Monday, March 29, 2010

Fecal Matters

....or, why I should tell that Little Susie Sunshine volunteer in my head to shut the hell up once in a while.

It started innocently enough. Himself forwarded me an email from the Director of Religious Education at our church.

"Our confirmation luncheon is coming up next Saturday...and we need your help!" What followed was a laundry list of food items and dessert requests. What the heck, I thought, I can bang out a batch of cookies. I thought of the cookie press, usually hauled out for Christmas only. I seemed to remember that there was a butterfly disc in the kit. I imagined myself baking a batch of brightly colored, spring celebratin', Easter-y Resurrection-y cookies. Wouldn't that be just swell. I answered the email and put myself down for what would, no doubt, be a triumph of religious-themed bakery.

I knew there was a grid on the back of the food coloring box that indicated how many drops made all sorts of fancy colors. Aztec Blue! Peach! Ooooh! PURPLE! Yes, I thought, purple butterflies are just the thing. I mixed up the batter and dutifully counted drops.

I mixed.

And mixed.

And mixed. And then figured, what the heck, its a big batch of batter. So I carefully added the proportions again.

I need to pause and mention here that I satisfied my one obligatory art credit in college with basketweaving. My basketry was heavily subsidized with surreptitious application of hot glue. I never had to grapple with the subtleties of color-mixing. Otherwise I might have suspected that blue and red food coloring in cookie dough that is already pretty yellow from the addition of THREE STICKS OF BUTTER makes this:

Mmmm. Tasty.
The dough was starting to get a little loose. This did not contribute in any kind of positive way to the overall appeal. (Anyone who has a cookie press knows this is why you spend the better part of this particular phase of Christmas cookie preparation engaging equal parts Arbor Mist consumption and profanity that would make the most jaded teenagers blush.)

But I was tired. I figured my opinion on the matter was tainted. So I asked Himself. He came into the kitchen and said, "Oh my God, you can't send those to church. They look like poop." He was not using a scatological term to suggest that they were 'not up to snuff' or 'looked somewhat untidy'. He MEANT it.

"Nonsense, I replied, they'll be okay once I bake them."

Nope, even baked they held on to a shade somewhere between taupe and proctology sample. At best they looked as though they were lovingly fashioned out of liverwurst. I especially like how the unincorporated blue food coloring makes some of them appear as though they have veins AND poor circulation. Now there's something you want crumbling into your tea.

APPARENTLY the color chart on the back of the box is for EASTER EGG DYING. Who knew. So the cookies went in a big ziplock bag, which sits in our kitchen. I suggested to Himself that he can eat them in the dark, where in the glow of the television they don't look quite so meaty and menacing.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Up for Grabs

ELMIRA-- In this curious bit of joint marketing, the Throwdown of Throwdowns is advertised.

My money's on the Handsome Fella on the left. The one with the wavy hair and the borderline-biker beard. The other dude's a little, well, Beelze-bubbly for my tastes.

I like the second line. "Who's gonna get it?" Though I note a distressing lack of a phone number or a website. You know, for people who don't know how to cast their vote for Biker Jesus or Pointy Headed Red Guy Fawkes Mask ...Guy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yeah....its been like that. Bits of this stuck inside of bits of that....I drive and noodle around with ideas and look for fun stuff and wait for the magic to happen so I can come home and drop a fully formed blog post on ya. Sometimes its just that easy.

This seems to be one of those weeks where it isn't.

Ambulance duty has been quiet. Pop culture is leaving me cold. I never rant about health care or wars or TLC programs about people who procreate like its some sort of contest, so that's out. I'm trying to be a better housekeeper. My cat continues his romance with the feral female who occasionally sits on our front porch railing. (They mostly just stare at each other. He has neither the outside privileges nor the block and tackle to take it any further.)

My mad skillz as a weirdness magnet have not relented; I stopped in a grocery store a couple of days ago for a cup of coffee, having discovered after several failed attempts at actual service at the town's only restaurant (a McDonalds staffed by surly, indifferent youtes. How many times do you walk out of a Mc D's with no food before you give up on it entirely? The answer is three.) that the Tops just across the street had a Tim Horton's in it. The ride back to the office from there is sixty miles of poverty-line architecture and the occasional dump truck so a mid-afternoon bump is absolutely necessary to keep from having to pick bits of guardrail out of my front end. I was on the way out of the store with my cup of coffee and one snack item when I was confronted.

"HEY! Zis your cart?" he said, gesturing to a cart left in the middle of the aisle.
"No...I don't have a cart....just a coffee,"
"Well its in the way! Someone's going to trip over it!" He says this while angrily trying to drag it laterally to one side instead of, you know, rolling it. On the wheels.
"Its NOT MINE." I say, feeling antagonized at being yelled at for no reason. I'm really starting to think someone needs to test the water out there in the 814.
"Its IN the WAY!!"

At this point I seriously considered kicking him in the shins. I know that isn't a particularly kind response but being yelled at by a gap toothed yokel before I had even the first slurpy too-hot sip of my coffee was too much.

The weirdness isn't always confrontational; I was having a perfectly genteel cup of tea and a biscotti with a customer who, after knowing me about 11 minutes, was sufficiently comfortable with me to relate, in startling detail, the skill with which her favorite (though sadly, deceased) natural practitioner used to administer colonics.

Most of my folks are relentlessly normal; people of the princess canopy bed and scrapbooking set. Treadmills and cute throw rugs. I only had one recently that made me feel like I was in preproduction for an episode of COPS.

It started out innocently enough. A perfectly cheerful fellow called me and said his girlfriend needed to move 'right away'. I fit him in my day without an issue, it was on the way home.
As I cruise the block looking for the house number, I see it. Oh no please no don't let that be....dammit. It IS the house. The front porch looks like a Very Special Episode of Hoarders. I pick my way through the dozen bags of trash on the curb. A small pathway exists from the front steps to the front door. On one side, it is banked up with plastic bags of clothes, lawn ornaments, old magazines, and a piano. The other side is primarily porno tapes.

Yes, VHS porno tapes. Perhaps the neighbors have some kind of 'take one leave one' lending library, I think to myself. I knock tentatively on the door. I hope no one is home. Someone IS home. He comes out and explains blearily that what is on the porch is 'all that's goin', because apparently, his wife has absconded with the gentleman who called me to make the appointment. He explains to me, while idly scratching the spiderweb tattoo on his elbow, that he's been awake for two days straight gathering up her worldlies and throwing them on the porch. On the plus side, she got the piano, all the gnomes and, apparently, the entire 'Hot Asians' series.

I tried to take a photo of a poster the other day in Syracuse advertising the 'Canastota Psychic Fair' because it had a date on it, but no times. I guess people just KNOW. (If you are just a fan and not an actual psychic the times ARE on the website. Now I'm paranoid that they know I'm mocking them.) At any rate I was 1) too far away and 2) at a traffic light driving through Downtown Sketchyville because Route 81 is closed at 690W thanks to some chucklehead who owns a building that is about to fall down (and possibly spill its buildingy bits all over 81) but who doesn't think he's responsible to demolish it. Because its historic.

Spring is coming, and I'm sure new adventures will ensue. I'm sorry I didn't have some profound musing on St. Patrick's Day. Ireland is the only context in which I can ever be accused of having Republican leanings so I tend to shy away from the subject lest I end up explaining Why I'll Never Be Invited to the White House.