Sunday, May 19, 2013
My Mother used this saying to keep me virginal for a long time. She convinced me that there was an absolute correlation between having unmarried sex and buying a cow.
I think I was 9 the first time she imparted these words of wisdom to me. I would be 15 before i realized that one thing really had nothing to do with the other.
I don't even like milk, never mind if it's free or not. And believing that a man would chose a wife so that he no longer had to pay for milk was simply ridiculous.
Mom had a few things wrong, and a few things right. One thing that was big with my mother was manners. She wanted her 4 daughters to be polite and to have perfect table manners. I got the polite part. I am always polite until it's time to not be polite, but that's another subject all together.
When we were quite young, about twice a month Mom took us on the streetcar to downtown San Francisco for lunch. We all got very dressed up for the occasion, white gloves, dresses, shiny black patent shoes. At the time, I was about 7, my younger sister 5. (The baby was only 3 so she stayed at home with a babysitter.) We always went someplace "fancy". Mom wanted to make sure we knew our table manners. My sister and I looked forward to these outings as much as we looked forward to a dentist visit.
While we were encouraged to get whatever we wanted from the elaborate menus, we were also watched closely for behavior transgressions. We got a sharp reprimand from Mom if we did not place our napkins on our lap, or if we spoke much above a well modulated whisper. We were admonished to keep our elbows off the table and to maintain an upright posture while dining. Further, speaking with one's mouth full simply wasn't done, nor was smacking one's lips while eating.
These hour and a half manners lessons were exhausting to me and my sister. And we wondered why we didn't just go get burgers at the local drive in restaurant. However, in time, the outings became much more enjoyable. We learned not to break the rules and it all worked just fine.
Now this may sound harsh, but I used approximately the same training technique with my own kids. From a very young age, they both learned what was and wasn't acceptable while dining. I'm pleased to say that both of my kids have perfect table manners.
Perfect table manners is not really about always using the right spoon. It not even about not laughing during a meal. It really seems to me to be more about not hunching over one's plate as if you are afraid it will be stolen from you at any minute. It's about bringing your food to your mouth while you sit upright, not leaning over the plate to make the distance between food and mouth as short as possible. It's about not talking with a full mouth. It's about not smacking your lips while you eat. These things are really disturbing for me to watch.
It may not be fair, but it bothers me more when women show bad table manners than it does when men do it. (It also bothers me more to see a woman drunk and obnoxious than it does to see a man similarly impaired.)
While I still think my mother's free milk and cow reference was absurd, I have to give her kudos for teaching her kids table manners. I'm sorry more parents don't understand that this is an invaluable life skill.
Although, I may be old now, good manners never go out of style.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Everything was fine. I was getting ready for some serious "spring cleaning", right after I lollygagged in my bubble bath for an hour that is.
I got out of the bath and grabbed my towel. I felt the dreaded "WHAP!" in my low back. Trying not to panic, I set about getting my robe on and slipping on a pair of panties. Nope, panties were not going to be in the cards.
I get low back "spasms" from time to time and they are never fun, but this was one of those times that I realized that life as I know it had changed for the worse. When these horrible pains hit, they take my breath away, and my legs, and my ability to remain upright. Dressed in a big white terrycloth robe, I inched like a worm across the floor to get the the bed in Harry's apartment. I could not walk, but could pull myself with my arms if I took it slow enough. Sweat was pouring into my eyes making it hard to see, but that didn't really matter. I knew getting upright enough to throw myself on to the bed would be tricky or impossible. Either or.
My life flashed before my eyes. I really hated thinking that I would be found lying on the floor, with no underpants on in a shabby robe moaning in pain. It's just not dignified. I make every effort to stay in bed until 9:00 AM because most people (I read this on the Internet), die early in the morning. This lying on the floor dead and without panties thing is my worst nightmare.
It took me an hour to drag myself to the bed. I tried pulling the sides of the mattress to get me up, but my legs weren't working and my back went into horrid spasms with any movement of my legs or back. Finally, I pushed myself to my feet and threw myself forward onto the mattress. I think I blacked out for a few minutes from the pain.
Never mind, I was on the bed. I even managed to throw my body over so I could lie there sunny side up. I glanced at my watch and saw it was only another 6 hours until my husband would be home. And both dogs climbed on the bed next to me to give me solace. Or they were waiting to see if I died and then they would eat me. Either or.
What are these spasms like, you may ask. Okay, Ladies, imagine you are giving those last ten pushes before childbirth and you have had no painkillers whatsoever. Gentlemen, imagine you have an Alien climbing out of your low back and using its sharp teeth to get out. Then magnify it by 10. You now have some idea of these spasms. They can knock you on the floor! They can spin your head like in that "Exorcist" movie. That's how bad it is.
When my husband got home, I was bursting to go to the bathroom. He came in the room and saw my plight and said something like "Oh poor baby!". Well, poor baby was trying her hardest to roll from side to side to get over so I could possibly sit up. I looked like a turtle stuck on it's back.
I realized how undignified this looked and asked (okay, screamed) at Alex to go get me a pair of panties and put them on me. He did as I asked and I felt so much more able to cope with this miserable pain and indignity.
It's Tuesday now, I have lived to tell the tale. Always keep a pair of panties handy.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
In the photo below, there are about 50 small roses, a paler color, and the size of drink coasters.
I really never considered the sex lives of roses, but now I feel I must. It seems rather apparent to me that some rose has been spreading his or her pollen in a new bush.
These roses are not even the same color. It would be like trying to pass off a Chinese baby as Irish/German to a suspicious husband. Or perhaps an Irish/German baby to a suspicious Chinese husband.
Now, I know flowers are the result of some kind of pollen spreading routine. I don't think actual sex occurs, but I've never watched the roses at night which may be why I don't see anything sexy happening. There is something going on that isn't exactly kosher.
First of all, this is not a new rose bush. It's been here for 10 years or so. This is the first year there has been any suspicion of infidelity on my part. In every other year, the roses have been pretty much the same old thing. Just roses.
I'm wondering if I should do something to try and soothe tempers out there. I mean, having babies that are a lot different from what you expected probably causes some traumatic hurt feelings.
I hope the plants lives through this experiment in infidelity. Some do, you know. Some don't.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The first time I tried "Dragon Fruit" I was sold on this weird looking cactus family thing with the hot pink flesh.
When I was at the store last weekend, I saw something very interesting called "Cherimoya". The sign said to slice the fruit and remove the seed and "enjoy".
I stuck the weird looking fruit in the bowl with bananas and waited until it had softened a bit. I don't usually eat breakfast, but decided this exotic fruit would be a perfect choice for my lunch. I carved it in half and then proceeded to eat it with a spoon, after clearing out the obvious seeds.
It tasted like a vanilla custard and I was delighted. I was forced to sort of spit out some of the seeds as they were spread willy nilly all through the fruit. I may have even missed one or two. No big deal I figured.
I looked up the cherimoya fruit and read about the taste and the origins (the Andes, I think), and thought to myself, "Dang! I wonder why this isn't more popular! It's delicious!
I saw a heading called "Cherimoya seeds" and decided to read the article. I was expecting some quirky little recipe that would turn these seeds into a tasty treat! I was sort of stunned when the article discussed how DEADLY POISON the seeds were. In fact, these black seeds are used to make an insecticide. About that time, I began to perspire and my stomach felt very weird. I had hot and cold flashes as my kidneys began to fail and my hair and teeth started falling out. (Okay, I'm lying, but I really was having a hissy fit!)
Now don't get me wrong, I didn't "eat" the seeds. But a small one might have slipped down my gullet. I just wasn't sure. I thought about going to the ER but then realized that it would probably be too late by the time I got there, and they would charge me a $250 co-pay. Screw that.
I thought long and hard about it and decided to call the "poison control" people and ask them what to do. I called the number with shaking hands and spoke to a really nice woman who had never heard of Cherimoya. But she was nice and calm and said, "Let me just look it up and see what's what." Very calmly, she said, "I think you are okay though."
She said to me "The good news is that you didn't crush the seeds and eat them." (Of course, I didn't crush the seeds and eat them! Who does that?) She said since the seed or seeds were swallowed intact, they would just work there way through my system. No problem.
I did feel a lot better though. I quit sweating and my hands quit shaking and my kidney failure seemed to stop. My teeth and hair aren't falling out either.
Life is good. Ignorance is bliss.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The lace, the embroidery, the linen quality just inflamed me. I had to have these napkin! Some of them were very fragile and almost looked like they would fall apart in my hand. Oddly, they were stronger than they looked and I still have them to this day.
I not only have them, I use them. And, I hand launder them and wrap them in special paper to keep them safe.
I had a dinner party several weeks ago that included my 20 year old grandson, Cyrus, and his lovely girlfriend, Alex. Alex commented on how wonderful the table looked and I pointed out the 100 year old napkins to her.
She said "I'm afraid to use them!" and I told her that was nonsense. As long as you launder them carefully, they should be fine, I assured her. Further I told her if she should marry Cyrus, I would give her these precious napkins. Both Alex and Cyrus choked when I made that comment. Oh well, she's a nice girl. He could do a lot worse!
My daughter Sheila, Cyrus's Mother, raised a napkin to her red lipsticked lips and patted gently while grinning her evil grin at me. I considered putting arsenic in her soup, but thought better of it. She is my only daughter, so I guess I'm obligated to keep her.
Now, I know that none of you think of me as Hannah Homemaker, and in most cases I'm not. But there is something about these wonderful old linens that just thrills me. I think I have about 100 napkins at this point and about 10 tablecloths, all of which are very old.
I find romance in thinking these things adorned the table of other people from a bygone era. I can't help but daydream about what the people talked about while sitting at the dinner table in the old days. What did they eat? Did they take care to rid the fabric of stains? Did some woman wrap a linen tablecloth with lace on it around her nude body and wander out into the field to meet her lover? (Well, it's an idea, isn't it? I can think of worse uses for a tablecloth!)
After use, I carefully soak the linens in very hot water and Restoration (a product to clean antique fabrics) leaving them to soak overnight. I rinse the cloth in white vinegar and hot water using a wooden spoon to swish the material around. I only launder the linens when it's nice weather and I can dry them on a table in the back yard, keeping them shaded to keep from over-bleaching the material.
I sprinkle them with distilled water and use a little "sizing" before I iron them. Ironing these 12" X 12" or 13" X 13" squares of cloth is oddly relaxing to me. I get in a rhythm and spend hours on the task generally while I watch something really fascinating on television (like "Jersey Shore", or "The Real Housewives"). There is something almost hypnotic about the experience.
And, as you all know, I can be a bad, bad girl.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The only answer I have is a goofy one. I've had a sense of foreboding. Isn't "foreboding" and fabulous and underused word. It would be simpler to say I've been in a state of anxiety that I may have brought on myself.
I've been worried about North Korea. I've been worried about this new Asiatic flu that kills everything and everyone it touches and has no cure. I've been worried about my son going to the Boston Marathon and running. I've been worried about going to the dentist. I've been worried about Alex turning 50. I've been worried about his birthday party and if I could make it wonderful. I've been worried about climate change. I've been worried about gun violence. I've been in a state of "foreboding".
I've made the horrible decision to watch the news in a compulsive and detrimental to my mental health way. Train wreck after train wreck and I could not look away. I got hooked on this stuff and it left me speechless, (or at least wordless).
It's over now.
My son ran in the Boston Marathon. He reached the finish line about 40 minutes before the bombs went off. I'm glad he's fast. I'm glad he and his wife Kate were in transit back to their hotel when the explosions went off. Finally, I'm glad the investigation of this event has been fruitful and that there is one perpetrator dead and one who will face charges.
The new flu is really nothing for me to worry about. The press leaves me in a state of anxiety. If it's not killer bees, it's killer sink holes. If it's not raging terrorists, it's raging lunatics. If it's not deadly tsunami's, it's deadly earthquakes or avalanches.
I will try to remember that the life we have is the only one that we can control. And I will try to post about the life I have and stop being such a news junkie!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Immediately, I realized that my legs and arms were aching too. I seemed to feel hot and cold at the same time. Oh dear! Is this the dreaded flu?
About 5 AM, I drifted back into sleep, but knew I was probably done for. My friend had the flu recently and it turned into double pneumonia. I had assumed I was pretty safe because I heard the flu season was over. Damn!
I dreamed of a lovely funeral for me and saw all my family and friends crying and saying how sad it was that I was cut down so cruelly, and only slightly past my prime.
I was sort of happy that Alex had gotten me Casablanca lilies in full bloom. He can be so thoughtful about things like that.
It was really a pretty nice funeral as funerals go. And the "reception" after was very elegant, thanks to my daughter-in-law's assistance, and my husband's wallet and generosity.
I climbed out of slumber to find that it was almost 9 AM and that I was actually still alive (much to my surprise). I swallowed a couple of times and my throat was less scratchy than it had been. Hmm. All of my parts that are supposed to move seemed to be working so I got out of bed. I wrapped myself in a pink blanket (pink is a good color if you are sick), and carefully came downstairs.
Alex was working from home yesterday and he was on a conference call. I went to the kitchen to get my first cup of coffee for the day. Alex got off the phone and I told him, "I'm sick." He responded with an appropriate platitude "Poor baby!" and I toddled off to lie down in the next room and turned on television. I also telephoned my friend, Nelson, to tell him that I needed to cancel our lunch date because I was sick. He was sympathetic and solicitous in equal measures. I like that in a guy.
Alex came in as I was dozing and watching CNN. "What do you want to do for lunch?", he asked. "I don't know, Alex. I'm sick." He wandered back into the office to get on another conference call. Zoe jumped up on the bed to cuddle up next to me. We turned on Dr. Phil. Neither one of us likes Dr. Phil, but he's great to sleep to.
Alex ran to a local bistro to pick up sandwiches for our lunch. I did get up eat in the kitchen and then I went back to lie down. There seemed to be nothing wrong with my appetite. I wondered when the high fever and chills would start. Actually, I felt pretty comfortable. Weird. This was the least distressing flu I've ever had.
I lay in bed watching one fun show after another all day. I did get up around dinner time and go into the kitchen. Alex asked me, "What do you want for dinner?" and I told him, "I don't know. I'm sick." He ordered kabobs and a salad from the Afghani place in town that delivers. When dinner arrived, it was quite good! Alex asked me, "What do you want to drink?".
I asked him to give me a beer. He looked at me kind of funny and brought me one. "Should you be drinking beer while you are sick?", he asked.
"I'm better now." I told him.