Monday, November 29, 2010


Many of you are new (or newish) to my childhood stories, please don't think I'm being too hard on my mom in this blog post. If you go back and read some old entries related to my childhood, you'll soon agree that I'm being pretty darn nice...
My mom was a terrible cook didn't cook very often. We always looked at that as a good thing.  To the best of my recollection, she only prepared Thanksgiving dinner a couple of times. When she did, a pre-cooked ham was always the main course.

For reasons known only to her, one year she decided to cook a turkey. It was probably because she had recently decided to get married again for the second, no third, oh yeah, for the fourth time.  She was probably trying to impress her latest victim new fiance. I believe I was in ninth grade and my younger brother was in second. The other four or five people were friends of my new, soon to be step dad.

The table was full of all the normal Thanksgiving things.  Nice dishes, formal silverware settings, the whole shebang. I think there was even a center piece. I'd never seen any of this stuff before and wondered if it was all stolen property where it came from.

Everybody was sitting at the table waiting to eat, my brother and I were sitting at one end and were the only ones who could see into the kitchen.  My mom was at the stove transferring the turkey from the roasting pan to the serving platter with a couple of large forks. The turkey started to get away from her and she dropped it. 

The turkey hit the floor with a thud, everyone at the table looked up in surprise. My mom yelled out, "It's okay it fell on a piece of paper!" Only my brother and I could see that there was no paper, or anything else on the floor but our dinner. She picked the turkey up off the floor in a split-second. My brother and I looked at each other and then looked back into the kitchen to see our mom staring at us. She was pointing at us with one index finger while using her other hand to make a "keep your mouth zipped shut" motion with her other hand.  She didn't have to do either of those things. We knew by the fire in her eyes, that if we said anything about there being no paper, we were dead meat in big trouble.

My mom proudly marched into the dining room with the no doubt cat hair and dust laden turkey. All the adults oohed and awed as she set the platter on the table. She was positively beaming as she asked her new fiance to "do the honors," while shooting me and my brother another acid glance.

Before carving, my soon to be step dad, started scooping dressing out of the bird and into a serving bowl. Yes, ladies, gentlemen and dear friends. You know what happened next.  The last scoop was not full of dressing, it was full of the "giblet bag" that my mom failed to remove before cooking the turkey. Peyton looked at mom and said, "you are supposed to ta....." She didn't say a word, but somehow he knew by the by the look in her eyes, not to finish his sentence. She had a smile on her face for everyone else at the table and pure evil in her eyes for him. 

Everybody in my mom's life understood what that glare meant, just as clearly as if she said it out loud.  It meant, "I am crazy, I am more violent than you can imagine and I am capable of hurting you or worse."   Amazingly, he married my mom anyway. It didn't last.  A Las Vegas wedding and a Tijuana divorce...

The only positive thing that came out of the entire affair was related to her dropping the turkey. From that point forward, continuing until today. When somebody drops an item of food on the floor or ground, even if they have no intention of eating it, we always say, "good thing it fell on that piece of paper!"


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Magpie 42

One hundred yard dash
Ohio State Champ 1952
Now the trophy sits
On a dusty shelf
As tarnished
And brittle
As the legs
That carried him
On that day

To see other entries relating to this photo promt go to Magpie #42


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tay 005 Gypsy Girl

enlarge for best viewing
Gypsy Girl

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hair Cream versus Tooth Paste

My dad kept his tube of hair cream and comb in a drawer next to the bathroom sink. His tooth brush and tooth paste were in the medicine cabinet over the sink. He was out late most nights and was usually pretty bleary eyed when he got up in the morning. 

One Saturday morning, my brother and I swapped the two tubes, hoping that he wouldn’t notice until it was too late. We sat in the living room waiting for him to get up and go to the bathroom for a long time.  

After what seemed like hours, we heard him come out of his room and go into the bathroom. The first noise we heard was the toilet flushing, the second was the bathroom faucet running, the third noise sounded like some kind of wild animal.

Apparently fate selected the “brush your teeth with hair cream” scenario over “comb your hair with toothpaste,” because the "wild animal" noises turned into some very loud retching. Then the sound of my dad throwing up!

After a few minutes he came out of the bathroom with one tube in each hand. We sat quietly on the couch watching TV, like we didn’t know (or hear) a thing while he stomped into the kitchen and asked my mom about it. She claimed to know nothing and told him that he must have put them away in the wrong places the day before. When he walked by us on his way back to the bathroom, he paused for just a second and stared at us.

We must have looked innocent, because he didn’t say a word.  I think he knew on some level that we did it, but he never asked.

I don't have many happy childhood stories, this is one of them...

I first posted this when I had only a handful of readers and it received exactly zero comments


Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Reflections - Backyard Sunset

enlarge for optimum viewing

For more Weekend Reflections visit Newtown Area Photo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kindle - This is Not an Ad

Before I start, I'd like to make one thing very clear. I love books. I love reading them, I love looking at them, I love touching them, and I love collecting them.  Because of these things I've never been a fan of ebooks, or any of the new "readers." After I read a book, I want to keep it.

I have no idea how many books I've read in my life, but the number has to be in the thousands. Storing even a fraction of that number, requires a tremendous amount of room.  I didn't want to rent storage for them, so several years ago I started donating, or just giving them away to people that I knew would read them.   Of course there are some that I would NEVER part with.

A couple of months ago, I received a Kindle for my birthday. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with it. It's takes only a few seconds to download a book, the format is amazingly clear, and the darn thing holds about 3500 books! has many of the classics in kindle format for free. I downloaded about 50 of them and am just about to dive in. I've read most of them before, but can't wait to get started anew. Depending on which model you buy, you can even go online and blog!

You can also use your Kindle to store all of your personal documents. They will format them for you for free and it only takes a minute or two.

If there is a book that I MUST have and it isn't available on kindle, I'm probably still going to buy it, but that will be the only reason. My sources tell me that it won't be very long before every new book will be available for download.  I was amazed to find out how many old books are already available.

If some of you now see me as a traitor, I'm sorry. For those of you currently working on books, I'll be supporting you via Kindle or paper, whatever it takes!

Do any of you have a Kindle or something like it?



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Office Eater Types

Everybody likes food, and people working in offices are no exception.  There are many different "food personalities" out there. You may be one recognize some of these fine folks...

The Leech
This ingrate never participates in office pot-lucks. Despite that fact, the leech has no problem slithering up to your potato salad and anything else that was brought in and eating without shame.

The Secret Eater
The overweight person who always says no to potluck, snacks, sweets and cake from office celebrations. They come back later, when no one is around to get their share and eat it in secret. It's not a problem if all the food is gone, because they have enough snacks in their desk to feed a small country. Oh yeah, there are never any candy or snack wrappers in their waste basket. What? Do they really think that if we never see them eating, that they must appear skinny to us?

The Ghost
This person doesn't even work with you, but somehow gets word that food is in the building and noses it out at just the right time.  Coincidence? I think not!  You won't see this schmuck again until the next time food is available.

The Hawk
The person who always asks if everyone is done eating and then scoops up all that is left and takes it home. I was at a my granddaughters birthday party a short time ago and my daughter caught one of the mothers wrapping up many pieces of pizza and putting them in her purse. The nerve! In addition, her daughter was clearly a trouble maker. Must be fun in that house.
Of course there are other borderline personality types whose food issues have nothing to do with potlucks.

The Bird
This idiot eats pistachios, peanuts or sunflower seeds and manages to leave a mess wherever they are sitting.

The Saboteur
The skinny person who brings sweets in for everyone but never eats any themselves.  They must always remain the slimmest person in the office.

The Fish Eater
Forget about pot-lucks, this non-human always ignores the "NO FISH" sign hanging on the microwave and stinks up the entire office. This practice is so taboo, that doing it, should result a caning. Or is it just me?

inspiration provided by:


Monday, November 8, 2010

Post Number 500

This is apparently my 500 post!

Somewhere around 90 percent were posted on this blog with a small percentage on my now defunct photography blog. I was thinking about putting some kind of deep and wordy post together to memorialize the event.  This isn’t going to be it.
I will say that I totally appreciate all of you who follow and comment on the things I post here.
Truth be told, I’m just too darn tired and burnt out to post anything. I’m going to take a few days off to get some stuff done.  Everything is okay, I promise! I'll be back soon.
Just too much to do…

Just too many plates!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Reflections - What Are You Looking At

For more Weekend Reflections visit Newtown Area Photo.

for best results, click to enlarge

Nickname Compendium

I recently made a blog post relating to "Neighborhood Nicknames" that we've given to some of the people we don't know and houses in our neighborhood.  Many people who commented to the post also left nicknames they use in their neighborhood.  Some of them are hilarious! They also left explanations, but it just seems so much funnier without them.


5 cats that crap in our garden house
Billy Barty house 
Binocular Face
Car Alarm house
Cassanova house
Cat Murderer House
Cat Woman's house
Cloppity House
Cooper House
Crotchety old fart
Crotchety old fart house
Dealer's house
Devil worshipers' house
Drug House
Dysfunctional family
Dysfunctional Family house
Family whose Mom died
Family with Five Boys house
Freaking Insane
Freaking insane house
Girl who drinks wine on the front porch in her bathrobe house
Goat Man’s house
House with that really nice guy married to that recluse
IN-LAW house
Junk House
Mean Asian Guy
Naked Neighbors
PJs at noon
Pill Hill
Selfish “^&*%”
Slam-slam house
Sliding Down the hill house
Spider lady
Start of The Trail House
The Clampett house
The Clown Car for assholes people
The Cool Neighbors
The Fireworks People
The German Shepard People
The hollering trio
The mansion on the hill
The Persian Party house
The Pond House
The Pool People
The SquidBillies House
The Weird Young Hippie Couple with the Push Mower and the Baby house
Unfriendly House
Weird People
Weirder People
Weirdest People
What-are-the-Gringos-doing-in-my-neighborhood house
Where's Waldo House
Yappity Dog House
Yours mine and ours house
Zoomy house


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


It has taken most of my life to actually say that I like vegetables...

My mother boiled them.
She didn't just boil them though, she boiled the crap out of them.
You know how vegetables taste so good when gently cooked or lightly sauteed?  Asparagus, green beans, or broccoli?  Yum!

My mom would boil them to the point of being mushy! They made us gag, but good old mom made us eat them anyway. As some of you already know, my mom didn't allow much complaining about food (or anything else).  I became a professional at making vegetables disappear from my plate, without really eating them. Good training for smuggling items into prison, I'm sure. Luckily, I never needed that skill. Okay, so you've read my old posts! There is a big difference between jail and prison!

For a good portion of my life I never ate vegetables, because I thought everybody cooked them like my mom did. I've wasted so much time and missed so many vegetables! Once I discovered the correct way of cooking them, I fell in love and now eat them all the time.

There are still a few I haven't recovered from yet; hominy, brussel sprouts, peas, and Lima beans. I'm not too worried about it, because nobody really likes hominy anyway, right?

I won't even talk about creamed corn, just saying the words makes me want to yak...

Did anybody else's mom ruin vegetables for them? Or is it just me?


Monday, November 1, 2010

Neighborhood Nicknames

Do you have "names" for people in your neighborhood that you either don't know, or don't like? We do...
  • Dysfunctional Family. This family lives behind us and down the hill.  They need full time therapy. All we know about them is the yelling, cursing, and cops.
  • Cloppity House. The guy walked home drunk in the middle of the night with clogs on. His steps made a "cloppity" sound. This happened five years ago, but the name stuck.
  • Yappity Dog House. These folks actually denied that their yappity dog barked all day while they were at work. Thank goodness they moved.
  • Unfriendly House.  For reasons unknown to us, the wife in this house just flat out doesn't care for us. Although her husband seems to like us, when she's around, he pretends not to see us. Poor guy...
  • Sliding Down The Hill House.  We live on the ridge line of a hill top. A house across and down from us a ways has slipped down the slope a bit. There is also a semi-wilderness trail that starts next to their house. (also known as "start of the trail house."
  • Cooper House.  These people now rent the house from the "yappity dog" owners. They have a stupid dog that they can't control. All we've ever heard them say is "Cooper, Cooper!" The dog just won't shut up. You can't have a conversation with them because the dog won't stop barking at you. I told the lady yesterday that I give up...
  • Start Of The Trail House (see "sliding down the hill house.")
  • Cat Murderer House.  These cruel people have lost 3 cats to coyotes, but they keep getting new ones. Someday, there is going to be a confrontation between the two of us.
We  also have neighbors that we like and know by name, so not everybody gets a "nickname."

I'm sure our house is known as "the guy wearing pj's at noon on weekdays drinking beer in the back yard" house"

thanks to Bossy Betty (one of my favorites) for inspiring this post.