Do You Suffer from Too Much Stim?

4837735360_644ed14665_ohref=””>Abode of Chaos</a> via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a>h

Are You Unnerved by Too Much Stim?  Take This Test to Find Out.

  1. Your dear friends invite you and another couple to a small dinner party.

a. You can’t wait because you love being with good friends, and you enjoy eating great food.

b. You look for an excuse not to go.

c. You never received the invitation because you and your crowd are all forty-ish, and you don’t do dinner parties at home. When you entertain at home, you offer drinks, snacks, more drinks, more snacks, and dessert.

2. When you arrive at your friends’ home you hear the strains of music coming from their stereo or hi fi or whatever the heck we used to call that thing that plays (ahem) records. The music you hear is jazz. It is very loud jazz.

a. You start snapping your fingers and saying things like “Groovy, man, groovy!”

b. Your upper lip starts going numb, which your doctor assured you is a sign of stress.

c. You say, “Thanks, I’ll have a white wine,” while you’re still wearing your coat.

3.The drinks are poured; the hors d’oeuvres are luscious and:

a. The conversation flows; everyone (including you) is bright and witty.

b. The conversation flows; everyone (but you) appears to be bright and witty.

c. You smile, nod appreciatively, and when someone asks you, “What do you think?” you answer, “Yes, I have a new shrink.”

People who can’t do “Too Much Stim” have given the following answers:
Question One: a\
Question Two: b and/or c
Question Three b and/or c.

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A Swinging Neighborhood

Photo Credit: arctia via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: arctia via Compfight cc

There’s my block and then there’s the other block. They have lots of little kids. No kids live on my block, anymore. They’ve all grown and moved away.  I wonder if my neighbors call my block, “Old People Land.”

I love nature and birds, and I have always kept my yard natural. Jerome, the Great and Good, has put our brush in the back of our yard for years. If I were to pick up any book about attracting birds to the yard, having a brush pile would be the first suggestion. I put water out and it attracts many birds and I suspect, some stealthy nocturnal raccoons too.

When my young neighbors moved in to the other block ( Young People Land) about four or five years ago, they put in a swing set near the back of their property. Their property touches the back of my land. One day, I looked out from my deck and I noticed my elm tree was dead. It had probably been dead for years, but honestly I never noticed it until the old widow moved out and the young family moved in.  My tree was right over their swing set. Terrified, I called the tree company the same day, and arranged to have the tree removed.

I left the stump of the tree, however. I thought it would be a great place to sit, or put a natural container garden, or a rock sculpture. I found serenity in my natural looking backyard.

My neighbor called one day, and said he was taking down some trees on his property, and he asked if he could remove the stump from mine. Not knowing what else to say, I said, “Thanks.”

His swing sets got bigger and brighter. Vivid plastic colors of red, yellow and blue stood next to my brown and gray brush pile. He added a basketball net on a blue, white and red plastic pedestal.

One day I got a call from him. He was very polite when he asked me about cleaning up my brush pile. He blamed “the mess” on my lawn guy who, he said, “Never cleaned the back of my property.” My neighbor felt I would want to know that my brush pile possibly harbored poison ivy or dangerous wildlife, like mice. Would I speak to my lawn guy, please.

I called up my lawn guy and told him the brush pile would have to go. I wanted to be a good neighbor. And so, after forty years, the brush pile in the back of my property—went.

These young families really know how to build on to a house. I watch, as each of them on the “Young Family Block” adds on, up and out. My neighbor is almost finished with his renovation. His house, which was once the size of mine, has quadrupled in size.

And these young families, they also know how to maximize the possibilities of a backyard.  Let’s take another neighbor. He has created a veritable adult and kiddie playland! I know because his backyard diagonally touches my backyard.

He’s got:

  • One in-ground swimming pool, with many lounge chairs, and lots of colorful pool toys. Often his pool is the meeting spot on hot summer days for the folks from the Young Families’ Block. Therefore he also has:
  • Some umbrella tables and chairs
  • Some grill or grills. I can’t see, but I bet he’s got a smoker.
  • A large outdoor fire-pit.
  • A wire fence which he is required to have by law. It also works to contain his kids, the rest of the neighborhood’s kids, and his three large dogs, barking dogs.
  • A super-duper outdoor gym set which includes one or two slides, several creaky swings, ladders, parallel bars, places for kids to crawl and climb, and a little slant roofed house at the top. His gym set is bigger than some sets I see at public parks.
  • A large outdoor trampoline often filled with hordes of joyful jumping juniors.
  • A vegetable garden with a plastic composter…near where our properties touch, fenced from rabbits.
  • A purple martin bird feeder, high on a pole.
  • A shed

Last night, at twilight, I heard the joyous sounds of children’s laughter. There must have been ten little ones of all different ages jumping around with glee in the sideyard between the aformentioned neighbor’s backyards. I saw the reason for the kids’ delight. It was a tire swing, hung between two trees. The kids were delirious as they took turns. I watched four at a time swing together, but they squealed the most when a dad pushed them.

The teacher in me watched from my upstairs window. I wondered about the older kids’ homework. Then, I figured the parents must have said something like, “Homework first; then the swing.”

Long ago, when our block was the Young Family Block, we had a swing too. It was in the back of our house near our brush pile. Like the tire swing, our wooden swing was tied to the strong branch of one of our trees. I pushed my babies in that little swing and listened to their chatter and the chatter of the birds in my yard.

The swing is gone; the tree it hung from is gone; my brush pile is gone; and my children are gone from my backyard too.  When my kids visit, we  play ball with my grandchild  and she learns which tree to use for first base, second, third, and home base. We bat the ball around, and then they all go home.

I hear the sounds of other people’s children in my backyard now.  Maybe that’s a good thing. I enjoy watching them and listening to them. I know, that if ever I needed help, my young neighbors would be right there for me. They are really wonderful neighbors. I’m lucky to have them– and all of their bright plastic colors.

Do You Live With The Invisible Man?

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I think, my dear husband, Jerome the Great and Good, missed a couple of physics lessons in school. He must have cut the classes on Light and Sound.

Jerome, usually a very smart man, misunderstands the physics of light.

For example, when he comes into the kitchen for his early morning coffee, even though it is dark outside, he opens the vertical blinds and puts on the overhead light.  This makes me crazy because I am a private person.  He justifies his behavior by saying, “It’s dark outside, and no one can see in.”  See what I mean about the physics?

Wearing my flimsy negligee (Yeah, sure.) I enter the brightly lighted kitchen, and run to close the blinds.

“No one can see you,” he says, and then he adds, “and who would be looking anyway?”

You know the movie, Gaslight, where the husband tries to make the wife think she’s going nuts?  I just thought I would mention it.

Jerome is not too swift with the physics of sound transmission either.

“You are too loud,” I often say to him when we are sitting outside.  As I said, I am a private person.

He tells me I am obsessed with what the neighbors think.

Here’s an example.

We enjoy outdoor meals on our deck, with wine. Once a decade, when our neighbors’ lawn mowers, tractors, zappers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, and chain saws are not on, our little backyard is gloriously quiet. Ah, stillness. I can hear the fluttering of the birds’ wings. Jerome and I converse. We sip our wine. He shares a story about his day. He uses a bad word. Trust me, the word is not “doodyhead.”

“Shh,” I say gesturing to our backyard. “The neighbors will hear you. There are kids out there, you know.”

Although Jerome was absent for the physics session on sound, he has perfected the physics of motion. He gets an A+ for Eye-Rolling. This silent movement is directed at me. “No one can hear,” he says, and then to prove his point, he shouts, “Doodyhead! Doodyhead! Doodyhead!”

I cringe. My neighbors used to think Jerome and I were upstanding citizens.

I want to throw a plate of something at him. But I don’t, because my neighbors will see, and then, they will all hear me say “doodyhead” back to him, and I will be arrested, and sent away, and my children will have no one to overprotect them, ever again.

He says I worry too much.  I’m worried about that.



Photo: href=””>Roberto F. via Compfight cc






Don’t Tread on Me, Scammers!

Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

My husband, Jerome, the Great and Good, is mature. When a telemarketer calls, Jerome hangs up, often saying something like, “Sorry, can’t talk now.”

I am not mature. Maybe my toilet training didn’t go right. I have anger, albeit repressed.

Jerome tells me not to engage telemarketers or scammers.

I do not listen to him.

Here’s a recap of the last conversation with someone named Josh (Ha Ha…if you really believe that was his name.)

Part One

Josh (after waiting for me to say Hello three times) speaks: Hello

Me: Your turn.

Josh: Do you have Microsoft Office 365?

Me: Who wants to know?

Josh: There has been a very serious problem with Microsoft Office 365.

Me: Oh no! Oh no!

Josh: Your computer is in terrible danger. You must fix it immediately.

Me: Oh no! Oh my God! What am I going to do? I hope my computer is not going to crash?

Josh: It can crash. I can help you fix it.

Me: Oh Josh, where would I be without you? What do I have to do?

Josh: You need to be at your computer. Are you by your computer now?

Me: Hold on, Josh. I am going upstairs to my computer now. Give me time because I’m old and I’m not really good with the computer.  (climb stairs; breathe loudly) OK, I’m here.

Josh: Is your computer turned on?

Me, (still breathing heavily): Yes. What do I do?

Josh: OK. What does it show on the screen?

Me: Oh, Josh, I really can’t do this now. I have an appointment. Can you give me your number and I will call you back as soon I can.

No: You need to sit in front of your computer now or…

Me: You idiot! Don’t you know that I am recording this and you are going to go to jail! Do you really think I am that stupid? Don’t you think I know this is a scam!

Josh: I…

Me:  You stupid dimwit! You might even be so stupid that you don’t realize that you are breaking the law with this phone call, dumbhead! The man who hired you for this job is using you to break the law, jerk. He’s hurting you, fool! I have recorded every word you said, and you are going to jail, doodyhead.

Josh: Ms….

Me: You stupid scammer. They could take you away for years for this. You, fool, probably don’t even know that you are breaking the law! Idiot! Don’t you know that the man who hired you for this job is using you, moron!

Josh: If…

Me: Shaddup! I’m going to hang up now. I’m surprised you stayed on so long. Usually you scammers hang up on me.

Josh: If…

Me: Enjoy jail. (I hang up.)

Part II: 15 Minutes Later

Jerome, the Great and Good, asks, “Are you happy now?”

I said, “Yes,” but I was lying.

For the remainder of the night, I worried that while I was ranting, Josh and his cohorts were:

  • Tracing my phone to my house and my bank account.
  • Syncing my phone, computer, credit cards and Shoprite  Customer Loyalty Cards.
  • Mapping my comings and goings to Shoprite where I like to buy avocados.
  • Picking and poisoning avocados to put in the gift box they were mailing me.
  • Laughing their pants off at the dumbbell who kept them on the phone.

Addendum: If I live long enough, I do plan to write The Revenge of the Telemarketers…unless some telemarketer with repressed anger or early toilet training issues beats me to it.

Lions, Lunch, and Life

Photo Credit: ahisgett via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ahisgett via Compfight cc

There is a woman in a TV health insurance commercial, and she annoys me.  She looks fit and young for her age as she briskly hikes on a trail. She says something like, “I’m in my sixties, and I’m looking forward to a long life….blah, blah. “

Long life? How does she know? What’s a long life anyway?

I have always wanted to reach through the TV and smack that broad for her presumptuousness.

If I were making the commercial, I would insert a mountain lion on the trail behind the woman, and the mountain lion would be stalking her. He might even gobble her up and smack his lips. Yummy.

Or maybe not.

Maybe, instead of the woman, the mountain lion would find a plump mule deer for his lunch.

Then, the sixty year old smart-ass woman would finish her hike and go back to her mountain lodge.  There, at the lodge’s patio restaurant, she would meet up with the rest of us, sitting around and chowing down on our reuben sandwiches with our beers. She’d brag about her exquisite romp and all the beautiful things she got to see…that we missed because we were hanging around the lodge. She’s just that kind of na-na-na-na-na-na type. I bet you know someone just like her.

But maybe she has the right idea? I don’t know.  Crazy isn’t it?

Why We Need Greeters At The Post Office

Photo Credit: santheo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: santheo via Compfight cc


Photo Credit: eVo photo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: eVo photo via Compfight cc



Some of us get really nervous and confused when we have to choose the right forms to fill out at the post office.  We are post office wimps.

We look at the line of customers waiting to be served. . There are fifteen people ahead of us, and, oh yes, there is one postal worker behind the counter.

We look at the many forms in their neat little stacks on the writing counter adjacent to the people on line.  We ponder, “Golly, which one do I need?”

Then we look up at the signs over the postal worker’s head. These signs are supposed to help us. We study the signs. They do not help us, and we feel stupid.

We look back at the fifteen people on line, and wonder, if they would just let us ask one teeny, tiny question of the nice postal worker behind the counter.

One look at their snarling faces tells us, “Don’t even think of asking a question ahead of us.

So, we wait on the end of the line and start filling out the forms that we think are correct.

Three more people come in to the Post Office and, since we are not finished with our forms, we invite them to get on line ahead of us.

They do. Then they whip out their pens and start filling out their forms on the counter.

Because we are wimps, we say nothing.

We wait on line. Finally, we hear our “Next,” and we advance to the desk.

One form (the green one) is right, but the other one is totally wrong. The post office worker tells us what color to get. Before we leave her window, we whisper, ever so softly, “Can I come right back up to you and not have to stand in line again?”

She didn’t even have to talk. Her look said it all.

We mince right back to the end of the line which now has 17 people on it. We fill out the form and get on the back of the line again.

Overcome with frustration, nerves and the need to eat a half gallon of Haagen Dazs, we walk off the line and out of the post office, get in our car, and drive fifteen minutes to the post office in the next town. We know that there is a 7-11 store in that strip mall, and they sell Rum Raisin.

No one is on line, and the kindly postal worker helps us mail our letter. We go next door and buy a pint of Haagen Dazs Rum Raisin.

So, that’s why we need Greeters at the Post Office. Greeters will help us wimps stay on our diets.


Let’s Go Shopping, Pear Shaped People!


Photo Credit: Auntie P via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Auntie P via Compfight cc

I don’t usually write fashion posts. There’s a really good reason for that, and it’s called my children and friends laugh at my taste. But sometimes, I really have no choice. If you have any doubts about this, scroll up to the previous post and the photo of me and Dr. Ruth.

Caveat: This blog post is NOT about Dr. Ruth. It’s about those of us who are pear shaped. That would be me.

I looked up the words, pear shaped. Synonyms I noted were rotund, bottom heavy and fat. As you read this, if you have been described as “pear shaped” raise your hand. Thank you.

Now, I’m going to take this fashion blog a bit further. Let’s talk about a particular kind of pear, the Comice Pear. Comice pears are considered the queen of all pears because they are so sweet. They have a really special attribute….Ta Da drum roll! Comice pears are short! Foodie bloggers have also called them “squat, broad, stubby and rather blunt.”

To summarize: Comice pears are short and fat. If you consider yourself comice pear shaped, raise your hand. Thank you. This blog is for you.

Now, let’s just say you have the great luck to be shaped like a comice pear, and you decide to go shopping for a nice dress or a nice pair of pants. You will probably want to kill yourself.

An example of a comice pear size is 22 petite.

You start off in the Petite Department in your local department store. You look around the petite shop and see so many pretty things in solid colors of black on black, brown on brown, charcoal on charcoal. If there are any prints, they are tiny ones. Their individual designs are the size of a salt crystal.  This is the kind of stuff my friend, Joy, wears, and she’s super slender and super fashionable.

So you go up to the little mini salesgirl, “Do you have any size 22 petite?” you politely inquire.

Screwing up her itty bitty nose, she will say, “Oh, no. we don’t carry that size here. We only go up to size 16 and, even then, we have very few of that size. You need to go to the Woman’s Department.”

So down you waddle to the Woman’s (big and fat) Department! You know… the department that’s found in the lower level next to the king size sheets and the tractors. Ahhh…a proliferation of bountiful color and gigantic prints. You see flower prints the size of watermelons, leaves the size of palm fronds, and large lusty animal prints.

And speaking of animal prints…how about all of those stripes? Each strip is about eight inches wide and, of course, horizontal!

These striped prints are super cool, if you are tall like a giraffe.

But you are short, like a comice pear.

And these prints are just on the capris.

“I don’t want capris,” you say to the short, chubby salesgirl as she bends over to put something in the lower drawer. You find herself talking to her plumber’s crack because her pants have slipped down, just like yours do.  “I am looking for a pair of pants that go to my ankle because I’m short and I want to elongate my legs, not cut them off at my calves,” you explain.

“Sorry, we only have a few petite pants, and they’re mixed in,” she says. Not a good omen.

So you go through the racks and, you finally find one pair of petite size 22 dark, heavy jeans.

The problem is…it’s July 1 and it’s very hot. You know, like thighs- stick- together- hot.  Sturdy, heavy denim jeans like these should really be repurposed by the fire department as nets for catching falling air conditioners.

Long ago, I told my friend Joy that we could make a zillion dollars if we started a business that just catered to the short fat set. I even volunteered to be the model. Joy could do everything else, designing, styling, buying, and selling. I am still waiting for Joy to come through. Until then, if there are any venture capitalists, and you are reading this blog, you will remember this day as the day your destiny changed. We, who are comice pear shaped, are out there, and we’re waiting for you. I volunteer to be your model.

I even have a name for our business. We can call it Pear Wear!

Setting Up a New Laptop—Can this Marriage Survive? Hancock Hancock

True Story: I  knew a lady who was convinced there were little green men in her computer. She was certain they were watching her and laughing at her.  Then the lady went “away,” and took lots of new medicines. Vouchers for affordable psychiatric care should be included in all computer start up packages. Thank you, and please allow me to continue.

So I bring home my new laptop from the store. It’s been pre-loaded with all sorts of good stuff, and I’ve been told it’s ready to use. I open the box, and take out the laptop, its cord and some pieces of paper with receipts. There is nothing else in the box. I shake out the box (yes, like they do on TV), and nothing else drops out.

My heart sinks. “There’s no instruction book?” I say to Jerome, the Great and Good, who is sitting in the other room realizing that he is not going to be having a fun day.

“Rose, it’s all done online these days,” he says gently, assuming his usual position of cradling his shaking head in his hands. “You’ll find help online.”

“Waddyamean I’ll find help online?” I wail. “Help from whom? Toshiba? Microsoft Windows? Windows 8?  Optimum Cable? The Little Green Men? I need help to get online— to get help online? Where are the tutorials?”

He makes the mistake of saying, “Tutorials for what?”

“If I knew what I needed the tutorials for, I wouldn’t need the tutorials,” I hiss.

“Rose, just turn it on and start,” Jerome, the Great and Good speaks gently. “You can’t break it.”

“I will if I throw it out the window,” I mumble.

I didn’t throw it out the window because I was afraid of the Little Green Men who were watching me.

Buying a Laptop Together—Can this Marriage Survive?

Your laptop crashes.  Literally it hits the hard floor with a bang.  You find out that the hard drive can be transferred but, alas, the motherboard is dead.  You need a new laptop.

You go to a store, buy a new laptop, get help transferring your files from the old laptop, take your laptop home, do the quick start up, and go about the business of your life, with a sense of competence and peacefulness. Perhaps you whistle while you work.

I am not you. I am The Nothing Expert, and I never whistle when it comes to technology.

I snarl.

“I want to do this quickly,” I spit at my husband, Jerome the Great and Good. Jerome is an expert on buying anything and getting the most for his money. Unlike me, Jerome would never refer to the broken laptop’s Mother Board as the Mother-F—ker Board.

“I don’t want any hassles with this new laptop, ” I say. “ I want them to set everything up, teach me what I need to know, and let me hit the ground running.  Also, this time, I do not want to cry a lot and throw things.”

And so Jerome and I went forth and shopped; it seemed like forty days and forty nights. We went to Best Buy…to Staples….online …and then back to Staples and so on until we found the Store with the best price.

And finally we bought a laptop, and a service contract package, and a virus package, and a cloud package, and Microsoft Office 365 Package because now we were going to use Windows 8. The Store assured us that we would receive lots of help from them.

We met them. He was Bill, the Tech Guy, whose daily hours were something like 4 p.m. to 4:17 p.m.  For another hundred dollars, Bill was going to transfer all of the stuff from the old laptop to the new laptop and explain all of the new Windows stuff to us.

“Bill, when will I have my laptop loaded up and ready to go?” I asked. I wanted to add the word, “sweetie,” but I refrained.

“In a day or two,” said Bill.

Jerome and I were delighted that Bill could transfer files from our old laptop to our new one.  We left both laptops in Bill’s loving care. Jerry and I might have even left the Store holding hands.

The next day Bill did not come in to work. He was ill.

In the Store where we bought our laptop, there were many, many people who were proficient at selling laptops. There were no people, other than Bill, who were good at fixing laptops. And so, our eager new laptop sat right next to our sad old laptop, on their shelf, in the Store, untouched.

Then Bill had family trouble.

I stopped talking to Jerome, the Great and Good. I started using more bad words whenever the subject of the new laptop came up. Jerome put his head in his hands, and he was sad.

After an eternity, Bill came back. He handed over the new fully loaded laptop, and after spending about 51 seconds explaining its new features to us, he moved on to his other chores.

As Jerome drove me and our new laptop home, I swaddled it in my arms and cooed to it.  I promised to take care of it and not drop it on the floor, like I did to its predecessor.

I didn’t drop my new laptop.  All I did was try to use it.  Will this marriage survive? Is there any connection between motherboards and waterboards? Tune in to my next post.








On the Sidewalks of New York

As The Nothing Expert, I pride myself on doing nothing well. But sometimes doing nothing may be the wrong solution to life’s ethical dilemmas. This is a true story.

On the corner of East 34th. Street and Park Avenue in New York City, a very tired older lady walks to her bus stop. She worries that she might fall and break her hip, so she is careful where she places her feet. Thusly, just as she reaches her bus stop, she narrowly sidesteps a humungous pile of excrement lying in the middle of the sidewalk. The excrement was definitely deposited there by a very large mammal, perhaps an elephant.

The old lady’s bus always comes late, and, so she stands at her bus stop waiting, and watching. She is the only one standing still on the busy sidewalk, near the pile of excrement.

She can tell the tourists because they are all looking up at the Empire State Building and they wear white sneakers. She can tell the regulars because they are not looking up, nor are they looking at the ground.  Most are doing something with their phones which the old lady has never been able to master while walking, or even sitting. Some of the walkers are students from the nearby high schools, who are having fun, shoving, smacking, and smooching with each other. Some of the walkers are shoppers, laden with shopping bags. Some of the walkers are being helped by caregivers. Some of the walkers look mean and angry.

The older woman watches the walkers approaching the pile in the middle of the sidewalk. They do not see it. What is her duty (ahem) to them? Should she help? Or should she turn away? What would you do? What would you say?