Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow Precautions, Tips, Products and Even More Tips for Winter

Winter has come around again and the key to survival is to be prepared. Don't fall under the spell of dangerous seasonal fantasies. Follow all the weatherman's rules and heed these precautions:  

! Snow Precautions and Little-Known Facts !

Eat more. You never know when you might get caught in a drift, and have to live off your own body fat.

 Snow attracts wild animals. Leave scraps of fresh meat in the middle of the street to keep the roving packs from your door.

 No sleeping outside. Snow looks so nice and soft, but it's a silent killer. Resist all urges to cleave to its frosty bosom.

 Snow on the ground makes the air colder. Hypothermia can strike without warning, therefore, be a moving target. Run, don't walk, to and from your car. If a neighbor shouts hello and tries to engage you, toss them a hasty wave and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

 Avoid shoveling, constructing forts, and building snow beings. You might tire and be overcome with a powerful urge to lie down in the snow. See point no. 4.

 Dress to be seen. If you must be outside, wear fluorescent colors at all times.

 Be sensible. When discussing the weather with others, stay within cultural norms. Kate Bush notwithstanding, "shnamistoflopp'n" , "creaky-creaky" and "phlegm de neige" are not words for snow. *

If you get caught outside in severe weather, remember that squirrels are your allies and a valuable resource. Especially when cooked over an open fire.

Here are some little-known snow facts that may fascinate you:

Snow contains not only water but is charged with ion particles that intermittently heighten sexual powers.

Snow that you manage to catch on your tongue is weaker, inferior snow, and can make you sick.

Snow fairies are all around us, but hard to see because they have white skin, hair, and lips.

It takes more alcohol to get intoxicated when it's snowing outside than it normally does, so drink accordingly.

White-outs are not really natural phenomena, but are events engineered by the military when they want to move around top-secret, heavy equipment..

The town of Bledsoe, Ohio hires someone to go around and count snow men so they can pad their population numbers.

If you give your dog apple cider vinegar and honey, his urine won't turn the snow yellow.

Here are some handy Tips for Winter:

Seinfeldian Tip : Heat a towel in your dryer and wear that around your neck instead of a scarf. Someone  actually did this and pointed it out to me, rather proudly.

Tip for Robbers: When there is snow on the ground, forego the customary black attire and wear all-white clothes instead. That way you'll blend in with your surroundings more easily. Lilah contributed this handy winter tip.

Tips for Consuming Chocolate: When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, chocolate calories begin to diminish, at the rate of five calories per degree. Below 20 degrees, this rate of decline accelerates, at a whopping 10 calories per degree. So a 150 calorie chocolate bar consumed at 30 degrees would be only 140 calories. Eat it at 19 degrees, and you save 70 calories!! If you hold out until the mercury drops to 11 degrees, you consume NO calories. The colder it gets, the sweeter the deal. When the temperature drops below ten, you can eat as much chocolate as you want. And if the temperature plunges to zero, it is imperative that you eat chocolate to safeguard your health and stave off illness.

Winterizing Tip For Petites: Buy an outdoorsy jacket at the big and tall men's shop. You can wear two or three coats underneath it, no fooling. You can wear your favorite couch throw, and no one will know. They'll shiver and chatter, as you say, "What's the matter?"

And now friends....More tips and Products for Winter:

Manufactured exclusively for you by the Friendly Persuasion Good Product Company,  these products will help sustain you during the bitter months ahead. "Let's Just Get Through This, Shall We?"
Sold for a limited time only, these items are not available in any store! 

Now here's a wintertime stay-warm tip, ladies. Pad your bra ----with booze!  

Yes, it looks like you just grew two cup sizes. Is it Mother Nature....or Jim Beam? Only Mamma-Flask knows!

 Sewn discreetly into a regular polyester and Spandex brassiere, the Mamma-Flask contains a sanitary and waterproof lining that stores up to 25 ounces of your favorite good-time beverage. That's equivalent to nearly a fifth of Scotch or a bottle of wine. Choose your poison --than drink it when no one's looking  through the handy accessory drinking straw. An advanced valve mechanism keeps the Mamma-Flask inflated with air even as it's emptied, preserving your exaggerated bust line. The party's never over til you say it is! But when it is, Mamma-Flask is a cinch to clean  --just throw it in the wash with your other unmentionables.

New this winter! Hats of Distraction! 

Beating the cold is all about distraction. That is why we're making available to you for the first time, our exclusive winter line of headgear, "Hats of Distraction."  Made with the same attention to quality as our "Hats of Distinction," our Hats of Distraction will stop traffic and start conversations, leaving you less mental energy to shiver. Plus, our one-of-a-kind styling features science behind the design. Based on the principle that heat rises, our Hats of Distraction boast special heat containment properties, actually helping to retain your body heat! .

Cozy as a train yard campfire  -  The Hobo Coat 

If yours is a lifestyle "on the move" nothing keeps you warmer than our trademark Hobo Coat. Patterned after the traditional storied garb of rail jumpers, drifters and other hapless "ho's", our Hobo Coat has the ill-fitting look of something you plucked out of the charity bin, and pockets so deep you could keep a small cook-stove on your person and forget it's there! Decorative fringe on sleeve and hem adds just enough class to set you apart from the riff-raff.

Winter's harsh realities:  Harrowing scenes like these are familiar to us all...

Seduced by the possibility of snow and some great time you think you're gonna have? Don't fall under the spell of dangerous seasonal fantasies! Our "Wintry Woes" snow globes depict winter as the shit storm it really is. No more Winter Wonderlands. Our globes feature scenes of fallen power lines, stranded motorists, wrecked cars, hypothermia victims, house fires and avalanches...right on your desktop. This is winter as you really know it! Sure to catch the eye, Wintry Woes snow globes are a great conversation piece.

Wintry Woes snow globe. Assorted scenes -selection shipped may vary.

Pants O' Plenty

 Concerned about the environment and the diversity of species? Fearing the long, dark, winter months ahead? Replace a lost habitat and your body heat at the same time when you play host to a family of field mice --right inside your pants! Our Pants O' Plenty supply constant warmth, generated naturally through the presence of hyperactive rodents. Special tubes hidden inside the pants provide a nurturing home for small critters, yet handily keep them out of sight. You never need see your "guests." Merely feed them through the holes provided inside the hip pockets.

Life-Like Weather Mask 

Remember how that Halloween mask made your face sweat as a kid? Wouldn't it be nice if you could just wear a mask of your own face when it's cold out? Send us a photo and we'll make a 3-D printed face mask out of polyurethane bearing a stunning likeness to your face! Wear your doppelganger whenever you need to be out and about. Your face stays warm and cozy while your "alter ego" takes the brunt of that raw, north wind. The Deluxe edition comes with a choice of speaking voices and standard phrases, sparing you the task of speaking as well.

Product Endorsement:

"I have used and benefited from all of these products. " -- Dorothea Greezbolte, Filament, New Jersey.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Saint Winifred.

All hail Saint Winifred! The patron saint of heaters, radiators, and furnace vents.

She worries that you haven't changed your filter. I kept a small figurine of Winifred next to our furnace but it melted.
I've been fighting consciousness all day. Finally, I win. I'm going off to bed now, to my recurring nightmare about wickless candles. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In the Night Grocery

I was going to go grocery shopping last night, but I couldn't find my purse. I looked everywhere. I drove to Hyvee, discovered I didn't have it, drove home. But it wasn't sitting on the table, hanging on a chair, it hadn't been left behind on my bed, liked I'd hoped. It was nowhere. I took a flashlight and searched the car. I took the flashlight and searched the dark, brown wood of the dining room floor. Maybe it had fallen. Because my purse is brown suede, it blends into other browns easily.

Just as I was slowly but surely losing my mind, I found it where I would never have thought to look: underneath a daughter. Annabelle had been sitting on it the whole time, only half-aware that something was there beneath her, or behind her on the chair.

I reclaimed my squashed suede purse and resumed my shopping trip. By this time it was late enough that my grocery store had begun the transformation it undergoes every night, becoming overrun by night shift workers and stock boys who block the aisles with big pallets and unpack cans and jars right under your nose. This Hyvee is open to shoppers for 24 hours, but once it hits ten o'clock or so, all the nice "smile in every aisle" business is over and customers are on their own, left to navigate a rugged terrain of boxes and dollies.

For awhile, I was nearly the only customer in the store, and it felt quite lonely to be the only one roaming such a harsh environment. But then as the hour ticked on, and the moon reached just the right spot overhead, a fresh wave of partiers and insomniacs and other creatures of the night entered the store and poured through the aisles. They stepped nonchalantly over the scattered piles of inventory as they filled their baskets with Campbells, crackers, whatever. They pushed their way through the cardboard canyons with an ease that suggested they were accustomed to shopping at this hour, amongst the stocking ghouls who hunkered over their boxes and turned the shelves inside out. I, on the other hand, found the feminine hygiene aisle impassable, and after a moment of peering into its shadows, hurried off before someone could ask me if they could get something for me. 

Link to Lilah's Choir Concert Starting at 7:00 pm Wednesday night

Link to live stream of Lilah's choir concert. Click the link below:

Monday, December 2, 2013

So that didn't work so well...

So much for NaNoWriMo. If you go to a victory party, don't look for me. I didn't even break 5,000. But few things are more boring than writers who aren't writing, talking about how they aren't writing. Yiich! So no more on this topic from me. Don't look now, but it's December. Today I ate my first Christmas cookie of the season. May it be the last. I will not let happen this year what happened last year. Today I drove for many, many miles and many hours. When it was over my nerves were shot. I found I needed to enter a space where I was cut off from all stimulation. I created a decompression chamber for myself. I wrapped myself in a thick robe, and put myself in a room alone, where I shut off all light, except that from a small lamp, and put a blanket over my head. I lay like that, not sleeping, for a long time. The other day after much socializing I felt an urge to put my soft knit cap on my head. I was indoors, but the hat felt comforting and snug, and i kept it on for the rest of the evening. This might become my thing this winter. Maybe this will be the year of my growing eccentricity, the year they'll look back on as the time when I started wearing that damn hat everywhere I went.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My NaNoWriMo Update

How did it get to be November 19th? What just happened? Where have the weeks gone? And what happened to my NaNoWriMo aspirations? Well, I took a little toodle on down to the low country of South Carolina, first to Charleston,  and then to Beaufort and St. Helena Island, where I hung out with my sister and her husband. I had a great time, but it did make it hard to meet my daily goal of writing 1666 words a day.

While attending the library conference in Charleston, I would return to my room at night, mindful that I should be cracking my knuckles and preparing to furiously type my 1666 words. Instead, I made a trip down the hall to the vending machine for a soda, settted in with some chips, and watched trash TV. I watched a really trashy cable show called Miami Monkey. I was intrigued by it since I used to live in Miami, and I would see these young women on South Beach who were lean, tanned, and fierce-looking, who would eat my mid-western ass alive if I ventured too close. At least that's the way it seemed.

So I watched this show where this particularly fierce young woman was having it out with a another woman, occasionally breaking away to the camera to say,

"I swear to god I've had just about as much as I can take of that bitch-- so help me I am gonna kick her ass!"

Then the shot would return to the two of them sitting outside at some South Beach establishment throwing daggers at each other with their eyes, and then the fierce one breaking away once again to tell the camera,

"She doesn't realize who she's dealing with, she better cut it out right now or I am going to take her down so hard, I am not kidding!!!"

Both girls worked at this bar that was run by a person whom I thought was a man who had had boob implants, whose boobs are in fact mammoth in a circus-sideshow kind of way, and whose lips have been injected so much they resemble not lips but puffer fish, but who still has the deep, raspy voice of a former wrestler who smokes.**  

I could never figure out why these people were on my TV, but I watched them, instead of writing my words for NaNoWriMo.

After the library conference was over, I visited my sister on St. Helena Island, and gave in to the abandon of nightly fires and wine-fests, of sumptuous eats and dips into the hot tub. Who could be expected to write under such conditions?

So I returned from South Carolina horribly behind in my word count, having accumulated about 370 words, in a race to accumulate 50,000.

It's not too late, I rationalized. We were halfway through the month, which just meant I'd have to write 3200 and some words a day, instead of 1666. It wasn't insurmountable. It could be done. To prove this to myself, I sat down this past weekend and hit the computer keyboard, my fingers flying. I typed rapid-fire, forcing myself to make nano-second choices about what words to put down. Doing that, I hit the 1000 word mark in no time. Do that three more times, and I'd have my three thousand words.

What came out wasn't publishable. But neither is the drivel that I eke out at a painstaking pace when I'm being more thoughtful about my writing. Even then, I still face hours and hours of re-write and revision. But at least with the manic method, where I'm loping ahead, writing faster than I can think, I'm covering more territory, and stirring things up in my wake, which I can always return to for deeper examination.

So this is something that could work for me, I think. With a week and a half left of November, I don't have even the germ of a novel. But maybe I have a new writing method.

** I later found out this person is actually a woman, known as "Big Ang" and that she had formerly appeared on the show "Mob Wives."  Big Ang is a member of the Genovese crime family, and ran a bar called the Drunken Monkey on Staten Island, and was such a hit on "Mob Wives" she got her own show, now called Miami Monkey. Being someone who lives in a cave, I didn't know this.

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's November, so why not just go insane and sign up for NaNoWriMo?

Just like that, October is over, and here we are in November, the calendar's gateway to winter. It's about to get really dark, earlier in the evening, and really cold. I don't think I have enough sweaters yet. I don't have enough coal or wood socked away. I haven't weather-proofed my car. There is a sense that I'm about to lose all control over my environment.So why not just go insane and do nutty things, like sign up for NaNoWriMo?

Writing a 50,000 novel in a month would mean I'd have to write about 1666 words a day. Some days that's no big whoop. Most days, that's a big whoop. But I'm going to sign up anyway,because I just think November is so insane, I might as well say, "what the hell?"

November isn't October. No use pretending that it is. Why not lock oneself in a room and hammer out 1666 words a day?     

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October is my month of increasing power!!!

Painting by James Jacques Joseph Tissot. Woman from yesteryear tramping through flaming leaves. Maybe I was once that woman, in another time, in France or somewhere. 

There is a pang, kind of a tingling. A force of October, shooting through me and feeling like electrical charges would feel if they were a pleasant thing. It connects me to all things, whether they want to be connected to me or not. Neighborhood squirrel hunting your nut -- you're connected to me!  Pregnant moon, birthing your moon child ---you're connected to me! Beautiful Portuguese accordion player, sending shivers through my car speaker, from a recording you made a long time ago, but now you are walking the earth somewhere, unaware of me --you're connected to me!  You are the galvanic thread on my tongue. My skin sings of you. Because this is October! It's not just that I was born here - I was born to live in October, and my soul knows it. When the calendar finally flips over to the tenth month, I am home again.

Squirrellllllll.....!!!!!!!!!  Don't you feel it?  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Live-Blogging My 50th Birthday -- A Wonderful Surprise!

When I got back from my meanderings around town, I walked into the house and immediately knew something was different. It was CLEANER. I caught my breath. "Somebody cleaned," I whispered. I walked over to the dining table, and then I saw Annabelle in the kitchen, scrubbing away. My mouth dropped open. "You're cleaning!" I cried. "Oh my gosh!"  She said, "Well, I didn't have any other present for you."

I began looking around and I saw that the living room floor looked newly vacuumed, the computer table, which had accumulated all kinds of mess and dust, was sparkly clean, the kitchen counters were clean, and all the dishes from the dishwasher put away. The bathroom sink had been cleaned. I was so amazed. I kept finding areas that looked better because she had worked on them. Not only had Annabelle cleaned, but she had put real thought into it. She had gone above and beyond. What a wonderful birthday present! 

Live-blogging my 50th Birthday ---Y J's Snack Bar!

Note: To see the entirety of my birthday festivities, in sequence, start with the first post titled "Live-blogging my 50th birthday" and go up from there. 

For my birthday dinner, I wanted to go to Y J's, because I love Y J's, but never seem to find time to eat there. Lilah was so crashed out from staying up late and studying, volleyball practice, and the typically hectic pace of her teenage life, that she couldn't get off the couch. She really just wanted to sleep, so we let her stay home and Roger and Annabelle went to dinner with me.

As an extra birthday bonus, they were playing Donovan when I walked in --"Season of the Witch." They were serving Mayan Tostados, which came with all kinds of wonderful chopped up things, including pineapple, and black beans and rice and chicken or fish, and were topped with guac and sour cream. The tostados were delicious.

We sat outside, and I felt so lucky, because it was a bee-yootiful October night. It felt so peaceful and rich, sitting out there, sharing good food. I was enjoying every moment of it. I didn't think there was any way to improve on it, but one thing did happen that made it even better. My friend Rick from New York called me to wish me a happy birthday! What a thrill! I was able to wish it to him back, because we are birthday twins - nearly. His birthday is tomorrow.

Y J's SnackBar --eating outside on a beautiful October evening.

Roger and Annabelle dig in

The Mexican hoodie I bought today slung over my chair.

Mayan tostados --Yum!

Inside Y J's ---a large variety of hot sauces are available on top of the piano

Crescent moon visible from 18th street

Live-Blogging my 50th Birthday -- Record Store!

After I left Prosperos with my happy purchase of new used books, I met up with Roger at Vinyl Renaissance, where he bought me some birthday cds. What a haul! I got Dog Poison by Thee Oh Sees, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water cd, which has "Only living boy in New York" and "So long, Frank Lloyd Wright," two songs I love, and the Roxy Avalon cd, which I only had on cassette tape. Until now! Vinyl Renaissance is having a vinyl art contest. Maybe I will enter. You have to create an original piece of art using vinyl records or pieces of album covers.

Live-blogging my 50th birthday --Books!!

After the hippie shop, I went to Prospero's bookstore, where I bought these books: A Tom Robbins novel and a self-help book. But I'm especially excited about the book by Vollman, in which he describes his experiences traveling America as a train-hopping hobo. Yes! Something for my zen hobo soul.

Live-blogging my 50th birthday --Hippie heaven!

It's my birthday and it IS a beautiful day!

Next stop after the coffee shop I treated myself to a trip to my favorite hippie shop, "It's A Beautiful Day," also known as hemp central. They sell hemp by the yard. I found a pretty cotton shirt for only $4. When I asked why the price was so low, the clerk said because she had worn it a few times. I tried it on. The dressing room "door" was a big tye-dyed cloth (shown here.) The clerk warned me that there was a dead mouse in the wall, so she was burning incense to mask the smell. I was excited that the $4 shirt fit. I bought it, and a mexican woven hoodie, as a birthday present to myself.

Update: When the cashier told me the date, so I could write it on my check, I told her I KNEW what day it was, since it was my birthday. I told her that's the whole reason I came in there. Guess I was getting full of myself. Later today I got a call at the house from the cashier, saying I had written the wrong date on my check: I had written 10/7/63 --my birth date.  Oops!   

Far-out window with me caught up in the groovy reflection. Bob Marley and I are one.

I don't know why people think this is a head shop. 

No this isn't your mind on acid. It's the dressing room curtain at It's a Beautiful Day.

I guess the bears have something to do with Grateful Dead?
Me in the psychedelic dressing room with the dead mouse in the wall.
I bought this! But here the colors are all washed out. It's actually a dusky blue and maroon. Cute!

Live-blogging my 50th birthday --Coffee!

So, I had a cappuccino and a piece of pumpkin bread at the Broadway Cafe in Westport.  I never make it to the Broadway Cafe anymore, but it used to be my regular hang. So I wanted to go there for old time's sake. While I was there, I took a gorgeous close-up picture of the thick, resplendent foam on my cappuccino. But somehow I deleted it and my other Broadway Cafe pictures. Damn my phone. Damn technology!  Yes, I am allowed to curse and utilize technology at the same time. 

This isn't my photo --I got it from Google images. But this is the place. I got a seat by a window, and the cappuccino was really good.   

Live-Blogging My 50th Birthday!

3rd blog entry on THIS, my BIRTHDAY! I feel newly human, having just showered. I had to wash off all the unwashed humanity I was brushing up against at the Renaissance festival yesterday. Now I think it's time for some tea----or coffee. Do I dare to drink the DARK BREW, to make my stomach vulnerable to its witchery? Yes, I do dare! It is my birthday, and acid or no acid, I am going to go get me some coffee!
2nd installment of the LIVE-BLOGGING of my BIRTHDAY! It is now 7: 45 am!  Since I stayed up so late, I was wiped when my alarm went off at 6:11, and I overslept. So I failed to make the customary breakfast oatmeal the girls have grown to expect. A mother failing her daughters ---normally this is an occasion for guilt, but on your birthday, a mother is exempt. If anything, they should be kicking themselves for their failure to make you breakfast in bed!

Since I had the day off, I decided to drive the girls to school, instead of having Roger do it. Because here was another opportunity for a rare pleasure ---driving about while still wearing my robe. There is an element of danger that I confess gives me a perverse thrill  ---what if I get in a fender bender and have to step out of the car in my robe? The danger is real. The parking lot at Shawnee Mission East high school is swarming with hundreds of groggy teen-aged drivers hurrying to get to class.        

Good morning! It's 4:00 am and it's my birthday! But not just any birthday. The big  5 0.  Which is why I'm up. I've been up all night, bidding my 40's goodbye and witnessing the approach of the HALF CENTURY MARK.  Originally I was just going to get up early, but then the window for going to bed came and went and it became more convenient to eschew bed altogether.

Convenient nothing--I'm feeling tired. Maybe I'll have to go grab an hour or two of sleep. I can do that and still get up before sunrise. Which was the whole idea--to greet the sunrise. It will be easy to cheat, though, since I can't see the sunrise from my house. I just spent the last five minutes trying to add to this paragraph. I'm having difficulty stringing intelligible words together. Scrap the wake-up shower I was contemplating. I'm going to bed. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On the eve of my birthday --Renaissance Festival!!

What better way to spend the eve of my birthday than to stroll the grounds of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. I love Ren Fest! So many colorful sights, smells, and characters!

This woman's strange rigging of hoopage and fabric scraps did not slow her down.

Just your run-of-the-mill jester.

Another period dude. Too old to wear tights like the younger guys.

Aw, this fresh-faced young lad walked right into me camera, which I did wantonly shoot, brazen wench that I am.

Lilah and her boyfriend George, atop a camel 

Fire people! Doing dangerous and reckless things with fire! I took many pictures.

A group of Elizabethan minstrels. They asked if we had any requests. Oh sure, sure. I knew all the hits back in the 1500's.