Tuesday, September 07, 2021

O Is For Olio

 Those of you who are Crossword Puzzle People recognize Olio immediately as a word that means a hodgepodge of things; a collection of miscellany; a mixture. It's often an answer in crossword puzzles, right up there with Etui (a needle case).

It's an O word that is saving me for this post because I'm sort of Overwhelmed and Out Of Ideas at present. It has been a vicious couple of weeks, and I'm Over It.

Obviously, the Overarching Situation in the world is worrisome. I've gone from being a News Junkie to a cartoonish News Ostrich, almost burying my head in the Sands of Oblivion. I'm Outraged at the republican taliban's takeover of women's bodies in Texas; I'm on constant simmer waiting for justice for January 6; I'm sick of the bashing about of President Biden, who ended an unwinnable war, airlifted more than 100,000 people out, and took full responsibility. Where were these Erstwhile Patriots when 45* made his deal with taliban leaders and agreed to release 5000 prisoners, one of whom is now the Supreme Leader of the new Afghanistan? 

Never mind. I can't anymore.

Two weeks ago, I got a horrific phone call from Rick at about 7:20 AM telling me, in between gasps and moans of pain, that he had just been hit in a head-on collision on his way to work. His airbag had deployed. Talk about feeling scared and helpless! He was still in the car, unable and afraid to move. I asked if he could move his legs and arms; he could. All I could think of--and I know it was the same for him--was his two spinal fusion surgeries and the rods and pins in his back. Once the police arrived, I told him I would wait for a call to meet him at the hospital.

Fast forward to the Good Stuff--he's Okay! The ER doctor made sure to take scans that allowed him to check for fracturing of the spine and the proper placement of his hardware. Miraculously, no fractures and no displacement. He has a nasty bruise still healing from the shoulder seatbelt and is still very, very sore. 

And very, very frustrated. The driver who hit him--and was cited--totalled our car and did not report the accident to her insurance. Rick did, however, and they tried several times to contact her. They also told us that "until she accepted liability" they couldn't do anything, even with a police report. Then they tried to tell us they were having trouble getting the police report--until we emailed them one. (We could have sent them any number of copies:  lawyers from all over northeast Ohio were sending them to us, offering to consult with us and possibly take our case. You may have had a similar experience.) 

Finally, ten days after the accident, the cited driver accepted liability, and her insurance company asked if we needed a rental car. 


Obtuse much? That would have been a useful suggestion a week ago. We already went and bought a replacement vehicle. Both of us need a vehicle. Even though I'm retired, I don't want to be without a car when I have a 91-year old mother who may need assistance. (And buying a vehicle now is No Fun. Thanks, pandemic.)

So this is Where We Are. Waiting. Trying to decide if we need one of those lawyers or not. 

And Oops--last month, the Dept. of Nance turned Sixteen. Good Heavens. I was in my forties when I started this blog. My sons were sliding out of their teens. I still had two cats, but they were TravisCat and EmilyCat. The Office made its television debut. We lost the giant of American playwrights Arthur Miller and two history-making Black women, Shirley Chisholm and Rosa Parks. We watched in horror as GW Bush ineptly responded to Hurricane Katrina. And, thank goodness for all of us who love to watch funny stuff, DIY stuff, or entertain our cats or dogs when we're away, YouTube went online the same year, too.

I'm Overjoyed that so many of you read me and care what I have to say. Thank you for these past Sixteen Years. I'm up for at least a few more.

Get me through it in Comments.


Friday, August 20, 2021

N Is For Needles


A little while ago, my grocery store with the fun and astonishing Closeouts section suddenly burst forth a Crafts Aisle. I wasn't the least bit surprised; remember, this is the store that routinely offers all sorts of eyecatching items in its Closeouts department. I've previously seen the following:  air conditioners, recliners, sofas, cabinet doors, folding tables, dorm refrigerators, lamps, winter coats, bathroom vanities, Subway hats and aprons, a Benjamin Franklin bobblehead, and a bank shaped like a rhinoceros, among other things. I recently purchased a pair of (originally Target) animal print high-top tennis shoes for eight bucks. I mean, why not?

But I digress.

Anyway, this Craft Aisle was full of--among other things--Knitting Needles. If you know anything about knitters, you know that we cannot pass up yarn or needles. It's impossible to have too many/much of either one. I scored a nice set of 10" bamboo Needles, sizes 6-10, for only 99 cents. This pricing is very typical of my store, and some single Needles were two and three pairs for 99 cents. Many, however, were plastic, and that's not my preference. I did what damage I could and felt pretty good about it. Among the knitting Needles were also a bevy of crochet hooks, singles and sets, similarly priced. Just for a moment, I understood how hoarders must feel:  I hated to leave a single thing hanging there when the prices were so ridiculous and I knew someone someplace could enjoy them. But that is for someone else's inspiration.

And speaking of Needles, I had to make a small repair on one of Rick's shirts not long ago, which meant a bit of hand sewing. I waited until I had everything else done for the afternoon, gathered my materials, sat in a comfortable position, and talked myself into a Patient And Relaxed Frame Of Mind. Because I knew it was going to be at least ten minutes before I got the damned needle threaded. I wish I were kidding. I don't care how sharp my scissors are or how neatly that thread is cut. I can be as steady-handed as a marksman. It does not matter. I will be poking that thread all over the goddam place trying to get it into the eye of the needle. How in the hell do those of you who do needlepoint do it? What can I do to end my torture and pain? Help me, please.

One last Needle.  My grandson, seventeen in about a week or so, and I are both big Elton John fans. He was almost impressed that I was an actual card-carrying member of The Elton John Fan Club back in the early 70s. On a boat ride one summer afternoon, he shared with me some video he took of an Elton John concert, and we sang along with the songs. The last time he came over, I dragged out my Elton John albums on vinyl and let him look at them, see the cover art, the lyrics, and the photos of the band on the inside of some of them. "Do you play these sometimes, Nana?" he asked. I hated telling him no. Rick and I both have lots and lots of vinyl, and I miss hearing our albums. We really need to get a new Needle for our turntable. It can't be a difficult thing to do. I know so much music is available to me now on streaming services, but I want to listen to my old LPs. And for that to happen, we need to get a Needle. One little Needle, and all that music--Tina Turner, Queen, Earth Wind & Fire, ELO, and of course, Elton John--comes back to life. 

Talk to me about the Needles, both in my life and in yours.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

M Is For Movies

One of the first Movies I can remember going to see was The Sound of Music. That movie came out in 1965; I was six at the time. One of my parents dropped us kids off at a theater downtown with ticket money and enough for a concession snack. I chose a box of candies called Chocolate Babies, which were little child-shaped Tootsie Roll-type things. It never occurred to me that they were not only unfortunately named, but that eating them was also sort of cannibalistic.

I spent a large part of the movie feeling confused, having no idea as to the politics or the history of it all. My father served in World War II, but he rarely spoke of it, and being six years old, it was not something I had encountered in kindergarten or first grade. Still, I had a good time and loved the huge screen and sitting in the dark, getting lost in the atmosphere of it all.

We didn't go to the Movies as a family, ever, so the rarity of Movies made them wonderful to me. Even as a teenager going with friends, I always got a thrill when the lights would go all the way down and the previews would start. I loved the feeling of anticipation when the title of the feature I was there to see would go up on the big screen. I was immediately ready to be swept into the story.

My first date with Rick was a movie. We were going to go see Star Wars, but neither of us was entirely sure how to get to the theater where it was playing (oh, the days before Google Maps and GPS!). We ended up seeing Oh, God! with George Burns and John Denver instead. To this day neither of us has ever seen Star Wars on the big screen.

I went to the Movies quite often, years ago, with teacher friends. We'd go to early shows and, during the summers, matinees. One memorable Last Day Of School, a teacher buddy and I even went to a movie just a little bit drunk on some terrible frozen margaritas we made at my apartment. When our friend arrived to pick us up to go, our attempt to appear sober failed entirely. That movie was Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan, the only movie playing that afternoon at a convenient time for us. I have no idea what it was about, (none of us had seen Star Trek I; was there one?) but I had fun. We were the only people in the theater.

Back then, I saw so many Movies! I wanted to see as many Oscar Contenders as I could. A colleague and I would print out the Oscar nominations and make our picks and vie for bragging rights. A friend and I went to the Movies at least a couple times a month. In my retirement, I said wistfully, I'll be able to go to the Movies all the time. I imagined myself sitting afternoons in almost empty theaters, watching Movies on Tuesdays or Thursdays and emerging into the sunshine two hours later, blinking and smiling, then heading home and back to my Real Life.

That didn't happen. I think the last movie I saw in the theater was Lincoln, with Daniel Day-Lewis in the titular role, in 2012. Going to the Movies slowly became less and less of a Pleasure for me. First, the theaters became smaller and smaller, and the walls became thinner. I could hear some of the heavier, deeper bass notes of the films going on in the adjoining cinemas. Then, audience member behaviour got worse:  it's hard to lose yourself in the Movies when people near you are talking (not whispering); when the lights from their cell phones are distracting you; when their cell phones ring AND they take the call right there in the theater; and when parents bring children to Movies that are really not for kids and then refuse to regulate their behaviour. I simply gave up, completely and totally. 

"Wow. It's just a movie, not a religious service," some of you are probably saying. And, of course, you're right.

Although the last religious service I attended was equally as annoying as what I described above, with the addition of it being a religious service. But I digress.

My point is--and I do have one--that Going To The Movies has been spoiled, like so many things, by a Lack Of Common Human Courtesy. Whether its demise was hurried by technology (cell phones, digital projectors) or greed (multi-plexes, short staffing), Common Human Courtesy at the Movies has definitely dwindled to the point where for me, there is not enough of it to get me to the theater. Like many others, I'll wait until the film comes to a streaming service. And then, I find, I don't care enough to seek it out.

How about you? Do you still go to Movies (or did you, before the pandemic)? Am I expecting Too Much? Chat me up in Comments


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