Thursday, August 27, 2015

All Together Now, Let's Affirm The Super Bongo

I've been chained to my desk doing "brain work" today.  I have to write something that sounds thoughtful and is factually correct and won't offend an audience I'm unfamiliar with . . . so I'm taking lots of little brain breaks on facebook.  I'm procrastinating by reading nearly anything remotely relevant to my work.

And, I'm making clever, smart, insightful comments all over the place.

Really.  It sounds sarcastic but I have affirmation.. . . I'm getting likes all over the place.  I am facebook GOLD today.  I even had a reporter ask if she could quote my comment.  BOOM!

Oh external validation . . . I am your humble servant.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Never say I don't give second chances

Remember when my head exploded over someone's misguided food choices and the Phenom pointed out that the real problem was my food snobbery?

That person is in NOLA right now.  And, I might passively rant in my own home when he eats frozen-from-the-other-side-of-the-planet crab legs during soft-shell season on the NC/SC coast, I can not let him eff up eating in NOLA.  I sent him several options for fine food and drinks ranging across the cost spectrum.

The Phenom has been taunting me all evening with "I bet he's at the IHOP on Canal Street."  Just might be the meanest thing you could say to me.

Denial kicking in

I don't know if I should be angry, confused, horrified, or making plans to move to a Scandinavian country.  The American humans seem to be enthralled by The Donald as a presidential candidate.  Originally, I think most folks thought this was some fringe effort on his part, and soon another candidate would emerge and he'd be forgotten.  But, the media seems to be fanning the flames and the other candidates seem to not know exactly how to respond to this wack job's antics.

So much of his rhetoric makes me wonder if he's not pulling the greatest troll job ever.  A few weeks ago, the Phenom and I had this semi-serious conversation based on the scenario that The Donald manages to be elected President and then when he realizes the financial hit and responsibilities/restrictions the position imposes, refuses to take the oath of office and what sort of constitutional crisis would that create?

Last night, a friend and I played a game of "what could The Donald have to do to get the majority of the American public to turn against him?"

She suggested burning a flag and a bible inside a church.  My suggestion was him being caught on a hot mike scheming to sell this "effin' country" to the Chinese and make billions and billions of dollars on these rubes"  . . . and of course we had several sexual and violent suggestions.  But, in the end, we were dismayed to admit that in all of our imagination, we could not come up with a scene in which he would lose ALL support . . . some asshat out there would still be a fan boy/girl.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

A nice distraction

So, the anniversary of the deaths of my friend and the Old Woman are coming up.  Well, the anniversary of my friend's death is today, roughly.  Since he committed suicide, we aren't entirely sure of the exact timing.

But, since they died within the same 12 month period and the anniversaries are roughly a month apart, I have this nice, prolonged, funk I get into starting mid-August.  Fun times for everyone around me.

Earlier this month, I received a family heirloom I'd been promised over 20 years ago by the Old Woman: her chiming mantle clock.  Last weekend, I cleared my mantle and set it up.  I love it and find peace when it chimes each quarter hour.  (I give props to the Phenom because I suspect it drives him crazy but he knows enough to say he likes it.)

Last month, I came up with a fairly far-fetched idea and passed it by my friend's father.  He thought there was some merit to it, and has been helping me with some details on his end.  Well, today . . . on the anniversary of my friend's death . . . I have learned that the project is probably going to happen.  In other words, I've been given a packet of very official papers to complete.  I need to double check the dates I was given, but there may be a book in the near future.

This isn't about money . . . I suspect we won't see a dime.  But, this is about keeping his legacy and memory alive.  This is about making sure people don't forget him.  It's about appreciating his talent.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Three times a loser

Poor Phenom is having a bad week. First, he's having to go back to a work schedule that requires him to be up before 10am and cuts off his 4X a day naps.  Poor baby.

Then, we've had this ongoing discussion about my desire to plant a couple of peach pits (my local peach farmer got only a handful of peaches this year and I was able to get four of them.  I saved two pits to plant.)  Phenom doesn't want me to plant them because he said it will be years before I get peaches and he doesn't want to mow around them.  Well, he lost that battle . . . but he might have won too because we think a squirrel might have claimed my pits.  sigh.

And, there is the clock.  I finally have the family heirloom clock.  It chimes every quarter hour and Phenom claims to hear it when I can't.  Phenom expects it will keep him up at night.   Although, it didn't bother him or keep him from sleeping when we'd visit the Old People.

I'm afraid I'll have to work more on acting sympathetic.  Monkeys are more into pointing and laughing than being sympathetic.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I'm going to call it a win

I fixed a hair doo-dad and got super glue on only three, maybe four, of my fingers.


And, here is a cat picture, to make up for the brevity of this post:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

RIP Cookie

I've written about my being shunned from the SMLF.  Then, the ringleader of the shunning did the modern day version of the 7th grade girl freeze-out; she "unfriended" me on social media (and then unfriended me and my office from her office's social media . . . damned unprofessional.)

I will admit, monkeys harbor ill feelings a long time before we're finally able to move on.  And, although my brain tells me that I was a better friend to the ringleader than she EVER was to me and that her deciding we can't even be civil to each other isn't actually a loss . . . I am annoyed that not a single other member of the SMLF has said a single word to me.  It's weird.  Freeze out has been complete.

Being that I like to gaze upon my own navel for hours upon hours, I want to think that they are all just so busy and wrapped up in their lives that they haven't noticed.  Which actually doesn't say much about our friendships in the first place, eh?  I am willing to entertain the notion that they are as perplexed by the turn of events as I am and don't quite know if they've done something to offend me.  But, I reject that theory because ESK, surely, would have either set them straight or said something to me if they'd inquired to her.

Nope, the sad resignation is that I was rejected, shunned, burned, frozen-out, given the boot.

And, this week I realize how complete that boot giving is because the camp that I have been camp cook for over the last several years is happening this week, and I was not invited back to be 'Cookie."
It was volunteer work I truly enjoyed, and am sad to be forced to give up.  And, a bit angry.  You really don't want to make a monkey angry.  As much self control as I frequently exhibit, monkeys are pretty unpredictable and likely to allow nasty quips and sarcasm to take over.  And, there is that who harboring hurts thing.  You think elephants never forget . . . they got nuthin' on monkeys.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Selfish, again.

Mourning is a long, drawn-out, never-ending process.  Well, for me.

This weekend, I had the rare chance to spend a few hours with the father of my friend who died two years ago this month.  He and I are working on a couple of projects, truth be told, are all about making sure my friend doesn't just disappear.

And, as luck would have it, I happened to also have a conversation with a publisher who is expressing what could just be polite interest, but interest none the less.

Which does leave me feeling just a little like my friend would slap me with a herring if he knew what we were up to.

Where is the line between keeping a legacy alive and violating everything someone stood for?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In which I learn that I am, actually, a prude.

We are in NOLA.  We have had many drinks and lots of excellent food.  We tried three new bars and tiki seemed to be the theme of the trip.

BUT! Today, a convention has rolled into our hotel.  Swingers.  OLD SWINGERS.  I saw a woman, a good 15 years older than me and likely someone's grandmother, leave our hotel in a see-through nightie and panties. And, my gut reaction was not one of "meh."

I like to think that for the most part, I pretty much don't care about what other folks do in the privacy of their rooms.  Frankly, I don't really want to ever have to think about what other folks do in private.  I do, however, have all kinds of judgement for those who patronize "sex" businesses; largely because I know that the great majority of such establishments not only exploit their "workers" but also condone and encourage their customers to push boundaries of consent and decency.  I know that the women, young men, transpeople who work in such businesses are not safe.

I also have all kinds of judgement for people who force others to deal with their sex acts.  This is different from their sexuality . . . but if you're wacking it in public, or humping up on other people/critters/furniture where others can see you . . . or leading your partner around on a leash at the mall then you have violated the rights of others.

Frankly, this shouldn't make me a prude, but I guess it does.   You do you and I'll do me but don't make me see you doing IT.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How people suck at directions

Today I was in conversation with a co-worker and I mentioned a newly opened business owned by the spouse of a mutual friend.  I told my co-worker where it was using both street names and points of reference I know she knows (popular restaurant).  She insisted that she thought this particular business was located "next to the dunkin donuts."  I said, um, no . . . no where near." And she assured me, yes, it was right next to the dunkin donuts.

Now, if someone tells you that a business is "right next to the dunkin donuts" what distance would you consider still "right next to" ?  Next door? With in the same block?  In the same town?

She further explained that you leave dd and go down to the pizza place and turn and go out past the discount grocery store.  The pizza place is at least a quarter mile on a street that has no foot traffic or sidewalk and is a 5 lane major thoroughfare in our town.  The discount grocery is oh, 4 more blocks on a 5 lane street with no sidewalk.  Total, we're talking 1/2 to a full mile away from the dunkin donuts.

Now I wonder how she makes it to work in the mornings.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Favorite conversation

When I was a young monkey, the Old Woman and I had a regular game/conversation that kept us occupied when standing in line or sitting in a waiting room . . . well two . . . the first was creating elaborate plans for if we won millions and millions of dollars in the lotto or publisher's clearing house.  The other is probably better left to another post.

The Phenom and I also have a favorite conversation. . . planning where and when we'll eat and drink in NOLA.  We started this conversation tonight (we'll be there in a week).  Of course, on the day we made the reservations to travel, we decided on the day we'd eat at our all time favorite restaurant, Herbsaint.

There is a new place we plan to try, Latitude 29.  The Phenom first read about it, and sold me when he said "tiki drinks."  But, since first deciding this would be our "new place" we've seen that it is actually very well known for being quite good.  And, the food looks just as well put together and thoughtful.

I must say, NOLA has ruined me for poorly made cocktails. Which isn't exactly a bad thing.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Southern "ratatouille"

Give it a fancy sounding name and no one will notice that you pretty much didn't actually cook.

This is what we, more or less, live on during the summer when I can get wonderfully fresh, local veggies for a song.  This week was particularly good.  Keep in mind I don't really measure and I use what I have at hand, so feel free to throw in what you like.

* Double handful of okra, sliced 1/2 inchish rounds
* 1 med/large yellow squash, the fatter end quartered and sliced, the skinnier end, halved and sliced
* several peppers sliced.  I had jalapenos, banana peppers, and cayenne
* tomatoes, chopped up.  I had plum tomatoes and used about 4, didn't peel them
* 1/2 an onion, diced
* several cloves garlic, chopped

Heat up olive oil in a pan and start with the peppers, onion, and garlic.  Salt and pepper them.  Then, when the onions are starting to go translucent, add in all the other veggies.  Sprinkle with Tony Chachere's seasoning.  I also put in a squirt of ketchup for a little sweet and vinegar.  Drop the temp to med, cover, stir every so often until everything is soft.  Check to make sure the seasoning is what you like and adjust accordingly and serve over rice.

Make sure you make enough for your lunch the next day.

I've also use cold, cooked potatoes and egg plant and zucchini in past versions. Pretty much what you like will work.  I've also changed up the seasoning . . . using various herbs instead of the cajun flavor.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New lows

This tale starts on Tuesday evening.  I and a co-worker were leaving the office, together and last of the staff to leave.  She had put a mostly but not quite empty cup of starbucks in her trash.  (It had milk in it and had been sitting on her desk all day, thus not likely to still be safe to drink.)  As she was walking her trash bag up the hallway, she realized the cup had tipped over AND there was a hole in the bag and she was dribbling up the hallway.  She darted into the main bathroom in our office and tossed it into the bathroom trash, which has a more substantial bag.

We got paper towels and a mop and cleaned up.  As she was about to declare the bathroom clean, she saw a single, small drop of coffee on the toilet.  She took a single square of tp and wiped it up and tossed the tp in the toilet.  Because it's an old office, with old toilets, she saved 5 gallons of water and didn't flush a clean toilet with a single sheet of tp in it.

Wednesday morning, I notice the interns are forgoing using the main bathroom and are trekking to mine.  I hear one mutter something about "that toilet. . . I don't know what's wrong with it."

I check it out and see the single square of tp is still there.  I flush, and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES THE TOILET IS FIXED.

This morning, the co-worker of the leaky trash bag notices that the interns had left a partially full pot of coffee on the coffee maker over night.  She took the pot to the main bathroom, poured it out and rinsed it and returned it to the work room.  She didn't turn on the light.  If she had, she would have noticed that the stopper to the sink was down and the coffee/water didn't drain.

I notice that once again, interns are trekking to my bathroom.  I ask co-worker if she is aware of anything wrong in the other bathroom, and she says she didn't see anything earlier, when pouring out coffee.  She goes to investigate, sees the coffee/water in the sink.  Notices the stopper, pushes the thingie to make it go up and VOILA! sink drains.  She takes paper towels and wipes out the sink, gets a clorox sheet and cleans the sink, and it's MIRACULOUSLY FIXED.


I told them it was coffee from them not cleaning out the previous day's coffee pot and the stopper was down.  But, it's fixed now.


I do believe they out-stupid the intern who didn't understand the concept of door keys.

I am tempted, next week when they are back, to put coffee water in both sinks and see what they do.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I'm in a rut

A writing rut.  Which can be a good thing . . . meaning that nothing of much importance or exciting is happening around me right now. And, gees, that's a nice break.

I started this blog 10 years ago because I needed a place to vent.  Well, as with most of life, the cause of my need for venting has disappeared. (YAY) And, then other dramas, mostly of various humans' making cropped up into my idyllic little monkey life.

I nearly allowed someone to take this blog away from me.  Fortunately, I came to my senses.

But, now that I'm in this rut, I find myself wondering what to do about the blog.  Shift focus?  Drum up drama?  Wait for the election cycle to get me all revved up over injustices?

Or, post all cat photos, all the time?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Never Poke a Sleeping Bear

Because it will wake up and eat you.

In this story, the Phenom is the bear and his supervisor is holding the stick.

Part of it is bad timing. Admittedly, the stick holder wouldn't know that . . . but some basic human consideration would have gone a long way in keeping that bear asleep.

Part of it is a "customer" who is being unreasonable.  But, the supervisor seemed to question the integrity of the Phenom.  And, there is no faster way to find yourself without a leg than to even hint that the Phenom is anything but forthright.

The bad timing . . . the death of a family member, days of travel, the emotional roller coaster of seeing long lost relatives but under such circumstances.  Made the bear particularly ready to eat the first moron to come along with a stick and grandiose ideas.

I once hear one of the Phenom's co-workers say that in witnessing the Phenom "have enough" his only logical response was involuntary urination.  This is gonna be so much more intense.

The down side.

One of the down sides of social media is being exposed to the stupidity that is floating around in the world.  If not for social media, I could acknowledge that such existed, but not actually have to see it.

The shooting in Charleston has brought out some truly stupid crap in my facebook feed. One person had been dropped a couple of years ago because he decided he need to pick a fight with me over guns.  Tonight, he popped up on my company's facebook just to be a jerk.  I know him well enough to know that he just wanted to incite a fight.  He'd posted several "pro gun" bits/responses to the Charleston shooting, and then turned his sights on our page.  His desire to pick a fight just resulted in his irrelevant comment being deleted.  Sadly, our policies prevent us from blocking him from our feed . . . yet.

Then, on my personal page, someone's totally ignorant screed about the confederate flag got her unfriended.  If EVEN Lindsey Graham and Mitt Romney have realized that there are no points to be scored by continuing to cling to the "stars and bars" . . . then shouldn't the morons of the planet follow?


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On the fence

Full disclosure, I was hesitant to buy a food processor because I couldn't think of how often I would actually use it and I feared that my salsa might lose some of that "made with love" flavor that comes from hand chopping.  Totally unfounded and I love my processor.

So, I bought one of these:  Slicer 

A friend recently tried to slice off her whole finger with one.  Another friend did permanent nerve damage to a finger with one.  So, sure, accident-prone-will-spill-soup-on-me-taking-it-out-of-the-microwave me needs one, right?

I used it for the first time last night . . . first, VERY CAREFULLY, without the guard and then once I was down to 2 inches of squash left, with the guard.

I'm not sure how much use it will see.  Yes, it did beautiful, precise, exactly even slices.  But, the guard was somewhat awkward to use.  And, I'm asking myself, the morning after, is having perfectly precise slices really worth it?  I generally take an imprecise approach to cooking, so why stress over squash slices?  Plus, I've got pretty decent knife skills.

Then again, I have a crock pot and there is only one thing I can successfully make in it.  Maybe I'll find ONE thing I can slice up with this thing and figure it was worth it.  Maybe.

Monday, June 01, 2015

It makes a monkey's eye twitch

The Phenom told me, again, this weekend that I am a food snob.  Of course, I always deny it.  But, yeah, he might be right.

His admonishment came after I screamed and ranted over a friend's facebook post.  My friend just moved from Seattle to NYC.  Seattle is world famous for their fish markets and seafood and NYC is one of the best food cultures in the world . . . also a place where you can get fresh, local seafood.

My friend is from one of the SE Atlantic states and was visiting family over the weekend.  His family lives in a coastal community.  He posted a picture of having seafood with the family . . . king crab legs.  KING CRAB LEGS . . . from like the other side of the planet . . .not one of the SE Atlantic states.  

AND SE coastal blue crabs have their soft shell season in May for several weeks, and crabs are harvested until fall.  Why wouldn't you eat the local seafood when you're at the coast?  Why have stuff that was flown in, frozen, when you could have something super fresh . . . and SOFT SHELL?

I live just far enough inland that I'm picky about my seafood.  And, when I travel to places on various coastlines, I eat the local fare . . . a lot of it . . . really, every meal.  But the local stuff  . . . not stuff flown in from else where.  You people are killin' me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where I show my own Sheldon Cooper side.

I was a speaker at a local association of some group of professionals tonight. I arrived early to set up my presentation materials and chat with the event organizers.  As we made small talk, I found that I made mention of various research articles I'd read .  I quipped that I read a lot of research on a variety of subjects.  It's the monkey-nerd in me.

Well, here's what I read tonight.  Dating research. I find it interesting because the Old Woman taught me rules for dating.  It was very important that I present myself as respectful of my companion's wallet.  Of course, now I realize that there is also some bizarro link between men spending money on dates and the expectation of sexual returns on the investment.  She never explained it to me in those terms, but I get it now.  (And, it is wrong and we need to fix this notion in our culture.)   Primarily, I was taught that I should inquire as to what my companion was planning on ordering, and then order something less expensive on the menu.  I was also taught to by pass the extras like apps or dessert.  (There is always homemade cake at the house, why don't you invite your young man in for a bite?)

In college, I had a bad beau who convinced me that being a feminist meant I should pay for our dates.  (Somehow, there was still an expectation of sexual favors.)  Then, I started offering to make dinner for our date and let my companion contribute by paying the cover at a club or for a movie.  (Even with this actually equal arrangement, I still ended up some dude sitting at my kitchen table and declaring that he could have sex with me.  He explained that once he bedded a person, he granted them the nickname of their first initial and he'd never slept with a M (M for monkey) before.  Seems his logic did not factor in the possibility that he would be shown the door before dinner hit the table . . . which is what happened.  I'm not a prude, but I do not hold with such foolishness.)

When I started dating the Phenom, I was pretty burned out on dating and cynical about the whole arrangement. (The dude above contributed his share.)  We really were dating more as placeholders and a social arrangement rather than some monkey/human mating game.  This meant that I made the decision to stop playing games.  I started ordering what I actually wanted to eat (of course, still being respectful of the cost . . . no massive steaks or lobsters . . . but no more side salads with a shared plate of fries either.)   Dates would be negotiated for shared interest as well as expense.

And that was 26 years ago.  We still negotiate dates.  We still work to make sure that neither is taken for granted.  And, we still have great fun on dates.  In fact, just last year, a cabbie in NOLA asked if we were in town on our honeymoon, because we clearly were having fun being together.  We said yes.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Never say never

My cooking style evolved based on what I am curious about, and what I can get locally.  I have always liked foods that are particular to one culture or another.  I make a lot of Asian inspired foods as well as cajun/creole dishes.  We don't eat a lot of meat in our house hold, and the Old Woman generally reserved meat for company.

Oddly, I don't make the foods I ate at the Old Woman's table.  For the life of me, I cannot make a good pot roast.  I blame the lean meat that just isn't as good as what she got.

I have never tried to compete with the Phenom's mother's cooking.  She did teach me how she made biscuits.  And, although I more or less do exactly what she taught me, the Phenom insists that my biscuits are nothing like hers.  I do regret that I didn't claim her cookbooks after she died.  (I let the Phenom's aunt take them.  I didn't find a treasure trove of hand written recipes or a notebook with her favorites collected. . . I would have claimed those.)

Lately, the Phenom has been bringing up how much he misses fatback on the table.  It was, apparently, a staple in his childhood home.  Fatback was not only NEVER served at the Old Woman's table, but she would have screamed at the suggestion of it. (Much too unhealthy.)

Today, at the grocery store, the fatback was in a location that I noticed it.  Honestly, I have no idea if I've ever seen it in the store before.  I'm sure I have, and ignored it.  But, I bought a packet of the stuff.  I put about half of the packet in a cast iron pan over fairly low heat and turned it a few times.  I had the Phenom look at it and tell me when he thought it was "done."

Tonight, dinner was turnips with their greens, new potatoes, and for the Phenom, fatback.  (I had sliced radishes from the garden.)

The Phenom said the fatback was as good as his mother's; the highest possible compliment.  I understand that memory will taint taste.  I'm glad he liked it.  I hope he eats what is left in the fridge.