Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thanksgiving Update

It occurs to me that I never talked about my holiday. And, really, there's thankfully not much news to report--lots of the 4-F's: Food, Family, Fun, Friends. Dinner turned out fairly deliciously (Artie) by all accounts with me being responsible primarily for the sides and Satan manning the meat battle stations. We roasted a turkey breast and baked a small ham. You see pictured there Chase and David both of whom are quite full. David has taken to "training" for these large holiday meals which is to say he fasts for up to one day in advance so as to have plenty of room and added stamina for Serious Eating. I think we can safely say "Mission Accomplished" this year.

I'll share with you my go-to Thanksgiving recipe. It's been a big hit with family and friends, isn't too complicated, and looks quite festive.

Corn and Wild Rice Pudding

2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2/3 cup milk
3 cups drained canned sweet corn
1 cup cooked wild rice
3 scallions, finely chopped or 1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine egg, egg yolk, heavy cream and milk and whisk well to combine. Add all remaining ingredients except butter and mix well. Grease a 7 by 11 or 8 by 12-inch casserole with the butter. Pour custard ingredients into prepared casserole and bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until custard is set and golden brown on the top. Serve warm.
[Editor's note: Keep in mind it takes 55 minutes to cook the wild rice. This can be done the night before and then kept in the fridge if you like]

The long weekend was otherwise uneventful. I did accomplish a fair amount of online Christmas shopping. My Visa card is still sniffling and whimpering and will hardly be coaxed out of the wallet these days, but the good news is that there are many, MANY gifts in the can.

I finished my latest good read, "The Tender Bar" by JR Moehringer. I suppose you could say the book is the latest in what has become a series of non-fiction reads that began with "Angela's Ashes", with the theme being overcoming the effects of a difficult, poverty ridden childhood. The other book in the series is "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls. They are all three amazing stories and I recommend them highly.

JR's story takes place in the Long Island town of Manhassett where he grew up in the seventies. Desserted nearly from birth by his father, JR bonds with his uncle Charlie who tends bar at "Dickens" the local pub. Eventually, the bar and the men who frequent it come to stand in collectively as a father figure for JR. The book is also a sort of a love letter to the bar itself. Anyone who's ever boozily bonded at a special place will recognize and enjoy the vibe that JR has managed to capture here so well. They will also recognize the pitfalls.

I seem to have lost the thread of my Freddie Mercury story. Maybe I can pick it up again soon. My long weekend has caused me to revert somewhat to my natural tendency of being a night owl and I'm back to having to force myself to hit the sack at a decent hour. Makes me long for those endless summers of my youth when whole months were mine to while away as I saw fit.

'Til later...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Quite Contrary

You’re probably going to find this hard to believe, but there is an ongoing conflict between Satan and me.

Specifically, since we’ve moved to the new place, Satan has dedicated the part of the house that is, essentially, the entry as a…well, an altar. I know, surprising coming from Satan, right? I suppose when you think it through, though, no one needs to get a little closer to the holy than Satan. This altar consists of constantly burning candles in a tray of river rock surrounded by a small picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, some tall holy candles, one medium sized crucifix, an incense burner, and one large wooden Buddha head on a stick.

It is this assortment of images that essentially greets all visitors to our home.

Now, color me conservative, but I have suggested more than once to Satan that perhaps this is a somewhat bazaar grouping with which to confront, right off, for instance, people we don’t know so well.

For some odd reason, Satan takes my objection to the altar as just one more reason to believe that I spent WAY too much time as a child listening to apoplectic men with unfortunate pompadours telling me I was going straight to hell. And while that is undoubtedly true, in my opinion, he would only have point there if I wanted to add say a lace covered Bible or picture of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker to the mix.

But I DON’T.

Since Satan is generally bigger, meaner, and more determined than me, the altar has stayed as is since he put it there. That is, until a few days ago. When I came home to find THIS added to the collection:

That’s right folks, our own personal statute of the V. M.

And, no, that's not some tiny little icon, either. We're talking our friend Mare, there, is upwards of four feet tall from her naked little toes to the top of her righteous little head.

Now, alert and long-time readers will recognize that screaming red wall as being located in the family room and they would be absolutely corrrect. Because, there's only one thing worse than having a giant Virgin Mary statue in your bright red family room. And that's having a giant Virgin Mary statue posted at the front door. Trust me on this. And, because the Our Lady is a little difficult to maneuver otherwise, she's now....

The Blessed Virgin on Wheels.

I know, I'm just exhausted.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Behind the Music: Me and Freddie Mercury, Part II

So, where were Freddie and I?

Oh, yes, I’d been struck by the arrow of true FAN LOVE on my family room couch back in ’77 (how old do I sound about now?).

Anyway, I was on a mission from then on. At the very next opportunity I was at Musicland at the Mall rifling through the newly discovered Queen section that was to become my haunt for the next few years. I had taken the plunge into complete fan devotion and, fortunately for me, the waters were very deep. Freddie fronted a band that contained three other songwriters and musicians: Brian May on lead guitar, Roger Taylor on drums, John Deacon on base and, of course, Freddie was lead vocals and keyboard. Interestingly, all four were college graduates. Queen was the real deal. Writing all their own material and using only their own voices and instruments their first six albums all proudly contained the disclaimer “no synthesizers”.

I learned all I could about Freddie, which really wasn't much. He was born on September 5, 1946 on a small spice island called Zanzibar off the coast of Africa. Freddie’s father worked for the British government and Freddie began attending school in London when he was eight or ten. He met up with Roger Taylor and Brian May during his/their college years. Roger and Brian initially had a band called “Smile” that broke up at which point they joined forces with Freddie to form “Queen”. They held auditions for a bassist and John Deacon made the grade. [I can't believe I actually found that baby picture or even possibly resist posting it, sorry.]

Queen had already broken some some serious musical ground when I became a convert. Their blockbuster hit “Bohemian Rhapsody” which roared up the charts in late 1975 and 1976, took three solid weeks to record, and at six minutes, was the longest pop tune in history to be played on the radio it its entirety. [I just read on the internet that it took seven days to record the “Galileo’s” alone.] As if that wasn’t enough, the boys recorded what is among the first music videos in history to promote the song.

My first queen album that day at Musicland turned out to be “A Night at the Opera” which contained “Bohemian Rhapsody” although the album du jour, of course, was “News of the World” which contained the song I’d just seen Freddie perform. I reasoned I should start at the beginning and “Night” was essentially the group’s first big American release. I still remember clutching the giant white album lovingly all the way home in the Torino and then frantically ripping off the cellophane and slapping it onto my pea green portable record player and, when I was home alone, way too loudly on the parent’s Pioneer at every possible opportunity.

I acquired the other albums as quickly as I could in order: “A Day at the Races” (“Somebody to Love”), Sheer Heart Attack (Killer Queen), News of the World (We Will Rock You/We are the Champions). And then, as they came out: “Jazz”, etc. I read all the liner notes, memorized the lyrics (and that includes the Japanese on “Day”), and devoured any and all information I could come by about Freddie and the group. Nobody, upon nobody, who knew me back in the day could possibly escape knowing about my obsession or being subjected to a healthy dose of Queen if they dared come for a visit.

My parents split in the late seventies, but I still had Freddie. My mother still remembers that first apartment we lived in being dominated by the strains of “Bicycle” wafting from my room (as do I). By the time I relocated south for the last two years of high school, I was singing about keeping “Moet and Chandon” in a pretty cabinet without any clue has to what that might actually be. I was on a constant quest for Queen albums, Queen merchandise, or any news of the band.

Which is about the time Queen released their next blockbuster to date: "The Game".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


It is with much regret that I must interrupt the story of Freddie and I to bring you....well, Thanksgiving.

I swore to myself I was going to do the two (or possibly three)-part series on Freddie for my next few entries and sooner rather than later. But, as so often happens, life has conspired against me. Since I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year, I must tend to my hostess duties lest my guests go away hungry and disappointed.

Short Conversation with Satan:

(Me snapping a picture of the new mixer as Satan prepares to make pumpkin bread)

You aren't going to post that and call it "Satan's Mixer" are you?


Satan's mixer is pretty, no?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Behind the Music: Me and Freddie Mercury, Part I

On November 24, 1991, just a few days before Thanksgiving, Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, died of AIDS related complications at his home in Kensington, London. I heard this news from my mother who read it aloud to me from the local newspaper just as I was getting up to go to work on the morning of the 25th. I burst into tears.

There had been years of speculation in the press about Freddie’s condition, but to my mind, there hadn’t been much of a question about what Freddie had. Obviously, if not openly, gay for much of the band’s 25 year plus history, I (and probably just about everyone else) knew what was likely ailing Freddie when he began looking pale and fragile sometime during the late eighties. Those were dark days in terms of the medical technology, or rather lack thereof, that was utilized when treating the AIDS virus.

I can’t imagine that too many of Freddie’s fans were really confused about what was happening to him. Queen had released an album that year entitled “The Show Must Go On” on which the title track’s lyrics went like this:

guess I'm learning,
I must be warmer now
I'll soon be turning,
round the corner now
Outside the dawn is breaking
But inside in the dark
I'm aching to be free
The show must go on
The show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking
My make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on
My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly - my friends
The show must go on
The show must go on
I'll face it with a grin
I'm never giving in
On - with the show -

If that wasn’t enough of a clue, Freddie had also produced a solo recording covering “The Great Pretender” originally made famous in the 1950’s by The Platters:

Oh yes I’m the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Pretending I’m doing well (ooh ooh)
My need is such I pretend too much
I’m lonely but no one can tell

Oh yes I’m the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Adrift in a world of my own (ooh ooh)
I play the game but to my real shame
You’ve left me to dream all alone
Too real is this feeling of make believe
Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal

Ooh ooh yes I’m the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Just laughing and gay like a clown (ooh ooh)
I seem to be what I’m not (you see)
I’m wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you’re still around

No, there was nothing official, but even the most casual of fans had the message. Freddie was dying, and he bade those of us who were paying attention a long, sometimes poignant, sometimes cheeky, musical farewell.

By the time Freddie was gone, I’d been a fan for fifteen years.

The first time I saw him is burned in my memory. It was 1977, back in the day when “high tech” meant trading your rotary phone for a push-button model or micro-waving your Swanson TV dinner in a machine roughly the size of Rhode Island. Changing the channel still meant getting off the couch and crossing the room. Milk showed up at your house courtesy of an actual milk MAN.

In those days, music videos were a once a week Event rather than an every day occurrence. If you wanted to see your favorite cutting edge band it meant participating in the ritual of staying up half the night to catch shows like “The Midnight Special” or “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”. It was during one such late night vigil that I first laid eyes on the band that was to become a much-loved favorite. Queen had been around for a while by this time, certainly since 1972, but this was the first time I had laid eyes on the band and, more importantly, its charismatic lead singer.

The video began with the camera in a tight close-up on Freddie’s face and there was no mistaking the dark eye-liner around his eyes (“how daring”, I said to myself). I was instantly transfixed by the voice, the face and, secondarily, the outfit, which happened to be a see-thru ("!") black and white body suit with a plunging neckline. During the performance, I noticed Freddie carried the microphone still attached to the top half of the metal base (“how unusual” I said to myself by now somewhat breathlessly). I was to later learn this method of microphone carriage was a trademark. Freddie pranced and sang, gesturing wildly and widely to an enthusiastic crowd. I’d never seen anyone quite like him. He was insanely talented, he was flamboyant, he was handsome, he was androgynous.

He was utterly one-of-a-kind.

I was in love. In love with that special kind of fan love only a thirteen year old girl can muster. The kind of burning devotion that, if it could be harnessed collectively, would go a long way toward solving the energy crisis. I felt as though I were actually glowing by the time the song (“We are the Champions”) wound to a thrilling close.

(To be continued...)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Scary Kate and Ghastly Olsen, among other things

I couldn’t resist popping by to share with you this:

On a good day, itsy and her even littler sister bitsy both strike me as soulless little robo-stars. But this make-up treatment? Yikes. Imagine waking in the middle of the night to find these two standing silently over your bed staring at you with their COLD DEAD EYES. Your mouth opens in a soundless scream as they bend their teensy expressionless faces to yours and sink their needle-like incisors into your neck....MWWWaaaaahahahaa…. ((shiver))

Okay, movin’ on, you should be aware that the soon-to-be Mrs. Tom Cruise has decided to be a stay at home mom!!!! Yay!! Whew! What a relief! For a minute there, I was afraid Baby Cruise would be subjected to some kind of FREAKY and unnatural upbringing or something.


On a less snarky note...gosh, ya’ll, it’s just a good thing I’m the technical wizard that I am.

Since starting this here blog back in the olden days (September) I’ve wondered how many people visit and read. And, lo, many times after logging off, I would say to myself, “Self? Wonder just how many hits this here site gets?” I would then reply to myself, “How’s a feller to know?” And then my other self would respond, “?” and that’s pretty much where the conversation would end. Well, except for the dueling banjos twanging in the distance, that would continue for a few minutes afterward.

So, today, after stepping into my favorite overalls, latching the bib on only one side, and munching thoughtfully on a long stick of hay, I went to the Blogger “help” page and typed “hit counter” into that there blank space they got there.

And, dad gummit, you’ll never guess what? This here page come up that said, “Hey, Otis! You want one them thar hit counters? Just go ahead on and push this here button!” And so I pushed that button and this next page come up that said, “Hey, Otis! You want a FREE hit counter? Then push this here button!” And so I went on and done it, and do you know whut?

That’s all there was to it.

And right after that, that mangy mutt of a dog of mine yakked up a big pile of partially digested grass and chewed up stick onto my brand new floor. But that’s another story.

The point is, I really am the Walter Brennan of internet technology.

Just so you know.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hello Dolly

It's been a nice long weekend. I ran many long neglected errands on Veteran's Day getting some clothes altered and dropping off a lamp shade to be restored, buying some rugs (that I ended up returning this morning) and other odds and ends.

Friday, we were treated to a performance by Miss Dolly herself, Carol Channing at the performing arts center. Now, I must admit to cracking a few jokes about Ms. Channing's advanced age (84), but the truth is, Carol is quite an energetic gal for any age. Satan got the opportunity to meet Carol and her husband Harry on Thursday as they toured the downtown, and I've still not tired of randomly saying, "HELLO TOM", in my best raspy Carol Channing voice which, it turns out, is exactly what she said to him and a very close approximation of how she said it.

Carol's performance was a one woman show wherein she sang songs, did a little soft shoe, and told some some entertaining stories about her years in "The Business". I was especially interested to learn that Talulah Bankhead was fond of hosting parties at her Hollywood mansion in the buff. As one who prides herself on knowing such trivial tidbits, I can't believe I didn't know that one. Carol is a great mimic and she mimicked Talulah, Sophie Tucker, and many others. Carol's biggest numbers were (of course) "Hello Dolly" and "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" a song that I thought was originated by Marilyn Monroe. There was an interview and reception after the show, but sadly, I was plagued by one of my sinus headaches and just wasn't up to meeting the great lady myself.

Satan persuaded me to take an early morning stroll (well, 9:00 a.m.) today which we both very much enjoyed. I took my camera along and, if blogger will cooperate, I will share some photos with you.

Furgirl waits for us patiently on the front porch of the neighborhood coffee shop which was our first stop. We fortified ourselves with drinks, me an extreme peach smoothy (excellent recommendation, Tara) and Satan a large coffee.

I'm still amazed at the unseasonably warm weather. Check out the impatiens still thriving on NOVEMBER 13TH.

The Delta Queen was in. Is that sky menacing or what? It did rain last night like crazy, but we didn't get a drop during our walk despite the cloud cover.

Furgirl shakes off after her customary dip in the river.

There were a few people downtown. Not nearly enough, though. I wish we had more Sunday activity. Hopefully, liquor by the drink will cure that to a certain extent.

Tried to get you a little more detail on Mr. Gir Affe. This is a good example of why I need a new camera--no zoom.

Finally, I've actually had a reader question which I'll answer here. The reader writes:

"How do you find the time to post all these entries?"

And the answer is, posting entries is not much more complicated than opening a Word document, or I'd never be able to do it. And, since I'm completely full of crap, I can prattle on endlessly on just about any subject pretty quickly. I've written this entry and posted these pictures in less than an hour. Which is why everybody should have a blog. Including you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


It occurs to me tonight that many of you tomorrow will be suffering the indignity of actually being EXPECTED TO WORK on an important national holiday: Veterans Day. Since I myself will actually able to observe the holiday properly, but I'll go to ANY LENGTHS to keep you at least semi-entertained, I’ve decided to perform a public service by giving you links to the latest sites that have lately held me in thrall for…well, a while.

First up: Etiquette Hell. OMG. Thrill to reader submitted Bridezilla horror stories and the like as well as just random incidents of social faux pas bad enough to make Miss Manners throw up. A trainwreck site you just don't want to look away from.

Whether or not Olympia is really a high class call girl in her late twenties working in Manhattan or just writes as if she is, is really beside the point. A hell of an interesting blog.

The Manolo, he loves the shoes, and you gotta love The Manolo. He may get me over my romance with Payless Shoe Source yet.

Oh, and who can possibly resist Celebmatch. This site calculates your compatibility with the stars based on your birth date biorhythms. Check your favorites and then have it calculate your best matches. I sincerely hope your bio-rythms are better than mine as I am compatiable only with b-list celebrity weasels.

(Please note that I originally had two other links posted for you, but something is wrong with freaking blogger or something and the STUPID code won't work or WHATEVER. Annoying.)

Alright, totally switching gears here, remember in the Amityville Horror movie when that little girl was always in her bedroom staring at her window that was, like, covered in flies? Okay, that is my house right now. Evidently, the unseasonably warm weather has caused a big herd of the little bastards to hatch out prematurely and now they've all text-messaged each other to meet up at my house to die. Seriously. There are at least ten flies on my ceiling right now half of which are totally doing a Fly Jonestown all quaking with death throes. The other half are ALREADY DEAD.

I'm trying not to take it personally.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Trying Times

Well, folks we have a new development at Chez Suz and Satan’s. And one that I did not anticipate when painting the family room red. Satan recently announced his immediate and permanent retirement from cable viewing. That’s right, no more Com-shaft for Satan. Lest you be confused, the boycott does not extend to Netflix movies. Just cable.

Unfortunately, this has some rather serious repercussions for yours truly. Because, unlike Satan, I still do like to indulge in healthy dose of TV on a pretty regular basis. On the plus side: Total eternal control of the remote…YESSSSS! Along with never watching cable again, Satan has further decided his suddenly delicate ears simply can not stand the faintest whisper of a sound that might accidentally escape from an unclean cable show that I might be enjoying. Hence, Satan spends a lot of time re-closing the stray family room pocket door and giving me stern and disapproving looks through the glass panes of said door (the TV was permanently relocated to the family room).

While there’s no doubt that I’m fairly annoyed, poor FurGirl is simply beside herself having gotten used to, for all her four years, settling in each night at the feet of the parental units both together and in one room. But now. NOW…she is forced to choose…choose between Daddy in the living/dining room or Mommy who is hermitically sealed in the family room.

What’s a FurGirl to do?

Should she sit meekly at Daddy’s feet as he reads? Hang out with Mommy and the sqawk-box? What…WHAT should she do? Because, the choice is never clear. Well, unless, of course, either Mommy or Daddy has food. In which case the choice is basically a no-shitter: position herself in the drop zone and hope like hell somebody gets clumsy.

What FurGirl does do is roam back and forth between living room and family room giving each of us in turn a desperate and confused look. When I am sealed in the family room, she stares at me forlornly through the glass until I take pity on her and let her in, whereupon she settles herself and tries to relax. Only to be roused by some unexpected noise from Daddy in the living room that she is then force to rise and inspect. If after that she settles in the living room, there will invariably be a calamity in the family room that requires her attention. It’s an exhausting, vicious cycle.

And it’s beginning to take its toll.

While FurGirl seems to be holding it together at the moment, we all know these situations can get out of hand in a hurry. Soon she may start howling uncontrollably, hanging out with all the wrong neighborhood dogs, or coming in from a potty break with bloodshot eyes. So, I’m doing the only thing I can for her. I’m seeing that she gets the best therapy available. That’s right, people, say it with me:


!OF! …


I think she’s starting to perk up already.

Just in time for the big money puzzle, too.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

It is a Dark and Stormy Night

Is this weather weird or what? First, it’s 80 degrees all day on NOVEMBER 5th and then the amazing wind. Chase stopped by this evening and we set off on a walk with FurGirl. First stop: Mr. Gir Affe. Chase was impressed. Next stop: the river where there were actual foamy WAVES crashing on the ripwrap. Furgirl took her usual dip but I was too put off by the surf to let her stay in for long.

Both Chase and I agreed the wind was “exciting” (he told me that exciting was the word he was looking for too when I came up with it). We marched bravely on into the blustery dark but oddly warm night after the river stop to FurGirl’s fountain, both loving the wind in our hair. Sadly, the water in FurGirl’s fountain had been drained and replaced by Christmas trees. FurGirl was all, “What the HECK?”.

Chase and I both wished we had our skates, he in-line, me the old fashioned kind. We talked about baseball, video games, the war, and the future. And, for a little while, the huge puzzle piece of my heart that is devoted to Chase snapped into place because we were together and for a moment all was right with the world. We said good-bye on the porch and, as always, he promised to stay in touch. As I watched him drive away into the storm I wondered how a mother sends her son off to Bagdad when I can hardly stand to see mine go away to midnight bingo.

You should know that no one pictured here has had a cigarette for five weeks. FIVE WEEKS! I’m weak with relief.

It is now 1:00 a.m. and the howling wind has been joined by a major rainstorm. Appropriately, I rented the first CD in the “Dark Shadows” series at the library today. I could not believe that any of those episodes had ever been salvaged, much less salvaged and sitting on a library shelf and available for my amusement. The show scared me so badly as a tot that my babysitter was instructed not to let me watch under any circumstances. I can still remember being paralyzed with fear upon hearing the creepy music that accompanied the opening credits and shivering at the site of the mysterious Barnabus who, if memory serves, turned out to be a…va-va- va-vampire.

I must go now and see if I’m too grown up to be afraid of Dark Shadows on a dark and stormy night.

I hope not.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ramblin' Friday

Conversation with Satan in the car on the way to dinner while listening to the news:

You know this whole Bird Flu story?



I've been thinking, is that really news? I mean, how is a possible epidemic news? Because I’m beginning to think they’re just trying to deflect attention from…


what’s really happening, you know what with the 2,000th soldier…


killed in the war, the whole Libby indictment and…


resignation not to mention the Harriet…


Miers debacle. I mean, as I understand it, the President read a book about the possibility of a global…

Wait a minute! They expect us to believe the president…


In other not really news, we have a new neighbor. A very tall vegetarian.

Actually, I thought I had a better shot of him that that. In case you can't tell, that's a two-story metal giraffe. He's munching on small tree branch and his nose is just even with the top of the second story window. Mr. Gir Affe is located only about half a block from me on the next block down and on the opposite side of the street. I'll get to visit often.

Nextly, I feel it my duty to inform you of this:

Yes, Alanis Morisette has morphed into her own mother or, at the very least, a soccer mom (oh, the humanity!). Maybe she needs to dose herself with another jagged little pill. Or something.

Finally, as I'm the last to learn, a certain satanic someone has volunteered me to be in charge (in charge! can you even?!) of volunteers for the next neighborhood arts and music festival to be held Memorial Day weekend 2006. It's a little distressing. So, I'm fervently hoping that when the time comes, if you can possibly swing it, you'll consider helping a sister out?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Does anybody REALLY know what time it is?

So, I went to the dermatologist today. It was sort of fun to sit in the waiting room at the office imagining that they might have a magic face sander in the back that they could apply until my less than perfect skin peeled away to suddenly reveal the face of a young Elizabeth Montgomery. Or maybe Kirsten Dunst. Gwyneth Paltrow?

Yah, so they don’t have one of those.

What they did have was a huge amount of prescription creams, gels and pills. I’m to begin the regimen immediately. Wish me luck. I need it.

Otherwise…NaNoWriMo. Not so much. After my over enthusiastic post on the event, I realized that I’m missing a little thing called a PLOT for my prospective novel. Once I thought of a plot, I realized I have absolutely no idea how to construct the story. I know, I know, I read “Bird by Bird” and all that. I know that Kurt Vonnegut said writing a novel is like having no arms and legs and writing with the pen in your mouth…yes, I know. But, WAH! And anyway, I’m not sure whatever small talents I posses in the literary department really lend themselves to the novel format. I'm more of a columnist type (she said hopefully). I’m going to volunteer to bring a dish to any write-ins that may occur at my neighborhood coffee shop.

As for the family room. It is complete. And, after a quite painful encounter with Satan and Satan’s Rule Number One Hundred and Forty-Three, “Thou shalt only place thine furniture against thy walls, you idiot”, we got much of the furniture arranged in the room (and some in the living room).

The family room simply cries out for an area rug not only visually, but because poor FurGirl simply cannot gain traction on the new floor to save her life. At least fourteen times a day she has a notion to leave the family room quickly (usually because she thinks Satan may kill her) and, instead of darting from the room, the poor thing just stays in the same place while her feet work frantically beneath her, nails scratching futilely on the slick unfamiliar finish, unable to gain purchase. This causes her to be in an endless loop of disapproval with Satan as he gets even more annoyed when the phenomenon occurs, causing more frenzied scratching and an ever more frantic need to escape. “She thinks you might kill her”, I traditionally shout over the writhing, scratching (but still tragically stationary) dog. “I just might if she keeps that up”, he normally shouts back.

My Netflix queue has been leaving me cold lately. "Batman Begins", "Bewitched", "The Interpreter". Eh, whatever. All perfectly acceptable efforts, but certainly no wows. I have high hopes, however, for "Capote". Released on September 30th in New York and Los Angeles and, according to the website "coming soon to a theater near you". I tried to persuade Satan to take a little trip to Nashvegas for a screening last weekend, but no such luck. I tell you, the reviews are looking REALLY good on this one and the "rotten tomatoes" site has it at an almost unheard of 95% fresh. With Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Capote and Catherine Keener as Harper Lee it certainly could turn out to be The Big One this year.

I know. I'm always getting myself hyped up for these movies and then, invariably, I'm disappointed. But hope springs eternal. I'm always fascinated by all things sixties and Capote was on the cutting edge of the jet set crowd back in the day. If you've never read "In Cold Blood", you should. Well, you should if you enjoy having the be-jeezus scared out of you. Which, of course, I do. Also, Truman was actually the real life inspiration for the character of Dill in "To Kill a Mockingbird", a bit of trivia which I've always found fascinating.

Lastly, the time change. What the hell? Is there a problem with just everyone agreeing on what time it is and then just, for the love of God, leaving it at THAT? I swear, it's like they're out to get me with this "spring forward, fall back" B.S. Because, just when just when I've sort of got the hang of what time it is; just when I start getting in a ryhthm with the alarm? It's time to spring or fall or what the hell ever. Oy.