Category Archives: Bloggin’ Buddies

Times of Trouble

They always come off the shelf at this time of year.  The Harry Potter books.  I’ve read and re-read all of them until the pages are worn and grimy.  They give me comfort when I am fighting off “The Missing.”

“When I find myself in times of trouble …”

“The Missing” — Sounds like a “who-dunnit,” doesn’t it.  But that’s not what I mean.

Go ahead and laugh.  But I honestly mean that the Harry Potter books — kids books — help me fight off the sadness of missing people.

You see, in Harry Potter, the folks Harry loves and has lost get to come back sometimes.  Once in every few books. OK, in the first, the fourth, and the seventh.  What — you need page numbers?

And each time I read how they, those dead people, give Harry courage, I find my own again.

And you know what especially makes a difference?  Throughout the entire series, folks talk normally about people who have passed.  Just as if they were, and still are, an important part of a person’s life.  The characters do, and are expected to, think about people who are no longer around.  Grief, missing them is part of life; an acknowledged part.

Real life, however, outside of books, is not at all like that.  The bereaved are allowed 1 week to 1 year to grieve, depending on the relationship and the circumstances.  Within that time, and especially way beyond it, talking about a lost loved one is awkward. It makes other people uncomfortable.  They don’t know what to say.  What to do.  Where to look.  It’s taboo.

Death in our society pretty much wipes a person off the slate — we say good-bye, are moved to shed tears, and then expected to get beyond it.  We are essentially expected to metaphorically “unfriend” them.

Of course, we all fear our own death, so we don’t want to talk about someone else’s death.  We just can’t deal with someone else who has gone to that wizarding school in the sky.

Reading Harry Potter helps me feel like my missing are close by.  Let’s me feel that there are folks, even if they are fictional, who let me remember and who also remember their own loved ones.  Very much like my bloggin’ buddies, who let me lean on them from time to time.  For which I will be eternally grateful.

It’s coming on the anniversary of my sister Judy’s passing, a time that is always difficult for me.

Judy too was a Potterhead, although she only lived long enough to read the first three books. I’m quite sure that that is one of the things that most annoyed her about dying, actually.  Nobody likes to miss the ending.

So I’m really hoping she’ll hook up with Alan Rickman pretty soon.  Because she’ll show him the ropes, and he’ll fill her in on the rest of the story.  A match made in, well, heaven.

Alan Rickman.

Fanpop.com Image

R.I.P. to so very many people gone way too soon.

Thanks to Deb of The Monster In Your Closet for making me come out of my closet as a Potterhead!

 

 

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Hillary’s Chicken

Yesterday, I braved the grocery store to come up with an edible antidote to 2015.

I found myself pacing the aisles of the local Giant Foods, and well, I heard voices.  Or a voice.

If I were a Republican, I would have assumed it was God.

Jesus Meme

But as it was, I realized I was talking to myself.  Chanting.  And naturally I listened.  I’m not crazy, you know.

The Voice, my voice, told me what to do.  What to get.  How to do it.  And I saw that it would be good.

You see, I remembered a long-ago gift from my niece that actually held the secret antidote to 2015.  Only I had forgotten about it.

Congressional Cookbook

The Congressional Club Cook Book, Copyright 1987, The Congressional Club, Washington, DC

Yup.  Who woulda thunk that an antidote would be in a cookbook!  But this one is special.  You see, it was published in 1987, when the folks in government still believed that the government has an important role in the country.  When the government is, essentially, how we all contribute to improving our society.  Educating our kids, making workplaces safer, the air and the water and the land cleaner.  Yeah, I know it was published at the end of the Reagan years, but that cancer hadn’t yet metastasized.

Here’s the antidote to 2015:

Hillary’s Chicken.

Hillalry's Chicken

Congressional Club Cook Book, 1987, at page 266

As you can see from years of cooking smears, this is a well-used recipe.  It is simple and delicious. And I’m going to make it for New Years’ Day — and often between now and November.

Because while this woman eats chicken.  She is NOT a chicken.

Hillary Clinton at Bengazi hearings -- LA Times Photo

Hillary Clinton, Testifying for 11 hours at the Bengazi show trial.  Photo Image, LA Times

And the GOP?  I see little evidence that the GOP clowns are anything but chicken, can you?

Air Force

Google Image

 

Happy New Year!

 

***

 

It’s a little hard to read the instructions from this picture —

Combine all sauce ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Wipe each piece of chicken dry and coat well with sauce.  Place chicken,skin side up, in shallow baking pan.Tuck edges under, forming a compact shape, about 1-1/2 inches thick.  Roast in preheated oven at 450 degrees, basting occasionally with pan drippings.  Bake until opaque nearly to center, about 14-18 minutes, depending on thickness.  Remove to warm plates.  Spoon pan juices over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Makes 4 servings.  May be frozen.

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Give Peace A Chance – Bomb Agrabah

It was one of the most embarrassing things about working at the World Health Organization for an American like me.  My knowledge of geography really wasn’t all that hot.

I was pretty good at Europe.  I knew that Italy is shaped like a boot, and Switzerland, where I was living, looked like a delicious croissant.  Russia and China?  No problem.  South Africa and Chile — those were easy — they’re at the bottom (and I had been to Chile, so I knew that it was south).

It didn’t help that several countries changed names at the precise moment when I was trying to find them on the map.  Yeah, I’m talking to you Burma/Myanmar. 

But I’m a pretty quick study.  My knowledge of geography grew daily as I had to figure out where the hell everybody was when they went away without me.  Today I can proudly say that I, an American citizen, am no longer geographically challenged.  I’m so good, I can even find Malawi on a map.

Malawi

It’s right there at 4:00.  Google Image.

So I will admit feeling a wee bit sanctimonious when I learned that the GOP wants to bomb every Arab city including Agrabah.  Because I know where it can be found.

GOP voters support bombing Agrabah!

Those stupid Republicans!  They don’t even know where Agrabah is!  They don’t remember their, umm, history.  I know that it’s the town from The Arabian Knights.  Agrabah, the city of magic is the stuff of fiction, and folk lore and Disney movies.

 

Agrabah is where Aladin and Jasmin lived.  The city they flew over on the magic carpet.  Oh and the Genie.  He was there too.

My bloggin’ buddy, Bruce Thiesen wrote an interesting piece about the GOP, that made me think that bombing Agrabah isn’t such a bad idea.

I figure, by focusing all our military efforts on Agrabah, we can rewrite Middle Eastern politics and history.

  • We can shoot fictitious people instead of real flesh and blood ones!
  • We can carpet bomb the hell out of a magic city instead of ones with bricks and mortar and things like hospitals and schools.
  • We can demonstrate to the world that we are willing to use the most terrible of weapons if anybody tries anything on us, but without hurting a fly.  Or a flying carpet.

Bombing the shit out of Agrabah will satisfy the blood lust of the Right Wing without hurting any real people.  The GOP will be happy, the Military-Industrial Complex will get their $$$$$ and nobody gets hurt (well, except the taxpayers). It’s a win-win-win.  Lots of wins.

This is how we give peace a chance.

I’m expecting the Nobel Peace Prize for this baby.

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Support Your Local* Blogger**

It broke my heart when I learned that Gibber, of Gibber Jabber, needed to work.  She needed food.  A home.  Socks.

It broke my heart to learn that because of those pedestrian needs, Gibber was reluctantly closing her blog.  She collected questions, silly and serious, and we all provided the answers!  It was great fun.  You remember it, surely!

gibber-jabberin

Whoa is me, to have questions yet unanswered.  To have the question collector need to make a damn living.

Well, to make a short story long, Gibber had to make some money.  Dinero.  Big, fast bucks — Canadian so they don’t quite count up so quickly.

So our Gibber set up shop as a candle crafter.  Yes!  She started Sparking Hope Candles!  Hand-made, hand-scented, soy-based peace in a mason jar.  Her candles are really beautiful. See?

slide_2

Sparking Hope Candles

And they smell good.  And they support soy farmers who aren’t bloggers as a rule, but still.  I’m sure they’re nice folks too.

Gibber’s candles can be ordered either through her Shopify page:  or through Facebook.

Go have a look.  And if you’re as behind in your holiday shopping as I am, give Sparking Hope Candles a go!  Because we need to support our local* bloggers.**

And now for the footnotes, because I am a professional writer and footnotes contain useful information that nobody reads.  But they should:

 

* To paraphrase Forrest Gump, Local is as local does.  Or maybe I could paraphrase former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Tipp O’Neill and say All Blogging is local.  Or maybe I should quote you directly and say “Shut UP, Elyse!  We don’t care if Gibber is local or not!”

** Perhaps I should paraphrase … no?  No paraphrasing?  OK.  Gibber hasn’t been blogging lately because she needs to make a living.  So you can buy a candle, or you can click the red “X”.

*** My apologies to Glazed.  I was going to reblog his post, Sparking Hope Cain’t Be Drunk but West Virginia is currently beating Virginia in basketball and I just couldn’t quite get my hillbilly on.

**** SHIT!  I didn’t get a fee for this advertisement!  It’s just like those ones that Word Press inserts when you’ve said, “NO!  I don’t want advertisements on my blog!”

***** Anybody who noticed that there is no footnote ***, ****, or ***** gets a prize.   A candle they can buy themselves.  From Gibber!

 

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Mom’s Most Memorable Meal

Today as I prepare a million different dishes for Thursday’s feast, I thought I’d share (for a second time) another family story, about the year my Mom forgot her turkey.  I’m pretty sure you’ll buy fresh from now on.  I certainly do!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

It seems like just the other day that I was talking about folks to whom strange things just happen.  Maybe that’s because it was just the other day that I told this story.

I have a secret, though.  I’m not the only person in my family with this, ummm, gift for attracting the strange and humorous.  Dad used to say that if there was a weirdo within 5 miles of him, that weirdo would find Dad and have a nice long chat.  But if something weird was going to happen, well, it would happen to Mom.  Somehow I managed to inherit both weirdness magnets.  Sigh.

But this is Mom’s story.

Mom wasn’t the bird lover in our family.  Dad was.  So I should have known something weird had happened when Mom identified a bird I was looking at from a distance.  Mom and Dad were visiting John and I in Connecticut.  She and I were driving not far from our house one day in about 1990, and I pulled over to look at the large birds circling above us.  Back then large predatory birds soaring were still an unusual sight — when I saw those large silhouettes, I always assumed they were eagles.  I mean, what else could it be?  I kept trying to get a good look.

“They’re turkey vultures,” Mom said with complete certainty.  “We see them all the time at home in Florida.”

You lookin' for me? (Google image, natch)

They weren’t eagles?
(Google image, natch)

Turkey vultures?” I said, not believing her for a minute.  I’d never even heard of such a creature.  Mom pursed her lips and looked back at me, slightly annoyed that I was questioning her (never seen before) bird identification skills.

I should have been suspicious.  I should have know there was a story behind Mom’s new-found large bird expertise.  I should have known that something weird was involved.

“They’re really big.  And up close, they really do look just like turkeys.”

“When did you ever get ‘up close’ to a turkey vulture, Mom?”

She tried to avoid the question.

“Mom….” It was never too hard to get Mom to tell her stories.  Something else we have in common.  “Fess up…”

“It wasn’t my fault.  That refrigerator at home is just too small.”

“Huh?”

“Well, it happened last Thanksgiving, but I didn’t want to tell you,” she laughed.  “I knew I’d never hear the end of it.”

“Mom …”

“Dad and I went to the grocery store on Saturday, as usual, the weekend before Thanksgiving,” she continued.  “And we bought a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner.”

“OK.”  I wasn’t catching on.

“Well, it was a frozen turkey.  Frozen solid.  You know it takes days to thaw those things.  You might as well try to melt an iceberg.  I put it into the roasting pan and placed it on the counter to thaw.  But I kept having to move it around that tiny kitchen to do anything else.  Then, on Sunday night when I was making dinner, I needed my counter.  So I put the still rock hard turkey into the carport.”

“Mom, doesn’t your carport get pretty warm?  It is in Florida, after all.”

“Well, that wasn’t really the problem,” she said, laughing.  “Not exactly, anyhow.  Or not at first.  The problem was that I forgot I’d left the turkey there.  I woke up Thursday morning, ready to get started on Thanksgiving Dinner and couldn’t find my turkey!  I thought I was going nuts.  I knew we had bought one.  ‘Where’d you put my turkey?’ I asked your father, accusingly.  ‘I didn’t do anything with it.  Did it get up and walk away?’ he asked.  And then I remembered – ‘Oh Lord, it’s in the carport.  I hope it’s still OK to eat.’”

“I went out the door to find the carport  filled with turkey vultures–I don’t even know how many were in there.  They were sitting on the car, on the workbench.  On the floor.  Everywhere!  And you know, they really do look just like turkeys.  They have those red heads and bulging eyes.  They had torn the packaging apart and were eating our Thanksgiving turkey!  I sent your father out to shoo them all away.  And then he had to go to Publix to get something for our feast.”

I roared.  So did she, remembering.

“I told him to get a piece of beef to roast.  I’d had enough birds for a while.”

Mom was absolutely right.  Turkey vultures look a whole lot like turkey turkeys.  Especially after they’ve just had Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and her instinct was right — she should never have told me this story.  She never did hear the end of it!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my fellow ‘Mericans!

To those who aren’t over indulging this week, can I send you a few pounds?

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We Are Not Alone!

Last week, I read Bloggess Jenny Lawson’s new book Furiously Happy.

Image from Amazon.com

Image from Amazon.com

Furiously Happy deals with Jenny’s mental health issues, how she copes with them, and, importantly how they help make her the person she is.  It is truly a gift to folks with anxiety, depression, other mental health issues (and to those who care about them).  It shows them that they’re not alone.

The blurb on the flap sums it up pretty well:

This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are – the beautiful and the flawed – and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because as Jenny’s mom says, “Maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t so bad after all.” Sometimes crazy is just right.

While Furiously Happy is geared towards folks with mental illness, I came away from the book feeling comforted about my physical illness, Crohn’s Disease.  Because Furiously Happy reminded me that other people — probably everyone, in fact — struggles through life with something.   And that’s why we all — every one of use — need each other. 

Because no matter what each of us is facing, we’re not alone.

Plus, the book is hilarious.  You will rarely enjoy mental illness quite this much.

Oh, and go read her most recent blog post, which had me laughing for hours last night.  It is a compendium of awkward moments sent to the Bloggess via Twitter.

 

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Other Useful Technologies

One of my favorite things about blogging, is that often, my bloggin’ buddies often give me the opportunity to tell stories that I don’t have the opportunity to tell.

Like this one.

Now you know that I had a wonderful childhood. As the youngest of five, somehow, I never felt unwanted, no matter what was going on. Except once.*

As I entered the kitchen, I noticed that my mom and two sisters, Beth and Judy, were sitting at the kitchen table, discussing anatomy.  Female anatomy to be precise..  They were discussing “holes.”  Their holes.

This might be a good time for guys to switch to another blog.

Yes, Mom, Beth and Judy were sitting at the kitchen table talking about their holes. Both of their holes.  The TWO holes in their nether regions.

I was 7 years old, and very confused.

“But …” I started saying …

They didn’t want to listen.  They continued talking, ignoring me.

Panic started to rise in me.

“But … but … listen  to me!!!” I finally practically shouted.

They all turned to me and Beth said, “OK, Lease.  What do you want to say.”

I looked around the table and said softly, in fear:

I have three holes!  There’s the one I pee through, the one I poop through, and one in the middle that doesn’t do anything.  Don’t you guys have three?”  Panic was building in me as I realized that the three of them just continued to looked at me.  Judy rolled her eyes.  She smirked.

“Nope.  You’re just weird, Lease,” said Judy.

They all looked at me, blankly, until finally I left, taking my incomprehensible extra hole with me.  And let me tell you that I was baffled about that opening for years.

For more than 50 years, I’ve wondered what that conversation was actually about. Over the years, I asked many times, but since the incident didn’t scar any of them for life, so they’d long since forgotten.

Now what does this story have to do with blogging and blogging buddies?

Well only yesterday my buddy Alice, of Coffee and a Blank Page commented on my blog piece, Tush Technologies  and linked to an article more or less on this subject. Well, on the subject of vaginas, anyhow.  Weird technological things about hoo-hahs to be exact.

‘Smart’ menstrual cup sends texts about your flow

Now I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a “menstrual cup” either.  Apparently I haven’t changed much since I was 7.  These new (to the extent anything used for Eve’s Curse can be considered “new”), more environmentally friendly collection devices.  You can shove a cup into your box at the requisite time and, well, fill er up!

But according to the article that Alice sent me, there were draw backs with the cups.  I’m sure you saw the problem leaking through, didn’t you.

Well, there was a problem Until Now.  Because there is now smart, ummm, cootch, technology to keep that cup from runneth-ing over. 


If I’m reading the article right, it will tell your smart phone when you need to, umm, dump.

Ain’t technology grand?

I don’t know exactly why, but this article made me think of something from another  bloggin’ buddy, Father Kaine of The Last of the Milleniums.

 

* OK, I will admit I didn’t feel completely welcome that time when I was pushing into my newly married sister Beth’s bedroom when she’d pulled the bookcase in front of the door, either.

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