Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

Although, there is nothing remotely resembling a valley within fifty miles of Indianapolis as far as I know. It reminds me of when I lived in eastern PA and would come home to Michigan. When the plane was coming into Detroit Metro, I was always struck by how flat Michigan was. Now that I live in Indiana, I know what flat really is.

It's a beautiful day; sunny, breezy, not sweltering hot. I didn't get my Indy Star today but I did notice that as of 1 o'clock, the people who live three doors down still hadn't retrieved their copy. I was tempted, oh yes, but instead Martin bought one for me. I had this idea that I would sit out of the patio and read it and cut out my coupons (which are really the highlight of the paper) except it was a little too windy and my stuff kept blowing all over and it was annoying the piss out of me so I came back inside.

The spider is gone. And I feel horrible. Instead of relocating her away from the house, there was a broom involved and the spider, alas, is no more. My friend Tiffany spent a couple days with us this week-end. Tiffany, God love her, could make a truck driver blush sometimes. I'd showed her the spider earlier in the week and when she saw it was still there, she told me, "You need to kill that motherfucker before she drops those suckers and they're all over your house." When I told Martin I'd gotten rid of the spider, he asked me what I did. I told him the cold hearted details: A broom and vigorous flip-flop slapping were involved. He asked why I didn't just move it. That's when I started to feel horrible. I'm sure there is going to be some sort of spider karma in this. Did I mention I loathe spiders? An even bigger one is going to show up in my shower or closet or something.

There has been talk about bathing Bennie The Wonder Dog today. He's generally pretty self-cleaning, but Martin says he is starting to need his annual bath. There is no way I am wrestling the fifty pound dog into the tub and no one else has moved in that direction, so I guess Bennie gets a pass on the bath. Luna also could use a beauty treatment, but we can bathe her in the kitchen sink. Nothing like four pounds of wet pissed off Pomeranian, you know. Who would have guessed a dog can give you such dirty looks?

Saturday Night Live was such a disappointment last night. As evidence of the "cool" perspective, both Martin and I were really looking forward to the season premiere. Megan Fox was hosting, wow, she's such a great comedic actress, I could hardly contain my laughter. Oh yes, that is sarcasm. About the only funny thing about her were the incredibly ugly pair of blue shoes she wore for the monologue. Those shoes were an "Oh honey, NO," fashion moment. Hideous. And where did she get that awful, amateurish Marliyn Monroe tattoo on the inside of her forearm? It looks like something her buddy in the juvenile detention center gave her with a Bic pen and a darning needle. One of the new cast members dropped the F Bomb during a Biker Chick Chat skit that could have had enormous potential yet fell completely flat. U2, who I was actually quite geeked about, played the two least appealing songs from their latest CD. They did, however, play three songs instead the normal two and finished up with Ultraviolet (Light My Way), which has a special place in my heart, since Achtung Baby was the very first CD I ever purchased. Too bad they played the closing credits over it. What, NBC has such a hot line up after SNL they can't just let U2 play out their song without credits on their faces? It's U2 for God's sake!

Mia is curled up on the couch with her Blankey, wearing her most glittery crown, watching Sponge Bob. As you do.

Since I already cut my own bangs this week, I'm thinking of coloring my hair today. Why not go for broke on the possibility of really messing up your hair? That way, when I walk Mia to the bus stop tomorrow, the middle of the Three Rotten Boys that live near us can ask me, "Did you dye your hair?" just like he did last time. I told him, that's not something you ask a lady, just like you don't ask a lady how old she is. He looked at me and says, "So, how old are you?"

These three boys are about five, seven and nine. The seven year old in totally in love with Mia. All summer at the pool, he was pulling out his most impressive seven year old swimming moves, hoping to impress her. "Did you see that, Mia?" he'd holler across the pool after a particularly spectacular cannon ball that managed to splash even those seated near the pool with no intention of actually getting in and getting wet. Like me. Occasionally, when Mia was lying on the deck chair, he would come over and sit with her. Mia would look at him, rather coolly, and say, "Could you not sit on my towel? I don't like that." I christened them the Rotten Boys, but actually they aren't that bad. It's just that there are three of them, and they aid and abet each other. I'm sure their mom, who Never Has Said One Word To Me, Ever, took them to the pool to exhaust them because she let them run around like wild animals. I wonder what's she's doing now to get their ya-yas out, since it's too chilly to swim. I wonder if there is duct tape involved.

I'm disappointed that Martin is back to working eight to five on Mondays. Since Dexter is on late start for school on Mondays, it made it a lot easier to go into the week with Martin not having to be at work until noon. Although,I do have problems remembering that Dex starts an hour late on Monday and freak out when I see him in the morning; "What are you doing here? Why aren't you at school?" I'd never even heard of late start for high school until we moved to Indy. What kind of slacker crap is that?

I don't know how to feel about my recent burst of blog. I neglected it and now I'm blathering all over about all sorts of craziness. I think part of it is that I spend far too much time alone lately. I grew up an only child; I crave my solitude. This is, however, the first time in years, I actually have regular time by myself. I'm alone with my thoughts and I've become a much more introspective thinking person than I used to be.

You, my dear and faithful readers, are either cursed or blessed by this.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Are You Cooler Than Your High Schooler?

I've had conversations lately about the perception of cool,how cool you think you are and what the rest of the world sees.

Back in my wild, mostly misspent, but lots of fun, twenties, my idea of a forty something person was sitting around on a Sunday morning, checking your stocks in the paper, listening to the news, sipping decaf and saying, pass another bran muffin, dear, oh certainly pumpkin. "Cool" was nowhere in the equation.

Now that I actually am that age, it's a little different.

I still listen to most of the music I've always listened to. We have a Mini Cooper, and Martin, being Martin, has to tart up every car he owns with stickers and add-ons. The Mini has Union Jack side mirrors and a GB sticker and a Cooper Motor Works sticker. While it's not a completely rare car, they aren't thick on the ground. While I am cruising along, grooving to the Cure or The Dead or U2, I get second looks. I attribute this to the car, not to the fact that I look ridiculous.

(As a side note: Traditionally, like motorcycle riders, Mini drivers wave to one another. I find it incredibly rude when I wave to a fellow Mini driver and they look at me indifferently. If you don't understand the cultural responsibility of owning a Mini, don't drive one.)

A friend of mine was at a bar, listening to the house band, having a beer, jamming out and dancing along when he caught a glimpse of the mirror and was horrified by the middle-aged guy dancing. Until he realized that it was him.

I find myself telling my son to "Turn that shit down, NOW," when he blasts his choice of music.

I still wear my rock tee shirts. My favorite of late is a Fender Guitar shirt that says Ye Old Rock N Roll amid the graphics. I'm sure, considering the cut and fit of the shirt, that it is meant for a twenty something hottie, who probably wouldn't have a clue about Fender. The whole iconic aspect would just be lost.

I try not to dress too young, but on the other hand, I'm not at the matron stage. It's hard to ride the line between cool and ridiculous.

The plus side of it all is that I'm at the point where I don't really care all that much if other people think I look So Not Cool or Trying Too Hard. I'm happier in my own skin than I ever have been.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's Not Your Mother's Meatloaf

After what one of my friends termed my "vitriolic screed" the other day, how about some cooking fun?

I posted this ages ago on my old, now defunct, blog, but since it's getting to be fall, at least in some places, it's a good time for comfort food and to revisit the best meatloaf in the world.

Whenever my mom made meatloaf when I was a kid, I groaned. It wasn't meatloaf so much as baked hamburger with some ketchup tossed in. Not too appetizing. My meatloaf, however, is a delightful cheesy wonder. The foodies will be horrified because of my generous use of American Processed Cheese Slices, or even better, Velveeta, but sometimes, just like nothing satisfies your cravings like PBNJ on folded over white bread, American Processed Cheese Slices are just what you need.

Best Meatloaf Ever

1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato paste
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
4 slices American cheese or Velveeta

Preheat oven to 350. Mix everything but the cheese together, and add spices of your choice. I like seasoning salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and ground pepper and a touch of salt. Layer half of the meat mixture in the loaf pan. Add the cheese. Spread the rest of the meat mixture over the cheese to completely cover it. Sprinkle oregano or Italian seasoning on top and bake for an hour.

The meatloaf goes very well with

Baked Mashed Potatoes

Four servings of Insta Mash, prepared
1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 package Lipton's vegetable soup mix
1 cup shredded cheddar

Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray. Mix the prepared potatoes with the rest of the ingredients and bake for an hour.

Add some frozen veggies and it's a good meal.

Nothing fancy, reasonably priced, easy to double and generally uses things you already have in your cupboard. Even my son, who, when I mention meatloaf, reacts as if I told him I was sauteing cockroaches in a nice lemon butter sauce for dinner, likes this meal.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Insert Catchy Title Here


We have a spider on our patio that is the size of K-Fed. It's obviously a female spider setting up to hatch a million baby spiders. Parts of the web stretch from the drain spout on the second story to her actual web, which is about eight feet high up on the side of the house. She's just a big brown spider, about the size of a man's knuckle. She's also fast. I think she's got little tiny spider sneakers on. I loathe spiders but I haven't had the heart to remove her. She's worked so hard on her intricate web. I've tried taking some pictures with both my cell phone and my digital camera but they don't do justice. I'm all about leaving Nature outside where Nature belongs, and I'm not thrilled with our new housemate, and the prospect of a million baby spiders, but I'm going to leave her alone, for now.

Sometimes, I Forget How Far South We Are Geographically

Although the whisper of fall is in the air in other places, not so much in Indy. This morning, it's seventy degrees with ninety percent humidity. I love the heat and love summer, but this isn't summer, it's like living in a swamp in back woods of Georgia. It's overcast and it's rained the past few days, but not enough to break the stupidity, I mean, humidity. At least it's not snowing, right?

All About The Pennies

I have new found love for Aldi. I realize that a lot of people just don't "get" Aldi's. If you use a shopping cart, you pay a quarter deposit. You have to bring your own bags, or buy them at the checkout. You bag your own groceries. The stores aren't huge and they don't carry high end name brands. Nearly all of the the Aldi brands I've tried, however, are if not comparable, are even better than name brands. One of our family favorites is the frozen chicken Kiev and cordon bleu selections. They are individually wrapped and cost 99 cents each. With some noodles and a veg, they make a very nice, very easy, inexpensive dinner.

I love seasoning salt. I'll put it on just about anything. I thought I was buying the five and a half ounce fifty cent seasoning salt at Wal-Mart, but had grabbed meat tenderizer by mistake. At Aldi, I got a sixteen ounce container of seasoning salt for $1.29. All of the basic pantry staples are considerably less than even Wal-Mart. It's all about making that food dollar go a little farther.

Did You Know, President Obama Is Black?
On the political front, I'm beyond tired of hearing all the backlash and criticism about President Obama. All of the thinly veiled and blatant racist crap is just that, crap. The majority of the people in this country elected a black man. There were no shenenagins in the election, Obama doesn't have a brother who is a governor who manipulated his state's polls or a family who is in financial cahoots with terrorists because it's all about the oil and the money. He was elected by popular majority because obviously, voters thought he was the best choice.

I have no patience for racism. All of the Bubbas who have issues with the color of Obama's skin, let's see what they've accomplished. After all, the Bubbas think they are superior due to their skin color, so they should have used those advantages to get the best education possible and use that superiority to further their beliefs, and make the world a better place for Bubbas, right? They may know all about the history of their Aryan heritage and how to tattoo a swastika on a recently paroled cousin, but most of the Bubbas can barely string a comprehensible sentence together, let alone organize a piss up in a brewery when the beer is free.

Health Care
The health care debate, and all the teabaggers, and all the conservative talking heads, are not doing anything to elevate their credibility. If they would actually read the proposal, they might understand it. Obviously that fool who shouted out "You lie!" hadn't read it. Not even the Cliff Notes version.

My family has been without health insurance. Both Martin and I have decades of experience in our fields and had always worked hard, paid our taxes, and tried to live the American dream. Neither of us had anything to do with the fact that the companies we worked for were mismanaged and driven into bankruptcy by the greed of the company leaders. The Tier I automotive supplier that Martin worked for actually paid their CEO a huge bonus while he dismantled the company, closed locations that had been in business for decades and devastated more than one small community. The same company also cancelled the health insurance for their retirees and manipulated their self-funded 401(k) plans, to the company's advantage, of course. That whole mess settled in a class action lawsuit that recieved little to no fanfare.

Sorry, got off on a tangent, but that whole situation still infuriates me and it's the same scenario that has been played out all over the country in recent years and no doubt is still going on.

We're living in a country where people die because they can't afford to be sick. If you have health insurance through your employer, and your job is eliminated for whatever reason, you may be given the opportunity to purchase the health insurance for a limited time, usually 36 months. The only problem with that is the cost of the insurance. It's generally out of the reach of someone who just got dumped from their job. So what do you do? You don't qualify for any sort of state assisted insurance. If you have any sort of pre-existing condition, your premiums are even higher, if the insurer will cover you at all. Do you feed your family and pay your light bill, or pay for health insurance so you can afford your prescriptions so you don't die from complications from high blood pressure, diabetes or a myriad of other easily controlled conditions?

Three Examples

We are fortunate that the company Martin works for is huge and is able to offer their employees not only a very good health insurance plan, but several options in coverage. However, since Martin has chronic psoriasis and the only drug that has helped with it is Enbrel, we still pay a $100 co-pay every two weeks for his medication. The pharmacy techs at the drug store are always a little hesitant about telling me how much the co-pay is until I tell them, "Look how much it would be without insurance." Then, they gasp. It's $1600 for a two week supply without insurance. There is no way you can tell me that the drug company isn't making some sort of ridiculous 2000% profit. Enbrel is not made from the tears of butterflies as far as I know. Getting help with the co-pay for those who can't afford it? Yeah, good luck. Even when were destitute, after jumping through hoops and doing a mountain of paperwork, and communitcation from the doctor to the drug company, we didn't qualify for any assistance. I don't know what the magic formula was; obviously being destitute and sick wasn't it.

One of my oldest friend's husband has cancer. He beat it the first time, and now it's back. Because he had cancer, the insurance offered through his former employer, who declared him disabled and unable to work, even though Social Security didn't and denied all benefits, dropped them. Now, the cancer is back and unless the chemo and radiation fairy drops a huge chunk of money into their laps, he will have to stop the treatment because they have no insurance. There is no back story there; the fact is that he was handed the cancer card and there is no safety net, no alternative plan.

I have a friend who is a single mother. The company she works for has cut her hours, cut her pay, and raised her health insurance premiums making it incredibly expensive to cover her son. She makes too much money to qualify for Hoosier Kids, or whatever it's called, but a huge chunk of her paycheck goes to provide health insurance for her son. She has no option for a a basic preventative policy that would cover his routine doctor visits. Does she drop her son from her policy and hope he doesn't break his arm or something or does she feed him beans and Ramen to provide health insurance for him?

The health care system in this country is not working. It's time for a new approach.

Lots of things in this country aren't working and it's time for a new approach. We have an opportunity to get America back on track to being the great nation it once was. I don't think President Obama has all the answers but he's trying and he's actually adressing the problems. I think from a personal persepective, he has dealt with many of the problems the average family deals with. This is much more than Bush theorcracy of fear mongering has ever done. Domestic issues were ignored unless they benefited big business. I don't think Dubya gave a shit about the average family, because he never had to deal with the day-to-day reality most of us do. He always had his wealthy elite family to fall back on when he screwed up. He was never in the position of making a choice of paying the house payment or keeping the lights on and the twins fed.

Before some of my more conservative friends get all twisted, let me reiterate, these are my opinions. You don't have to agree.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Four Pounds

Of pissed off pocket Pomeranian. Luna is in heat again. I don't know how this snuck up on us. It seems like she was just in heat a minute ago and we need to schedule that appointment soon.

I have to admit, sometimes people think I'm weird about my dogs. I love them both so much. This is going to sound really bad, and please don't take it in the wrong context, but having dogs is like having retarded children who never grow up and are always happy.

Luna is the ultimate lap dog. She's cute, and affectionate, and loves nothing more than to sit with her Mumma. She gives kisses and has kitten breath. I let her drink out of my iced tea and my wine. She sleeps curled up next to me every night, sometimes in my hair.

Being in heat makes her head twist around. She's snappy and crabby. She had a go at me last night when I moved her. This might be alarming but she weighs four pounds. Not too scary. I scolded her and tapped my finger on her tiny kitten sized head. She weighs four pounds and three of that is hair and she's going to do what? Snip at one of my fingers and chip the nail polish?

I do feel badly for the Pocket Pom with PMS; she's obviously not her normal happy self. There is, however, something perversely funny about four pounds of pure canine PMS angst.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"JIFFY" Quality and Value Since 1930

The president of the Chelsea Milling Company in Chelsea, Michigan, where "JIFFY" mix is made, is named Howdy Holmes. Seriously.

I can't decide is that's an Evil Clown Name or a Porn Name. I'm sure Mr. Holmes is a wonderful guy. I bet he learned to kick some ass early.

The "JIFFY" mix field trip is very popular in grade school in Michigan. I remember we got got a box of one of their mixes; I think it was brownies but I can't be sure.

I wonder if that was the field trip I took in fourth grade; John Adams and I were riding in our teacher's car. Her name was Mrs. Watson (heh), she had a cool Tennielle haircut and wore a lot of earth tones. She drove us home from the field trip in her wood-paneled Pacer. We had stopped at a McDonald's at some point and John Adams threw up strawberry milkshake all over her car just as we were pulling into his driveway.

Good times.

We're having chili tonight, so we had to make some "JIFFY" mix corn muffins.


Much to the relief of everyone who knows me, and everyone who calls me, I finally changed the ringtones of my cell phone. My ringer was Kid Rock, All Summer Long, and the incoming callers heard Bob Marley. I was sick of them, as well, but lazy. My ringtone now is The Cure, Friday I'm in Love and incoming callers will hear Jason Mraz, I'm Yours. There is only one problem; Whenever my phone rings now, I think, "Oh wow, that's the Cure. It's Friday I'm in Love. I love this song!" At that point, Martin or Dexter or Mia will tell me that my purse is ringing and I realize it's my phone and not the radio station in my head.


I've suddenly become very fond of Rolling Rock beer. I've never been a big fan of beer but Rolling Rock lately tastes very good. You know,I have to work on that Indiana Ass, it just doesn't grow unassisted. Rolling Rock, no less.


I really want pair of Rocket Buster Boots. Oh hell, if you're going to dream, dream big. I want a couple pair, at least. I love cowboy boots, I always have. Strange but true.


My back went out again. This time, it was because I was laughing too hard and started to cough and twisted a muscle. Since I am allergic to Codeine, the doctor gave me muscle relaxants, and a Lidocaine patch to put on the pulled muscle. It was spasming right in front of her. She said, "I don't have to look to find this one!" I was dubious about the Lidocaine patch and was hoping for the heavy duty big guns of finer living through chemicals, but the Lidocaine patch was surprisingly helpful. I was rendered pain free, but not in a stupor.


The weather couldn't be more beautiful. Sunny, warm, breezy, not a gale force wind. Indiana has perfect Indian summer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Price Of Fame

I used to read several blogs regularly, every day. A few of the bloggers have gone on to become quite successful, earning money from writing a blog. I tried that for a local newspaper, but it wasn't a good fit for me; I couldn't seem to write anything that related locally that didn't piss someone off. It was certainly not anything I could have earned more than a token amount from.

Some of the bloggers I used to read I've lost a lot of interest in. They've gotten too smug, too cute and they try too hard. They've lost their schtick.

I wonder if they enjoyed being recognized; the few times I was recognized from my old blog, it was weird and kind of invasive but a bit of a thrill, as well. Not something I would pursue on a regular basis, that's for sure.

It's been a bad year for celebrities, no matter how minor. This summer, especially, has been the summer of death for the famous and infamous. I just read that Mary of Peter Paul & Mary, has died. Puff the Magic Dragon, lives by the sea. Those guys.

Some of these celebs have been particularly young, or their death has been a complete surprise, or it's been paricularly painful or drawn out. I applaud Farrah for making that documentary. I don't think she did it for politcal reasons, or in a fame whore sort of way. I thought she did it more to show what it's like to go through something like that. An educational approach.

How does that tie into bloggers that become famous? Not at all, really. Tangent, Thy Name Is Lisa.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Long Time Gone

The only excuse I have for not updating more recently is one I'm not going to share.

I've got The President's speech on in the background. The talking heads are still blah-blahing.

We've gotta do something about the health care situation in this country. I don't know if this is the precise solution, but it's something. Just like I can't understand why people in our country go hungry every day, I can't understand why people in our country die because they can't afford to be sick.

The entire Jaycee Duggard saga is incredible. My heart goes out to her and her daughters. Now, if anyone else wonders if sex offenders "get better", the answer is obviously no. Ironic that the nutbag who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart was religious and got crazy and this Garrido or whateverhisnameis, was crazy and got religious.

I'm very saddened by the passing of Dominick Dunne. He is one of my all time favorite authors and people. I would have loved to have spent an evening with him, having dinner, talking. He had all the dirt, on all the old Hollywood. He was a gracious man who withstood terrible tragedy and personal loss, but used his pain to turn his life around. He has a new novel coming out in December, and I look forward to it. I will miss his Vanity Fair diaries and his TruTv show, Power, Privilege and Justice. R.I.P, Mr, Dunne, and give Lennie and Dominique a hug from me.

My friend Tiffany moved out of our complex. I miss her, but I'm happy for her. She had a really great opportunity to live with a relative in a situation that is good for everyone. But, I still miss her. Not like I don't talk to her anymore, but I don't see her nearly every day like I did. We had fun hanging out, doing our nails, drinking wine, going to the pool, letting our kids hang out.

I haven't written anything lately. Three books and I can't seem to get motivated on any of them. This depresses me, but I have not a creative thought in my mind. I haven't even been reading much lately.

I'm elated at Mad Men being back on. I love that show. I just watched Sons of Anarchy last night and enjoyed that very much, as well. Total fiction, I'm sure, but it was good. I'm going to watch Glee tonight as well, because at least one person from Christopher Guest's films is in it, and possibly two. Does anyone get that cable or HD or whatever commercial besides me?

Mia is a total suck up at school. Nature vs. nurture, you decide, because I was a suck up as well. I was all about the extra credit.

Dexter, on the other hand, had two days of detention because he called his Spanish teacher a bitch. In English, I presume.

I hate my hair. I got it cut and at least four inches are gone but it does nothing.

I have to go back to a podiatrist and get my stupid bunion redone. After my initial bunion surgery, I broke my toe and it's all messed up now. I can feel the screws in my toe. I dread this.

My knees are shot. I had an orthopedic surgeon tell me years ago, either quit the softball or get knee replacements at 40. I've made it to 43 and my knees, the originals, ache all the time, and creak, and swell. I haven't played softball in nearly ten years. This is not fair.

Getting older is definitely not for sissies. The outside of me looks fine. The inside is systematically falling apart.

All of a sudden again, I am getting collection calls for Martin's ex-wife, whom he has been divorced from for almost a decade. This is annoying, but since I've been in a bad mood lately, I take great pleasure in laughing at them. Like she has ever paid off a bill in her life and good luck finding her.

Did you miss me?