least Costco, for instance, has an endless and ever-changing variety of goods--including food--to keep me interested. I once rested against a gigantic cuddly teddy bear there that was larger than me whilst Rick pored (eternally) over a selection of work gloves. Then we went to visit the food and wine, found some truly excellent olive oil and asiago cheese, and went home without any Untoward Incident.

Not so, however, at Home Depot, where there is almost nothing Interesting to me. While Rick can happily spend an hour or two there, I become restless and fidgety after about ten minutes. And that is without signs like this one:



Groan.

(I'm having flashbacks from my teaparty sign days. Remember those?)

How could things go so wrong on such a simple sign?

Now, stipulating that Idems means Items, as in "pieces, things, goods, gadgets", how can such entities be Selective as in "choosy, judicious, discriminating, or discerning"?

And do not even get me started on that asterisk.

Goodbye, Home Depot.  I've decided to become more Selective in where I spend my time.  You and I are no longer an Item*.

*But Rick will never quit you.


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Friday, February 03, 2017

Snakes Are Not The Boss Of Me

That I have a debilitating fear of snakes is not news. I've mentioned it in almost a dozen posts, most notably in this one about Irrational Fears and this one, a little playlet starring everyone's favourite, my mother, St. Patsy. (Speaking of which, let me take a moment to remind her: Hey, Mom, whenever you see the little words in a different colour, you can touch them and go to read or look at whatever it is I'm talking about.)

Thanks, everyone. Onward.

I'm happy to report that I've made considerable progress with regard to my phobia of snakes. Much of this progress has to do with the following:

1. My need for control
2. Actually, there really is no Number Two, as it all really boils down to my Need For Absolute Control, come to think about it.

Here's the thing: I really do not like Being Afraid. Of anything. And I also do not appreciate snakes being around where I am, making me feel scared and generally Being The Boss Of Me, which is another Thing I Do Not Like. Just ask my husband, who will readily answer the question, "Who is the boss of Nance?" with an emphatic and vociferous "No one!" Truth be told, my mother will answer the same question in the same way. And, that is precisely how I want snakes to answer it as well.

Seeing a snake on the shoreline of the lakehouse is still not something I'm happy about, but it no longer makes me rooted to the spot. Yes, I'm forbidden from using the ax on it after a few ill-fated forays into that practice of snake killing, but I have my methods.

I've come a long way from the little girl on East 38th Street who cried and cried one day, eventually calling out for her mother. Desperate to use the bathroom, I was too afraid to go in. I called my mom, who came to me, probably harried from hanging laundry outside or taking care of my then baby sister. One of four children, I was not usually a problem, so my mother was probably surprised by my distress. "Mom! Come quick! Call for help! Call the fire department or something. There's a rattlesnake in the toilet. I can hear it in there." My mother ran to the hallway and stopped to listen. There was absolutely no doubt about it--a rattling noise was coming from the bathroom. "Mom! Do you hear it? You heard it, right?" I knew she heard it. I was crying by then, so hard. My mother turned to face me, her eyes wide and her mouth desperately trying to hold back her smile. Then she just couldn't help herself; she started laughing. "Oh, honey," she said. "That's just the wind coming through the Venetian blinds."

Now before you all--and YOU, MOM--get too smug and superior, take a look at this:

courtesy Big Country Snake Removal

Trust me; I'm not happy about it in the least. I want stories like this to be Urban Legends. And I'm sure that the little boy in Texas who found it wasn't real thrilled either, nor was his family, who found a whole basement full of rattlers, as well as a nest under the house. After the initial shock, they called a snake removal system (the fact that this is a real thing makes me doubly sure I do not ever want to live in Texas) to get rid of them all and prevent further infestation. A spokesperson for Big Country Snake Removal said, "People have an irrational fear about" rattlesnakes. Herpetologist Sara Viernum reminds us that, while a rattlesnake bite can cause "temporary and/or permanent tissue and muscle damage, loss of an extremity depending on the location of the bite, internal bleeding, and extreme pain around the injection area", fatalities from rattlesnake bites are rare if treated with antivenin in a timely manner.

I really don't think Big Country Snake Removal and Herpetologist Sara Viernum are helping rattlesnakes a whole helluva lot with their PR .

Not that I care.

Let me just say that I am putting All Snakes On Notice.  If I have to put an ax next to every single toilet in the house, I will.  I have already eliminated all Venetian blinds.

I am In Control.

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