December 28, 2015

Charitable Giving, 1928

I can't recall whether I've shared this in the past, but I always think of it as the year draws to a close.

You think today's solicitation letters are bold? Try this one on for size:

December 22, 2015

December 2000

Fifteen years ago, Pop died on the morning of the 22nd. So on this day every year I reflect on that day and wonder how I can put a few words together about the day and move past it.

So here it is.

We had a home death. It's like a home birth only there is a *lot* less information about death. In 2000 my mom didn't have a computer and what would have been out there to read up on would have been paltry. So that night it was me, Pop, middlesis and a pamphlet from Hospice.

I slept on the sofa. Sis slept on the floor next to Pop's hospital bed. His breathing was terrible. Occasionally we'd call some hospice hotline and ask what to do. They told us we'd know.

It was nerve-wracking, so as soon as there was a speck of light we turned the tv on to TCM and started watching Carmen Miranda in The Gang's All Here. I wish Pop had been conscious. He would have enjoyed it. Not long after, others in the house awoke and joined us. Someone made coffee. The credits for Hitchcock's Family Plot began to roll, and that's when he started to die. I held his hand and looked into his eyes, thinking that I'd never fully appreciated how beautiful they were, and then he ceased to be. That was kinda it. I remember saying "Can somebody mute? Pop's dying!" Of course I still regret that.

Someone went to get Mom out of the shower and she was wrapped in a towel when she saw him. She was relieved, I'm sure, since he'd been in poor health and battling with her for about a year. She chuckled wistfully about the "spite mustache" he'd grown in his final weeks. It was funny to see him in his bed, all tucked in cozy, dead, and with a mustache that comprised a completely new look. 

We left Mom with him for a while, and then each of us took turns being in the room  while others ate breakfast and got ready for the day. Eventually it was lunch time. We all made trays and joined Pop in the family room for a lunch of chili and cheezits and champagne. It seemed natural, and was quite jolly. Nobody really knew what to do next, so Mom gave us a hundred bucks and sent us off to Goodwill. Yes, we went shopping to take the edge off. Someone stayed with Pop.

Our bro finally arrived from his house far away and got to say his goodbyes. Then I went outside to tell the bees, which Pop had asked me to do.

On the 21st and 22nd every year I think of our sweet Pop. Sometimes I would lay down on the carpet in the exact spot where he died in order to think of him. The house is gone and I can't do that any longer, but I can probably find some Carmen Miranda today.

December 13, 2015

Sherman's March of Kitchens

Like the people of the South I just want this to be over?

Well we're getting close.

Fresh food was put in place yesterday, and the frozen foods tribunal was held this afternoon. Some extras of things are going to go downstairs with the old fridge. Why am I the keeper of the family decaf that nobody seems to drink on vacation? Genius items (the extra Mussaman curry sauce from the Thai restaurant) stay upstairs. Frequently used items (I know a boy who loves frozen peas!) also stay upstairs. Those few filets of anchovy and tablespoons of tomato paste that I need infrequently but will lose my MIND if I can't find when I need them stay upstairs.

The result is a pretty remarkable fridge. No more rootling around half-bent looking for a beer or soda. No more invisible veggies crammed into bins that can barely hold them. Everything is visible. My potatoes appear to be free-falling in space. 


December 12, 2015

Dequadin Is Saving My Ass

A few weeks ago, while Mom was at my sister's for the weekend, I cleaned the bathroom drawers and brought chaos into quietude. One item up for tribunal was this tube of Dequadin, a throat analgesic. I decided to keep it. 

And today I am a very happy girl. I caught that throat thing that's going around, and my throat is so very raw. Thank you, Dequadin.

I couldn't figure out where it came from, but there were some Chinese-looking characters on the tube. Turns out that it came from Singapore, which makes total sense. I have rarely been as sick as I was there. And when you're working sick, you just get some local stuff to take and just tough it out. I never need to go back there, by the way.

I had no preconceived notions going to Singapore. There were things that I thought I could like about it, but after the first few days I found this sinister vibe that I couldn't quite shake. Despite the ban on gum on the streets there were malls I went to where there were bloody red splats of Betelnut juice everywhere. Men followed my friend and I down the street and catcalled us in the night, which was made all the more scary by the fact that taxis didn't seem to stop for Westerners. For real. Occasionally one would roll past and apologize for not being able to stop for us. Quite eye-opening.

Over the next few days my health declined. Must have picked up a bug. And when my neti pot finally removed a multicolored clog I realized that I had an outrageous sinus infection. Ewwww. 

On the way to work the last day in Singapore I stopped by our hotel's concierge desk to ask what I should do about seeing a doctor. It would cost $300 to have a doctor come to the hotel. Or I could go to the doctor at the mall. Our tour host had given an alternate suggestion --  that I go to the doctor at the hawker's market across from the museum. The same grubby hawker's market whose food stalls made food out of the frogs and turtles that bobbed about unhappily in Rubbermaid tubs until they met their gruesome ends. Admittedly, I did eat things that came from those stalls and they were DELICIOUS, but they were vegetable-based.

I had all of this to consider while I finished my last morning of condition reporting. Released from my duties at half-day, I had two desires: to go to the used goods store at the hawker's market, and to go to the doctor. I voted for the one at the mall. The thrift store was worse than it looked from the outside. Half vials of 1970s cologne, old American popcorn poppers, some cheesy new Dollar Store kinda housewares. I was determined to buy something, so I looked hard. Over my shoulder I saw a sign that gave the price for records. Whaaaaat? Holy Grail. Singles were 50 cents apiece!

On our first evening in Singapore I had gone to a museum exhibition that explored the year 1960 in Singapore. 1960 was the year that the various constituents who were embroiled in civil war decided to hang it all up and wage peace. In one display there was a gorgeous display of 45rpm picture sleeves and music clips playing. The music was amazing. I had looked for record stores that week but came up empty-handed. At the thrift store, however,  there were easily three linear feet of these things lined up. All super thrashed, but I had to have them. I came home with at least 20 singles, picked entirely for their covers.

I took my 45s to the mall, and found the doctor's office. She was amazing. Had seen the forklift exhibition. Asked great questions about the scientific aspects of forklifts. I explained my malady and she fixed me right up, with Western medicine (thank you!) and a special consideration for the fact that I was going to be on a plane in less than 24 hours.

I went into the mall, found food that could sustain me overnight, came back to the hotel, ordered a taxi for the next morning, packed my bag, put out my clothes, set the alarm and went to bed. I spent the afternoon in bed looking up my 45s on Youtube (a lot of them had been digitized) and realized the tremendous payoff for getting these records. If you ever see a Stylers record, fork over whatever you need to. It will not let you down. Imagine if The Ventures or The Shadows came from Singapore. They made 1000 recordings, some instrumental and some with vocalists.

Does the Dequadin make it sound better? Perhaps!

December 7, 2015


He's my special friend. I found him on the free pile at work. And on days where my sisters are feuding, my mom and her caregiver are beefing, the credit card has gone missing and there is not enough clarity in the world, I'm grateful for my man, my kitties, grey days in our big brown box on the hill, and my ugly friend.

December 4, 2015

December Is Lump Month

No really. Apparently our vet thinks we have lumpy animals.

And in construction news, the backsplash happens next week, and things are looking much more kitcheny.

Grey grout to match the floor. Looks nice with the countertop. I'm coming to like the color.

Handles happened.
 Loving my new cabinets. Can't wait to play with our fridge. It might have an IP. Should we worry about hackers?
Every night I come home and mrguy and I play "kitchen".  I think that people are going to think nothing has changed because the cabinets and pulls are much like our old kitchen at the other house, but I swear this is going to be so much better than our current old kitchen. To review:

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