Friday, April 16, 2010


So, yeah, I'm planning a yard sale this spring. Every time we do a major cleaning in the apartment, it seems I fill another bin with yard sale items. It's good stuff, we just don't use it anymore, or it doesn't fit in anymore, or whatever, it's going in the bin.
Christmas is an especially good time to fill the bin. When we take the decorations out, we have to put away the knick-knacks for the span of the festive season. Most years, all of them don't make it back out. After the clutter of Christmas, it just seems right to pare down the stuff that returns to the flat surfaces.
Planning a date for a sale is nerve wracking to say the least, will the day be nice, will there be people around, is anybody going to buy this after I've gone to all the work to clean it, price it, haul it to the curb, and display it nicely.
Pricing the items used to be difficult, you really love something, and want to sell it for what you think it's worth, but someone off the street isn't going to account for sentimental value, so I've learned to keep the prices low, to keep the merchandise moving.
Then there's the people, oh the people..........
Most of the local people are going to buy something, because they feel they have to. They've come to my sale, and it would be impolite not to purchase some little thing.
Then there's the "looky-Loo's" They're the people who never buy anything, they pick everything up, put it down in a different spot, and constantly ask "How much is this?" when the price is clearly marked on it in bold red numbers.
There are always a few indecisive ones, they'll carefully scrutinize something, then put it down, walk away, glance back at it, turn around and pick it up again. You can tell that they're trying, in their head, to find a spot for it in their home. The price isn't the issue, they like it, but they need to justify buying it. "Oh, that would look great on the foyer table." or something like that. It's always better when these types of people bring a friend with them. They're easily talked into the purchase by someone who has absolutely no interest in the item, but enjoys watching others spend their money on unnecessary things.
Then there are the hoarders. These people show up before you have everything out, they'd be there at 6 a.m. if they thought you might have started by then. They take every item in, in one over sized glance. They're looking for cheap stuff that they can flip for a profit. These are the ones that will go to every yard sale at the beginning, and then show up near the end. They'll offer to take some of the things that haven't sold, but they want it for free, or at a minimal price.
Oh, I almost forgot, there's also your friends and family. They like to show up while you're pricing stuff, the day before the sale. You'll hear things like "oh that's nice, why are you selling that?" or "I need one of these." Obviously, one of the worst things you can hear them say is "hey, we gave you this!" So, some of your good yard sale stuff is gone before sale day, but, so what, it's gone, and that's the main thing.
So, I'll soon be hauling out the bins, to sort and price, clean and polish. I'll be praying for sunny weather, and a good turn out. And if it doesn't quite work out as well as I'd hoped, I'll pray for extra hoarders, 'cause I ain't hauling it all back home.
That's what I think, anyway.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Did I really watch that?

Something got me started thinking yesterday, about all of the television series I've watched over the years. It's amazing to think about how much time I've actually spent, just watching TV.
Like everyone else in my small town, we started out with a black & white set, and I think we had the rabbit ear antennas. We got 2 channels, one was CBC, and the other was CBS from Michigan.
I simply loved everything about television back then. I recall knowing which advertisement was going to play at which intermission in each of my favorite shows. I knew every commercial, line for line, and actually spoke along with them. I was truly hooked.
Along with the commercials came some pretty incredible programming.
Captain Kangaroo, Rocket Robin Hood, the Jetsons, Batman, all of the Saturday cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny. I really liked a soap opera called Dark Shadows, mostly because there was a vampire in it. My brother and I were riveted to Mr. Dressup when he hosted the missing paint mystery. There were tons more, and I watched everything I could. I really don't know how I had time for anything else, but there are pictures of me actually playing outside, and I do recall eating every now and again. (actually, meals were quite regimented, and never in front of the TV)
Alas, all good things come to an end, and my good thing came to an abrupt one, when I had to go to school. Not a big deal really, looking back, but I filled my lunch break and after school time with as much TV as I could, without getting into trouble.
Little by little though, I started to forget the commercial lines, and with the addition of more and more channels, I just couldn't keep up with the programmers schedules.
I picked a few shows and focused on them, which left me a lot more time for playing and chores.

Somewhere in the 70's, when my orange paisley shirt sleeves became puffy, and I gained a certain respect for a knitted sweater vest, we acquired a colour TV set.
This was an entirely new beginning. I was all grown up now, watching live actions series, the Six Million Dollar man, All in the Family, Wonder Woman (yes, alas, Wonder Woman), and every family oriented sit-com coming and going. I was hooked again. I spent the decade in front of the television every night, although there is more photographic proof that I did have a social life, I just can't remember it clearly. What I do remember is Charlie's Angels, Happy Days, the Brady Bunch, I Dream of Jeanie, and the Beverly Hillbillys.
Top notch entertainment, all of it.
Then the 80's dawned, and, again, I was off to school. College this time, I didn't own a TV anymore, and couldn't afford to buy one, so TV took another back seat to education.
There aren't many shows I really can say I watched on a regular basis through those years, Mork and Mindy, FAME, Quantum Leap, The Golden Girls (yes, alas, the Golden Girls), but I really discovered my social life through that decade, and lost interest in most of what was on.
Shows now come, and shows now go, but there were a few standouts in the 90's and naughts....
Cheers, the X files, OZ, Idol, Charmed (alas, yes, Charmed) and a bunch of others that I've long since forgotten. They even resurrected the vampires for me in the 90's with a remake of Dark Shadows. Have I forgotten any really great ones? Of course I have, Dallas & Dynasty, any Star Trek series (Deep Space nine excepted) Carol Burnett, The Partrige Family, True Blood, and of course, The West Wing.
I can revisit my youth on Youtube any time, but I use it sparingly, like a treat that I'm allowed only in small quantities. There are also the boxed sets of DVDs and Blue Rays available, but I tend to plunk myself down and watch the entire series in one sitting when I come across one of those treasures. The PVR now helps me schedule a normal social life around my current favorites, and even though there are still some great commercials on, I no longer have to watch them if I don't want to.
So, there it is, my life of television all laid out. It hasn't been bad, so far (although there has been some really bad TV), and I'm always looking forward to checking out what's next.
But, I did neglect to mention my favorite show from any decade, the one that I'd want if I was on a desert island, if I was the last human alive, if I was trapped in the vacuum of space, I'd bring
Bewitched (alas, yes, Bewitched.)
That's what I think, anyway.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Someone's memory lane...

I went down memory lane last night, although I'm not exactly sure whose lane it was.
I stepped on the elevator, and stood beside the woman with the bright pink dress.
Her name tag clearly read "Pauline", but her pet gecko introduced her as Imelda.
The ride to the penthouse on the 41st floor was otherwise uneventful.
As I disembarked, I was offered a glass of champagne flavored oatmeal, which I gladly accepted.
No one seemed to have trouble consuming it, so I tipped the glass and let the gelatenous mass slide down my throat.
The host, a squat little man with a bad toupee, and an ill fitting cowboy outfit, began a speech about how glad he was that everyone could be there. He then proceeded to pull out a small cannon from his chaps, and took aim at the elevator doors.
I didn't really want to see what was going to happen next, so I made my way discreetly to the bathroom, and leaped out of the window. I was prepared to have to flap my arms at a feverish pace, but was surprised at how close ground level actually was.
The party behind me, I suddenly had an overwhelming craving for sushi pita pockets.
I was fortunate, as I soon saw a sign for just such an indulgence flashing in the fog soaked distance.
The crowd in the restaurant seemed unusually large for this time of night, but since I'd never been to a sushi pita pocket bar at 2 a.m., I really had no frame of reference.
The cashier/order taker had a tuna costume on, and spoke with an accent I hadn't heard before.
He sounded like a cross between Selma Diamond from Night court, and Harvey Fierstein,
(or were they the same person in real life?) It was obvious to me that I was going to have too much trouble deciding what to order on my own, so I asked the person next in line to order for me. His name was Plotkin. A rather tall man with a beak like nose and hair protruding from his ears.
Once he'd ordered for the both of us, he indicated that the restaurant was far too crowded, and would I like to join he and his wife in his loft for a more peaceful first time sushi pita pocket experience.
I gladly accepted, as he seemed a trustworthy type.
His wife was an exceptionally beautiful woman, save for the unibrow she was sporting.
The meal was eaten in almost complete silence, and it wasn't until later that I discovered that the couple had not spoken to each other in over 42 years. Some argument about facial and orifice hair. I bid them thanks, and decided to make my way home and call it a night, after all, I did have tantric massage lessons in the morning. I was about to enter the complex that housed my humble 5 room flat, when the gecko pulled me aside and asked me for some help with his mistress. It seems that they, too, had escaped the clearly insane short cowboy host's plot to dampen an otherwise lovely evening with errant cannon fodder.
As I knelt beside her, she spoke softly and told me a wonderous story of her homeland, where she had been the daughter of a shoe manufacturer. She drew a vivid picture of excess and pampering at the hands of a loving and doting father, until a hostile take-over destroyed their fortune forever. She even told me of her long lost collection of exotic shoes that were made to fit, and just for her. As I helped her to her feet, the name tag slipped from the pink sequins that made up her department store designer frock. It was abundantly clear at that point that the label she wore didn't match the person inside, she was indeed not a Pauline.♠
Labels then, are not always a good indicator of who you're really dealing with.
That's what I think, anyway.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Is that still cool slang?

I was watching American Idol the other night, and it struck me that Randy's slang terms
seem to be the same ones he's been using for years. Are they not uncool yet?
Yo, Yo, that's back to being a round toy with a string by now isn't it?
Check it out That's back to being a bad 70's sit com, right?
At least he's not saying dawg that much any more. But he's still saying fly and
dope ..... The last time I heard those two words in the same sentence, I was handing
someone the "Off Skintastic"
Slang's just not the same as it used to be, and I think I can pinpoint the timing of the change.
It was in the mid 80's, when terms like radical, wicked, Bogus, awesome, and tubular
made their way across the continent like a wave. Of course TV (read the Simpson's) and movies
helped de-regionalize slang terms. So it didn't matter if you were inner city, suburban, or rural,
everyone was using the same slang terms. Racial slang differences excepted. Then, into the 90's
even the line between white and black slang began to blur.
There are terms that have endured, and terms that have actually become acceptable in everyday conversation. Cool is a good example. Although my parents have likely never used it in a conversation without a cynical tone attached, ("oh, he's just trying to be cool")
the generation after them uses it in everyday speech.
I remember some of the terms from when I was a kid, they were words like weak (but pronounced "wake") and scrawny (which meant "good" I think) or stunned. Right-on was a favorite of some of my older brother's friends.
I didn't really use slang much, because it was something cool kids used, and I wasn't all that cool.
I know, hard to believe now.
But I was on about Randy Jackson, and how he should really ramp up his cool factor by sliding in some fresh, new slanguage. Maybe he could borrow from the past and make terms like daddy-o and dy-no-mite hip again.
Realistically, Ellen's the coolest one on the panel, she da bomb.

That's what I think, anyway.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Food, glorious food!

I finally decided that I should prepare a weekly menu and stick with it. The first week was relatively easy. I had 2 freezers full of food, so I went through, picked items, and added them the the menu. I was basically picking meat items, and then creating a shopping list around
what I didn't already have to complete the meals.
The second week was a bit more difficult, I didn't have as much meat, and I was also down on side dish ingredients. It was then I really discovered that my brain is more visual than linear.
If I saw one food item, I could complete a dinner in my mind almost instantly, but if the basic
element of the meal wasn't there for me to build on, I was a little lost.
I used to go to the grocery store daily and create a meal by cruising the aisles, so with nothing tangible in front of me, I now had to roam the store in my mind, and create the shopping list for the week.
Then my friend Maria introduced "meatless Mondays" into our lives.
Now, I'm all for saving the planet, and that what the concept of "meatless Monday" is all about, but I've based almost every meal, and menu
in my life around meat, so this presented yet another difficulty in what started out as a very simple process.
The internet was, of course, the solution. We were able to choose from any number of meatless recipes, and found a suitable dinner plan almost instantly.
Meatless jambalaya went on our planner for Monday, and the ingredients we didn't have went on the shopping list.
Next week, we're going to try a tofu stirfry, so tofu will definitely have to go on the list, because I'm not sure we've ever had it in the house.
I love to watch cooking shows, mostly because I enjoy seeing the different kitchen lay-outs, plus the wide variety of appliances available for a modern kitchen. It's rare, though, for me to see a dish, or meal prepared on TV that I'll try to duplicate. I think it's because the cook/chef will tell you the exact measurements to add to the recipe, and then turn around and toss in what looks like twice as much. I like to invent off the top of my head, or else have a recipe taped to the kitchen cupboard for quick, and frequent reference.
One thing I have learned so far from this experience is that it costs a lot less to shop weekly than it does to shop daily.
That's what I think, anyway

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What has happened to the English language?

Ever notice that people are tossing in unnecessary phrases into their everyday speech?
I hear it at work, a bit on the radio, at some meetings I've attended, but most often on any HGTV show on their network. (some on Food Network too)
"go ahead and..." is one of the ones I notice most often, as in "I'm going to go ahead and finish sanding this table top" or "Now, I'm going to go ahead and add the sauce to this dish"
The time at work I hear it most often is when someone wants something sent to them, I ask whether they want if faxed or emailed. They tell me to go ahead and fax it.
What purpose does that phrase serve?
There is another one I've noticed creeping in, it's "sort of"
"We wanted to make the room feel sort of cozy"
or "I envisioned a sort of dining area for this space" What does that actually add to the point you're trying to make? Either you're making the space cozy, or you're not. Is it a dining area, or is it a bathroom?
One guy particularly good at tossing these phrases in to anything he says is Peter Felico from
"Home to go", or "Home to Stay", or "Flip this House" Apparently exaggerated hand gestures go along with unnecessary phrases to complete the package.
Then, there's the people (and there are a lot of them) who can't, or won't differentiate between there, their, and they're. They will simply use "there" in any circumstance.
"There going to see there lawyer the find out if there being sued"
Of course I realize this is a losing battle, texting is destroying our language at a pace unprecedented. I also realize that it's more of an evolution than a destruction, because we certainly don't speak the same way people did 200 years ago. It's just that it's happening much too fast.
That's what I think, anyway.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Being sick sucks

I caught a bug of some sort, and am home sick, so I decided to start a blog.
The thing about being sick is, one minute you're hot and sweating, and the next you're cold and shaking.
You can take medication to make it stop, but it's actually the way your body is fighting the illness, so you
should put up with it if you can.
I remember being really sick as a kid, and I ended up in the hospital because my temperature was so high.
I think I was hallucinating, because my head seemed to swell to twice it's size, and I kept hearing
sergeant Carter from Gomer Pyle USMC. It could have been the nurse though, she did have a bit of a deep voice.
So, stuck at home with daytime TV isn't the best way to spend the day, there isn't much good on, well, except
for The Golden Girls......kidding, I'm kidding.......
At least I'll have time to prepare tonight's meatless Monday dish, we're having meatless jambalaya. Tomatoes, rice, peppers, squash, spices ,and black eyed peas.
The recipe seems easy enough, so it should be good, if I'm able to eat.
That's another thing about being sick. Sometimes you can't even stand to look at food, and other times your appetite's normal. Hopefully this is just a 12 hour thing, because I don't do sick very well.
It's OK though, because I also don't get sick very often, so it works out pretty fairly.
That's what I think, anyway.