Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year: No Bold Outline of Truth Here

Just me here on New Year's eve, babysitting two more dogs (one a lively puppy) and watching TV. Four dogs = one extremely p.o'd cat and one baby sitter really tired of throwing for ONE LAST TIME the poor mangled wet squirrel chew toy.

Bernice and Anthony enter Sugarbaker's with Bernice blowing a party horn.
BERNICE: Happy New Year!
JULIA: Well, Happy New Year, Bernice.
BERNICE: (blowing horn at Suzanne) Happy New Year, Suzanne.
SUZANNE: Happy New Year to you too, Bernice.....ya little fruitcake.
JULIA: Suzanne!!
SUZANNE: Oh, she knows I'm just kidding. She loves for me to call her that, don't you Bernice?
BERNICE: It's ok. I would mind though, for example, if we were at the White House.
SUZANNE: Ok, I'll remember that.
MARY JO: Bernice, why are you wearing your Christmas tree skirt?
BERNICE: Well, this is the skirt you gave me for Christmas.
MARY JO: Yes, I know. It's not to wear. It's a Christmas tree skirt. You're supposed to put it around the base of your Christmas tree.
BERNICE: Oh! Well no wonder. I like to never got this thing on. I finally just let the waist out and tied it with a belt.

Ross and Monica do "The Routine"

Mary Jo and Suzanne are sitting in the hospital waiting room after Charlene goes into labor
MARY JO: What have you got in that envelope?
SUZANNE: Charlene's jewelry. Julia just gave it to me. Did you see this dinky little diamond chip (bracelet) Bill gave her?
MARY JO: Suzanne, they're saving for a house.
SUZANNE: Well, I don't care. In a few minutes she's gonna be lying in that delivery room like a big ole zeppelin tied to stirrups, and he gives her a chip........can you believe it?

Shortly later on the phone with Bill......
SUZANNE: Listen, Colonel? Next time you go buying jewelry we gotta talk. I mean, this little diamond chip business isn't gonna get it. That's something you give a six year old when she joins the church.

Greg Evigan and Marie Osmond "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

The roads are snowed over, so Bernice calls an ambulance to take her to the hospital when she hears that Charlene is in labor.

AMBULANCE DRIVER: Did you know that it's a criminal offense to solicit an emergency vehicle under false pretenses?

BERNICE: Do you know that if the Avon lady falls down on your property you have to pay for it?

Elvis "Auld Lang Syne".

The ladies and Anthony have been mesmerized by the tales at Miss Minnie's bedside as she starts to speak passionately and emotionally.

MISS MINNIE BELL WARD: ....I thought as I got older, the bold outline of truth would be revealed to me, but it hasn't happened. When I was young, I was in such a hurry. And now, I've been here a hundred years. It seems like only yesterday I held my babies in my arms. I'm glad to be going home. It's been a long time since I've seen my family. And I wish for all of you, all the love and happiness I had in my life -- and I hope the world keeps going toward freedom. And I hope that people everywhere can learn to live together in peace. As my pappa used to say......we ain't what we should be, we ain't what we're gonna be, but at least we ain't what we were.....

"Somewhere Out There"

Monday, December 29, 2008

I've Gone Viral: Working Without My PC

Friday at the Big Humanitarian Non-Profit they came and took my PC away; it like dozens of others had become infected with some sort of computer STD. Today was my first full day of working directly with uninfected co-workers without my digital shield and I got through it by meeting with people face-to-face, taking copious handwritten notes, and making hourly trips to the employee lounge to check my favorite blogs work email.

The latest update is that my PC "may" be returned to me by COB Tuesday.

During a meeting today, I made a comment that if I didn't have my PC back soon, I was bringing in a substitute tomorrow and that I would be doing "the Selectric wave."

I find it sad that no one knew what I was talking about.

I need to shimmy up the telephone pole, ask Sarah the Operator to connect me with Herb Sr so I can complain about all this new fangled technology.

This is NOT the "Selectric Wave."

Sunday, December 28, 2008

This Is My New Year's Resolution!

Richard Carpenter wants to lock Karen in a closet.
Karen Carpenter wants to slam the piano lid on Richard's hands
Harvey Korman wants to give away his girdle and muff.
Kristy McNichol wants Donnie Osmond and Farrah's hair.

I just want someone to help me cleanup after Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dear Santa: My Wish List from the Home Trends Catalog

Dearest Santa,

So far my friends haven't fulfilled my Wish List from the Home Trends Catalog. Will you bring these tonight? I promise to be good in 2009 (admittedly 2008 was a disaster).



Holiday Washer/Dryer Cover

Need extra space for Christmas dinner? Reclaim the surface of Your Washer And Dryer With This Mildew-proof Vinyl Appliance Cover. Fits all models and makes. Now you can have that extra work area you always need to fold clothes on, store extra laundry on or serve a buffet dinner for 12. 30"w x 23"d x 36"h.


Save money and eliminate the mess of leftover soap pieces and enjoy your favorite cleanser as liquid soap. Our Liquid Soap Maker converts soap slivers into liquid hand soap. Reusable beads(included) aid to soften soft soap and any remaining pesky hairs. Place one in every bathroom and in your kitchen, too.

I Hate You Eucalyptus Nasal Cones

Snore Less Instantly!

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like having two plastic plugs jammed up your nose! Stop snoring, stuffy noses, congestion and dry mouths without drugs or sticky tape. Simply slip these comfortable little rubber cones into your nostrils to enjoy 100 percent more air, less snoring and great sleep! They open airways naturally, are reusable (for up to 6 months) and virtually invisible. Made of FDA approved surgical rubber. Eucalyptus scented. One pair.

You'll Never Shower Alone Bouffant Oversized Pink Shower Cap

You'll never shower alone again! Is your beehive too big for an average shower cap? Do you live in Baltimore? This stylish Shower Cap, with its adorable heart, lip and words of love in many languages print, looks lovely on anyone. Oversized design - one size fits all. Cotton with elasticized waterproof lining

TMI Thursday Terry Cloth Toilet Seat Cover

Add comfort, warmth and potential TMI Thursday posts to bathroom visits! Home Trends soft, terrycloth toilet seat cover is treated with an antibacterial agent that won’t wash out. Our Toilet Seat Cover provides you with cozy comfort and protection in the bathroom. Home Trends Cozy Covers stretch to fit standard size toilet seats. Made with acrylic terrycloth weave, and elastic all around for a smooth, snug fit. Imported.

Show Off Toilet Tank Caddy

Your 401K may have been flushed away (HA!) but you can still show off your remaining assets to family and guests. This handy 3-in-1 Toilet Caddy organizes your bathroom instantly. Keep up to 4 rolls of toilet paper in the side holder, store magazines at your fingertips as well as tissues, lotions, etc. on the top shelf. No tool assembly. Chrome plated steel and plastic. 18 x 7 x 16 inches.

Not from the catalog but just to enjoy...

"Jingle Bells" (Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Joy to the World with the Kings of the Jungle

Dec 20, 11:00 AM

Target, Potomac Yard

Woman: I don't care. Six of one, half dozen of the other.
Man: I never understood that expression.
Woman: It's because six equals a half dozen.
Man: You know I don't get math.

Dec 20, 1:45 PM

Eastern Market

Man (to Vendor): How's the missus?
Vendor: It could be worse.
Man: Your wife?
Vendor: Oh I thought you said business.
Vendor: It could be worse

(All men around booth laugh)

Three Dog Night "Joy to the World" (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog) 1971

Thursday, December 18, 2008

TMI Thursday: The Kentucky Derby When I [Redacted]

The Kentucky Derby

TMI Thursday [Redacted]

_____ ______ __ __ ____ best madras pants ____ __ ___ Kentucky Derby . ______ _____ _ ___________ _____ ____ _____ ____ ____ ______ _ ____ ________ ______ ____ _____ _ _______ tickets to the ABC/VISA VIP Lounge.

___ ____ I ____ Karen Valentine! _______ __ _ ____ ____ ________ ______ ____ _____ . ____ ____ stars____ as Slim Pickens, Norman Fell, Jenilee Harrison.

_ ___________ _____ ____ __ _______ ____ _ _ _________ ____ _____ ____ ____. __ ______ __________ __ _ third Mint Julep. ____ _____ _______ __ _ ____ ____ ________ ______ ____ Andy Warhol chatting with Charlene Tilton. ___ ____ _ _ _________ ____ _____ ____ ____ toupee. ______ _ ____ ____ _____ ____ __ ;____ ____ _______ _________ ____ _____.

The governors wife, the former Miss America and broadcaster ______ _____ _____ __________ ____ _____ _ ___________ _____ _______ ____ _ _ _________ ____ _____ ____ ____ ______ _ ____. ____ _____ ____ __ ____ ____ _______ _________ ____ _____ some nachos. ___ _____ ____ ____ __ ______ __________ toupee ____ ___ _____ ______. _ ___ ________. ___ ____ ___________ _____ _______ __ _ ____ ____ ________ ______ ____ _____ _ ___________ _____ _______ ____ _ _to the Men's Room. __ ______ __________ __ _ ___ ________. ___ ____ _______ _____ _____ _ _ ___________ __________ _________ ____.

__ ____ _ __ _____ another Mint Julep ____ _____ _______ __ _ ____ ____ ________ ______ ____ _____ _ ___________ _____ _______ and again ________ to the Men's Room. While staring down __ ___ toupee _ ___ __ _____ _ ___________. He yelled" _____ _______ ____ on my shoes!"

Running __ ____ _________ ____ _____ ____ ____ __ ______ __________ __ _ ___ Polly Holliday. ____ lent me ___ _____ __ wrap _____ __ _____. ________ ___ ____ ___________; _____ _______ __ _ ____ ____ ________ ______ ____ _____ _ big security guard chasing us.

_______ ____ _ _ _________ ____ _____ ____ ____ ______ _ ____ ________ ______ ____ _____ _ swearing to never drink Mint Juleps again!

Other Less Redacted TIM Thursday Tales (courtesy of the Prom Queen of TMI Thursday, Live It, Love It)

Maxie's TMI Thursday: Janelle's Version

LBluca77's Don't Hate, Masturbate

I-66's TMI Thursday: Brown Out

Miss Scorpio's Pool Party for Two

Liebchen's TMI Thursday: "It's Okay, We've All Been There"

Sean's TMI Thursday: Accomplish the Impossible

Doug's TMI Thursday: Attack of the Feminine Product

f.B's Not in the Slightest Bit TMI

Lisa's In My Defense, This Was a Long, Long Time Ago

Shannon's TMI Thursday: Non-Instant Karma

Foggy Dew's TMI Thurday: A Tale of Too Much Cheddar

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Pick the Best and Worst of the Holiday Season!

The Best Santa Claus

The Santa Claus at Santa Claus Land from 1946-1984. (He always knew my name!)

The Worst Santa Claus

Best Christmas Album

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" (Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians)

Worst Christmas Album

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" (Liberace)

The Worst Holiday Album (Photoshop edition)

Best Song

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Worst Song (Tie)

"The Christmas Shoes"

"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"

Best TV Special

"A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Worst TV Special

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

(Sorry but after being called "Hermey the elf" for years this is my bloggery chance for revenge. Plus that Abominable Snowman still scares me.)

Best Holiday Candy

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Worst Holiday Candy

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Best Childhood Christmas Memory

The year it snowed so hard in Southern Indiana that we were unable to drive to our grandparents house in Kentucky for Christmas dinner. Our neighbors hooked up their tractor (what your neighbors didn't have a tractor?) to our sleigh (what you didn't have your own sleigh?) and pulled all of us through the snow to their relatives house where their kids had really cool toys like Creepy Crawlers.

The Worst Childhood Christmas Memory

The year I went to see Santa Claus arrive by helicopter at a local mall in Indiana and the helicopter hit some power lines while landing and crashed killing Santa, thus traumatizing a generation of Hoosier children.

Best Holiday Movie Performance

Rosemary Clooney in "White Christmas." In a 2000 interview included on the DVD of the movie, the modest Ms. Clooney noted the fact that her co-star ex-Rockette Vera-Ellen ''couldn't sing. Her voice was dubbed. If they could have dubbed my dancing, now, we would have had a perfect picture.''

Worst Holiday Movie Performance

Philip Tonge playing Maureen O'Hara's high strung assistant Julian Shellhammer in "The Miracle on 34th St." His performance was greatly overshadowed by my sensitive and nuanced interpretation of the same role years later in high school.

Best Holiday Sweater

Worst Holiday Sweater

Worst Holiday Sweater in French

Best Present for Children 1996

The much in demand Tickle Me Elmo

Worst Present for Children 1997

The who cares any more Tickle Me Elmo

Best Present for Adults 2008

Your personal bail-out

The Worst Present for Adults 2008

Inflatable Bra Bath Pillow

..."For an inflatable storm in a C cup, rest your head on this lovely pair in the bath... Girls its a great Stocking filler idea for him this Christmas and surely abreast of any other ideas you may have..... "

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Christmas Date Pudding Recipe

My sister and I never liked the old fashioned Date Pudding my mother made every Christmas. Date Pudding just couldn't compete with the brightly decorated Santa and Reindeer cookies, rich dense fudge and other holiday treats she made.

After my mother passed away, most family holiday traditions continued but the Date Pudding didn't make the cut. It was too much work chopping all those dates and pecans and just seemed a little bland to our modern tastes.

In cleaning out my mothers recipe box I found the 50 + year old original recipe which was part of a letter from her mother sent from Kentucky when my parents were stationed in Texas. This was written after the first of a series of strokes that would eventually kill my grandmother before she ever held her first and only grandson--me. The former secretary's once proud handwriting is difficult to read; she discusses my impending January birth, relatives who were coming to help her and the frustration my pampered grandfather Charlie was feeling now that he had to do more work around the house. .

I think I understand now why my mother made Date Pudding each year. Those dates and pecans don't take that long to chop. Maybe this year it will go back on the menu.

Here's your recipe also your Xmas. Mighty poor but the best we can do. You'd have done better by letting me buy your Xmas. You'd be surprised what I can do by phone.

Wish you all a very merry Xmas and wish we could be together. Don't know how we'll make it thru but guess somehow. Have Anna this weekend also Ann so things will work out fine.

You don't mention how you're feeling and when you're expecting the baby. If you don't tell me I'll be expecting it the very first day of January.

Gotta go, Daddy is OK. Gripes a lot but you can expect that after never doing anything in his life and all of a sudden have to do it all.




At the request of Gilahi, here is the recipe in a more user friendly view!


½ cup Sugar
½ cup Flour
¼ teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Dates (cut up)
1 cup Pecans
1 tablespoon Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Sift salt, baking powder and flour together, Beat yolks, add sugar and cream, and then add dry ingredients and vanilla, and dates and nuts. Fold in beaten whites of eggs and bake about 30 minutes in a moderate oven in a pan 8 inches square lined with waxed paper. When cool cut in squares and serve with caramel sauce and whip cream. Makes 9 squares


2 cups Brown Sugar
1 ½ cups Water
2 tablespoonfuls Flour
2 tablespoonfuls Butter

Blend sugar and flour together, add water and butter, cook 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 2 Home

Results: Day 1 Home Sick in Bed

1. I enjoy a really bad Jerry Springer. Even when well.

2. I love the old lady in the new IKEA commercials. Sadly I can't find her on YouTube yet. I did discover Lady Gaga though.

3. Cloris Leachman complained at the Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion on Oprah that she and Valerie Harper weren't in the final episode of the series. Valerie had to remind her that they were in it just not in the final scene. Cloris didn't seem convinced. Priceless!

4. Within minutes of me being on yesterday, ticket information was posted for her DC shows and all tickets were gone within minutes. Who are these people with nothing to do but hang on Oprah's site all day?

5. There are still liquor stores pharmacies that deliver.

6. Barbara Walters has no sense of humor.

7. I have all sorts of stories from yesterday to share on TMI Thursday if I weren't so repressed and have issues about talking about Number One and Number Two. Especially Number Two.

8. Pizza Hut Bacon Mac N Cheese could use more bacon.

9. I am leading on a scammer on CraigsList. He claims to be in the military and is stationed in Iraq/Afghanistan. Uhm...really? Both countries?

10. There is nothing better than a marathon of "The Beverly Hillbillies" Christmas episodes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Bed with Giada, Mama Cass, Mary Poppins, Simon and Garfunkel and a Panini Press

I'm home sick today. "Writing" will be at a minimum today but fever induced comments may occur. I apologize in advance.

I am craving Kraft's nuclear orange Mac and Cheese or Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni. However, the only thing I have ingredients for are Giada's Panini with Chocolate, Basil and Brie.

It sucks being a foodie when you are sick.

If only Mama Cass and Mary Poppins would come over to sing a Simon and Garfunkel medley to make me feel better. Impossible, you and my fever say?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Alastair The Grumpy Christmas Gnome

These rough economic times are also hard on local crafters and artists. Instead of going to a mall to buy the latest fad toy, buy something local and unique this year.

From the Christmas cards I purchased today at the very hipster
Craft Mutiny Holiday Booty Market.

All I want for Christmas...

You may purchase your own from Tina Seamonster here.

After returning home, I totally blew my newly acquired hipster cred by listening to the Partridge Family (twice).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Inaugural Volunteer Opportunities, Sonny and Cher and Captain Kangaroo!

Still don't have tickets to an OFFICIAL INAUGURAL BALL? Worried that you won't get in to any of Oprah's shows she is taping at the Kennedy Center? Why not volunteer for the Presidential Inaugural Committee? Sign up here now.

To the person who anonymously emailed me taking me to task for presenting YouTube clips without explaining their deep meaning to me and my blog, I submit for you "Sonny and Cher Christmas Medley" featuring Chastity Bono, Bernadette Peters and Captain Kangaroo.

I am posting this because

1. I like Christmas
2. I like Sonny and Cher
3. The thought of Cher and Captain Kangaroo together makes me giggle
4. People like you who send anonymous emails are asses.

There I said "ass" on my blog and I wasn't discussing farm animals, a live action manager scene or TMI Thursday.

It's the spirit of the season!


This just in: Colombian pop star Shakira will be performing at the inaugural celebration. JessiCub is ecstatic.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

For "The 12 Days of Christmas" Haters

I'm not sure if this will make you like "The 12 days of Christmas" but you certainly won't forget this version. From the video bouncing around the interwebs...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If It Is December We Need a Little Osmonds Now!

How is it possible that it is December when I still have all these flippin' pumpkins around the house? Look for an "Eat Me" post soon.

Regardless, if you ignore the piles of decaying orange orbs covering every free surface, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas here. While you were out Black Friday shopping, we were getting the tree and ornaments out of the basement. And by "we" I mean JessiCub my personal assistant, photographer and resident couch surfer.

On Saturday after a couple of trips to Home Rule to purchase the above ornaments, the tree was mostly decorated. And by "mostly" decorated I mean minus two of the above ornaments that were broken by me and demon bourbon but blamed on JessiCub. "You were walking too loudly!"

Oh I forgot to mention that before putting the tree up we had to switch the furniture between the living room and the dining room to provide optimal tree viewing space. And by "we" I mean JessiCub while I supervised and offered helpful suggestions like "Put the chair where I had it for Christmas 2006" or "I said move it a smidge not a smudge!" and "Watch out for that pumpkin!"

By the way, JessiCub has spent the last two days looking for a real job. Some people just can't handle the stress of the holidays!

Kicking off the holidys, how about some love for the Osmond Brothers singing, dancing and ice skating?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The One Hour Thanksgiving Smithsonian Tour

Thanksgiving Day 9:55 a.m. National Museum of American History.

My annual one hour T-Day romp through a Smithsonian museum! Why one hour? Cause I can! This years goal is to see all the major exhibits at the newly renovated National Museum of American History and be out in one hour in order to return home to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

The line for the opening at 10:00 am is fairly short and moves quickly.

To avoid the crowds we start on the 3rd floor and work our way down. The museum is much brighter now with a skylight flooding the atrium with natural light. The exhibits also seem to be better organized and laid out in a manner to handle large crowds.

10:05 "Thanks for the Memories"

The famous collection of movie, sports, music and other cultural memorabilia is now all consolidated into one room. With no crowds around is it easy to hold your foot up to the case displaying Dorothy's ruby slippers for a size comparison, not that you would do this (I'd guess a size 6). Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves and Kermit the frog are still on display; Archie Bunker's chair and Fonzie's leather jacket are MIA.

10:10 "Musical Instruments"

A collection of famous violins, infamous trombones and raunchy cellos. Well who really knows? I gave it a glance and moved on. When office mates start obsessing over their picks for "Fantasy Symphony Orchestra League" I'll come back.

10:12 "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden"

A holdover from the previous exhibits but one of my favorites.

Lots of Inaugural memorabilia here but no tickets to Obama's.

FDR's funeral procession

10:21 "Abraham Lincoln" (opens January 16, 2009)

I am looking forward to all the exhibits opening in honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200 birthday. I always felt an affinity for Abraham Lincoln and not just because we were both gawky youths growing up in the Midwest who later moved to DC and were involved in relationships with the clinically insane.

10:23 "Within These Walls"

HGTV meets the History Channel. Didn't see Archie's chair here either.

10:27 "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" (which unfortunately doesn't open until December 2008.)

Perhaps when this finally opens we will find Rosalynn Carter channeling Pinky Tuscadero while wearing Fonzie's leather jacket. I entertain the disappointed throngs with a spontaneous rendition of Beyonce's hit
"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".

10:33 2 West Hallway

A buff George Washington shows nippleage while signaling for his mani pedi

10:38 "The Gettysburg Address"

The White House loaned its Lincoln Bedroom copy of the Gettysburg Address for this exhibit and it looks exactly like the version I decoupaged in 6th grade. Must contact Herb Sr later to discuss current provenance.

10:43 "The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise" (Opens Jan 30, 2009)

Point O' Trivia not mentioned here: The gay sports bar Nellie's currently occupies the Scurlock Studio building on U Street.

10:45 "Julia Child's Kitchen", "Science in American Life", Inventions", "Some Other Lady's Kitchen", "Fun with Atom Bombs" and "Spark!Lab" featuring some poor guy teaching science to dozens of kids amped up on $5 cookies from the "Stars and Stripes Cafe". WHEW!

10:49 "America on the Move"

And so we did.

10:50 "The Star Spangled Banner"

The lines for the Star Spangled Banner were long. Was it a mistake to start at the top and work our way down? In the picture below you can see part of the 40-foot-by-19-foot “waving flag” made of 960 reflective panels whose colors slightly shift as you move past — especially when running from floor to floor of the museum.

10:58 Finally we get in! The pictures didn't turn out in the darkened room but rest assured it was almost exactly like this.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2008

Next year's challenge? The Air and Space Museum in 30 minutes!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Fail!


For delivering everything ordered except the turkey and the pan!

DC USA Target--FAIL!

For posting signs in the organizational storage bin aisle teasing "If you can't find a lid for the bin you want just ask!"

I asked a red-shirted clerk for help finding a lid and she displayed a Miss Cleo clairvoyance by knowing exactly the bin I desired without bothering to ask and told me that there were no additional lids in the back.

Herb of DC: "So why does the sign say to ask?"

Miss Cleo Target: "I don't know."

DC USA Target--FAIL!

For having a red Customer Service phone near the storage bin aisle that requests that you press 1 to speak to a Customer Service agent or press 2 to have an associate meet you at that station to assist you. The 1 and 2 buttons on the phone do not work.

Herb of DC--FAIL!

For finding the nearest working red Customer Service phone and pressing 2 to have an associate meet me at that station to assist me with finding the lid for a large storage bin, not realizing that the ringing bell and flashing light would summon a less than pleased Miss Cleo Target. An elaborate pantomime ensued of "Oh does this red phone contact Target, I thought I was calling Russia or something?" before slinking off to hide in housewares.

Fried Turkey--FAIL!

Thanksgiving Cakes--FAIL (From Cake Wrecks)

Thanksgiving Sweater--FAIL!

Green Bean Casserole--WIN!!!


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Year the Cat Died During Le Jour de L'action de Grâce Dinner

On Thanksgiving Day 2004 I was hosting about 10 guests for a buffet Thanksgiving dinner. I am embarrassed to say that there was a slightly pretentious menu published in advance in French celebrating the first Le Jour de L'action de Grâce Dinner between les Pilgrims and les Indiens d'Amérique.

Lucy the 19 year old cat looked particularly frail that morning when she turned her back on my rushing around and made her way into the basement. No begging for turkey ( dinde). No perching on the stool watching me cook. No attempts to jump on the forbidden couch that had been temporarily stripped of the Lucy-proof aluminum foil in order to welcome guests bearing Haricots Verts in Beurre Blanc Casserole.

Lucy had been in my life for for almost 17 years and at times the skinny purring furball was the best cat in the world.

Except when she wasn’t.

Her favorite trick was to chase a foam ball and drop it in front of me to toss again for her to fetch back in her best dog fashion. Being a cat though, she refused to ever do this trick when there were witnesses and gave me a disgusted look when I commanded "Lucy, fetch" in front of others.

She could also be the most evil creature this side of a Star Jones divorce affidavit if she was displeased with you.

The first time I stayed out all night I returned to find a token of Lucy's disaffection in the middle of the glass topped coffee table. As my mother Pug would say, "That's not an accident, that's a purposeful." (This makes more sense when said in a soft Kentucky accent and perhaps after knocking back a couple of bourbons.) Lucy continued to express her disapproval of me and my lifestyle over the years through her digestive system with elaborate purposefuls on furniture, shoes, suitcases, bedding and once on a quickly short-lived radio.

For five years I traveled back and forth between DC and Pittsburgh for work much to her disgust. She initially destroyed the white leather living room furniture upset that I was leaving her during the work week although one could make a case that she was judging my Miami Vice-like taste in furniture. I tried taking her to Pittsburgh during the week and she demonstrated her outage by urinating into two handset phones taking down an entire home phone system in my rented house in the Steel City. (Just in case you are wondering, Verizon Customer Support does not have a code for “Cat Urine in the Phone” when taking service requests).

Finally Lucy and I eventually developed a mutual trusting relationship where I kept most of the furniture covered in aluminum foil and all phones wall mounted and she pinky-paw promised to keep her purposefuls to a minimum and occasionally play fetch with me as long as I kept her in Fancy Feast, her fetch secret safe and didn't make her travel to Pittsburgh any more.

In 2004 she had begun a gradual decline--the usual things that happen to a cat that old, slow kidney failure, hearing loss and general lack of energy. It just seemed like there was less and less of Lucy every day and rarely were there any purposefuls any more. She seemed content and not in pain although sometimes she was a bit befuddled. Most days she would slowly make her way down the steps to the basement to find her favorite red cushion next to the furnace and spent her days warming her bones and purring to some far off memory of a private game of fetch.

Perhaps I contributed to hastening her demise by adopting Lucy and Lizzie the dogs early in 2003. I had planned on changing their names to avoid pet confusion but Lucy and Lizzie are, well let's go on and say it, a few Milk Bones short of a box. Attaching the command "NO, we do not eat leather belts" to any name besides Lucy and Lizzie seemed unrealistic. Lucy the cat's last year of her life was a confusing cacophony of "Lucy, no not you, the OTHER Lucy. The one chewing the Christmas lights" so perhaps it was a blessing that she was losing her hearing.

Before Thanksgiving Dinner I checked on her in the basement and she stared at me with a look of confusion as I interrupted her vigil by the furnace. She was purring but the poor thing had not quite made it to her soft red pillow and was on the cold cement basement floor. I gently helped her onto her pillow and noticed how even skinnier and frailer she had become.

"Please Lucy," I recall thinking, "Don't leave today. Not on Thanksgiving."

I'm not saying that Lucy did a final purposeful, but she did depart this world sometime during Thanksgiving Dinner between the turkey, I mean la dinde, and la tarte à la pumpkin with Les Cool Whip. Sneaking downstairs I found her peacefully curled up in a ball next to the furnace but no longer purring and no longer on her red cushion. She was gone; however, the Lucy I knew had been gone for several weeks and mercifully her body was catching up with her soul.

Saying a little prayer, I thanked her for 17 years of companionship and fetch playing and apologized for the dogs and Pittsburgh. I put her back on her red cushion one last time. There may have been a tear that I later attributed to an overly spicy la farce les pèlerins.

"Where's Lucy," guests asked later.

"There she is" I would say a little too quickly and loudly, pointing at Lucy la chienne in mid-bite of a tasty Thanksgiving electrical cord.

"No, the cat."

"Uhm, she's in the basement."

I mean really what could I say? I didn't want to ruin Thanksgiving for others or have guests worriedly whispering to one another "Did the cat eat any of that la dinde this morning?"

Lucy did have one final road trip. The pet crematorium didn't open until 8:30 am the next day so Lucy and her beloved red cushion made a 4:00 am Black Friday trip in the back seat of my SUV to Wal-Mart. I always like to think that she enjoyed it. I kept the car nice and warm and Northern Virginia is definitely not Pittsburgh.

Happy Thanksgiving Lucy! No, not that Lucy. The PURPOSEFUL Lucy. I hope you are somewhere playing fetch with a special friend and yes, your fetch secret is always safe with me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 22, 1963

I was home sick from school. My mother and I were watching "As the World Turns" on CBS when the first bulletin interrupted with news that bullets had been fired at President Kennedy's motorcade.

Thanks to YouTube I can view these bulletins again and despite being 5 yrs old at the time I still remember most of them.

The Avon lady dropped by after it had been confirmed that Kennedy was dead and my mother told her the shocking news. She left immediately in tears.

The next day Friday, all schools were closed as part of a national day of mourning. My sister and I roller skated in the basement before we went to a special service at our Methodist Church.

The rest of the weekend was spent watching the black and white coverage up to and including the State Funeral.

Later my mother purchased as a keepsake the assassination issue of "Life Magazine" which is still in the family. I remember being surprised to see the events also took place in color. Still though, when I think back on these terrible days the images are all in black and white.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Letter to Aramark

Dear Aramark:

I will make this brief and to the point. I have noticed that you now serve Swedish Meatballs on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Big Humanitarian Non-Profit Cafeteria.

If I wanted Swedish Meatballs twice a week I would go to work at IKEA.

Thank you,

Herb of DC

P.S. Just as a gentle reminder, Wednesday is "Soup Day" and Friday is "Fish Sticks Day." Now let's dance it out!