Daylight Savings Barbecue

Daylight savings time has arrived which means  it’s time to clean off the outdoor grill and start looking around the house for something to throw on the Barb-y and while you’re at it maybe find a clean shirt for Ken.

"Mmmmm . . . is that charcoal briquettes I smell Ken?" "No my pants are on fire."

Ah! There’s nothing like the aroma of charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid to make your mouth water for a big, fat juicy filet Mignon (which, by the way, is French for “to hell with cholesterol”).

In my house, nothing can put a stop to the pre-dinner moaning faster than the announcement of barbecue.  This is because my family prefers food that has been over-cooked in the Great Outdoors to food that has been over-cooked in the Great Indoors.

I don’t want to brag, but I have this natural ability for broiling, roasting and frying everything to a crisp.  I believe cooking should be a devil-may-care endeavor, and the fact that my electric frying pan is jammed at 525 degrees is nothing to get all hot under the collar about.

"Oh goody! Supper's ready!"

My family takes my laid-back approach to cooking lying down because that is usually how they end up after eating the meals I fix.

"I think there was something wrong with that souffle." "THAT was a souffle?"

But when they occasionally rebel and complain about supper being singed beyond recognition, I simply tell them it’s Cajun Style.  “They’re blackened pancakes,” I’ll explain, “the most often requested meal at Mardi Gras.”  They pretend to buy this explanation even though I’d be willing to bet they would buy no such thing at Mardi Gras.

"No thanks, I had 'em for lunch."

Actually I have a lot of little fibs I use to cover my trail of cooking smoke.  For instance, last night on a whim, I decided to fix chicken Kiev as I had some extra Kiev lying around.

Unfortunately, right in the midst of my Kiev culinary conniption fit, I got a phone call and I was amazed how quickly my supper transformed itself from Chicken Kiev to Chicken Chernobyl.

So it’s little wonder that my family was positively giddy when my husband unwrapped his birthday present.  It was a box containing 5,167 shiny new pieces which, when properly assembled, would become a deluxe barbecue, and it meant that somebody else (like Bill, himself) would be doing the cooking.

“ASSEMBLES IN MINUTES” was emblazoned on the side of the box and since there was a whole hour before supper, my husband got right down to the task of assembly by carefully reading all 158 pages of instructions then meticulously laying out thousands of parts labeled with every letter in the alphabet and then some.

"What the ?"

We all hummed Happy Birthday and watched in hungry anticipation as my husband (a mechanical engineer) struggled to fit Piece A into its corresponding Slot VII.  He admitted defeat only after the batteries in the flashlight went dead.

We ended up eating Bill’s birthday dinner at 11 p.m.  While we were waiting for the steaks to finish broiling in the Great Indoors, we amused ourselves by making up jokes about how many mechanical engineers it would take to put together a barbecue.

When we finally heard the familiar buzz of the smoke detector, we were jubilant.  It meant we could finally sit down and enjoy the delights of broiled filet mignon steaks cooked to perfection in the style most often requested at Mardi Gras.

Mardi (blackened) Gras (pancakes)

Until next time . . . I love you

Rewriting the Story of My Life

Hello my fine feathered whippersnappers!  Lately I’ve been bingeing on pre-20th century English movies and have decided that the story of my life just won’t do.  And so I have decided to change it thusly:

Linda Vernon was born Linda Cathleen Carlotta Loretta Pansy Rose Petunia Hollandaise Sauce sometime in March or April around or near the Year of Our Lord 1536(ish).  Linda (who went by the nickname of Linda) suffered early psychological trauma  due to the fact that she was told by her parents that she was the youngest of 14 children, but later found out that she was instead  the oldest of 14 children (quite by accident). Plus the fact that her mother died in childbirth from consumption vexed her greatly.

This so upset young Linda that she became a recluse.  She took all her meals in her room and refused to come out even on Reformation Day.  Many people thought this is where she honed her writing, but once, when she left her room momentarily, her family rushed in to read what she had written but found only the largest collection of sharpened pencils in the Moors.

It wasn’t until her pet leopard died of consumption that she roused herself out of her pencil sharpening stupor and made her debut in the village of which the family estate was located next to.  Unfortunately all the villagers had just that morning died of consumption.

Linda was briefly engaged in the position of Chief Wig Powderer at Drowning Downs Hall until Lord Drowning drowned down the hall when a careless servant left the window open during an unseasonable monsoon season. Lord Drowning’s wife (or mistress–they were never sure which) died later that afternoon of consumption.

"Love your wig! Who powdered it?"
This left Linda quite shilling less.  She packed her pencil collection in her trunk and summoned a chaise and four to take her to London where she planned to obtain a position as a governess.  She waved goodbye to her family from the Barouche Box in which she rode, but they didn’t wave back having all succumbed to consumption moments earlier.

Soon after she arrived in London her destiny took a little turn when she was hobbling over the cobblestones and  got the toe of her foot stuck betwixt a cobble and a stone which caused her to fall down in front of polite society.  Indeed, her reputation was completely ruined to the extent that no one would have anything to do with her except for people who pronounced governor “overnor”.

Undaunted because she was a feisty, independent woman who didn’t care what polite society or even rude society thought of her, she managed to obtain a position as a seamstress for the Duchess of Pid.

The Duchess of Pid with Her Kid
She saved up her money and later bought Drowning Downs Hall. She was also able to revive Lord Drowning somehow by drawing on her feisty independence.  When someone asked her how she managed to revive a man who drowned none too recently, she scribbled down the instructions which were later published by Snussington, Hughhee and Flebberhower-hower, Inc. and the book enjoyed worldwide success until she keeled over into her porridge from consumption.

Her last words were believed to be:  “If I’m not famous after I die, shoot me.”  Which was weird because she is still alive to this day.

Until next time, I love you . . . .

Rain on the Brain

Rainy Reminiscences:

Things look pretty when it rains.  The grass is a true-blue green.  The flowers are gorgeous; the trees sublime.  Let’s face it, everything looks better through waterlogged eyes the way Cybil Sheppard looks better through gauze.

Taken during the worst gauze shortage in over 20 years

Once about a trillion years ago, give or take a week, it rained oceans.  Really.  I remember it well.  I was an amoeba at the time.  Me and my amoeba buddies were just hanging around trying to figure out how to evolve when it started to rain.  You should have seen it.  It was like Seattle!

Seattle Space Needle

A couple oceans later, the sun finally came out. First thing we did was put on sunglasses.  (But amoebas don’t wear sunglasses, you’re thinking.  Oh yeah? . . . by then we had evolved into dinosaurs –so there!)


Next thing you know, it started snowing – the biggest snowflakes we ever saw.  Somebody said each one was unique and we tried to verify that, but by the time we got two flakes positioned on the slide and the microscope in focus, they were a drink of water.

Not so freshly fallen snow

Then it was cold for a really long time.  The world was quiet.  Nobody went out except for this one guy who kept insisting on hiking over the Alps in his shorts.  One day he got lost, and they found him thousands of years later perfectly preserved in a perfectly round puddle of perfectly melted snow.

From studying the clothes he wore, and the items he was carrying in a crudely fashioned satchel, scientists were able to conclude the following:

a) He was a hunter/gatherer.

b) He was born sometime before the Bronze Age

c) He wasn’t very good at crudely fashioning satchels.

Died hailing a cab

As exciting as the Ice Age wasn’t, I still preferred it to the rain.  Part of the reason is because nobody had the wherewithal to invent an umbrella until the seventeenth century when it was simultaneously invented by an English Aristocrat named William Shakespeare and, clear across the great Atlantic Ocean in America, by a man named Thomas Edison — both of whom have since drowned. (I know your thinking this sounds a little fishy and you’re wondering if I have my facts straight and, just between you and me, so am I.)

Thomas Edison (or possibly William Shakespeare)

I’m not exactly sure what the gang and I had evolved into by this time.  My memory is hazy.  We were either peasants in France or pheasants in pants.

Until the French government releases the classified Pheasants in Pants photos -- this one will have to suffice

I do remember that by the time we had evolved opposable thumbs, France was heavily into a revolution.  You see, the French Revolution was established as just a fun way to teach French nobility how to divide.  What would be the size of the fraction, they wondered, if they were to divide, say, Henry the VIII by Louie the XIV’s guillotine? They might have found out too if that dimwitted Marie Antoinette wouldn’t have wandered into the way of the experiment.

Say what you will about the lady, but she did have a head for fractions!

Until next time . . . I love you

1001 Fab Decorating Ideas!

Hello my fine feathered friends!  Welcome!  Today we are going to decorate ourselves senseless with some great decorating tips from a 1965 publication I found at my favorite thrift store.

"Uh . . . OK, this is awkward."

This caption was suggested by my daughter, Jackie, who, by the way, is getting married in September to Tyler. In fact, she was so impressed with this distinctive decorating concept that she plans to surprise her new husband by redecorating their apartment using her most cherished item of clothing for inspiration. I can’t wait to see what Jackie comes up with!

I’m sure Tyler will love it!

Anyway, matching one’s dress with the one’s curtains isn’t the only idea 1,001 Decorating Ideas has up it’s . . .  ahem. . . sleeve.  We can see by the cover that this is “Book 22” — which means someone had to squeeze out 21,021 decorating ideas before they even got to this one.

This might explain why the title of this publication says 1,001 Decorating Ideas and not 1,001 “Good” Decorating Ideas.  Let’s take a look at some of the bedrooms for starters, shall we?

Putting the Print in Print

The caption reads: “The one-fabric look was created by Edmund Motyka using a charming floral print.” Edmund Motyka liked this print so much he commissioned 47 suits, 24 ties, 15 dress shirts, 5 pairs of Bermuda shorts and a pair of mukluks (size 13) to be fashioned in this very same material.  If you look very carefully you can just make him out lying there on the bed.

Oh Boy!

Edmund Motyka once again takes the credit for designing this little boy’s bedroom.  The bunk bed mattresses are made of “latex foam rubber”, the only material known to man in 1965 that could withstand the violent wallpaper-induced tossing and turning that ensued 365 nights a year. It should also be noted that this decor later gained notoriety for being the direct cause of the first official case of Attention Deficit Disorder ever recorded.

Edmund Motyka liked the print so well he commissioned 17 smoking jackets, 8 berets, 4 hankies and a pair of spats (size 13) to be fashioned out of this very same material. If you look carefully you can just make him out on his tippy toes peeking in the window.

Fringe Ball Ballyhoo

The caption tells us that Edmund Motyka has been a very busy man but also, very practical in many ways. For instance, this red purge of print is a “colorful and inexpensive calico” with wallpaper to match (natch), but here he has gone one step further in his quest to cover every square inch of humanity in print. He has added an “accent of white ball fringe.”  Just when we were starting to get used to Edmund’s design aesthetic, he goes and throws in some white ball fringe. That Edmund!

Edmund Motyka liked the print so well he commissioned 103 muumuus, 53 headscarves, 7 pairs of moccasins and 4 matching white ball fringe necklaces to be fashioned out of this very same material. If you look carefully you can just make him out hanging, white-knuckled,  from the rafters.

Well, my fellow 1965 Decorating Idea Aficionados, that about does it for today. Happily, there are many more pages to explore in our beloved 1,001 Decorating Ideas Book 22.

(And don’t worry, Jackie, you’re sure to get plenty more fab ideas to get your apartment whipped into shape before the Big Day!)

Until next time . . . I love you

The Real(ish) Story of St. Patrick’s Day

Of course everyone knows that St. Patrick is the patron saint of four-leaf clovers because he was partial to the color green.  But there are other little known facts about St. Patrick that the average person might not know.

For instance, back in the days when St. Patrick was alive, they had a lot of snakes slithering around Ireland.  It was really gross.  The whole place just gave you the heebie-jeebies.  As a matter of fact, that is why the Irish Jig was invented – to keep from stepping on them. But that’s another story I haven’t made up yet.

Irish Jig Dancers performing the "Get a load of the size of that one!" twirling leap
Anyway, St. Patrick, who happened to not like snakes very well, decided to take it upon himself to rid the entire continent of Ireland of them. He set about doing this by writing down some goals and sticking them up on the village mirror and by repeating them over and over whenever he had some spare time.

"Six slippery snakes slid slowly seawards . . . six slippery snakes slid slowly seawards . . . "

It must have worked because St. Patrick is credited, history-wise, with getting the entire population of Ireland totally onboard with Christianity, foods that are magically delicious, red hair, and snake ridding.

But it was the snake ridding that really got his name in print. The story goes somewhat but not very much like this:

You see, St. Patrick was nothing if not charming. He had it all, looks, a winning personality and a flashy carriage to cruise around in.  This is a guy who had powers of persuasion up the yin and/or yang.  In fact, when it came to getting his way, St. Patrick would have made Donald Trump look like a fat guy with funny hair — if he hadn’t already been one.

So St. Patrick, being a man of the cloth, (he had a huge and impressive cloth collection) decided that everyone hopping around all the time trying to side step snakes was depleting the citizenry of their usual vim.  (Vigor hadn’t been invented yet.)

It was obvious something needed to be done, post-haste.  And so he decided to “charm” the snakes out of Ireland.  He started by inviting them all over to his house, under the guise of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and began charming the pants off them (in those days Irish snakes wore plaid pants with little matching berets).  He did this by slathering the blarney on pretty thick and following up with a plethora of pandering and topped off with a prodigious pitcher of empty promises.  Pat was pretty proud.

Then, when he realized he was running low on straws for the rum and cokes, he quickly herded his limbless revelers outside and managed to lure them over the White Cliffs of Dover where they toppled, snake-like, into the sea. Dead as doornails (albeit very large doornails).

And of course, we all know what happened next. St. Patrick painted the White Cliffs of Dover green to commemorate the occasion.

So next time you have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll know why.

Until next time . . . I love you

Rejected Febreze Scents

Febreze scents that looked promising but in the end were rejected.

The Scent:   Egg Salad Serenity

The Febreze Scent Story:

A burst of aroma that harkens back to a time of serenity when you were a child in front of the television set watching Leave It to Beaver while Mom mixed up a delicious batch of egg salad.  Just one whiff and you’ll be asking:

Hey Ma! Is that egg salad I smell?

The Scent:    Afternoon at the DMV

The Febreze Scent Story:

Bring the exhilaration of spending an afternoon at the DMV with 475 fellow line-standers into your very own home with Afternoon at the DMV Scented Febreze.  We’ve ingeniously included every single smell of the huddled masses from around the corner to around the world in order to offer you a truly diversified smelling experience.  So the next time you’re in the mood for a multi-cultural experience of a different kind, pick up a bottle of Afternoon at the DMV Scent Febreze.

People of Common and Uncommon Scents!


The Scent: Little Boy’s Bedroom Bouquet

The Febreze Scent Story:

Every time you breathe in this heart-warming scent, you’ll be whisked away to the fascinating world of a little boy’s room.  From the bologna sandwich he’s been carrying around in his backpack all year, to the aroma that can only be produced by wearing the same soccer uniform both night and day for a full week (including knee-socks and shin-guards!) this scent delivers it all.  We can’t predict whether you’ll be laughing or crying-; but we can guarantee it will make your eyes water.

He never takes it off!

 Until next time . . . I love you

Existence Anyone?

Good News!  I finally found a hobby!  It’s proving to be a really easy and inexpensive hobby.  It doesn’t make a mess, you can do it anywhere and you don’t have to buy any yarn or glue or anything.  All you have to do is think up theories that would explain the mystery of existence. It’s fun. You should try it. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

The Advanced Form of Donkey Kong Theory of Existence

Could it be that we don’t really exist in this world at all?  Maybe we are actually in some cosmic Pizza Parlor playing a video game that seems like real life only when we die; it just means our pizza is ready?

There is a lot of evidence supporting this particular take on the nature of reality.  For instance, when your pizza is ready they “call your number”.   And we sometimes refer to someone’s dying as “his (or her) number was up.”  So you see it’s practically a scientific given, that life as we know it, could be simply a more complicated version of Donkey Kong that we’re playing while waiting for a medium pepperoni, sausage pizza with extra olives.

The I Say Congealed You Say Cajoled Theory of the Universe

This one goes like this. Life is merely a humongous glob of uncongealed matter put here to cajole us into thinking that matter matters.

The Great Uncongealed

This conglomeration of The Great Uncongealed is designed to keep us so busy we won’t even notice that we don’t know who we are — what we are — where we came from — where we are going – or what we’re supposed to be doing. If true, it seems to be working pretty good so far.

The Life is Simply a Figment of One’s Imagination Theory

This is the theory where upon the question of existence comes into question (and vice versa).  In other words (because I’m getting tired of using the words I just used), everything exists because and only because you “think” it exists.  It goes something like this:

You’re brain concentrates only on the things you want to have in your life.  It does this by directing a beam of energy out of your eyes and into, say, your living room, where whatever it is you just thought about is materialized just seconds before you sit down in that chair that wasn’t there seconds earlier. (The Universe thinks this is hilarious, by the way, so just pretend you don’t notice or you will only encourage it.)

I know it’s a little confusing.  Perhaps if I tried explaining it in a different way . . .

Let’s say you are out in the forest when a tree suddenly falls just as you are entering the cottage of the three bears.  And as far as you know there is nobody else in the forest.  Well, except maybe for Goldilocks but just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend she’s deaf.

Did  the tree make any noise when it fell?  If you answered no, did it ever occur to you that you might have been slurping your porridge so loudly you couldn’t have heard a nuclear explosion?

My point is – and I assure you I have one . . . I think . . . well, now you’ve got me so upset about poor little deaf Goldilocks, I forgot what my point was . . . I hope you’re happy.

"Say what?"

Until next time . . . I love you