Monday, October 31, 2022

I started out in a hospital, it’s only fitting I celebrate my 61st birthday in one

If you can read this post at 7am on Monday, then Blogger’s scheduler worked correctly, and I am on a bus to Mercy Hospital, probably for an overnight stay.

October 31, 1961—yep that’s me.  I’ve been dazed & confused ever since

A couple weeks ago when I went to get my flu shot & covid booster, the pharmacist said I looked flushed.  I said “That’s because I sprinted 1/2 mile to make my appointment.”

Still, he asked if he could check my blood pressure, and said my medical record was flagged for that anyway.  Got my shots, all was well.

But a couple days later my doctor’s office called and said my doctor wanted me to come in for some stress tests and possible adjustments to my meds (I’m on carvedidol to regulate my heart rate and amlodipine for hypertension).

The nurse said I’d be monitored at least 12 hours, and I should bring an overnight bag.  She asked if I remembered doing this a couple years ago, I did.  I asked if I’d be staying in Mercy Hospital’s 5 star catacombs, she laughed and said probably.

Mercy Hospital is a huge place with hundreds of hospital rooms—but they have an ‘underground bunker’ of private cubbyholes for overnight stays and monitoring.  It sounds creepy but isn’t.  Your pulse and BP is taken every hour, and you leave after breakfast or lunch the next day.  You’re not even checked in or out.

Anyway, I’m thinking of requesting a check-in to the hospital afterward (or at least getting a colonscopy scheduled as soon as possible).  I’ve been dealing with some severe abdominal issues for awhile that included a pretty rough weekend and a bout of pain tonight that left me gasping for breath a couple hours.

The irony here is that when they scheduled me to come in October 31 at 8am (and to arrive 20 minutes early) a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t exactly gung-ho.  I said “Um.. that’s my birthday.” 

The woman on the phone said “Don’t you want to spend it with us?”  I said “Well… not particularly.”  She said that was too bad but not to cancel, and I said okay but asked if they could bring me a cake with 61 candles and sing Happy Birthday.

She told me no but the cafeteria had some really good banana pudding and she’d make sure I got some.  I laughed and said okay.  To quote Kay from the blog Musings—“Sigh!”

Thanks for reading, and I hope something good comes out of all of this!  Who me?

PS.  I wanted to give a special thanks to my friend Erin who is taking me out to dinner at the Sesame Inn when all is said & done, and for the awesome birthday cards I’ve gotten from my sisters Donda-Lin and Shawn, and friends Robin & Chuck, Danielle, Susie, Erin, Rick and Bobi. 

(Bobi’s had a crisp one dollar bill inside, you can’t beat that!)

Happy Halloween Everyone


Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Angry Trans & the Draft Dodger: if it’s good enough for him or her…

A few weeks ago I was headed to the laundry room (we have one on each floor) and stopped in front of the second studio apartment on the right to admire something.  My friend Opal lives diagonally from it, and opened her door and quietly said “What are you doing?”

Nothing gets past her—nothing.

I said I was coming to get my clothes and stopped to admire this person’s draft-dodger.  Opal said “Their what??”  I pointed down at the long purple tube at the bottom of their door and said I hadn’t seen one of those in years.  My grandma had one but it had a dog’s head on one end.

Opal came out and joined me in the hall.  She said “You know who lives there, don’t you?”  I shook my head no.  She whispered “The Angry Tranny.”   I whispered back “You’re bad!  I thought that person lived on the first floor?”  Opal said “They used to, not anymore!”

FYI, the Angry Tran she’s referring to is a male figure in their late 20s who’s tall with long black hair and bangs (like Bettie Page from the 1950s).  He-she’s always wearing a gauzy nightrobe and dark lipstick and a pissed off expression.  To be very honest, this person scares me a little. 

I motioned for Opal to walk with me to the laundry room, and I said “So what is Angry anyway?  A transvestite or transgender?”  Opal laughed & clapped her hands.  She said “Douglas I have NO IDEA what either of those even means!”

Anyway, a couple weeks pass and then one night I went down to the lobby pretty late to mail my niece’s birthday card.  I was surprised to see Angry sitting on the small sofa, a book & pen in hand, sipping from a tiny goblet.  I said “Hi, how are you this evening?” 

He-she shrugged their shoulders and said “Alright”.  I said “May I ask you something?”

He-she didn’t answer, just looked at me and raised their eyebrows.  ARE YOU A BOY OR A GIRL!  No, I didn’t ask that—I said “Why do you have a draft dodger at the bottom of your apartment door upstairs?  The hallways are heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer…”

Angry said “Because my door isn’t flush with the floor.”  I nodded my head and said I didn’t think any of them were.  Angry said “It blocks out the light from the hall.  And noise and smells.  And people.”  Well.  I was going to ask Angry where he-she got theirs, but before I could, he-she said “Go on Etsy.” 

I said thanks and good night.  And then I got the heck out of there.

I went on Amazon instead to check some out.  I found this square brown one that’s just right for squares like myself.  Why didn’t this occur to me before?  It’s not only an odor stopper (the hallways in my building have perfumey wall deodorizers that creep into my apartment, plus my neighbor fries a lot of fish) it’s a soundproofer too!  And it works surprisingly well.

I have it on the OUTSIDE of my door (like Angry), so I have to remember to step over it when I open my door.  It included a velcro tape strip to attach to the bottom of my door, but I didn’t want to risk damaging the wood.  Plus, this is so heavy and square-shaped, it stays in place on the floor anyway.

Here’s something important to consider if you want it to fit your door perfectly.  Measure the width of your door (mine’s 36”) and READ THE USER REVIEWS.

Half of these will include the loops on both ends in their length measurements.  You don’t want that!  You think you’re getting one 36” in length and it’s only 34”.  After I made sure this one didn’t include the loops in it’s measured length, I chose the 36” and it fit perfectly.

And finally, here’s Opal’s front door—cute, huh?  But if you look at the bottom, she could use one of these too.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Food shopping: Hands down, these are some of my favorite brands

Whenever I visit the deli at my local market and Carol is behind the counter, if I ask for something like smoked turkey Carol will say “You want Boar’s Head?  Hands down, Boars Head is the best!”

If I ask for sliced cheese, I’ll get “Hands down Land o’ Lakes American Italian is the best!”

Everything is hands down!

I’m not making fun of her, but her expression seems to have stuck in my craw.  I can’t seem to go to the market now without thinking “Hands down, this is the best ice cream/peanut butter/orange juice I’ve had”.  So.. I thought I’d share a few here while they’re being consumed.

FYI, no one is paying me to endorse these products… but I wouldn’t object!  Nerd smile

1.  Hands down, this is the best sloppy joe sauce I’ve ever had

A couple months ago, my market had MANWICH Sloppy Joe Sauce on special, 3 cans for 99 cents.  Even though I haven’t eaten Manwich in 30 years, I snapped 3 right up. 

Big mistake, it was bland, tasteless & watery.  After that first can I put the other 2 on the ‘Free Table’ in my apt building’s package room.

GIA RUSSA Sloppy Joe Sauce is the best.  ADD 1 TBLSP BROWN SUGAR & 1 TBLSP MINCED GREEN PEPPER.  Hands down it makes the best sloppy joes I’ve ever had.

2.  Hands down, these are my favorite french fries—better than most restaurants even

I HATE FROZEN FRENCH FRIES.  Ore-Ida, McCain, crinkle-cut, shoestring, zesties… I’ve tried them all.  They always taste like heated up frozen french fries.

And then a few months ago I was in frozen foods, and a man was putting a bag of these Red Robin steak fries into his cart.  His wife (well, the woman he was with) said “We already have two bags of those at home” and he said “Yeah but the store’s only got two bags left!”  He saw me looking and said “I’m obsessed with these fries.”

I decided to grab the remaining bag and am so glad I did.  THESE ARE SO GOOD!!  Crispy on the outside, smooth & creamy within; they’re lightly seasoned with a mild red-peppery heat. 

I’m obsessed with these fries.

3.  Hands down, this is the best breakfast cereal on the shelves

I’m not a big breakfast cereal person.  My favorite thing to eat in the morning is one egg over easy, toast and some sliced tomatoes.

Still, variety is the spice of life and every once in awhile I like a bowl of cereal splashed with too much milk.  For the longest time my go-to was Life cereal—and then a couple months ago I gave this a try.  THIS IS NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S SPECIAL K.

Sweet but not too sweet, love the cinammon & there’s lots of pecans (one of only two nuts I can chew with my TMJ).  These don’t get soggy either!

4.  Hands down, these are the best potato chips out there—for more than one reason too

I know potato chips aren’t the healthiest thing on the planet, but I was forced to give them up a couple years ago after developing severe TMJD. 

Even after my jaw mostly healed, any food that’s too salty can cause very painful inflammation that lasts 2-3 days.  (Of course, foods with high sodium content wreaks havoc with my high blood pressure too.)

I didn’t even know these EXISTED until 2 months ago.  They’re delicious and I’m in saturated potato chip heaven.

I’ve since found & tried a couple other low-sodium brand chips, but they don’t compare to Wise.  It’s these or nothing.

5.  Hands down, this is my favorite condiment right now

Grab a couple slices of bread, a wedge of lettuce and a couple hunks of roast turkey.

Now spread on a dollop of Duke’s Mayonnaise with Bacon & Tomato.  THAT’S ALL YOU NEED FOR A GREAT TURKEY BLT. 

And it’s not just me—the manager at my market says he can’t keep this flavored mayo in stock. 

Do you have any personal favorites?  Let me know.  Nerd smile

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

My 3 neighbors: I may sing to one, befriend the second & I don’t know yet about the third

Recently, my favorite maintenance man Josh told me they rented #404 (the apartment down the hall from me) to a tall black woman named Chantilly. She was moving in later this week.  Chantilly?  Like the song Chantilly Lace? 

Maybe I’d greet her with a big “Hellooo Baby!” like the Big Bopper when I introduced myself.  Anyway, I thought I’d go down the hall and sneak a last peek at the apartment, see if they made any big updates.  I know… I’m nosy.

So I’m down there appreciating the new window blinds and sparkle of everything when I decide to head back to my place to change my shoes and go downstairs to the gym.  As I carefully open the front door, the tenant in #405 is just coming home and unlocking his own door.  Oops, I’m busted. 

I say “Um, hi.  I live up the hall from you, I was just down here taking a peek at #404 before the new tenant moves in.  I hope you don’t turn me in for breaking and entering.”

This guy is big.  VERRRY big.  He looks like he’s 6’5” and weighs 425 lbs. He has a shaved head and full beard, and is on crutches.  He laughs and says “No worries, I was going to check it out too.”  He extends his hand.  “I’ve seen you around, I’ve been wanting to introduce myself.  I’m Alex.”

We exchange some small talk, and a couple things come to mind.  This man is the walking definition of a gentle giant.  He also strikes me as someone highly educated, he speaks very well.  Behind him I can see a couple of nice art pieces on his living room wall.

I finally tell him I should get going and it was nice meeting him, he says likewise and if there’s ever anything I need, please let him know.  I tell him I should be the one making that offer, if he doesn’t mind me asking, why is he on crutches?  He tells me that on September 30, he was coming home, slipped in some water off the elevator and broke his leg.  I said “Good grief!  Did you contact building management?”  He laughed and said yes, but decided not to sue as he liked living here.  I laughed & said goodnight.

The next day, I’m downstairs collecting my mail and see a package from DXL.  That’s a clothing company for big & tall men, I wonder if it’s for Alex?  Yep, it’s for Alex P, in Apt #405.  I bring the package upstairs and set it by his front door, return to my own apartment, get on my laptop and do a little sleuthing.

I find Alex—rather, his professional bio.  I’m shocked at the irony.

Later that day, I run into my friend & neighbor Opal.  I tell her about #404 being rented out, and ask if she ever talked to Alex in #405 and what a nice person he is.  She says no, but she’s seen him and wondered why he was on crutches.

I said I knew why, and wait until she hears what he does for a living.

After I told her how he slipped to the ground and broke his leg, she said “I thought you said he broke it inside?  The ground is outside.”  I said “Okay, the floor then.  He slipped on the floor.” 

Opal said “Where?”  I said “Off the elevator.”  Opal said “How?”  I said “He said he slipped in some water.”  Opal said “I thought he fell inside.”  I said “HE DID.  THE WATER WAS INSIDE.  ON THE FLOOR.” 

Opal said On our floor?  I didn’t see any water on the floor.” 

I said “It didn’t happen today, it happened September 30.”  Opal said “Why did you wait to tell me now?  Why didn’t you tell me then?” 

I said “Did you have a stroke recently I’m not aware of?  I have to go now before I do something I’ll regret.”   Opal is clapping her hands and laughing now.  She says “Haha!  Did I get you fired up Doug?  Hold on, what did you mean by wait until I hear what he does?”


Welcome to the Tiffany, Chantilly!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Who are these people? They’re Duke & Courtney, my oldest and youngest siblings

Our parents were busy bees; Duke was born in the 1950s, Courtney in the 1970s

Very recently, 4 of my parent’s 6 children got together for our annual ‘Sibling Dinner’ in Washington, Pa.  There was my brother Steve and his wife Ann (and their 36 year old son Stevie and his girlfriend), my sister Shawn and her husband Jim, my sister Courtney and her husband Robert. 

And finally, myself and my imaginary girlfriend Hibiscus. Nerd smile

Our sister Donda & husband Bobby couldn’t make it, they live far away, outside of Charleston, SC.  And our brother Duke (that’s him at the top) wasn’t there either.  He’s been in a self-imposed exile since the age of 17 or so.

So the photo above is not from our family dinner, but from a dinner our sister Courtney had with Duke recently.  She traveled all the way from Cincinnati just to see him, and I think to find some closure for issues from long ago.

For too many reasons to get into, the last conversation I had with my brother Duke (if you could call it that) was in October 1996, at our grandmother’s 83rd birthday party. 

That was 25+ years ago, and that chat (strange as it was) had been our first one in 10-15 years.  We were close as kids, but things ended when Duke started junior high school.  

It’s strange how people can spend years with one another under the same roof, then go their separate ways and never look back.  But the older I get, the more I’ve learned it happens in a lot of families.  Such is life.

Anyway, I’m not even sure why I’m blogging about this.  I was just very surprised when Courtney showed me that photo a couple nights ago, it’s the first time I’ve seen Duke in many years.  He’s not a part of social media or anything.

Thanks again Courtney—and Duke (aka Donovan to the outside world), if you ever see this, I wish you well.


Friday, October 7, 2022

Bros? I got your bros right here and their names are Brian and Charles

This morning I heard a news report that the gay rom-com “Bros” was flopping at the box office, and the director, producers and stars of the film were blaming it on several things: 

The Midwest, homophobic people & straight men in general.

I know its received many positive reviews, but I was curious; did it include a lot of physical action?  I did some googling and discovered it had nudity, sex, “lusty kissing”.  I’m sorry, but I don’t want to see men doing that with each other.

I AM NOT HOMOPHOBIC.  Far from it, I get along with gay men better than straight ones, and have often been asked if I was gay myself.  (Well, I prefer musicals over sports and my all-time favorite entertainer is Judy Garland!)

I just don’t enjoy watching same-sex intimacy, be it men OR women.  I gave up watching Batwoman on the CW last year, because at the end of every episode, Batwoman had a make-out session with her girlfriend with some heavy-duty smooching.  Blecch.

It just occurred to me… I don’t like seeing ANYBODY kissing like that!

But a couple nights ago I watched the new English comedy Brian and Charles, and THESE two men I could watch & enjoy together all day.  The movie is funny as it is charming, it’s quirky and original as they come.  It’s about a quiet, bearded man named Brian who lives on a small farm in the English countryside.  He’s lonely, and spends his time building odd inventions like egg-belts (you know, to carry eggs around) and flying cuckoo clocks so the townfolk can look up to the sky and see the time.

His inventions always fail, but he doesn’t let that deter him.

And then one day Brian finds an old washing machine & mannequin’s head at the local dump, and decides he’ll build a robot.  He’s both amazed and delighted when the robot comes to life and gives itself a last name, and the two quickly become the best of friends.

There is one scene where Brian is in the kitchen cooking cabbage, and the robot comes in, stands there for a moment then begins doing a little dance.  Brian says “What’s that you’re doing?  Is that a jig, Charles?  Are you doing a jig because I’m cookin’ your favorite, cabbage?”   The robot dances harder.  I can’t explain it, but I was laughing so hard I was crying, and the VERY NEXT MINUTE I was wiping my eyes for another reason altogether.

I don’t want to give anymore away, but I WILL say I am choosing this movie as my Favorite Movie of 2022.  (In 2021 it was The Batman, in 2020 it was Saint Maud.) 

If you have a couple minutes, please watch the trailer below.  If you have Peacock Premium, do yourself a favor and watch the entire film. 

It’s that special.  And you won’t see anything more physical than a hug.  Nerd smile

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Tonight’s Early Bird Special from ApacheDug’s Bachelor Man Kitchen

Tonight’s dinner.  (Tonight is a relative term, I eat between 4:30-5pm.) 

On the menu is my “Oven Baked but tastes like Fried” chicken (psst my secret is smoked paprika and my recipe can be found right here), cucumber slices with a creamy homemade dressing (mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, cracked pepper & minced onion) and finally buffalo rice with a splash of hot sauce & red peppers.

I usually reserve my cooking for the weekend and have much simpler fare Monday thru Thursday, but it’s been so chilly and gray today, and then I heard about the passing of Loretta Lynn and fried chicken (or my version of it) just felt right.   

What are you having for dinner?  Nerd smile

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Saturday night is the lemoniest night of the week

For as long as I can remember, Saturday night has been Ice Cream night in my house.  (Sometimes Friday too, just saying.)  Not this Saturday though, I forgot to buy any and I’m out.  What to do?

I looked at the ingredients in my cupboard to make cookies, but saw I didn’t have enough flour.  What about a mug cake?  I found a recipe online, but I’ve got no vanilla.

But I DO have lemon juice in the fridge, and some pretty potent lemon extract too. 

Lemony Mug Cake


  • 3 Tbsp All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Large Egg  
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (for dusting the cake after baking)


Combine the flour, granulated sugar & baking powder in a small bowl (not the mug you’ll be cooking it in). 

Add the egg, oil, lemon juice & extract, mix the ingredients well with a fork.  

Spray a mug (a large coffee mug) with non-stick cooking spray.  

Pour mix into mug and microwave on High for 90 seconds.  If you have a lower wattage microwave like I do (mine is 700 watts) cook 2 minutes.  If you do it just right, it should be light & fluffy.  Cook it too long and it will make your cake rubbery.

Eat from the mug or plop it on a plate and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  

I’m enjoying mine as I type this with a cup of cold milk.  Smile