Monday, November 07, 2005

Otto & Minton

The news that Otto Steerage and Minton Mention was burbling some dritz was wasted on me. “Burble burble at the drive-in with a vengeance sez Otto”
“Yez man, and’ double the dritz on that burger adds Minton, not one to be left out of a conversation for long.
Mitzi Maison Mint Mention was home cryin the fer god sake’s blues over the toilert. “I bin peein’ ever’ 5 minutes fer 3 days strait, an’ them two never stopped to pass the time, let alone, never you mind, sleepin. My only consolation here is the more I cry, the less I gotta pee.
The fact is, that’s been life as I ‘d known it in these parts for more time than I care to remember, so leaving the status quo, I perambulated over the Marie’s to find her contemplating which of a vast collection of brilliant striped bikini panties to wear that day. I liked Marie because she did as she pleased. She is a commercial artist and works out of the house. Yesterday’s temperature zoomed clear past 96 and possessing that knowledge and secure in the belief that it would do so again today, I showed at my more or less regular hour to watch Marie, hanging herself over that drawing board in those multi shade undies, drawing a ad for ether white toe polish an’ flippin’ the sweat off the underside of her tits with the back of her hand without smudging the tempera; no mean feat.
I wasn’t due at my job at the Once Around the Track Dress Shoppe & Hardware for another 3 or 4 hours and knew Marie’s was as cool a place to hang out flickin the sweat off as any other. Besides, that panty trick in the beat the heat weather had been mine before it was hers, and Minton an’ Otto was wise to me an’ started their burbling activities out in my front yard pretending to have joined up with the friends of the animals and sneaking peeps from the ladders that went up to all the plastic bird feeders left out by Mrs. Bendheim-Fiduciary of the Third National Truss.
So I say “Look, Marie, I know I started this business but did you have to make it into such a goddam fetish?” And she says” Yes, well,” in that prissy way of hers, “well if a girl’s only going to wear one garment, it might as well be flattering” and I counter with “You got enough eye makeup on to constitute at least 3 garments already. What is this? We havin’ a session with Playhorse Magazine this afternoon or what?” And she says “yeah, well at your age I guess a little too much makeup could be a bad thing but….”
“This wouldn’t mean you have loosed the news to the ‘friends of the animals” that this is where the birds come and cool their feather now that they invested in all those ladders in my yard would it?”
So Marie, she goes: “a girl’s got to look her best at all times, you know” and I figure it’s time I invested in a swimsuit and a lawn chair anyway, bohemian life going downhill at the current rate that it was. I double back just in case Mitzi has quit cryin’ the by god etc. etc. which she has since I offered her something constructive to do instead, namely; spending the none too hard-earned cash of her just about fictitious husband since most of his time was pent on burbling activities anyway, which everybody pretty much knew. Not that burbling actually needed to take up so much time in the life of a full grown man, but there it was, ugly as a scabbed up knee and as unstable as the afternoon heat, Minton was booked up with this erstwhile & Otto burbling which actually no body knew what that amounted to.
Hearing the ladder crash out in the yard brought to mind that metallic sound of long icicles crashing off the treetops on to the roof in winter. We heard some muffled cursing & took off out of there at a run. Let the neighbors deal with the mess. Prob’ly not even need of an ambulance.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Satin Chickens

Written 25 years ago…..

I got a note from my lover, vacationing in Austria. It was not the purple prose of a man in love; it was not the letter I thought I’d like to get.
I had a man who lives in Connecticut who used to write me these be-bop kind of letters that stretched my heart all out of shape and strained something in my throat. Those were the kind of letters a girl might expect from a man in love.
The day I got the postcard from Jonas he was to return from Austria, and laying around the apartment, waiting for his phone call, I got more and more upset and nervous. Where was he?
I had been thinking about this earlier letter writing person for several days because of a song on the radio. Steven used to use phrases of songs in his conversations, or in his letters, and not let on that they were not his own words. Often they were very cryptic, like the one about “satin chickens” and then, weeks or months later, I heard it, Lou Reed singing some thing about satin chickens, maybe an allusion, but there it was.
So, here I am, five, maybe eight years into my life and no real problems to speak of and here comes this Brooke Benton piece over the airwaves….”Ain’t it funny how time just keeps on slippin’ right away, and it stands out so clearly in my mind from one of those lost letters in a shoebox I keep stashed around here someplace.
For two or three days I try to remember the maiden name of Steven’s grandmother so that I can reach his cousins who live in the summer house down by the lake which is about a block away from the winter house up on the hill.
Eventually I come up with Mc Coy, how unlikely is that? I wonder, but it works and I reach Pierre, as I called the trombone playing cousin, and he says “This is so weird, Steve and Ruth just got married two days ago.” This is just too much for me, and having no decorum I ring up this two day bride who I probably got out of bed and say, voice from the past, not to worry. Steve was never one of your real big talkers and always kept up a strong guard. I don’t know what was going on there or how things were going , but as it was one of your four person weddings, I’d say she was pregnant (I was wrong) and that after living together the last few years, they had decided to get married.
I have to say that his voice on the phone did not give the impression that they were having any kind of a party.
It turns out he had been denied his unemployment benefits from the golf course and that eight years of college had not produced the famous fine artist I had envisioned him to become. “You pick the strangest times to call than anyone I’ve ever known” he told me. I apologized and explained that I really only wanted to talk about stuff, not get back together. He seemed so far removed and pretty cool, but I guess what else could he be?
Meanwhile I am annoyed at Jonas for not getting off the plane and rushing to phone me with his coat still on. I wonder where he is. When he left, his plan was to come back and live with me. Could be there’s a new plan in mind. Meanwhile, I’m lying here writing, thinking; ain’t it funny how time just keeps slippin’ right on away……

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bonnie's Farm

So, the last time I saw Bonnie, her phone rang and rang, making it almost impossible to finish a sentence. We tried, but kept losing track of our thoughts and had to start over a dozen times.

Then, one of her neighbors, a Nordic or German woman with sort of half a dog came by. The dog was some variety of Bassett hound, and his back end was held up by a harness.
He had to be heavy, and the womanwas struggling with him a bit. She said he was incontinent, mostly in the house. She could not make herself have the dog put down, and Bonnie, a pacifist and animal lover, said that even she would have had the animal put to sleep long ago.

We were in the yard where there were boxes of broken glass, frosted by the wash of water over long periods. She had gleaned them from beaches and water ways to use in her art projects. We were going to sort it except that we kept being interrupted.

I accidentally pushed bon's little white dog who was wet, a wiry compact little circus kind of dog, off the mini trampoline I was sitting on, and into a box of her glass that was all over the yard. The fact that there were copious amouts of seaglass and a trampoline in the yard was confounding enough but seemed normal, knowing Bonnie.

Eventually she said “all I really need is permission to throw it all away." I said "I think you can throw this away", but needed to choose a few choice pieces to take with me.

After that, the guy who rents a parking space dropped by for a chat and Bon insisted that “It is never like that here.” The parking guy agreed that the yard is usually quiet.

I felt like I was at a very sub-urban circus with all rings going at once.

The dog suddenly had blood flecks all over it, and we thought it was from the glass but no, just a snake for crap's sake, he had caught a snake in the yard, and the snake was bleeding.

We were just getting over that when her husband (the chef) came home with takeout, looking pissed and complaining that she had not answered the phone. They had not been married long, and he did not know me but appeared to suspect that it was my fault that everything had gone awry. I made away not liking the vibe at all.

There was some mention that he was closing the restaurant and making a full time job of music. Perhaps that would be a good reason to be cranky, but I had nothing to do with that.
I wonder how they are doing.

The New Scentsation

Perfume makes me gag. I used to wear a lot of it and made other people sick and did not understand their problem. Now it is my compaint too. I get a lot of magazines because they are a cheap diversion. Mostly I look at the pictures. The cats like the subscription inserts which can be wadded up into toys.
Most of these journals include a number of perfume samples which even when removed from the magazine, leave their essence lingering, giving my perusal a vaguely nauseating effect above and beyond the effects of the drivel offered up as prose.
Strangely, all of the scents smell the same to me. I keep meaning to write a short story where a young woman commits suicide with one of these perfume inserts. She slashes her throat with a fatal paper cut. Live fast, die young, and leave a good smelling corpse, that kind of thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Golf and Pagentry

AA new look at America's favorite pasttimes.

Talking about Golf with the neighbors the other night when my mind went wandering. “I know what’s wrong with the Miss America Pageant” I blurted in nonsequitur, “No water hazards!” At that point, every one in the room got the jist and made remarks along the lines of: Miss Alabama approaches the 9th green, Oh, She’s in the rough!
Or, she is up to her knees in the water hazard after a grueling trek though the sand trap on the left. Well Jim, that stain’s not going to come out any time soon…..
It was pretty amusing. It was one of those “you had to be there” moments. I’m not quite sure what to do with it.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Birthdays of the Dead

A bit of a complaint.
An old friend wrote me two e mails, the first being something about Moliere, the French playwright of the what, 17th, 15th, century? And the second read: Happy birthday Sartre. Not Jean-Paul, or Jean Paul Sartre or any other version of a complete name. The latter philosopher lived in the 20th century, but was not a close acquaintance of either of us by any means. ]
Immediately, as I have no edit button in my brain, I shot back a smart remark for him to reserve that type of erudition for women he hoped to meet at the beach and that perhaps said women would be more impressed by his mere mention of great writers and thinkers of the past.
This, as usual met with less than enthusiastic reception, but I had no care.
I can’t deal with people celebrating birthdays of the dead. I just barely condone celebrations of the birth of living people, but still find it unseemly to have to give gifts to people just because they give themselves parties. I have no real complaint about parties for children unless they are first (and possibly second) birthdays in which case the celebratee is probably not aware of what the hubbub is about.
I found it disappointing when the Birthdays of Washington and Lincoln became little more than an excuse for white sales, something that does not actually apply any more.
While I am mentioning the linen sales, I must also remark that no stores are fooling me to rush to a sale, when I noticed that there is some kind of weekly discount deal in progress.
Nonetheless, I take umbrage for the celebration in honor of people who cannot appreciate the effort.
I also wonder what is to become of toys and gifts left at roadside shrines. I first saw these near bridges in Rome, Italy, and found them to be funky art installations.
As it turns out, these impromptu gatherings of items now accompany the deaths, mostly of children, and mostly in poor neighborhoods where the children of the participants may not have toys of their own. I wonder, if after people leave the site, small unfortunates can avail themselves of these toys left for departed souls, or if they must pass by daily and covet playthings which day by day become more soiled and ruined, losing color and substance until the pile of items goes the way of the intended recipient.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Yard Sale

To Shop, or not to shop?
We were driving in upstate NY, having just gone antiquing in Cold Springs and were driving back to Croton when we passed a sign that said: Greystone Monastery, and under that a smaller sign that said Yard Sale. All four of us are keen bargainers and avid flea-market fiends so one of us said “Monastery Yard Sale”.
“OH, no,” I said, “what do they have, old cassocks?”
“And grails,” Deb was quick to add.
“Yeah, how often do you need those?”

Mental Sorbet

In which our heroine redefines her parameters

Walking through the courtyard, Nory heard Tyler cursing quietly beneath the old station wagon. It was one of the largest wagons Nory could remember, but probably her father had owned one very much like it in the early ‘60’s. This was lower and way longer than an SUV, and truth be told, though kind of ugly, also had an odd eye appeal. She knelt down to say hello, and find out what he was fixing today. Tyler’s family owned a lot of cars, and at least one needed work at any given time, so it was not unusual to find him beneath one.
“Hi,” she said to the aggravated boy.
“WHAT?” was his anguished retort.
“Well, I just thought I would say hi and see what you are fixing. “
“I am replacing the exhaust system, and I got it stuck.”
Nory, on the ground, looked through the car. She noticed that on her end, there were places for bolts or screws so she asked” Where does this attach?” Tyler pointed to the rusty spot where the exhaust would bolt to the chassis of the car. “Well, if that is where it goes then you have got the whole mess on the wrong side of whatever this is called” indicating some piled flat pieces of metal hanging from the underside of the car.
Tyler came out from beneath to see what Nory was talking about, and told her that those were springs and that she had once again hit the nail on the head. He had the entire contraption on the wrong side of the springs. At this point, Kevin, noticing Nory speaking to the bottom of the car had sidled over to grasp the situation more firmly. The two boys then scraped knuckles while Nory directed calmly. Once the assemblage was put into place, Tyler asked “did you, in all of your stories neglect to tell me that you had been a mechanic?”
“Nope,” said Nory, slipping off to finish her task.
It was not until her drive home that she realized what had occurred. Earlier, during a misunderstanding because she could not remember the name of the pound sign, her employer laughed and told her that her true calling was to be a comedian. I am not really that funny she thought to herself. I think I am more like mental sorbet; I cleanse the mental palate so that people can think clearly.
I do that a lot, come to think of it. She finished the ride home listening to the radio, feeling quite pleased.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Middle Canadian

A start of a story..

I guess you could say I’m middle Canadian. I have medium brown hair and eyes of indefinite color that they call hazel at the motor bureau. I stand about 5’10” in my socks and I weigh about 175 pounds, no tattoos, no big or irregular facial features, no tics or physical deformities. I live in the middle of Canada and I don’t speak French. I probably would have set up housekeeping in the middle of lake Louise if that were the neutral midpoint, but then I’d be an amphibian, and I don’t know if that’s possible. My name is Tom, the rest is just as normal, it really doesn’t matter. We live in a suburb, not too big or small and I work for a company pushing paper all day, not much to it, I believe they have forgotten I am even here, working in my little cubicle so far back in the office that no one bothers to make the trip. I eat my lunch here, no fraternizing though I guess I could if I wanted to, and home at the end of the day by public transportation, just another cog in the wheel of industry.
I thought I wanted this life. I moved away from all I knew and remade myself, lost my accent, forgot my relatives, closed up shop so to speak, and took up life anew in this new land. Lately though, I have begun to wonder.

The thing is, I grew up in Kentucky, Land of juleps and thoroughbreds , and I spoke with a drawl. I was an only child, a towhead, and at the top of my class. I was tall and strapping for my age, made all the sports teams in school and stood out in general until high school, when I started my slide to anonymity. I hated the loud bragging style of my dad, who would always call attention to everything in ways I found obnoxious. Dad would be the center of anything and everything, starting a spitting contest down at the general mercantile, for example, in those days the townhouses had not yet been built and we were gentlemen farmers. We lived in a huge antebellum style house, left in the family since the Civil War days and I grew from proud to embarrassed to be living in such a monstrosity as I gained friends and saw the modest farmhouses and new clean suburban tract homes where they lived. I died a thousand small deaths daily at the shenanigans of my father who kept country ways even as his wealth grew to put him at the top of local society, where he was considered a “character”. In the South, we do not hide our social miscreants, we show them off, and are proud to be southerners. My Daddy had horses and I grew up with horses. I learned as a small child how to feed and water and later, at about 8 or 9 I was let to hotwalk or exercise the horses to warm them up before a ride or race and then to cool them down again after. Later, as I aged, I had to groom and muck out stalls. It was tough, but I liked the animals and the solitude, as long as my father was out of the barn. Did you know that race horses can only have names that are 18 letters long or less? That’s the rule and because of that, the owners all try to push the envelope with long-winded names. That’s one of the things my father used to do that irritated me so much. We had a horse named Bucket, but to race him my dad insisted we call him Buckets of Bullitts! Just to get the full count on the name. I thought it was a pretty stupid name for a horse, but it did not hurt his running and dad kept joking we should a named him Buckets O’ Simoleons (something they called money someplace in the old days). You might well wonder where my mom was, a good enough question. I love my mother; she’s still, last I heard, alive. She was pretty and kind had a nice smile and actually sang while hanging the wash and doing chores in general, kept the radio on for company and disputed with the various announcers as to the veracity of their various claims. She was sweet to me and a great cook too, but she paled beside the larger than life figure of my father, and if she sounds just too good to be real then so be it, allow me my illusions of memory, for this is how I like to keep her in my head. Cheery but shy, a beautiful, red headed counterpoint to my fiery, loud and obtuse male parent.

I don’t know what attracted me to Canada, It may have been the war. It may have been seeing droves of them on US television that made me see them as regular, well adjusted humans with no discernable accents but a small proclivity to mispronounce the letter L, something, I am told they are taught at broadcasting school where you sort of swallow the letter and make instead a glottal noise instead, making the words sound clearer to the listener, but it’s a tricky maneuver and often as in the case of one prominent announcer, comes off as a speech defect. The man just can’t grasp the nuances of the technique. Anyway, thinking that Kentucky was far too colorful or obvious , I moved towards the middle of the United States, but as it turned out, all the areas I encountered, had some other weird cant of language or behavior. In Minnesota there is a great population descended from Swedes or some such and the twang of their voices is just unimaginable and then populated with all manner of archaic exclamations as: ........ And this is the place where my memory went still, and I have not returned to this place since.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

No comment

A complaint
Okay, I hope some one is reading this, but I need comments too. Everything should be accessible and easy to do, just leave me a note.
I don't need an epic, just a bit of enthusiasm, perhaps.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Sing Sister

Who would have thought, I was thinking, that I could be here doing this? Chances are few that anyone would be likely to walk in and catch me, but that’s the way my mind works. Anyway, I’m bent over, ass out (fully clothed) with my head in the clothes dryer crooning “It had to be you” to no one in particular, and appreciating the acoustics, if not my voice. I used to think I was a good singer. I was still convinced of this until I listened to the playback on my answering machine; not your choice of preference of major recording stars. Whether or not this notion is true is immaterial, and so I sing wherever no one will catch me. I once recommended to a psychiatrist that I sing in the car to get rid of stress. The windows are shut, and although I can be seen, I don’t think I can be heard. Wow, she said, I am going to have to suggest this to my patients.
I have forgotten at least half the lyrics to every song I ever knew, the number of which was considerable and spanned decades before I was born. This is unfortunate as I like to sing a song all the way through without the additions of made up words or scat which I am not suited for.
In the car with Jeff, I often pick up the lyrics I remember to a song written in the 20’s or some obscure folk item that I have stuck in my memory thanks to ex boyfriends with a penchant for country, bluegrass, blues and the ever popular library of congress folkways collection. He looks at me unbelieving almost every time. Sometimes, when I hear a song I know that he has heard before, I say ‘sing it, Jeff!”, but if the arrangement is not familiar, he will not recognize it.
I try not to burden others with this small passion I have and I appreciate it if you keep your singing to yourself if you are tone deaf. Whistling around me is strictly forbidden as it acts like fingernails on blackboards. I had to quit a job because for some reason, all the employees and customers started to whistle. I almost lost my mind.
On the other hand, I have heard people, usually who work with vegetables; I know this is inexplicable, but in Megworld anything is possible, singing out in public and not caring a whit. Generally they see me and stop, but twice I have told them to continue, and congratulated them on their cheeriness.
So go on, sing yourself to bliss or blues, just don’t do it in my presence.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Speaking of Sleep

I was talking to Bruce in a two bit dive. I cannot remember what brought us there. I think it was a chance encounter on the road that made us pull over at that spot. No matter.
He was telling me that he could not sleep and was fearful that as he became older, he would not be able to sleep because he would be afraid of dying in slumber.
“What?” I asked, “You’re afraid of missing something?”
“No” he replied,” It’s just that if I were awake I could fight it.”
“Why are you even thinking about this? I mean, we all think about death sometimes and we’re all going to die, but what good does it do to worry about it? Do you want to die?” I wondered aloud.
“No, that’s the last thing I’d want to do” says Bruce.”
A moment passes as we take a sip and look into each other’s eyes.
“Are you doing this on purpose?” I ask, smiling wryly.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Oatmeal Cookies

Baking with Ms. Information
Buy the really giant size of oatmeal, the kind that looks like a silo and barely fits in the car. The reason you need this size is economics; the smaller size costs twenty five cents more for 100 lbs less product. (Thank you consumer’s digest.)

The new improved box has a plastic lid which actually makes it close well, and makes you feel guilty about discarding it, unlike the old box which opened with a string which would invariably break while trying to open the oatmeal causing you to employ every sharp utensil at hand, the end result being an imperfect bottom ridge which crumpled when you try to replace this makeshift lid. You still had to throw that one away because they only recycle newspapers and glass in your neighborhood. In fact, there is no place which accepts paper containers except for nursery schools and if you do not have a toddler, they will not accept gifts from strangers either.

I realize that this detour is immaterial to the process of cooking, but it is food for thought.

Okay, use the recipe which used to be on the back of the box, but which will be on the inside of the lid causing you to open the box before shopping for ingredients (kind of dodgy to open it in the store, but we do what needs to be done.) Make half the recipe because if you don’t you will eat all of the cookies yourself if they are any good. Also the idea of using half a pound of butter in anything will make you sick. Mutter bitter imprecations towards the media for enforcing extra guilt on you.
Carefully add ingredients in their proper order and then, realizing that your family will not eat walnuts and that you have already eaten ¾ of the chocolate chips straight out of the bag, decide to use apple chunks instead, no matter what havoc the extra moisture will cause, and some dates because you like them and they will bulk up the batter. Add more stuff than you think the recipe would have called for and then throw in the leftover chocolate chips.

Note: the calories saved by eating the chips without the cookie part will save you tons of calories! Think about it.

Notice that the texture is very creamy and produces few cookies on the tray- Attribute this to halving the recipe and question your foresight. Put cookies in oven and in approximately 1½ minutes, just enough time for the batter temperature to have melted the chocolate, realize that you have forgotten to add the oatmeal. Blame this oversight on the fact that the box was so large you assumed it was furniture with a recipe tacked to it. Ignore the fact that oatmeal was listed as an ingredient and that you forgot it. Quickly grab the cookie tray with a potholder and pull the tray out of the open. Your first impulse will be to grab the tray with your hands but believe me when I say, this is not a good time for second or third degree burns on your fingers.

Scrape the melted stuff back into the bowl with the remainder of the batter and incorporate, looking at the interesting color of the cookies as opposed to what you had previously expected.

Helpful hint: the only really acceptable tool for scraping runny batter off of the pan is the 1950
Farberware metal spatula acquired from your mother who received it with a matched set of utensils as a wedding gift, or you could use a spackling tool, whichever comes to hand first.

Add the missing oatmeal and a bit of flour to firm it up and put cookies back on the tray and into the oven. Under bake just a bit for soft chewy cookies.

Further note: when entertaining, finely ground glass sprinkled liberally over the cookies prior to baking lends a festive glitter and added crunch to the surface.
Bon Appetit!

Next week: How to mix cement.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


An oldie but a goodie. (get it?)
Driving home from the shore, we pass a candy store whose main staple appears to be Fudge. I believe the name of the store is Madge’s Fudge, and that gives it away. It was a Sunday, and after 5 when we passed the store, and although all other stores selling food, gas, liquor, and sundries were open, this store was closed, prompting me to ask J, in the driver’s seat, have you ever seen that store open? No, he had not, in his memory although the store was decorated for July 4th, and the grounds were neat, and there was a fresh coat of paint on the walls of the building.
About 20 miles later, right next to a restaurant, we saw a second fudge shop, and it was also closed, and yet the business adjacent to it was doing a land office business.

In short, fudge is icing without the hindrance of cake. As a small child, my sister was hugely popular at birthday parties because of her dislike, or possible indifference to icing. Fudge is a confection that is either enjoyed immensely, or disliked entirely, depending, I think, on one’s affection for sweets and fats. Since the addition of a non-fat, artificially sweetened version, I wonder about the criterion, but then, I suppose the people who purchase the imitation are thinking about their health in a superficial way. If they were really concerned with the fat and sugar, they would just give the food up. Unlike my grandfather the chemist, who believed that artificial ingredients were better - read: less expensive, I feel that where food is concerned, I would always prefer the original recipe, so my figure has suffered while my taste buds enjoy themselves.

After passing the second closed shop, I again asked J,” What do you make of this? All of the other places on this road are open, and the candy stores are closed.”
“ I don’t think it is a fudge time of day,” he offered.
“ Well, at what time would one be interested in such an indulgence?” I inquired.
“From 2 to 5” was his concise answer, and in answer to my further questioning “and would it be a sunny kind of a day?”
His answer was only “yes.”

After that we discussed that although anything could be had from mail order and the Internet, we felt that salt- water taffy was a commodity only to be obtained on a boardwalk in New Jersey. There was a general agreement that for no known reason, fudge came under the same heading.
When we went to Cape May, his mother blithely requested that we bring her some fudge, as if it were not readily available elsewhere, or that coming from a resort town, it might be all the more deluxe. As it happened, the temperature in the car was about half that of molten chocolate, and we decided against a purchase.

A friend of mine, in an effort to help me find a job, and be satisfied with something close to minimum wage said “Just think of it as pocket money. When I lived out west with my first husband, I was at home with the kids, and to make some extra cash, I made the most wonderful fudge, and wrapped it in beautiful cellophane, and sold it to people and stores. After a while, I was making so much that it took most of the day for me and the maid to finish.”
I was astonished at this story, not because my friend was handy in the kitchen but because of that offhand way she threw in “the maid”. If a person could afford to pay a maid, did one really need pocket money? Maids were a lot cheaper in those days, and I suppose it was a lot of help to have a second pair of hands in the kitchen. If she spent money on the ingredients, and took the time, and paid the maid, and still made money, was her husband wise to this scheme or did he approve of her ambition? My friend is worldly and sophisticated works mostly in Art Administration these days, and it is amusing to imagine her in a western town, wearing her day dress and apron as was done in the 50’s, whipping up candy with the maid, in the kitchen. She may have even saved some for her family to have for a treat.
My real desire was to ask,” could you make some for me?”

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chocolate Jesus

Last week Andy wrote to me: Does Jesus love me more than the Easter Bunny? Because, I don’t see him leaving me any chocolate rabbits and I have never seen a chocolate Jesus.
Well, Andrew, your wish is about to be fulfilled. I have decided that there is money to be made in the Chocolate Jesus business.
We can sell them all year; baby Jesus for Christmas, and even Pieta Jesus and Mary for Easter. Consider having the fabulous Jesus on the cross chocolate figurine with raspberry filling running from his stigmata. YUM!!!! There could be the Jesus turning water into wine with a tie in to the Coppola Winery, and there could be millions of chocolate Jesus fish! The possibilities are endless! And why stop there? We could make chocolate Moses for Jews, chocolate Buddhas for the Asians, and Chocolate Vishnu and Ganesh for the Indians. It’s a gold mine, I tell you! There will be no stopping us. The only problem is that they melt when you try to keep them on the dashboard with the other crap you have there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


In the car one day the man of the house declared “I’m going to change my name”. This is something he has been doing for years, ever since basket ball players started converting to Islam in mid-career. “From now on,” he would declaim, “my name is Acccchmed Hamid Jamarrr bar Icccchhhmbenrabi” or some such, which included many difficult guttural choking sounds. On this particular occasion he decided that his new moniker would be Portulaca Tollplaza. I inquired if this name would be hyphenated: Toll-Plaza like some African American Debutante, but no, he thought that just the one word would do. Will you change your sisters’ names too? I offered; they could be Ovaltine, Lavoris and Binaca (her father being of Hispanic descent.).
One of his sisters once related a story to me of a boyfriend who called her butt face. I told her that this was an indication she needed a new boyfriend. This was a girl who could have been on the cover of a magazine, and yet she settled for a really bad pet name from a guy who turned out to be every bit as good as that name.
My friend Tess has always had names for everything, including inanimate objects such as stoves (the Mighty Viking) and cars (the brick). Most people are happy if they find names for all of their children, but Tess has named children that she does not have: her son is Hiawatha Boulevard, and her daughter, Terracotta Statuette.
We have neighbors who we tried in vain to make friends. They remain friendly but aloof, and when we think about inviting them to something we say how about calling Chickie and Willard, or, do you think we should invite Fontaine and Brevard? Those are not their names, we know the real ones, but continue to invent new ones, and we always know whom we mean.
It is a rare day in the house when we don’t give the cats new names. It’s not that the cats don’t have good names, although in the case of Skippy, nee Farafluff, it kind of was, and they both still manage to recognize their own names or the names we have chosen to call them at that particular juncture.
Many of us do not care for our given names, but they often fit particularly well. My sister and I never liked our names because they were different from any one’s name that we knew. Children will make fun of anyone’s name just for the fun of it, and because it makes another person miserable, but when your own parents give you a bad name it just seems cruel. As it happens, I do NOT have a bad name, I just needed to grow into it. My other sister was named inadvertently by me, and every girl born that year seemed to have that name. That also is a burden to a child. “I will not be Hennifer 2, she told the Spanish teacher; make the other girl number two”. I think that showed moxie. I should have named her Amanda which was someplace on the list, but I was under the gun with less than 30 seconds to make a pronouncement, and that is the reason for my sister’s very normal name.
To review, odd name, not appreciated, normal name also unappreciated. I don’t know how to fix that, and as I said before, we become the name we were given.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Television Shows of my Dreams

Having a lot of time on my hands, I tend to read a lot, but I also watch too much TV. Sometimes the shows are so ludicrous that besides not watching them I think up alternative shows that at the very least could be no worse.

Freudian Slips:
This show is a panel type quiz show sponsored by Victoria’s Secret. I have not decided firmly whether or not all contestants will be required to wear women’s undergarments, but it is humorous to imagine say, Mandy Patinkin wearing a satin chemise. The celebrity contestants, would sit behind a table so that the underwear showing would be above the waist, and therefore not completely untoward.
The questions would all be about their personal lives, and the answers could be true or false. The opposing team would try to catch them in their lies.

Wheel of Misfortune:
In this show there would be a big wheel to spin. The “prizes” on the wheel could be a trip to Bermuda with your legs broken, or simply get pushed off a curb. The contestants get to choose, and the lucky winner would appear on consecutive shows until completely disabled. While this does seem cruel, it would attract the same crowd who go to tractor pulls and wrestling. This contingent is known in the business as TWBBM, or tattooed women and beer bellied men. It is not known why the less money you make, the more noise you prefer in your entertainment, opera not completely withstanding, but it has been proved to be true.

Queen for a Day:
This show would be to take up the slack in the dearth of shows for gay people. It would work the same as the older show with the same name, but would have gay contestants vying with each other for the most egregious sob story. In addition to washers and dryers, the winner would be given a makeover at Frederick Fekkai, or some other prestigious Salon.

Another version of this show would be Queens (NY) for a Day, in which the unfortunate contestants would have a race from midtown Manhattan to Queens by public transportation or cab. The winner would receive an all expenses paid “Day in Queens”, whether they already lived there or not.
This show would be televised like a marathon, with cameras following each contestant as they jump turnstiles, argue with cabbies, dodge shoppers at rush hour and stiff arm the homeless in their frantic race crosstown.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Phone story segment

So, said Sadie, so maybe everybody is not Beethoven.
This seemingly offhand remark drove Jake into frenzy. “Yeah, and maybe everybody is not even Liberace.”

Dolling, God forbid I should break you the news but Liberace is dead, and at least he was a nice boy, good to his mother.

MOTHER! He was SO gay, not that you noticed, and further, not a very good musician, which you obviously missed and which is why I mentioned him . Thank you so much for padding the blow but God forbid, Beethoven is also dead.

Nonsense dear, just yesterday he was on the radio; I don’t know why you insist on trying to upset me all the time.

This has been a lovely chat mother. I ‘m so glad I called you in my hour of need; maybe I should have called Liberace’s mother, she would have made me a bundt cake or something and told me was a wonderful guy. Yes, I know she passed form this earthly vale before the death of her beloved son. Thank you for your support. He imagined the defunct Bartles and James deadpanning the remark from their T.V. porch, and goodnight! He slammed the receiver back on to the phone. I am so grateful that technology has not bypassed this receiver angle. Pushing that tiny dot on the cell phone just does not allow one to vent his emotions.

Jake used to have great heart rending phone slamming arguments with his girlfriend Nory. Both of them would bang the receivers down on their respective rotary phones. Sometimes Nory found herself banging the damn thing about 12 times before the crashing crescendo finally ending the call.
On one particular occasion he called her back, shrieked “You can’t do that to me!” and then he slammed the phone as hard as he could. On her end Nory threw the whole phone across the room until it jerked short on the 20 foot cord. Then she lay exhausted and furious on the bed until that beep beep the phone is off the hook noise drove her nuts and she crawled across the floor to replace both pieces quietly upright on the floor.

Jake’s cat came and rubbed against his legs. Phinny, as the cat was named this week was tiger striped and came from a farm with another impossible name. Actually, he, like all cat owners, changed the cat’s name as his fancy chose, and the cat chose whether to respond. Actually Jake had two cant but the other one (Elizabeth) was a surly grouse who only responded to the sound of cat food poured into a bowl. Elizabeth was a gift from one of his exes and no named by her although it was a male. “Angel, he said, I know this animal is only 8 weeks old, but it definitely has testicles”.
“Well, I don’t care, it looks like Elizabeth to me” she insisted. Calling the cat by a misgendered name may have made the cat grousy, and perhaps it was just in the animal’s makeup. Meanwhile, Jake’s vet has a field day with the misnomer, calling in colleagues for consults, asking whether the cat had cross -dressing tendencies and so on.
So Phinny the cat was his only real ally at the moment but it did help to have someone, and he pulled the limp feline to his lap where it settled until her next hyperactive impulse.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Accidents in the Home

I feel that there are too many untoward incidents about the house. Last night, we were lounging in the living room when a muffled fump, sound in the kitchen. I asked Jeff if he knew what that noise was, and he said he had not heard a noise. I asked him to go into the kitchen to see if it was the noise of a potato exploding.
Warily, Jeff went to the kitchen, and upon opening the oven remarked loudly so that I could hear in the other room, “A potato blew up”.
The truth is that he has nearly quit questioning me when I make preposterous statements, because these things are invariably true. As he is truly male; he continues to find my pronouncements suspect, because to him, they just sound ridiculous. He was, in fact amazed not only that I had heard the noise, but that I could accurately identify it. I am not the type who can readily recognize mystery noises from radio contests, and I had never heard a potato detonate, but in fact, that is quite what it sounded like to me given the knowledge that I was actually baking some spuds.
At that point I hauled myself off the couch to see what damage had been done, and what I could do to salvage dinner. The potato, a large russet, had exploded quite dramatically covering the inside of the oven more or less completely. The oven, representation notwithstanding, is NOT self- cleaning. I removed the potato, some fragments thereof, and the other potato, still in its original shape if not condition, and finished cooking the brisket. The brisket did not come out as it should have. They are sending them to the store much leaner than the greasy but delectable wonders that my mother used to cook. I’m sure we are all healthier now, but for congenital high cholesterol in my case, and our taste buds mourn the loss.
Nevertheless, dinner was had, dishes were done, and I closed the oven until the next day.
I have been basking in my unemployment, but keeping the house and accounts in order, and writing the odd tidbit here and there, takes up the bulk of my days. Heavy duty cleaning is not my favorite thing to do but someone has to, and being available makes it my chore.
My oven in our former apartment was low quality and easy to clean. The door actually came off quite easily, and that oven was cleaned every several months and I had not allowed what mom called “the patina” to build up. I felt that the patina would cause more household fires than not, and so did away with it. As I do a lot of baking and roasting, the color buildup is fairly rapid. My new oven in our house is not so easy to clean.
Being that the oven was filled by brown toasted bits, I decided to start by using the vacuum to get rid of the larger stuff. That was a good idea and it worked as well as I had expected.
Now comes the part where the caustics are brought into the picture: I had let the oven self-clean once last year, which resulted in a heavy white ash reminiscent of Pompeii, which needed removal, a task the oven was not willing to perform. After that experience, I decided that I could lower the electric bill by four hours by starting in with the chemical assault. You may find this a tedious and boring story. I find it to be only marginally interesting, and it is about me, so I understand if you have lost patience. I have had one go already with some noxious product, which upon wiping revealed the original crud underneath, and so have had to try another tack. I have left ammonia in the oven. It has worked before, and I daresay it will work again. It is great stuff to use unless you have any desire to breathe while using it, in which case you may have a problem. I know that I have a problem, because I cannot get the door off of this machine, and so have to lean over the open door while trying to mop out the crud while sucking in the unpleasant air. I dislike it so much that I have come upstairs while the fumes work, to write this down. I suppose I could be reading or something, but this appealed more. I have dawdled long enough though. Let me assure you that I do not mean to injure myself when I say, I must go now and stick my head in the oven.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Analysis of Purchase

One day at the store I urged a family of aged Ukrainians who were buying the store out of its entire supply of citrus fruits to go ahead of me in line. They were really old and did not entirely speak English, and it seemed a good thing to do. As a consequence, they offered to have me join them at home for what one can only imagine was one hell of a fruit cocktail. Actually they gave the impression that they wished to adopt me in some way just on the evidence of one good deed.
This is an example of my pastime of trying to figure how the items chosen by others fit into their lives, and whether this tells me anything about them. I may have to found a school of psychiatry on this analysis of purchase. At the very least, it can be no more harmful or less accurate than the casting of bones.
Often I find myself in line behind a person with 8 loaves of white bread, dog food, cheese curls and sardines. You do the math, this is not typical, and seems like just picking up odds and ends, and that is probably all that it is, but in other cases, it seems like I have been behind someone provisioning a lost boys’ home, or dateless girl binge evening, or something imminently more disastrous. One has only to be observant, and imaginative to turn a mundane chore into a psychological survey.
Last night, a friend of mine told me he had been to some kind of therapy called excer-dynamics or something of the kind. It involved holding strenuous physical positions while talking about your problems. So Dan sat against the wall without benefit of a chair for so long that the therapist had to remark on it. Dan replied that it is a ski exercise and that he is a ski instructor. You think he could have asked you? I wondered aloud. Dan said he felt better, but on the way home had a few cocktails, and so when he called me at 12A.M. I had questions on the efficacy of the therapy. Perhaps if I were to go to the grocery store with him we could clear up all of his problems.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ms. Monkeyskaya was a gift to a special friend, but I don't collect monkeys. Posted by Hello

A Gift Horse

“Jeffrey, there’s an extra Saint in the yard, do you know anything about that?” I was addressing the space where he had been a moment ago, but had somehow managed to vacate without my notice. He does that a lot. Jeffrey is a lot more swift and silent than a moving body of 6’4” has any right to be.

The Saint in question was sort of a white ceramic monk, and although less than a foot in stature, it gave me the creeps. “It was a gift from the Millers, Lucia says he is the patron Saint of Gardeners. See, he has a shovel” he said moving the leaves of a Rhododendron that all but obscured the little hooded monk.
I had the feeling from the first that it was Lucia’s handiwork, as lawn ornaments and the like are very big with her. There is so much statuary and cement decor on our circle, that when we bought the house I wondered if it was necessary to make the purchase of several unwieldy items for the yard to comply with some obscure local code. As it turned out, with the few we brought, and the ones left by the previous owner we were flush with heavy and immobile crap and had only to put plants in the most obvious ones to fit in.
The fact that Lucia had placed the statue in our yard meant that I had to leave it or risk alienating our neighbor. People are altogether too touchy about matters of taste, and I have returned enough gifts to insult every one I have ever received a gift from. I have also irritated many who did not send me presents, but that is an entirely different matter.

Gift giving is a fine art, which most people do not possess. It requires attention to precisely what a person likes and dislikes and must allow for subtleties. I have two cats. This does not mean that I like anything or everything that has a cat on it. If I like a particular color, there are parameters that evade most mortals as to what shade and hue of that color I like. I do not know what makes people give me things with feathers and/or fringe or why I receive the most hair ornaments just after cutting my hair very short. Thankfully, hair grows back. (So far.)

Some people are grateful and gracefully receive and cherish every piece of junk ever handed to them, and I sadly, am not in that group. I mostly do not like everything, including a lot of things that I buy for myself that are questionable upon purchase and which grow more odious with time.

I was in the shower, thinking about not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I understand the premise to be: a horse with bad teeth or no teeth or who is so old that you are going to have to get rid of the carcass is better than no horse at all. That does not sound to me like something one should be thankful for. On the other hand, if the horse is young and sound and you don’t have to chop him up for dog food or bury him in the family plot, I suppose that would be a good thing indeed. I say forewarned is forearmed. Look the damn horse in the mouth. Have yard sales and don’t invite your friends. Regift whenever possible. Put me in your will. You may have something that I like, and if I do, I will thank you by medium.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Word of the Day:

Andy and I were kicking around the prime time lineup as usual and he remarked, I don’t like the judges of that “Perfect” show.
Who are they, anyway? I mean that bald guy? Who is he??
He was Rosie O’Donnel’s hairdresser, I said.
Well first of all, would YOU trust a bald hairdresser? He asked.
(The thing about us is that we both cut our own hair. His is rather close to the skull, but neither of us trusts anybody with our hair.)
I guess probably not, but the other two are no better, I continued, I mean they are not really celebrities; they are more like sub-lebrities.
I think you have something there Andy agreed.
So, word for the day: sublebrity, not to be confused with subriety, which would be just a little drunk.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Lactose Lament

It seems one of the cats is lactose intolerant. I had read that milk is not good for cats, but who doesn’t know that cats adore all dairy food? The animals will vie over cheese, ice cream and leftover cereal milk.

They sit as vultures in our laps waiting for a handout, or simply for something to drip. If you have never dealt with this situation, it is precarious at the least to balance 2 cats and a sloshy bowl of cereal in your lap. The older cat does not like being near the other but she can endure the agony if the result is that she gets to lick off the ice cream bowl.

For people going eeww! You let the cat lick your bowls, I merely reply, eeww, you let your kids eat off your fork. I rest my case.

Minnie, the feline in question has been throwing up the milk lately. This is not as bad as say, 1 cup of cat food, or mouse parts, but it is enough to put you off, and stain the rugs.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Legs of Dorian Gray

I don’t know how long it has been that I have studiously avoided the condition of my legs. My theory here is that as I get older and continue to look okay, my legs are taking the beating for it. I am grateful that it is not my face which is bearing all of the aging although there are days when my jowls seem to sink into my neck.

I remember being disgusted by older women when I was in my 20’s and 30’s, thinking; I will never let that happen to me.
I also had rules about never going out with bad hair or no makeup, and I have pretty much thrown both those rules to the wind with abandon.

I look pretty good for 50, good enough that people ask my 34 year old sister which of us is the elder. My sister is a master of the slow burn. “I’m going to the kitchen now to cut my wrists.” I worked with other people last year. That was a big departure in that I generally work alone. None of those people could guess my age. None of those people ever saw my legs.

It started with some cellulite when I was in college, when I did my best to avoid looking. In the last year or so, I developed dark spots that I attributed to the sun. Then, the spots started to spread. This is a very unattractive development, and I cringe while slathering the firming moisturizers on. I don’t know that the so-called firming creams work, but hope springs eternal. I realized one day- I have old lady legs while the rest of me remains middle aged. I’m like a walking version of Dorian Gray. Instead of in the attic, all of the changes are going on in the basement. As long as I don’t give any tours, I’ll probably be okay.

Tissues: an Endorsement

Tissues : An Endorsement

I was in the bathroom for a change. This time I was dealing with some sort of intestinal unpleasantness. I suddenly was suffused with an intense feeling of good will towards tissues.
Tissues are just the right size unless you have the kind of cold which turns you into a mucus faucet, but barring that, they are perfect.
Somebody got it right the first time for a change and was wise enough not to mess with it. You have to experiment and get the right texture, too cheap and they chafe. Some have smells or colors and I don't care for that. I realize that I spring for the expensive ones and pay more for the little square boxes. Sometimes, in a fit of thriftiness I buy the larger box and refill the small ones from that. I like the heft of the paper and the finality when you pull them out of the box. Just then phuff, another magically takes its place. Toilet paper, on the other hand, just goes on for miles. I use miles of it, but there's a lint problem, or an irritation factor, or it clogs the pipes when you least expect it. I don't know what to do with this, it is information I'm sure no one needs to know. Maybe I can use it in a story if I ever finish writing one. (if I ever start writing one.).
For now, I just wanted to go on record. Tissues: a good thing.
There is a slight chance that dehydration has made me delirious.
It could happen.

Friday, January 28, 2005


Every day I bemoan the fact that I am too fat and probably always will be. I am sure that 95% of the female US population feels the same. Week after week we are bombarded by the inception of new and improved diets. Every magazine we see or read has gigantic headlines on the cover proclaiming: ALL YOU CAN EAT DIET!! Or, GET A FLAT STOMACH FROM EATING GRAPES or, FIVE FOODS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! The real truth is that right under those articles are listed, 20 BEST DESSERTS YOU CAN MAKE IN MINUTES! How do they expect us to diet when they fill the rest of the magazine with enticing and mouth watering photos of foods and desserts that will never look like that unless you learn secrets of the food stylists, like substituting mashed potatoes for the ice cream, something most of us may already be doing, or more likely supplementing the ice cream with the potatoes.
Every week a new diet guru emerges from the ether that is TV and we watch and read about them on the internet, and buy their books and supplements only to find days later that any food, when eaten often enough, makes us nauseous. Thus defeated, we put all the stuff in the back of the closet where we hope no one will notice the fortunes we have squandered and the change that has not occurred to our physiques.
In that vein, and because I am jobless and need to become famous somehow, I have written my own diet to talk about, share with your friends, and get me on Oprah.
As always, I recommend that you do not start any diet without the consultation of your best friend and if you must, a physician who will pooh-pooh just about everything.

(Reg trademark) A subsidiary of the Que Sera Cooking School and Cookbooks which I will be writing any day now.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we recommend that you eat heartily.
12 oz. barbeque Fritos
½ of raspberry yogurt (everyone knows that there is only so much you can take of yogurt)

At lunch you should take it easy lest you fall asleep over the cost overrun sheets you will be working on. (Supply your own most boring task of the afternoon here if you are not an actuary)
Pumpkin seeds, as much as you need

Live fish, any kind and Vodka, Russian

Banana Smoothie (it turns out that bananas may soon be extinct due to a fungus destroying the fruit. As of yesterday, Africa and Egypt were both victims)

Lime Rickey (I leave it to you to figure it out)
Avocado dip, enough to cover your forearm
Anything green

2 Bowls of Cereal- your choice. Jst watch it with the milk, pal.

Pumpkin seeds all day. Who knew that the prize for guessing the weight of a gargantuan pumpkin would BE the pumpkin?

Bob Dylan Day; if it’s good enough for Bob, its good enough for us.
Brown rice
A dirty hot dog (non-kosher specific)

Bacon, up to a pound, after that, you’re just gross.
5 or6 Beignettes

Calamari & Fries – Whatever size they bring. You know you can’t make this at home and have it be good, besides, it stinks up the kitchen for days.

Cantaloupe- you need something to damp down all that fat. You were expecting me to make some bad Fry-day pun, and I refuse to be tricked into something like that.

Leftover cantaloupe Oh please, you didn’t eat that much.

Cereal, small box
Throw away other half of raspberry yoghurt; it’s got to be disgusting by now.

Champagne cocktails
Liverwurst pate’ canap├ęs
Mongoose if you can find it, otherwise, tuna salad.

Start the menu again. You will be eating the same foods, only on different days thus confusing your stomach if not your metabolism entirely.

Bon Appetit!

Nice weather we are having. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ms. Fixit

My Side of the Circle
Last night I pried Jeffrey off of the computer to help me with the dish washer. He came downstairs and acknowledged the fact that the machine was retaining water like a kiddie pool in a lake, and went to search for the manual. The machine came with the house and although it is painted to match the other appliances, the apron fell off one day revealing its true age- it is harvest gold underneath. Translation: my dishwasher is a venerable appliance without the flamboyance of actual efficiency. Another point of interest is that while I am not much better than the machine at doing the dishes, it at least can tolerate water hot enough to sterilize the remaining particles.
Failing to find the manual in the file labeled manuals, J went to his fallback position; the computer, thereby putting me back where I was when I first noticed the problem.
While I waited, I started bailing, and then on a whim I simply lifted off the spinning water part and the screen below it. The screen was clogged with something resembling food scraps, but in a more mold- like form resembling brown tofu. I decided that this could be at least part of the problem, and scrubbed it off. At that point Jeff enters the kitchen and looking over my shoulder announces “screen clogged”.
“Thank you” I answered, shoving my sleeves and glasses up again. I decided to run the machine to see if it would drain by itself but it did not. It may be broken, or the drain may be clogged. I may need a new dish washer. I’ll find out later when it’s too late to call a repair man.

In the meantime, my toilet seat broke. I never had a seat break on the side like that. There was a small warning creak, and then a firm crunch. Since seats cost only ten dollars, I bought a new one. It had been sub-zero out for several days but today it had risen to the low thirties, and I went to the Despot, had nice conversations with two men in line and came home. Somehow, chivalry lives on only at the Home Despot. I noticed that the seat has a seven year warranty but that the warranty is printed on the box. Either I am going to have to save at least half of this box for seven years, or figure that it’s cheap enough to take that gamble. The only problem is a funny squinching noise that happened on the right side as I screwed the seat in place. I think it’s fixed, but I’m waiting for a second opinion

Finally some headway!

Okay, I know that at this point I am still talking to myself, but that's what's gotta happen till I figure this thing out.

First of all....

I just want to see if this works. I have a lot to say, and I make some good points, but I have to make sure that they are visible.