Saturday, February 28, 2009

Useless knowledge

Over on the right-hand side of this page, if you scroll down a bit, there is a box titled "Useless Knowledge". It has some random bits of interesting trivia which change each time you refresh the page. I liked the last one I saw. What do you call a group of animals?

A shrewdness of apes
A troop of baboons
A shoal of bass
A sleuth or sloth of bears
A sounder of boars
An army of caterpillars
A clowder or clutter of cats
A brood or peep of chickens
A clutch or chattering of chicks

A few of those have a strange poetry about them, but the others I wonder, "What were they smoking when they thought of that?"

Movie Moments

My family loves movies. I mean, we LOVE movies. When we get together, it is one of the family activities we often do. A few of us, mostly me, BS, sister, nephew & niece, make a game of quoting movie lines to each other. BS even subscribed to Netflix, and man-o-man, it is the greatest thing! And FAST. We mailed the last batch back on Wednesday and got the next ones on our list in the mail on Friday. They have a huge selection, and a lot that you can even watch on your computer for those who just can't wait a whole 2 days. Like me, sometimes. Theater movies, TV movies, TV series, documentaries, HBO & Showtime series. You name it, they probably have it. Wow, we are in movie watchin' heaven.

Because of this movie-lovin', there have been cinematic moments that have had a huge impact on me, moments that stay with me, moments that haunt me, moments I can't forget, for whatever reason. My memory of them may not be completely accurate, especially if it has been a long time since I saw them, but this is how I remember them. Here are some in no order whatsoever:

Dirty Harry

The scene: the bad guy has hijacked a school bus full of children. One shot shows the kids in the back of the bus and the camera focuses on one boy, the ever-present fat kid, sitting quietly in his seat, crying. Tears are rolling down his face. That broke my heart when I saw it ,and I still want to hug that chubby boy.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

The scene: The young, engaged, interracial couple comes home to break the news to their parents, who have gathered at the house of Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy. At one point, after hearing both sets of parents express politely worded . . . ahem . . . 'concern', Sidney Poitier's character takes his father into a separate room and proceeds to chew him out. The camera focuses on the father, and tears are rolling down his face. This is the scene:

What might be interesting to do is figure out why these two scenes of lone people crying affected me so much. Probably my innermost fear of loneliness & abandonment, right? Yeah yeah, that's it.

Little Big Man

The scene: pretty much the whole movie, so I have to pick one thing . . . . . hmmmm . . . . . okay, it is not a scene, but some music. The theme music that is played by the fife & drums as the soldier regiment slaughters the village of Indians, and the theme is repeated a few times throughout the movie, always during some carnage. The music is "Garry Owen" or "Garryowen", and here is an excerpt about it from Wiki:
It later became the marching tune for the US 7th Cavalry Regiment during the late 1800s. The tune was a favorite of General George Armstrong Custer and became the official air of the Regiment in 1867. According to legend it was the last tune played before the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
You can listen to it here.

The Final Episode of MASH: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

The scene: Hawkeye is talking to Sidney the shrink and recalling an episode on a bus when they had to pull over to the side of the road in the bushes to hide from the North Korean Army. It is full of frightened people, and a chicken in the back won't stop squawking (some of you remember where this is going). He yells at the woman holding the chicken to keep it quiet. A minute later, the noise stops, and when he looks back, she has wrung the chicken's neck (and she is crying - not again, sheesh!). The only problem is, this is not how it really played out. The chicken was really a baby, and the mother smothered it to save everyone on the bus.

I know why this affected me so much. When it aired, BS was only a few months old, and the thought of having to do that to my child sent me over the edge. I started wailing and couldn't stop.

**Now, you are going to hear me say a nice thing about BS's dad. Mark this moment. It may not come again.**

At the time, he was in the seminary, studying to be an Episcopal priest, and when he heard me caterwauling downstairs, he was able to come down & comfort me by saying something along the lines of:
"Do you have any doubt that Jesus is going to be right there waiting for that baby to take him in his arms?"
Or something like that. It was the most perfect thing he could have said.


The scene: there is violent fighting between Muslims and Hindus and they are killing each other right & left. Gandhi goes on a hunger strike until the fighting stops, and a distraught and angry Hindu man bursts into his room. His family has been killed by Muslims. In retaliation, he found a Muslim boy (spreads his hands apart to indicate a small child) and "smashed his head against the wall". He has brought Gandhi food to try and make him eat because he does not want Gandhi's death on his conscience as well. He wants to know how, after all this, can he still get into heaven. Gandhi tells him to find a young boy, about this big (spreads his hands apart to indicate a small child), whose parents have been killed in the violence, and raise him as his own. Only make sure that the child is a Muslim, and that he raise it as one. In that way, he will find his way to heaven.

(Note, as I am typing this, while watching the scene from the movie, my blog got a hit from Calcutta. Spooky)

The Incredible Shrinking Man

The scene: after sailing through some sort of cosmic nasty cloud while out on his boat, this man starts shrinking. He has become very small and has ended up in the basement of his house when he encounters a common house spider which is, compared to him, HUGE. And hairy. With fangs. (s~h~u~d~d~e~r - this scene is the source of my lifelong fear of spiders) He must fight it off with whatever he can find, which is a sewing pin, and manages to stab it and run away.

As a result, for much of my life, in that state between awake and sleep, I would 'dream' of spiders hanging down from the ceiling, getting ready to drop onto my face. I wave my arms wildly to brush them away. I haven't had a spider dream in a long time, but it wasn't a dream. I was really awake. I saw them. Really. I have posted about this before, so you might have heard it already. Tough.

I know there have been these moments for you as well. Leave a comment & tell us about yours. Please? I KNOW my relatives have some (nudge,nudge, wink, wink, hint, hint).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why is today 'fat'?

And what does it have to do with pancakes? In a real tiny nutshell, here is your religion class for the day.

Today has several names: Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, everyone's favorite, Mardi Gras, and, well, just plain ol' Tuesday for those who pretty much ignore it.

Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday)
'Shrove' is the past tense of the old English word (shrive), meaning to gain absolution for your sins by confessing and doing penance, the necessary prerequisite for the beginning of the Lenten season, during which you must by pious & penitential. Referring to today as 'Shrove Tuesday' originated in the Anglican Church, mainly the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Other Anglican churches worldwide, as well as American Episcopalians, Lutherans & Catholics, use the same terminology.

Those crazy Brits also have the tradition of eating pancakes on this day, as it was a good way of using up the fat & eggs that they were supposed to abstain from eating during Lent (meat, butter & eggs were considered pleasurable foods).

**Side note: although how can anyone completely give up fat? The human body has to have some fat every day or it would suffer and die. The covering on your nerve cells and a good part of your brain is made up of fat. If you didn't get any, you would develop twitching spasms, paralysis, and you would drool vacantly as your mind slowly said sayonara. So snarf up that fat, folks! It's good for you!**

Just kidding . . . sort of.

Anyway, you will see that tradition carried over in many Episcopal, Lutheran & Catholic churches here as the "Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper".

I think my favorite of the traditional Lenten dishes has to be the Festy Cock, a tasty Scottish treat. But then, the name of this dish shouldn't surprise anyone. These are the people who also came up with this (same land mass anyway):

Carnivale / Mardi Gras
Most of the rest of Europe, South America, heck, most of the rest of the Christian world, celebrates Carnivale (car-nee-vahl) as a season, some referring to it as Mardi Gras, and concluding on the Tuesday before Lent. Most of us, though, think of Mardi Gras as only Tuesday. The length of the season varies, with some cultures (including New Orleans) finding an excuse to celebrate for a month or more, starting on the Twelfth Night celebration of Christmas. Others are more restrained, and limit their festivities to the few days before Ash Wednesday. All of them, though, culminate their celebrations on the Tuesday before Lent.

Actually, Mardi Gras is the French equivalent of Tuesday (Mardi) + Fat (Gras) = Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent.

Not every Christian denomination even observes Lent, so not everyone is aware of today's significance, although everyone seems to know what Mardi Gras looks like, especially in New Orleans, with the traditional colors of purple (justice), gold (power), and green (faith).

Something tells me, though, that most of the people participating in Mardi Gras in New Orleans tonight aren't doing it as part of a religious observance, unless your religion includes shaking your chest, drunken debauchery, and donning odd masks to dance in the streets. Although, dancing is in the Bible, right?

I don't think you will see anyone at the Episcopal Church tonight flashing their boobs so their fellow parishioners will throw pancakes at them. But you never know, especially in New Jersey, that hotbed of Episcopal shenanigans.

For more information, click on these links: New Orleans Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras, Carnivale, and Shrove Tuesday.

I was lazy tonight and only used Wiki. Sorry.

ps - BS told me I should include a picture of titties (his word), and use the Arabic word for them so people in Saudi Arabia can Google it and be led to this post. He heard the story of my international visitors doing a Google image search and being led to a certain post. What can I say, the boy wants to get me some more readers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Be careful what you wish for,

because when you get it, it might not be quite what you were hoping for. After all my griping & complaining about the lack of snow, Mother Nature found a way to rub my nose in it. Look at this picture, taken at about 5:30 pm this afternoon . . . . . . .

See those little white specks against my neighbor's house? Those are SNOWFLAKES! Real, honest-to-goodness snowflakes!

What the picture does not adequately convey are the highly incongruent blue sky, sunshine, and fluffy white clouds. Evidently one of those fluffy buggars had a wee black heart and decided to mock me by blowing a frozen fart over my house and giving us some snow for about, oh, 3 1/2 minutes.

Follow-up on our smörgåsbord of choices

A few posts back, I rambled on about one of signs of the impending downfall of our society - namely, too many choices. Well, one of my faithful readers (I think I am up to 8 now - whoo-hoo!), the ever-alert Xmaskatie (that would be her internet alias), sent me this little jewel from today's (2-22-09) News & Observer, a newspaper in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area.
Tucked into an inside page of Tuesday's N&O was a tidbit of good news for husbands occasionally instructed to "stop by the grocery store on the way home and pick up a few things."

Alas, that's not the case for our wives.

How many times have I dumped the "few things" on the kitchen counter, only to hear a deep sigh and a plaintive "Honey, why did you buy this can of zesty jalapeño, garlic, olive oil, green pepper and onion diced tomatoes? I had no idea you liked jalapeño, garlic, olive oil, green pepper and onion diced tomatoes. I usually use just plain petite diced tomatoes in the soup."

On Tuesday I stopped by the supermarket and counted 'em. Yep, eight varieties of Del Monte canned tomatoes in look-alike cans.

The peanut butter shelves aren't much better, with six varieties of Jif including Creamy, Reduced Fat Creamy, Extra Crunchy and Reduced Fat Crunchy.

Life is complicated enough without eight varieties of canned tomatoes from one company. The current state of the economy may dramatically reduce our choices in many areas, forcing us back to the basics. And that ain't all bad.

If you would like to read it yourself, here is the link.

Warning, next is the obligatory cooking portion of the post:

I feel validated by that editorial. So now, what I deserve on this cold, gray, drizzly Sunday is the freshly baked banana whole wheat/oatmeal muffin that is just now coming out of my oven, spread with real butter and drizzled with honey, accompanied of course by a cup of hot cocoa.

I can't tell you how I made them, because I was making it up as I went along and now I can't remember what I put in them. I'm getting old. The memory, she deserts me.

I seem to remember lots of vanilla; I like vanilla. And I remember having to use ordinary honey, having run out of my delicious Texas honey. Darn. But let me tell you, between the last sentence and this one, that muffin was gone in about 2 seconds.

I'm not very good at the money shots yet.

Ooh, BS put peanut butter on his. Rats, now I might have to have another. Actually, that's not true. He put peanut butter on an entire mini-loaf (I ran out of muffin pans) and consumed the whole thing in just over the 2 seconds it took me to eat one muffin. When he read this, his comment, as he was licking the knife, was "That's right, and those burps taste delicious too."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feb 20th is supposed to be winter, right?

Well, you'd never know it by living in my fair city this year. There were a couple of close calls, but alas, only a few wayward flakes flew by. On the other hand, my friends and family in North Carolina - south of me, SOUTH, below, closer to the equator - reaped the benefits of our close calls. Look at this from my sister just south of Chapel Hill...


I love those pictures. And this picture, shamelessly stolen from my friend Rosie's blog (she lives on the Outer Banks)...

I ask you, what business do those people have getting my snow? When I look around here, what do I see?

My daffodils, drooping because the damn temps can't decide whether to be up, down, up, down.

The crocuses are blooming, and I love this one with the milkweed seed pod that floated by for a visit and sparkled in the morning light.

These are blooming abso-stinkin-lutely everywhere.

This is my camellia, a winter flower. It should be the ONLY color I see the middle of February, thank you very much. And now it's cold again with the possibility of another close call for snow that we won't get. Those daffodils are toast.

So, on this cold, but snowless night, BS & I had the last of our chili deliciousness from last week, and I made a dip for some blue corn tortilla chips.

Chopped onions caramelizing in olive oil & butter.

Oops, wait a second........I had to wipe off the camera on account of I drooled on it.

Mix with sour cream, lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro (I still had a lot left over), finely shredded cheese, some hot sauce, and those chips won't know what hit them. I was pleasantly surprised, having just pulled it out of my a......uh......made it up on the spot. At first I thought I put in a little too much lime juice, but BS reassured me of its perfection by pronouncing "that shitz the bomb." I can always count on him to give it to me straight.

Look - doesn't that look like a mound of snow? What, no? Well, I really didn't think so either, but I'll take fluffy white stuff wherever I can get it.

And in keeping with the whole seafood theme, I put it in my favorite pottery bowl with the blue crab on it and . . . . . wait, there is no seafood theme? Man, I can't get anything right tonight, can I?

I love Friday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lowering your expectations

My old high school friend and now fellow blogger, Russell, has been very complimentary of my blog, even going so far as to link one of my posts on one of his. I really appreciate this (honest Russ, I do), but now I am afraid that any of his faithful readers who may happen to wander over to my site will be expecting something brilliant and witty with every word that comes from my keyboard. Sheesh, that's a lot to live up to, you know? So, until I finish with more brilliance in the form of Chapter 2 of my 'unpublished manuscript', allow me to lower your expectations a little, so that when I finally get around to posting it, you will be all the more dazzled.

In many ways, I have decided that I will never really grow up, so you will get to know me a little better when I tell you that I found this particularly funny (click on that). That's just the kind of person I am. See? I'm really a simple-minded doofus who is slightly sick & twisted.

That's why this sign (that I see every time I drive to the Outer Banks) will never NOT be funny to me.

And I always wonder - is that what killed these people?

What's that noise? Oh, it's just my mother going "tsk, tsk" in dismay.

Go see this movie as soon as possible

This is one of the most powerfully moving films I have ever seen, and if you don't go see it before it leaves the theaters, your life will be diminished, misfortune will follow you, and you will suffer from unrelenting stupidity all the days of your life. Plus, you will have to settle for the DVD on your home television. THAT would be a shame.

The fact that Gran Torino was COMPLETELY overlooked by the Oscars is not only a travesty, but completely predictable for an industry who picks Benjamin Button (while an okay movie) over this one and thinks the latest installment of the Brad-Angelina-Jennifer saga is riveting news.

Hollywood, you disgust me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Damn Valentine's Day

Damn??!! How could I possible use damn in the same sentence as Valentine's Day. Ugh. If you have no sweetheart, Valentine's Day blows. No roses, no chocolates, no champagne, no snuggling. Yeah, I just love Valentine's Day.

So I decided to give myself some chocolate today. Me & BS that is. And to satisfy one of my faithful readers, I am doing this COOKING POST. I chopped & sliced & stirred. I made chili & brownies. The end.........................

Oh okay. I'm supposed to elaborate a bit. First thing, I have been told that I cannot call the stuff I make 'chili'. Chili purists would recoil in horror to see some of the things that I put in it, so I'll call it 'stew' instead. I took your basic chili recipe with meat, onion, garlic, chili powder, and liquidy tomato products. Then I defiled it by putting in stuff that no self-respecting bowl of 'real' chili should have - diced sweet potatoes, cinnamon, cumin, corn, BEANS, a bit of chocolate, and chipotle chiles. Serve with sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, cheese, and a little more cheese (and for BS - hot sauce on the side).

I like the sweetness of the sweet potato with the spiciness of the other stuff. The chipotles lend some heat with a hint of smokiness, and the bit of chocolate & cinnamon add a depth of flavor that ordinary chili can't live up to, kind of like a brown mole sauce. It's goooood.

For dessert, I gave us chocolate. Lots of chocolate in the form of brownies with drizzle.

Drizzle is the term coined by one of my best friends when I made some ganache to drizzle over her birthday brownies. Now BS demands drizzle whenever I make brownies. And speaking of brownies, I don't understand brownie mixes with their chemical-y flavor. It only takes a few minutes to mix up a pan of brownies. Why would anyone use a mix? They are so simple: butter, chocolate, eggs. sugar & flour. That's it. Nirvana.

Making the ganache is ridiculously easy as well. Heat cream & add semi-sweet chocolate chips. Although, when you first add the chips (letting it sit a minute to melt the chocolate) and start stirring, you will think you have surely ruined it. Look...

Looks clumpy & gross. But keep stirring, mes amis, and the magic happens.

Silky, smooth, gloosy. Wait, that's not right. That should be glossy. Drizzle a little on your dense & rich brownie and who needs a stinkin' sweetheart?

So here is your obligatory Valentine's Day greeting:

Excuse me now while I kick BS off the couch (lovingly, of course). He has fallen asleep and started to snore.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The first installment of my never-to-be-published manuscript

I know I have been veering off my original purpose of this blog, namely the reinventing myself & doing things I have always meant to do blah blah blah, but it’s my blog & I can do whatever I want.

The ideas behind this really started in 1992, when my son was almost 10, and he and I made the first of our 2 trips to Cairo, Egypt to visit with beloved family. No, wait, it really began when he was 2, in 1984, and my then-husband accepted a teaching post in Uganda, having just graduated from the Episcopal seminary. The words “culture shock” became part of my vocabulary, for many reasons, but for the purpose of this first post, I will focus on one aspect.

Chapter 1: Choices

Oh, but before I start, I have to tell one story about an aspect of culture shock that few think about. Part of our preparation for this mission was undergoing training with a former missionary couple in California. They told a story of what is known as “reverse culture shock” by relaying the tale of a man who had spent many years in an area (I have long since forgotten where) with very few modern conveniences, not to mention no running water or bathrooms. When he finally returned stateside, he would spend hours flushing the toilet, fascinated with watching the swirling water going round and round and round and round.........reverse culture shock with just a touch of madness thrown in to make it interesting. That prompted the Church to start a policy of bringing missionaries home periodically for a break, a time-out, a vacation of sorts to regain their sanity.

Anyway, during our brief sojourn in East Africa, we would go to the market every day or 2 for food, walking to town - he with BS on his back, me with the market basket (which I still have). We could find a good variety of things in town, but we would have to go to quite a few different places to get everything. One place for vegetables & fruit, one for meat, one for bread, another for eggs, and a tiny ‘grocery store’ for canned items & non-perishables. You get the picture. Sure, it was very different from what we were used to, but it wasn’t a long walk, and we were there just long enough to get used to it, even enjoy it - to have it still be a novelty. We were only there for 3 months, but even then, when we got back, my first trip to the grocery store was a bit of a shock. In fact, you could probably fit the entire downtown area of Tororo in a modern Super Wal-Mart. The thing that stuck in my mind the most was the cereal aisle. I could not figure out why anyone needed that many kinds of cereal to choose from.

A picture of Tororo as it looks today. Umm, actually, it hasn't changed at all. This is pretty much how it looked 24 years ago:

Flash forward to 1992 when BS & I made the first of 2 visits to Cairo, with a stop in Gaeta, Italy to visit former neighbors. At each place, our friends would do their shopping in a combination of local merchants for certain perishables, and a larger grocery store for other items. But even their larger grocery stores were small, dare I say insignificant, compared to ours. But you know what? You could find just about everything you needed in them, just not dozens of varieties of each item. It got BS & me to thinking, as we compared daily life in the States with daily life other places, using East Africa, Italy & Egypt for comparison. We started noticing all the choices we have and pondered the effect on our attitudes and priorities. For some reason, the cereal choices in the Cairo market is what keeps coming back to me to illustrate this point.

Let’s break this down. I took a trip to my local Wally World to snap some pictures, but first I did a little research online. A visit to the websites of the cereal giants revealed the following truly disturbing facts:
  • General Mills: including the 11 kinds of Cheerios alone, they have a total of 77 different boxed cereals.
  • Kellogg's: 59 (this is not counting the 27 different kinds of Eggo frozen pancakes & waffles and 16 different Special K bars)
  • Post: 38
  • Quaker: 17
That gives us a total of 191 kinds of cold cereal, and that's not counting all the bags of Malt o’ Meal, the small companies like Kashi, & the store brands. Granted, Wally World didn't have them all in stock. As you will see by the pictures, they were out of quite a bit (as evidenced by some large holes in the shelves).

But I ask you, please please please tell me - what the f**k does anyone need with over 200 kinds of cereal to choose from? Are we really that hard to please? Do we need all that?

In this series of pictures, I am standing at the end of the cereal aisle, first looking right. Then, since they couldn't fit it all on one side, they had half of the other side filled with cereal. The rest of that side was taken up with all the different kinds of oatmeal and cereal & granola bars.

BS also wanted me to go look at all the different razors you can have a hard time choosing from, but they were really low on a lot of stuff. He claims much angst when trying to decide what kind of razor to buy among all the ridiculous choices - regular, double blade, triple blade, quattro, and now he says there is one with 5 blades. What, were men not able to get a close shave 20 years ago when they thought the double edge was da bomb?

The answer to the question asked way above is "YES", we really have become that hard to please, and therein lies the problem.

We have so many choices in everything, as this syndrome has infected everything from cereal, laundry detergent, sneakers, cars, and everything in between, that we are never satisfied with what we have. No matter what we choose, there will always be someone who has one that is shinier, bigger, newer, has more gadgets, more expensive, etc than the one we have. This does nothing but set us up for constant 'stuff' envy and discontent. Is it any wonder that kids are beating each other up over a miserable pair of tennis shoes because they are a particular, somehow more desirable brand?

I am as guilty of this as anyone. I am in the market for a big screen LCD TV, and when I finally make my selection, I can pretty much guarantee I will have more than one moment of wondering, "maybe I should have gotten the bigger one." Dammit, a few years ago, just the thought of having one would have been a luxurious dream. Now, I will wonder if the one I get is nice enough? What the hell is wrong with that?

When we were in East Africa, we had no refrigerator, oven, or washing machine. We did have bathrooms, and we felt damn lucky for those. As for the things we didn't have, it is amazing how quickly you can adapt. I did the washing in the tub and hung it out to dry. The laundry detergent I had to choose from was New Blue Omo or New Blue Omo. And you know what? It got the clothes just as clean as anything we had back in the States. I didn't have to stand in the laundry detergent aisle, looking at all the claims of superiority over the other brands, and wonder which kind was the "best".

And really, people, they are all pretty much the same. These days I go for smell. I don't care what brand it is, as long as it is cheap and smells good. That's my shampoo philosophy too. Can you imagine the look of horrified panic on someone's face as, in doing someone a favor, they face the hair care aisle armed only with instructions to "pick me up a bottle of shampoo."

Don't get me wrong - I am glad I have choices. I'm glad I have more than New Blue Omo to pick from when I need washing soap. A free-market economy is a good thing. Most of the time. But we have taken it so far that we're not be satisfied with what we have. We have ended up in a society of excess. The demons of "there's a better one" will always be whispering in our ears.

Have you looked at your local street full of car dealers lately? Every town has one - one street with rows of dealers from the different car companies. There are so many models to choose from, and you know what? They all look alike.

Our moms were right. You can have too much of a good thing.

Edited to add: I have nothing against capitalism. I like stuff as much as the next person. But remember when your parents made you work for your first car instead of giving it to you? You appreciate what you have to work for more than you do something that is handed to you with no effort. When there is easy access to so much stuff, we tend to value it less. I would just like to see a happy medium between 'excess' & 'sufficient'.

That's my opinion & I'm sticking to it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Stay Tuned

I am working on something that has been on my mind since........oh, must be since 1984, and it will have to come in sections. It is long, and if I had any sense, I would write a book and it would become a best seller and I would be rich and could retire as soon as the book tour was over. But I have no sense. And before I can start writing about these things here, I have to go to the store and take some pictures.

Pique your curiosity?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Physical Pleasures

And no, I'm not referring to THAT, you filthy minded 12 year olds. This has nothing to do with the horizontal mambo, the nasty, that other particular physical pleasure.

This post was inspired by a couple things. But they got me to thinking about the various ways that we get pure physical pleasure and satisfaction, in a completely non-sexual way:
  • Scratching: I have a spot on my back that always itches - a mole or some other dadgum thing - and it drives me crazy (a little to the left...down a little...a little more...ooooh right scratch hard). It is incredibly annoying. So picture a bear backing up to a tree and scratch scratch scratching to his heart's content. That's what I do on the edges of doors, corners, and, yes, tree trunks. How many things can compare with having someone scratch your back when you really need it? And I'm not talking about a gentle knuckle rub. I want fingernails. Sharp ones. In the words of my brother, "do it like you hate me." Ahhhhh..............

Oh, and by the way, this little gizmo is a great multi-tasker. You can scratch your back whilst scoopin' up your noodles. I have one at home and one at work, just for scratching heaven. Come to me, my little friend:
  • Massage: Kind of along the same lines, but a more gentle, relaxing, soothing pleasure. At least the kind of massage I have in mind. I have had two that hurt so much I cried. Cried like a baby. And I hurt all the next day, too. No, this is the 'fluff & buff' type, the kind that makes you feel all limp and loved (like something else I know - heh).

  • Sneezing: especially when it just lingers back there, teasing and tickling your nose. My father taught me how to sneeze silently by keeping my throat open. This is a good thing for a singer to do, since sneezing is hard on the vocal chords, and I can do it, Let me tell you, it is NOT the same. You just don't get that same wonderful feeling of satisfaction as when you explosively blast it out, hopefully into a tissue. Of course there are times when a sneeze doesn't feel good, like when you have a bad sore throat or a chest infection or when you have a sneezing fit of about 20 of them in a row (like I do sometimes). But overall I'd have to say that they feel pretty dang good.
  • Icy cold drink on a hot day: say it is about 95 degrees outside and you have been cutting the grass. You feel like you are melting, and your face is on fire. Some kind and considerate person hands you a delicious icy cold beverage, so cold that the condensation is running down the glass. You hold it to your neck, then take one deep drink, feeling the chill creep all the way down your throat and into your stomach. Some people like a cold beer (I think beer tastes like horse piss - how would I know that? Well, it looks just like it, so it must taste like it. I hate beer), but I prefer a cold, fruity concoction. And if there is a little bit of tequila or rum in it, all the better. Ahhhhhhh.....................

  • My li'l electric blanket: this was the main impetus for the topic of this post (the other would be embarrassing for a certain someone I know). It has been right nippy here in the south lately. Not as nippy as those of you in northern climes have been feeling, but for us, it's cold. I am not one to keep the house toasty warm either, so my living room is a wee bit chilly. I have a throw-sized electric blanket, and if I turn it on high and drape it over the sofa for a few minutes, when I sit down I am enveloped in delicious heat from head to toe, top to bottom. I can practically feel myself steam. After a while, it gets too hot and I have to turn it off or to the lowest setting, but for one brief shining moment, I am in bliss. A hot tub can accomplish the same thing, if you are so lucky. Ahhhhh..................

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any others, please add them to the comments section and we can all have more vicarious pleasures. Ahhhhhh.................