Friday, March 31, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Junk shopping


            Aunt S. unexpectedly showed up at my door. The natural result was ... well ... we went shopping. I promised Goat Boy I’d buy a new switch for the washing machine. So off we went, stopping first at a fast food place to eat poorly prepared food and a Diet Coke that tasted like some sort of spray cleaner. I didn’t finish mine. This is my second bad experience at that McDonald’s. I probably won’t return.
            The appliance guy was very helpful. The cost was low, lower than I expected by half. So, what next? Why off to the nearest thrift store, of course. Aunty headed for the clothes racks; I went straight to the books. And I found some. Last school year I loaned out my copy of Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider and never got it back. That’s okay. I buy second hand children’s books knowing that most of those I lend won’t make it home. I found a new, unread copy. Nice. Ninety-nine cents nice. I also found two of the Spiderwick books I’ve never read and an Amelia Peabody mystery I’ve not read. Nice. All as new and cheap. It puzzles me that people buy a book and never read it. When new the Peabody mystery [Elizabeth Peters: He Shall Thunder in the Sky] cost almost thirty dollars. Why would one buy a book that expensive and never crack it open? Maybe it was an unappreciated gift.
            The Goodwill Store has one of the world’s most obnoxious clerks. He tells everyone he was a Marine and that he did two tours of duty in Iraq. I know some Marines; some of my relatives are or were Marines. This buzzard no more acts as one than an ant acts like an elephant. Last time I was there a very old man called him out on his behavior – a real soldier scolding a fake one. It didn’t do much good. But today, he wasn’t there. I mean the obnoxious clerk wasn’t there. I was much relieved.
            After the books I examined the china and glassware. There wasn’t much of interest, but I found two nice things. The first was a porcelain bell, blue and gold on white. It was very expensive new and is undamaged, certainly worth the two dollars they wanted. The other item is a child’s teapot, part of a larger set, but only the pot survived. It’s German, made in the inter-war period. The whole set cost some parent an arm and a leg back in the day. I collect antique children’s dishes. This was a nice find. It’s flawless.

            Aunty bought two blouses. She’s a very deliberate shopper, which is a nice way of saying she’s very slow and touches almost everything. So while she continued to shop, I looked at the shoes. Nothing for me there. But I found some nice boots that fit my baby half-sister, just the sort of thing she likes. Kids that age grow quickly. These were lightly worn if worn at all.
            Aunty is staying the night. That’s mostly because I insisted. It’s too late in the day for a slightly visually impaired old woman to drive the Interstate.   
            So, I’m today’s queen of junk shopping. And you are?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The toe cure ...

            Imagine the scene. It’s about five AM. I wake to find the other side of the bed empty. This isn’t unusual during the week. Goat Boy is up by then. But it’s unusual for a Saturday. I go exploring. He’s not in the potty. He’s not in the kitchen. But Lo! He is in the living room [parlor to you, maybe], on his back staring at the ceiling. A couch pillow is under his head.
            “Why are you on the floor?” I ask.
            “Hurt my back,” he says.
            I do not say, “But we didn’t have sex this morning ...” If his back is hurt, that might make him laugh, and then he’d hurt more. What I say is, “How?”
            He explains. He helped unload a heavy box at a job site. Now executives aren’t supposed to do that. Are they? But hey, the man on the floor is Goat Boy. He feels compelled to do things like that. Sticks his hand in everything. Very helpful.
            He moans.
            “Let’s take you to ER,” I suggest.
            He shakes his head. “I’ll be all right.” His health philosophy is that if you ignore a problem it will go away. Of course, that’s wrong headed. Ignore a problem and it usually worsens.  
            “Roll over,” I say.
            He’s skeptical. “Can’t. It hurts.”
            I insist. He complies.
            Now, dear-heart, this is morning. I’m in my pink, footed jammies. No sharp shoe heel, just the soft sole of my pajamas. I step onto his back and more or less squish his back from tailbone to neck. I’m greeted with a series of pops and moans. “Don’t stop,” he says.  
            “Lovely,” he says, when I step off. Okay, so I lost my balance and more or less fell off. But he is fixed. Well not fixed. That’s an unfortunate word in this context. His back is better.
            “Any time,” I say.
            I toddle off to the kitchen, making coffee and buttered toast. I smear strawberry jam on his. I like mine plain except for an obscene amount of butter. He likes his middling brown. I like mine burnt.
            We have a companionable moment over coffee and toast, talking quietly so we don’t wake anyone. It’s drizzling out but warm inside.

 The Toe Cure

Saturday, March 25, 2017

All sorts of things ...

All Sorts of Stuff.

            A few weeks ago my writing partner and I set aside the chapter on which we were working while we waited for some photocopies. We started another chapter, much easier to write because almost all the original source material is in once place. I’m not pleased with the writing, but the content is good. We’ll fix the writing later. There are some rough spots where we’re uncertain of the original writer’s intent. Usually that problem is resolved by reading and re-reading the source material. This author was grammar challenged. His questionable grammar poses a problem for many who write about him – and for us too. So much that fits into the abeyant chapter is found in the same paper that we’ve returned to writing it too. We’re writing both, concurrently.
            The principal character in this history is a mixture of self-deluded, sometimes shrewdly insightful, always slightly emotional personality traits. He was willing to believe improbable doctrine based on its cleverness. He believed in something called “Israel’s Double,” a view of end-times chronology based on a Hebrew word that has no relationship to passing time. He consulted Strong’s dictionary for meaning but missed the point entirely. So we deal with that, report it, and we will explain the logic fault.
            Our explanations must be sensitive. That’s probably the wrong word. He was wrong. We tell our readers he was wrong. But some of our readers still believe the “Double” doctrine. We will do all of this without insulting anyone – if we can.

            During the inflation era, Germany printed many stamps to address the progressive devaluation of its currency. In the early 1920s the postal authorities issued a numeral of value set first with a lozenge watermark, then with a web or network watermark. The lozenge watermarked stamps are inexpensive in basic type, though some of the varieties are expensive. The network varieties include three or four with high catalogue values, some over three hundred dollars. I’ve finally completed that set, and on the cheap. The last to come my way is the 30 pfennig, green. I bought it for five dollars and postage from a desperate stamp dealer in India. [Isn’t the Internet wonderful?] Now that I’ve completed the set, I’ve remade the album page.
            I’m helped in my quest for the rarer German stamps by the current stamp market. Germany is not a high demand area, especially in the United States which remains the primary market for philatelic items. So examples I could not afford say two years ago are showing up for little money. 

 The Stamps

            One of my best buddies is an illustrator. If you read fantasy fiction, you’ve probably seen her cover art. She introduces me to the work of others, sometimes to the artists themselves. [I’m not exactly jealous of their talent, but I wish I had time to develop my own artistic ability.] Many of them draw or paint fairly erotic art. You don’t see it on my blog ... because this is a mostly PG blog. But some of this is just amazing. Most recently she sent me pen sketches by F. J., a Japanese artist. Can’t post them, and keep my PG rating, but I like them. They remind me of my pixie characters.

Use your imagination. Why I'm not posting the artwork.

            I continue to terrorize our house. I’m replacing an antique cabinet with a regular bookshelf. I’ll sell the cabinet. I will yard sale two tables. I need my pet man’s help in the laundry room. I want to turn part of it into a pantry of sorts. With a large family and a smallish kitchen, we never have enough room to store food. I’m moving furniture in the family room, sometimes only to return it to where it was. I want a place for two watercolor sketches and an antique mirror. I’m still thinking about that. I will sell two small oil paintings. They’re nice but not that nice. I’m thinkin’ ‘bout selling a small desk.

            Now that spring is here we can resume our distance shooting matches. I want but probably won’t buy a three band Enfield. Way too expensive and I already have four nice long rifles. The last to come my way was a gift from a relative. It’s a Chilean Mauser with matching numbers and a very clear crest. I haven’t fired it yet.

            I’m still wobbly on my feet, but I am getting out more.

            I ordered the dress. See below.

            My oldest is traveling to Central America in April.

            My pet man is still a really, really good kisser.


From Anthony

Why Pixies don't like cats.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Dress

This comes in my size. Girls 12-14. Yes, I know I'm small and scrawny. [4 10 and 89 lbs as of this AM] Not expensive really. I have a 'fancy dress' family thing coming up mid year. So what do you think? Like it?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Struggling on ...

I'm still terrorizing my house. This is my current project.

Terror in the Night, Or O. Readers' Further Adventures.

“With voices together we sing”        

            One the most annoying Christmas novelties in the British Isles was Billy Bass. Billy was an automated fish head that was stuck on the wall, whose mouth moved as he sang in your face: We wish you a Merry Christmas...
            For many it was a good jolly joke on Christmas morn. They were taking an ax to it by the end of the day.
            A similar product was the large snowman that people had in the gardens during the festive season. Set off by movement - e.g. you walking by, or even going to knock on the door in a visitation work - it would suddenly go “Yo Ho Ho” and sing something equally annoying. I remember one garden had about twenty of these things in it, and they were all triggered at one second intervals. The melodious sound of a round blasted away to annoy both the occupants and the rest of the street.
            Anyhow, why I am going on about such things, when, as some here know, I don’t even do Christmas?
            Well, we bought something of similar ilk that can actually annoy a household all the year round.
            It was this clock that had different bird songs for the twelve hours on the dial. The idea was that budding ornithologists could learn the various bird calls, to then identify them in the wild.
            In practice it never worked. We would recognize sounds sure enough, but never what they meant. Oooh - that’s the four o’clock tweet. Aaah - that’s the eight o’clock chirrup...
            It very quickly drove Mrs O mad so I took out the batteries. Ultimately the remaining battery for the actual clock mechanism ran down.

            So, dear O, please would I put a new battery in. Now, I thought she said put batteries (plural) in. The conversation later went, why would I say batteries (plural) when I meant battery (singular)? Response - Why would I put batteries (singular) in when you said batteries (plural)? It was one of those circular discussions that repetition somehow never resolved.
            Anyhow - I put the batteries (plural) in. The problem was - as well as the sounds of the forest at inappropriate times - I didn’t realize that the thing has to be set up to match the pictures on the dial.
            Thoughtfully the whole thing was designed to shut down at eleven in the evening and gives you peace until breakfast. Unless, of course you didn’t set it up and on a twelve hour clock it worked at all the wrong times. As happened here.
            In the middle of last night there was the mighty sound of what was possibly the mating call of the lesser spotted woodpecker, somehow mingled with the angry cheeping of another feathered friend.
            What? Hey? Huh?
            Mrs O dug me in the ribs. I told you not to put the other batteries in? But why I would I put batteries (singular) in when you said batteries (plural), etc. - the chorus started again.
            So I padded along the hall, taking care in my sleepy state not to fall down the stairs, and neutered the clock.
            Of course, no-one got back to sleep then. And guess what, dear readers, I am in the frame for that. So I sat down at the computer at some unearthly hour and battered this out on the keyboard.
            Anyone want a tweeting clock, to go with their Billy Bass?
            One not very careful owner.
            Going cheep...

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Doing "Stuff" with Goat Boy

I usually go to bed early. But last night I sat in my chair reading a boring book. I read many boring books. I cannot find what I want unless I do. So … at least one of you is curious about the book. It was Lloyd Douglas’ Doctor Hudson’s Secret Journal, 1930s religious philosophy in the guise of fiction. Nasty book, nasty philosophy.
So the book put me to sleep. My pet man gently shook me awake. You might think he was solicitous, willing to shepherd me off to bed and a snuggle. Or maybe he wished to remind me to take my pill. No. Not so. Not at all so.
“I’m hungry,” he says.
“I don’t want to cook,” I reply. With some effort, I focus my eyes. “What time is it, anyway?”
“Eleven-thirty. Let’s go to …” [I’ll call it Sam’s. Not its real name. It’s an all night coffee, sandwich and soup place.]
“What about the kids?”
“They’re all asleep except for Arpita.” Arpita is our oldest but third to enter our family. Her sisters alternately adore her and find her irritating. She’s in bed texting a friend who lives in Ohio.
“Your mom and I are going out,” Goat Boy says.
“It’s really late,” Arpita says. Her eyes reflect suspicion. “Where are you going?”
“Sam’s,” he says. “Just us.”
She asks why.
“We’re hungry,”
She asks how long we’ll be gone.
“Don’t know,” he says. “Hours maybe.”
“Dad!” she says.
“We’ll get home when we get home. Call if you need us. … Might be a while. I may take your mom to a secluded spot, and we might kiss and …”
“Dad,” she repeats. “I don’t want to know … and you should stop teasing me.”

We take my old Mercury. I’m short and the seats adjust to my height. I drive. I seldom do anymore because post-surgery I’m mostly housebound.
Sam’s is right on the edge of the seedier side of town. It’s been there since the late 1940s. It hasn’t been updated since probably 1980 or so. But it’s clean (usually), and they have really good food.
I yawn as we enter, a long, un-ladylike yawn. We’re served coffee without being asked. That’s not novel. Go there once, and they’re likely to remember your preferences. Goat Boy orders a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. I ask for a Reuben with slaw and fries.      
We chat. Almost none of our conversation matters. We exchange ideas, complaints about the day, concerns, talk about my newish black shoes. He likes them. So do I. He pats my hand, asking how I am. Much better.
The food comes. It smells delicious. I think but do not say that the waiter should wash the grease out of his hair. It’s rude to say things like that to strangers, but it’s not rude to think it.
The waiter pours a second cup of coffee for us both. It’s good coffee. Pet Man orders pumpkin pie. I consider that, but decide on banana cream pie.
We pay and leave.
I yawn again, neglecting to cover my mouth. “That was good,” he says.
I agree.

In the dim light of a distant street lamp ...

He drives. He does not head home.
“Where are you taking me? … Are you abducting me?” I ask.
“Prospect,” he says. Prospect Point isn’t its real name, but that’s what people call it. It overlooks the river. The road dead ends there; back in the day it was a place to park and snuggle. And stuff … Now it attracts old guys with fishing poles.
I turn 40 this year, but snuggling [and stuff] in the dim light of a distant street lamp was as fun as it was when I was 20.

My phone binged. That’s the text message sound. It’s Arpita. “I’m not waiting up for you,” she’s written. I text back, “Okay.” Sometimes she thinks she's the mother and we’re the children.
We get home sometime after two-thirty. He has to hold my arm; I’m loopy from lack of sleep and stuff … It usually takes me fifteen or twenty minutes to fall asleep. I don’t remember putting my head on the pillow.

And … how was your night?