My Father

During my elementary school years, my father had an evening  shift job. He was on the job at home for breakfast, outfit selection, hairdos and lunch for my sister and me while my mother worked sunrise shift in a dress factory. We walked home for lunch and it was usually on the table waiting for us when we walked through the door.

There were a few times, though that we would come home and find my father sitting at the kitchen table in deep concentration over a large canvas board from a paint-by-number kit. The first time I saw this, one painting in the set was nearly done. When did that happen? Apparently, he had been working on it bit by bit and putting it away before we came home. Those few times we saw him at the kitchen table must have been times that he couldn’t tear himself away , although it was more likely a case of finishing up all areas of a color from the little plastic pot he had open.

Paint-by-number as a hobby was pretty out of character for my father if you looked at the big picture. But when I think about his life-long characteristic of extreme meticulousness, this makes sense.


There are two large canvases, one of egrets and one of flamingos against the same Everglades-type  background. From the moment they were finished and framed in thick white wood frames with gold graining, they hung in the old house until my mother died. I have them now.

As far as I know, he never did another paint-by-number before or since.

Here is young me in an outfit* that I made in high school Home Ec class, standing in proximity to the paint-by-numbers in their place of honor in our home. The snapshot was taken because I had just trudged home through the snow from Easter Sunday Mass.

easter snow

*The coat was a hot pink textured wool, double breasted with self-covered buttons. The ensemble included a hot pink floral sleeveless sheath dress that matched the lining of the coat. The hat was probably from K Mart.

I Make My Own Problems

There are some products that I think will last forever. I mean, I know intellectually that they won’t – I just buy them and then assume they will maintain their “brand new” state forever.

One of these items is a kitchen sponge. I can’t tell you how many times I will be rubbing the shredded remnants of sponge around the walls of the kitchen sink thinking about how lousy my life is because I have to use a miserable sponge like this. Meanwhile, there are 11 new ones in an open package under the sink.

The other item is  an emery board. Do they still call them that, now that they are long and fat and have fancy graphics on them? I have one that almost bald that I keep next to my reading chair in the parlor. this is not my maintenance file  – it’s just for quick touch ups. All of the edges are bald but if you maneuver your hand in a  certain way, well let’s face it I’ve been doing this so long that there’s no grit left there either but if you’re properly motivated, you can make things smoother by friction alone. I’ve got a great nail file upstairs next to my work computer. It was meant for artificial nails and the grit is so big on one side you could use to get rid of rust on the patio furniture. This one, although it has served me for yeeears already, is elusive and lives awash in a sea of post-it notes and small tablets. So it not always readily available to me, lest I risk losing an important scribble in the hunt for it. So its back downstairs for the bald board that should have been ditched a long long time ago.

Anyway, random junk ejection today and a bit of steam cleaning the den carpeting that the dog has recently claimed for his own, if you know what I mean.

Dimbo Eruption

As glad as I am to see Hillary Rodham Clinton back in the intense glare of the spotlight, I just could not watch the tongue bath ABC gave her last night. The dimbos and the lowfos and even the homegrown baby “feminists” that populate the internet these days will continue to swallow it all hook line and sinker without question.

What I’m really afraid of is that she is going to ruin it all much too soon. Cut it out with the goofy faces, Hilz. Maybe she”s trying to prove she’s not botoxed by all of those facial contortions she goes through. Lord knows that will be a welcome change, but she sure has something going on there.

Question: is this hair or is excess skin pulled tight?

an old fashioned girl with an old fashioned face lift

an old fashioned girl with an old fashioned face lift

It’s hard to believe that her colorist would leave undyed hair strands in so obvious a place. maybe they were going for that distinguished touch of grey at the temples look? What then is that swipe of pure brown going on right above the questionable patch? It appears to be an exact match to the roots on her forehead. Someone has obviously been working her over.

I think she’s had a(nother) good old fashioned face lift. And it’s artfully done, too. A little eye bag, some forehead furrows and a bit of  jowl and wattle make the overall effect its remarkably natural. In the end,  this is just a sloppy hair clip-in arrangement. Get it together, Hillary. 2016 is a long time away to be subjecting your audiences to such amateurish mistakes.

Overall, I think we can safely conclude that high definition tv is harsh mistress.

ADDENDUM: I do believe Hillary has a little lady-pattern baldness going on here as well.


we’ll leave the topic of where her real eyebrows start and end for another time

Maybe that root touch-up maneuver is to emphasize her faint widow’s peak . OR MAYBE IT’S TO HIDE THE HAIR PLUGS. And the smudge, the artful smudge to give the illusion of hair where there is none. Her hairdresser is in trouble but her make-up guy is a genius.

Although I feel it is my duty to point out the HillaryCraft that goes on, I am not entirely displeased with the overall effect. In a world where the current First Lady/World Famous Fashion Icon/Busy Mom/Nutrition Expert aspires to be Beyonce, a mature woman who channels Helen Mirren might be just the kind of comforting female leader the country has been yearning for.



Brace Yourselves For Another Round Of Navel Gazing

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the gloomy weather, maybe it’s just general ennui. I am feeling low today.

My mood is greatly affected by the falling barometer so maybe that’s what this whole day is about. I don’t think so because I had physical pangs about something that I wanted to happen on Sunday that didn’t happen. A ridiculous thing that I had no control over anyway. But I haven’t been the same since.

I’m pretty mopey.

And it’s not like I don’t have things to think about. Work, for instance. Or Venetian blinds. It that term still in use? It is in Wilkes-Barre, or it was during my entire childhood. Not that anyone there could have found Venice on a map, or known what the connection was to the sharp metal window coverings with thick fabric tape and actual rope holding them together. Of course, Wilkes-Barre is still coming to terms with the reality of what a mango is.

Fullscreen capture 692014 55302 PM


And so I have become the thing that I have always hated. I am now a person who layers multiple coverings over a window. Here it is, blinds and curtains.

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At least I stopped myself at drapes on top of that.

The irony is that now I have beautiful new windows that tilt in or come out entirely for cleaning and so they don’t even have to be hidden! Well, it had to be done. First, even though I have perfected the Crouch and Slink method of getting around the room between showering and dressing, but still the days are longer now and there are more people in the street so sooner or later someone was going to see a bewb. Also, the sun is hotter now and this room has exposure on two sides, so it’s about to get ridiculous enough in NJ without having sun burning through the panes as if they were a magnifying glass. Blinds it had to be and I certainly couldn’t give up the curtains so here we are.

Also, do those slats look crooked to you?

And look at this thing.

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I have actually investigated one of these for private purchase. They’re called Smoking Stations and they’re less expensive than you’d think. Even though they hold  4 gallons or 3,000  butts -however you wish to measure it -and are meant to safely extinguish live butts,  it turns out they are their own fire hazard if you don’t dump the butts. Look again:


butt barf!

It’s been a long time since anyone emptied this thing, and when they did they left the connection to the collection bucket in the bottom ajar. What a spectacular sight that will be the day this thing goes on fire!

I was actually quite pleased with my heightened awareness of Smoking Station maintenance and safety. I was probably the only one in the whole diner parking lot, save for my charming brunch companion,  whom I gladly brought up to speed on this. So you see it’s not as though I am a Dull Dora. I have quite a lot going on. It’s just that I am exceptionally listless today.

Suzette Alert



I usually work until 6 or 7 every night mostly 7 but you know what? Screw it today.

It’s 4:15 and I haven’t looked out the window once today but now that I have, I realize how easy it would be to just shut the lid on the lap top and walk away. The weather is perfect, the deck is calling me and I’m about 20 pages into That Old Ace In The Hole.

I’m going outside. Young me could never have imagined how much I want to do this now. To go outside. To goof off. To recline and look at clouds that aren’t filled with rain.

I suppose just a change of scenery would do me good. I could go pull some weeds or pour out some mulch but I think instead I’ll give myself some good old fashioned down time.

I’m going outside.
UPDATE: Friday evening do-nothingness accomplished.

UPDATE 2: Saturday morning: inertia successfully maintained.


I did bring Sami up to speed on Mommie Dearest, which I was watching on TV when he came downstairs. He didn’t need me to tell him as he got the general gist of it in a  few brief scenes. He could not bear to watch more than that.  So I switched to the more innocuous Pioneer Woman on thinking he would be soothed by that , but he immediately picked up the phoniness and I had to fill him in on her background, her  rise to internet fame,  and her total net worth.

Then I pulled weeds for 10 minutes and spent twice that long on adjustments to the way my lace curtains are gathered.

So you see, I have been rather productive today after all.