Monthly Archives: February 2012

Making a Difference

All my life, I’ve wanted to make a difference in the world.  I have sought ways to do it.  At last, in today’s mail, I found just how to do it my way.

I guess it’s not really a new idea.  Folks have been improving the world by spreading the wealth for centuries.  That, I’m sure, was behind George Bush’s terrorism-busting shopping suggestion.  The idea is, of course, to spread the wealth and spend money.  So I’m gonna.  I’m gonna spend lots.


Well today I got the most fabulous catalog in the mail.  And it changed my life.

Now, I get loads of catalogs.  Truth be told, I buy a lot of stuff out of them.  Clothes, gifts, stuff no one likes or wants.  You know, just like everyone.

But this catalog was different, and not just because it was laminated.  This one told me that I could make a difference and have a blast at the same time.  All the time, not having to mix with the little people.

What was this catalog, you ask.  Was it the Harriet Carter catalog, filled with stuff you can normally only buy on late-night cable TV (like this Skin Tag Remover) along with a generous assortment of vibrators?


Nope.  Better.

Was it the Heiffer, International catalog?  Could I order some goats and chickens and ducks (alas no coots) for folks so that they can raise livestock and have a better life?

Heiffer International, a wonderful organization, for real

Nope. Way Better.

Was it a Williams Sonoma catalog full of pricey pots and pans in which I can make gourmet treats for the homeless?

Catalog Cover

Nope.  It was beyond my wildest dreams.

It was the TCS and Starquest Expeditions Catalog, The World Leader in Private Jet Travel.  And they invited me along on a Cultures and Cuisines tour!  Can you believe it?  Me!  Here’s the trip:


Cuisines and Cultures Itinerary


Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it.  But when I went to the website I found that there are other possibilities.  Endless possibilities.  I can, according to the website, Enjoy the Ultimate In Service, Learn While You Explore, AND Follow Your Passion.

Wow.  What’s not to like?

Now, the cuisine and culture tour looks really good.  But the Around the World tour looks, even better.  I can go here:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

And Here

Moais, Easter Island, Chile

And here

Luxor Egypt

In fact, I can go to all these places!

Around the World Itinerary

Best of all, there will be no shoe removal at the airport because I’ll get to do it on this:

My Wings


But best of all, I will be able to save the world while I do it.  I’m pretty sure that George W and Laura Bush will be along for this one because lookee here at just how the website tells me we’re going to save the world:

Make a Difference in the World
By joining this expedition, you support efforts to enhance the conditions of peoples and places we visit. At each destination on the itinerary, TCS & Starquest Expeditions purchases traditional handicrafts made by local artisans, provides supplies for medical centers or schools, or donates funds for essential programs.  (Impressive, no?)


Make a Difference in the World
By joining an Around the World expedition, you will automatically support efforts to enhance the conditions of the places and peoples we visit—there is no further commitment necessary on your part. Our expedition will provide supplies to medical clinics and schools, as well as contribute funds for essential projects that many people depend on. (Nope, I don’t want to have to do extra to save the world.  Trust me, paying for this trip will suffice.)

Which way I save the world is dependent entirely on which tour I choose.  Decisions, decisions.

Damn, it’s wonderful being in the top 1% of the top 1%.  With TCS and Starquest Expeditions you can see the world guilt free.  All this for about $60,000.  Each.  And there is no need to mingle.


Travel photos all courtesy of TCS and Starquest Expeditions Catalog.  Saving the world lingo is theirs too.



Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Humor, Hypocrisy

The Slow Kid Gets It AGAIN

Everybody always tags the slow kid.  So I’m not sure if this is an honor or if everybody is picking on me.  These folks are either really good friends or should be banned from Word Press.  I can’t quite decide.

But I’m IT, I was TAGGED.  So here goes nothin.’  Here’s how you play.

  • You must post the rules. (Check)
  • You must thank the folks who put you up to this:

Here are the culprits; they made me do this.  Trust me, it wasn’t my idea.  In fact, I thought I had already done this when I wrote What’s In A Meme.

Janice at  Aurora Morealist (2/21)

Janice at Cafe23 (2/22)

TwinDaddy at Stuphblog (2/24)

  • Answer the questions the taggers set for you in their post.

I’m cheating here.  I was tagged 3 times, I figure nobody wants to spend the next month reading about me.  So I chose some questions from each of the bloggin’ buddies who picked on me.  You can thank me later.

  • Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.  (I’m cheating again)
  • Let them know you’ve tagged them! (Cheating is the theme here)

Janice at Aurora Morealis’ questions:

If you were given another chance at life, to come back as anything or anyone you want, who or what would you choose and why?

I want to come back as an American Coot, my favorite bird.

Me in my next life. OR maybe in my previous one. Before being eaten by an eagle.

They are silly, duck-like birds (they don’t even get a category of their own – they are merely duck-like).

They must have a great sense of humor, because they are awful at everything else.  In fact, they have trouble swimming (no webs on their feet)– they thrust their heads forward with each stroke, in the same way a race horse does, but without the grace.  They also forget that they are birds and can fly.  I’d be like that.  You see, coots can’t take off easily from the water (where they spend 99.9 percent of their time); they always look like Keystone Cops trying to get away.  They get eaten by eagles and hawks because they are slow and awkward.  And stupid.  The term “old coot” comes from these guys.  But I love them anyway.  They crack me up.

I always picture them with a speech bubble over their head that says “SHOOT” – a particularly dumb thing for a bird to be saying, if you ask me.  But they can’t help it; they were taught not to swear when they were “Cooties.”  (Yes, I had to say it.)


Apparently I must be pretty content in this lifetime to come back as prey, but still.  They are great fun to watch.

What one thing do you wish you did when you had the chance?

See Door Number Two! Where my dreams of fame and fortune ended.  I wonder what would have happened if I had chosen Door Number One.  Or what was behind the curtain.  Or, perhaps, what would have happened if I had never come out of the closet.  [Thousands of people will now think I am gay.  Perhaps I will attract new readers!]

 If a stranger knocked on your door and asked for food or shelter, what would you do?

Open the door and let them in.  They would be pleasant and grateful, and nice and fun.  We would have a party.  Then my husband would kill me for having let potential murderers in.

Are you glad or ticked off that I tagged you?


 TwinDaddy’s Questions:

 What is the most traumatic experience you’ve ever had?

Saturday, January 15, 2000 and Tuesday, August 11, 2009, the dates my sisters died.  Judy at 47 went first, and then Beth at 61.  Sucked.  Still sucks.  We were going to race our wheelchairs in the nursing home.

If you could choose one moment in your life that defined who you are today, what was that moment?

Many years ago, I had horrible secretarial job at an Ivy League university.  I felt stupid every day –not because people made me feel that way (everyone was really very nice).  Nope.  I MADE MYSELF FEEL THAT WAY.  Everyone I saw intimidated me.

One day, a brilliant professor needed help changing a light bulb.  In a table lamp.  It made me realize that in at least one way, I was smarter than this brilliant man.  And I stopped feeling stupid.  More importantly, I stopped doubting that I was smart enough to do whatever I chose to do.  After all, I could change a light bulb.

Why, OH WHY, do you blog?

I started blogging after taking a humor writing class where I found I enjoyed writing short snarky pieces.  What else do you do with short and snarky?

Cafe23’s questions:

Do you have any tattoos? If yes, of what and where? If not, what tattoo would you get if you had to get one?

When I read “In Cold Blood” in high school, my very favorite teacher ever said “Never trust anyone with a tattoo.”  At that time, it was only cold blooded killers and sailors who had them.  Things have changed in 40 years.

Still I don’t get why anyone would want one.  Times and styles change – just look at shirt collars, ties and hairstyles.  What happens when tattoos go out of fashion?

I was in a store in Maine last summer when a young girl was proudly displaying the tattoo she’d gotten of a hummingbird for her 20th birthday.  It was quite pretty, and it was right there at the top of her substantial left breast.  By the time she is my age and her boobs sag, it will look like a turkey vulture.

Who wouldn't want this on their breast?

*   *   *

Do you believe in God?

I don’t think it matters, really.  I think how people act is what is important.  I believe in the Golden Rule.  I also believe in what I’ve gotten from the New Testament:  Love.  That’s what it’s all about.  The Old Testament didn’t teach love.  And for some reason that – the hate is what resonates with all too many folks these days.

What will get you angry?

Republican politicians get me angry whenever I think of them.  Cause I just don’t feel the love.  See my response to the question above.

Why did you name your blog the name you named it?

Two reasons.  One: I was angry about being 6 months shy of qualifying for Medicare under the Republican plan.  I wrote about in People My Age and in my first post Fifty Four And A Half.

But the real reason is that I felt reaching the age of 54-1/2 was a personal victory.  That was the average age of my two sisters when they died.  I reached it with a combination of sadness and triumph.  And that’s partly why I will always, at heart, be 54-1/2.

*     *     *

Now My Questions:

  1. What color best describes you?
  2. Dogs or cats?
  3. Favorite Broadway Show
  4. First TV crush — and does he/she resemble your significant other?
  5. M*A*S*H or Mary Tyler Moore Show?
  6. Favorite romantic dinner
  7. First childhood memory
  8. Plot summary of your first novel
  9. Are you punny?
  10. What will you do when you win the lottery?
  11. Tell me about a brush with fame

I’m not going to tag anyone; I’m way too slow.  But feel free to answer if you’d like.  Or not if you’d rather not (you’re welcome, Lorre).  If you do answer, please post a link to your post in the comments.


Filed under Uncategorized

A Slippery Slope

When I was a kid, I was just like the Coppertone Girl.


Only red.  Very red.  My Irish heritage produced day-glow skin that never  tans.  As a kid, it turned fire-engine red in record time.  Regardless, I stayed out all day at the beach, in my bathing suit.  Burning.

Like the Coppertone girl, there was one part of my body that did not burn, and I’ve always been glad.  Well, until I read this article:

Heated seats burn bums of 2 women

I am sad to say, that I, too, suffer from Butt Burn.

I came about it innocently enough.  When we returned from living in Switzerland, we bought a car that had heated seats.  I was delighted, since I am always cold.  I pushed the button, and happiness reigned.  For ten years, I’ve had a toasty tush.  I would never think of buying a car without this luxury feature.  A seat warmer and satellite radio is all I really require in a car.  An engine is helpful, but not essential.

My path to Butt Burn, though, was down a slippery slope.

Two years ago, I started having a sore butt, so I applied Vaseline.  Often out of those tiny tubes of Vaseline Lip Therapy that led me towards the pathway to lip balm addiction.  I prefer the cherry flavored, although it hardly mattered down there.

When Vaseline fell short of my needs, I tried lidocaine ointment to soothe.  Lastly, I tried what every mother knows works to soothe sore bums – Butt Paste.

With Only Natural Ingredients

These products have not helped.  In fact, they made it worse.  Now, I’m not a chemist, but I think I need to Google the temperature at which Butt Paste burns.  Because I’m pretty sure I got very close over the weekend.  My seat was smokin’.

I shudder to think:  what if I had spontaneously combusted?

The whole issue gives new meaning to some of my favorite phrases:

“Liar, liar, pants on fire”

“Hot Pants”

“Cool Your Jets”


No butts were actually burned in the creation of this post.  So butt-burn sympathy is not necessary.  Flowers are always welcome, however.


Filed under Childhood Traumas, Climate Change, Global Warming, Humor, Stupidity

My biggest fear

It’s happened in the wake of the tragic death of singer Whitney Houston.  Or maybe it happened in the wake of CNN’s 4-day, 24-hour per day marathon coverage of her funeral which included an estimated 5,392,911 renditions of Whitney singing “I Will Always Love You.”  Whichever it was, I was delighted to see that our society has truly stepped up to the plate.  We are, thanks to Whitney, tackling the demons in our midst.

Starting with the one that has been keeping me up nights for years:

Can you really be addicted to lip balm?

Lip balm, no matter what they say about you, I will always love you.


Filed under Family, Humor, Hypocrisy, Music, Science, Stupidity


My husband doesn’t know it yet, but by the end of this three-day weekend, he will divorce me.  We’ve been married 25-1/2 years.  But they will be down the tubes in just a few days.

It’s sad.  And it all came about perfectly innocently.  Really.

It was a lovely morning, and today as I drove in to work, I was singing along with the radio when the song came on.  Desperado, as sung by Linda Ronstadt (not the lesser version done by the Eagles).

It just happened; I couldn’t control myself.  It tried, but really, I couldn’t help myself.  I sang with abandon.  With joy.  With knowledge aforethought.

Now, I need to tell you that my soon to be ex-husband is handicapped.  We have managed to make a good life together despite this, umm, problem.  But it can’t continue.

You see, my husband hears everything.  He cannot tune anything out.  Not music, not voices, not machinery.  I’ve never known anyone else with this particular disability.  Whenever a neighbor starts a leaf or snow blower, a power tool, anything, he hears it and is frustrated.  When a song he dislikes comes on the radio, when a commercial jingle plays, he hits the mute button faster than a Jeopardy contestant gets the buzzer.  John will scream and dive across the room to turn that damn thing off.

Poor John.  He’s never found my mute button.

And that, of course is the problem.

You see, I sing.  Now, and for the last 25-1/2 years, I have looked over my shoulder before belting out a tune.  I try to be considerate.  And usually that works out OK for both of us.

Now, you should know that I can sing.  Really!  Years of chorus and choir, voice lessons, starring roles in musical comedies written by unknowns who, tragically, went on to other careers.  I am even a critically acclaimed singer, with the reviews to prove it.  Bronzed.  One reviewer went so far as to say that I was stylish, although I am pretty sure that he was trying to get into my pants when he wrote the review.  Of course, the evidence is circumstantial, based only on the reviewer’s verbal comments to me.  Still, I’m sure his judgment wasn’t impaired.  Extra blood is known to increase musical appreciation in men.  Do I need to produce the medical studies?

Now I have a handicap, too.  Unlike my husband, I can tune out anything.  Including my own singing.  While I’m doing it.  I often just don’t notice I’m doing it.

John can deal with my singing sometimes; sometimes I just keep quiet.  It’s worked.

Except for one song.  Desperado, as sung by Linda Ronstadt (not the lesser version done by the Eagles).  You see, it gets stuck in my head.  And not even the whole song.  Just one verse:


Why don’t you come to your senses,

you been out ridin’ fences for so long, now.

Oh, you’re a hard one

But I know that you’ve got your reasons

These things that are pleasing you

Will hurt you some how

 That’s all I can ever remember.  And that, of course, is the problem.

“Lease, you’re doing it again. Those same lines — from the middle of the song.”

“Yeah, but they’re the best lines,” I respond.  (John is never amused by that line, no matter how many times I’ve used it.  Or how cute I look while saying it.  Silence and pursed lips follow. )

This morning, when the song came on the radio, I forgot.  I forgot that I cannot ever listen to that song again.  I forgot that hearing it, even once, will result in divorce.  I forgot that it might lead to a serious change in my life.

I didn’t change the channel.  I didn’t turn off the radio.  I did not drive into a tree or a ditch or another car simply to keep myself from hearing my beloved song – the one that my husband hates above all others.

Nope, I belted it out with abandon.

And it’s still there in my head.  It wants to come out.  In fact, it will come out.  Sigh.  And I know that my marriage simply cannot stand even one rendition.  Sigh. Oh well.  What’s 25-1/2 years anyway.

Mrs. Sparkly. Or should it be Ms.?

So it is a damn good thing that Janice at AuroraMorealist gave me the Mrs. Sparkly Award.  Because I’m going to need to supplement my income with some singing.

Thanks Janice!  For anyone who is unfamiliar with Janice’s blog, check it out.  She has heart and talent and gives love with every post.


Filed under Awards, Driving, Family, Humor, Music