Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Was Going To Talk About Another Nor'easter Riding Up The Atlantic Coast.......

..........but then I realized you had all had your fill of such boring tripe. Significant to me, but not so much to you. So......what shall we discuss? Well, how about the fact that I haven't bought a single thread of female clothing in six months.......except for the three tops I bought last week *grin*? I was shopping out of control for a while, and stuff was piling up everywhere. I just had to get a handle on it. I can't possibly wear everything I find attractive. I had to come to grips with that, since I was running out of space to store everything. My latest purchase was actually some men's clothing, as I have gained a significant amount of weight, (something that I am not proud of), and my male clothing has become..........well.........let's just say, kind of tight.

It's all my fault. I plead guilty, to being a lazy, procrastinating sloven. But with no social life, why should I care? I live 50 miles out in the wilderness, so I have no one to please but myself. It's peaceful out here, but it's also lonely. Lonely isn't necessarily bad though. When you have lived in town, and felt very oppressed by the social construct that separates male from female, isolation out in the wilderness isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's actually more like a refuge.

I've been very depressed with the nose dive that our discussions have taken in the last six or seven months, and I'm sure my blogs have reflected it. We have gone from being a sweet group of like minded individuals, to a divisive group of she wolves. All of this negativity was introduced by a single obsessed and prolific narcissistic malcontent last summer. Narcissists are very hard to deal with, because they are so good at rationalizing, and presenting themselves to the unwitting, as something that they are not. They are skilled at turning the tables against their indictors, and making it seem that the charges levied against them, are the offenses of their accusers. Our chief antagonist is such an entity. She will never admit to her transgressions, she is way too self-righteous for that, and will always attempt to place the blame on any who call her out. But then she has no other recourse, because she is after all, a self-appointed Empress, with no clothes.

Now, on a lighter note:

Melissa XX

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where Has My Inspiration Gone?

It's mid winter, and I've lost my muse once again. The selfish bitch!.....she tends to desert me this time of year, preferring to wonder off and hibernate in a cave somewhere, leaving me to my own devices. I suppose I will just have to hobble along somehow without her.

Last month I had one of my largest electric bills in 18 years! Yes, it's been that stinkin' cold! Thanks though to the powers that be, heavy snows have not accompanied the frigid temperatures we have had to endure so far this winter. Last winter was a nightmare of successive heavy snows, beginning in mid December and occurring throughout January and February. By luck, the nor'easters have stayed either too far inland, or too far off coast to laden us with heavy snows this winter. We have had four light snows, but because the temperature have remained so low, they've taken weeks to melt, and the pond has been frozen for over a over a month now. Last night the mercury dipped down to 11° F/-11.6° C! That's just too much! Even with the heat on, you have to stay wrapped in a blanket!

Tonight was supper at Mom's, and she treated us to an enjoyable meal of shrimp in an Alfredo sauce on brown rice, with baby carrots sautéed in butter, brown suger and cinnamon, and a lovely tossed salad, of lettuce, red onion, cucumbers and tomatoes. Apple turn overs, or Cherries Jubilee ice cream, or both if desired, was the choice for desert. the old saying goes........"You scream, they scream, we all scream for ice cream!" I had to go for the Cherries Jubilee! It was just the Krogers brand with no sugar added, but it tasted remarkably like Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, with bits of maraschino cherries, and chunks of dark chocolate in cherry ice cream. Yum!

My beloved sister will be celebrating her 67th birthday next week, We have yet to decide when and where we will be taking her for her birthday supper, but you can rest assured it will not be at Red Lobster! The last time I talked to her about it, she mentioned Ruby Tuesdays. They have the most wonderful lean buffalo burgers! I don't often eat red meat, but I do enjoy it when given the chance. A good steak, or a great burger is hard to beat.

While in he grocery store, I tried to find her an appropriate birthday card. They had an entire aisle dedicated to greeting cards on both sides, and it took me the better part of a half an hour to find a humorous card that wasn't completely lame! 99% of them were so stupid, that they didn't elicit even the slightest grin! You would think that card companies would hire witty, intelligent writers, but most seem to hire, second graders! Finding a humorous, witty, or truly poignant card has nearly become an exercice in futility. Fortunately after close to 30 minutes, I found something sort of retro femme centered, that I hope will appeal to her sophisticated sense of humor. If not dear sweet sister, then I sincerely apologize! Where is Gary Larson and his Far Side cartoon cards when you need a funny caption?

Hard to believe my sister is turning 67! It kind of scares me, even though she clearly looks much younger. I'm so lucky to have her! If you knew her you would understand. She really is an intelligent, sweet and wonderful woman. I love her so!

Melissa XX

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Can't Sleep I thought I would pass this little bit of treasure on to you. Have you ever read the blog, Jessica Who? If you haven't, then you are missing out on some seriously funny stuff.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Really Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I exited the the elevator on the tenth floor of my mother's apartment building Monday evening, and instantly my olfactory nerves were met with the fragrant blend of aromas emanating from kitchens where suppers were being prepared. As I walked down the hall to my mother's apartment, I tried to guess which aroma originated from the meal that I would soon be enjoying, but as usual it was impossible to tell. As I passed each door, the aroma would subtly change.

Finally I got to Mom's door. I have my own key, so I let myself in. I noticed a pleasant non-specific aroma of some kind of roasting meat. It could have been chicken, but it wasn't until Mom started putting little cups of applesauce at each place setting, that I correctly guessed roast pork.

Now, as I have blogged before, Mom had been carving meat with an old bread knife, because all of her other knives were too dull, so I bought her a brand new set of razor sharp stainless steel kitchen knives for Christmas. After a while I walked into the kitchen, and she was busy hacking away at a platter of tenderloins, and she seemed to be having a hard time. She has arthritic hands, so I asked her if she need any help. She said, "This knife isn't working!" I said let me see it. She handed the knife to me, and I almost burst out laughing. Although it was one of her new knives, it was the bread knife!

I got the carving knife and finished slicing up the tenderloins for her. Soon we were eating pork, accompanied by a medley of mixed veggies, potatoes au gratin (when we were kids, my sister used to call them, potatoes all rotten), and a tossed salad. My sister had to scold my brother-in-law once again, for taking half of the bowl of veggies, but that has come to be expected. Before supper, he presented me with some horrifying news. He said he was seriously considering buying an apartment in my mother's building when he sells his house. If so, that will certainly rule out me wanting to live in Mom's apartment after she passes, something I have considered, because I really would like to eventually move back to Richmond.

Sadly my niece could not join us, because she had to work late at the big box hardware/home improvement store where she is employed. It's never quite the same without her, because she has such a wonderful sense of humor and she is so uninhibited. I've loved her ever since my sister sent me a picture of her shortly after she was born in 1968, when I was in the Army. I remember shortly after returning from Vietnam, I was babysitting for her one night. She was on my lap, and I was sipping a can of beer, while reading her a story. The can of beer was sitting on a table next to my chair. Eventually she got quite tired, so I put her to bed. I went back to my chair and reached for my can of beer, and it was nearly empty! Unbeknownst to me, she had been purloining sips, all the while I was reading the story to her! Needless to say, she slept very soundly that night!

The weatherman had predicted sleet and freezing rain on Monday night, so I was bit worried about my trip back into the foot hills after dark. The roads of the Piedmont can be quite treacherous when the temperatures fall blow freezing, and any form of precipitation is falling. Fortunately there was enough residual salt on the roads to keep them from getting icy, but by the time I arrived at my exit off the Interstate, I noticed that the hood of my truck was covered with ice. I had stopped at the grocery store next to my mother's before I left Richmond, so I had to unload the truck when I got home. By then, the deck was covered in a layer of gritty sleet, and I was able to bring my groceries in with only a slight worry of slipping. An hour later as the freezing rain began to come down in earnest, the steps and deck became completely glazed over. I made it home just in time!

Melissa XX

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Night Visitor

It was a hot summer night in 1973, and I was sitting in a recliner in my urban, bottom floor apartment, watching a small black and white television set. The unscreened window was open to facilitate a cool breeze through the stifling hot apartment. All at once, an image appeared in the corner of my left eye. I turned my head, and sitting on the open window sill, was an orange tabby tom cat, staring directly at me. He had a friendly look on his face, so I began to talk to him. "Hey buddy boy, come on in and say hello!"

He found my invitation to his liking, and hopped down from the widow sill, then sauntered on over to me. We made an instant connection! I reached down, and like an old pal, he began rubbing furiously against my compliant fingertips.........his cat motor loudly purring his contentment!

He spent the next hour or so watching TV with me, until he decided it was time to exit the same way he came in. Up upon the window sill he jumped, then back out into the night, never to be seen again! I thoroughly enjoyed our serendipitous encounter, but it wasn't until a few days later that I realized the full impact of his visit, when I began to notice itchy red bites on my ankles. My feline friend it turns out, had infested my carpet with fleas! It was so bad, that for a few days I actually contemplated wearing flea collars on my ankles! A thorough hosing down of the carpet with a super size can of Raid only proved to be temporary fix, and eventually I had to fog the entire apartment to finally rid myself of the plague.

I don't hold it against my night visitor. He meant no harm. To this day I still love all creatures great or small, but I never allow them past my doorstep........or window sill.

Melissa XX

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Memories of My First Sock Hop

The DJ would announce that this was the last song of the night, then suddenly an emotional connection that had eluded us for the entire evening would take over, as we tenderly embraced our dance partners for those few final moments. Keep in mind, that this was during the seventh grade!

Melissa XX

Masterpiece Theater Has Done It Again!

This excellent series is aired on PBS in the US, and is currently running Downton Abbey. It's a wonder story of an English estate, immediately following the sinking of the Titanic, and the intertwined lives of the masters of the house and their servants. Beautifully filmed, wonderfully acted, and full of poignant sequences, guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of any intelligent sensitive girl. Highly recommended! See Episode #1 here.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well.....The Big Snow Storm Passed..........

...........and all I got was this lousy dusting! All kidding aside, a mere dusting is the best kind of snowfall of all! Here today, gone tomorrow!

So the whirlpool tub, filled in anticipation of a power outage and my well pump not working, is now a reservoir of evaporating water, ameliorating the effects of the dry electric heat. I'm not much into whirlpool baths anyway. I've only used mine once in the 18 years I've lived here, and it's taking up a quarter of the space in my master bath. I'm seriously considering adding some aquatic plants, and turning it into a koi pond!

Take care everyone, and stay warm.
Melissa XX

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where To Start?

I was on my way to the dump today, when "The Ride Of The Valkyries" began to blare over my cell phone. I never answer my phone when I'm driving, so when I got to the dump, I tried to pull up the number, to see who it was from. A missed called had registered, but unlike all missed calls in the past, there was no information about who called. Not even the number of the caller. Hmmm............strange!

Of course my very first concern, was that my 90 year old mother had fallen and broken her hip again. She's already done that twice, and because she is both unsteady on her feet, and a tad scatterbrained, my greatest fear is getting a call saying she has fallen, and been hospitalized. She has recovered from past broken femurs with flying colors, but her last was nearly ten years ago, and I'm afraid she won't fair so well, if it happens again. It was a fall from a kitchen step stool, while reaching for a can of peanuts on an upper shelf, that sent my grandfather to the hospital for the last time in his life. He was in his late eighties, and the broken hip he suffered was just too much for his old body to handle.

Once I had thrown my bags of trash into the compactor, I dialed Mom's number. After a nervous five rings, she answered. Whew! It wasn't her, so who was it??? They never called back, so I haven't a clue!

Another major coastal storm is brewing, and it's scheduled to arrive by Monday night, or Tuesday morning. As usual, no one knows just how much accumulation we will have until it gets here. I needed various and sundry provisions for the upcoming week, but I didn't want to risk waiting until my usual grocery store trip after Monday night supper at my mother's, so off to the grocery store I flew after dumping my trash.

It really felt like winter today. The temperature climbed no higher than 31° F/-0.5° C, and the sky was filled with those low dark gray clouds, that look like their bottoms were dropping out; remnants of the overnight snow that dumped about an inch and a half on us last night. The weather report only called for flurries, but by 8:00 PM the deck was blanketed in white. By this morning, another inch or more was added. Fortunately most of it was melted by the time I took to the road today.

As I drove down the Interstate, I went through several interchanges, where cars were entering the highway via the on ramps. Apparently many people are unaware that the traffic on the highway, has the right of way over oncoming traffic, because they rush down the on ramp until they are parallel with you, and then just hang there, expecting you to either slow down to let them on, or move over into the inside lane. When you ignore them, and stay in your lane and maintain your speed, they eventually run out of on ramp, and have to slow down and pull in behind you. That really seems to tick many of them off, because they will invariably power on around you, and then pull in front of you and slow down, just to let you know how unhappy they were that you didn't yield your right of way to them, before stepping on the gas and figuratively leaving you in a cloud of dust!

Would you like to try some fashion fun? Go to this link, and see how good you are at matching accessories with various outfits. It's all very subjective of course, so don't feel bad if it takes several guesses to get them right. I tried it and did OK, but would have done better if I had stuck with my initial instincts, instead of second guessing myself. Let me know how you did!

Melissa XX

Monday, January 3, 2011

Red Slobster

I met up with my sister, niece and brother-in-law at Red Lobster this evening, for My mother's 90th birthday dinner. My brother-in-law was already there when I arrived, so we chatted in the lobby until my sister and niece arrived with mom. By last summer, my b-in-law had gotten over his grief over the loss of my sister, and decided he needed a new woman, so he went to and found a new girl. He also likes to travel, and has made recent trips to the Virgin Islands, Florida and upstate New York. So naturally knowing my b-in-law, our conversation revolved around him talking about those things, and then asking me if I had any travel plans. I told him that traveling without someone to share it with is no fun, so he said, "Well I like women and like to spend my time with them", and then he asked me if I had any plans to get a girlfriend! Now he has know me for 29 years, and I have never once had a girlfriend in all that time, so I was little irritated by the question, but I just passed it off by saying, that I like women too, but I have never been successful at relationships with them. I'm so sick of conversations with him, because if you are not into whatever he is into, there is simply nothing to talk about, and it quickly degenerates into a one way conversation.

After an uncomfortable quarter of an hour, my sister and niece mercifully showed up with my mother, and I no longer had to talk to him. I handed my mother the birthday card I picked out especially for her, and as soon as she opened the envelope, I knew I had made the right choice, because she immediately started laughing. Mom has always had a penchent for bathroom humor, and the card I got her had a picture of a pantless toddler, with fingers between butt cheeks. Inside, the card said, "To wish you a Happy Birthday, I needed a card, so I picked this one out just for you!"

As I suspected, getting a table on the Monday after New Years Day weekend was no problem, and we were all ushered back into the dining room. Menues were distributed and selections were made. We started with two appetizers. One of calamari, with broccoli and sweet peppers, with dips of seafood sauce and ranch dressing, and another of mushrooms stuffed with shredded shrimp and mozzarella. A couple of baskets of cheesy biscuits were also brought to the table. For me, the appetizers and the salad were the best part of the meal. I wish I could say the same for the entree that I picked. I've come to the conclusion, that when dining at Red Lobster, stick to the fried seafood because thats all they know how to do. I made the mistake of ordering a New York Strip steak, with lobster, shrimp and asparagus in a butter sauce over mashed potatoes. I was asked what kind of side order I wanted with it, and was given the choice of mashed potatoes (Nope, already getting them in the main course!), french fries (Why, would I want french fries when mashed potatoes are part of the main course?), or a baked potato (Again, why would I want baked potato, when I'm already getting mashed potatoes?). So I asked if I could get some other vegetable, and the waitress suggested broccoli, to which I said yes. When my order arrived it was delivered by another waiter, and my plate had my steak with two servings of mashed potatoes and no broccoli! There is no point in sending an order back in an establishment like that, because by the time you get your corrected order, you will either be dead from starvation, or all of your dinner companions will be on their desert.

When Red Lobster mentions butter in their menue description, rest assured that your meal will be swimming in at least a half a stick of melted butter. There will be no scrimping on the salt either. The result is that the flavor of the meal's individual components, will be completely obscured. A salty unctuousness will coat your tongue and palate, and that will be your lasting impression for hours afterward. My order was no exception. The one good thing about the meal, was that the medium rare steak was cooked perfectly. The sparse few pieces apragus, and the bits of lobster and shrimp were mostly consumed, along with half of the steak. Nearly all of the greasy, salty mashed potatoes were left on the plate, and the remaning half of the steak was taken home in a doggy bag.

In spite of it all, my 90 year old mother enjoyed her seafood platter and the company, and after all, that's what it was all about. Thankfully, for me at least, we only have to go to Red Slobster once a year!

Melissa XX

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year And A Big Thaw

It's midnight as I write, and the outside temperature is nearly 58° F/14° C. I can hardly believe it! Our Christmas snow has vanished, and for the first time in well over a month, a sweltering heat has filled the house, necessitating the shutting down of all heating systems, lest I shrivel up like a prune, and eventually disintegrate into a desiccated pile of dust, in an armchair facing a blaring TV! I hope the balmy temperatures last. I know that my December electric bill is surely going to be a killer. A warmer January will be a welcome relief to my budget.

I watched some of the Rose Parade today. The level of detail on these floats is always very impressive, especially considering that they are clad entirely in fresh flowers! As impressive as they are, one can only watch so many floats, marching bands and drugstore cowboys on fancy mounts, before one gets bored. One of the channels I've been able to receive fairly regularly, runs a lot of old movies, so I switched over to it. What great fortune! They were running Moby Dick, Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights, one after the other today! I was glued to the set the entire afternoon! This production of Melville's Moby Dick, with Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, has always been a favorite, but the 1946 production of Great Expectations, with John Mills as Pip, was absolutely the best! What a compelling story. I just love Dickens!

A deluxe bouquet of fresh flowers was delivered to my mother on Friday, in time for her 90th birthday on New Years Day! I received an email from my sister on Saturday, informing me that we are all to meet at Red Lobster on Monday evening, for Mom's birthday bash. There really is no accounting for taste. Red Lobster would never be my pick for such a momentous occasion, but it's Mom's party, so she gets to pick the venue, and I'm just fine with that.

Wishing all of you, a happy and prosperous New Year!

Melissa XX