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.


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:

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

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

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.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

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

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.


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 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 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
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).

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.


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!!



Wednesday, August 02, 2017

My New Mantra When Things Get A Little Too Real
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: 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)

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