Friday, February 05, 2016

I suppose this will be funny one day

....or not. Probably not.

If you are getting email from me, it isn't from me. Bing received email yesterday from me, except it wasn't me. So, for now...I'm not sending out anything.

Received a virtual bouquet of flowers (forget me nots....ICK)....with a snide little note about cancer.

Have been signed up for magazines that I did not order. Magazines about cancer. Also, strangely, one about organic farming.

The blog seems better except that I seem to have no control over comments. But, just writing on it doesn't feel safe anymore. It feels....fingered.

We are keeping a sharp eye on everything. Bank accounts. All social media. I let Bing do all the talking with our techie nerd guys because I just get so creeped out if I hear too much.

I am spending my Winter days watching good movies, reading good books and writing copiously in notebooks and going in for last checkups. If I pass the final body scan in two weeks, I will be considered cancer free. But, the cost was great and I miss working. So...volunteering. This frees me up for those afternoon naps that I still seem to need. In my blood tests, I am dangerously low on Vitamin D and magnesium. So, taking these pills that look like they should be for horses, not humans....

Binge watching The Office again.



I finished this book days ago, but am still carrying it around because I need to keep the characters close to me:





I allow myself one movie per day to watch and have caught up on so many that I wanted to see but just didn't have the time:








And looking forward to meeting up with Daryl again.....



Basically, this is the new me:

"I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait here..."  (author unknown)

And thinking these hard thoughts:

"And yet, even as she spoke, she knew that she didn't wish to come back, not to stay, not to live. She loved the little yellow cottage more than she loved any place on earth, but she was through with it except in her memories."  Maud Hart Lovelace.

And last but not least, some food for thought for all of us:




Stay warm and safe out there.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sorry

Still workin' on it. Our nerd tech team tells me that "Wow, this dude is like...really obsessed not only with you, but with your whole family." No shit. Everything seems to be back to working okay except for some of my email and the blog. I sometimes get your emails to me on my iphone but never my laptop and then they fade away within a few minutes. And, I'm not even going into the worry about our bank accounts, etc. Ugh. Again, sorry. We'll see...

Friday, January 15, 2016

The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good: What a splendid time was had in New Orleans. I was not ready to leave, had to be pried away from that city with a crowbar. I enjoyed beautiful, mild weather. Coffee heaped with chicory. Beignets. So many beignets that I gained 7 pounds. Listening to the soft cadence of those New Orleans' voices lulled me to sleep night after night after night.

I saw this movie and saw Bing up on the big screen. Fell in love all over again.  Because, while bad boys and girls hold a strange fascination for me, I settled for the ultimate good person and have never regretted it. That smile. Good lord. That smile. Mo luaidh.


 
And that Gaelic music....like listening to my Da all over again.




The bad: back to reality. Alan Rickman died of cancer. To say that I adored Severus Snape is an understatement. I have this weakness for bad boys, yes. And he was the ultimate bad boy with a true blue heart. Those are the ones who take my heart and sail away with it. I had this strange pulling towards Snape in every one of Rowling's books and then, at the end, when he proved his bad-guy-is-really-a-good guy, I was almost giddy in love with him.



 More bad: Coming home to find that my blog, my email...ALL of  my social media had been hi-jacked. I didn't check once when I was away. Didn't use my phone. Didn't sneak a peek on Bing's lap top. I lapped up NOT having social media of any kind. And then came home to discover that, in my absence, someone had been having a rather meanly nice time. If you received an email from me in the past month, it WAS NOT ME. And some of you did, it seems. We hired our old geek squad to track everyone down and reset things, but I still feel....totally creeped out. Probably the usual suspect(s).....but....just....ICK. Things are still being tracked down.

This was my safe place to land at the end of the day and now it feels....unsafe again. I don't know that I will be able to write for a while. Have patience until I get my sea legs back, if ever. Not using social media was not difficult for me. It was kind of....freeing.

I had hoped for a better start to the new year. But...you get what you get and you deal. Hope your year is off on a better foot.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Change is as Good as a Rest

The older I get, the harder it is to travel. Well, physically. Mentally, I am always up for a journey. But, physically? No.

Tomorrow we leave for Louisiana. In the car. I've not been okayed to fly by my oncologist, so we decided to make a road trip of it. Bing, me, a dog and so many gifts that there is barely room for luggage. Liv will stay with a friend and join us when school gets out.

Bing has planned a very slow journey. Just about four to five hours a day. She worries of tiring me. I've been thinking of books lately, of journeys.

Wild by Strayed. Into the Wild by Krakauer. One was a journey that ended well, the other, not so much. And then there's Walden. Thoreau used to fascinate me until I did some research on his dance with nature and realized that having his sister visit with cookies twice a week was not really roughing it. The shine went off that halo.

We won't be roughing it at all. Staying in really nice hotels. When I mention to Bing that this feels like a journey that I need and that I wish I could be more like Cheryl Strayed, she snorts. Says that she has just one word for me: insulin.

She's right. I'd never make it on a rough journey. God help me if there ever is a zombie apocalypse.
But, I've been housebound for so long that I am hungry to be away. Someplace warmer. Someplace where I will have easy access to beignets and coffee that has more chicory in it than most people can stand.

I'm eager to go. The laptop is not coming with me. Bing, of course, will bring hers. I do not think I could pry that thing out of her hands if I tried. So, no...we will in no way, shape or form be roughing it.

And we don't travel well together as a rule, so there's that. But, maybe this time will be different. I like to stop and see art museums. I even like casinos. She cannot stand art museums and the last time we went to a casino she asked me if I enjoyed throwing my hard earned money down the drain. She likes anything with music. I may be okay with that. As long as it isn't jazz, which she adores. So, you see the problem.

Still, I plan to see it as a journey and if all goes as planned, I will be driving home alone and let Bing and Liv fly back together after the new year when school and work come back into play.

All of you have a lovely holiday and a good start to the new year.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Hey Good Lookin

I was sitting, minding my own business with the television on in the background and looked up when I heard a familiar song.

"Hey, good lookin'. Whatcha got cookin'? Hows about cookin' somethin' up with me?"

Hank Williams. Wow. I cannot remember the last time I thought of him. But, it all came back in a rush. My Da, coming in the kitchen laughing and twirling my Mother around as he sang to her about being good looking and wondering what she had cooking.

I think you had to be there.

Hard to imagine a man with an Irish brogue singing a country song, but that he did. And hearing that song, well....yes, it took me back.

I can't wait to see this:




Monday, December 07, 2015

Be Our Guest....

I know it must be frustrating for you to follow my blog and not be able to know what my family looks like, where we live. No, I'm not particularly shy. No, we aren't in the witness protection program.

Yes, I had/have a stalker. Long time readers of my blog know that I refer to this rat fink of a human as my pee butt stalker. She is the sole reason why I don't post photos of any kind on my blog unless they are pretty impersonal. The truth is...I was burned pretty badly by this....this...this...sad little person, otherwise known as the pee butt stalker. Once she made it clear to me that she knew exactly where I lived (she had the blueprints of what she thought was my home, actually it was a home that Bing and I own together and rent out, but still creepy as I did live in it briefly) and where Bing and I worked, I sort of snapped. She seemed irrationally jealous of Bing and after I did a bit of digging, I discovered that she is a very explosive, unstable sort of person and the thought of her watching me made me physically ill. I actually went to the police in my city, which was quite naive of me, it turns out. They can't do anything to her unless she physically threatens me or shows up on my property. They did agree to list her as a person of interest in case anything ever happened to me, but that was as far as they went.

So, not many pictures. I apologize. I assure you we are pretty normal looking, though. None of us are great beauties or famous or anything. We're just pretty ordinary. So....I thought that perhaps you would like to know about where I live. I know that when I read other blogs, I am often curious about where they live, so.....

Bing, Liv and I live in a very mature Victorian home in a very old, tree lined part of our city on the prairie. Prior to when I moved in with Liv, it had been built and maintained by one family. A wealthy banker had it built in 1917 for his new wife. He was a widower with several children and in his early 50's. His new bride was 22. Her name was Marjorie, called Madge. She was only 8 years older than his oldest child! They had 3 more children to add to their brood and also maintained a housekeeper/ nanny who lived in the attic. She was a 17 year old Irish immigrant. They also had a cook, two maids and a groundskeeper/mechanic/coal shoveler/jack of all trades who did not live in, but worked daily at the house. After the banker died and the children moved out (two were married in our back yard.), Madge stayed on with another housekeeper/caregiver. (The Irish girl, according to the children's reports, was incredibly homesick for Ireland and eventually married the man who delivered the coal...but her ghost still haunts our attic...more on that later....) After Madge died, one of the her daughters, a recent widow, moved back into the house and she stayed until her death. Both Madge and her daughter actually died in our bedroom, quite possibly in our bed. (After I moved in, I found a leftover sleigh bed, so old that it had no nails, only mahoghany planks that were so well fitted together with wooden boltings that it would last forever, in the basement. I bought a new mattress and box springs and put my old bed in the guest bedroom. ) And then the house remained empty for five years and was used as a place for relatives to stay when they visited. But, the house was not maintained well at all after Madge's death, so when I bought it in 2000, I got it for a song and it was the eyesore of the neighborhood.

If I knew how much it would cost to restore this Victorian beauty, I do not think I would have purchased it, to be frank. The house was offered AS IS. What I saw when I did a walk through, was a home that had once been beautiful, but was now shabby. I thought that paint would do the trick. Those of you who own or know about old homes are laughing now and I don't blame you one bit. What my unpracticed eye did not see was the fact that several windows were ready to fall out (one actually did fall out on 9/11), that the radiators would hiss, tick, and clang a lot in the Winter and that the boiler was temperamental. It also needed a new roof and the electricity needed to be completely rewired. What I saw were gorgeous oak floors throughout, heavy oak doors with glass door knobs and the absolute luxury that the house had SIX bathrooms. One on each floor with two on the main and second floors.  I am lucky in that the original copper plumbing is still in place in the house and so far, Bing has been able to placate the boiler.

And we have two ghosts. These ghosts were what made me decide to learn all about the history of the house. I was very lucky that one of the children who was raised in this house was still alive and he agreed to come to see the house and walk through it, telling me memories. When I told him about the sad crying that we sometimes heard in the attic, he immediately identified the housekeeper/nanny from Ireland, Siobhan.

"She was a sweet skinny thing," he said, in his 90 something year old voice. "But, she did pine for her Mama from Ireland. She often cried at night as she bathed. She seemed always a little sad, even after she left us to get married. We'd see her sometimes at the market, etc. and she always seemed so melancholy. I don't think she was able to have children either, so another grief."

I had pulled out the pictures that Bing and I had drawn of who we've come to call "the lady who warns." I saw her often, Bing only once. Liv, so far, has never seen her. She was usually wearing either a black dress with white frill at the throat or a slate blue dress with a ruffled bottom. She would pop up in a mirror behind me sometimes, or in Bing's case....when she went downstairs (naked) in the middle of the night to get a glass of milk and she saw her standing on the stairs that lead to our basement. (Bing dropped the milk glass on the counter and left the carton of milk there as well and came leaping into our bed, awakening me and whispering frantically that she was finally a believer and would NEVER make fun of me again about seeing her....) This ghost often held what looked to be horehound drops and would hold them out to me.

Finally, I put two and two together and realized that nearly every time I saw this ghost, Liv would get a cold in the next few days. I began to see that she was warning me of impending illness. Never my own. Never Bing's. But, for Liv.

I suspected that this was Marjorie or "Madge" as she was called. The second wife. In my diggings, I had found several photos of her and Bing and I both believed that it was this woman whom we saw. I was reluctant to speak of her to her son. I mean, who wants to know that their Mother is a ghost? But, I casually mentioned that we had another ghost who seemed to want to give me horehound candy and he immediately told me that his Mother had been very into herbals (as most women of the home were back then) and that she had always kept a jar of horehound pieces for the children to suck on when they had colds or sore throats.

"We weren't supposed to eat it as candy, so it was kept in a high jar in her "surgery" cabinet here in the kitchen, but we kids used to sneak it now and then. It was so tasty!" At this point he gestured to a small room off the kitchen that we now used as a pantry for canned goods.

Our visitor didn't seem upset at all that his Mother seemed to be reluctant to leave our home. He said that she had always loved this house and used to really love to give parties and ladies teas. He told us about the weddings in the back yard. It was she who designed the garden, although, he admitted, she seldom tended it. That was left to the gardener. He said that she had especially loved children and that her vegetable and herb gardens were very close to where mine were. He also said that she had always wanted to be a nurse, she had told her children once, but at that time you couldn't be a Mother, wife and nurse. So, she had chosen to marry instead but when anyone was sick in the neighborhood, that they came to her, because she was such a good nurse and her "surgery" was well stocked with herbs and tinctures and teas year round. She even stitched up wounds and once did some sort of surgery on an old woman's varicose veins! He said that the woman had been laid out right on their dining room table and that had disturbed their cook a great deal who insisted that it be sanitized with bleach before she would set the table for dinner that evening.

"It doesn't surprise me that my Mother would warn you of your child's illness. She probably wishes that you'd give her horehound for it!"

I didn't see Madge the ghost after that for a few months but when she did appear again, with the horehound, this time I was prepared. I thanked her for her warning and asked that she never show herself to my daughter. She was only 7 at the time and I feared that it would frighten her. To this day, she never has. Although I still see her sometimes, although not as often, to warn me when Liv is going to be ill. I had asked Liv's kunsi (paternal grandmother, a full blooded Lakota Indian) why she thought our ghost was appearing less and less. What she thought. She told me that maybe she has "one foot in the afterlife and one here. Maybe she is satisfied that her beloved home is being well cared for. OR...maybe it's because Liv is now a teenager. Teenagers are notoriously difficult for the spirits to deal with, they're such volatile little creatures." I had smiled at this. Liv doesn't seem to me to be especially volatile, but...then again....I don't see the inside of her mind, either. I still see Madge once or twice a year and Bing has not seen her since the time that we refer to as "that night with the milk."

But, we ALL have heard small cries from the attic, usually in the late evenings or when it is a rainy, dark day. Both Liv and I have gone up more than once, several times together and the crying immediately stops when we hit the landing to go around to the last four attic steps. I have gone to the middle of the room and implored Siobhan to find the light or to at least know that all will be well, that her Mother is on the other side (at this point I always feel a little sheepish...as an agnostic, I have no idea whether there even IS an other side or not....surely Siobhan knows about this more than I do!) All I know is that she has never appeared to any of us, just cries sometimes in the night. Tinton always picks the attic room to stay in when he visits. He loves the slanting ceilings and the small bathroom with no shower, only a small club foot tub. He says that he never hears crying or even feels a sadness, that sometimes he does feel watched but that it doesn't bother him, that it feels warm and sweet. Liv asked him once if he felt funny bathing or getting undressed and he replied, "Well, no. I think the spirit or whoever it is, is very polite and averts her gaze."

I suppose that the house is lucky that none of us (save for Bing who is a little creeped out) are the type to fear ghosts. I grew up in an old farmhouse and we had a cellar ghost who was more of a mischievous poltergeist. It never made noise, but did turn over bushel baskets of potatoes, onions, or apples, etc. Or we would go down to the cellar to get potatoes for dinner and see all the canned jars of peaches all turned on their sides or every other one upside down. My Mother or Da would just laugh and say that the far darrig had visited. Keep in mind that I grew up in a family that was rich in old Gaelic culture. My Da didn't tell stories of the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow but DID tell of Dullahans. These were headless horsemen who wandered the world. You were supposed to run inside and close up your shutters if you saw one in the distance or he would throw a bowl a blood on you! And after our gardens were set up, my parents always said a prayer to ask that God keep pookas from messing with the vegetables and making them taste bitter. My Mother used to say that she wished that she had her own private grogoch to help out in the kitchen or with housework. Supposedly, these were kind old fairies who loved housework. But, what I most recall is that every Midsummer's Eve, my parents would set out a few cupcakes (in our house, we called them "sweetcakes.") to thank the fairie, Sidhe for protecting the garden. The cupcakes were always gone the next morning. I expect that the barn cats had an especially flavorful night on Midsummer's Eve! Or....I don't know, who am I to say? Maybe Sidhe ate them. I don't say those prayers over my garden, the practical side of me just can't give in to it. But, that doesn't mean that a small part of me doesn't want to believe. I think that basically there is no harm in magical beliefs. I read the entire Harry Potter to Liv and we both loved every minute of it.

Enough for now. Next post, I will give you an inside tour of my old Victorian home. She has become real to me. I see her as very much a breathing, animate being, with her arms around Bing, Liv and me. Sheltering us.

I guess that perhaps some fairy dust from my ancestors still lingers in my Irish veins.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The one where a teenager tells me that I'm quaint and let me explain why I smell like Tim, our next door neighbor....

Preface: I am kind of a nut about using all natural products on my body. I've been this way since Liv was born and I was in the baby section of the grocery store and realized that I did not want to put all this shit on my child's skin.

So, I started making our own body wash, lotion, shampoo and even tried making toothpaste. The toothpaste was not well received (both Bing and Liv balked at using green tea to brush their teeth...), so I've stuck to the above. And, like baking, I am good at it.

I know, I know...how can I be a bad cook and a good baker? Well, it all has to do with the fact that with baking and making body products, you have a recipe to follow and BAM!, if you follow it to the letter, it always works. Now, cooking a dinner requires a different skill set. You have to juggle. You have to make SEVERAL different things and have them all get done at approximately the same time. I don't have this skill set unless we are talking about stew or soup in the crock pot or a casserole. Then, I just have to produce a loaf of french bread and I'm done.

No, baking is fun. You set out your ingredients and put them all together in a particular order and you end up with brownies or cookies or cake.

And I love making our own soap, body wash, lotion and shampoo for my family. I love setting aside all the needed ingredients and then producing something that actually works. I also make our window cleaner and wood polish.

I set aside time about three times a year to make soap. Most of my recipes I've either gleaned from the internet, friends who think like I do, or my Mother. I have some new ones from Liv's kunsi, her paternal grandmother, who is a full blooded Lakota Indian. She is famous for tea and we have an entire drawer devoted to various tea blends either sent to us by her or that I've made under her tutelage. She also sent me some pinon sap cream for my radiation burns that worked FAR better than the 30$ prescription cream that was ordered by my oncologist.

The only things that I enjoy doing more than making body products are reading, gardening,  and writing. But, I have to be in a certain mood to do this properly. I have to feel serene and calm. It's been a rough 2015. Moments of serenity and calm have been hard to come by, so on a few occasions I have been known to just give in and buy this:





But, frankly...MINE is better. IF you want to learn how to make body products with goat milk, be warned...it is time intensive. You also have to stock up on ingredients such as lye, beeswax, glycerin soap base, shea butter, essential oils, cocoa butter, coconut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, natural sea salt, sweet almond oil, vitamin E oil, honey,ground oats, palm oil, olive oil, and liquid castille. AND buy soap molds. AND have a good soap drying room. But, it is worth it to me. Bing finds this whole "natural product" thing sort of ironic with me because I am not the same about the foods that I eat. I am a type 1 diabetic, so I can't sit and eat a whole bag of double stuffed Oreos. If you do that, you would feel kind of bloaty. If I do that, I end up in the hospital in a diabetic coma. BUT...if I COULD eat a whole bag of double stuffed Oreos, I would. It is not lost on me that being diabetic may have actually saved my life. Because if I was not, I would be as big as a house. I ADORE food, but I especially adore JUNK food. The only reason we eat green and mostly vegetarian at my house is because I live with two very sensible eaters. Bing refuses to have processed food in our home and even when Liv was little, she would request carrot sticks to take to the park instead of animal crackers. So, I realize that I am a bit of a hypocrite. Still....I believe that using all natural products is just best. But, it does take work.

A good idea of how intensive it is?



And every year, instead of buying Christmas gifts for my friends, neighbors and family, I either make soap, lotion or both. And also include bottles of dried chives, sage, thyme, and rosemary from my herb garden, This all makes me sound kind of Betty Crocker, huh?

Can you hear me snickering? Because, right. Me? No. Now, you're snickering. I see you.

But, yesterday was the day for me. I put all my ingredients together in the kitchen and did what I always do: I put on Jimmy Dean's Christmas Album. This is a very hokey Christmas album but my Da loved it and my family always played it every year when we put up decorations.



So, of course, I listen to it every year as I work and usually end up bawling during "The Cowboy's Prayer" although I am about the least religious person you will ever meet. It just reminds me of my Da. And my sisters and my Mother in the kitchen, making soap or cookies or whatever.

Now, more preface....we have a caddycorner next door neighbor named Tim. He is married to Polly. They are both empty nesters. Tim used to help Bing a lot with household problems but his back went out a few years ago and now he is home on disability, so we don't ask for his help anymore. He still stops over now and again when he is out walking his dog, but not often. His dog, Emory....absolutely DETESTS Socks for some unknown reason. Emory is a very large collie. Socks is a smallish Scottish Terrier. Emory is like Donald Trump mixed with Hulk Hogan. Socks is an older Ernest Borgnine. One look at Socks and Emory starts straining on his leash and barking things out in dog speak that I imagine are things like, "I'm gonna knock every tooth out of your little square head, you little pip squeak! C'mon, bring it, nancy pants!" Socks always looks startled and unsure. Like he is just minding his own business, taking a little walk about and some thug on the street suddenly turns on him. Tim is always apologetic and says things like, "Gosh, I have no idea why Emory is doing that! He is so good with other dogs!" This always puts me on my guard, like...WHAT THE FUCK? What does THAT mean? Like Socks is just some strange phenomenon who incites fury for no reason at all. I personally think that there is something really wrong with Emory and that one day he will just lose it willy nilly and attack everyone in the house. But, I never say anything, just pick up Socks and hold him while daring Emory with my eyes to try something, the brute. And I will never share our family secret about Socks: he is a Scottish Terrier, so his breed has been bred for centuries to hunt vermin, but Socks is deathly afraid of mice. If a prowler tried to enter our house, Socks would bite his ankles viciously, but the first time he saw a mouse, he looked, at first bewildered and very puzzled and then carefully turned on his heel and shot out of the room like it was on fire. We don't speak of it in public. Like we don't talk about the fact that Bing HAS to color code ALL of the towels in our bathroom cabinet or that I often talk loudly and very prolifically in my sleep.


 Tim is otherwise a really nice man. A good looking one, too. He looks kind of like Kenny Rogers. He and his wife, Polly are my age and Polly is an executive secretary for a big insurance company. She is practically never home. Plus, Tim smells DIVINE. Whenever we would stop to talk to him, I would always comment to Bing later on that he smelled good enough to eat. Because I am married to a big mouth, she actually TOLD him that I loved the way that he smelled and one day when we were visiting when I took him some zucchini from my garden, he said, "Bing says you like my scent. It's Patchouli."

I just stood there blushing and smiling like I'd just been introduced to Adam Levine or something. But, later, I went home and yelled at Bing. Asked her WHY she felt it necessary to tell Tim that I loved the way he smelled! She shrugged. Thought about it.

"I dunno," she said. "I think we were talking about aftershave or something."

I had just stared at her. Why would she be talking about AFTERSHAVE? But, I let it go.

So, anyway...when I found out that I had cancer, Tim and Polly were so sweet. All during my chemo, they kept sending over these big crocks of soup that frankly turned my stomach, but Bing and Liv sure appreciated. And then one day, as I went to get the mail, I found this tiny wrapped box mixed in with the mail. It was a small vial of patchouli from Tim and Polly. The accompanying note said, "Girls can wear patchouli, too! Get well soon from your sweet smelling neighbors!"

The thing is....I like the smell on Tim. I don't particularly like it on me. But, I saved the vial and then as I made my lotions, I decided to make their lotion scented with patchouli oil. I mean, I had a whole vial of it. So, I went to work. I made lemon, grapefruit, Arabian rose, tangerine, almond, and vanilla lotion for everyone. And lastly, I went to add patchouli drops to Tim and Polly's lotion.

And managed to accidentally dump the ENTIRE bottle on my lap, hands, and kitchen counter because I am basically a klutz and should not be trusted with things like this. Okay. I found out something interesting about patchouli. IT PREVAILS. Even after practically scalding my hands and diligently changing my clothes and cleaning the counter, EVERYTHING reeked of patchouli. It was freezing cold out, but I turned on the kitchen fan, the fan on the stove and opened a window. Two hours later, I had to close the window or freeze, but the house (and me) still smelled strongly of patchouli. And a good bit got into their lotion, too....so they will only have to use a dime sized squirt of lotion to smell like a head shop all day. (Bing actually told me that this was why I probably liked the scent in the first place....that I was jonesin for my head shop days.)

Socks wisely went upstairs and pretended that he belonged to someone more coordinated. When Liv came home from school, she walked into the kitchen and said, "Why was Tim here?" I had just finished explaining when Bing came home. She asked the same question.

I am very lucky that Bing doesn't have a jealous bone in her body. Not only did the kitchen smell of patchouli, I smelled as if I had been rolling around naked in a bed with our neighbor. She commented that even my one inch of hair smelled of him.

"It'll fade....hopefully," she said. "Just take like a really long hot shower tonight, okay?" I agreed and offered to take us all out for pizza for dinner.

Later that evening, Liv and I put all the lotions, soaps and herb jars in little holiday bags for all of our neighbors and then I decided to take Socks out for his final evening walk and pass them all out to the neighbors. At least I knew I smelled really good.

I went from house to house, my ear buds in my ears, ipod in my right hand, bag of presents in the other. At the house down the street where our yard guy lives, a teenage girl answered the door. I smiled and bent to get her family's Christmas gift out.

She reached out and tapped my ipod.

"Is that......an ipod?" she asked, a little incredulously. I nodded. "Can I see it?" she asked. "I've never actually seen one..."

I complied, wondering what the big deal was.

The teenager gave a little giggle. "Wow. That is so.....quaint!" she said. And handed it back.

I felt like telling her to give back that present. But, of course, I didn't. I smiled politely and slunk away, my patchouli smell following me.

I could just see her telling her parents that Maria had stopped by with their Christmas gift. "Wow," she'd say, "That Maria is so.....quaint! She was listening to an ipod and wearing patchouli! She is so old school!"

When I got home, I trudged upstairs to find Liv studying. I showed her my ipod.

"Is this old fashioned?" I asked her.

She laughed, just a little. "What IS that? Wow. Is that an ipod? Hey, let me see that....."

I am now officially an old fogey. It has never occurred to me before that I am behind the times. I went down the steps to the living room to find Bing watching some sci fi show. I showed her my ipod.

"Is this a relic?" I asked her. "And if so, WHY didn't you tell me?"

She smiled and looked at my ipod, running it over in her hands like I'd handed her a fountain pen.

"Weeeellll, it's just that most of us now just download to our phones," she said, holding up hers.

Oh. Well, now. I plopped down next to her and took a bite from her bowl of ice cream. I thought about my clothes. My ipod. My speech.

Ok...screw it, I decided. What goes around, comes around. I have a few of my Mother's old dresses from the 40's that are now quite lovely. Eventually, ipods will be cool again. Or not. Technology is moving so damn fast. probably not.

Still. I'll keep my old dresses AND my ipod. I happen to like my little yellow ipod with nearly 3,000 songs on it.

And maybe I'll get myself some more patchouli and visit a local head shop and buy a bong or something.

SO THERE.