Thursday, August 31, 2006

Tie Some Knots and Make a Bird Cage

The art of tying string into knots is called "macrame." Once the knots are secured, they are formed into shapes such as birds, bird cages, plant holders, light fixture coverings, and bathroom accessories. Everyone loves macrame. YOU love macrame.
If not, you are a sick individual and need to be put away.

Many years ago, my uncle Louie made a huge white macrame bird cage. In the center of the cage was a fake bird, sitting on a fake perch, attached to a cord, which, if pulled, wafted fake bird music into the room. It was a horrifying macrame, and I had nightmares about it for years. Your macrame, however, will warm the cockles of the hearts of your friends, family, and neighbors--and their pets!

Today I saw a macrame design that I know you will love and want. It is the Toilet Paper Dispenser Macrame, and I can get it for you wholesale.

Place your orders HERE and send me a signed blank check. Or DON'T place the order but STILL send the signed blank check. That would work for me as well.

The Last Baby Animal Post (For Doctor Mom)

Okay Doctor Mom, here are your puppy pictures! You better get that Lexus to me by 4:00 p.m. or one of the puppies dies.

Oh. The last one? That isn't a puppy. It's a kitten. It's soooooooo cute!


It's Mexican Day Here on The World According to Zed

Welcome to Mexican Day!!
a service brought to you free of charge by The World of Zed

I'll supply the following for the Mexican Day party:

A four-color map of Mexico
And a personal favorite (see photo several posts down),
Clamato tortilla chips (you KNOW you like 'em!!)

In the comments section, list one or two items (food, drinks, books, songs, people dead or alive, etc.) you would bring if you were invited to this party. And you can only attend the event if you contribute something. Don't be cheap--the sky's the limit!
And don't forget to think MEXICAN, people. It's a MEXICAN DAY PARTY for crying out loud!! Ay caramba!
(Coming next week: Italian Day. Buy your pasta now!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto--What a Wimp!

This is an image of an airport. It is where I am headed this morning so my mother can fly home to Florida. Isn't that nice? Oh yes it is.

Tropical Storm Ernesto was no match for ME!!!

Update: At the airport at 11:35 a.m., already confirmed and checked in for her 2:00 pm flight, my mother turned to me and said, "I hope I don't miss the flight. I still have to make it to the gate."

Me: Mom, it won't take 2 1/2 hours to get to the gate. We can take a motorized cart and we'll be there in 4 minutes.

Mom: Well, I just don't want to miss the plane. What if we can't find the gate?

Me: We'll find the gate.

Mom: Okay, but I don't want to be late.

Me: I promise you, Mom. You won't be late.

Mom: I worry.

Me: Yes, I know.

Mom: I probably worry too much.

Me: Yep, you do.

Mom: I love you.

Me: Yep I know you do. I love you too.

She's cute. A worrier, but cute. :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In an Effort to Stop Mr. Fab's Whining; Sorry SushiBoy!

For Mr. Fab ... to stop the whining.

Kitten Pictures for Jen

Kitten pictures for Jen of Casual Slack (see my sidebar for the URL).

Normal Life--What Is That Like?

See this satellite picture? It's an image of my mortal enemy, Tropical Storm Ernesto.
For three weeks, I've been on excellent behavior, taking care of my 87-year-old mother and entertaining her with day trips all over the tri-state, playing cards, visiting family, making her life HAPPY. All this was done concurrently while working full-time as well as blogging and trying to keep up a social life (unsuccessfully). I could handle the multitasking as long as I knew there was an end in sight, that the day would come when life would return to normal.
Each night I would fall into bed exhausted from huge, napless days of cleaning (she likes a very clean house) and cooking, but I kept going knowing life would soon return to normal. The day would come when I could speak on the phone again without 20 interruptions, come and go as I pleased, eat when I wanted, turn on the air conditioning in 84-degree weather, or use Tide instead of Wisk without consequences. And that day was August 30, 2006 at approximately 1 pm EST.
Now Ernesto is messing up my plans. My mother may not be able to leave here for days. I love her, but I need my day-in-day-out life back. Today.
Ernesto will pay. Or at the very least, the Weather Channel will pay. Someone's taking a dive for this.

Monday, August 28, 2006

All Warm Things Are Not Equal

When it's 84 degrees in Florida, it's a "warm" 84 degrees, not like the cold 84 degrees we have here in the northeast.

Mom: It's freezing in here [in my apartment].
Me: Mom, it's 84 degrees--look at the outdoor thermometer.
Mom: But my nose. Feel my nose; it's ice cold.
Me, after feeling her nose: It's fine. It's not cold at all.
Mom: Well, to me it's cold. It's ice cold in here.
Me: No it's not. Look at me--I'm sweating! I'm dying of the heat! That's how warm it is--and you won't let me put on the central air.
Mom: How can you put on the air when it's so cold?
Me: Didn't you leave winter clothes in the drawer in the office a while back? Let's find them and you can put them on.
Mom: I'm not going to wear winter clothes in summer.

I go get the space heater.
Me, re-entering room: Okay, let me plug this in.
Mom: What is it?
Me: A space heater.
Mom: You can't use that! It's summer!! That's ridiculous. Take it out of here!
Me: But YOU'RE cold. It doesn't matter what season it is.
Mom: I don't want it. Unplug it. I don't want it. And I'm not going to use it.
[Next morning, she's sneezing at breakfast.]
Mom: I think I'm getting a cold from it being so icy in here.

My 87-year-old mother flies home on Wednesday morning after a three-week visit. She will be returning to Florida, where the temperature is 84 degrees, but a warm 84 degrees.

More Vomititious Chips

I didn't think it was possible to surpass the pure vileness of flavor of Clamato Tortilla Chips, but apparently it is.

A so-called "friend" of mine showed up at my door today after reading yesterday's Clamato post and asked me to try Tako Chips, Octopus Flavored.

Oh my, oh my. Need I say more? I think not.

And I found this on the Internet tonight:
Seaweed potato chips. You KNOW you want 'em. Don't lie.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Clamato Tortilla Chips--Why, God? Why?

This lovely looking blue package appears so bright and cheery that it doesn't begin to hint at the horror that is to follow on biting into the cute bright-red tortilla chips inside.
Tonight, at a party serving these chips, guests had the following reactions:
  1. Four guests immediately lost all of their hair. The hair then shriveled up and burst into flames that could not be extinguished.
  2. One guest was no longer able to speak or even blink. He made obscene hand gestures however, indicating his displeasure with the chips.
  3. Five guests kept hitting their heads against the table and crying out "Why, God? Why?"
  4. Two guests threw their remaining Clamato Torilla Chips to the dog, who ate them and died shortly after.
  5. One person stripped himself naked and did the un-happy dance before upchucking for 3 hours straight.
  6. One guest turned into Satan himself, and for the rest of the night tried to get everyone to sell him their souls.

What genius came up with this idea? Tortilla chips DO NOT cry out for CLAM JUICE. Oh no they don't.

I realize everyone has different tastes, but if you like this stuff, the truth is you need to be locked away in a tall, gray, dank tower with uniformed guards who push your meal selections through a slot at the bottom of the cell door. You, my friend, are a danger to society and need to be kept behind prison bars for the protection of the rest of us.

Idiot of the Week Poll at Doctor Mom's

My favorite Doctor Mom in all the world is holding a new Idiot of the Week Poll at her blog YOU'VE GOT 2 B KIDDING.

When I voted in LAST WEEK's poll, I thought it would be impossible to find others as idiotic as Troy Lee Gentry. But I was wrong. Of equal idiocy is Tom Cruise, one of the choices in this week's poll.

Now you might not agree. You might think one of the other 5 choices, including the extremely idiotic Shakira Wannabies, should win this poll. Well, they can't win if you don't VOTE!!

You have rights--exercise them. Run, don't walk, over to Doctor Mom's site YOU'VE GOT 2 B KIDDING! and have a voice in who is the biggest idiot THIS WEEK!

You won't regret it! And Doctor Mom will give $1,000,000 to the first 15 people who vote!!!(Oh, no that's not true, that's another poll I was thinking of, not Doctor Mom's. Sorry.)

Go here NOW!!:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ugly Couches

I found a Web site containing photos of the ugliest couches in the world. If your couch is shown here, please accept my sincere apologies. But let me add: Ugggg-ly!!!

The Christmas Tree Couch: The Orange Velour (?) Couch
The Royal Wannabe Couch:
The Floral Velvet Couch:
The Web site is; go visit if you want to see more ugly couches. Click on photos here to enlarge--but, really, why would you want to do that? Why?

Shabby Treatment at Caesar's Palace, Atlantic City

Well, after being charged $10.75 at Caesar's in Atlantic City to withdraw money from my bank account to gamble, and after placing a complaint for the charge and wasting my time wandering all over the casino to find the "Global Cashier" who moved like a tortoise, I RECEIVED THIS HEARTFELT (haha!!!) REPLY from Caesar's Customer Service:

Thank you for reaching out to us. Your comments are very important in helping us to ensure that the services and products we provide to our guests are constantly improving to meet and exceed your expectations. Obviously, we share your concern regarding anything that may detract from you (sic) experience at Caesars.

Please be assured that we realize the severity of this matter, and sincerely apologize for any disappointment or inconvenience that you may have endured due to this highly unusual incident. At Caesars, we strive to always provide our guests with the best treatment, to ensure that their stay is enjoyable. Please know that I have taken your comments and discussed them with the proper management teams. Guest comments, like your own, are used in business
and development decisions everyday.

With so many changes coming in the future, concerns and comments are welcomed. Thank you, once again, for taking the time to reach out to us. We look forward to welcoming your (sic) back to Caesars soon. Have a wonderful day!

I particularly like "We look forward to welcoming your back to Caesars soon." Well, neither my back, front, or sides will be visiting Caesar's Palace any time soon.

Where's my free lunch? :)

Comfort Foods Survey

Okay, this is the LAST "WATZ" (World According to Zed) food survey for a very long time, so don't miss out on the opportunity to enter your opinion here while you still have the chance!

If you don't enter, you'll be considered a loser and people will laugh at you wherever you go, day in and day out. Don't chance it!

Comfort foods. List 'em here in the comments section.

When life gets me down, I want macaroni and cheese...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The QUICK CASH Machine--Or So They Call It

After losing $100, I needed to get more cash at Caesar's Casino in Atlantic City, so I went to one of the QUICK CASH machines, where money is extracted from your bank account based on your debit or credit card. All I wanted was $200 cash, and I entered my PIN when asked for it.

I was charged $10.75 to get my hands on own money. More horrifying, the QUICK CASH machine didn't give me any cash. It said "Go to the cashier to get your money."

So I went to the nearest cashier, who said, "Oh, no, not here. Keep walking down further and you'll see where to go." I walked about 1/2 mile to the next cashier, and after waiting 11 minutes in a long line the cashier said, "No, no, not HERE! You need to go to the Global Cashier. Keep walking toward the Boardwalk exit."

So I walked another 1/2 mile and I still couldn' t find a sign for the "Global Cashier." I stopped passersby, but no one had ever hear of this particular type of cashier, including casino employees. Fun!

Finally I find the "Global Cashier," who has a line formed in front of her, and who has put up a sign in the cashier's window that reads:

Sorry for the inconvenience.
I'll be back in 15 minutes.
What??!! When is someone going to give me my money!!!
When the Global Cashier returns, she slowly handles each person in line. And when I say "slowly" I mean "barely moving," "semicomatose," and "frozen stiff."
When I get to the front of the line, she wants my picture ID, which she s-l-o-w-l-y enters into the computer, and prints out and has me sign several pieces of paper--and, get this, takes my fingerprint and asks me to press the print on the signature line of a check (huh?).
Again, all I want is my own money. The entire transaction took--from the time I put my money card in the "QUICK CASH" machine--about 32 minutes.
For all I know, the Global Cashier has emptied my bank account and is headed to Fiji to live out her days on the beach eating coconuts and bananas and writing mystery novels.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm Getting on a Bus

Well, I'm getting on a bus with about 62 very old people tomorrow to take my mother on a trip to Atlantic City. She loves the slots.

The only thing that can make me happy about this trip is winning $40 million while I'm there.
Now, on the extremely slim possibility that I will win $40 million, regular visitors to this site will be invited to a big party, with champagne, and filet mignon and, and , and Milk Duds, and Hot Tamales, and buttered popcorn. And everything. Woo-hoo!!
Your future party life depends on my winning. Think positive everyone!

Movie Theater Candy

Okay, list 'em here folks! Your favorite movie theater snacks in the comments section. And don't even begin to tell me you never have a snack at the movies!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

She Beat Me Again and Again

An 87-year-old just beat me at cards. Three times in a row.

My mind!! What's happened to my mind?! (Note to self: Do mental exercises tomorrow... I hope I can remember to do them.)

UPDATE: Make that four times in a row.
UPDATE #2: At Jane's suggestion, I'm going to try to beat her at Candyland tonight.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged by Teri (I'll get you yet sis!):

4 jobs I've had:
1. owner of publishing services firm
2. managed software development team
3. wrote monthly column for home decor magazine
4. receptionist at major corporation; had no idea what I was doing or who anybody was, but I smiled nicely and that worked well.

4 movies I could watch over and over:
1. Groundhog Day. (Kill me, I love it.)
2. The Elephant Man
3. The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989) USA/Japan
4. Amadeus

4 places I have lived:
1. France
2. Scotland
3. Berkeley/Oakland hills, Northern California
4. NY-NJ-Conn tristate (pick one)

4 TV shows I love to watch:
1. House Hunters & Designing for the Sexes (HGTV)
2. Everybody Loves Raymond (reruns, over and over)
3. Ellen De Generes Show
4. The Amazing Race

4 places I have been on vacation:
1. Bled, Yugoslavia (when it WAS Yugoslavia)
2. Denmark
3. Sweden
4. Italy

4 websites I visit daily:
1. Casual Slack
2. Dick Small Blog; Mister Gravely's Blog (same blogger)
3. ClustrMaps (I'm obsessed!)
4. almost daily: a. Family Tree Junkie (even though she didn't cite me as a site that she visits daily, I KNOW she's here, because that's what sisters do ... visit); b. Doctor Mom's site (You've Got 2 B Kidding!); c. The Peevery; d. Joanne's Life

4 fave foods:
1. Pizza; Italian food in general
2. Creme brulee; eclair chocolat (chocolate eclairs); French food in general
3. Steak, medium-well
4. Apricot almond-encrusted chicken (just discovered)

4 places I'd like to be right now:
1. Mont St. Michel (France)
2. Walking near the Seine
3. Sitting at the edge of the New Jersey shore, with water lapping over my feet, wind blowing gently.
4. Portofino, Italy
4a. Target's (I need to return something)

4 people I am tagging:
ANYONE who'd like to do this, especially Doctor Mom, Mollie (no link or blog, but you can post here if you want), Lynda, and Jen (but I bet she's done this already).

Friday, August 18, 2006

The "Make a Stupid Sentence" Challenge

Arrange random words to make a sentence/sentences:

cat; why; are; want; permission; life; were; do; denial; don't; not; -ing; character; my; new; -est; small; isn't; some; work; she; idiot; claw; walk; does; crazy; marriage; feed; did; incoherent; cook; rent; husband; furry; man; wild; push; wife; woman; bad; wash; rotate; the; never; purchase; -s (for plurals); he; please; realize; boat; dog; bury; she; teeth; on; in; like; have; with; you; need; for; Lexus SC; yet; very; alcohol; your; won't; neurotic; milk; short; mirror; can; could; bite; very; tall; would; I; neurotic; lie; there; obsession; style; people; -d (for past tense); over; of; a; old; taxes; they; family; power; leave; under; albino; fat; house; home; chisel; dirty; ugly; hate; big; we; an; -ed (past tense); nap; socks; brush; food; dinner.

All words can be changed to past, future, or present tense; all words can be plural or singular; and you may add -ing, -ly, ?, !, . as necessary.

Example sentences:
1. Why do I want a Lexus SC? Why not?
2. My fat albino cat wants a Lexus SC.
3. Please purchase a Lexus SC for me.
4. The people over there are ugly. (This sentence is not as exciting as the Lexus SC sentences.)

There are no prizes, just an inward knowing that you are the smartest person on the planet ... or at least the smartest person in your own little "inner world."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Look For My Car...

I'm heading to the Jersey shore for the day to visit family, get lunch, and walk the boardwalk. I'll be driving the blue Scion TC. Maybe I'll see you there?! :)

I'll be back tomorrow all tan (burned) and stuff! Love you guys!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

YOU Can Make This Happen!

Lexus SC $67550
Here's the gift I WOULD LIKE to receive somewhere between now and midnight December 31. It's the Lexus SC and it's soooo much better than the craft gifts you might want to pawn off on me (see previous post).

If you'd all just pool your money, you can MAKE IT HAPPEN! (Silver finish is fine; if it's not available, I'll take black.) Leather interior, bien sur!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Gifting Mistakes for 2006

I don't want you to make any gifting mistakes this year. So if you decide to make me a homemade present between now and the end of 2006, please note that I definitely don't want the following.

1. I don't want this Painted Butterfly Clothespin. It's lovely, but ...

2. I don't want this Toilet Paper Plant Poke. No. No, I don't.

3. And I don't want this "Sunny" Necklace. Not this year, thanks.

... just so you know. An informed gifter is an appreciated gifter.

Brought to you by Zed's Wild Weekly Stupid Craft Rants and Raves.

Look How Nice He Was!

After making y'all suffer through the image of Dick Small without makeup, I thought I would include an image today of Mr. Fred Rogers. He was bright, he was cheery and he was nice. Very nice.

It's such a good feeling, a very good feeling.
The feeling you know that we're friends

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Handsome Mister Small

Yes, I know Dick Small wants you to think he looks like Tom Delay. And yes I know he always speaks about his remarkable way with the ladies, which I suppose is possible with extremely needy and desperate ladies. But in my mind, this is how he looks:

Oh, he's a bit hard on the eyes, people; that's for sure. But yet look at this picture closely. There's something rather appealing about Dick Small in a very rugged, manly sort of way. But you really need to be very compassionate and sort of force yourself to see it. Try to see his rugged handsomeness. Try again, harder.

They say beauty is skin deep. And I'm sure deep, DEEP, DEEP down, Dick is quite the looker. But deep, DEEP, DEEP down.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

What'd I Ever Do to You, France and Spain?

Okay, I admit I'm upset with ClustrMaps, the little red-dotted image of a world map that appears in the sidebar. I've only had this new tool on my site for one week, but I'm driven to go look at it every day. No, it's not about how many visitors I've had. No. It's about my obsession with the dots. (Yes, it's true, the lights are on at my house but nobody's home.)

If you click on the ClustrMaps image in the sidebar, you'll see a new screen with more and bigger dots. Right above that map on that page is a clickable link to make "smaller dots". If you click on it, you see lot of dots in the US and Europe--and hey, welcome to visitors in Australia, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, and that country I don't recognize and have to go look up on a real map. It may be China or Russia, but I'm not sure (if you live east of Poland, I'm lost).

Now let me ask you a question. Do you see a dot on France? Or Spain? Not one. What, I'm not good enough for those countries?

No one from either country has even stopped here ONCE. Goodness, I lived in France. Did I scare them all away? Was I a bad resident? Look at this: "Bon jour! Comment ca va?" See? And Spain--I had 3 years of Spanish in high school for goodness' sake!

So ClustrMaps started this obsession, and I think it is now my mission to commission French and Spanish (from Spain) citizens to this blog. And they'd better start stopping by. Or they're in big trouble. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes right now.

Two Images from a Bright and Loving Soul

Today is the anniversary of my sister's death, so I'm just going to chill out. But I'm leaving some photos of hers here for you to see.

The first one was taken from the Goodyear Blimp over the Atlantic. The one on the right with the butterfly was taken in SE Florida. Click on an image to enlarge it.

I was with her when both pictures were taken. My camera recorded dark, overcast images because the day was dark and overcast. Yet she captured images that were beautiful, bright, and colorful. And her entire life was that way--she saw good in people no one else saw and loved the unlovable. She enjoyed life to the fullest and traveled the world. And she touched thousands of people's lives wherever she went, and changed the course of many for the good. I miss her.

I'll be back tomorrow. Enjoy the day! And live life large.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Clean, Clean, Clean ... and Then Clean Some More!

My 87-year-old mother and me (well, mostly HER) are on a cleaning spree!! Whoopee!

So far, she's cleaned my refrigerator, the "junk" drawer, the cutlery drawer, and the sweater dresser, and the corner over there with the folded clean wash and about 6000 pairs of shoes that were not organized in pairs.

And this, ladies and gentleman, is why she now and always has weighed 98 lbs. yet can eat a larger dinner and more dessert than all of you combined.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

May the Insults Begin!

Tonight, as I was feeding my boy cat Johnny a turkey snack, I said to Mom: "He'll eat just about anything. He's like a little garbage can."

And she said, "I wonder who he took after." ????

May the insults begin. Grrr. Where's my frappuccino and Valium?

No Zed = A life not worth living

Well, you all have a bit of a reprieve!

My mother's flight is delayed by 90 minutes to 1 hour due to terrorism-airport problems. Sooooooooooo, you have more time to think of sometime nice to say in Zed's I-Can-Make-Up-Better-Stories-Than-You Contest (or whatever it's called--see post below).

I KNOW you can do it. I KNOW it's just that you're afraid of not saying enough!

Guilt trip: Thanks to Jane, I have something to show my mother. (See thread title.)

Don't be mean to an 87-year-old woman! And don't miss out on your opportunity to win a $10 or $15 gift card from a good coffee/donut/whatever place!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You're Simply Fabulous, Zed--and Very, Very Smart!!

Okay, heads up, everyone!! Please turn off your IPods and pay close attention.

Welcome to Zed's I-Can-Make-Up-Stories-Better-Than-Anyone-Else Contest.

My mother's coming to town tomorrow for a three-week visit and you need to be on your best behavior. Don't forget to post about how wonderful I am, and that there is simply no one better than me around, blah, blah, blah--"enhance the truth" if you have to. The person who "enhances the truth" the most will win the title ... "winner."

That's all you get for now, a title, but I'm thinking a small gift card to Starbuck's or Dunkin' Donuts or someplace equally tempting is possible, depending on the quality of your
"enhancements." But I wouldn't count on your being sent a prize--let's face it, I almost never make it to the post office, and then we'd have to exchange emails and addresses and all that, and it gets way too messy. :) But it's possible!!!

Entries such as "You're okay" are simply not acceptable and will be tossed out. I'm looking for stuff like:

1. No one anywhere can compare to YOU, Zed.
2. The world would certainly be an empty place without your presence, Zed.

Let's face it, it won't be difficult to write such things since they will be based on ... truth! :)

Do your best starting tomorrow, and leave your comments on this post. Thanks!

The Super-Dangerous Skippy Fanny Pack

Is it me or is this not the most inappropriate and stupid contraption EVER created for use by a child?

It is a craft from Skippy Peanut Butter called the Skippy Fanny Pack. Look at the photo above carefully. It is a glass jar with ribbon glued onto it that a child will wear around his or her waist as a means of transporting and storing keys and cash.

What's wrong with this picture?

1. The child's stomach will be punctured by the broken glass jar when he or she falls accidentally forward on concrete onto the jar OR

2. The child will be robbed once muggers see exactly how much cash the child is carrying and decide to take it for themselves. What a fun day for Johnny or Susie that will be!

3. And your household keys are in there too. So your apartment will be broken into as well, all in the same day.

Sounds like a good time will be had by all!


This rant brought to you by Zed's Wild Weekly Stupid Craft Rants and Raves.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Have Some Bugs with Your Food!

It has always freaked me out that the FDA has an approved "food defect list" which cites how many bug and vermin parts are allowed in what we eat. I found the following article on Salon. Trust me, this is NOT for the squeamish! :)

I also think it's hilarious that the author of the work is Mary ROACH.

Bug heads, rat hairs--bon app├ętit
Do you know how many insect parts are allowed in your Fig Newton? By Mary Roach

If you made Fig Newtons for a living and you wanted to know how many insects could get into your Newtons without your getting into hot water with the FDA, you could look it up on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Defect Action Levels Web site. Here you would learn that fig paste is allowed to have up to 13 insect heads per 100 grams.

You would then become sidetracked and further learn that approximately four rodent hairs are allowed in a jar of peanut butter, that an average of 60 thrips are allowed in 100 grams of frozen broccoli, that 10 grams of hops are allowed to contain 2,500 aphids and that 5 milligrams of rat excreta in a pound of sesame seeds is A-OK with the FDA.

Article continued here:

If this article doesn't make us lose weight, nothing will!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Famous, Ever-Popular, and Much-Loved Frankie & Johnny

Johnny's stretched out below, and a bit chubby these days. And Frankie is 1/2 Johnny's size. He has the all-black face and she has the white stripe down her nose that sometimes make it look like as if her nose is crooked.

They were rescued from a guy who collected city cats with the express purpose of helping them, but he collected so many cats he had to put them in small cages in his apartment for long periods of time. Turns out some of them were in cages for so long their legs atrophied from lack of movement. So sad. What that guy meant for good actually wound up injuring many of the cats.

Johnny's legs are bowed and Frankies are ham-hocked, but they are beautiful, healthy, and my babies.

Thanks to Jen of CasualSlack and Teri of Family Tree Junkie for getting me to post these pictures of the most beautiful cats in the world in the eyes of their mom.

Click their pictures to enlarge.

They're gorgeous ... and brilliant, and speak at least 3 languages: English, a little French, and cat. If anyone takes issue with their gorgeousness or brilliance, they're dangerously stirring up a mother's wrath. I would keep those kinds of thoughts to myself.

Order Something Already!

So I went to brunch today at a pancake house with R., my friend of many years, who has an extremely difficult time deciding what she will eat whenever she's in a restaurant.

The waiter brought us menus and went to a corner to await our decisions. I decided in about 2 minutes what I wanted. R. looked as if she'd decided between one of three items but said she wanted to question the waiter about some stuff in her list of possibilities before she made her final decision of what to order.

The waiter comes to the table and I give him my order. He turns to R.

Waiter: And what can I get you?

R.: What's today's special here on the menu? You need to explain it to me--what' s IN it? [He describes the dish to her.] Oh, I don't like that. And what about this one? With the feta... [Again he describes the special.] No, no, no. I don't want that. And this here? Does it have asparagus in it? No. Okay. I don't want that either. Let me think about this more.

The waiter goes away, saying he'll be back in a few minutes. R. scours the menu for something that strikes her fancy. She says, "Zed, I can't find anything. It's too confusing. Maybe I'll start looking again from the first page of the menu." I sigh.

The waiter looks over to our table after a while but I wave
him off. This is going to take a while.

R. menu-studies for an additional 6-7 minutes while I dare not speak to her, lest a word from me leads to some sort of further confusion. Finally she says, "You're rushing me!" I've said nothing. I still say nothing. I just smile. Finally it looks as if she has decided on the Feta Cheese Crepe, and she calls the waiter over to the table.

R.: Does the crepe have asparagus in it?

Waiter: No, ma'am, just the feta cheese. And it's pre-made in a baking dish, so we can't put asparagus in. We can put it on top ...

R.: No, I don't want it on top. Does it have broccoli in it?

No, ma'am, just the feta cheese. And it's pre-made in a baking dish, so it's too late to put the broccoli in. But we can put it on top for you if you'd like...

R.: No. I don't want that on top either. Never mind. Well, let's see...

The waiter and I attentively wait for R. to examine the menu again. Finally she decides.

R.: I'd like the Feta Cheese Crepe with some aparagus and broccoli on the side, and I want them steamed not baked, put parmesan cheese on top of the crepe and then bake it, cook the crepe well but lighter on one side than the other, and can you also put strawberries in the plate? With whipped cream?

Waiter: Yes, ma'am.

R.: And I want Splenda in a cup of light coffee, half-full, with milk not cream. [He brings coffee to her, and the moment he gets to the table she has another request.] And water, can you get me some water with two pieces of lemon, one in the water, one on the side on a plate? And I'd like extra napkins too. And a new fork and knife.

In about 15 minutes he brings R. the crepe stuffed with feta cheese, with aparagus and broccoli steamed on the side, strawberries in one corner of the plate with whipped cream on top, well done, with one side of the crepe lighter than the other.

After one bite R. turns to me with a horrified look on her face.

Me: What's wrong?

R.: This has too much butter! I'm sending it back!

Me: R., where's the butter? I don't see butter on the plate or on the crepe. It was baked!

R.: Taste it!

I taste it. I taste no butter and tell her so.

R.: I'm sending it back. It's way too buttery. I HATE buttery things. I'm calling the waiter.

The poor waiter, looking worn out and exasperated, comes over.

R.: There's too much butter on this.

Waiter: We don't cook it with butter. We bake it. There's NO butter.

R.: Well, there's too much butter in there for me. I can taste it!

Waiter: Ma'am, there's no butter in there. It's a crepe of flour and water layered with feta cheese and baked. There's no butter.

R.: Well, it's too buttery for me. And I HATE butter. I'd like to get something else; would you bring me the menu again?

By now I've finished my lunch and R. is still putting in her order. This time she orders an artichoke and feta cheese omelette.

Me.: If you keep doing this, you're inviting them to spit in your food. You know that, right?

I think it was just about now as she looked at my face that she realized it was in her best interest to order something and actually eat it. Oh perhaps it was my tapping my fingers on the table. Or maybe it was my spinning of the knife on the tabletop. Or maybe she looked at the clock and realized we'd been in the pancake house for 90 minutes already and she still hadn't eaten one drop of food--by choice.

When the artichoke and feta cheese omelette came, she ate it.

Smart move.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Basics of Life

I wonder if they sell Starbucks Frappuccino on Mars.

Or Coca-Cola.

Or if they have a large Target's.

Because I'll tell you right now, I'm dropping out of the U.S. space program if I can't have these very basics of life.

Short Laps

Yeah, yeah, yeah, this is the same image used in The Swimming Pool Restroom post (scroll down), but when I looked at it again today I realized that the guy swimming has got to be doing the shortest laps in the history of humankind.

If he's hoping to snag the gold at the next Olympics, I think he's going to have to do a whole lot better than this. (And he's swimming in a urine-infested pool, but let's not even go there again.)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Sweet One and the Cranky One: Guess Which One Is Me

Here's a picture of my sister and me from 2 or 3 years ago (or 2 or 3 centuries ago, your choice) at Bear Mountain, New York. I got a whole lot better looking with time. And less cranky looking. On some days.

Oh sure, she looks like the bigger, sweeter older sister, but once the picture was taken, she hit me upside the head. Because she could. She was bigger. No wonder I look cranky. And why is my skirt so long in this photo, Mom? (Let me guess: Hand-me-down?) :)

A Noisy, Busy Day at the Hudson River

Another post from the past. Really only two more I want to bring forward--I'm letting the rest go. I promise.

FROM 7/7/06

Okay, here's the plan: Get out by 12:30. Head over to Target's, Old Navy, and TJ Maxx, then to Radio Shack, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and Ulta, the cosmetic giant.

All the while, I will be on the edges of the Hudson River, facing the greatest city in the world--New York.

I'll have lunch on the pier and watch as Canada geese, pesky seagulls, gentle sailboats, rusty barges, noisy speedboats, green-and-white wood Circle Liners, and majestic tall cruise ships make their way up and down river.

Airliners will roar quite low above, descending toward LaGuardia and JFK; every seven minutes or so ferryboats will set sail for Manhattan; and commercial and military helicopters will circle above and eventually head north and east.

It's beautiful here in an extremely city-sort-of-way. But what a city to watch and admire. They say it never sleeps; I say it never even catnaps.

I love this place and never tire of it. I'm headed out after one more post.

Wish me well! I hope I don't get mugged! :)

We Need to Speak--I Have So Much to Tell Her

Another post from the past. Carole was my only sister.

FROM 7/7/2006

In a few weeks, it will be two years since my sister died. The time has passed so quickly.

In the weeks after her death, I did what I had to do to arrange for the memorial service, find her cats a good home, and deal with all the paperwork involved in settling her final affairs. I needed to dismantle her apartment and bring over 15,000 photographic prints to my place (and find room for them!), to deal with our mother's sorrow and health, and to put together a eulogy as a memorial to my sister's life and her inspiring 22-year battle with cancer.

Once the busy phase ended, I faced a tough two years. Many times I found myself heading to the phone to call her before I realized I could not reach her. I guess it takes quite a while to get one's head around the concept of death and separation.

She was my only sister and only sibling, and as the younger sister I looked to her for encouragement and counseling. For her, I was the perpetual child in pigtails who needed to be looked after--despite my age or success.

I remember my sister smiling broadly as I entered her hospice room early one morning in August. She was cheerfully eating chocolate pudding (pretty much the only thing left that she could digest other than pure liquids) and was sitting up in bed beaming at me as I entered the room. We both had worried for the last few years how I would handle these last days of her life, and we were pleasantly surprised that I had received the gift of grace to get me through it. I think that gave her a real sense of peace.

That morning, there was something different about her countenance. She smiled, but behind the smile I saw a sadness in her eyes that I had not seen before. I knew at once that her life was coming to a swift and sudden end.

So I sat at her bedside as she put her head back down on the pillow and closed her eyes. We sang hymns and prayed, and occasionally she would squeeze my hand to let me know she was still here with me. Sometimes she'd open her eyes to look at me intently as if it were difficult to focus her eyes, and when my image became clear to her, she would smile. Sometimes on awakening she would say, "I love you" and then quickly fall back into sleep.

By evening she was no longer able to open her eyes. She had slipped into a coma from which she could not be awakened. Before leaving that room late at night, I stood at the foot of her bed and stared at her for a very long time. I wanted to remember every last detail of her face.

The following morning at 6:30 AM, Carole died of breast cancer that had metasticized to her liver.

I miss her more than I am able to express, and the sense of loss has increased with time. I want so much to pick up the phone and speak to her. Sometime I just stare at the phone, feeling a bit lost. We need to speak--I have so much to tell her. And I know for certain she has so much to share with me as well.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Harper's Bazaar Hates Women

I'm still moving over some of my archived posts from Windows Live Spaces. Some of these posts are downright hilarious--and since this is the one little part of my world I have almost total control over ... well, here they are. Try and do something about it. :)

FROM: 7/20/2006

First a black-haired, naked, pregnant Britney; now this. Take a good look at the image below.

This is what Harper's Bazaar wants you to look like this fall.

I actually had an involuntary physical reaction on first seeing this photo. My body jumped slightly.

The clothing is hideous. The model's makeup is hideous. Her hair is hideous. Her pose is hideous.

She may or may not be alive--but if she IS alive, she's about 91 years old.

Why does Harper's hate women? What did we ever do to that magazine?

The Worst Music Video EVER #1

For your viewing pleasure, from YouTube, the Worst Music Video EVER. Click here

It's so bad it's almost good.

She's Still Laughing ... and Laughing ... and Laughing

Bear with me. I'm moving over some of my archived posts from Windows Live Spaces. This one cracks me up every time I read it.

FROM: 7/26/2006

So I'm sitting here having some of my delicioso Starbucks Frappuccino and I'm worried.

My 87-year-old mother called last night to say hi and told me:

Mom: You're never gonna believe this...

Me: What?

Mom: I fell asleep in the chair as I was watching TV tonight. [She starts laughing as if this might be the funniest thing that's ever happened to her.]

Me: Mom, you always fall asleep while watching TV.

Mom: [Still laughing.] It was the weirdest thing. I mean I was just sitting there, and suddenly I fell asleep.

Me: Mom, when you were here [from mid-October to mid-January] you did that every night. You always do that.

Mom: I do? [Still laughing.] It was so funny. I was just sitting there and I fell asleep.

Oh brother. How am I going to make it through August with her here for most of the month? I'm going to need a lot of frappuccino. Or Valium. Or several frappuccinos and several Valiums.

The "Zone of Hotness"

I must live in the "Zone of Hotness." What else can I think? NBC News just appeared outside my building to describe the intense heat, and the reporter interviewed several Fortress residents about how they were coping with today's extremely high temperatures. While we faced a high of 102 degrees, the humidity made it feel as if it were 110.

So here's my question: If The Fortress were going to collapse from too much heat or melt to the ground, it would have been incumbent on the newscaster to mention that fact in the interest of fair and complete coverage of the news, right? Okay then.

It's not easy living in the Zone of Hotness.

The Swimming Pool Restroom

The temperature is going to 100 today and will rise to 101+ tomorrow. Oh, yeah, this is going to be "fun."

I'm filling the guest bathtub with cold water and leaving it there as my swimming pool. While we have a large pool right here at The Fortress--my humongo apartment building--I have this thing about multiple-user pools: I don't want to be in them.

Human elimination in swimming pools was always something I blamed on children with lazy parents who hadn't passed down instructions that it is uncouth to eliminate in the water rather than use the restroom. But now I realize that grown-ups are often just as guilty of this practice. I have swum through too many warm-water areas in pools to be unaware of this problem.

Some people have told me, "That doesn't bother me. They use chlorine in the pool"--as if this makes it better. It doesn't. They can use dump trucks' worth of chlorine in the pool as far as I'm concerned. If I swallow water while swimming, I'm swallowing water, pee, and chlorine.

I don't want to swim in other people's urine, I'm funny that way. My bathtub's going to serve as my swimming pool. Oh sure, Frankie & Johnny may occasionally drink from it, but they don't swim. And even if they DID swim, they are smart enough to know not to eliminate in the same place as one swims, once again proving that cats are highly intelligent and far more respectful of others than humans.

I'm off to fill my chlorine-free, pee-free pool! Stay cool!

P.S. See those 3 people in the pool on the left? Those people are all peeing in the pool! :)