Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Two Stupidest People on Earth Live in Our House, Part II

My current best friend....
I rarely get sick just once in a season. My pattern seems to be get sick, vanquish the illness with a barrage of homeopathic teas, tinctures and incantations and then force everyone I know to listen to me smugly recount how I didn't have to go to the doctor.

Annoying, huh?

Then, several weeks later, I get sick again. It's usually something completely different and this is exactly what happened the day before yesterday. My self-diagnosis is the stomach flu. Colorful details gladly recounted on request.

Lying in bed between vomiting and fits of shivering, I recalled something from Seth's and my past that should have been included in a recent post entitled "The Two Stupidest People On Earth Live in Our House."
Some of you may recall our ridiculous hijinks including endangering Seth's safety by having  him pose coyly directly beneath the "spear of death," one bad ass icicle with evil intentions that clung to our roof but really wanted nothing more than to crack Seth's skull open like a coconut.

Well, here's something way stupider. So stupid, in fact, that I seriously considered withholding this info because, as a result, you may decide never to read this blog again.

Please don't let that happen. Allow my stupidity to be your entertainment. Our children do.

After all, someone has to be this stupid. Just be glad it isn't you.

Here goes.
Sitting rules

About a thousand years ago before the boys were born, Seth and I would enjoy an occasional weekend up in the Adirondacks. We'd sit and stare out at Lake Placid, spending our days doing not much of anything while others hiked, fished and pedaled clunky rental bikes hither and yon.

When Seth and I were first introduced a few years prior, in fact only a minute or so into our relationship, I asked him whether, if we ever went on vacation together,  would he be interested in hiking, fishing or renting bicycles. This was specifically to cut to the chase regarding his potential as husband material.

His horrified expression made it clear that he was a lazy woman's potential husband. We could now proceed with the courtship.

He, like me, likes to sit. Just sit. So still in fact, that people occasionally mistake us for weird looking mannequins or modern art. When they approach to tweak our noses or stare into our eyes, we barely react so committed are we to doing nothing when on vacation.

We are pretty sure that the curious think we are practicing the ancient Indian technique of slowing down our breathing and heartbeat so as to appear dead. This is fine with us as long as they leave us the hell alone.

In any case, one evening during a lovely weekend of feigning comas on the lawn, we randomly chose a restaurant at which to dine. I had some sort of pasta with pesto and Seth had his stand-by of linguine with oil and fresh garlic,big salads and vino. It was delicious.

A couple of hours later, we both had food poisoning. It was horrific and intense. We took turns puking and spent the night, lying on the cool bathroom tile curled around the toilet, moaning -- certain that we'd be dead by morning.

Well, we survived. Although we were weak and sore and unable to eat but by the early evening, we both felt a lot better and were, miraculously, hungry again.

Guess where we went to dinner.

Hard to believe but true.

We went back to the same restaurant. Our brilliant reasoning was that lightening wouldn't strike twice and, besides, we'd order something different.
You went back to the same place???  You idiots!!!!!!!!!
I don't remember exactly what we ate on the second night but it was delicious. We went home happy and full and about two hours later, were back puking and pressing our faces to the cool tile as we, once again, were certain we would not last the night.

To this day, we don't know what possessed us to return to the scene of the crime.

Although already well-known for lapses of judgement, this transcended any previous idiocy by a huge margin. The next day, we didn't stick around long enough to see the headline of the daily paper which might have said something about large quantities of patrons dropping dead after eating at a local restaurant. Either that or "Stupidest Couple on Earth Spotted Twirling Spaghetti at Killer Restaurant for Second Night in a Row. How Stupid Are They??"

My only regret is that there are no monetary rewards for stupidity. If there were, Seth and I would be very rich. We'd probably drive back up there to prove that lightening couldn't strike three times......

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lily Munster and I Do Not Feel Old

Herman loved her exactly as she was.
According to a recent study, the sexes vary greatly regarding the age when we start "feeling" old.

Women, supposedly, feel old at 29. Or, when they start finding their first gray hairs. 

I found mine at 27 but that didn't make me feel old at all. It did, however, make me feel like Lily Munster since I started developing a distinctive white streak that, like pachysandra takes over your garden, has taken over most of my head.

Men, they say, begin feeling old around the age of 58--quiet a discrepancy between when men and women start to feel it, isn't it? Only a thirty year difference!

Women equate age with their appearance but for men, according to the study, it has to do with their sexuality or their ability to sexually perform. 
This certainly makes sense.

I lowered my voice for that but, really, there was no need.  I'm sure you all have, at some point, been sitting in a diner, checking that there's enough bacon in your tuna club, when the TV mounted in the corner starts to rant about how you should "consult your doctor to see if you're healthy enough for sexual activity..."  The camera then cuts to a couple who have become confused enough to drag two bathtubs out to a hill top in which they sit in what must be ice cold, farty water, holding hands. 

How did they fill these tubs? I don't see any plumbing. Did they stumble from their home with buckets? Is it rain water?

The rest of us in the diner, those not in tubs on hill tops but who dared venture out with small children in the hope of avoiding another viagra ad on the family TV, continue eating as we patiently wait for the commercial to end so why I'm lowering my voice, I'll never know. Your five year old can probably rattle off the potential side-effects of the drugs advertised and when to go to the hospital if they persist.

The study goes on to mention that a full 22% of men said that the feeling of older age hit when they found the music in bars to be too loud. Really, boys, that makes you feel old?

Bars were too loud for me the evening I followed my "bad girl" friend, Dorothy into my first bar (shout out for Hobnails on Third Avenue in Brooklyn) and the strains of Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft made my ears bleed. So, going gray at 27, no tolerance for loud music....I better just pack it in.

Which brings me to the fact that a funeral company sponsored this study. This strikes me as a very weird conflict of interests since they are obviously trawling for customers.They should check those outdoor bath tubs, I bet they find some bodies in those.

I don't actually feel least not psychologically. It is only when I pass a plate glass window in the mall and see a short fluffy-haired troll with a startled expression staring back at me that I remember I am no longer the girl I once was. It is then that I will bypass Sephora and shuffle off directly to Comfort Shoes.

But inside my fluffy troll head, I am 18 and John Travolta is still sleek, Tom Cruise still appears to be sane and Kirstie Alley is the perfect weight.

If you notice, all my references involve scientologists. I have absolutely no idea why.

The study goes on to say that another factor for how women feel is based on when they no longer feel trendy or fashionable. I would have assumed, based on recent experience, that it had something to do with our ability to efficiently digest 30 "thermo-nuclear" chicken wings with extra bleu cheese but, apparently, they have other ideas.

Having never felt trendy in my life (other than once, for a few minutes, in college after I impulse-bought a pair of Geoffrey Beene boots), I am exempt from this due to lack of a frame of reference, thank God. I knew a non-existent fashion sense would come in handy at some point.

Lily Munster and I obviously have more in common that I originally thought. She wasn't exactly a fashionista herself...although Herman didn't seem to mind. I did always wonder exactly why Marilyn, the pretty niece, was living there, didn't you? You don't think...No, Herman would never.

Studies like this make me feel old. Without constant reminders from an age-obsesssed society like ours, we'd all be feeling a lot better, I suspect. Or be scientologists. 

Maybe Marilyn Munster was a scientologist.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Going Bananas

Even Warhol paid tribute.
More banana art.
Last night Seth said something that upset the careful order of the universe I have worked so hard to fashion and dwell within for the past few decades. 

We've reached a stage, you see, where we've heard each other's stories approximately 90 billion times but, since we are reasonably polite people, we try to stifle our yawns as the other launches gleefully into a familiar tale from childhood, young adulthood or even yesterday.

Except the story of the giant booger on the lip of the kid Seth was playing basketball with in high school and how all hell broke out on the court when people noticed it. If I hear that story one more time............

But he said something that rocked my world. First, because I'd never heard these words from him and second, because of their extremely hurtful nature.

He said: "I hate bananas."

Who says such a thing?

How could anyone hate a banana???

Bananas are sacred. Somewhat like the hard boiled egg in terms of magical versatility -- snack, meal, self-contained and delicious -- bananas are what make fruit acceptable. They are delicious when eaten unadorned but are also fabulous when dressed up (chocolate drizzle or cinnamon sprinkle), set on fire (Bananas Foster), used in baking, sliced into cereal or yogurt or brandished at an enemy.

They are nature at its best---perfect in texture, color, aroma, enough for a speedy lunch on their own and a great source of potassium  Elvis loved them in a sandwich.

Elvis? Yep. Enough said.
The angry banana,

When I was little, my mother was tireless in her efforts to get me to eat fruit. She would offer an apple, a pear or a plum, the same way: "Wouldn't you like a nice apple?", etc. This is not lost on kids. We know when someone is trying to hoodwink us.....not to mention confuse us grammatically.

But this was never necessary with a banana. She could have offered me a "naughty banana" or an "evil banana" (or even a insensitive, sarcastic or angry banana) and I would still have happily num-nummed it up.

It's common knowledge not to insult, mock or demean  bananas, in any way, in my presence. And here's Seth stepping out of the banana-hating closet and into the light with apparently no fear??
The delusional banana.

We definitely needed to have a chat, Seth and I.

This involved shining a flashlight directly into his face during the interrogation portion of the chat, demanding to know what else he may be hiding. He tried tossing things out at me that I already knew (ex.he likes his own feet, does not mind the smell of skunks, will eat six candy bars rather than make himself a sandwich) to get the inquisition to stop but I know there's more in there than the horrific remark about my sweet yellow friends who grow conveniently in bunches and are beloved by babies everywhere. 
Adorable banana puppy.

After I finally unshackled  him let him back into the house, he said that he felt he simply had to come clean after concealing his true feelings about bananas for so many years.

Never having been much of an advocate of free speech, I shouted him down but I fear this may have opened a door of self-assertion and independence. And that, my friends, is never, ever good for a marriage.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Final Installment of a Very Narcissistic, and Apparently Endless, Odyssey into Why We Love Reality TV

Why does America (and by that , I mean me) love Dancing with the Stars, American Idol and Survivor?

There are many reasons but, most importantly, I feel they are a uniting factor in a fractured society (thanks to my Sociology 101 Professor from 1979 for that sentence. I knew that class would come in handy one day...).

We are, often by choice, split into so many groups, sub-groups and sub-sub groups that it's relaxing and fun to come together on a recreational playing field such as a television show. 

If you like Casey Abrams and I prefer Jacob Lusk and we choose to discuss it over pizza, it's not the same as if we are debating politics or challenging each other's views on global warming. It's also a wonderful distraction from tsunamis, the terror of nuclear accidents and unrest in the middle-east.

In a show like DWTS, it's also refreshing to see celebrities who normally live behind larger-than-life personae's (or, in Wendy William's case, the biggest boobs in the history of mankind. Could they be real?) show their weaknesses and, therefore, be outed as real people.....insecure, self-conscious and terrified at the thought of falling on their asses in front of America (and by that, I mean me). 
Who knew?

And when you have someone like Kirstie Alley shock everyone -- in a good way -- with her moves on the dance floor it's a shot in the arm for less than perfect women everywhere. Watch her win this year, not because she's that fabulous but because a huge demographic of women relate and sympathize.

The same goes for American Idol. It's the odyssey of an unknown, lost in a sea of hopefuls, waiting to show what makes him/her special in an effort to change their lives. It gives us all hope...and conversation. My friends and I love to talk about AI even more than DWTS. "Who's your favorite?" needs no explanation...everyone knows what you mean when you ask that question.

And Survivor reduces it all down. Apparently, from the hissy fits and breakdowns that occur after only a few days, people -- supposedly just like us -- wig out when deprived of their daily conveniences for just for a short time. They, and to some degree we, are reduced to our base selves. We wonder how we'd behave if we had to sit around in wet underwear for days on end, sucking weird mollusks out of their shells for breakfast while spiders the size of beach umbrellas scurry about off camera.

As many of you now know, after only a few hours without electricity, I become a raving loon. So, when these people must function without their hair gel and dental floss, all hell breaks loose.

People also like it because it shows lots of exposed body parts but, depending on the ages involved, that might amount to lots of wrinkles and sags. So, we are titillated but also relate and empathize with the rippling flesh of the slowly deflating survivors as they face uncomfortable nights and growling tummys. 

Survivor has deviated in the past few seasons from "regular" folk and has been focusing on very pretty people. I (and by that, I mean America) think that may be a mistake. If we want pretty, we can watch any other show on television.

And, when hopefuls are voted off these shows and real tears are shed (think the Casey Abrams drama last night) we are subconsciously reminded that despite the electronic/techo world we now inhabit, human emotion is still alive and well and at the bottom of it all.

Friday's here, people and since a house is only as clean as how clean it smells, I am off to randomly spray furniture polish into the air so that when Seth comes home he thinks, however briefly, that I have done something other than catch up on DVRed TV.

Thanks for reading this week and thanks to my new followers. I appreciate it greatly and hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Achieving Television Nirvana, Part Two: Proper Attire

Now that we have established that achieving television nirvana is within our grasp, we will focus on another aspect of the experience.

Proper viewing attire is crucial.

There are two approaches.

One is more realistic (therefore, by definition, less delusional) than the other: sweats, preferably with stretchy elastic.

Reportedly taken at a DWTS viewing party in the mid-west.
This choice of apparel will provide not only comfort but zero resistance when getting up every 45 minutes or so for a quick power walk around the viewing area in order to avoid deep vein thrombosis.

It is not only on transatlantic flights where bad things regarding our legs occur.

If one spends periods of time (roughly similar to transatlantic flights in duration) in a recliner with a 17 pound cat  draped over one's lower half, one must get up periodically to get the blood supply moving.

Soft and cozy, a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt will get you through even a demanding evening of extreme television.

Warm socks with grippers on the soles, are also recommended. 

Grippers are important so there is less chance of sprawling face first when scurrying back down the stairs with reinforced snacking supplies. Of course, you are simultaneously DVRing the show so it can be re-played in the event of an important phone call or for brief episodes of laundry-folding (one of the few interruptions tolerated because of its time sensitive quality...laundry,of course, must be folded while still hot in order to avoid ironing) but it is obviously more fun to watch DWTS and AI as they are happening live.  

Another approach is to dress in evening wear.

Evening wear, not recommended by management, is actually worn by a small contingent of severely deranged and emotionally fragile women I know who gather weekly wearing sequins and lace purchased at thrift stores throughout the New York City area.

They claim to have a ball and have invited me to attend but since sweats are forbidden and Buzzy gets carsick, I choose to remain at home.

These demented cougars women are specifically dressing for Dancing with the Stars and, most specifically, for one Maksim Chmerkovsky who they believe, might potentially drop by during their viewing parties (despite the fact that the show is live) for a glass of sparkling cider and a few Wheat Thins. This has not happened after six years but they continue to they get older. And older.

Tomorrow, in the third and final installment of how to achieve maximal viewing enjoyment of the three best shows on TV today, we will attempt a brief existential examination of each show and why America loves them so much.
I don't care if you're hungry. Mommy has to get back to her shows.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Achieve Television Nirvana Through Dancing With the Stars, American Idol and Survivor, Part One

What do you get when "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" are both on TV, virtually filling one's weekly dance card of television viewing time?

I'll tell you what you get.


Factor "Survivor" into the equation and we are rapidly approaching television nirvana. The only thing that could make it better would be late night reruns of Magnum P.I....

But that would be asking for the moon when you already possess the stars.

These three shows are, almost literally, microcosmic manifestations of man's internal need to overcome challenges, face fears, beat the odds and WIN (not "win" in the Charlie Sheen way...but, honestly, he would be great on Dancing with the Stars, wouldn't he?).

And as we -- the vicarious, faceless masses, sequestered all over America in our television dungeons know -- it's tons o' fun to watch.

This holy trinity of reality TV does come with certain complications.

First and foremost, the DVR becomes your accomplice since it must be cleared -- transformed into a blank canvas, if you will -- of weeks of House Hunter Internationals, Cash Cabs and episodes of Dr. Oz.
So what if you never actually watch the one where Dr. Oz tells you his fool-proof, guaranteed, no-fail method of exactly how to add ten years to your life.....

Then, the DVR, your new BFF, must be programmed ASAP.

This requires perching on the edge of the couch, clicker in hand with all your concentrative abilities summoned lest you miss an episode and have no one to blame but yourself which, as we all know, is a horrible thing.  Be sure to focus.

Since the starting times of these shows often vary plus they occasionally run past their allotted time, this requires no less concentration than getting a jumbo jet ready for take-off.

And, if all three programs happen to be on at once, you're sunk. You must either accept that you will miss something (unthinkable) or start shamelessly sucking up to friends you have spent the winter alienating so you can go to their house to watch.

If it's important to you to be able to relax with a clear head when your "shows" begin, left-overs must be stored and the kitchen tidied beforehand. 

Depending on your sensibilities, this may or may not include shoving an unwashed frying pan into the oven.
If you choose this route, be certain your ability to actually remember things is functioning so you are sure to remove the pan before heating up the oven on the following day.

Especially, if the damn pan has a damn plastic handle, in order to avoid filling your damn home with toxic fumes that can never, ever -- despite your best efforts -- be completely purged.

I, er, know someone who did this last year. Twice.

For optimal enjoyment, you must also ensure that your television viewing "station" is neat so that you can assemble your supplies (diet coke and salt-free pretzels because all this preparation has caused your blood pressure to spike) and easily grab the faux fur throw, from Costco, if feeling chilly.

Also, be sure to clear a path to the bathroom. Tripping on a catnip toy could conceivably interrupt viewing continuity if you need to go to the ER to have a bone set. This is where the DVR comes in so don't worry...and be sure to pick a cast in a pretty color since it will probably be on for about six weeks.

Tomorrow we will cover proper viewing attire as well as the shows themselves so stay tuned....
Too much to ask for?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Wall Street Journal vs. The National Enquirer

So many choices....
I stopped reading the New York Times regularly years ago for a number of reasons but, primarily because of how it made me feel.

Especially the "Arts and Leisure" section which, in my bottomless immaturity, I began to call "Farts and Leisure."

I used to come away reeling with self-recrimination due to the innumerable indie flicks I would never travel to some roach-infested Greenwich Village basement to see or the fact that their travel section insisted that I will not have "lived" until I tango in Argentina or waltz in Vienna.

This is all well and good for many...and I wish you all happy travels. But for me, whose history and budget are more geared for a hot dog at Nathan's, it stirred up great internal discomfort.

The book reviews did me in as well. I didn't care that Kafka and Camu chose boxers to briefs (or that Freud preferred to go commando especially when his mommy was home) but I always felt like a dunce because I wasn't interested.

Reading the cultural sections of the New York Times always left me with a vague ache for that which I would never do, travel, eat, watch or read.

When I stopped buying the paper, starting as a grand-gesture with the oppressively immense Sunday edition, I felt free.

I moved on to the Wall Street Journal which had always seemed dignified and a bit more terse than the New York Times and, for a while, felt more comfortable. It seemed more objective, more stable and didn't make me feel quite as left out of the upscale world of leisure and entertainment.

That's changing, however. The Journal has been steadily infusing itself with increasingly out-of-reach suggestions and its tone is starting to make me feel somewhat as I did when I was younger and more easily intimidated.

The good part is that, as I have grown older, I have become more immune to this sort of self-inflicted pressure.

I realize what my limitations are and, most importantly, who I am: a kind of provincial ninny/reverse-snob who may actually see parts of the world yet untraveled but it will, most likely, be with a tour group of Americans wearing ill-fitting shorts instead of through the eyes of a willowy fashionista touring vintage shops in secluded corners of Paris. 
Now this is a great idea.

This weekend's Journal had a large article devoted entirely to the size of linen dinner napkins which, according to the distressed author of the piece, has been steadily shrinking over the years. I have not noticed this.

I realize that not everything is hard news and, for some, this was a fluff piece that successfully provided distraction from the horror of current events. I totally respect the contingent out there which does notice this sort of thing. But it's not me.

So, I may have to switch publicly to a closet-favorite of mine: The National Enquirer. There I can keep up with what and who is really important with the certainty, of course, that every word is 100% true.

Isn't it?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Moonlight and Menopause

Since the full moon tomorrow is going to be the largest visible in the sky since 1993 and the effects of such a moon on people are documented and accepted by modern science, I though I'd run a post that appeared here on the day this blog was born. It received about 35 hits that day and since my readership has grown (thank you all so much!!), I'm sending it out--in honor of the "perigee moon," today:

Moonlight and menopause. It sounds like some sort of a twisted song title but it’s not.

It’s my life. And, specifically, it was my life last night. 

I hope if any men are reading this, you don’t huff around in front of the screen, muttering about “damn women and their damn issues” because, honestly, your lives have never been more at risk…if you must interact with a women experiencing the throes of menopause, that is--a wife, sister, boss, bank-teller, etc.  So, read on.

I could not sleep last night. My husband, after snoring for about an hour—head back, mouth open, in his  recliner—shuffled off to bed at ten and proceeded to promptly fall asleep again in a cozy bed.

I simply gripped the clicker tighter, glared at the cat savagely and continued my mirthless trip around the dial….forensics on nearly every channel, some news, then sports, more news, old movies. Nothing good. The rage is building.
Next step. Desire for carbs. I look up, head tilted towards the fridge upstairs, imagining the contents within. I have specifically altered my shopping to include a minimum of temptations and the pickings are slim.

Yes, there is another human living with me. Does he deserve a bowl of ice cream or a few Oreos dunked in milk? Certainly. Do I care? Not a bit.
Continuing on. Television gets turned off. I have watched an infomercial or two and am almost convinced that I do need a complete set of military marching music or a griddle that makes waffles in the shape of Barack Obama in basketball shorts. I turn off lights and stagger upstairs where I load the dishwasher, water plants, check that the windows are locked, refresh the top-coat on my pedicure and tackle several crossword puzzles.

Reminder:  Mr. Innocent is snoring happily under the covers. 

 I fear for his life not unlike the fabled Wolfman who was known to fear for his victims prior to ripping them limb from limb.
It is now seriously late. Panic rises as I realize that I must soon face a new day. I am retaining water from eating salty snacks (I couldn’t get rid of everything now could I?) and I make a horrible face at myself in the mirror. I decide to risk it and get into bed. 

It’s about 55 degrees in the bedroom but I am sweating.  The husband is huddled under the covers, shivering but soundly sleeping. I snap on the bathroom light, wash my face and slam the moisturizer jar around a bit for sport. 

No reaction.

I then rip the covers back with a flourish and hurl myself into bed. Husband bounces upward in fetal position and, upon landing, resettles into continued slumber. I then punch the pillow viciously for about 20 minutes, sigh loudly and smash my head down, jaw clenched.
Here begins a comparatively new symptom of this phase of female life, the crawling skin and restless leg portion of the evening.

To combat the nerve endings in my limbs sending electrical impulses up my legs at an interval of roughly every 15 seconds, I flip around like a dying fish for a bit. I then pedal an imaginary bicycle, swear audibly and creatively for another few minutes before finally surrendering, despondent and broken. 

It is now that I notice that there seems to be a light turned on outside.

I go to the window and see that the world is illuminated.  An eerie, beautiful glow has made it almost possible to read a newspaper on the deck. The shadows are deep amidst the trees and a round white disk in the sky stares back at me. The man in the moon says that he, too, is having trouble sleeping tonight. 

Not for the same reasons that are keeping me up but because it’s his turn to light up my little town. 

I feel a little less alone and take a moment to check my palms for hair. Nothing. Seth is safe.

One of my sons once said that he thinks women go through menopause because it’s our way of repaying God for the privilege of having children. Having, at the time, chased him through the house waving a meat tenderizer, I now pondered this arrogant but somewhat profound assessment. 

Could he be right? 

I smiled as I looked towards his future: a wife, children and, after a few years, a werewolf wearing moisturizer sharing his bed, enduring twitching legs as he sleeps beside her. “Just wait” I thought to myself, evil laughter echoing in my head, “Just wait….”
Find either a man in sunglasses or Judy Garland in this full moon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Tossed Salad

The pipers on Fifth Aenue
As a kid, St. Patrick's Day was a big deal in a kind of odd sense.

Growing up in a very typical Jewish-Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, the Irish were exotic beings.

They had different customs, habits and accents and, by the invisible delineation known as a neighborhood, were even physically removed from our daily lives.

This made them kind of mysterious and totally cool. 

And speaking of cool, the annual parade up Fifth Avenue -- which turns the subdued color palette of a city still in the final throes of winter to a festive sea of green -- was the coolest. It was a gift to us all from St. Patrick himself, no matter what corner of the city we called our own.

Who didn't want to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day? I know I did.

Until my oldest son established his own annual tradition of skipping school and attending with his friends, my family never actually went to the parade. We were, as a group, kind of crowd-phobic and besides, the best seat in the house was on the floor in front of the black and white TV in the living room with Grandpa.

From that spot, I would watch the tall and charismatic pipers with their fabulous hats and incredible posture. I'd marvel at the endless waves of police and firemen marching proudly, many sporting green carnations in their lapels and tam 'o' shanters on their heads in place of their usual headgear.

I loved the music and the bouncing curls of the high-stepping colleens in their colorful costumes and soft-soled shoes. It seemed that March 17 had more that its' fair share of cold rainy days and we'd shiver sympathetically as the pretty girls would dance by the reviewing stand with bare arms and legs visibly reddened by the still-wintry chill.

Soon after the parade was over, still humming the favorite Irish tunes most every one knows, we'd  convene at the kitchen table to eat dinner together....something traditionally Hungarian.

The vast majority of our meals were very ethnic. Hungarian soups and stews. We even traveled, in a snarling pack, to the Yorkville section of Manhattan to buy vats of deep red paprika (Hungarian crack) because my grandfather had come over from the old country with the original owner of the landmark, Paprikas Weiss--a famous Hungarian import store that is, sadly, no longer there.

We also had, thanks to the dozen or so fantastic Italian bakeries within walking distance of our front door, developed a great love for Italian baking and dessert was often some variety of delectable cookie or cake, always served with strong, hot coffee despite the hour of the evening.

Even as a kid, the contrast wasn't lost on me.  And I loved it. We'd listen to the pipers on TV, eat Hungary afterward and enjoy Italy at the meal's end. It was a world tour in the comfort of the brownstone I called home.

I think about it still -- all our differences thrown together, not into a melting pot but into a big salad bowl -- every ingredient maintaining it's identity but getting along. In the perfect world of my childhood recollections, edges softened by time and a rapidly shrinking cerebral cortex, the tomatoes had no bone to pick with the green pepper and the onions were more than happy cuddling up to the cucumbers. New York City was, and remains to be, a glorious tossed salad.

We like each other. We are used to each other. Sometimes we piss each other off mightily but, when it counts, the tomatoes and the green peppers can still make it work.

As we migrated from that Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park, our horizons widened on their own. Suddenly our neighbors had different accents and traditions. And, on open-window days, the smells wafting from their kitchen were new and enticing. 

My friend from Pakistan made me delicious dishes with cilantro, coriander and fresh lime. My Chinese landlady prepared dim sum from scratch and brought them downstairs in a steaming bowl to share with delighted, hungry tenants. My Lebanese sister-from-another-mother across the street wooed my taste buds with sesame encrusted Arabic bread slathered with lemony humus or creamy baba ghanoush.

I didn't know anyone who actually ate these.

And, for St. Patty's Day, a friend gave me her family recipe for soda bread.

Once a year,the beer ran green in the local pubs, green bagels filled the bins in the front windows of the bagel stores and the Green Oak, the bar down the street, stayed open till 6 am the following morning.

I seem to have come full circle. Today, I will be watching the parade on TV, seasoning our dinner with a huge dose (lethal to those who have not built up a tolerance over the years) of paprika and hoping someone drops off a canoli or two for dessert.

May the luck of the Irish not only be with you today but with us all, in every neighborhood (even in the trendy, hipster neighborhoods where the new locals want to make artisanal cheese while wearing skinny jeans), every remaining ethnic stronghold in every city in America, to your front door and far, far beyond. 

Have a great St. Patty's Day, everyone!
'Tis himself.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Tale of Two Kitties

Tito: Boys just want to have fun.
Charlie recently came home for an extended visit and brought his cat, Tito (aka Tootie, Teetsie, Teetles, Tootles, Too-Too and many more) with him.

In the past, Charlie made the trek with another human passenger and Tito would agreeably spend the six hours happily cuddled in someone's arms.

That someone would emerge from the ride covered from head to toe in cat hair and with no feeling in their upper body but since most of the people we know are severely cat-a-holic (no, not Catholic although we do hang out with tons of ', all that mattered was that Tito arrived safely.

Lately, Charlie drives alone so Tito has no choice but to be confined and is, for the most part, a well-mannered traveler who never makes a boom boom in his carrier.

He does, however, make up for his extended confinement by out-pooping every cat in the house during his stay.

There is more litter box activity when Tito is on site than at any time during the year and I inhale dangerous amounts of cat litter dust and Lysol for however long this festival of elimination is going on.

I also have learned to automatically cringe, in a most Pavlovian way, whenever I hear the tell-tale scraping-around of someone in the box because I know that what comes next is the heady stink of something one of the cats proudly made for Mommy. Or, in Tito's case--Grandma.

I work very hard at keeping the boxes freshly scooped but those of you with cats know that your home only smells as good as the last crap your cat took.

Many of you also know that Buzzy hates Tito.

Buzzy, a sleek and mature fellow of 4, has totally forgotten that he earned his name based on behavior. Buzzing about like a maniac from couch to table to someone's shoulder, he once was a kitten on a mission.

This mission, like Tito's, was to have carefree fun at the expense of the older cats in the household. He didn't care that Cookie hates to move so much as a whisker and that Fritzi prefers a good nap above all else.

Buzzy has learned that payback is a bitch....or in this case, a cat called Tootles.

For the humans, the days are spent with me cooking for Charlie at breakneck speed. Elbows pumping and blowing hair out of my eyes, I try to get in as many of his favorites as the days will allow. Then, placing a wreath of fresh flowers on Charlie's head and summoning the buglers, I offer them to him, one by one, backing away in a curtsy as he nods towards another plate. "Show me that one, Mommy," he will say as I rush to fetch the next dish.
Tito expresses himself in plastic bags.

But for the now sedentary Buzzy, cat-tivities are limited to trying desperately to avoid Tito's direct advances meant to lure him into the free-form cat antics favored by the younger set: swinging on the drapes, scampering, running sideways, pushing the water bowl around the floor so it's never in the same place twice and making sure that both litter boxes are full of plastic bags. The reason for that last activity is a mystery to all but Tito. Lucky for him, we believe in free, artistic expression in this house.

Since Tito left yesterday, Buzzy has not moved from the couch except to stare at me in utter relief or for a snack and a trip to the litter box. It usually takes him about a week to recover.

A few days prior, however, Buzzy had his revenge.

Tito began by acting a little distracted as he ambled about the family room. As we attempted to watch Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson be totally dominated by J-Lo on American Idol, we noticed him starting to walk funny after repeated periods of attempted self-grooming. 

Eventually, he was running at full-tilt back and forth across the carpet in front of us but as if all four legs had been bungeed together, his back arched in a Halloween cat silhouette. 

Something was clearly amiss.

Each time he boinged by, he would make direct eye contact with Charlie who, smiling indulgently and still wearing his floral wreath, thinks everything Tito does is for his entertainment.

Being the experienced cat owner I am, I recognized this behavior as a possible dingleberry-dislodgement situation and warned Charlie that lest one of us soon be stepping in it, he should investigate immediately.

Forever barefoot, I have encountered more than my share of dingleberries.
The attempted murder weapon.

Upon closer inspection, Charlie discovered that his cat had eaten about an eight inch length of cat toy which was trying to spontaneously eliminate itself from Tito's lower intestine.


After a brief period of screaming from all (including Tito), Charlie sprang into action and pulled on one end until the entire length -- still brightly colored -- was out.

Tito collapsed in relief and, I swear, I heard snickering coming from the fake-fish tank upon which Buzzy had perched to enjoy the action. 
Buzzy's perch.

For the remainder of the visit, Tito steered clear of Buzzy who I suspect, in an attempt to painfully murder Tito, had encouraged him to consume the toy:

Buzzy: I saved you something delicious, Tito.
Tito: Really? Wow! Thanks, Buzzy!
Buzzy: Don't bother chewing it, it's better swallowed whole.
Tito: Really? Wow! Thanks, Buzzy!

Heartbreaking, no? 

Moral of the Story: Do not mess with Buzzy. And wear shoes in the house at all times because as long as there are cats, there will be dingleberries.

Monday, March 14, 2011

You're Welcome, Maksim Chmerkovsky.

No one loves me more than I love me.
You know that gentle little snort you give right before falling asleep at night (or on the subway or at the movies)?

I didn't make one of those at all last night.

I couldn't fall asleep.

Correction: I fell asleep about an hour and a half before the alarm went off and was sleeping so deeply that, according to the facial expressions of the cats and the minute hand of the clock, it took a solid 20 minutes to wake me.

I remember when a good night's rest was a given. I'd awaken feeling so energized in the mornings that I'd jump out of bed and burst into the bathroom like the Hope Diamond was in the soap dish. 

While things have changed somewhat, it's nothing I can't handle as long as I know what's in the morning.

One of the few fancy-shmancy appliances we own is our coffee maker. It came with an instructional DVD, costume changes and grinds fresh beans before automatically measuring them  to produce a delicious pot of coffee every time.

Our coffee maker has a programmable timer so that the aroma of brewing coffee will tickle your nose even before you've awakened from the dream that you and Maksim Chmerkovsky are about to win the Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars.

You're wearing tangerine chiffon and a bump-it. You blush as Bruno spews superlatives and Maksim gazes gratefully into your eyes because he's been paired with clods for the past few seasons--until you came along. Everyone is referring to you as "Twinkletoes" plus you can smell french roast brewing backstage. Does it get better than this?

Sadly, Seth has forbidden the use of this feature because, once, a programmable coffee maker in outer Mongolia burst into flames from a power surge caused when the man pedaling the stationery bike that provided electricity for the entire village, having stepped off the bike to feed the chickens, got back on.

But even before coffee there is, actually, another ritual....

Factor in the cold, dry air of winter and many of us experience the seasonal affliction of, pardon the expression and the visual, dry skin. Moisturize as we do, dipping from huge vats of creams no less than twice a day, helps. But a good scratching session, while more destructive and time consuming, is a lot more fun.

Afterwards there is enough of your own DNA under your fingernails that if anyone murders your clone, you will become an immediate suspect.
There's also an obligatory period of post-scratching comtemplation: Is it possible I have a clone? If so, why-- since I am no bargain myself. Why would anyone murder my clone? Was it evil? How is Dolly the Sheep doing? Is House a re-run tonight?

Yes, mornings can be tough. But upon parking my coffee-drinking tuchas in front of the The Early Show and watching the morning news, I am immediately reminded that I live the life of a queen in a world that seriously needs a break.

Scratching, poor sleep and re-runs of House still make up a lucky, blessed enjoy your day, everyone.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Humidors, Winter Birthdays and the Lack of a Backwards R

Always a great gift
When my boys were little, I never had to ask them what they wanted for their birthdays.

Art stuff, books, bikes, skates, a new 64 pack of Crayolas,Transformers, Legos, puzzles, board games....the possibilities were endless. And sweet. And fun to buy.

Toys "R" Us (I'm eternally annoyed that there is no backwards R on the keyboard so that for the once-every-10-years that I want to type that, I can't do it accurately) was a treasure trove of things that not only Tom wanted but that I -- reliving my childhood --  did, too.

My sons were never particularly attracted to the aisles of electronic toys...and 10 to 15 years ago there was a lot less of that than there is now. We also had very strict rules (as in we did not allow them in our house) about video games but there was so much to choose from that I was always able to come up with something that would be a hit.

However, when Tom had a birthday party, based on its winter date, people would typically bring him clothing. This would release such hostility and despair that I once considered throwing him a half-birthday party in the summer at which he would, hopefully, receive traditional warm weather items like a Slip n' Slide or a Nerf gun.

Things have changed.

This year, Tom asked for a humidor for his cigars. Since I still think of my kids as babies, I immediately imagined a teeny Tom in a diaper with a stogie clamped in his jaws. I worked hard to exorcise this vision (which quickly became entwined with an image  of Winston Churchill drinking from a sippy cup) so to focus on the task at hand.

While hard to believe, it turns out that since there are no Humidors R Us stores out there (see, I needed that damn backwards R a second time), I had little choice but to resort to shopping on the Internet which, despite my reluctance to utilize any modern techniques for anything anytime ever, I have come to love. 

I am forbidden to enter.
 Not only can you find anything and everything online but there are certain stores at the mall that I simply don't go into because I am so untrendy and uncool that mall security has forbidden it.

So,there is great karmic satisfaction in web-surfing the sites of the fanciest places with Cheez Doodle lips and no bra.

But back to the humidor. I didn't even know what I was getting into. How big is a humidor? Do they plug in? Why is my sweet toddler whose lungs are still pink and healthy asking for a goddam humidor? And, most importantly, does Fisher Price make one?
Not a good gift.

The answers to the above questions are not big, no, he's no longer a sweet toddler but a 26-year-old degenerate and Fisher Price does not make one yet although they do have a pretend at-home Botox party kit for ages six and up.

To summarize: I ordered one for him and it got lost. So I am re-ordering and it will arrive soon but in the meantime, Mr. I-Only-Get-Clothes-for-My Stupid-Winter-Birthday has been bitterly reliving the annual disappointment of his younger years. 

So, if  there's anyone out there who wants to send him a Nerf gun or a Creepy Crawlers Bug Maker, I can provide his address upon request.

Thus concludes another week. Thanks, as always to my readers and followers. And, in view of the tragedy unfolding as a result of the enormous earthquake in Japan, lets send lots of prayers their way.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Question: How Often to Blog? Answer: Cut Back Slightly When You Start Becoming Agoraphobic

Dear Readers,
Me, lately.

There are large piles of dishes in my sink. Laundry is mouldering in the hampers. The cats haven't been brushed and I am rapidly losing my finely-honed-over-the-decades social skills.

I have also been considering buying a ventriloquist's dummy for companionship.

I am pale and pasty and have defrosted nearly everything in my freezer so there's more room for the severed heads  to cook for dinner in order not to have to leave the house.

I haven't visited the mall since November and am certain that the guys selling face cream with "authentic" salt from the Dead Sea miss me as does the woman in the tea store who lives for my comments on the "brew of the day."

I haven't taken a walk for exercise since the mid-eighties and still have Tears for Fears in the tape deck in the car.

The preceding paragraph is a total lie. I walked about six years ago and it's Rick Astley (oh my God, remember him???) in the tape deck.
The point is that I am cutting down from five posts a week to four. It will be random so please continue to look for me. I hope you will miss me as much as I will miss you but I really do need a little fresh air.

Plus, I think I may have forgotten how to drive.

Love, Susan Says...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Means Do Not Eat the Fried Butter Balls!

If you enjoyed this, click on the link to read my most recent post

I used to think I had already come face to face with the killer sandwich of all time.

The widowmaker, the equalizer, the King of the Sandwich World that would clog your arteries in record time but allow you to die with a smile.
I was wrong.

Ironically, since today is Mardi Gras, it was in the French Quarter of New Orleans where I was lucky enough to be introduced to the muffaletta. I can feel my rings getting tight at the mere mention of its name.....

The muffaletta, a delicious and exotic creation invented by people far greater than ourselves, sounds like what it is: a combination of something to be eaten and something to wear -- in this case, a blood pressure cuff and a heart monitor.

Imagine several layers of succulent Italian meats and cheeses piled atop a thick, salty layer of olive salad and packed under the sheltering dome of a huge round loaf, cut into quarters and intended for four. Whew!

Four? I think not.

My son Charlie and I, legendary aficionados of all things intended for four but only enough for two, stared at one another in disbelief as the oil trickled down our chins and the sodium infused our blood streams. "Does something this good really exist or are we dreaming?"

I thought this sandwich was the grand daddy of all heart-stoppers until clicking around on the Food Channel yesterday and coming face to face with Paula Deen, the white-maned grande dame of death by food, and a sandwich she'd made to share with people she wants to kill lady friends at brunch.

Someone should look for those women because, if still alive, they are in immediate need of  defibrulators.
Happy or homicidal?

Innocently dubbed the "Brunch Burger," picture a juicy hamburger topped by a fried egg and bacon and squeezed between two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. If you are still able to stand without leaning on the shoulder of a paramedic for support, then you have not actually visualized this tower of calories, fat and cholesterol. There is risk in even gazing upon its image in a photograph.

Honestly, is Paula kidding?

No one loves salty and sweet more than I. I sniff PayDay candy bars like fine cigars at the check-out counter and dip pretzel rods into chocolate, pretending to give them as gifts at holiday time. I even loved the recent duet between Shakira and Beyonce but this sandwich made me tremble...and not in a good way.

Paula's brunch menu was topped off by a yogurt and fruit parfait meant solely to distract us from the fact that a Cardiovascular SWAT team, armed with pacemakers and led by Doctor OZ, was surrounding her home in Savannah just as the credits were starting to roll.

Apparently Paula has decided to cut to the chase. Why bother sneaking a pound of butter into a recipe when you can simply kill us with a sandwich?

It gets worse.

Paula also offers a recipe for deep fried butter balls.

The reviews for recipes on the Food Network's website is one of the last bastion's of civility on the internet. Cooks and foodies convene in cyber space to cheerfully discuss their pursuits in the kitchen.Or, so I thought.

This time there was in-fighting and hostility among the reviewers.The comments swung from accusations that attempted to re-polarize the northern and southern portions of the United States as well as some barely coherent rants which I blame on the effect of the butter balls, themselves. 

How could anyone think straight after popping a few of those babies?

Since it's Mardi Gras today, I want to send a special shout-out to my Louisiana family and friends who all have Ph.D.s in  personality, charisma and hospitality. Not to mention good looks. We miss you and hope to see you before the muffalettas get us.  

To all my readers: Go out and eat something you might not normally enjoy on a regular day. If you're not lucky enough to be down in New Orleans today, buy the ingredients for a muffaletta and make one yourself. Or, head to Krispy Kreme but don't tell me what you do with the doughnuts you buy. 

Afterwards, in honor of the traditions of the Crescent City, stand by your front window and expose yourselves to the neighborhood. When the police show up, simply remind them that it's Mardi Gras today.

But stay away from fried butter balls. Or Dr. Oz and the SWAT team may show up at your door and I've heard that he never, ever changes those scrubs he wears on the show.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nigella's Slutty Kitchen

For those of you familiar with British food "celebrity" Nigella Lawson, you know as well as I do that she is a frustrated porn star.

This assessment is, I admit, based solely on her pseudo-erotic demeanor while mixing, poaching and sauteing as well as the insane camera angles zooming in on yet more cleavage in the kitchen. If she and Giada De Laurentiis ever get together, hide your hungry adolescent sons, America, for there will be a revolution.

The assumption I've always made about her recipes is that they couldn't be too good if she has to depend on sex to promote them. 

I'm over here, people. Yoo hoo -- right here. Please stop googling Nigella until you've finished reading today's post.

Anyway ... there I was, pinned to the couch by two snoring cats. The clicker had slipped to the floor, well beyond my grasp, rendering me defenseless against whatever came on next. I had been enjoying another cooking show prior to Nigella busting on the scene (hahahahahahahaha) and decided rather than rouse the peaceful cats, I'd subject myself to 30 minutes of her lower-lip-biting-eye-lash-batting-no-way-for-a-cook-to-behave-culinary double entendres.

Also, I have been professionally diagnosed as having a medical condition that demands I erupt in frequent angry outbursts in order to remain alive and had been experiencing only peaceful emotions for a full half hour. I knew Nigella would do the trick and fill my prescription for rage with a little jealousy thrown in for good measure.

It was meatloaf day in Nigella's slutty kitchen. Everything was going as expected, but she ramped it up suddenly by purring about how sensual it is to mix meat with her bare hands. I could take no more, leaping to my feet in outrage, as the cats slid to the floor and groggily dispersed. 

But then something she was doing caught my attention.

She was making a trench in the middle of the uncooked meatloaf in which she placed several hard boiled eggs end to end, covering them with the remaining meat mixture.

Not only do I consider a hard boiled egg a little miracle in a shell (it's a meal, it's a snack, it's portable, it's low in calories, it's pretty, it's smooth -- it's perfect) but I remembered my mother -- who behaved like a perfect lady in the kitchen--adding them to our meatloaf when I was a child.

My mother's meatloaf was a treat -- warm and fragrant, she would pull it from the oven and we'd hover impatiently until it "sat a while." Cutting it would reveal either a golden disk of the encased and now twice-cooked egg or, brace yourselves, a whole frankfurter or two that she'd add to the mixture instead. Even without embellishment they were magnificent -- seasoned with cumin and studded with chopped onions and fresh garlic.

So, later that day I asked Seth if he would mind if I added a few hard boiled eggs to our meatloaf but before I was finished speaking, he had clapped his hands over his ears and was out the door, easily outrunning the UPS truck, startling the driver as he zoomed by.

Seth will not tolerate any changes to his favorites. And that's putting it lightly.

For a total Cro-Magnon Neanderthal non-foodie, he has a surprisingly developed palate. He can ferret out a single spice with a faint quiver of his nostrils, immediately tell if I've used Hellmann's mayo or a store brand and easily discern if I've tried to get away with turkey kielbasa instead of pork.

He, in other words, is an unbelievable pain in the ass.

Then Charlie arrived home for spring break. He's always been my experimental eater so I decided to try the egg question out on him and see if we could possibly overturn Seth's veto. If he ever stopped running and came home, that is.

Upon hearing the words "meatloaf" and "hard boiled egg" in the same sentence, Charlie panicked. As I walked away, I glanced back to see  him curled up on the rug in his room like a shrimp on a lettuce leaf, sobbing like a little girl, repeating the words, "I'll be good, mommy ... I promise I'll be good," over and over and over.

Strike two.

Next comes Tom. Practical, definitive and home for a visit.  He was my last hope.

I approached him as he sat at his computer, baring my teeth in a smile. Egg? Meatloaf? May I? Would you? Shall we?

He looked up from the keyboard, fixed me in an icy gaze and simply asked his own question in response: "Are you trying to kill us?"

Strike three.

And, no. I am not trying to kill anyone. Yet.

I am simply trying to do something different so that I don't become so bored in the kitchen that I have little choice but to become a serial killer. It's not looking good.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Avoiding Housework Through Trickery and Deception

Successfully avoiding housework is both an art and a science.

I am not bashful to say that I have become an authority in this area, having become adept at different methods from the ambitious "playing dead" (I can slow my breathing and heartbeat down to virtually imperceptible levels using techniques learned from masters who came before me) as well as the less skilled but extremely effective "point and run technique" ("Oh, my God! Is that Lionel Ritchie in the backyard?" When your victim goes to look for his autograph book, you flee). 

I would be happy to offer pointers to those interested in learning. Today, I offer you the first two of my series of tips.

The first is very simple: Get sick.

Pretending won't do. What may have fooled your mom when you were in the third grade will not cut it today. Husbands can be very sensitive about doing housework and, therefore, are extremely suspicious.

If your acting skills are exemplary and you wish to try your luck, by all means--go for it. The risk, however is that if your ruse is discovered, you will have lost credibility and will have to perform when legitimately ill.

Husbands lacking creativity refer to this to other husbands as" having a crying wolf  in the house". They will then create a phone chain upon discovering a crying wolf in their midst because often it will become epidemic amongst groups of acquainted women.

So, it's best if you're nose is running, your skin is clammy and audible wheezing is present. Coughing into a tissue and falling back onto the pillow is a nice touch and a fever, even low-grade, is your ace in the hole.

Most husbands cannot resist this.

They will genuinely feel sorry for you and, therefore, willingly take it upon themselves to perform low-level maintenance like unloading dishwashers, throwing in a laundry and, especially if wheezing is present, change litter boxes....plastic liners, not just shoveling, included.

The second effective method of avoiding household chores is also surprisingly simple. I have dubbed it the "Hypno-Shirk."

Casually walk about the house repeatedly announcing "Wow, I really have to run the vacuum in here!" Or "...clean up this kitchen." Or "...wipe down this bathroom." The need for conviction in your tone is imperative. I cannot stress this enough.

Your repeated acknowledgement that these tasks need to be done seems to create some sort of distraction--a smokescreen, if you will--establishing the illusion that you are on top of things. This may seem like a long shot but take it from me, it works.

Eventually things do actually have to get done but while the smokescreen is in effect, you can get in several games of Scrabble on the computer, that episode of "The Office" you DVRed last night and a full treatment of your heels and elbows. It's never too early to start preparing for sandal season and short-sleeve season. 

Those around you, depending on levels of stupidity gullibility low-blood sugar often become befuddled by the repeated declarations of intent followed immediately by periods of obvious leisure and, becoming confused, will perform some of your duties themselves--often without even realizing that they, not you, are doing it.

If they don't (rare), you're in a better mood anyway and voluntarily tend to your chores quickly and efficiently since you are refreshed and your feet are looking better already.

Having employed Tip #1 for the majority of the week, I am about to go put Tip # 2, into effect. I have a "Grey's Anatomy" that needs watching.... 

Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks to my wonderful readers and joiners (to the right of the page, so easy). Have a great weekend...see you all next week.