Friday, September 28, 2018

Ford vs. Kavanaugh: I can’t believe I watched that whole thing


I went to bed sick to my stomach Thursday night.  It was my own fault.  The day before I ran & did errands, bought groceries, answered some emails, cleaned my apartment—all to ensure I had nothing on my schedule so I could park myself in front of the tv Thursday morning, and listen to Christine Ford’s sexual assault testimony & Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s response.

I thought it’d run for 2-3 hours, not 9!

It was both what I was expecting & wasn’t; I thought Doctor Ford was a credible witness, but at the same time she sounded almost purposely timid.  Then again, what do I know?  I’ve never had to sit in front of a roomful of senators and answer questions with a television camera on me.

But at the same time, she DID sound honest, civilized, sincere.  I thought her Republican “hosts” were gracious enough, and the Democrat senators who lined up to tell her what a hero she was were all too obvious in their grandstanding.  Still, it was a civil affair.

What soured my stomach was 6 hours into this “television event” when Judge Kavanaugh took his seat at the table.  He comes out looking miffed (can’t blame him), lines up those papers on the table in front of him, adjusts the “Honorable Judge Kavanugh” placard over & over again, making everything just so.

And then he opened his goddamned mouth.

Here’s what I thought, after all was said and done.  Regardless of the sexual assault allegations, the man is GUILTY OF BEING AN ENTITLED, CONSPIRACY-NUTJOB JERK.    

He was belligerent, disrespectful & a lazy liar.  Ugh, lazy liars are the worst!  

I sat here, incredulous that this whackjob was even a judge in the first place, let alone a Supreme Court nominee.  What were we witnessing here?  Someone only a couple years younger than myself, with the mindset of a privileged 16 year old.  I wish I’d turned it off after his opening rant, a 20 minute temper tantrum.

I’m sure it sucks to be in your fifties and have to explain or defend who you were as an 18 year old—but he sure didn’t seem to mind.  As he prattled on about his preppy school days more than anyone cared to listen, he knew damn well what those childish yearbook references (“boofing”, “Devil’s Triangle”) meant.  No one was accusing you of boofing, Brett—but it would’ve been simpler to say “I don’t remember” then to try and attach G-rated definitions to them and expect people to just take you at your word. 

To watch him do this over and over with that bored look of contempt… it made me nauseated.  If it’s that easy to sit there & conjure up phony things to make his younger self not look so bad, how simple is it for him to lie about bigger things in the present?


Blubbering, shouting, sneering—at least we didn’t have to see him boofing

I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be accused of something and be forced to defend myself in a courtroom or courtroom-like setting. But I’ve seen enough real-life defendants—later found guilty or innocent—that showed a LOT more restraint than this spoiled, immature character.  

And to think he’s THISCLOSE to being a judge on the US Supreme Court.. sickening.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Slow down, you move too fast… you got to make your childhood last

Sophia Aug2018

This is my 13 (soon to be 14) year old niece Sophia.  The picture was taken on August 27, 2018, her first day of school.  It was also the day before her mom’s birthday (my sister Shawn) and the day after my visit with them.  They had a small cookout to celebrate the last day of summer vacation, and I used the occasion to surprise my sister with a birthday cake.

I know I’m not being impartial here, but isn’t this kid beautiful?  She looks like she’d fit right in on one of those beauty or teen fashion magazine covers.

Anyway, it had been awhile since my last visit so kidding around, I said “Hello Sophia, I’m your mother’s brother.. your Uncle Doug.”  

Without missing a beat, she said “Yes I know, my mom’s told me all about you.”  

Next we did the “Look How Tall Your Niece Has Grown Since Your Last Visit” while Sophia stood next to me looking a smidgen taller than her uncle (ulp) and my sister confirming said fact.  Then Sophia said “Mom, wait!  I’m in my bare feet, Uncle Doug still has his shoes on!” 

Shawn replied  “Alright, we’ll measure again after he takes his shoes off!”    Thinking smile

smshwncake (2)

The birthday cake I brought for my sister, she always goes out of her way to get everybody a cake on their birthdays so this one was long overdue

I then went on a tour of the estate to check out all the home improvements (a new back porch & curved walkway, Sophia’s playroom converted into a college girl’s dorm room—her words, not mine) and when I asked “So what’s next on your Home Improvements list?”  my sister replied “Nothing!  We’re all done” and Sophia said “WHAT??” 

That poor kid!  She was born in the middle of a bathroom renovation, reared on HGTV and weekly trips to IKEA or Lowe’s to check out what’s trending in lighting & kitchen backsplashes, she doesn’t know any different!

Sophia has turned out to be a remarkable young woman though—she’s always made straight A’s, a star athlete in soccer, softball & basketball, active in her church & community, a real ballet dancer to boot.  She also has this thing for amassing wealth, when I brought some odds n’ ends for my sister to pick over (a sofa pillow from Wayfair, some scatter rugs from IKEA, a pack of undersized t-shirts, a too-small wristwatch from Amazon, etc.)  Shawn said “Alright, we’ll see what we can use” and Sophia said “Why can’t we just sell all of it!” 

Haha!  This kid’s going to make her first million before she’s 30.

backporchTheir new back porch with Shawn’s newly painted rockers & reconstructed steps—these guys don’t fool around

Later on, while Shawn & Jim grilled hamburgers, hot dogs & vegetable shish-kabobs (note to self, eat more veggie shish-kabobs) I watched as my niece played in her backyard with some goofy twins who live next door, a pair of toothy girls a year or so Sophia’s junior.  

It killed me, I felt like I was watching a gazelle cavort with a pair of chipmunks.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it; like I said earlier, it’s been awhile since my last visit (mostly due to the long drive and some medical issues which I’m sure I’ll be sharing in the near future, who doesn’t want to read about someone’s health woes, right?) but it was a great day and I’m glad I finally got to see my favorite Cover-Girl again.cover girl

Monday, September 10, 2018

“Show me the money” said the Asian woman to the Indian giver

Chinese woman with plant

Several weeks ago (towards the end of July) I’d returned home from the market and was waiting for the elevator when Emily, a young woman I know on the first floor passed by on her way to the trash room.  (Each floor has a trash room around the corner from the elevator.)  I smiled, she did the same.  She opened the trash door and tossed in a small cardboard box and I said “um, the sign says flatten all boxes.”  (I was just teasing her, that’s sorta my thang y’know.) 

She replied “I can’t, it’s full of dirt.”  I laughed and said okay.

Then she said “I got scammed.”   Huh?

I first met Emily last summer, 2-3 months after moving into the Tiffany.  I was getting my mail one day the same time she was, and a certain envelope in my box compelled me to whisper “Yes!”   I looked to see if she’d noticed—yep!  I’d seen Emily around before— Asian-American, looks around 29-30.  Always wears her shiny hair pulled up on her head.  I told her I’d just moved back to Pittsburgh, this was my new voter’s registration card.  She asked if a special election was coming up, I said yes the mid-terms next year.  VERY special.  She laughed & said she got it.  I asked “Are you going to vote Democrat too?  ‘Cause you know, us minorities gotta stick together...”   She asked what sort of minority I was, I told her I was a genius and there’s fewer of us than people think.  Now this young woman didn’t know me from Adam, for all she knew I was some middle-aged crackpot—but she laughed & said yes, she was voting Democrat too.  I liked her instantly.  I don’t see her too often (different floors, she’s a nurse who works a lot of late shifts for Allegheny Health System) but she’s the rare apartment neighbor you can walk up & talk to.

Getting back to her being scammed, I asked what happened.  She said “I paid $20 for a Chinese Money plant from one of those nurseries on Amazon.”  (Nurseries on Amazon?)  “It was supposed to be a healthy plant in a 4” pot, what I got was this.”   I followed her into the trash room as she retrieved and opened that small box she’d tossed.  Inside was a scattering of dirt, a narrow plastic bag & a skinny green stalk—at it’s top was a small round greenish yellow leaf, cracked down its center.  I said “Wow… maybe they just send cuttings to get you started?”   She said “I want what I paid for.”  She folded the lid shut again and dropped it back into the bin.  I asked her if she was going to write a nasty review, she said “That won’t get me my money back, they need to hear from me DIRECT.”   Go Emily!

Later that evening while watching tv, I saw it was after midnight and decided to get ready for bed.  I thought about that little cardboard box in her trash room.  They empty the trash rooms every night between 2-3am…  it’ll be gone in the morning.   I put on my slippers, went downstairs and retrieved that box.

Chinese Money Plant

The photo of the Chinese Money plant that Emily was expecting; she’s right, she got ripped!

So the next morning I got on my computer to check out this bogus plant for sale, and did a little reading.  Comes from the southern province of China, it’s also known as a UFO or pancake plant because of its round leaves.  Not a common houseplant in the United States, so they tend to be expensive.  Now when it comes to green thumbs, mine are anything but—but my apartment DOES get a lot of light, unlike my old place where nothing grew but mold spores on my bathroom ceiling.  I figured what the heck and plopped the stem down in a small glass of water, sat it in the kitchen windowsill and waited.  The first day nothing, the second it’s only leaf fell off!  But on the third (when I was ready to dump that glass down the drain) I saw what looked like a short, wavy hair from the bottom of that stem—is that a root?   2 days later, I saw a hint of a green curlicue at its top. 

I’m going to surprise Emily with a full grown Chinese Money plant.

A couple days later after getting a haircut, I popped into the local Ace Hardware to pick up a clay pot (they had one left!) & some potting soil.  When the clerk showed me where the dirt was, I asked “Do you have anything smaller than 10 lb. bags?  I used to work in a Garden Shop back in the ‘80s, we sold it in sacks small as 2 pounds.  I remember one time—“   Then I noticed the young man’s agonized expression… oops!  Sorry about that, us older folk tend to ramble.  I came home and potted my stem.

For a week it did nothing.  Then one morning when I trudged into my kitchen to make some coffee—that little stem was half upright with 2 tiny round leaves!  (I get excited pretty easily.)  I moved the pot to the big window in my living room where I could give it adoring glances while on my computer or watching tv.

And here’s how it looks now, 5-6 weeks later.  From a stem!  I thought a lot about keeping it, it’s really grown on me.  But I DID sort of plan for it to be a surprise for Emily, so a couple days ago when I saw her white Taurus in the back parking lot, I took it down to her apartment.

Emily's Money Plant

It looks more like an octopus right now, but it’s springing a new leaf every 2-3 days; It’s alive, it’s alive!

When she answered, I told her I hoped I hadn’t woken her or anything, I wanted to show her something.  She said “Oh you got one of those money plants.  Did I tell you I got my money back?”  I said no and by the way, this is YOUR plant, I rescued it from the trash.  She said “Wow!  For real??  Where’d you get that pot?”  I told her it was the last of its kind from Ace Hardware.  Then I said it was a little gift, I hoped she liked it.  She said “Aw, thank you.  Hmm.  I’d take the pot if you want to give it up, but you can keep the plant.”  What! 

I said “Well, they kinda go together, I thought you wanted one of these?”

She said “I did... just not that one.”  What!! 

I told her it was pretty happy in its little pot, I didn’t think it was ready to fly the coop just yet.  She laughed and said okay, I looked pretty attached to both.  I said I was and I guess this makes me an indian giver.   (I had to tell her what an indian giver was… she just smiled at me.)  You know what, I really am a middle-aged crackpot.

Oh well, this Chinese warrior is back in the windowsill where it belongs.  Nerd smile

Saturday, September 1, 2018

And that’s the way they all became… The Little House & The Bunch


I recently watched a 1977 episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie” where Mary goes on a trip with her Pa, and who do they meet? 

Mike Lookinland, aka Bobby Brady from the Brady Bunch.

Melissa Sue Anderson played Millicent on his show, you remember don’t you?  Three years earlier she gave Bobby his first kiss, causing a puberty-stricken Brady to see skyrockets.  (Do people still say skyrockets?)

LHOTP is my friend Danielle’s favorite show, and seeing how we’ve had discussions on 70’s fare like this and the Bradys, I saw it only fitting to combine the two families and make her some Brady-LHOTP strips! 

Now this is the sort of goofy-ass thing you share with your friend and no one else, but her husband Josh liked ‘em too, so as long as you know these aren’t meant for mass consumption…    

(Click on each strip to see full-size) Nerd smile





That’s all, folks!  Eye rolling smile