Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Cleaning: What The Hell Was I Thinking

So another one of the rites of my childhood is rearing its ugly head this week. Fall cleaning. 

Note the bottle is almost empty
I remember as a kid every spring and fall as soon as the leaves would begin to change colors, my mother would begin to tear the house apart, cleaning every wall, ceiling, cabinet, radiator, window and piece of furniture in the house. In a home without a dishwasher, every single glass, plate and pot would be washed, because god forbid, the humongous oval platter on the top shelf may need to be used in front of company and there might be dust on it...OMFG, what would we do then. Ok, she did not say omfg, but yeah, what would we do then? Well I would take it down and wash it, and not really give a shit because everyone of my friends probably had a dusty oval platter on the top shelf of their cabinet too. But I digress.

Anyway, the cleaning would progress on her internal schedule to line up to a week or so before Christmas and Easter, when fresh curtains would be up on the windows...signaling the official end of the sanitizing process.

I am not quite the cleaner my mother was.

I do have my moments when the instincts are unleashed, and I begin a week-long spurt where I am attached at the hip to my dear friend Mr. Clean. This is one of those weeks, and the project is the kitchen. And, as satisfying as it is to clean out some drawers and cabinets, it is exhausting and quite frankly overrated.

Now, as I hate to cook during the week, and do most of my cooking at the weekend house, my cabinet with dry goods and that kind of stuff will often contain outdated items. It is such fun to look at some of the cake mixes and pastas to see just how long it has been since I last cleaned in there. Thankfully, today was garbage pick-up...hope those boys didn't pull anything picking up that bag.

I have four more cabinets, two windows, the stove, the refrigerator and a partridge in a pear tree left to do. My enthusiasm is waning, and we are only into the first week of fall. This does not bode well for cleaning the rest of the house.

Over the years my mother learned the error of her cleaning ways. She actually said to me one day, "What the hell were we thinking back then?" She and I have come up with a new mantra for the little bit of cleaning we now do.

"It's better than it was."
Not quite Hemingway, but then I bet he never washed windows.


Monday, September 24, 2012

It's True, I Wouldn't Pull Your...

I swear this is not the way I was gonna start the week.

On Saturday, I read a tweet about a certain story and I bookmarked it, and thought I would use it at some point.  But today...well there was another quote from the Buffoon, and I just could not let either one go.

So we will just talk about both of them.

Did you hear about the newest invention by the Chinese? It seems they have developed a Sperm Extractor. uh huh. oh yeah. Why do for yourself when you can have a technology do it for you. Yes indeed, it seems that the Chinese have come up with a machine that gives blow jobs. Now it is being advertised as a method in assisting fertility patients who may have trouble extracting sperm using the old-fashioned method.  But I'm sorry... It is what it is.

The story also mentions there is a video screen which plays films to help with the extraction process. However it did not mention if the film was a User Manual or a film of someone using a more manual method.

You really have to see this to believe it, and here is the link to the story which contains a video of a demonstration...though sadly, only with a finger, not a penis.
Sperm Extractor Video

My question is...when this machine was ready for human trials...who the hell stood in line as a volunteer? Is there really a man alive who would really stick it in, let a machine grab hold and not less go until...well, clinically speaking...the sperm has been extracted? Yikes.

Second story on today's list is the latest from you guessed it...Rush. Dear god, as long as I write a blog, please keep him around. Seems old Rush now has proclaimed that women are responsible for shriveling dicks. He said it not me.

A story by Hello Ladies on, included an audio clip of Limbaugh blaming the downsizing of the average man by 10%, not on the environmental reasons listed in an Italian study, but rather by "FeminNazi's" In the gospel according to Rush, the last 50 years of women burning bras has caused...well shrinkage. I admit it, the man leaves me speechless.

Now if we could only get Rush to try out the Chinese Sperm Extractor. Wouldn't that be fun?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shoop, Shoop...What?

If you've read my Life blog with any frequency, you would know that we usually go to the weekend house on Friday afternoons. You might also know I do some shopping for supplies before we leave. At Shop-Rite. Where I have many issues...starting with the cashiers, the protocol and sometimes, the other shoppers.

The one thing I do not have an issue with is their choice of music. But first, a little background. Our friend, "the uncle" usually shows up at the house most weekends as well. More often than not, he drives in from the city and we end up meeting in Shop-Rite. Things are just cheaper in Jersey than in New York, so he does his weekly shopping and we co-ordinate cooking choices for the weekend. Our meeting kind of just happened once or twice, though now we try to time it that way.

Anyway, back to the music thing. On more than one occasion we have talked about the music being played in Shop-Rite and how we have both been known to a) sing while pushing the cart, b) dance down the aisle or c) a combination of the two (which really isn't very pretty).

Yesterday I was in Shop-Rite first. My phone rang and my response was Aisle 14, by the meat. Soon I spied "the uncle" pushing his cart in my direction...just as "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" came over the speaker system. Well I don't know about you, but there's no way I can listen to any of those 60's girl group songs without singing or dancing.

I look at "the uncle," he looks at me...he starts to dance, I start to lip sync and do my best hand expressions and...that's when it got real crowded and people started looking at us...what? All of a sudden there was a crowd of people pushing their carts between us and giving us the side eye...what?

I'm sorry people of Shop-Rite, but life is too freakin' short and no way I will suppress joy, especially if there is music involved. Let the child within you reach out. All I know is while 30 or so people looked pathetically at two middle-aged people enjoying the mundane task of food shopping, we were getting our groove on for the weekend.

Did we look ridiculous...probably. Do I care...not for a minute. I had a reason to smile yesterday, hope I do everyday.

shoop, shoop.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Over The River...

There is something so life-renewing about spending the evening in New York City.

While I will eternally consider myself a Jersey Girl (thank you Tom Waits and Bruce), I have spent quite a lot of time in NYC.  First as a kid, when mom would take me to Broadway shows, then later as a early teenager sneaking into the city for nothing more exciting than to walk the streets and be intoxicated by the dynamic which surrounds you.

Later, there was school, work and living in the city. But the one thing which drew me into New York more than anything else was the music. The venues, both large and small offered an overflowing bounty of sounds from every genre. It still does.

Last night I was able to spend another night in the city with the end game seeing a new band. But as always, getting there is half the fun.

An easy drive over the George Washington Bridge, as well as non-existent traffic down the west side, put me in one fine mood. And the view of the sun going down over Jersey as you ride parallel to the Hudson River, always puts a smile on my face.

Getting across town can get pretty dicey sometimes, especially when the POTUS is in town. Thankfully, I missed him by one day and, even getting from one river to the river on the other side of the island, was smooth. Finding a parking space not too far from the venue was even smoother.

Meeting up with the rest of the crew, a great dive bar with $3 beers was the first destination. And the great thing about this place is they don't serve food, but you can order some in. So that's what we did...ordered delivery from a Korean restaurant, and drank our $3 beers. For those not from the area, a $3 beer in NYC is something like the T-Rex....extinct. Double that is the going rate...I know it sounds crazy, unless you've paid $17 bucks for a Cosmopolitan or fancy Martini. That's when a $6 beer seems like a bargain. But I digress.

With the temperature as close to perfect as you can get, the walk from the bar to the venue, Webster Hall, was easy and enjoyable. Now it was time to breathe in new music. Worthwhile...definitely, but more about that later.

Heading back to Jersey was pretty easy as well. Passed through the Meadowlands before the traffic from the Springsteen concert at the stadium let out. I hear Bruce was rockin' it pretty good last night too.

All in all, a good night. When it includes music, they usually are.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Watching the Sky

As I begin to write this blog, the wind is picking up and the next round of the storm is getting closer. We are in a tornado watch, something which doesn't occur in northeast Jersey very often.

There is a certain fascination with severe weather. Now, I'm not talking storm chaser crazy, just the excitement that builds as the forecast begins to include your area. Take hail for example. When we see these TV reports showing hail the size of golf balls, a normal first reaction is "cool."  And it is, unless it's in your neighborhood and that hail is putting golf ball size dents into the hood of your brand new car.

Or hurricane strength winds. Wow, is the general reaction while watching them tear off roofs and pull up billboards. NOOOOO, is the reaction when the wind has just lobbed a street sign through your living room window.

Yes, there is something romantic about being inside your cozy home and watching the weather unfold outdoors. Trees swaying in the wind, thunder, lightning, pouring rain...all totally enjoyable until the power goes out. While if you had chosen to sit in the dark and enjoy the show of Mother Nature, there is a whole different feel when the electric goes out and it is no longer your choice.

No lights, no TV, no internet...nothing. Just you and your loved ones. Then it starts to kick in...what the hell do we do now. Suddenly it is not romantic. Suddenly the room is closing in and you are bored to tears. All enjoyment of the storm has been replaced with wondering just how long we will have to endure this torture.

Right now the storm is about an hour away, it should be here just around sundown. Perfect timing for a power outage.

Wow, isn't it just beautiful outside?
Now where are the flashlights...


Friday, September 14, 2012

Just To Hear His Voice

It's 3:06 AM.

Woke up thinking about my dad. I didn't have a dream about him, so it took me a couple of minutes to realize why he was in my sub-conscious. He died exactly a month ago...almost to the hour. I know my internal alarm clock is off the charts, I don't even own a real alarm clock, but this is crazy.

The grieving process is very strange and a little unnerving. You can get through a week or so without melting down and you think to yourself, "Can I be done mourning him? It doesn't seem possible." Then from out of nowhere, a picture or a phrase will remind me of him... and the tears come quickly.

Last night I was fooling around on Pinterest, as I do every couple of nights. It is mindless fun, but I really enjoy the incredible photography, silly things people do and the food ideas. It's a nice wind down at the end of the day.  It's also another place I can post my blogs, so I do.

Yesterday, I came across the picture on this post. And it really hit me. Now a couple of weeks ago, a friend attended a family reunion where someone played a recording of her grandmother who had passed away years before. She wrote about it in her blog, saying she didn't even hear what her grandmother was saying, she was so mesmerized just by hearing her voice and thinking about her.

Over the last few months as my dad grew more ill, he talked less and less. The last two or three days, he didn't speak at all. Throughout my life when he would say something to me, the sentence would always begin "HeyKat" word. In fact, my mother does the same thing, only she makes it two words and her voice tends to get higher on the Kat. My dad would say it like it was the beginning of a secret he was about to tell me, As if he would give me an elbow in the ribs and say "psst, listen to this."

So when I saw the "pin" yesterday, with the phase about the phone call to heaven, I couldn't help but think that if I was lucky enough to get him on the line, the first thing I would hear would be "HeyKat."

One word.
Miss you so much Pops.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

We Are Not Talking Spiderman Here

So what are the odds that I would be having a conversation with two different friends on the same day, about a specific subject? Well if the subject was the weather, music, food or booze, the odds would be pretty good. But this subject is not one I speak about on a normal basis, never mind twice in a day. And the funny part is, I did not initiate either conversation about said topic.

The subject: Spiders.

As in, what the fuck is going on with all these big as a house, hairy, ugly-ass spiders. Now I have been going crazy with these bastards in both the Jersey house and the one in the Poconos. Now up in the mountains, we are surrounded by woods, so you kind of get used to bugs...especially big ones (and yes I know a spider is not a bug...sue me). Every species seems to be  larger there. The ants, flies, spiders and the moths. The moths look like something out of a fifties Japanese monster movie. But you get used to it, the price you pay for being surrounded by nature.

But this year in Jersey, these spiders, which I believe are Wolf Spiders, are slowly engulfing my house and yard in their annoying-as-hell webs. Now, the other morning the Drum Mamma tells me how she pulled apart her mother's bedroom, after it appeared her mom had been bitten by a spider. After every possible inch of the bedroom had been washed, wiped and vacu-sucked... the jury is still out as to whether the spider watched the hoopla from a distance and crept back in after the excitement was over.

Later that day, Ms. E called to tell me I need to do some research into this spider problem that she is having outside her home. Her train of thought was that since I like to do research, it would be a good idea for a blog. Well yeah, I am writing a blog about it, but who in their right mind likes to do research? I like to write, yes. Research, not so much. This is why I write a blog... I can make up shit. But I digress.

It seems these spiders are everywhere. A google search turns up a lot of posts from other states as well, all written by crazed women wondering why there are so many spiders and where are the menfolk whose job it is to destroy them.

Does this have something to do with global warming? Or is a lead-up to the prophecy of the Mayans? I swear one morning I won't be able to open my back door because the web will be covering the house.

I think I may need a flamethrower.
Help me....


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Growing Wings

My mother was smiling yesterday.

It has been almost a month since my father died and while there have been moments where memories would come rushing back and we laughed, there was always the sadness behind the smiles. The stress which had taken up residence in all of our bodies was unwilling to move out.

The week after his death, I had the chance to go out of town for a little relaxation. It helped enormously. It was more than a mental relief, I could actually feel my body along with my spirit lighten. Yesterday, mom had her moment of release.

She took the bus to Atlantic City.

Let me tell you about my mother. She and my dad eloped the day after she turned eighteen. From that day until his death, there wasn't a day in her life that did not center on my dad, my brother or me. Every day for the last 110 days of his life, she spent 3-4 hours beside him in the hospital. The one truth I knew as I grew up was that my parents loved each other as much as was humanly possible. They were inseparable, they walked hand-in-hand...always, and my father told me for years, he prayed every night he would die first, because he would die of a broken heart without her. Thankfully, his prayer was answered.

Since his passing, my mother has handled everything with grace and dignity. She has adjusted to a new life. She is living alone for the first time. Her time is her own. For the first time, there is no one to look after, cook dinner for, or discuss a decision with. And she is doing just fine.

Never having something usually means you can't miss it, so she never really knew what it was like to enjoy being alone. Given a choice, she would give anything to have her husband back, but we don't have that option. What she has chosen however, is to live. For herself, and for the memory of the love of a man she was married to for sixty-four years.

So yesterday, I dropped her off and watched her get on a tour bus and get on with her life. My parents loved going to AC, mom more than dad. His joy was taking her there. Their last trip was in January, they both knew it would be the last time...the trip was too exhausting for my dad. As my father's health failed and we knew his time was short, my mother and I would talk about her returning to AC. She knew she would go back...good for you mom.

When I walked into her home yesterday to pick her up, her face was brighter, her gait was lighter. She had done all she could for him, it was time to do for herself.

The bus pulled back in after dark last night. As she walked toward me with the biggest smile, I asked if she had a good day. "Kat" she said, "I had the most relaxing day." And there it was. It wasn't about having fun or gambling. It was about getting on with her life and letting go of the stress.

A new independent woman. At 82, she's learning to fly.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grey Skies

There was not a cloud in the sky. A beautiful day in any month of the year; for September, it was glorious. The sky began to darken at 8:46 AM when the first plane turned One World Trade Center into a matchstick with a burning flame at its tip.

At 9:03 AM the second jet slams into Two World Trade Center, inflicting a gash so severe, it would cause this second building to be the first to fall.

The sky became a blur of smoke and papers. Correspondence and daily tasks never to be completed, streamed down like snow.

9:59 AM saw the first tower collapse. Less than one half hour later, the second would fall. The debris created a new atmosphere…dark and toxic.

It would be months before the smoke would disappear. It has been eleven years and for so many, the sky has never turned back to blue. response to the Studio 30Plus Writing Prompt: Grey Skies


September 11: Never Forget

As we enter the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I am re-posting my blog from last year. It is all still relevant and as I've already written two other 9/11 articles for today, honestly, it's just a little too hard for me to get through another.

9/11: Ten Years of Tears 
(Originally posted 9/11/2011)

"It is now 10 years. For all the "time heals all wounds" logic, it doesn't. The images are still as vivid today, the horror has not diminished, the tears still come way too easily.

I recently heard an interview with Brian Williams of NBC, in which he was asked about the differences around the country, of how people moved on after 9/11. One instance he mentioned was how 3 months after the attack, someone in California told him "New Yorkers need to let it go... after all it's been 3 months. " Well now it's 10 years and for those who live in the NYC area, it is still very much... an unwanted presence.

So, for those who cannot imagine what we feel, here are some of the reasons why we cannot and choose not to let it go.

If you had ever taken a bus or car ride into the city from the east or west, the Twin Towers were visible. From September 11, 2001, for at least a month, the lower part of Manhattan was a cloud of smoke, obscuring the horrible reality of losing two of the largest buildings in the world. When the smoke finally cleared, the new skyline presented a void which made your stomach turn.

I remember the start of the news crawl at the bottom of the TV screen. This was something new and you could not turn your eyes away. Vividly, I recall a blurb that ran throughout the night. It was for employees and families of Cantor-Fitzgerald, directing them to meet at a hotel. It seemed to have a desperate tone, and later we would learn virtually the entire company was killed as a plane destroyed their offices.

There were the pictures of the lost posted everywhere in the downtown area. Posted by friends and relatives with haunted faces, desperately trying to hold onto the hope that their loved one would be one of the few to make it out of the towers alive.

The TV shots of all the medical workers outside the hospitals. All brave men and women who rushed to their ERs to assist with the injured. But there was no one to help. The towers did not give up many injured, nor did they easily give up the dead. Of of the 2823 people killed in the World Trade Center, only 291 bodies were pulled from the rubble. A little over 1100 remains have been identified. Most families were grateful to have even a finger of their loved one to bury. Just think about that for a minute.

Watching someone make a conscious choice of a quick death over slowly burning to death, is an image that will never be erased from those who saw it first hand. A friend who witnessed this cannot speak of it to this day, nor can he watch anything about the attacks.

Manhattan was closed. Except for the water ferry, no one who lived in New Jersey made it home that day. Even if you made it across the river, traffic was closed for miles into New Jersey. If you lived in the outer boroughs, you walked with thousands of others in a state of shock, but with comfort that you were not alone.

And the silence. Planes stopped flying for 3 days. Hearing a plane for the first time after they started flying was unnerving.

The first year commemoration brought the Tribute in Lights. For some reason, I had been in Manhattan and was driving back to Jersey after dark. Coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel there is a turn where the lights are visible. It looked like a path for all the lost souls to find their way to heaven.

And that is why we will never forget."


Sunday, September 9, 2012

And It's Gone In A Flash

The moisture from last night's rain is quickly turning to fog as the morning sun touches the ground. Soon, the warmth will come.

When the dog and I walked out of the house this morning, the temperature was 47 degrees. As we started our walk, I noticed the wild ferns. Always a vibrant green, they now are turning yellow and withering. It's only the first weekend after Labor Day, but fall has arrived in the mountains.

The morning is damp...feel it in your bones damp. And mine do.  Some of the trees are dropping leaves already. Not the ones that make autumn worthwhile with their show of color, but the ones which quickly turn brown and drop. Another week or two, the large red oak in the backyard will be showing off its fiery crimson color, when it greets me as I look out the bedroom window in the morning. And too not long after, it will be bare.

Summer doesn't last long in the Poconos, Fall is even shorter. When you only have the chance to enjoy this landscape on the weekends, it doesn't seem fair. The farm stands are switching from selling tomatoes and corn to apples, pumpkins and mums.

Summer flowers are beautiful, but I think we take them for granted. There are colors of the rainbow everywhere in the summer. But autumn's colors have a more select palette. Yellow, orange, red and some purple...the final colors we can taste with our eyes, before the world turns gray and brown, and eventually is covered in white.

Hopefully I can squeeze in a walk around the lake this afternoon, before it is time to pack up and go back to the real world. I want to catch as many good days as I can. Last year, with the exception of the Halloween storm, there wasn't any snow to speak of. This year, I doubt we will be as lucky.

So breathe in the last bit of summer, take the time to capture the look and feel of it. Way too soon, the lawn mower will be put away in favor of a rake and blower.

Or, just watch some football...whatever.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Out of the Mouths of...

We are only into September and the political oops are already in full bloom.

It was barely two weeks ago when idiot Congressmen Todd Akin told us there is a such a thing as a legitimate rape.  He has not been heard from since; apparently he has left the planet. And just yesterday, the gift that keeps on giving, Rush Limbaugh, opened his mouth again.

Though no stranger to stupidity, Limbaugh truly showed himself to be an idiot of gargantuan proportions when he said Barack Obama was not authentically black. Why? Because he does not have "slave blood."

As if the first statement of authentically black wasn't bad enough, he then throws in slave blood. Are you kidding me?  How do people actually listen to this man?

Haven't we come far enough to stop with the race crap? Yes, a black man is president. And whether or not you think he is an idiot, that is your opinion. However, I'm pretty sure whether he is or isn't an idiot has nothing to do with the color of his skin.

What I am sure of,  is the person who tells you there are pedigrees involved in acknowledging your heritage is an idiot. and considering the number of listeners he has, a very scary one.

On a lighter note, Newt Gingrich has settled the suit against him by stating he will do his utmost to no longer use "Eye of the Tiger" in his campaign. Considering Romney accepted the nomination last week, I don't think Newt has to try too hard.

I hate politics, but you just can't beat the one-upmanship of these morons. It's not even mid-September, plenty of time for someone else to step up to the plate.

Can't wait to see who's next...


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's Just A Thought

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about three errant words spoken to me by "the other." The blog was titled "For Men: A Cautionary Tale," check it out if you haven't read it. The post was meant to deal with the comfort level between two people after having lived together for a hundred years or so. It actually ended up being an easy way to get some new clothes. But I digress.

It did keep me thinking about the comfort level though. Part of that comfort level is of course, only half-listening to the other person when they are speaking. Now I consider this multitasking and I have developed quite a knack for it. And so has he.

We even have our own "get out of jail free card" when actually caught in the act. If one of us was actually supposed to answer back with more than an uh huh or ok, and you realize the dead silence means "gotcha," our next response is always, "what?" or "huh?" with a smile on your face. Yes, you know you've been caught but what the hell, it is what it is.

Which brings me, finally to the point.

Last Friday, as we were driving up to the weekend house, I said something to him. I can't even remember what it was, but it was only a sentence or two. I waited for a response...nothing. So I look at him and say..HELLO.  "What?" he answers. "I asked you a question." In his response, he provided a third addition to the get out of jail free card.

He replied "I was in the middle of a thought."

I can literally go on for days about that, but I won't. Let me just say that this example is another reason why women should rule the world. We would never allow something like a thought to get in the middle of a conversation.

I'm sorry, did you say something?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

What To Do...The Weekend Dilemma

It's a beautiful day at the lake. While it will be getting hot soon, right now it feels like what it is. The last taste of summer. In just a week or two, things will start to change quickly up here. I look forward to the few truly wonderful weekends of autumn but in reality, up on the mountain, there are not nearly enough of them.

Finished up a little work related business earlier. Plan to get in a walk before the temp goes up too high, but a few minutes ago I decided to grab an iced tea and sit out on the deck for a few minutes...and do nothing. Well, that lasted exactly one sip of iced tea before I went back inside and grabbed the laptop.

This was a busy week, I've erased a few tasks off the board. But I have a few more which are under a time schedule and this weekend, they require attention. Which brings me to my dilemma: Just how much time do I spend working and how little time do I give myself to relax?

Right now I'm looking at the dog for the answer, and believe it or not...I think she has it. There are two spots on the deck which she has claimed as her own. We have acknowledged her ownership over these territories by placing throw rugs in each area every morning, so her queenship is more comfortable. From these two perches she can cover the surveillance of most of the property. Her job? Apparently it is to alert us when every deer, turkey, crow, dog or person dares to approach.

Now she decided it was ok to live with us about seven years ago, and has certainly seen her share of all of the above. It seems however in a dog's world, it is a job to be taken least for a while. Friday and most of Saturday she will really pay attention to all the possible trespassers. By Not so much. Is it boredom or just fatigue. After all, she has no backup. No other dog is coming by to relieve her.

So here's my idea. Just as she gets up and sporadically chases something or someone away, I believe I will work in spurts. Relaxing, as in doing nothing, has never been one of my strong suits. While I'm outside enjoying a beautiful breeze and blue skies...I have the laptop and I sit here writing. I can accept that. I will feel good for getting this post written and take a little stress away at the same time.

Of course, it is a holiday weekend, always time for a cocktail or four. Here's where we separate work from play. Nice, the "uncle" has just arrived with the supplemental adult beverages. Blending up a new rum recipe today.

Maybe I should have started work a little earlier this morning. Oh well...