Sunday, October 16, 2016

This whole Donald Trump thing... really working Cookie's last nerve.  Really.

Now the Creep is sowing the seeds of a fixed election.   So now all of web toed cretins who support Trump, think Putin is dandy, are now willing to resort to violence to over throw any election result that doesn't put their man in the White House.  And that's treason.  And Cookie wants no part of that or them.

Well, of course its fixed - more people hate, despise, recoil and eschew him than support him.  In that sense, the election is fixed because the majority of voters refuse to elect him.

The man is simply repugnant, vile, off putting, smell and just plain gross.

And don't even get me started on his deformed penis.  You just know that he has one.  Shriveled up like a stale Cheetos.  Dripping something nasty and incurable.

He just makes you want to do one of two things:

1) Vomit



Damn it.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The weekend that Cookie had more Pussy than any time in his life

Well folks, Cookie has never done acid, but I would expect that the past 24 hours is as close to it as he'll ever get.

And, Cookie can honestly say that he has never had so much pussy.

And pussy is everywhere.  We all have been exposed to a whole lot of pussy, haven't we.  Not a question, it's a fact.

I can't get away from pussy.  Every place I turn is pussy.  Pussy in the papers.  Pussy on the Internet.  Pussy on network TV.

Can you fucking believe it?

Talk about surreal.

While Cookie is one not to say I told you so, but I did tell you so.  People like Donald Trump cannot help but shoot themselves in the foot.  They are so enamored with the dulcet tones of their own voices that they just can't shut their yaps up.  And when it comes to talking about something you love as much as pussy, well, the Donald cannot be expected to contain himself.

There is a down side to all this pussy.   Kind of ruin's Donald Trump's chances of being president.  Doesn't it.

And I know how we feel about that.

You just know that Angela Merkel is breathing a sigh of relief.  Can you imagine Donald Trump on their first meeting - not reaching out to shake her hand - but popping a few Tic Tacs in his mouth and then making a grab for pussy?

Sure, he's got absurdly small hands, but that just meant that when he would have reached out and made a grab for that British Prime Minister Theresa May's pussy that he would have had to exhibit some finesse.

And that is something Donald Trump has shown us he has in spades.  Finesse.  You could hear it in his voice when talked about Nancy O'Dell's furniture needs:

Trump: "Yeah, I'll show her some furniture."

Now we did not see him doing anything when he said that, but we heard the people on the bus make that WHOOOA sound, so you know that those pussy grabbing hands made a grab at his crotch.

Cookie has heard a penis called many things, but never "furniture".  That's a new one on Cookie.

And I just can't imagine his first meeting with Queen Elizabeth when he makes a grab for her pussy.  He'll already be bent over in a deep bow.

Not only that, but the makers of Tic Tac's are now begging for us to forget the connection between Trumps mouth and his appetite for Va-gee-gee.

However Mentos is just thankful that Trump never discovered that they were the Fresh-maker.

All in all, there are twenty-seven world leaders who are women, and they are all shaking their heads at the stupidity of some American's for backing this boob.  And they are all thanking their God that he'll never make a grab for their genitals, or ask them for a Tic Tac.

And who would have thought in the 2016 election that Billy Bush would be THE Bush in this election.

Finally, there is my new hero on the Right, Ana Navarro.  Ana Navarro is a take no shit, take no prisoners breath of fresh air.  She put Scottie Nell Hughes in her place. And bless her for taking the word pussy away from men and giving women the right to say it.  Damn, now that's a woman I can get behind.

Friday, October 7, 2016

First Class Cold

Well, you may have been wondering what Cookie has been doing.

To be honest, not much. I have come down with the cold that you get after flying.  Bother.

Monday I went to the doctor and he seemed concerned, but declared it NOT a sinus infection, but a common cold.  He did give a flu shot, which made me feel miserable for a day.  But I saw the doctor.  That's the point. I am on the road to Wellville.

Every cold follows this pattern: day one, tickle in your throat; day two, runny nose: day three, stuffed up head; day four, cough in your throat; day five fits of coughing - and - days 6 through 30 fits of coughing that do nothing for you.

Based on this calendar, I am on day five.

And oh, the good news just keeps rolling in.  (Blogger needs a sarcastic font.)

A friend from high school died from liver failure.  He wasn't a drinker or drug user, but they think it might have been hepatitis.  Anyway, he ignored the symptoms thinking it would go away and by the time he got to the doctor he was too far gone treatment or transplant.

Look folks, if something is wrong with you, for God's sake go to the doctor.  Failing to do so isn't going to result in it clearing up on its own.  Save yourself.  If not for you, for the people who love you.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to slather Vick's Vapo Rub on the bottoms of my feet - its the only thing that stops the coughing.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

That Commuter Train Wasn't the Only Thing That Went off the Rails Yesterday

If you are a regular follower of this blog, then you know that I have lost my lost my mother in 2010, my father in law in 2014, and my mother in law in 2016.

Last week, it was my brother.

Then, four days later, our sister in law (widow of the Husband's late brother) lost her brother to cancer.

Yesterday, my mother in law's beloved dog Chloe died.  Chloe had been living with my sister in law.  She was a lovely dog, loveable on so many levels.

Today, Cookie is sitting in the Delta Sky Club in an airport waiting out a three hour layover to get home.  I am recovering from yesterday's funeral for brother, and I am drinking like a fish.  What do I care, it's free.

Yesterday started out as it should.  People dressed for the funeral, my sister in law's family members were there - they are from the west coast.  Cookie's family was represented myself and Older Brother.
Because we were raised Jewish, Sister in Law arranged for a "Rabbi" to do the funeral in conjunction with her church's minister.

Before said funeral, we met the minister and the rabbi who was wearing a cowboy hat, who seemed nice enough.  But the Rabbi was wearing a cowboy hat.  Both Cookie and older brother wanted to speak, so we introduced ourselves.

Right after introducing himself by name, said Cowboy Rabbi identified himself as a Messianic Rabbi.  
Now for those of you who don't get the American Jewish "thing", in a nutshell, we work out of the old testament, with three main schisms (in order of adherence to the Torah, which is Orthodox (the most), Conservative (the middle ground) and Reform (the most liberal).  Notice I didn't say Messianic.  That's because to a Jew, the Messiah hasn't come.   To Messianic Jews, Jesus is the Messiah.  Think Jews for Jesus.

And do you think that Cookie grew up in a Jews for Jesus household?

Oh, Hell no.

So the minute after he said that he was Messianic Rabbi, the trolley into the unknown started down the tracks.  And where it stopped, not I, my older brother or our East Coast Niece (ECN) knew for sure.

Jewish funerals are simple and short.  A prayer, the life eulogy, eulogies from those who knew the deceased, a closing prayer followed by seven days of being told to eat.

We made it through the eulogies - Cookie managed to "keep it together" until the end of the eulogy when I wept, and hard.

That was when Messianic Cowboy Rabbi took Cookie into a bear hug and announced that the eulogy I gave was the most loving that he had ever heard.

At that moment, Cookie, Older Brother, ECN and her husband knew that the funeral train was about to go off the tracks in spectacular fashion.

What followed was twenty minutes of ranting and preaching and personal testimony from Cowboy Rabbi about how he and father and mother came to know "Jesus."

We were forced to listen about his father's death, his mother's death, his underground belief in the Messiah, "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."  He shrieked into the microphones, stomped his cowboy boot, slapped his thigh.  He was so consumed with the spirit that I could have sworn Billy Sunday was back from the dead.

Between his yelling and weeping, we all became very uncomfortable.  It was so personal that it caused Older Brother to turn around and say "I wasn't aware that this service was about Cowboy Rabbi

I answered back "Maybe should should bill him for the therapy session."

Finally, ECN got up, went to the pastor at her mother's church, who reeled in Cowboy Rabbi, who apologized for being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Cookie is convinced that had he been left to his devices, snakes would have been brought out for us to handle.

Finally, when it was over.  I went outside and had a good scream.

I wish I would have had the presence of mind to get my iPhone out and tape his ramblings, but I was so shocked by his denouncement of LGBT rights that I just sat there controlling my rage.

When West Coast Niece, WCN, came out she looked visibly shaken.

"Now I know why Dad didn't want a memorial service."

I had to get out of there and left to go back to my hotel and a shower.

So now I sit in an airport lounge, in Salt Lake City, wondering if any of these people would have felt different.  Or if they would have sat enthralled while Cowboy Rabbi gave his testimony.  Or would they have been as appalled as I was.

Right before I left the funeral home, Cowboy Rabbi came up for another cringe worth hug.

Where are you from, he asked.

I told him and he said "Really, I am headed that way.  Maybe I will look you up."

"You do that, partner," I said.

Yes, you just try it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Once is enough

I learned a lesson when I was in eighth grade.  A classmate lost her father, suddenly, to a heart attack.  She and I were friends, and her parents and my mother were friends.  His death was an enormous shock.   Feeling it the right thing to do, I expressed my most sincere condolences.  Two weeks later, as I was leaving the orthodontists office, my friend, Jane walked in as I walked out.  Along with her came her mother, looking like Jackie O in a black trench coat, black hair and huge black sunglasses.  I didn't know what to say or do, so I offered my condolences again.

And she ripped me an asshole.

"Cookie, you have already done that and you shouldn't have done it again," she snapped.  This was followed with a lot of hateful things that lashed out, at me, that had nothing to do with me.  I was just the 13 year old who made a mistake while trying to do what he thought was a good deed, but cut open her grief like a freshly jagged wound.

Not knowing what to do, I left.  walked home, scared and scarred.

Lesson learned - never repeat a condolence.

Second lesson learned was Jane's mother called to tell my mother what I had said and how she laid into me.  She was sorry.

Lesson learned - losing someone you dearly love hurts so bad that it makes you do things that are outside of personality.  Forgive them.

Third lesson learned was from my mother who sat me down and explained that while my intentions were good, that once is fine, "Then it becomes about the living."  She told me that being sorry was OK, but what people needed to know was that if they needed anything, to do it for them.

"That says I care about you without bringing the hurt back up, OK?"

These are lessons I have carried forward.  I still see and talk to Jane - we've been friends for 49 years.  And I show her I can by being there for her, especially when the anniversary of her father's death roles around.

So when my brother died, and unable to be comforted by other members of the family, I tried to be considerate of others and their expressions of caring.

And then there was Twila.

Twila is the mother of one of our neighbors.  Twila is a talker.  She will talk the bark off a tree.  She means well, but her yap keeps going and going.  She means well, but she's a talker.

And it just so happened that Neighbor and his wife went on a second honeymoon this past week, leaving Twila and her husband "Rollie" with the three girls.

So I learned about my brother being in cardiac ICU on Wednesday, the day Twila and Rollie were on their own for the first time.  And there was some pleasant chit chat.  Then Audra, the nanny came out and she and I chat when I walk the dog.  Because I know Twila is a talker, when Twila went inside I whispered to Audra what had happened to brother.   Audra called me up about ten minutes later and said "Twila knows - she has ears like satellite dishes."


Next time I took the dogs for a walk Twila nailed me and the agony of it all enveloped her like a form fitting girdle.

"Oh, how horrible about your brother being on life support, and blah, blah, blah..."  And unending twenty minutes of her writhing in the misery of his situation."

So I hid.  And then brother died.

And the next thing you know, Twila was at the door wanting to know how my brother was doing, and I said "He's gone."  And then we had all sorts of commiserating on death.

On and on, Twila was in fine form.  I would have told her to piss off, but we are friends with neighbor and wife and frankly, I was just numb.

That was on Thursday.   On Friday it was a repeat of the day before, with Twila enveloped on the shroud of woe.  She asked when the memorial service would be and I replied next week.  After that I didn't leave the house.  I didn't feel like it.  And I just didn't want another encounter.

Saturday was our block party for the neighborhood and we hosted the port o pot on our driveway.

I was watching the set up and speaking with another neighbor telling her about Twila and her preoccupation with lingering death talk when said neighbor said "Is she short and round as she is tall?  Blue gray hair?  Because I think she is waddling this way."

Sure as the sun sets in the west here came Twila, lawn chairs in hand.  And verily she had her homing instinct on me.

I said hello and out of her mouth came "I wanted to come over and ask about your brother," she turned to Amy, the neighbor I was speaking to, and said "you've heard his horrible news, I am sure."

After three days of prying, three days of endless chatter, multiple sympathy cards, and plaintiff looks as if she was going take me to her bosom so I could cry the tears she had yet to see me shed.  I snapped.

"Well, no change.  Still dead."

Twila looked at me and without missing a beat said "I know that, honey. Such a tragedy, blah, blah, blah..."

Later Amy sheilded me when Twila looked like she was making another beeline for me, only to cut half a cake for her dessert.

"Did you realize that she hasn't offered to do anything for you, she just wants to obsess about death. I think she needs one of them Harlequin Romance novels refocus her attentions.  Poor dear, probably doesn't get a moments rest driving those three girls to three different soccer league games in an afternoon."

Twila is staying another week, and I am flying on a plane, first class to Brother's funeral.  When I come back, Twila will return to her "rancher house" with her husband, on the eastern shore.  I booked a flight that gets in at midnight - a safe time, I hope, to avoid her she she choose to continue haunting me.

Monday, September 26, 2016

And then there were two.

Readers of the blog know that Cookie has always walked a tightrope with "the family".  I came from a fractured household that shattered and was carefully reassembled into family many times over many years.

There were mother and father, two people who should never have gotten together.  There are two half brothers, from my father's first marriage, and the aura of their mother, who died from a disease that took her too soon from her sons.  There is the ghost of my half sister that my mother bore with her first husband who died shortly after birth.  There are also the step mothers and step father, various step siblings including the one placed for adoption as a babe, and then who attended elementary school without know who her birth mother was, or that my father was married to her. And of course the various aunt, uncles and people who we would told were aunts and uncles, but were just friends.  And three sets of grandparents.  

But the core family was my father, my mother and the two half brothers.

My father died first.  That freed me from years of emotional blackmail and abuse.

My mother died.  That freed me from the anchor that had been my identity.

And on Wednesday, one of my half brothers died.  It weighs me down with sadness.

And it was the half brother who I idolized and was closest to.  In the picture at the headline of this blog, he is the one in the back, leisurely posed.  The picture is from his Bar Mitzvah 50 years ago.

He was only 63 when his heart and organs let him down.

So now, there are only two of us who remember the things that were our family.  The house we lived in Shaker the first time that our father and my mother tried to make a go of it.  And the house that our father and my mother bought after their first divorce and tried to make a go of it in.  The few good times.  And the many bad ones.

Later this week I will fly to California for the service.  And then I will fly home to try and construct a new reality where he no longer calls and I can no longer call him.

To honor brother, be nice to someone.  Hold a door open. Smile at someone. Get your eyes examined.  Do something to take care of your heart.  Hug your children.  That was him in a nutshell.

This is going to take some getting used to.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Politics: Naderism and throwing away your vote in November

It seems that people have a short political memory about third party candidates and why voting for this is like throwing your vote away.

It's called, Naderism.  I coined that term - you like it?

Here is why.  Ralph Nader's egotistical tilting at the White House in 2000 made it possible for George W. Bush to get elected to the Presidency.  But in interview after interview, Nader to this day insists that what he and his voters did in 2000 had positive and lasting impact on the American political scene.  Naderism.  Sure did.  And not in a good way.

And the problem with Naderism.

I don't need to review what happened to this country during the presidency of George W. Bush as the titular head of the government, and Dick Cheney, the soulless, clueless hyper Conservative who launched a war for his person gain.

And the Rule of Dick Cheney is exactly what we got when voters ignored facts and started self righteously tilting towards Quixotic presidential campaign of Ralph Nader who ran under the Green Party banner.

And now, with even more at stake, this is happening again as millions of self delusional hipsters and millennials begin to tilt, once again, toward the mirage of "Nadersim".

These voters 1) Fail to study history, because they know everything, and 2) they also don't know that "those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it."  And if Donald Trump is elected, we've got something worse on our hands for minorities in this nation.

The arguements for not voting from Hillary Clinton to defeat the evil that is Donald Trump go something like this:

"I will not be bullied into voting for Hillary because of my dislike for Trump."

"Jill Stein has very real solutions for creating positive change..."

"Well if William Weld can get behind Gary Johnson and the Libertarians, then so can I..."

Here's the problem with that type of self aggrandizement with your vote.  If you vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, your vote will mean nothing, as in N-O-T-H-I-N-G come  November 9, 2016.  

True dat.  Don't believe me?  What did Green Party candidates get from the 2000 election?

Nothing.  That's what.

Come the day after the election, the only thing you will be credited with is handing the nation over to Donald Trump and his side show of political freaks.

Your votes will never lead to political change.

They will not open the minds of anyone.

They will not send a message to Washington.

They will never result in reform.

Like Don Quixote tilting at Windmills will never vanquish the evil in the world, your votes for a third party presidential candidate will never result in the type of change that you seek, or those little lies that Ralph Nader tells himself that his campaign changed anything. Naderism.

Here's why:

Third Party Candidates and their supporters gain nothing for their efforts in the United States for one very good reason, and that reason is that they only consider a third party candidate in Presidential Election Years, period.

You, as a voter for a third party candidate have done NOTHING to build a strong party network in the off years.  You have done NOTHING to get your third party candidates on any state or local ballots.  You have done NOTHING in the way of fund raising.  You have done NOTHING with grassroots organizations during the three years when there isn't a Presidential election.

In other words, you have done NOTHING.  But you sure are certain of that third party vote in the upcoming presidential election.  Yes you are!  Because you want to send a message to Washington that the system can be changed.

But here is your next problem.  You have done NOTHING to get anyone elected to the House or to the Senate to hear your vote.  And guess what.  Democrats and Republicans in Congress DO HEAR THEIR PARTY VOTERS!  Never thought of that.  Did you, Smugly?

And here is your other problem - you can't change Congress until you change the way seats are redistricted every ten years because you have no voice in your State level politics.  Why?  Because those bodies change every two years and you are only involved every fourth year, and that's only to support the Presidential candidate from said third party was nominated in a Ramada Inn in Boise.

YOU CANNOT EFFECT CHANGE IF YOU DON"T GET INVOLVED IN POLITICS - its that simple.   And if you are not working to get your third party politicians elected on the state and local level, you have no leverage to get them elected to Congress.  And without anyone in Congress to do the heavy lifting, your vote will mean NOTHING in this November's presidential election.  

And that is third party voting this nation has never effected any change.

Except in one way.

With Hillary Clinton the White House you at least have a chance to spend the next four years working - and that's what it is, working - to get your third party candidates funded and ready for local and state elections.  And then you can go for the Congress.  And then you have a shot at getting people elected to the House and Senate in 2022, 2024, 2026, etc.

And then maybe, if you are lucky, you might have a chance at having a viable candidate who can take on the big guys in 2028.

No pain, no gain.  You want change, get off your lazy asses and do the work.

But right now, in November 2016, voting for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is the lazy choice.  It means that come November 9th, the only thing that you can puff up your chest over is by saying "I didn't vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."

And then what?

What was your win?

What did you get for that vote?

Who is going to hear your voice?

The answer is nothing.  Because when you vote for a third party candidate that belongs to a party that has no political capital, you get what you put into it: nothing but Naderism.

Change doesn't happen when your candidate gets 2% of all the votes cast.

And Naderism has done anything for this country in sixteen years.

And it sure as hell won't get you anything in the next four.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

No comments needed. Just think about this and share it with an angry Trump Supporter

Violence and stupidity are not traits that Cookie embraces.


The idea that people are offended over the "Basket of Deplorables" comment tells me not only only heard what they wanted to hear, and then applied that to themselves tell me that many Trump supporters really do have a bad sense of self esteem.

How so?

People who know themselves, and know themselves well know exactly what they believe and why.

People who lack self esteem, and are easily swayed by the opinions of others don't feel good enough about themselves, their decisions and their beliefs.  They feel inferior.  They feel judged when they do something.  They fear success because it is easier to belly ache about their lots in life.  And they deal with that insecurity by stirring the pot, by starting fights and by believing anything that validates their feelings that someone, someplace is keeping them from what they think they deserve.

That last sentence is key.  There are a whole lot of voters out there who feel that they were promised the American dream.  Instead of focusing on Education, personal betterment and aspirations, they focused on getting what their parents had.  And guess what.  All that got shipped overseas.  So instead of sitting down, figuring out what they can do, they sit back and belly ache and they blame someone, anyone, that they can.

And then comes Donald Trump.  A bonehead born with a silver spoon in his mouth who believes that he is the greatest thing since greatest things were invented.  And he speaks to these people in a way that helps them find a target for their own sense of self worthlessness.

And its dangerous because these morons feel empowered to bad behavior because of Trump.  They are so blinded by his stupidity that they can't see their own.  They lack logic. They have no use for education. But they are ready not to get to work, but to blame a group, a person, a race, a religion for anything because it makes them feel empowered.

Truth is if they are chicken shit afraid to look at themselves in the mirror and fix their lives, then they are willing to be led anywhere.

Think about that.

Unless we do something to defeat their idol, this is just the tip of the oncoming iceberg.

Think about that.

Now consider what we need to do to win this election fair and square.

Its called getting out the vote for Hillary.

This election is about good and evil.

And good must win over evil.  Its that simple.  I'm with Hillary.  You?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Funny, you never see the two of them together

Dos Equis has announced that french actor Augustin Legrand has been chosen to play the Most Interesting Man on Earth, replacing Jonathan Goldsmith who originated the role.

On the right is U.S. Swimmer Michael Phelps, who bares a strange resemblance to Legrand.

Actually, its more than a passing resemblance.  Legrand, who was born in 1975 and is ten years older than Phelps could be his older brother.

And you never see these two in the same place at the same time, do you.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monitoring Cookie: Going BIG

Well, its been six years of looking at a teeny, tiny squashed bug trapped between my LED panel and the front screen of the HP monitor that I had, and Cookie decided it was time for a change up.  Actually, there is that AND I have been working on a cataloging project that required me to have four programs open at once and the clicking back and forth was getting on my nerves.

So I asked my friends, what would you do?  And the chorus was to GO BIG or don't go at all.

So we went monitor shopping.


The old monitor was 25", but the new ones are really BIG.  One was four feet wide, curved, two sets of stands to keep it up.  And nine hundred dollars!  That 25" inch screen set me back around $325 in 2010.  But now a 25" inch monitor is under $150.

Actually, when we went shopping my husband said that we had 22" monitors.  So I chose a prudent 25" one.  Didn't want to jump to much at once.  When we got home and unpacked it I was like "Hey...its the same size!"

And he was like "Nah, can't be."

And I was like "Yeah."

And he was like "Let me see that," and what do you know.  He was wrong, I was right.

So back to the store.  Monitors are something Cookie has to see.

And so I picked up a 27" monitor and it is HEAVEN.  Not too big, not too small.  1/4" border all around and 1/4" tick.  Remember the old CRT monitors?  A 19" one was a whopping 18" thick.

The husband also got a win out of this.  I gave him my old screen and then bought him a dual video card.  So not he can work with all his spread sheets, and music, and market tickers all going at once.

Yee Hah!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Seen in Cockeysville, Maryland: Is this perfectly clear?

OK, I found this in the Salvation Army store in Cockeysville, Maryland today.  And I am only going to explain this once:

It's a mirror with painting on the mirror, of a woman looking in a mirror and the woman in the mirror of the painting of the mirror is looking at the woman looking into the painting of the mirror, while the same woman in the painting of the on the mirror of the painting of the woman in the mirror is looking at you through her reflection of the woman in the painting who is looking at the woman looking into the mirror.

Is that clear?

And no I didn't buy it.  It is simply too Meta for my house.

UPDATE: As of 9/10/2016 this Object d'Art has been PURCHASED.   But not by Cookie or his husband.  Someone now has this hanging over their couch.

I must have missed this part of the 2012 Oylmpics

Olympic Rower Henrik Rummel is Fine with His Bulge Being Out There

Monday, August 1, 2016

Scenes from Yard Sale

The community yard sale was held last week, and against my will to be lazy and just pretend like it didn't exist, the Husband was raring to go.

In our old house, on the "avenue", traffic is heavier and while we lived in our development, we were the only house on block in the development, thus the only house to participate in 2014.  We put of out our tables after four hours made $35.

Last year, we missed the sale because we had moved the Tuesday before into our current house.  Exhausted, and unfamiliar with how much difference moving 1,000 feet can be, we didn't think that it was worth our while to make another thirty-five dollars so we passed.  We were, however, not prepared for the throngs of people that arrived, clogging up our street and the sidewalks.

So this year, we were in for a penny, in for a pound.   I got up at 5:30, helped drag out the tables, and the yard sale bins and the "sign", which is an oil painting of a nude woman sitting cross leged in a chair, her hair cropped like a bad bob of bushy straw color hair and pointed breasts shaped like ski jumps.  To this painting, we have a affixed a cartoon bubble that reads "Yard Sale Here".

"Do we really need that," asked the husband.

Yes.  She brings people in.  And she is not for sale.

Ten, twenty or thirty years ago, you used to be able to score some antiques of value at a yard sale.  But with eBay and Craigslist, and people watching Antique's Roadshow, the likelihood of that happening has dropped.

So if we had anything that had real value that we were getting rid of, we'd sell it in those venues instead of putting it out in a yard sale where someone would offer you a buck for a $100 Mid Century Modern Orefors vase, and be offended when you say you could go ninty.

In Ohio, yard sales are a staple with people buying, people selling. There is some dickering with prices, and some questions, but for the most part its pretty low key.

In Maryland, they buy much less, expect you to foolishly part with valuable antiques for pennies on the dollar, and they judge you a great deal more.

Our yard sales are a few tables of interesting stuff.  The people across the street are big time yard sale people and they operate an amazing say with twenty tables, and items arrange like a department store.

This year, the customer's were an interesting lot:

There was the six year old child who was fascinated by the old school adding machine, which he bought with his birthday money for $2.

There was the eighty-year old music aficionado who bonded with my husband over the collection of CD's he was selling.  "Oh, SQUEEZE!" she crowed.  "I was listing to this and Del Amitri this morning singing along.  Do you have any Avett Brother's?"

She danced a bit to the music in her head, periodically lifting her cane into the air in the joyful noise only she could hear.  She left too soon.

Then there were the one's who stayed too long.

There was the glum man who reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's Death, and had watched too many episodes of American Pickers who wanted to know what was in our back shed.   "I might be interested in looking through that shed to see if there was anything I might buy from you."  

I told him that nothing was for sale in the shed, "otherwise we would be having a shed sale instead of a yard sale."

There was the Lego man, a mild mannered late fifties man who haunts these sales looking for vintage Lego's.

"When he approach he squinted his eyes, got an unhappy look on his face and asked "Do you have Lego's for sale?"  I told him no.  "Well, I'll wait here while you go inside and take a look to see if you have any you want to part with."

I explained to him that when I said we had no Lego's inside or out, and thus none for sale he judged my childhood. "It's a shame you didn't have none to play with when you were child."

Fuck you.  Seriously, fuck you.

We had an extra Christmas Pickle that I had bought last year.  It was still in its jar, with label when a woman with what looked to be a broken tear duct arrived and sniffed at it.

"Who would need this?" she asked with more than a hint of condemnation in her voice, which for a second made me like her a bit because it reminded me of something my mother would have said.

I explained that the tradition is that you hide the ornament on the tree on Christmas Eve and that the first child to find it on Christmas Morning had the honor of opening the first present.

"Well it evidently didn't bring anyone in your house any good luck."  My momentary liking of her disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.  My mother may have been passive aggressive, but she was never an asshole.

I wanted to tell her that it had been wrapped as a gift for a someone who would drop my with a present, and that if she had dropped by I would have given it to her, but that would have exposed how petty and angry I was at her in the moment.   In my mind I was pointing my finger into her bony neck while an imaginary customer gladfully paid "only a dollar?  I would give five dollars for such a lovely Christmas Pickle..." saying "Well, what do you say about that Christmas Pickle now, you old asshole?"

Not long afterward, another woman made it to the Christmas Pickle and asked what was in the jar.  The Husband, sensing that my will to describe the pickle and its tradition was waning, stepped in, and carefully removed the glass ornament from its protective enclosure.

"Why that's a cucumber, not a pickle!" the lady exclaimed.  "I had a lovely cucumber yesterday for lunch," she stated with authority when out of nowhere, and like Brick from The Middle she whispered  "Cucumber."  She bought it for a buck and seemed pleased as punch with her purchase.

We also had:

  • The hyper-child who had to touch everything, with, according to his mother who was in denial, "Lots of energy."
  • The Yard Sale goer who tells you all the great things that they have seen down the street that "much better quality than what I see here."
  • The Gold Coin Guy who asks "Do you have a gold coins that you want to unload?"
  • The Camera Guy who is looking for "any vintage German made slide film cameras that you want to get rid of?"
And finally, the Mid Century Modern guy.  He is legend in the hood.  Evidently he comes from very old money and asks where you have placed the Mid Century Modern items.  He drives an Mercedes and is clothed in tattered L.L. Bean with ancient Gucci loafers, all which looks as if he's been sleeping in them.  Worse still is that he is a messy smoker.  

The past two yard sales he's swept in looking for the stuff, and has asked for a tour of our houses, which we ignore, because it creates an awkward silence that tells him he is overstepping the lines of propriety.  

"You mean the guy who looks like he's been sleeping in an ash tray?  That's, Biff?" said my neighbor Murial.  "My mother went to school with his mother.  He moved back from the Cape to take care of her.  So he trolls these sales looking for "Mid Century Modern" stuff.  Most of the time he'll tell you that he's been hanging out in a bar with John Waters, but John will tell you that Biff seems to always show up at the bar he's at."

Like a stalker?

"No, more like someone who likes to think of himself as part of John's entourage, but John doesn't have one of those.  But yeah, Biff is a bit pushy.  And he needs a bath and flea dip..."

When it was all said and done at noon, we had netted just under $200 dollars, so for five hours work, we made some money.  The unsold stuff went to Goodwill. 

And a promise from the Husband that we get to sit next year's sale out. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

An Open Letter to Donald Trump on the Art of Sarcasm:

Dear Donald Trump,

I am writing this to you because today, July 28, 2016, you tried weasel out of ownership of the invitation you made to the Russian government of Vladimir Putin to breach United States Cyber-Security and aid you in your quest to steal the White House from the people of this nation.

I say weasel, because, Donald, that is what you are - a big orange weasel with mange.

See, Donald, you have this habit of saying appalling things like you mean it, because you know that you will get press, and then after everyone around you tells you to shut the *uck up, your modus operendi is - and you share this with other people who are also borderline personality types - to say something like "I was just kidding," or in this case "I was being sarcastic."

Here's the problem with that back down, which is what it is, because no one, and I mean no one knows sarcasm like a gay man.  Teenage girls might act like they know what it is, but they have not honed their fine skills by 13.

So let me ask you, Donald, (oh, but I can't call you Don because I understand that you don't like that, or Donnie, either), what was your immediate thought when you read that last paragraph? "This asshole doesn't know what he is getting at?"

Then you don't have a clue about sarcasm.

If you were bright enough to get sarcasm, your response would have been "really."  Not "really?"  But just "really."

According to Webster, you traitorous son of Scotswoman, Sarcasm is defined as:

In other words, Donald, one needs to have "wit" to deploy sarcasm.  And some things, like wit, cannot be bought, Mr. QT. 

Face it Donald, it is something that you don't have.  So you can't claim it.

Sarcasm means that you are still in the light of day, but standing the shade of a tree on a hot summer day.  You deliver sarcasm with a roll of the eyes, the deadpan on your face.  It is cutting, but never at the expense of yourself.  Sarcasm is verbal linguistics that highlight how vapid something is.  Sarcasm is wielded like a bullwhip, with an extra loud CRACK.  

So let's go back to that statement you made, shall we?   

The day after it was made known that Wikileaks was going to release texts of emails, just happened to be the opening day of your rival's party convention, and it was also made known some time ago that the Russians - either at the order of man paying your debt bills, Vlad the Putin - who is also a former KGB agent or by some Russian hacker trying to get ahead in their world - were the ones who hacked into the server.   Then you take to the stage and open your big yap, and step into a great big pile of betrayal by INVITING A NATION THAT HAS BEEN OUR MORTAL ENEMY FOR 70 YEARS to compromise the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, a nation that you hope to lead. 

And you do this after saying that if the Russians were to go into the Baltic States, you would have to look at whether or not Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had made good by paying the U.S. back for everything that they owed us.  Owe us?  When the iron curtain crumbled we celebrated their independence, now you want to throw that accomplishment in world history under the Kremlin again? 

Hello?  (If you guessed that "Hello?" was sarcasm, you might be onto something.  If not, you still don't have what it takes, do you Donald.) 

Now, in middle America, in a farm someplace in the heart of our support strong hold, a Republican and his loyal Republican wife are sitting down to a cup of coffee and a bowl of shredded wheat and they turn on the TV, to FOXNews, which is "Fair and Balanced." (That Fair and Balanced?  That was  Roger Ailes being sarcastic - because FOXNews is neither, and some people get the joke, other's don't.  That's because Roger Ailes is a real bitch.  Don't cross him, because it turns him on. Ask Gretchen Carlson.  She'll tell you.)  

And after hearing you speak that invitation, guess what.  It's not a question Donald, because I am going to tell you.  Clyde turns to Wanda and says "Did that son of bitch Trump just invite the Commies to invade America?"

And Wanda, taking a drag off her Winston cigarette says, "Sounds like it to me."

Now Clyde has a problem.  His father was killed in Korea fighting for the United States, against the commies, and he has voted for every damn Republican since Goldwater because the Republican's are tough on Commies, and now he has a bumper sticker on the back of his Chevy Truck (which is as American as "baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet") with your now Commie loving name on it. 

See the problem, Donald.  

Didn't think so. 

Clyde's problem is that he was planning on voting for you stupid son of bitch because Republican's keep the Russian's out of United States and it's stuff.  That's what Goldwater campaigned on, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and both Bushes, you arrogant prick.  Now you come along and not only invite them in, but you are too much of a chicken shit to own your words, coward. 

Here's the problem you giant gasbag, there is only one crime mentioned in the Constitution, which, God forbid you will have to swear to uphold against all enemies FOREIGN (That means the Russians that you just invited in) and domestic.  And that crime is Treason - the aiding and abetting of enemies of this nation to work towards overthrowing the duly elected government of the U.S.

And voters like Clyde and Wanda are your supporters - Conservative whites who you have made fearful of Communism and Socialism and every other "ism", are blinded by that fear you are peddling.  Otherwise they would see you for the obnoxious putz that you are.  

And every jaw of every American that paid attention in Government class just cringed when your pie hole spewed out that chestnut. 

So now you come out, all macho and trumpylike, and you say "oh, I didn't mean it.  I was being sarcastic" as if that is going to fix this. 

And Clyde and Wanda are wondering how the hell they just sold out the country they love by buying the load of Trump Shit you are selling. 

Let me tell you Donald Trump, Clyde and Wanda and every other American with an ounce of education didn't chortle at that crack.  It wasn't clever.  You weren't joking, and it certainly wasn't sarcastic.  It was a very definitive invitation for the Soviet Union to re-emerge and break down our security that controls everything from the lights in your gold plated toilet room to the protocscope that your doctors use to examine your brain. 

Linda Ellerbee once said that "Ideas off the top of one's head are a lot like dandruff - small and flakey."

Abraham Lincoln once said "It's one thing to be thought a fool, its something else to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Do you see what I am getting at Trump?

No, because your head is so far up your ass that your borderline personality disordered personality just comes back up your throat. 

Donald, you are bad news.  You are bad for this nation, and now you are bad for the world.  And I hope to God that when you lose in November you go the fuck away.  How about the Crimea?  I think Putin would love to sell you a nice villa for your golden years, you putz. 

Very Truly Yours,


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Shakey Shenkman Alert: Amazon really does sell everything, almost.

So, I get a message from my friend, Susan, and it says: "Cookie, what would you do if you found this Christmas morning under your tree?"

So I clicked the link to Amazon and this pops up:

So I look, I rub my eyes, and I verify this is for real.

And reader, it is.

"It comes with six shmeckles, says my friend.

"For this price?  It should come with more."

I respond to to Susan: "Well, under the Hanukkah bush yes, but this Christmas tree?  Isn't that a bit much?  I mean the Christ child has theoretically just been born.  So I could use the seven days for practice, but..."

Susan responds: "Would you like it in "White" or in "Medium"?

Evidently, "Medium" equals "brown" which means "black".

Reading further, I found a one line description: "Manufactured with care by Nasco in the United States, this Infant Circumcision Trainer, White is an excellent addition to your classroom! Shipping weight is 5 lbs."

"But I don't teach," I reminded Susan.

"The description says it also makes an excellent door stop," she replied.  "Besides, if David Sedaris has a 200 year old medical model of a vagina inset with real pubic hair, why can't you have this?  Think of this of it as a conversation starter."

I thought.  She had a point.  But what kinds of conversations could be started with this thing?

Guest: "What in the world is that?" they would ask, or maybe they would ask if E and I were taking up the art of circumcision like some couples who take up stamp collecting, or bridge.

And I would reply "Oh this?  This is an infant circumcision practice model."

I could then regale them with tales about my own bris.  "According to my Godmother, Rabbi Sol Shenkman did my bris.  He was known in Cleveland Jewish circles as 'Shakey Shenkman' because he was aged and had a tremor."

I once asked my mother who she could have handed me over to an old man at the beginning stages of Parkinson's to handle something so delicate.

"Sol," she began, "did beautiful work," as if he made draperies, or was a master painter.  This was followed by silence.

"And," I asked in a leading way.

"And," my mother replied "nothing.  He asked for the business, brought me flowers and was known for his talents."

"Talents?" I asked.  "Spinning a basketball on one's finger is a talent.  Selecting the right fabrics to get a total design in a room is talent.  Talent is playing Bach by ear.  SKILL is what you want in a moil, not people with Parkinson's."

"Of all the men you've "seen", who has the nicer circumcision, you or they."

This conversation drifted where I certainly didn't want it to go.  But she did have a point.  The Cookie Monster is well done, while some of the men that I have found myself with had messy work done.  The worse seems to be with men who were circumcised by the military when they were in the army, navy, air force or Marines.

Still, I didn't think anyone would want in on this story when they dropped over to collect money for the progressive dinner door prize, or over cocktails (until much, much later) in the evening.

I told Susan that while her offer was generous, that the trainer would be more fitting in her house, a house that had a Mezuzah  in every door into every room.  "It would part of your theme."

And now Susan waits for her knicknack, and she promises to save me one of the six penis that comes with the model.

Oh, boy! Hours of fun await.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I am still here, just on summer break...

You may have asked, what is Cookie up to?

Well, the sad, simple truth is not much.  Mother Nature has settled her great big fat ass right on top of Baltimore and it is HOT AS FUCK.

As my mother's mother would say, fanning herself in the stiflingly hot house that she and my grandfather lived in, "The weather today is 'close.'"  Never mind that she had an air conditioner that would have dropped the whole first floor to meat locker cold, she's sit in her chair with a fan from Denzer's Funeral Home and just rock in her chair.  Or, she'd be cooking over the stove, with that same fan in her hand, suffering in silence.

But in the Mid-Atlantic, it is not a dry heat.


This morning at 9AM it was 80 degrees and 87% humidity.  Yesterday it was so miserable that air was 90% humidity, and when that happens, and its hot, something's gotta give.  So ever hour or so the skies would just release heavy rain that came down in huge droplets for a minute or two and stop, and then a half hour later, it would repeat. And again, and again.  Finally at about two it just rained for about a half hour as the worst of it got it out of its system.

Still, its gross.

So we hide indoors.  With the AC.  And the dogs.

Just as you know that you are fat when the crotch on your caftan is tight, you know that the dogs want no part of this weather.  The dogs charge out the door gallop halfway through the back yard, pee and then gallop right back in, and they lay on the floor as if they have been at play all afternoon.

In other news, I am planning a solo trip to the Ohio's in August.  If you don't know why I call it the Ohio's plural, it's because while it is a legal state, Ohio is no longer homogeneous.  Cleveland, Youngstown, Toledo and Columbus are wonderfully liberal - which makes me scratch my head as to why the RNC chose it instead of Cincinnati for their dreadful convention - which the rest of Ohio is red as a raw steak.

Simply put, I need a break, a chopped liver infusion and SHHS is planning a 35th reunion, so I will actually be doing Hard Time in Shaker Heights for  a couple days.

After that, I will be schlepping down to Columbus to be surrounded by friends.

The husband, meanwhile, will be "bach'ing" it here, missing me.

And when I get back, I will be even more appreciative of all the blessings in my life.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Obergefell: One year on

So it has been one year, June 26, 2015,  on since the Supreme Court decided that marriage - that most personal of rites that we can share with the person we love - is guaranteed to all Americans.

Now Cookie and the Husband have been together since May, 1997, had our commitment ceremony in May 1999 and were married on May 5, 2008 in Massachusetts, and when we moved to Maryland on September 1, 2012 were officially recognized by our state, even though marriage rites equality didn't happen her until voters approved it until November 2012.

But on June 26, 2015, Honey, we all got the green light!

And the doomsayers on the nutty right had lathered their people up in a frenzy saying that all manner of Hell would break loose if this happened, because that is what ignorant non-thinkers were told to believe.

So lets go over what HASN'T happened since the court voted in Obergefell, shall we?

1) God did not smite down the United States.

2) God has not abandoned the United States.

3) God has not sent a plague of frogs upon this country, either.

4) No straight couple's marriage disintegrated on the spot over gay marriage.

5) No church has been forced to host a same sex marriage against its will or against it's canon.

6) A disappointed Rick Santorum has yet to find anyone who wants equal rights so they can marry a barn yard animal.  (Yet the idea seems profoundly exciting to the former Senator, no doubt, as he was found of bringing this up, a lot.)

7) A disappointed Rick Santorum also cannot find any sign of a movement to bring back polygamy, except in his supporters who live at the former Warren Jeff's compound.

8) No, we, as a people have not encountered a slippery slope - or ANY slope as far as any social issue yet.

9) No, it doesn't offend God.  If it did, wouldn't she have smitted us by now?  (See Number 1)

10) And no, it has not caused an immoral sexual tidal wave to hit the U.S.

What it has done, that is bad, is:

1) It gave us Kim Davis.

That's it.

So Cookie has decided that hence forth, June 26th is our day of true equality.  Take it, savor it, and never forget that there will always be someone or some group that wants to take it away from us.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Margaret Vinci Heldt, 1918-2016


Cookie is going to admit: this has been a horrible couple of days for the LGBT community amd the American people.  

So today, let us also add to our plate of grief,  by observing the passing of a Hair Style Goddess, Margaret Vinci Heldt, who has died at the age of 98.

According to the June 14, 2016 Washinton Post, Heldt is the credited inventor of the Beehive hair style.

Born in 1918, Margaret Vinci Heldt decided that she wanted to be a hairdresser at age seven.  When she went for Board examination, her mother sacrificed her long tresses for her daughters future.  While her father wept for his wife's lost locks, Mrs. Heldt said her mother took (her) hand and said " 'my child, I want you to know that you are one of God's chosen people' - in Italian it sounds wonderful."

The Beehive was invented as a challenge for the "hair design"  for the future decade made by Modern Beauty Shop magazine in 1959 and the result was published in February 1960.  Mrs. Heldt said she was inspired by a black Fez that she kept her combs in.  Her Design was Fez shaped soft cone on the top of her styling model head.  At the last minute Heldt included a stylized "bee" shaped clip on the back of the design.  The magazine endowed the design with the name Beehive.  And an icon was born.


Over the years she was taken aback at how large the beehive became in the name of fasion.  "The became more like hornet's nests."  But she also acknowledged that the style, which soared in popularity partly becuase if it was wrapped carefully before bed, it could last a week plus intact, "wouldn't have been possible without hairspray."

Her advice to her clients with the style?

"I don't care what your husband does from the neck down, but I don't want him touching you from the neck up."

Mrs. Heldt, who was widowed in 1998 was survived by her children, grand children and great grandchildren.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Seriously, WTF.

OK, so you know how I just said that we were going to get the bush roots out and deshrub?

Well, things didn't exactly go as planned.

Husband hired the landscapers to remove said stumps so we could then roto till.

Well, they chopped.  They used a pry bar.  They brought in a pick axe.  A chain saw.  A second chainsaw.  Two new chains for the chainsaws.  Nothing would budge.

Take a look at the picture above.  To give you an idea on how big these stumps and roots are, see that dot on the root?  That is a quarter.  We're talking some big shit.

Soooooo, they had to come back for a second day.

This time they brought BIG saws.  Industrially BIG saws.  Lumberjack saws.  And a stump grinder.

On day two they also brought in 12 men, three trucks and a ATV and cart.

When they were done, six hours later. Three trucks groaned out of the neighborhood, heavy under tons of roots, piles of branches, and overburden from the scraped down back yard beds.

We have a clean slate on which to plant.

The down side of this?  Not one guy had a decent body or a full set of teeth.

But we have a clean slate to plant in.  Take your wins where you can.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Back to a normal, of sorts. And then more horrible, horrible news!

The Joan Crawford's face says it all: "FUN"  Not "FUN!", just "FUN".

Whoo Hoo.

There is something to be said for calm quiet.  Yup.  Sure is.

The husband went back to work on Monday and is playing catch up with the tasks left hanging.  The dogs, too are exhausted from their disrupted schedules.

But I feel a bit out of the loop.  It's been hard for me to get into my routine since its been four weeks back that I was last in it.  Back then we were in the midst of stalled "Omega" weather front that nearly drowned us in a foot of rain over a month (Yes, folks in California, I know that you are still in a drought) and yes I am thankful for the rain.

So I have been getting caught back up on life, just not relishing the change in the family dynamic.

I did put MIL's listing on Find A Grave, and linked her to her parents, sister and brother.  I ALSO added her birth family onto the site - you remember them, the New Yorker's that dismissed us with a shove down the stairs and snap in the air.

And here on the home front, the husband "deshrubbed" the 80 year old taxus bushes in front of the house last weekend, and he was "bushed" afterword.  The landscaper is supposed to be here tomorrow to rip out the trunks, which, and I am not kidding, are eight inches around.  Those were some big ass bushes.  So hopefully, "hopefully", we rent a rototiller this weekend and make those flower beds our bitches this weekend.


You know "Il Duce", that nice guy who has the blog Suffering Fools Badly?   Well the poor dear was biking yesterday and was hit by a bus!  They had to operate on his leg.  And he's laid up no weight on the leg and then next week they are going to decide if they have to do more surgery on him.  Stop by his blog and wish him well, poor dear.  He is the nicest and cutest man imaginable.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Loved One, Part II: The Rent A Minister

My MIL was raised a Unitarian.

She was not a High Church woman.  She embraced all things, all people, all viewpoints in which people could be themselves.

She believed in the good that science could create, but she understood that science could also create things that were not good.

My MIL saw God in a daffodil, in a hot air balloon and in the artwork of all the continents of the world and all of the peoples of this earth.

She also love cooked shrimp.

When my father in law died, we asked the sister of a dear friend, who is a minister to run the service.   It was beautifully handled and masterfully guided.

So when it came to find someone to preside over the service, being that we had a holiday weekend, our options were limited.  We settled on Fortesque and Son's go to guy, "Pastor Mike".  I changed his first name, because we have no idea what his last name is.  It never came up.

We explained that MIL was a woman of faith, but that her faith was not derived from an old or new testament, but from the laughter of children, the prism of a crystal reflecting on the wall or a kousa dogwood in bloom.

What we got at the graveside, which happened before the service, was Psalms and "Biblisms".

So the husband pulled Pastor Mike aside and explained, less evangelicalism, more in the faith of mankind.

And when the service started after calling hours...

What. The. Fuck.

We got psalms.  We got passages.  We got sermoned.

My sister in law, a forty year old, 6'4" tall man named Matthew - who is married to my brother in law,  leaned over and said whispered "Sweet smoking Jesus...this is toned down?"

I spoke, my sister in law spoke, MIL's step brother spoke, MIL's sister spoke, all of it was lovely.  None of it was Churchy.  We were hoping that Pastor Mike would have gotten the message.

He did not.

"And, oh, what a friend we have, in Je-sus..." crapola started anew.

And every time he said Jesus, a bit of me winced inside.   I could hear my mother saying "I hate it when these bumpkin ministers throw around Jesus' name like he's their bowling buddy.  It is Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ after the first, and Jesus Christ, thereafter..."

From behind my husband, I could see his shoulders hitching up with each preachy word.

As we were leaving, Pastor Mike kept asking how he had done.  And we said that he was certainly on his message.

Trust me people when I say this: bargain ministers at a bargain price are no bargain.

Sometimes, I wonder if men of "God" stop believing that this is about helping people and just go on autopilot.   Actually, none of the funeral home rental ministers I have ever seen have ever been any good.  Maybe that's the price you pay for not having a relationship with an organized body.  On the other hand, we should have done a Jewish service.  Simple.  To the point.  Let's go and eat.

In the end I think that a minister at a funeral is simply about having someone who can do and say something so the family of the deceased don't have to do much.

As for me, keep mine, when the time comes, short and sweet.  Then everyone should go and eat - a big meal.  And maybe a movie.  Something to make people laugh.  Hang a crystal in the window.  Think of me when the light refracts.

Just as I will when I see the same and think of my mother in law.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Loved One

Today, Cookie finds himself on the otherside service and burial for our Loved One.

If you have seen the Loved One (1965), the black comedy movie based on the book by Evelyn Waugh, then you are familiar about that, which I am going to write and you to read.  If not, well then, You'll just have to watch it, and then write a 150 word theme on why Mrs. Joyboy's eating habits were very poor.

But, let's get back to me.

When I tell you that I really thought I found myself inside the movie in preparing for my MIL's funeral, then you have a idea of what kind of surreal nightmare where one is simply appalled, and yet one cannot not help but snigger and shoot looks at the others to see if they too are holding their outrage in.

We arrived at Fortesque and Son's the morning of our Loved One's passing.  Young Mr. Fortesque, a fourth generation Funeral Director, was going to handle my MIL's funeral.  His father, Old Mr. Fortesque had handled my FIL's funeral.  At that time, and among the lies that we were told was that FIL chose to be cremated, and therefore we had to buy a casket.

"But, why?" we asked?

"The Loved One is cremated in casket," began Mr. Fortesque.  "Shall I show you our Ebony Master, a casket made of only the finest woods harvested from pristine Amazon basin...."

I interrupted.  "Did you just say that you cremate the body in a retail casket?"

"Yes, Commonwealth law," he said, "and over here we have heartwood cherry, resplendent with a seven coat finish..."

Now Cookie has been around.  And as a genealogist, Cookie knows funeral homes and the funeral business.  Cookie's former husband was a licensed funeral director (although he was not in the business at the time we were together) so I know the scams.

So I decided to fuck with him.

"And this one," says I, pointing at a $20,000 bronze model with a triple seal lid.

"A wise choice..."

"And you cremate with this?"

"Yes, We.."

I called bullshit by saying "I call bullshit.  No one on earth has a crematory for that unless you are a alchemist."

So I called my mortician in Ohio and I asked him what was going on.  He called bullshit, too.

So back in, in front of my in-laws I said "Pine cremation casket."

He gave me a very disgusted look.  But he knew I was onto him.

Well this time, MIL wanted to be buried, so we had to buy a casket.

Husband asked about price and Young Fortesque (who is in his mid 60's) said its all one price, $9,500.

He then took out five envelopes and began writing on them.  "These are for the outside costs we cannot control..."  $500 for the weekend dig.  $750 permits and the vault.  $250 for the rent-a-minister.   "$110 for the town clerk for the death permit and the ten certificates."

"You need a permit to die?  Couldn't we have gotten that in advance and saved a couple dollars?"

That got me a dirty look.  "I don't set the outside costs, sir..."

Then, when the minister and the cemetery personnel were secured, then we went casket shopping.  That took us down, down flights of stairs into the dank recesses of what looks like a rumpus room from the early 1950s. There were three rooms.  The front room, the middle room, and the "value line" room.

I figured that Ebony Master would have marked down, given that the model was three years old, but no.  Now we had the New Ebony Master Supreme.  "In addition to the improved seals, the Loved One now rests on a memory foam and gel mattress for eternal comfort."  And the cost?  $21,000, includes all of our services of limo, room rental...excludes outside costs."

Then were were shown:

"Eternal Ironwood, with a pure silking...2k gold plated hardware...down eternal rest mattress that is also coated for waterproof durability... $15,000 includes all services..."

"Cherry Hill, pure silk...bronze hardware, and the departed's name is laser etched in the lid...$14,500..."

"Eternal Rest Bronze, now with a four lid seal, with two inner lids and two inner lids...$18,000..."

So the husband asked "What happened to $9,500, all costs included?"

He took us to the very back of the Value Line room, back to an area where the carpet yielded to a painted concrete floor, flipped on a buzzy fluorescent shop light.  There, on the lowest display level was the "Ticonderoga".  The Ticonderoga was shiny battleship gray - everything.  Casket, hardware, lift handles, everything.  He opened up the lid, which sounded hollow.  the interior was upholstered in "poly tricot with a fiberfill pad."

He let the lid down and it sounded like the door to a Toyota Echo.

"20 gauge steel, same as car panels.  Comes with a three year leakproof guarantee.  We sell this model mostly to budget minded families and next of kin.  I would suggest a closed casket viewing with this model."

"Of course," Mr. Fortesque intoned, "She was a longtime resident of our community, so she understood our local customs and standards..."  And with that, the Ticonderoga slipped off into the distance.

At this point I stepped aside.  This was a decision for the husband and the siblings.

When we were done - and they went with the "Roselle", which MIL would have liked.  But it wasn't $9,500.

THEN it was time for the vault.

"Of course, we don't sell the vaults," said the undertaker.

"Of course," said I.

 The vault is sold by the Commonwealth Vault Company.  He pressed a button and in a minute we were joined by "Jonathan" who worked for the vault company.  "We have an office on premises and the Fortesque's said that you would visiting.  We then went on the grand tour of vaults.  For this, they settled on one and a price was named, which was not covered in the funeral estimate because the vaults were sold separately.

Unioffically, we were on the BOHICA plan.

After the funeral my husband and his family rode off in the limo, and my sister in law Matthew and I went to the market to pick up some food for the after visitation.  When Matt's phone went off.

"It's you husband, and you haven't answered his calls," I turned the phone off, " he wants to know if he tips Tim the limo driver from Fortesque's.

I said, tell him to tell Tim that that the tip was already settled with Young Mr. Fortesque.

"It was included in the price."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Farewell, dear woman

We used to laugh about how much my mother in law (MIL) loved her "buttah" with her "lobstah".

Or how she would tell the same stories about her friends from her childhood.

Or how she would say "We thought about moving to Cahn-card when we moved back from Colorado, but it's so swampy and 'they'* had lost several children in the swamps..."

Or how she told the story of when Van Johnson was in Boston once and dining at the same restaurant she and friend were eating at, and the movie came over to compliment her on her hair.

You couldn't help but love her.  She was an amazing woman, with an infinite capacity to love and accept everyone she met.

She was also a woman who stood by you.  Through thick and thin.

And she was also ardent supporter of LGBT rights and equality.

At her core though, was her faith in humanity, in facts and in everyone around her.

I will miss her.

And, as I keep telling myself, a lady knows when leave and leave others wishing that she had stayed longer.

*We never did find out who "they" were.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Noted Authority Figureheads: Valeria Hopkins Parker, M.D.

Words of Wisdom: "Your problems are your problems," says Dr. Parker.

On how you found yourself with a problem: "You created it," explains Dr. Parker

On how to solve them: "The answer lies within you," Dr. Parker reminds us.

For fun she likes to: "Relax by working on Hardanger Embroidery."

Thank you, Dr. Parker.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Back on watch

What, you may ask, has Cookie been up to lately?

Well, besides the usual bullshit of life, Cookie is sad to report that the Mother in Law is now under hospice care.

Which has me bummed.  Very, very bummed.

MIL was and is an incredible woman with an expansive heart, and undeniable style.  I adored being in her family and it really has me upset that instead of the kind of passing that she deserves, quietly, in the middle of the night, leaving on a sweet dream, she is in the hospital as her body begins to wind down.

You just feel so damn helpless.  Being several hundred hours away doesn't help.

Two weeks ago we spent a weekend visiting with her.  We bought her a new lift chair to replace the one that had stopped lifting.  The assisted living community found her another recliner no longer needed by a former resident, but it was one of those enormous overstuffed chairs that they sell in cheap furniture stores, and honestly, with her so small and frail, she looked like a confused child as Hernando, one of her twenty-four hour care givers, gently lowered her into the monster chair.

After consulting with Hernando ("I don't the chair gives precious mother the kind of comfort that she seeks.") we agreed and found another one, smaller, better support and with a power footrest and recline.

But now she is in a hospital bed.

The annoying thing is that we can't really schedule anything, because we don't know when we'll need to travel to her side.  So we wait.

And the worst part of it for me is that when it comes to funerals, Cookie is doer.  Give me the authority and a funeral, calls, thank you notes, everything gets done.  But because I am an inlaw, not so much.  You have to kind of stand to the side.  But trust me, I could orchestrate an Imitation of Life style funeral.  The only difference is that Mahalia Jackson would be on a memory stick and we would be mulatto-less, but I could do it.

We are supposed to host the progressive dinner cocktail hour at our house, so I met with the "Event Captain" (as she calls herself) and we discussed back up plans.

Event Captain was happy that we had "reached out so far out," from the event and taht we already had three backups for her to choose from.

She liked options one and three.  "But not the J----'s.  She lets her dog drink water from the toilet."

Then she looked right at me and said "Never let that dog lick you." She scrunched up her face.  "That's just so gross.  She wants to have a dog play date with Mitzi and I refuse.  Mitzi is prone to picking up bad habits."

Never let that dog lick you...that's just gross...

Mitzi is a six pound Yorkie.  "You think that she would consider drinking from a toilet?  It would be a reach."

"I have a squatty potty - SWEAR BY IT," she sang out, "and I don't want Mitzi to think that's her stepping stool to a drink or a drinky poo."

All right, then.

So to get ready for this event we removed the basketball pole and hoop from the basketball court, and weather permitting, we'll stage that court as an outdoor living room.

So for now we wait.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Listen to this here album...

I seen this album and I decided that I need to show you so you could say you had seen it too.

Hulda looks like a perfectly lovely woman on this album cover.

But to today I had to deal with another woman named Hulda who had hired me to scan a few of her cherished family photos that she refused to leave her house.

A delightful woman, Hulda also possessed the absolute worst language skills I have encountered in a while.

Among the phrases that caused my fillings to vibrate were these:

1) This here is my Momma.

2) The cancer got her.  

3) The cancer took her to a heavenly place where she met Daddy.  

4) Jesus called her home.

5) That is Sister.

6) That little black baby was Rolly.  Don't know his real name.  Momma called him Rolly.  He did something with himself.

7)  You crave Dr. Pepper?

8) Why is it that?

9) House come?

10) All them pictures is in this stick thing?

I learned that Hulda was from "Oakland" the biggest city in the furthest reaches of Maryland.  "We come here when Daddy got a job in the ship yards during the war."   The family stayed.  Hulda's house was a town home over by Loch Raven Boulevard.

She talked about "the cancer" like it was an octopus out in the bay, its tentacles reaching out and taking her Daddy while he slept and her mother while she was in a nursing home.  She drank a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper while I was there.  "The doctor says it's a miracle that I ain't got no sugar.  I'm as healthy as a mule."

"When we moved here it was white folk like us.  Now it ain't.  But they'll have a bad time getting me outta here because I ain't going till Jesus calls me home."

She paid me my money, in cash.  "I don't trust them bankers in New York."

I asked her what she was going to do with the electronic images that I had made, but I knew the answer.  She was taking them to Wal Mart.

"Sister's great grandbaby is doing a family tree for her school project and she wanted something for people to look.  So this way she gets the pictures and I don't have to worry about them going missing.  WalMart's got the best prices and they make them while I shop.  You been to the WalMart in Towson.  It's fancy.  Has escalators like the big stores downtown used to have."

She asked me if I had gone to college and I explained that I had.  "Me too," said Hulda.  "Daddy made me go to Goucher."  This surprised me, because Goucher has never been an inexpensive education.   "I learned a lot, but none of it other than the music stuck with me.  They weren't my kind of people."

I asked what did she study.

"Music.  I love to play piano.  The classics mostly. I could have gone on with it, but with the world being what it is I didn't want to leave Pa and Momma.  I gave lessons for a lotta years.  You know, when you play, no one gives two shits about how you sound.  They only care if you hit the right notes and the piano is tuned."

She thanked me and walked me to the door, undid the six locks and I left.

And I left too ashamed to ask about the baby that did something with himself.