Category Archives: Driving

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!


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.”


“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?


Filed under 'Merica, Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Cool people, Crazy family members, Diet tips, Disgustology, Driving, Family, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humiliation, Humor, laughter, Love, Missing Folks, Mom, Mom would die of embarrassment, Oh shit, Pets, Wild Beasts, WTF?

Do I Hear Five?

On May 29, 2011, I was fifty-four and a half years old.  And I was seriously irritated at the GOP in Congress.  You see, they had announced that they were going to take away Medicare from those then under 55 years old.  And that meant me.  I spouted off about it to anyone who would listen.

They’re gonna take Medicare from ME!  I’m 54-1/2!  That’s where they’re gonna start!

After the first 528 times I mentioned this fact to each and every person I could corner, I still felt unsated.  I wanted to tell more people of my irritation.  Whether or not I knew them.

And so I heard a voice inside my head (something I rarely admit to):

Go forth, it said,  and start a blog.

Oh and give it a stupid name to keep yourself humble.

And so I did.  Both of those things.  FiftyFourAndAHalf was born with this post.

Blogging has been a completely different experience than I expected.

My original plan was to do a political/humor blog.  But in spite of a never-ending source of fodder, I found that I wanted to write about other things, too.  That part didn’t really surprise me.

What surprised me was that blogging, and Word Press, became a place where I met new friends, discussed topics important to me.  Where I laughed and cried along with folks I will probably never meet.

Thanks, everybody.  And while I’ve been writing less than usual and reading less than usual, I love the special place that is the ‘sphere.  So, yeah, thanks for being out there, for reading, and for giving me stuff to read too.

From Daily

From Daily



Filed under All The News You Need, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Campaigning, Climate Change, Crazy family members, Crazy Folks Running, Crohn's Disease, Disgustology, Dogs, Driving, Duncan, Elections, Family, Farts, Flatulence, Freshly Pegged, Freshly Pressed, Friends, Global Warming, Goliath Stories, GOP, Gun control, Health, Health and Medicine, Hey Doc?, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, laughter, Mom, Music, Peace, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Toilets, Travel Stories, Voting, Wild Beasts, Word Press, Writing, WTF?

This Post Is A Complete Waste of Time

Is there anything that you do that you know is a total waste of time, but you do it anyway?

Of course there is.

Mine is to take those stupid little quizzes that are all over the internet.  I have no idea why I do it.  But I always do.

In fact, just now, as I turned on my computer to do some work that didn’t get done at work yesterday, I continued to not get it done.  Because my old bloggin’ buddy, MJ Monahan, posted a piece.  I hadn’t planned on checking out any blogs, because I have work to do.  But MJ hasn’t posted in a million years or so, and he is really good.  So I figured, well, what’s the harm.  How long could it take?

MJ posted Who Am I — 12 Buzzfeed Quizzes and reported what they revealed.

So I had to take the 12 Buzzfeed quizzes.  Because I have an incredible amount of work to do and no time to waste.

And now I have to report what they revealed.  Because I have an incredible amount of work to do and no time to waste.

However, I plan to steal the entire format from MJ.  Because I have an incredible amount of work to do and no time to waste.

1. The fruit I’m most like:

I’m not entirely sure that in this day and age that this question is politically correct.  Nevertheless, I took the quiz:

Like MJ, I am a strawberry.

Strawberries are tiny berry bosses. When the strawberries come in, it’s serious. SERIOUS FUN. Is there anything more fun and flirty than a strawberry? Everyone loves them. But not everyone can have them, especially when they’re not in season. You’re IN DEMAND.

Strawberries are OK; I have wonderful memories of strawberry picking with Jacob when he was young and we lived near a farm.

2. What I should have been named:

Also like MJ, I like my first name, Elyse.  I didn’t as a kid, though.  I wanted to be named anything common — Mary or Marie.  Anything that folks could read, pronounce, and spell.  But I came to like it a lot, and I love the fact that I was named after one of my coolest relatives, Tante Elise.

I got FLOSSIE.  FLOSSIE! WTF Buzzfeed?

You’re Flossie! Congrats — this name is amaaaazing. It was more popular at the turn of the 19th century, but you’re bringing it back!

No.  No.  A thousand times No.

3. Which season I would fall in love:

While we knew each other for years, John and I started dating in January, moved in together in April, and married in September of the following year.

For this question I got Autumn

Autumn is a time for new beginnings, and this will be the biggest one of all. You and your new boo will flirt with each other over yummy fall-themed drinks and steal each other’s sweaters and basically live the beautiful autumnal clichés of your dreams while falling slowly and sweetly in love.

Not exactly, Buzzfeed.  And Buzzfeed? It should be “IN which season would I fall in love.”  Grammar matters.

4. My most annoying office habit:


I got: Asking people what they had for lunch

You like to keep tabs on your co-workers, and what better way to do so than asking each of them individually what they had for lunch? What people eat says a lot about them, and you consider yourself somewhat of a lunch detective. Keep on questioning!

Um, No, Buzzfeed.  In my tiny office, you can smell anything anyone is consuming down the hall.  So there is no need to ask.  And I have far more annoying habbits.  Trust me!

5. My personality type:

I’m a wanna-be laid back person who isn’t really as laid back as I think I am or as I want to be.  At least that’s what my husband tells me.

I got: Passionate

You are a blustery and sentimental ball of emotion. You live hard and love harder. It’s just one adventure after another and you despise those who can’t let themselves chew on the meat of existence. “LIVE, YOU BLOODLESS AUTOMATONS!” is a phrase you have said or will say in the near future.

Well, I do tend to get a bit worked up, now and then.  But only when pushed to it.  Ammirite?

6. What other people find attractive about me:

I would have guessed my sense of humor.  But I was wrong.
I got: My Independent Nature

Some people are made into leaders, but you were born one. You’re driven, ambitious, know what you want, and know how to get it. You’ve always done things on your own terms, and you’re a BO$$ in your own right.

Ummm, somewhat.  If I were more so I would be rich and famous.

7. My ACTUAL personality type:

To quote from MJ, “Because just knowing one’s personality type isn’t enough, one needs to know their ACTUAL type.”
I got: Type B

You like to play things by ear and have always been a carefree person. You’re all about achieving balance and living life to the fullest. You’re relaxed, take things as they come, and always aspire to live a life full of happiness.

I’m probably Type B unless you’re working for me on this project.  Then I come earlier in the alphabet.

8. My favorite color:

Who Am I, Favorite Color
Image stolen from MJ’s post.
Blue is in fact, my favorite color.  Sky, clothes, eyes.  Blue.
I got: Green

You are practical, down-to-earth, and like your favorite color implies, you love nature and the outdoors. You tend to wear your heart on your sleeve and connect well with people, which sometimes makes others “green” with envy.

Green’s OK.  Except that horrible lime green that is so popular now.  And I was once in a play about the 8 deadly sins and I played envy, so OK.  I’ll go along with green.

9. What’s my sixth sense:

Clearly it’s procrastination.  Because I really have a lot of work to do.
I got: Magically knowing when someone hot is near

That’s partially because you, yourself, are also hot. This hidden sense then comes from your own hotness, as well as your desire to be around other hot people.

Buzzfeed, you’re just messin with me now.

10. What color is my aura:

Chartruse.  I’m not even sure what color that is, but that would be my guess.
I got: Orange

You’re energetic, outgoing, and fun to be around. You’re a people pleaser who also enjoys being the center of attention. Still, you are highly attuned to others and sensitive to their needs. Your enthusiasm might lead you to start too much too quickly; if you can focus, you will succeed.

So I am an extroverted suckup?  Thanks Buzzfeed.  And don’t you try to suck up to me by telling me that if I don’t screw up I might succeed.

11. More right-brained or left-brained:

Sometimes I figure I am just plain hairbrained.  Or is it harebrained?  Bugs?  Bugs?  Can you answer that?
I got: Right-brained!

Well, hello there, naturally creative person! You’re super curious, and have a wicked imagination, which means you’re drawn to things like art, performance, and music. You can also be impulsive, and tend to follow your heart more than your head. People love you for your creativity and independent spirit — never lose that!

Well, I’ll go along with the right-brained much of the time.  Except when I’m not.

12. Where should my next vacation be:


Wonderland, Mount Dessert Island, ME. I think. It’s in that general area anyway. And it is lovely. My picture, from god knows when.

Most of our vacations involve driving up to Maine. So I was quite interested to see what this one would show.

I got: Road Trip!

You’re spontaneous, inquisitive, and all about experiencing new things. Exploring is everything to you, and you don’t need a big city to do that in. Eat at local diners, stay in tiny motels, and snap photos along the scenic routes. Small details matter to you, and getting there is half the fun. Potential trips you should take include winding your way through Italy’s Amalfi Coast, riding through Alaska’s Seward Highway, discovering Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, or taking the 113-mile drive from from mainland Florida to Key West.

Well done, Buzzfeed.

Hope you weren’t doing anything important today …


Filed under Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Extra Cash, Humor

All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace A Chance


Have ya heard the latest?

A group of 47 Republican Senators are trying to thwart international negotiations with Iran!  What fun!  You know, the ones where we are trying to prevent them from developing and holding on to nuclear weapons?

In “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” this gang of traitors announced:

“It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement,” the senators wrote. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

Among the signers of this letter were three GOP Senators who are running or are expected to run for president in 2016:  Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.  And naturally, former GOP Presidential nominee John McCain signed it as did his shadow, Lindsay Graham.

Because, as you know, we can’t have peace.  And we can’t have anything positive come out of the evil Obama Administration, now can we.

But more importantly to voters of this country, this group of Senators has no real idea of how either international agreements work.  They don’t they quite have the details of the Constitution down, either.  It’s kind of like when you sneak the keys to the car from your parents and take the car out on the road before you know what you’re doing.

It was a good thing that somebody else understood how American international agreements work, though.  And what powers the Executive Branch of the U.S. Guv’ment has under the Constitution.  And what ones are given to the Legislative Branch.  Yup.  It’s a damn good thing.  Here is the schooling these boys received from a source that likely sits in their craw (as it should):

Asked about the open letter of 47 US Senators to Iranian leaders, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded that “in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history. This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.

Zarif expressed astonishment that some members of US Congress find it appropriate to write to leaders of another country against their own President and administration. He pointed out that from reading the open letter, it seems that the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.

Foreign Minister Zarif added that “I should bring one important point to the attention of the authors and that is, the world is not the United States, and the conduct of inter-state relations is governed by international law, and not by US domestic law. The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfil the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.

The Iranian Foreign Minister added that “change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Irans peaceful nuclear program.” He continued “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.

I would say that these Senators were “caught with their pants down,” because we haven’t had a good sex scandal in a while.  Penis problems however, don’t start wars.  Stupid actions by traitors do.

And that what this is.  Members of the Senate, including some who have or who plan to run for the highest office in the United States, try to interfere with international agreements to stop wars.  These folks don’t even know how our government works, and have to learn about it from the very folks they are trying to threaten.  And they want to be in charge.  Hell, they are in charge of too much already.

Which song do you prefer?

Or this one:

*     *     *

I would like to write good things about the current crop of Republicans.  Really I would.  Feel free to send me links to anything good they have done.  Anything that helps people.  Anything that helps our country.




Filed under 2016, Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Campaigning, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Driving, Flatulence

Heads Up!

As a woman with Crohn’s disease, knowing where the nearest toilet is is something I have to think about a lot.  Sometimes it cramps my style, makes me avoid activities I might otherwise enjoy.

So imagine my relief when I learned that, in spite of the possibility of having to “go,” I can now help out outside.

Yeah, it’s true!  You can read about it here.  Someone has invented just the thing for folks like me — A special pooper scooper the inventor calls “Loo-cy.”

A motorized combination snowplow and toilet.

Me, I am flushed with excitement over this gadget; because everybody needs to do their civic doo-ty.

*    *     *

There is a conspiracy afoot to have me think about nothing but toilets.


Filed under Adult Traumas, Awards, Bat-shit crazy, Conspicuous consumption, Crohn's Disease, Driving, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Science, Taking Care of Each Other, Toilets

One Badass Broad

In 1973, I went on a field trip with my high school acting group.  To London.  To a week of plays in London’s West End.

Because I was far too cool to be a tourist, I did almost none of the typical tourist things while I was there.  (I was an idiot.  There is a reason folks want to visit the Tower of London, etc.).  There was one exception, though.  I went to Madame Tussaud’s — the famous Wax Museum.  While there, I was still too cool to be impressed by how realistic the wax figures were.  Well, until something happened to really make me smile.

My friends and I had just about finished touring the museum, when we entered the exhibit for The Royals.  From behind me I heard the sweetest voice.

“Mummy!  That’s Our Queen!

A little English boy, no more than four had entered the exhibit.  He wore navy blue shorts and suspenders, and his cheeks were as rosy as a young English boy’s should be.  He lit up the room with his pride.   In his Queen.

“Yes, Darling,” replied his Mum.  “That’s our Queen.”

From Madame Tussaud's Website

From Madame Tussaud’s Website

At that time, Richard Nixon was President of the U.S.  I was quite sure that there was no little boy in my country who would speak with similar pride about Nixon.

The image of that boy comes to mind every time I see Queen Elizabeth.  And I always smile.

Today I read something about the Queen, though, that makes me smile even wider.

The Huffington Post reported a delightful anecdote about a visit from the newly-late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to the Queen’s Scottish castle, Balmoral.  The story was recounted by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who was the British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.  He’d been told the story by both the Queen and the King, and relayed it.

“After lunch, the Queen had asked her royal guest whether he would like a tour of the estate,” wrote Cowper-Coles, who is said to have heard the tale from both Elizabeth and Abdullah themselves. “Prompted by his foreign minister the urbane Prince Saud, an initially hesitant Abdullah had agreed. The royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the castle. As instructed, the Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the front Land Rover, his interpreter in the seat behind.”

Queen Elizabeth and King Abdullah.  Photo Credit, Associated Press (but I got it from the Huff Post)

Queen Elizabeth and King Abdullah. Photo Credit, Associated Press (but I got it from the Huff Post)

Little did Abdullah know, however, that his driver for the day would be none other than Elizabeth herself.

“To his surprise, the Queen climbed into the driving seat, turned the ignition and drove off,” Cowper-Coles wrote. “Women are not — yet — allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, and Abdullah was not used to being driven by a woman, let alone a queen.”

Not to mention a queen who can drive like the wind. According to Cowper-Coles, Elizabeth didn’t just drive the SUV, but rapidly whizzed along the estate’s roads as she chatted, prompting Abdullah to become increasingly anxious.

“Through his interpreter, the Crown Prince implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead,” the diplomat said.

Queen Elizabeth II is one badass broad.  On behalf of drivers of my gender, as well as men far more enlightened than King Abdullah, I bow to you.  I’d curtsey but I’m not that kind of girl.


Filed under Driving, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Stupidity, Traffic

Pretty Please?

Until this morning, I’ve been dreading 2016.

Politics, to me, is a spectator sport.  And so the idea of Hilary (ho hum) v. Jeb (ho ho ho) sounded like it was going to be about as much fun as cribbage.  Watching cribbage.

But this morning, I read that we may have some entertainment value to our next presidential race after all.  Whooeeeee!!!

Mitt Wants to Run Again!!!

And you know what idea he plans to run on?


Yup.  According to this article in the Huffington Post, Mitt is going to tackle poverty:

Romney, who made a fortune in the financial sector and was cast by Democrats in 2012 as a heartless businessman, wants to make tackling poverty — a key issue for his 2012 vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan — one of the three pillars of his campaign.

Tell us another one! (Google image)

Tell us another one!
(Google image)

I wonder if Ann Romney knows she might have to eat tuna and pasta again.


Filed under 2016, Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Climate Change, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Dogs, Driving, Elections, Farts, GOP, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Politics, Stupidity, Voting