the good, the bad, and the snuggly (no, not the damn blanket!)

The weather sucks.

It really does. It’s 42 degrees outside and not much warmer inside, as far as I can tell. D’Bear keeps the heat off until icicles form on the computer screens. Hey, it is his house to do with as he sees fit. Oh, he tells me to turn the heat up but I know he hates it…so I don’t.

stanleyclarkeI am here in NY since last Friday. We went to see Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White play their amazing jazz in Buffalo at the University of Buffalo Center for the Arts.  I am learning to love jazz. I never thought I would!  Stanley Clark practically f*cked that bass, I swear! He made love to it and made it sing in ways I never knew a bass could sound. He strummed it, plucked it, beat the strings, drummed on the body, fluttered his hand over it like he was literally making love to it! Oh. My. Gosh.

Today is the 7th day in a row with no sunshine. I can’t take much more of this.

I considered going to Rochester Works , the NY State -run employment agency to look for a job here in Rochester. I changed my mind. I need a job. I do. Money is draining through my fingers way too fast. My savings are not going to be able to withstand the kinds of hits they took this past year again unless I can somehow bolster them up with some moolah this year.

My prospects aren’t that good back in Pennsylvania. The economy sucks there like in many small towns. The few manufacturing jobs they once had have long since dried up. Car dealers folded. No one is growing larger, business-wise. My marketable skills are … well, let’s say I fit a niche market, shall we? It sounds better than saying I am practically unemployable at 55 years-old.

Oh, I am smart, reasonably attractive, willing to work, and easy to train but let’s face it. McDonald’s doesn’t really care if I keep my nails nice and ran my own business for 12 years, right?

The job market is considerably better here in Rochester BUT, and here’s the rub, I live in PA! All my contacts, my “stuff” is till there, in PA.  My bank, my mechanic, my house, my daughter and her family, my art studio, my junk… all are there.  If I didn’t have my house there it would be different, but I do. Until D’Bear and I make other arrangements that’s the way it’s going to be.

I don’t want to get married. I want to live, love, laugh, and enjoy the years left without the legal shit. I want to be with D’Bear simply and truly because I love him. No other reason.

He found out this week that his contract job is coming to a close shortly, like in one to three weeks. That means he will be looking for the  next job, feeling the financial strain of living on savings and unemployment until the next gig comes along. Sometimes he gets cranky as shit and I have to put up with his moods and he tells me it’s because he is unemployed. Ahhem… helllooo!!! So am I!

I want to work, too. I just don’t feel like being degraded in the workplace by slinging burgers or emptying bedpans, or smiling at dumbass customers at Home Depot for a few measly bucks a week. I don’t mean to imply that there is anything wrong with doing those jobs but I won’t go there. I am 55 years-old, and I deserve want to work in a place which respects the workers with a fair wage. And I will NOT work every damn Saturday!  I worked every Saturday for over ten years when I had my business and I will NOT do that again.

mcdonalds1Call me what you will.  I am not a prima donna. I am a damned hard worker. With me , you get 150%, but only if you grant me respect. Otherwise I’m outa there. I have watched pimply-faced 19-year-old boys in management at fast food places ,bossing around women twice their age, with sneers in their voices as though the women had no feelings.   I have seen the callousness of nursing home owners when speaking to the nurses’ aides.  I have heard the stories of the retail workers at that DIY place and I can’t imagine working there for very long.

So I am at a loss.

I’m going to sit here and figure it out. One way or another.

Hell, Cougar Town is taped! I can watch that! Noo, maybe not. I don’t need another media message telling me I should look like Courtney Cox in 4-inch heels.

Fuzzy slippers and a sweatshirt maybe.

OH! Here’s another thing! (You thought this damned long blog was finally coming to a close, didn’t you? HA!) After two years together, I am finally coming to the conclusion that I try too damned hard OR he-who-will-not-be-named needs to step his game up. I do not greet him after he comes home from work wearing sweat pants and a hoody. I smell good. I look good. I am cheerful. FUCK! I am practically June-Fucking-Cleaver!cleaverish He looks good when he goes to work. On weekends he wears cargo shorts and Tshirts. What happened to the nice pressed, button-down shirts and the neat jeans? When did wearing cologne become only for workdays? Hmm?

What happened to the sexy talk? When did sleeping- in become sleeping? When did saying “You look beautiful ” become a thing of the past? Where did the occasional love notes or flowers or kisses-for-no-reason go?

Every time I leave NY to drive home…EVERY TIME! … I write him a love note or letter or paint him a picture and leave it somewhere for him to find when I am gone. It’s become a game with us. As soon as he gets home he looks for it. Sometimes it’s somewhere obvious like on the bed. Sometimes I leave it a little hidden so he has to look for it. But I ALWAYS do it.

I am still waiting to find one from him.

Now, in all fairness, he does some wonderful and loving things. He does. He tells me he loves me pretty often. He is a thoughtful and considerate lover. He takes good care of me in so many ways. I am a bitch to complain.

I know he loves me. That’s not it. I am just tired of being the one to make all the effort here.

Men.

I love ’em.

when you hug a child

Today was one of those days.  Growing older and living (mostly) alone I often look back on my life and the vision is not always what I wish it to be.

 I cleaned house for my daughter today. I enjoy that and she pays me well but I do it while she is at work and the grandchildren are in daycare so the house is empty.

While I clean my mind is free to wander   As I cleaned my grandson’s room I remembered my own children and the way their rooms looked and smelled.  I remembered how when the girls were very young I would watch them as they slept and how they looked like little angels. I would often feel bad because during the day I had lost my temper over things that I now know are really unimportant. I would see their sweet little faces relaxed in slumber and feel the time I had with them rushing, rushing away!! I wanted to stop time, to rewind and get a chance to go back and do things better, more lovingly!

If only I had worried less about whether they tramped mud in on their shoes, or whether they goofed off at bedtime so as to delay the time for lights out and had instead spent more time playing Candyland and lying in the grass watching the clouds with them or catching lightning bugs in a jar on a hot summer night.

I found this video today. Please watch it and then ask yourself if you’ve hugged someone you love recently.

the 360 Tour

Imagine sitting at the very top row of the Rogers Center , home to the Toronto Blue Jays, a building  which could contain a 31-story office building, and which for concerts can hold 55,000 fans!  (Note: I was just informed by my friend Marlaine, a Toronto native, that for Wednesday night’s performance there were 63,000 people in the stadium, a record!) Over my right shoulder stands this, the CN Tower, which at 1,815 feet tall is the tallest freestanding structure in the Americas! It’s dark and I am waiting to see U2 and their world tour .
photo courtesy of Wilson Coley

photo courtesy of Wilson Coley

The band Snow Patrol is rocking the Skydome (aka the Rogers Center ) and thousands of fans are still pouring into the stadium.

When we first arrived and were directed to our seats we began the long hike up, up, up , up the stairs and thought WHAT THE FUCK? We paid for nosebleeds? But once we settled in and quaffed a couple of beers and looked out over this massive body of fans and saw the skyline of Toronto with the sun setting directly in front of us, framing the high rise apartment buildings in golden light… well, we realized it was all right. Very all right!

The CN tower has lights running up and down and around it and the light show they put on is nothing short of mind-blowing. Seeing the elevators going up and down while the lights blink and spin and change colors is amazing!

Then Bono and the band came out.

U2 tour

The set, one of three used for the tour, cost 40,000,000 dollars. YES! 40 MILLION DOLLARS! The “starship” was unbelievable.

U2-Zagreb-tour-2009-

U2-Zagreb-tour-2009-

While I would have liked for the sound to have been a little better, this was one of the most amazing concerts I have ever seen.  It’s hard to expect the sound quality to be excellent for every seat in a venue this large. It was still worth the trip and every penny we spent to attend!

U2imageThanks, guys, for an unforgettable night!

After the concert D’Bear, two of our good friends from Rochester, Mark and MaryJo, and I went for some food. We found a pizzeria with outdoor seating and sat and enjoyed gobbling down a couple of hot pepperoni pizzas and talking about the concert and our impressions of Toronto. I noted that it is a very quiet city! While we sat only a few feet away from a busy street, eating our post-concert meal, the traffic was heavy with thousands upon thousands of U2 fans filling the streets. And yet it was quiet! No one seems to blow their carhorns, or shout obscenities at other drivers, no screetch their brakes. It seems a very civilized and friendly city. People actually walk around with smiles on their faces! I kid you not!

The next morning, after a tummy-filling breakfast at Cora’s,  evidently a chain of restaurants in Ontario, where we ate a delicious meal of crepes, fruit, eggs, and coffee we made our way home via the wine trail. We stopped off at Tawse Winery and sampled some delicious Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. I highly recommend making the difficult drive to find the place. The are an amazingly beautiful winery located in or near Grimsby. They are an organic winery which uses geothermal heating and gravity-fed systems to make some absolutely amazing wines!

Home at 8:30 and four tired but happy people got to dream of the great mid-week roadtrip we had just had!

ok…..maybe not…

paintsprayer

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy a Ryobi Power Paint Sprayer.

I was so anticipating this to be a great day. Checking items off my to-do list makes me happy!

I was so ready to paint some fencing! Around 1:30 I assembled my items: new Ryobi paint sprayer, extension cords, Glidden Satin Exterior paint, large brush, and paint stirrer.

I first took the string trimmer out to get all the grass and weeds away from my fence.   I managed to get it running though I did have to keep the choke on over halfway the whole time.

 Once that was done I ran three heavy-duty exterior extension cords out  to the fence. I read ALL the instructions for the new paint sprayer, as only a woman would do. I lubricated the piston as directed. I filled the paint cup, primed the sprayer and proceeded to paint the fence.

The paint didn’t come out quite as I imagined it would , in a nice lovely, even mist but rather in a clumpy single stream with a slight misting overspray. After three 8-foot boards the sprayer stopped and I realized it needed more paint. I didn’t like the way the paint was sort of clumpy so I fetched a quart container of Wagner Paint Conditioner, guaranteed to thin without diluting. This particular sprayer had promised that thinning the paint was unnecessary but I thought the thickness of the paint might be the culprit.

The next round seemed a bit better  though I had some trouble screwing the bottle containing the paint onto the sprayer. Lining up the grooves proved to be difficult with hands slippery with paint!

The next sprayerful was not happy! I primed the sprayer , as directed, but the paint came out sporadically and then stopped. By this time I was completely covered in white paint and tried to remove the full paint cup but it refused to come off! AGGH!! I wedged my sneaker-laced feet around the container and whacked at it with all my strength! That’s IT!   Finally!!   Off it came, drenching my shoes and me with white latex paint.

 I’d had enough by now! Cursing the very day I decided that this was a good idea I poured the remaining paint back into the can and took the damned thing over to the hose and sprayed as much paint off it as I could. It then went with me into the kitchen and for the next 30 minutes I scrubbed and wiped and rubbed and rinsed that damned thing clean. I disassembled the parts and cleaned each piece thoroughly and packed it all back snugly in the handy, dandy carrying case.

It took me twice as long to put away extension cords, clean my kitchen, take a shower, scrub my fingernails, and get as much paint off me as was humanly possible.

I was prepared to do battle with the folks at Home Depot. Receipt in hand I marched in to the store and right to the counter marked for returns.  I said “I have a return!”. The young man took my receipt, the boxed sprayer and in less than 2 minutes I had a receipt for the credited amount.  No questions asked. No suspicious examination of the boxed item. I could have returned a dead woodchuck in there! He never even looked!

grin

Ryobi -0

Home Depot-1000

I am back to imagining that I will somehow find the time to hand paint 5oo+ feet of board fencing before the snow flies.

 HA!

brrrrrrrrrr……..

 

 

 

 

deadbug1

Dead bug position

dead+bug2

REAL DEAD BUG

This morning it was 48 degrees Fahrenheit. I went to bed with a few windows left open and when I awoke I was shivering under my quilt and spread. I am not ready for winter. I still have too much to do!

 

I went to Home Depot today to buy a paint sprayer. I have over 500 feet of three-rail wooden fencing that is in dire need of painting. In the past I had access to a husband who was willing to either

a. have me paint it all summer

b. hire someone else to paint it

c. bribe one of our daughters to do it

or

 d. leave it go till it rotted and fell over.

I, on the other hand, do not have access to his money nor am I willing to paint it with a brush over the course of weeks and weeks. My life is too short to do that! I am old, dammit! And letting it go to rot and fall down is not an option if I am ever hopeful of selling this money-sucking monstrosity of an estate beautiful, classic farmhouse and surrounding acreage.

I was just in the last bit of cursing and kicking at the self check-out due to the fact that I had indeed, despite the damned machine’s insistence that I had not “placed items in the bagging area” when my friends Jay and Pinky showed up. Jay informed me that my idea of using the electric paint sprayer wouldn’t work. I had told him I was willing to use several extension cords rather than pay for a gas-powered sprayer which could cost hundreds of dollars. He tells me this after I check out!

I had spent 20 minutes in the paint department with two lovely male employees who were both willing to help me find exactly the right items. Of course one had no idea where the exterior paint was located so I am pretty sure his advice is fairly unsound. This was the really adorable one with the dreadlocks….in HONESDALE, PA! We don’t normally DO dreadlocks here in Nowheresville, USA but hey! We are becoming quite the trendy hot spot! They tended to my Home Depot needs quite attentively and I left with my new Ryobi paint sprayer. I like Ryobi products! I also like attentive male employees!

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I had on extremely tight jeans or maybe it was simply “Be Nice to the Old Ladies Day”. I prefer to think it was the former.

So now here I am with my purchases and Jay, aka Mr. I Know Everything, tells me it will never work. I can only hope to prove him wrong. PLEASE let him be wrong!

I also bought a 2 gallon pump sprayer for insecticide. Ever since I fired my exterminator and started spraying Spectracide Once-and-Done Bug killer around the perimeter of my home I have had far fewer invasions of ants, spiders, and other creepy-crawlies than ever! The fact that my urine glows in the dark is a small price to pay for not having earwigs crawling on toilet seats in the middle of the night, let me tell you!

I leave you with this bit of wisdom today:
 

 

 

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” —-Muhammed Ali

 

 
 

 

 

Cowboy Coffee and PPL

coffee3

Ever have one of those mornings when you wish you could get a do-over?

Last night I watched my 10-week-old grandson while my daughter and her husband had a night on the town for her birthday. This was her first real outing since the baby was born and she really needed it so I told her to stay out as late as she wanted.  “We’ll be fine! I’ve watched babies before!” I said smugly.

Five hours into the evening I was watching the clock. By 10 o’clock I was totally exhausted! At 10:30 they came for the babe . I had planned on making a birthday cake and making potato salad for the Sunday celebration the following day but at that point I said “screw it” . I emptied the dishwasher, washed the coffee pot and went to bed.

At 4:20 A.M. the phone next to my bed chirped once, loudly and woke me up. I reached for it and realized the power was out. Grreat……..

No sleep for me after that. By 5:30 I gave up trying and went downstairs, wrapped myself up on my wooly throw since it was a chilly 60 degrees and took my book to the window to read while waiting for the electricity to come back on.

By 7:30 I was SO jonesing for some hot coffee I considered going to town to grab some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee…and maybe a donut or three. I resisted the urge. I am so good! Had I not cleaned the coffee maker last night I would have considered heating that up somehow.  I decided instead to try my hand at making coffee on my gas grill. I got out a heavy saucepan, metered out some water ( I have a well so when the power goes out the water is limited to whatever is already in the water tank downstairs), and popped it on the grill. After about 20 minutes the water was somewhat hot so I measured some ground coffee into the pot, covered it and took it off the grill.

 I waited five minutes then carefully carried the hot pot into the kitchen, grabbed the finest strainer I had and poured myself a mug of rather murky looking but FABULOUS smelling java.

Then the lights came on.

where you been???

farmtown

It seems that more and more these days my wordpress friends and I have let blogs lapse in favor of less cerebral activities. I know I barely have time to work on my Farm Town farm what with all the hiring and cultivating and planting and upgrading! It takes time!

I did not know that I was such a Farm Town Hoe until last weekend when I turned to my sweet D’Bear with such a look of alarm and said “Oh, shit! I bet my crops have gone to hell on Farm Town!” This was said in the middle of our annual garage sale. I had been so involved with setting up the sale, getting the house ready for guests (4th of July weekend visitors), and actually running the sale that I had no time to even look at my poor old (but beautiful) virtual farm.

Luckily no crops withered because I am a smart Farm Town Hoe! I planted crops that need three days or more to ripen for harvest!! Yippee!!

 So what have I been doing in the meantime besides playing stupid FaceBook games and running around my house gathering every unnecessary knick knack to throw on the garage sale tables?

 Well, I spent a crazy weekend in Rochester with my honey D’Bear where we went to the Taste of Rochester Festival and ate and drank ourselves into a stupor while dancing in the street to some good free bands! That was fun!

We also took a long Sunday drive around Seneca Lake and enjoyed some great Fingerlakes wines at the wineries.  I bought some wines at Damiani Vineyards, Shaw Vineyard, and a few others I have very little recollection of after Rasta Ranch Vineyards where the hippie-dippie ambiance just forces you to buy wines like Piece of My Heart and Uncle Homer’s Red.

Rasta Ranch's fine wine!

Rasta Ranch's fine wine!

I have been enjoying spending time with my new grandson, Ryan. He is almost 2 months old now and oh my gosh! He just smiles and coos and burbles in the most sweet and adorable way! What a good baby he is! Lucky for his mother (my daughter) he is nothing like his older brother in temperament! That fiery three-year-old can make a person tired just watching him!

 Other than that, let’s see, … OH! D’Bear and I will be celebrating our 2-year anniversary on the 13th of July! We met on July 13, 2007 after meeting on a dating site! We’ve been together ever since.

Overlooking Lake Placid, NY

Overlooking Lake Placid, NY

I think we may be heading over to the Adirondacks, Lake Placid specifically, for a romantic weekend of hiking, shopping, dining, drinking wine, and …..well, never mind! Some things are better left to the imagination.

my new love

Yes, I have a new love in my life. I just got this little sweetheart. I love her!

miatale

2001 Mazda Miata MX-5 LS Limited Edition

 

There is something so thrilling about driving on winding country roads witht the wind in your hair, the smells of nature all around you, the hum of the engine accenting the soulful CD playing on your sound system.

 This car is fun to drive!!! I have always wanted a Miata and when this one came available I knew she had to be mine!

 British Racing Green, low mileage, and mint condition! What a joy!

Let’s just say….

It was a crazzzzy weekend, last weekend.

My BFF’s youngest daughter got married. She (the BFF) is originally from Norway. Oodles of Norveeejuns vas ober here for dis vedding, ya! OOf Dah!. The groom’s family is from Turkey. They came. They saw Americans. They’ll never be the same.

 They combined many of the rituals and customs of both nationalities in this four-day-wedding-extravaganza! Evidently drinking and dancing are universally recognized as the way to start off a marriage. ( I happen to know it helps the rest of the time, too!)

On Thursday there was a ceremony for the women where henna is applied to one palm  of each lady to assure luck. I got a big blob of it in my right hand. A piece of gauze was placed over that and tied in the back of my hand. I was told to leave it for 20 minutes then wash it off.

Platter of Turkish wedding henna and accoutrements

Platter of Turkish wedding henna and accoutrements

The bride has henna applied to both hands, then a lacy bag is tied over her hands while the henna does its dying magic, leaving the bride-to-be with stinky orange palms.

Bride-to-be before henna

Bride-to-be before henna

Supposedly it signifies purification of some sort. All I know is it doesn’t come off for a couple of weeks and it kinda smells like sour cooked spinach.

Then there were the belly dancers who tried to teach us how to shake that groove thang.

groovethang 

I tried it. I think I am missing some extra hinge-y  thing in my hips  that lets her do this!

The next morning I woke up, went to the bathroom, did my business, wiped and then saw that brownish-orange blotch and thought I’d shit on my own hand! It took me a minute to realize that it was indeed the henna and not me being nasty. Well, we drank some the night before…

 Friday evening was more dancing, more drinking. Then some more eating, drinking, and then more dancing.   One lady snuck a grab of D’Bear’s ass while he was on the dance floor!  It pretty much made his whole weekend! LOL

Saturday, Wedding Day, turned out sunny and beautiful. The bride was radiant, the groom marvelously handsome, the ceremony poignant and heartfelt. Then there was more dancing. LOTS of dancing! Drinking and dancing and dancing and drinking! A good time was had by all…. I think. I know I had fun!

 Sunday I paid the piper (f*cking piper!). D’Bear and I mowed fields for six hours in the hot sun.  It’s amazing what a few Excedrin, a pot of strong coffee, and a tractor rumbling under you can do!

Not a DAMNED THING!  I still felt like hell!

scraping the bottom

bourdain

Gotta love Bourdain!! What a ham bone!

 

After checking my Blog Stats here on WordPress, I thought it might be fun to take those search terms that keep bringing folks here and actually use them all in one post.

This is from yesterday:

anthony bourdain 134
fiona 38
french maid 20
collard greens 13
letter n 12
nick nolte 10
sexy maid 9
maid 7
the letter n 5
french maid costumes 4

So I will attempt to write something using all these words!

 

french maid2I am a maid. I am not French and yet I can speak French un petit peu. Therefore I shall call myself a French Maid ( because this is my blog and I am doing the writing!) I clean house for my oldest daughter because she pays very well and I happen to like house work! It’s a win-win situation for both of us! Plus I happen to hate being “supervised”.  I can work all day scraping the crud from her home as long as no one tries to tell me how or when to do it!

I am also a huge fan of the show “No Reservations” starring my favorite chef Anthony Bourdain, who has French ancestry . Thus we are forever tied in this commonality!! OO la la!!

 I don’t think he has ever cooked collard greens,  but one day I would like to make them for him. My mother’s technique was to wash them, chop them and then cook them for 2 years with 10 pounds of pork. She would then serve them and all their glorious “pot likker” with  her own homemade skillet cornbread. This is why I have always had a problem with my weight. I grew up eating this shit that tastes like heaven to every southern Florida Cracker girl!

 I grew up eating what most people think of as “Soul food” . Black-eyed peas, collards, mustard greens, catfish, and cornbread with red-eye gravy were staples at my mother’s table.  And dried lima beans if you were a bad girl. I must have been very bad as a child since I can remember gagging my way through plate after plate of the nastiest, glutinous-iest horror ever put before a child. Even a Troll like Fiona would not have eaten dried lima beans without gagging!

 Now I am not going to use the letter n word just because I’m from the South. I grew up friends with my Black neighbors. We looked out for one another. If my mom and I caught too many mullet for our family to eat right away we took the extra over to Blue who would gladly take them for his supper! He raked our yard in exchange for our surpluses. We gave him produce from my mother’s bounteous garden and he did what he could considering his lame foot and curved spine. We took care of one another back in those days.

Nick Nolte played a Southern gentleman in the Pat Conroy version of The Prince of Tides. I loved him back in the old days when he was still handsome and I was still young enough to think I might have had a chance with him “if only”…. The Pat Conroy novels were some of my favorite books, and still are. He wrote about things that I grew up with , like the crazy relatives, the drinking, the spousal abuse, the real South, ya unnerstand!!

 I am trying to decide if buying a sexy French Maid outfit would make my man, D’Bear happy.

Who am I kidding? Of course it would!