Saturday, January 16, 2021

My heart is breaking twice over

Once for myself and once for my husband. It has only been 2 days since Frankie left us. I cleared up her litter box, put her pet steps and her little step stool away, tossed out her dishes. Her cat perches are still under all the windows, her starchaser toy still sits in the living room.

Every day after lunch my husband would pick up his book and his cane and announce "Nap time!" and he would walk to the bedroom and Frankie would follow him. She would lie on his chest while he read and then, when he rolled over to sleep she would curl up on his ankles and rest there.

Yesterday, and today again, after lunch and the 'nap time' announcement my husband cried. As he turned to walk to the bedroom he said "I want her back. I miss her" After he leaves the room I start to cry, for him and for me missing Frankie. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Thank you

all for your kind comments regarding Miss Frankie Lulu Belle. I have one more odd thing to share about her but not today. 

Today we talk about toasters. I know, I know - what can anyone possibly have to say about toasters.  But I have spent an excessively long time researching the topic. 

Lately I have had a desire for toast. We do not own a toaster, haven't for years and years. I can't remember when I last had an actual toaster. We've had a variety of toaster ovens and quite frankly they do not do a great job of toasting foodstuffs. As in - warming and crisping bread-like substances. 

It would seem to be a simple matter to do that - toast bread but -Oho - it is not so at all. And after reading many (oh so many!) toaster reviews the main complaint about toasters is that none of them actually TOAST bread very well. 

Did you know that your basic toaster can cost over $300? Or even that there is no such thing as a 'basic' toaster. There are all sorts of interesting new features but I think I'd be happy with one of these - 

There was one toaster I looked at which had the most fun complaint - it actually ejects the toast so forcefully that the toast goes flying - on to the counter, the floor - it just flies through the air like in cartoons. 

There are toasters that have a high-lift function, a warming rack, an LED clock/timer, a see-through door, a 'little bit more' function and on and on and yet, regardless of the brand or cost, none seem to consistently toast the bread to the preferred doneness. Nor do any seem to last very long. Oh yeah and there are caveats that the toaster not be used by children or old people because the outside gets too hot. 

Ah, I almost forgot - because people now prefer "artisan" breads, which are usually long, there are long-slot toasters to accommodate everyone's homemade sourdough. 

My question to you is - Does anyone have a recommendation for a plain old toaster? No bells, no whistles - just something that will nicely brown my bread? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Pinball Brain

 For some reason I cannot fathom, I can't remember the word Pinball. I often refer to my brain function as ping pong brain and then include a graphic of a pinball game. Why is that? Why can I not remember the word pinball? I actually had to do a search 'mechanical arcade game with flippers' to retrieve the name. 

Anyway - 

Relative to my pinball brain - this post was going to be titled "Listen, Listen, cats a'pissin'" and was going to be a thoughtful little essay (remember when I used to write those?) about listening, not hearing but listening. 

Then as I was writing it in my head, it started out with an explanation of the title which quickly devolved into a remembrance of the person who always used to say that. So without further ado, I shall introduce you to - Carmen Lydia Carrillo. 

Carmen was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. I don't know how old she was when her family moved to New York City but I can say she spoke English with no accent. Her mother (whose maiden name was Sullivan) spoke not a word of English and her brother, who was 12 or 13 years younger than she, barely spoke English. Her father spoke a form of Spanglish. They spoke only Spanish at home which is probably why her younger brother was not at all proficient in English. They lived in the projects in Spanish Harlem in upper Manhattan. 

I met Carmen back in February of 1966, we were both 19. I can remember it was February because that's when I started working for the Social Security Administration as a file clerk. 

Now the SSA is a federal agency and and therefore a civil service job for which you have to take a test - in most cases.  I won't cover the exceptions. Being a civil service job the employee population represented every nationality, ethnicity, personality, disability and level of cuckoo-ness that occurs in the human species. 

Seeing as Carmen and I were the same age and the youngest people in the unit, I guess we just naturally gravitated to each other. I could write volumes about the other members of the unit - every one was a character and had a story, I didn't in particular but boy were the rest of the folks interesting. 

Carmen was always late - Always. She was never on time for anything, ever, in her life. EVER. Yes, yes - she was late for her wedding which was held in a church across the street from where she lived. Lordy, that was a funny day - starting with the sign she put in the elevator "I'M GETTING MARRIED TODAY SO NOBODY PISS IN THE ELEVATOR" True story! 

Whenever someone started a sentence with Listen Carmen would reply, before they could finish the sentence, "Listen, listen, cats a'pissin'" and then just stare while the person who spoke to her would be standing there open-mouth wondering what the hell that was about. I never found out what that was all about, I don't remember if I asked her but I got used to it quickly. 

Carmen was a force of nature - as lazy as the day was long, yes but also a whirling dervish of laughter, intelligence and craziness. Hang out with Carmen and yes, you will be frustrated as all hell standing on a street corner waiting for her but once she shows up - let the fun begin. I think I was always one laugh away from strangling her. 

As it happens in life, once she got married and we had both moved on to different jobs, our friendship languished and slipped away. 

But every time someone says "Listen..." I can hear Carmen in my head saying "Listen, listen cats a'pissin'" 

Carmen Lydia Carrillo Santos de Leon - wherever you are - I remember you well! 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

This is just the dumbest thing...

I saw an ad for Butcher Box and thought it looked interesting. Right now I buy 'meat' from a local purveyor and it's mostly various kinds of sausage (along with chicken breasts and meatballs.) I get pork, beef and lamb sausages and they are tasty but I'm getting a little bored. The quality (and quantity) of meat available at my local supermarket is not worth the price of admission and their so-called fresh fish is basically a matter for the health department. Like fruits and vegetables, meat must be carefully chosen and some random 'shopper' can't be depended on to choose what I would choose, so when I order groceries from a different store I never include meat or fruits and veg. Once burned, twice shy, as the saying goes.

Anyway, I went to the Butcher Box website and discovered the only way I could get access to the site was to sign up for a free food package that would be part of my first order. What??? the free food package contained food I do not want, or eat (pork butt, chicken thighs? NO.) 

I contacted the company via their on-line chat (which was super slow) and was told, after some back and forth - 

"Michelle (ButcherBox)

Jan 10, 2021, 11:31 AM EST

Hi Grace,

I'm afraid I wasn't able to get any link with no offers added. You may place your order using the free Ultimate keto deal and contact us as soon as you place your order so we can remove the offer in your account for you.

Hope this helps! If you have any further questions, please let me know.



That's just dumb - put in an order via the website and then CALL THEM to cancel part of the order??? Seriously? How is that making my life easier. 

I replied - 

"Well that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard LOL I want to use your service/buy from you and I can't because I don't want the 'free' stuff? You need to let your sales department know that some people are picky about what they buy and eat.   Geeze...

Thank you. Enjoy your day."

But I must say they are giving good customer service "the old college try" because I just received this email response -

Michelle (ButcherBox)

Jan 10, 2021, 12:33 PM EST

Hi Grace,

I completely understand your concern and I'm so sorry for the inconvenience.  I'm forwarding your request to our sales team and someone will reach out to assist you with this. If you haven't done so, please provide your phone number and the best time to accept a call.

You also have the option to contact our sales team at 855-981-8568 option #1.



Despite their good intentions, I guess I'll just stick with what I've got. I find this so weird. 

Saturday, January 09, 2021

What a way to start the day

 My/our granddaughters live far away and I've never met them. But because of the wonders of technology they know who we are, Nonna and Grandpa (tho Grandpa did visit a few times) - Yay for Facetime. I call them my Baby Princesses - Thira is 3 and Coren is 1.

This morning I got this text from our daughter - 

Needless to say I was more than a little verklempt..

Friday, January 08, 2021

My father always said there were 3 things

 one never talked about - religion, politics and money. I think in this day and age the third thing might be a bit different but the first two still hold true.

While I have written about my experiences as a young person with organized religion it was only MY experience I talked about. I would never comment publicly about other people's religious/spiritual beliefs. Oh yes, I do take an occasional swat at New Age woo-woo, ooga-booga  but hey, such an easy target. My bad.

Politically I don't even comment on those items I support. I suppose some folks think me a liberal, and there might even be an astute person who picks up on my somewhat conservative beliefs. Because I am both - liberal and conservative - folks like me are called moderates. Stepping outside my usual non-commenting, I think any intelligent person is a little bit of both. Extremes are never the right way to go. So I believe. Of course you are free to disagree. I won't argue with you. Arguing about politics is like trying to teach a pig to sing - it frustrates you and annoys the pig. 

Money - well, it's just rude to ask someone how much they earn, or even how much they spend unless of course they are asking you to underwrite their spending. 

As for the state of this country - have a little pity for the ultra-conservatives, the sort of people who rioted on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. They are driven by fear. Fear of the different. Fear of others success. Fear of their own failure.  

I venture to say all the unspeakable acts humans perpetrate on other humans are rooted in fear. That's are hard way to go through life. 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021


 Lisa says my love language is generosity. I think that's because I truly enjoy giving gifts, it probably gives me more pleasure than than it does to the recipients. Since my friends are scattered all over the country material gifts are all I can give. I can't offer babysitting or a surprise meal when I "see" their lives are a bit crazy or a helping hand with some project or other (I'm so good at organizing!). 

I am lucky that at this point in my life I have the financial wherewithal to be generous (within reason - no, sorry but a new car or a mortgage payment or school tuition doesn't fall within my means.)

And not to pat myself on the back I am a primo gift giver. It is one of my few talents. My husband has always marveled at this little knack I have for choosing the right gift. Yet it is so easy to choose the perfect gift - all you need to do is listen. You need to pay attention to what people are NOT saying as well.  

Then again, sometimes they do say what they want/need, often in an oblique way. Like a posting that asks if anyone has a something or other they aren't using and might be willing to sell - Ok, here you go - have a brand new one. 

For my stressed out, insomniac friends - lavender. Sachets for the linen closet which will scent their bed linens or lavender cologne which can be sprayed on their person, or into the air  - lavender is my go-to stress reliever. 

And then there is always See's chocolates. I know the favorites of some friends so I can do a personalized selection, just as some folks prefer the classic mix.  Chocolate is always a perfect gift except for the folks who are not fond of it. Yes, I know, weird but there are folks who are not big fans of chocolate. Know your people. 

I have a friend who seems afraid of using color in her clothing, and I don't know if she ever really wears the gifts I send her but I often gift her items in pale green and in soft floaty fabrics - that is how I see her. Green is the color of the heart chakra and while I am no believer in chakras I know this woman to have the kindest of hearts. 

Here's the thing tho - I like to send random gifts. Just because gifts. Please don't expect a birthday gift from me, or a Christmas gift. But mention that there is a little do-dad that might make your life easier or that you can't quite bring yourself to buy for some odd reason - THAT will appear on your doorstep. 

With love, from me.