Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'm So Stoopid

Anonymous has accused me of never admitting my shortcomings and instead mocking those of others, and adds that it is tiresome to read my blog because of that. To counter that accusation, I will continue, from time to time, to shed light on my own faults.

Following is a list--the tip of the iceberg I might add--of things I don't understand or know nothing about, despite having lived a long time, graduated from a good university and worked within several reputable corporations and more than a few giants of the publishing industry:

1. The difference between World War I and World War II
2. Electricity
3. The Electoral College
4. Why Justin Bieber is famous
5. Why, with all the words available, some truffles are mushrooms and some truffles are chocolate
6. How people still become Catholics despite the widespread child molestation by priests
7. Who fought in the Korean War
8. How Puerto Rico relates to America
9. How if we evolved from apes there are still apes
10. Salsa dancing and salsa that you eat: ?
11. Why Shakespeare is considered great
12. Who carved Mt. Rushmore and why, and how long it took to complete
13. Who and what is the president pro tempore
14. Football
15. Taxes

Friday, March 30, 2012

Saint Andrea's Faults

Aerial view of the San Andreas Fault
This morning I got pissed off and declared that I would no longer be writing this blog. The post in which I declared that has been deleted--by me--because I can. I can write a new one saying the same thing, then I can delete that one too. That's the great thing about a blog, you can do whatever the hell you want and nobody can stop you! It's quite cool.

Anyway, I heard from some of my dear friends who said they actually do read my blog and would miss it, and that made me feel better and think perhaps I would continue. There was also a comment from that sneaky old coward, Anonymous, who said the trouble with my blog is that I don't see all the things that are wrong with me and that "it gets tiresome." Who knew? I always feel as if I am quite self-deprecating on a regular basis, but apparently not enough to please some folks. So, following is a list of my faults; feel free to point out anything I omitted:

1. I am very judgmental about people. I really hate anyone who is stupid, has a limited vocabulary, talks incessantly without checking if you are interested or even listening, does not keep up with the news, watches reality TV seriously and not as a hoot, goes to every movie as soon as it is released thinking that makes them cool, and believes what they read in the paper.
2. I use food as a drug and eat not only when I am hungry but when I am sad or angry too. Fortunately this is not too often so I am not too fat.
3. I am unabashedly disdainful of the obese. This comes from a childhood of mental and physical abuse by a morbidly obese person, my older sister. I spent many years in therapy dealing with this problem, but then my shrink died and I still hate very fat people.
4. I do not see addictions as a disease and so I am harshly unsympathetic towards alcoholics, drug addicts and cigarette smokers. I smoked for 40 years myself and never once thought I had a disease, I thought I liked to smoke.
5. I get bored easily and so lose interest in projects and people sooner than might be expected or desired.
6. I hate small talk and bullshit and thus am frightening to many people who are afraid to hear anything close to the truth about life, death, and especially death.
7. I hate parties that aren't fun. If you throw a party, then you'd better serve good food, adjust the lighting, provide good music and invite interesting guests. I don't want to drive over just to eat your chips and dip and sit around in a deadly silent room making small talk with boring people who never ask me one question because they are either too meek or too self-absorbed to wonder about anyone else.
8. I talk too loudly in public and don't care what strangers think of me. (My son hates this.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hoodies Don't Kill People, Guns Kill People

So the kid was three inches taller than six feet, and not a kid at all but 17. And it was night and he was wearing a so-called "hoodie," which apparently is a signal in some circles that a crime might occur, or might have already occurred, or occurred on TV or in some surveillance tapes somewhere--whatever. The point is, I'm not going out at night in one, although I could because I am a white woman with a senior discount card in my wallet and besides, my own personal hoodie is pink and says Life Is Good across the front. As for TV news personality Geraldo Rivera having to apologize for speaking the truth about the dangers inherent in this article of clothing, that is just another example of political correctness gone haywire. And to whom did he apologize, one wonders.

Anyway, I'm not here to suggest who was right or who was wrong or whether the shooter was really a racist murderer or the dead man was really a ne'er-do-well or an innocent, which by all accounts he was because after all, he was found with a bag of Skittles, and how could someone who eats Skittles be bad? What I am here to say is that anyone who does not believe that we have a big problem in this country regarding racial discrimination and hatred and tensions and rage should just read some of the comments that follow all the news stories about this situation on the Internet, and get back to me.

A Supreme Waste of Time

Finding something to do with yourself while you are alive can be quite challenging. Box office totals suggest that going to the movies is a popular activity, at least in America. In fact, watching other people live their lives and then discussing them with friends is a satisfying pursuit to many people, although to me it's just empty calories. And sightseeing in foreign countries, while amusing in short spurts, gets old quickly and offers little in the way of lasting value.

So this afternoon, in search of diversion, my friend Dagmar and I ventured downtown to see an exhibit of the works of Edgar Degas, the French artist known most for his gauzy paintings of ballerinas. Not being a fan of the ballet, or of Impressionism, I have never been a big Degas fan, but still, an artist living in Maine can't be too choosy about what to see or not see--after all, there is only one art museum here.

Several rooms of the Portland Museum of Art were hung with the artist's works on paper: etchings, watercolors, pastels, monoprints, pen and ink drawings, drypoint and aquatints. Seeing so many images from one man's imagination made me understand anew that artists pass their time on earth by covering pieces of paper (or canvases or walls) with images transferred from inside their brains. That's just what they do. It was reassuring, since I always feel like I should be doing something "better" than painting or drawing, but I've yet to find anything that is. And now that the Supreme Court might just overturn the whole Obamacare thing, a.k.a. the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which so many people spent so much time creating, it's clear that even important people waste their time, maybe more than artists do. At least we have something tangible to look at, clear evidence of our labors, after we're done, whereas all those senators and congressmen will have nothing at all. (Unless you count money as something.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stuff Jewish Mothers Don't Like

I ran across a website this morning called "Stuff Black People Don't Like." Naturally, it is jam-packed with all the egregious errors that dumb, unthinking, unfeeling, boorish, bigoted and racist white assholes do on a daily basis that piss black people off. What I have to say to them is, "Boo-fucking-hoo, you're not the only group that is mistreated!" I belong to another one, and I'm here to tell you I'm sick of it.

Anytime I help someone, or even suggest helping, I am accused of being a "Jewish mother."  This is quite annoying, not to mention racist and sexist and possibly ageist, and I am currently considering who I can sue, what government agency I should contact, and how to blame Rush Limbaugh.

Mike Myers as "verklempt" Jewess on SNL.
Yesterday I gave a worker in my home a Band-Aid, which he asked for in case you wondered, and suggested he wash the cut on his hand before applying it. He said, "Okay, Mom. Are you Jewish?" (That was simply because he did not know for sure and did not want to go out on that particular shaky limb.) If someone has a cold and I offer a tissue rather than watch their snot drip onto my furniture, they take it while saying, "You are such a Jewish mother." When friends stop by and I offer them coffee or water or a beverage or ask if they are hungry, I am immediately told I am "being such a Jewish mother." When our son is sick or his allergies are acting up and I suggest he take an antihistamine, my very own husband quickly points out, "she can't help herself, she's a Jewish mother."

This racial profiling is being fed by the publishing industry, which prints books on the subject under the guise of humor while perpetuating the stereotypes. Some titles:  Jewish Mother Goose, Secrets of a Jewish Mother, How to Be a Jewish Mother, Yiddeshe Mamas, The Jewish Mother Book, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, The Portable Jewish Mother, A History of the Jewish Mother, and the very now, very today, very up-to-the-minute, Modern Jewish Mom. Well, guess what-- I am a Jew and I do have a kid, so I guess that makes me a card-carrying you-know-what. But I am sick of hearing this, and from now on you can all starve, or bleed on the carpet, or drop dead for all I care--I will not offer succor. This Jewish mother is closing down the whole business. Next time you visit me, eat before you come.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Birth of a Bad Mood

Several weeks ago, I ordered window shades for the most exposed areas of our living space. After three years of living in a fishbowl, this will be nice. Especially at night when darkness descends and the surrounding woods fill up with escaped convicts, their night-vision binoculars trained on me inside, alone, without even a dog giving the illusion of protection. The camera pans in.....

Steered in the right direction by a friend, I called The Curtainshop in Portland. The saleswoman, Janet, and the scheduler, Joyce, were both very pleasant. An appointment made within days for the measuring of our windows went off without a hitch. Things were then ordered on our behalf. The second appointment was made for the installation of shades and curtains--two separate treatments for two separate situations--and the installer, John, came today. He was supposed to come at 12:30, but then I got a call back a few days ago changing it to 1:30 and was that okay, and I said yes. Then he called today at 10:30 this morning and said he was nearby, could he come now, and so I said sure, even though it was sort of inconvenient and I had to change my schedule to accommodate his, which kind of sucked. But hey, whatever works.

John arrived and got right to work, but within minutes he requested a band-aid for a cut finger. Naturally I administered first aid, and soon enough he was back on the job. He then announced that he was missing the correct number of curtain rods necessary to complete the job. "One window will have to remain undone," he declared, "until I can get back here."  Considering his busy schedule it might be a couple of weeks. Will that be alright, he asked. No it will not, I already waited quite a long time and paid handsomely for these damn shades and the whole situation sucks, is what I thought, but I said, "Sure, no problem."

Then John, being nice, called The Curtainshop and explained that he lacked the right number of rods, which he was handed in a big package by someone at the warehouse, and could somebody bring them over. The lady on the phone said she was too busy to talk with him, and hung up. John said he will try to get back here next week but doubts he can, so how about the week after. Annoyed, I said no problem. Having by then installed all the shades, John hung two of the sheer curtains for which he was missing the rods, and they were hideous and clearly unacceptable. Not even close. "Those are not sheers," I tell John, "those are crappy polyester trash!" He said Janet is on vacation this week and he will have her call me next week. He left with half the job done, and there are holes in the window trim where the curtains were that John put up before I made him take them down.

Honestly, I'm not even all that crazy about the shades. Plus, I have skin cancer and the biopsy is not back yet so how do I know it is the good kind? And then my son called asking for help with his taxes and I said that's what accountants are for. And now as far as I'm concerned, everything sucks, even though when I woke up this morning, everything was fine.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

First thing this morning, my husband reportedly was "bummed out" by reading the following statement at the top of his Facebook news stream, posted by a cousin of his: "Fuck you, Monday." That dire message received 17 "likes." That's pretty bad, but even worse, it was followed immediately by a comment from the unhappy young woman's own mother: "Couldn't agree more." While one wonders what could have happened to her already by 8 AM to fuel that sentiment, it's no wonder she talks that way; her mother spews curse words like a truck-driving, Mafia boss fishwife. And let's remember, Mommy does set the tone.

This point was driven home to me when my own son was about four. Stuck in our tiny coach seats seemingly forever, on the tarmac somewhere waiting for something or other to be fixed, I was reading him the same three books over and over, trying to keep him amused. I was about to sail into "Where the Wild Things Are" for like the third time, when Zack yelled, "I don't want to read that fucking book!" Mortified, I turned slowly to see if anyone had overheard his little outburst. The man seated directly behind me said, "Hey, don't look at me---I didn't teach him to say that."

It's way too late for my husband's cousins to become more prudent with their speech, and for me and my son as well, but I offer this cautionary tale to help anyone with little kids or grandchildren. Watch it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Queen for a Day

My husband and I have had a long-running argument over whether money buys happiness. He says no, and in fact asserts that the poor, living in hovels though they may, have stronger family ties and closer friendships than the rich, and thus ultimately are happier overall. I usually take the opposite point of view just for fun, but never being rich, I have had no way of knowing for sure. Now I know.

Last night, through a stroke of luck involving a close friend with connections, Mitch and I were able to stay in an exclusive suite at an exclusive private club in New York City, for a price much lower than any hotel. (Such a deal!) Situated on a high floor in mid-town Manhattan, our home away from home has fabulous views, a huge outdoor deck, an original De Kooning, flat screen TVs all over the place, luxurious silk robes, sheets with a high thread count--not sure what that means, but they feel good-- sleek furnishings, a towel warmer in the bathroom, the strongest water pressure-- thus the best shower--outside of Niagara Falls, a fitness club with steam and sauna, blah blah blah. It's quite the place. But what makes it really special is the coffee wall. It's an appliance of course, built in so it looks like it's in the wall, and all you do is put your cup where it's supposed to go and press a button and coffee--very good coffee--comes out within seconds. You don't have to mess with filters or even a little pod of coffee, you just press a button and this fabulous, rich, delicious, brewed-to-perfection coffee comes out, steaming hot. I am on my second cup as I write this and I may have a third if I feel like it.

Based on this new information, I am going to go out on a limb and say that yes, money does buy happiness. And while I am still bummed out over my diagnosis of skin cancer two days ago--apparently it's not the bad kind, as if there is good cancer--that I will have to deal with in the coming days, feeling pampered makes it easier somehow. If I won the lottery and had infinite wealth to share, I would arrange for the poor to have coffee-dispensing units in their hovels. It's much better than a television, and everyone already has one of those. FYI: We went to the Museum of Modern Art yesterday afternoon and found out for sure that the De Kooning in our suite is not the original. (Unless they have the fake.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

A New Low for Me

I am writing and posting this from the passenger seat of my car, going west on the Mass Pike. My husband is driving, which is pretty scary all the time, but even scarier now since I am not watching his every move and keeping us from certain death, but instead looking down at my computer, which is in my lap. Pretty wild, although you sort of wonder why it just isn't part of the dashboard already.

I am hooked to the Internet via some gadget called a "wireless air card." I guess this is about the most technologically advanced I have ever gotten., which is a good thing, but somehow I feel bad about it. But not too bad, since I am telling the world.

Anyway, we are driving to New York and have two hours to go, so if you want to play Words With Friends, I am up for it. Hope we don't crash.....Mitch is going 80!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Running for Office

I read this morning that somebody donated $1 million to Rick Santorum's campaign yesterday, to be spent on an ad blitz telling us all how despicable the other candidates are and how great Rick Santorum is. Then last night I saw Fred Thompson on television in Law & Order, and remembered how in 2008 the former senator from Tennessee was "the next big thing" who would surely revolutionize politics. Then I remembered my Perot button.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Too Sexy for the White House?

Last week I heard a conservative radio talk show host--one of the Rush Limbaugh wannabes--trashing Mitt Romney for his inability to connect with the people. "Come on, this guy never ate an Egg McMuffin in his life," Howie Carr railed. He then went on to explain/complain that, according to reliable sources, Mitt eats the cheese off his pizza and throws away the crust. This apparently means he is not a man of the people, who as we know eat the whole pizza and perhaps an order of fries on the side. Not that Mitt, though--he watches his calories. How elitist!

You'd think the fact that he is so trim and in such good shape at age 65 would win him favor, but it doesn't. Ditto his successful business career, his term as Governor of Massachusetts, his 43-year marriage to his high-school sweetheart and his 16 grandchildren. Plus, if I may go out on a limb and say that while he is not my type (too goyish), he is  handsome--dashing, even--with a fabulous smile and quite a set of shoulders.

For all these reasons, Mitt is despised by the liberals and intensely disliked by many in his own party. (I refuse to believe it has anything to do with his religion; after all, our current president comes from a murky background at best, and nobody is quite sure what his beliefs are.) Mitt is just too damn flawless--that's his problem. After all, if we want "a man of the people" to lead us, he'd better be a complete and total mess, just like us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Better Than Ipecac

Feeling slightly nauseous, like maybe you need to throw up to feel better? If so, I've got just the thing! I found a blog online that will do the trick nicely; it's called "Pink Chrysanthemum" (for some reason I did not bother to read), and this is its very first post which popped up when I searched my name on Google to see if I am wanted by the F.B.I. Here goes, and don't say I didn't warn you:

"To kick off my first blog post, let me list the top 3 things to do today to be cheerful, joyful and rest. 
 Smile--No matter what your situation, a smile will make it better. It doesn't matter if you got soaked in the rain and a bus splashed some muddy water all over your new clothes. Or you broke your favorite coffee mug. Smile, and see if you don't feel better. And if you don't, you really need to smile. 
Be purposeful--Whether you are cooking, reading, or mopping up a spill, be purposeful. Think about what you are doing, and focus on the task at hand. Just do. Don't be somewhere else. Enjoy what you are doing and get into the flow. 
Rest-- Take mini-breaks throughout the day. It can be as little as drinking some tea in silence. A few 5 minute breaks will make you feel like you have more time to get things done, than if you hurry through your day. This is also a way of resting your brain so it can be available to you when you switch to a task that needs more brain power. "

Okay Pinkie, here are some of my thoughts: A smile may help if you broke your favorite coffee mug, but really--no matter what your situation? What if you just learned you have Stage 4 melanoma, or if you haven't got the mortgage payment this month, or little Billy knocked up his girlfriend?  Still smiling? As for your other "tips," thanks for nothing. (Really, she must think we all just fell off a turnip truck this morning. See, this is what I hate about the Internet.)

What to Wear If You Go Anywhere

When you live alone much of the time, and the locals are reticent and fearful of outsiders, and you have three cats to care for so you can't just go off on a lark, you might tend to rely on the television for a bit of recreation; I know I do. But lately, more and more, for me television is an empty well. I turn it on and speed past sitcoms and car crashes and dead bodies and guns drawn and ads for pizza and The Olive Garden and there's Romney and Santorum and the bimbo news girls and some tornadoes and CNN and cops in high heels and those badly-drawn adult cartoon shows and boxing and hockey and basketball and talking heads and more cops and more bimbos and then some cooking and singing and crocodiles and homes for sale and then finally-- something grabs my attention and I drop the remote and settle in for a good time, mouth agape and possibly drooling: it's QVC! I don't even know what those letters stand for, all I know is it's one of those home shopping channels and I find it impossible to look away.

Last night I watched for only 15 minutes but yet I learned so much! New York designer Isaac Mizrahi was the star of that particular hour, and he was there in person, hawking his own stuff. Quite the style maven (see photo), who could be better? He alerted me to the fact that the latest word to describe fabulous clothing is "major." The little short-sleeved sweater with the beading around the neck was "major." The long sleeved-sweater with the butterfly print--the only color left is gray but it's beautiful, really ladies, and looks good on everyone-- was "major, major." I also learned that New York women attend many events for which they need "major" attire, such as weddings and the theater and charity luncheons and business meetings. Oddly enough, all the clothes that Isaac showed were distinctly hideous and obviously made in Bahrain, and I am willing to bet all four limbs that no stylish women from New York or anywhere would be caught dead either A, wearing those clothes or B, watching QVC.

But up here in Maine, where nobody wears anything "major" ever--certainly not me--I watch spellbound as the plus-size models shimmy around the set in the ugly clothes while the chatty salesperson gabs incessantly and seemingly without taking a breath about how they are so fashionable, so flattering, so beautiful. And they all come in so many colors, and each one is nicer than the last: The red is simply stunning, and the green is so fresh, while the purple is special. Then there's coral, which is springlike, and the yellow is cheery, and of course navy is classic, while the off-white, which they call ecru, is neutral and goes with absolutely everything. The fuchsia is daring while the mustard is sophisticated, and the taupe is delicious. But the black--oh, the black, Isaac fairly shouts--is major.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Look Away, It's Hideous

What does one do when one is unlike most others of his species? And I say "his" in the old school sense, before Gloria Steinem had a heart attack over it and all the feminazis went ballistic and felt slighted by the word and ran around screaming, hysterically mind you, "What about us?" Meanwhile--and oddly enough--all the serious Hollywood actresses started demanding to be called actors; go figure. Anyway, there's a new book out called "Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck" by someone named Eric G. Wilson, which purports that humans are "natural-born rubberneckers."  In it, he explores why we're all drawn to car wrecks, horror movies, serial murderers and other such glimpses of darkness and morbidity, and concludes that each of us harbors a secret wish to "let it all fall down."

But what if one does not feel this way, and cannot look at car wrecks or watch horror films and hates darkness? What if one is totally estranged from societal norms, does not understand why Oprah Winfrey is a success or even at what, or what's funny about Bill Maher; does not understand the thinking behind stuffing cheese into the crust of the pizza or why Coca-Cola is such a hit; or how there can be a BET Network but not a WET Network and if there were, all hell would break loose? What if that same person doesn't care at all about the use of the word "he" to refer to all people regardless of gender, even though she is a female herself? And despite all that, what if that person secretly wants the whole damn mess to go on forever? Is that person a freak? I ask because that person is me and I just wondered...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nightmare on Pine Street

Last night I dined out against my wishes, which happens from time to time. We went to a popular restaurant in downtown Portland (on Pine Street as you may have guessed), which is something I try to avoid doing on a Saturday night. I believe weekends are best spent in the safety of one's home, away from the hordes of people who have been cooped up in offices all week, but at least here in Maine you can always find parking, and we lucked into a spot right in the restaurant's own lot. That was the highlight of the evening.

Caiola's is one of those restaurants du jour that are very in, very trendy, very now--the kind of place that offers "upscale comfort food" and mentions their antique lighting fixtures, custom built bar, and hand-crafted wooden tables on their website, as if that's why you go out to eat. As if, earlier in the day, Mitch had said, "Hey honey, let's eat out tonight-- somewhere with hand-crafted furniture--I'm not in the mood to eat off that factory-made shit." Which he had not. In addition to their furniture, their food is definitely unique in that you will never find it anywhere else, a fact for which I am incredibly grateful. I think what sets it apart is maple syrup, which they apparently use the way Julia Childs used butter. (Not sure, just a guess.)

We arrived early for our 8:15 PM reservation, admittedly on the late side but at Caiola's on a weekend, you just thank your lucky stars you got in at all. Joining the pack of trendsetters jammed inside the front door, we spent the next 25 minutes trying to hear ourselves think since talking was out of the question what with all the noise of the revelers and clattering of dishes, until our table was ready. Doing a little mental math I realized that food would not enter my gullet until after 9, a fact I found disturbing but hey, nobody else seemed to mind. After all, it was Caiola's, a place where "from the time you walk through the door, savor your meal and say goodnight, you feel part of a family." (That was certainly true for me, since I was there with my husband and brother-in-law.) Finally we graduated to seats at the bar and watched the female bartender--her pierced nose a tad unappetizing--make drinks requiring diced cucumbers and chopped cilantro and iced martini glasses. Fun, but still we were not eating. Then suddenly we were!

Okay, so I'm a complainer. But I am also a fabulous cook, and my own chicken is superb-- and healthy. And comforting, and all the way to upscale I might add. And not unduly fattening. And not smothered in brown sugar and maple syrup, which is what they must have done to my chicken and the accompanying grilled vegetables, which were all but unrecognizable. There must have been some carrots in that pile of mush because I saw orange-colored lumps, and maybe some green-colored things, but it all was swimming in some gross, goopy sauce--the chicken too--that made it virtually inedible. Naturally my dinner companions took pity on me and offered tastes of their entrees: leg of lamb in a goopy maple syrup sauce and short ribs in a goopy maple syrup sauce. The wine was quite good, however, so I had lots of it, and ended up drunk on the back seat of the car going home, still hungry but too dizzy to care.

What made it all a nightmare was that just as we were leaving, Caiola herself --it's her last name--came over to inquire as to how we had enjoyed our meal. She was so friendly and nice and sincere, it was unthinkable to be honest, so we said things like "fabulous" and "wonderful" and "be back soon" and "tell all our friends." So here I am, telling all my friends, but I am not going back soon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Call Me What You Will

In today's Wall Street Journal, columnist Peggy Noonan proclaims that there is a war against women in America: "They are the object of sexual slurs, and insulted in sexual terms. The words used are vulgar, and are meant to tear down and embarrass." She mentions "slut," "whore," "prostitute,"and "bimbo." I am not a soldier in this war, and besides that woman recently in the news for having been called a slut by Rush Limbaugh, I'm not sure who is.

First of all, how bad is it really to be called a slut? I can think of worse things. According to Webster's, a slut is "a slovenly or immoral woman." I then looked up slovenly, and it means "untidy, unclean, slipshod, negligent." Someone could call me that if they got angry enough, but anyone who has been to my home knows it's not the case. I am quite clean--in fact, if you can't find me, check the shower. As for being immoral, that's ridiculous--I know right from wrong, have never killed or robbed anyone, always tell the truth when it matters, have not drowned any puppies or any other small animals, and don't make fun of those less fortunate than I. (Sure, I say bad things about fat people but it's for their own good, really.) The worst I do is use the handicapped bathroom when there's no handicapped people around.

So--I am not a slut. As for "prostitute"or "whore," I have never received payment for sex, so those don't apply. I am neither attractive enough nor dumb enough to be called a "bimbo" and honestly, I think of "bimbo" as a compliment. Back in my single days, before AIDS and with a glass of wine in me, I considered myself "loose" or "easy"--not all the way to "trampy" but certainly on the way. The bottom line is, I don't care what sexual terms anyone hurls at me. Calling me "granny," "asshole," "4-eyes" and "hack" stings way more than "slut," but even those are just flesh wounds.

Words are simply sounds people make that come out of their mouths, sort of like dogs barking or crows cawing. Who cares? In fact, don't get me started on the all those words you can't say--we all know what they are. They're all just grunts people make, but some are politically incorrect at this very moment in history. (When I was in high school, Class of '64, a "fag" was just a nerdy kid with a slide rule and plaid pants.) You can say "bigger, digger, jigger, tigger, rigor and vigor, but if you say you-know-what, which rhymes with all those words, you are scum, slime, and possibly a slut. It's just plain dumb. It's stupid, moronic, untenable and unthinkable. Fatuous, inane, silly and asinine. It's retarded.

Oops, sorry.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Suspicious Eyes

The following incidents are posted here verbatim from the local police blotter:

Falmouth, March 2 at 8:30 pm: A caller reported a white pit bull with a black patch over its eye was standing in the middle of Gray Road while licking the pavement. Police were unable to locate the dog.

Yarmouth, March 5 at 11:20 am: A man seen working with a laptop in a parked car on Princes Point Road had left the area by the time police responded to a call about suspicious activity.

Freeport, March 6 at 10:20 pm:  Police responding to a call about suspicious activity on School Street discovered a crew repairing a natural gas line.

Yarmouth, March 8 at 5:49 pm: Police responding to a burglary call at Dugas Shipyard on Bayview Street discovered some boats in storage had been entered. It appears nothing was taken and the boats were undamaged.

Freeport, March 9 at 4:10 pm: Police alerted Secret Service agents after it was reported someone circulated a counterfeit $20 bill on Lower Main Street. 

Yarmouth, March 10 at 9:09 pm: A local cab driver alerted police to a possible drug deal occurring on Route 1, but there was not enough information available for police to follow up with an investigation.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So Little Time, So Much Dumb Stuff to Do

This morning I learned of an Internet game that has gone viral, called simply The Cinnamon Challenge. In case you are fortunate enough to not know, it consists of a person attempting to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without benefit of water and without vomiting. Apparently it is quite tough and exceedingly dangerous; aspirating the powder into the lungs can land you in the hospital with pneumonia, liver damage, or worse. Yet hundreds of teens--at least I hope it's teens- are taking the dare and posting videos of themselves doing it on YouTube. Interested in how this latest phenom started, I did a little research and found that there are more such challenges out there among the future leaders of tomorrow, involving such things as drinking a gallon of milk in one sitting, eating six Saltines in a minute--again, no beverage-- and consuming two bananas and a liter of Sprite all at once. The "challenge" is to not vomit, or die. (Surprisingly, the Milk Challenge is reported to be the worst in terms of making a mess.)

For those humans who still have functioning brain cells, I suggest other challenges that might increase one's intellect, at the same time boosting one's self-esteem and standing in the community. For those who insist on being moronic, I offer dumb versions of the task in parentheses:
1. Read all of "Ulysses" (in Esperanto)
2. Learn a musical instrument (that is edible)
3. Create a self-portrait (out of baked beans)
4. Write a blog (about Nancy Pelosi's good qualities)
5. Listen to opera (without falling asleep)

It's not like kids haven't always been dumb, but at least those phone booths couldn't kill you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Starting Over Has Never Been Easier

Just when I'd almost given up hope of ever being respectable, or of having a second career that didn't demand spending long hours learning something new, the University of Southern California at Davis offers me the perfect career solution that will result in both of those dreams being fulfilled. I can get a Master's in Aging Services Management and learn how to take advantage of all those seniors who are depleting Social Security and running up our national debt with their Medicare. It's a whole new field of dreams to be sown, "especially designed to prepare a knowledgeable and skilled workforce to successfully offer products, services and programs to older persons."

What does that entail exactly, I wondered. For the answer, I turned to the school's brochure and read the description of a couple of introductory courses:
Perspectives on a Changing Society: An Introduction to Aging
This course examines the bio/psycho/social model of aging as well as the implications of population aging trends for individuals and society. Students will learn about changing demographics and health disparities, understand the importance of cultural competency, and learn how multiple disciplines can inform decision-making related to delivering programs and services for older people. (Translation: You will learn how to instantly identify an old person. You will learn that their condition will end in death. You will understand that old people get sick, and that they need a lot of things while they are still alive, that you can sell them. You will learn how to tell just what they will swallow, to use a medication metaphor, in terms of goods and services promised by you.)

Marketing and Shifts in Consumer Decision Making
This course will explore the unique challenges of marketing aging services. Students will learn about branding, marketing, and consumer behavior by examining established, transitioning and emerging aging services and organizations in their efforts to capture the senior market. (Translation: Because they are often hearing impaired, cranky and forgetful, it can be quite difficult to fleece old folks out of what little money they have left. But by studying how other people have done it, you might learn how to beat the competition at their own game.)

The best part: I can take classes at home, online, and nobody has to know that I'm one of those old people myself.

Getting With the Program

Okay, that's it! I've had it with swallowing all those pills for my high blood pressure and soaking in a hot tub to combat the constant aches and pains of arthritis and chasing those extra ten pounds that keep me away from that little black dress in the back of my closet that I bought on a particularly thin day. There's nothing stopping me, so I am going to go for it: I'm going Paleo!

My husband has been a caveman for some time. I often call him "Kong," usually right after he breaks something fragile--or not even at all fragile. Mitch has tried to get me to follow his path and I have resisted, but what else am I doing besides aging badly? So last night I studied the lists of the foods I can eat and the foods I can't eat, and I realized that I will have so much more time to do other things since there's so little I can eat. Anyway, I'm ready to go back in time and eat the way our ancestors did. I will continue to use my washer and dryer, however--after all, I'm not turning Amish. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill breakfast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing is Still a Wolf

Among the letters to the editor in this morning's Wall Street Journal, one from a disgruntled reader complains about presidential candidates Santorum and Romney "going tieless during the day on the campaign trail" and appearing in jeans on national TV. He whines: "The Republican front-runners would do well to get their attire up to the standards of the station they seek."

This brings to mind several thoughts, including but not limited to:
1. I wonder what Bill Clinton was wearing when he employed that infamous cigar with Monica Lewinsky or soiled the infamous "blue dress," in the White House while he was President. I certainly hope he had on a suit and tie.
2. I wonder what JFK was wearing when the Secret Service ferried in all those mistresses to the White House during his presidency. I certainly hope he had on a suit and tie.
3. "Tieless" is not a word.

If only our President would ever keep us safe from harm, lower the country's outrageous debt, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, repair our abysmal economy, raise the level of employment and stop living the high life on the taxpayer's dime--complete with fancy jet planes and over-the-top state dinners cooked up by imported celebrity chefs-- I wouldn't care if he walked around in shorts and flip-flops.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ads I Didn't Answer

In my daily quest to find paying work in the writing or education fields, I came across the following want ads, hot off the Internet. I resisted the temptation to correct typos, fix grammar or commit suicide. 

Looking for a co wrighter (anywhere)
I have a concept for a tv /movie series that I would like to work out with somone better capable of putting it to script, I have the ideas, however I have a hard time puttting them on paper (i know lol) but you get the idea I need a person that want's to take that chance. I can not pay, but if we work well together I will get this infront of the right people

Volunteers for building project
I am looking for help with a building project. I am a young women who made the mistake of trusting a guy. He was supposed to help me remodel, but instead ripped apart my house and then dissappeared. We are trying to get volunteers for the week of April vacation. Hopefully we can get the house put back together.

If you like coffee and you teach
This is something you have to see
Please reply I WANT TO KNOW MORE
if you would like to make extra money with coffee

feeler for post-Apocalyptic photo shoot
I am an amateur photographer with an interest in all things post apocalyptic. I am interested in doing a post-apocalyptic photo shoot in lewiston/auburn and trying to recruit people willing to participate. I cannot pay you, but I can share digital copies of the photos with you. Please contact me if you are willing to model or to help with costuming, props or locations.  

social media web content
requires FT/PT. individual proficient in; social media/Web content & design management, in-house events. and promotions, Graphic design background Preferable. New position must be self motivated, adaptable and able to change in a fast paced environment. Please submit resume.

The Only Game in Town

When they are not near their computers or smart phones, or it's simply not their turn on Words With Friends, many people play the Blame Game; in fact, it's one of the most--if not the most-- popular games being played today. When you are with someone who is playing it, you have to listen to their complaining, which is a big part of the game. It's always about how bad things are for them because something beyond their control (aging parent, problem child, unhappy childhood, genetic predisposition) is completely ruining their lives and, try as they might, they can't fix it. Among the leading causes are:

1. Through no fault of their own-- i.e. they joined the military, rode a bike downhill too fast while talking on a cell phone, ran in high heels on cobblestones, stood on a shaky ladder at night, skied into a tree without a helmet--they have a brain injury and are now incredibly self-absorbed and have a very short fuse, even though they were incredibly self-absorbed and had that very same bad temper before they got the brain injury.
2. They suffer from a disease called alcoholism which makes them bend their arm at the elbow and bring liquor to their mouth and swallow it, and so they can't hold down a job or clean their apartment or pay their bills, forgetting that they never did any of that stuff before they started drinking.
3. They have a disease called ADD and so they can't remember things or be on time or be depended upon or contribute in any meaningful way to anything, even though there was a time when ADD did not exist and their condition was simply called laziness or irresponsibility or thoughtlessness or immaturity.
4. They married badly and their spouse is the problem but they can't leave because what about the children, or the pets or the mortgage or no money or health insurance.
5. They think everything in the world is going to hell in a hand-basket and thus the whole world is the problem and so nothing is going right for them--how could it?

Well, I have none of the above problems, thankfully, but still I do live in my own personal hell. You see, I was born under the astrological sign of Gemini. This is the sign of the Twins, which means there are two distinct personalities living within my very soul and spirit and body, and they constantly fight for control of the machine. Naturally this has been going on since my birth. It gets ugly sometimes.

In my youth, the bad twin would eat a box of Drake's Devil Dogs and the good twin would be the one who was embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit. Later on, the bad twin swallowed some LSD and the good twin showed up in the middle of the resulting acid trip and said "WTF?" (She was not happy.) More recently, the good twin took a job teaching seniors how to use computers and the bad twin got pissed off about having to hang out in a nursing home three days a week, but the good twin kept going back there until one day the bad twin showed up at work and told the director of the place that it was a depressing hellhole and she wasn't ever coming back. You get the idea. This duality has been a problem dogging my whole life, but I have never used it as an explanation of why I behave the way I do. However, I think I may start doing that so I can play the game too. What's your excuse?

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Perfect Age is Yours

Just in case you think you're too young and not yet ready for success, or too old and well past any hope of outstanding achievement, bear in mind:

Vincent Van Gogh died at 37, having created countless drawings and 900 paintings, among them “Starry Night" and "Sunflowers." Pablo Picasso, whose very name is synonymous with art worldwide, worked steadily until his death at 92.  

Rudyard Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature at 42. Doris Lessing was awarded the same prize at 88. 

David Stuart, dedicated to deciphering pre-Columbian Mayan hieroglyphics, became a MacArthur Fellow at 18. Matthew Carter, busy inventing typefaces, became a MacArthur Fellow at 72.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his “Symphony No. 1 in E Flat Major” when he was only 8. Composer Aaron Copland was on a sixth musical career when he died at 88. 

Jack Kerouac was 29 when he completed his hit novel, On the Road. Russian writer Leo Tolstoy gave up his lifelong earnings and inherited wealth and died on the road at 82.

Guitarist Jimi Hendrix was an international superstar when he died at 27. Still an international superstar, lead Rolling Stone singer Mick Jagger turns 70 this year.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Food For Thought

Talk about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. My son, like many of his friends, is now a vegan. He believes that everything is contaminated by chemicals and you have to eat local so the Earth will survive and it's bad karma to eat animals and-- you name it, he thinks it. That's his generation, God bless them, and they believe that their personal food choices will impact the planet. Okay, fine-- don't eat meat or pizza or cupcakes or sugar or whatever, but I would like to point out that Iran is cooking up some nuclear weapons and North Korea is run by a madman or at least the son of one,  and that Japanese nuclear accident was worse than they thought and the Taliban is back, baby, and Syria and Israel and Afghanistan and Mexican drug lords and South African pirates....does it really matter if you have a doughnut with your fair-trade coffee?

As his mother, I am proud and grateful that he has such a strong moral backbone, strong enough to turn his back on the Milanos and Ben & Jerry's and Pizza Pockets and Cup O' Noodles of his misspent youth. But I am mystified as to why there are political overtones to his food choices. Then again, these days there are political overtones to everything. You can't buy a car or go on a trip or see a movie or read a newspaper without sparking a political argument--forget saying out loud that you hate Rick Santorum or love Barack Obama. It's nuts out there. Many Americans, comfortably settled on this little plot of land, have lost sight of the fact that it's all one sandbox, and lots of the other people in it are totally and completely out of their minds. So I will eat the pizza, when it's good, and have a piece of the key lime pie at Grill 233, it is fabulous! Because you never know.

Sorry, I'm Not Pinterested

First there was MySpace, which I knew about because my son was in high school. Then there was Facebook, and by then my son was in college so I was again up to speed. Now my son is in real life and I no longer know what's cool or in or hip or trendy. I don't even know the correct words for those things. I think "ill" is one, like instead of something being cool it is ill, but don't use it without checking. Anyway, I certainly can't keep up on my own; I don't even want to. But still, I'm at a dangerous age: one clumsy stumble and the stampede could trample me to death. Which reminds me, I don't know what StumbleUpon or StumbleOn or whatever it's called does. I also don't tweet, although I know what Twitter is and that its CEO is a billionaire under 27, most likely, which is so ridiculous I can't stand it.

Now there's something called Pinterest, and I don't know what it is either and I don't care. Really. Don't tell me. Here's what I do know: You go to the website and sign up and then you can post things that you like, just like on a real bulletin board except everyone else in the entire world with an account there can see it. Who does such a thing? What is this obsession with everyone knowing everything about everyone? Why do we need to know what you did last night or, in the case of Twitter, just in the last few seconds? Who needs to see pictures of your breakfast? (My son and husband have both been known to do this, and it scares me.)

Anyway, I'm all for forward progress and I understand how the Internet is great for doing business and finding medical advice and seeing your grandchildren on Skype from your hospital bed and all that good stuff, but the whole "Like this" business makes me want to puke, which believe me I hate doing and have only done once since I was nine years old, which is why I now get a flu shot every winter.

Anyway, please don't try to explain it to me and tell me how great it is because I am not Pinterested. Ha, that's cute, maybe I should start a site called Punster or or JokeyMama or No, too long. Maybe it should be called TeeHee or Titter...that's it, Titter, to compete with Twitter! I love that! I bet it already exists.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Don't Be a Masshole

Unlike my mother who exhibited supernatural powers-- tired of waiting for the bus, she would simply light a fresh cigarette and it came right away--I feel powerless most of the time. After all, since I've tried and failed to lose five pounds for three years, what chance have I of making anything else happen? But then there are those times when I am certain that for a split second, which is about how long each of us gets in the way of personal attention, God sees me and only me and something I prayed for actually happens--or doesn't. My latest proof of God's existence came in the form of the total lack of snow following my purchase of snow shoes, something I'd been planning to do since moving here but never did. Finally, about two weeks ago, on a cold and blustery Saturday with snow in the forecast, Mitch and I plunked down the considerable cash for two pairs, and with that kicked off a warming trend. Now there's melting snow as far as the eye can see, and I heard tomorrow will be in the low 60s. Our snow shoes remain virginal.

See, I did that. Yeah yeah, I know all about global warming, so I take things personally when I shouldn't. This is a common flaw of all humans, resulting in the ubiquitous anger and road rage so rampant today. But honestly, things are much more civil up here in Maine, where somebody in a passing car makes an obscene gesture only about once a month, not three times a day like back in D.C. Still, when it happens, it hurts.

Today it did happen, and with little provocation as usual, since the people who do that are actually mad at something else going haywire in their lives and seeking a handy sponge to absorb their anger. My "crime" was looking down while stopped at a red light, making me A.W.O.L. at the exact moment the red light turned green. Naturally I tried to make up for these lost nanoseconds by stepping on the gas immediately, but still the guy behind me, who had honked, flipped me the bird as he passed. I thought his behavior was uncalled for and took some small comfort in his Massachusetts license plate. Around these parts they're called "Massholes," and believe me, it can be an apt description.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fear of Feet

I love the winter, especially the boots. My feet are safely stowed away and, unlike the rest of me, unavailable for assessment by strangers, which is truly the worst kind. But soon enough the Earth will warm up, and my feet will clamor, if such a thing were possible, for freedom. Boots away, sandals front and center. Sandals are easy and fun, suggesting good times, sunny skies, no cares, frozen daiquiris and --pedicures. It's almost that time, and once again I am debating what to do. (Staph infection kills Texas woman after her heel was cut with pumice stone.)

Painting of toenails goes way back. The Egyptians colored their nails, using red to show the highest social class; naturally, Cleopatra's nails were painted a deep red. But you could lose a leg that way. Several years ago I saw a piece on the news about a woman who contracted a blood disease from a pedicure, caused by contaminated utensils or something like that. Germs entered a tiny cut on her foot and next thing you know, she's getting fitted for a prosthetic leg. Others less fortunate were fitted for caskets. (Serious mycobacterium infections called fortitum can cause boils on the legs.)

I know, I know--everyone does it. Certainly all my friends do, and their feet look so much better than mine out in the open. So I've been thinking that this year I might grow up and try one. But then just last week there was another news story about how all the women from Korea, who are the best pedicurists and do it the most, have hepatitis or something and don't even know it, and then pass it on to their patrons, and it freaked me out again. So I'm thinking that once again this year my toes will remain unpainted, which is surely indicative of the lowest caste of all. I often plan to do it myself, but sitting down and applying color to my toes never seems to make it to my to-do list. (Physicians advise immediate care.... fungal infections are the most severe...amputation of the big toe...) I need to get over it and count my blessings: All ten toes. And remember the old saw, "I cried because I had no pedicure, and then I met a woman who had no feet."

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Mental Illness Formerly Known as the Democrats

As the saying goes, it takes all kinds. Certainly each of us knows many liberals and many conservatives. Within those groups are subsets of stupid idiots and intelligent folks. I have never stopped to consider which group has more of what kind, but this recent brouhaha regarding radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh got me wondering, and I'm pretty sure I have the answer.

I listen to Rush on my car radio whenever I'm driving during his broadcast, about once or twice a week. I usually find him to be quite amusing, in fact downright funny. Sometimes he makes me laugh out loud, which for me is a rarity and always a good thing. As far as his political observations, sometimes I agree and sometimes not, but no matter--since I have my own functioning brain, I don't need someone to tell me what to think. Besides, Rush is an entertainer, not a newsman, so what he says is of little consequence.

My behavior differs vastly from that of most liberals, who accept the preposterous commentary spewed by comedians Bill Maher, John Stewart and Steven Colbert, along with the rest of those left-wing entertainers, as truth. My old friend Nancy T. suffered this affliction. Mystified by her blank stare concerning almost all current events, I finally inquired as to her favorite news source. She said, "Marty (her husband) reads the New York Times every day and tells me whatever I need to know." She also was a devotee of John Stewart, who she actually believed held some sort of office. Sadly, I know others like Nancy, although I don't know Nancy anymore. (I have my standards.)

Most card-carrying liberals--thankfully there are exceptions--automatically accept whatever they are told by the party leaders and Hollywood "in crowd" of the moment. More than one psychiatrist has diagnosed this as a form of mental illness. For example, few would dare disagree with the mighty Bono, singer turned ambassador turned advertising icon, who now sees fit to comment on U. S. foreign policy. Ditto Anderson Cooper, Bill Cosby, Ellen De Generes and Oprah Winfrey, each an entertainer elevated by the lefties to godlike status. The liberals' habitual shunning of FOX News, Rush Limbaugh and anyone else deemed to be on "the other side" has exacerbated the current war between the Republicans and the Democrats. The furor over what some shock jock said about a female activist on his radio program denigrates even further the freak show known as American politics.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Towards a Better Blog

I read a few articles this morning about blogging, and apparently I have been doing it all wrong, which would explain why my name is not yet a household word. For starters, I don't use links. Links are apparently the key. And not just any links, but links to good things that people are interested in seeing. I am posting this for all those folks who aren't very funny. I hope it works and that you are able to be funnier very soon. There will be more links in the next paragraph. (They are showing up as grey although they should be a brighter color, but I guess I will get to that later.) I am also supposed to know who my audience is and write for them. I guess my audience is my friends on Facebook, and I do write for them, but if I want to expand, I guess I need to find a niche. So I am going to start blogging specifically for owners of hardware stores, a fun group of crazy cats.

Have you ever needed a Phillips head screwdriver but all you can find is a regular one? That can be quite frustrating. But more to the point, what is that one called? Surely there is another name for it besides "regular one." I am hoping to get some answers from my new readers, all you owners of hardware stores.

I also read that it's important to use  lots of pictures, not just one which is my style. So shown above is a photo of a screwdriver, and at left is one of a hardware store in Massachusetts. I love that awning.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sweet Mystery of Life

It is a mystery to me why, when my husband is out of town on a business trip for two or three or sometimes four days, I let everything around here go to hell in a hand-basket. Dishes pile up in the sink, food is left out on the kitchen counter, clothes are everywhere including on the floor, there's no food in the fridge--you get the picture. Yet when he is home I am maniacally, dare I say annoyingly, neat.  Even I think it's odd how neat; sometimes I walk in the house and look around and think, Hmmmm, does anybody live here?

Maybe it's to have some fun when he's gone, since when he's gone I don't have much fun. Except for all the making of the mess, like the non-cooking of dinner and all that non-shopping for food. That's pretty much fun. And the non-doing-the-laundry, did I mention that? And the popcorn for dinner and the sleeping in the middle of the bed and the ability to read a goddamn book in bed, Jesus that is like my favorite thing, but sometimes you gotta turn that light off right away because "somebody" has an early flight. Anyway, I'm glad he's coming home, or else this place would turn into quite a dump. Besides, the most fun of all is cleaning up the very mess I've made, since I am at heart very neat, which is why I love cleaning.

Or maybe it's because we turn over so much of ourselves to our partners in marriage that we need to have something else. Could that be why? The mystery deepens.

Words With Strangers

I wonder what I would be doing right now if I were not writing this blog post. Playing Words With Friends, or maybe Scrabble? Checking my son's Facebook page? Reading email? Uploading photos? It's sick, I tell you, sick. And how about you--what would you be doing if you weren't reading this? Let's remember, it takes two to tango. Despite it being the greatest technological advance since the discovery of fire, I long for the days before the Internet. I can barely remember, but I know there was such a time in my life. The sad truth is that for many people, there was never such a time, and as for future generations, see photo. Anyway, it's too late for me; I am hooked.

It's ironic that this is the thing that finally got me. Over the years I have engaged in many so-called addictive behaviors and never got snagged by any of them. Even when I smoked cigarettes, I remained in control. In fact, I would quit often and for years at a time, then take it up again with gusto whenever the mood struck me, usually after a knock-down, drag-out with my rebellious teenaged son. Then he grew up and I stopped cold turkey almost six years ago and have not thought of it since. Honestly, giving them up wasn't at all difficult for me, unlike  the Internet. I have tried and failed, and tried and failed again and again. But still, I log on. How else can I know what my son, who lives in another city, is doing? And how could I see his latest music video? Certainly a mother has that right.

The awful truth is that I'm not there for my son, I'm there to play Words With Friends. I can't stop. Actually, I wouldn't want to live anymore without it; when the game is broken I am bereft, at loose ends, rudderless. And it's not even the "friends" part that's so important-- I also play Words With Friends with total strangers! Hands shaking, I have clicked "Random Opponent" more than once, even though I've got Melva and Rick and Martha and Debra going already. But then one or two of them go on vacation or their computer is on the fritz, and there I am, ready for it to be my turn and it isn't, with any of them. So I ask the computer for help. I have played against people named "zygffwjd_258753" and "shamimK" without even knowing their gender or age. Once, after playing together for several weeks, I asked one of these strangers--you can do that in the chat feature--to give me some idea: Are you male or female, young or old? There was no reply, so I ended that partnership. (What am I, an animal?)

I'm looking outside and I see that finally the sun is shining, a welcome change from yesterday's blizzard. My boots are at the door, the pool at the Y beckons. Still, just one more game, then I'll do something else, I tell myself. Suddenly an hour has passed. I'm so ashamed.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Loners Anonymous

My name is Andrea and I am a loner. I don't mind it most of the time, although it's hard to order a large pizza or take advantage of group rates on vacations.

I know what you're thinking: "Uh oh, look out." I can't blame you, since the only time loners make the news is when they go on shooting sprees, like earlier this week at an Ohio high school. Naturally, that 17-year-old shooter was described as a loner. Loners have bad reputations because of this. Everyone who ever did anything remotely nutty is said to have been a loner. Hitler for sure. The guy who shot John Lennon. This is unfair. I know many friendly people who are almost never alone, yet are still quite batty and prone to violence.

Personally, I have never shot anyone. I have never owned a gun or held a gun or wanted a gun or wanted to shoot anyone. In fact, these days I hardly ever see anyone to shoot--that's how alone I am most of the time. What I do instead is paint lovely pictures and glue beads onto things (see photo) and paint furniture. All that is hardly newsworthy, although if I were not a loner these things would never get done. That's the side of loner life you never hear about.

The worst thing about being a loner is that there's nobody to share it with. There's no Loner's Club or This is a bit of a drag, since it would be nice to compare notes every once in awhile with others of my ilk on how they spend their time. So I may start a club for loners. We won't have meetings--I'm thinking weekly, but maybe monthly if not having them weekly is too burdensome. There will not be a magazine or any dues. Membership will be completely private. In fact, I may already have a lot of members and just not know.

Waiting for the Daffodils and Losing My Mind

It will be three years ago this month that I moved to Maine, and it seems the longer I live here, the greater the challenge. While the body is amused--what with the kayaking and the snowshoeing and the skiing and the horseback riding and the fishing and the sailing and the rock climbing and the hiking and the biking--the brain is another story.

Simply put, there is little to do here to engage the mind. This is no small concern; having lost my mother to Alzheimer's, I worry about my brain cells literally dying from disuse. So, each morning I check several online job boards for writers, editors and media professionals of all sorts. In the three years I've lived here there has never been one writing job advertised in the state of Maine. What's a writer to do? I read, take photographs, do crosswords, play word games online with distant friends -- and write this blog.

Although staying sharp mentally in Maine is a challenge, it's hard to imagine going back to the real world. There's no traffic here. You can always find a parking space. There's no crime: no gangs, rapes, murders, home invasions or carjackings. You can sleep soundly at night without a baseball bat under your bed. There are no home alarm systems; in fact, many of our neighbors lack keys to their front doors.

But as I write this on the first day of March it is snowing, with 10 inches expected by nightfall, whereas my friends in Maryland have daffodils and are already weeding their gardens. Just saying.