Just bitchin'

Sweating in Seattle

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It has been the hottest July on record for my neck of the woods.

Those records have been kept since the late 1800s, so we in the Pacific Northwest find this newsworthy to the extent that it’s all we can discuss.

The heat.

The heat.

The heat.

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Seems only appropriate that I should join the steady stream of sweat-soaked Seattleites who populate our newscasts throughout our sweltering days and torpid nights. The newscasters whose smiles at the beginning, when they announced sunshine in the forecast, are now frozen in a rictus of confused denial.

You see, we can’t admit we don’t want all this heat and light. We like the rain. We adore clouds. We bow down to fog. This unprecedented string of solar showmanship is…is…unnatural. Yet we feel we should be appreciative and brave, telling each other how beee-oooo-tiful the weather is.

We’re afraid the rest of the world will realize our unofficial state flower is mildew. Or that most of us have never found the need to have air conditioning installed. Or that we’ve never had to water our lawns to keep them green. Or that we’re in danger of crisping ourselves like bacon during the short journey across a parking lot to our cars.

This weather is untoward.

It’s not us.

And it’s never clearer than when I drive into the city and it looks deserted.

We are all clustering around the few air conditioned venues we can find. The spacious walk-in beer and wine cooler at the QFC atop Queen Anne’s Hill…packed with teetotalers and imbibers alike. The downtown library swamped with first-time patrons who didn’t realize books still exist in the sea of tablets and Kindles. The few air-conditioned buses plying their routes over melting asphalt, their drivers wondering why no one is getting off.

This is my home.

And it’s hot.

And it’s all anyone can talk about anymore.

And there’s only one way out…

 

…ice cream.

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Just bitchin'

The Crack Life

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I have been living in a state of existence that is so pervasive, so ubiquitous, that I carry on under its influence in blissful ignorance. Can’t see the forest for the trees.

But that’s changing.

Awareness began to dawn when a tree fell in my yard. I scanned the local listings for tree removal and asked for an estimate. A burly representative came out the next day and surveyed the damage, shaking his head.

“Sorry, lady. The job isn’t big enough. Has to be a lot more to justify sending out a seven-man crew and all my equipment. Sorry.”

“Well, do you know anyone who’d be willing to come out and take care of it?”

“Honestly…no. Just one of those things that falls through the cracks, you know? Sorry.”

Hmmmm… I thought about it on and off, listening to the distant sound of chain saws as neighbors with more extensive needs enjoyed professional tree-removal service. I considered my position at the bottom of a crack as I gradually dismantled and dragged small increments of tree away over the next two weeks.

Then came the roof.

No big deal. Just needed an accumulation of pine needles blown off and the gutters cleaned. I’d do it myself, but I kept thinking of a friend who plummeted off of his, suffering permanent impairment. I contacted a reputable company and was told my job wasn’t big enough to be worth the time. Déjà vu.

The crack yawns wider; a dark jag hovering in my peripheral vision.

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I called another company. “Sure, we can do that. No job’s too small. I’ll be out tomorrow to give you an estimate.”

No one showed up. I called again. There was no record or memory of me or my roof. Another appointment was set.

Again, no one showed up.

I’ve decided to wait a while before trying again. Maybe summer is a busy time. Maybe falling through the cracks is a seasonal disorder. Yeah, that’s it. That’s what I keep telling myself.

Then came the mail delivery.

Or lack thereof. Days with not even a newspaper circular. Highly unusual. Beginning to feel suspicious and a little cracked myself, I called the local post office, just to check.

“Huh…that’s weird.” The employee in charge of my zip code sounded baffled. “Your mail’s here in a bundle. I don’t know why we’ve stopped delivering. Just kinda fell through the cracks, I guess. Sorry about that.”

The dark fragment encroaching on my life looms wider, emitting a sound that might be laughter. But…no…surely not.

Then came the doctor’s office.

A standard appointment made. No big deal. They usually call patients a day before as a reminder. No one called. So I got on the phone with them.

“I’m sorry…there’s nothing on the books. We don’t have any record of your appointment.”

I blanch.

The black jag on the periphery of my vision is spreading, widening, deepening. Turning from jag to full-fledged zig-zag.

When your address disappears. When the voice on the phone…isn’t. When you can’t find anyone willing to take your money in exchange for services…

…that’s when you look up and realize the sky has contracted to a ribbon of blue; it’s the view from the bottom. It’s all you can see…

This is the Crack Life.

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cooking, Just bitchin'

The Summer of Bacon

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It’s official. Bacon is epidemic in the U.S.

Just like obesity.

It is not inconceivable that the two are related.

I can blame my friend who drew my attention to the world of evening TV commercials for my new-found amazement and bacon-fueled outrage. If it weren’t for him, I would have remained blissfully ignorant, bouncing out of my chair for every commercial break to putter about with minor chores like dishwashing or reading mail.

But now I stare, saucer-eyed, at the endless parade of sizzling, fat-striped temptations.

Ahhhh, bacon…how do we eat thee? Let me count the ways:

First, one I’ve already mentioned in a former posting. The forerunner of the lick-a-pig deluge: Little Caesar’s deep dish bacon-wrapped crust pizza.

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Now, as body-conscious, swimsuit weather progresses, the advertising industry has kicked into overdrive, churning out competition in the category of The Most Grease-Bang For Your Buck. So, bow before the obesity-altar and welcome:

Wendy’s Baconator Fries. Like deep-fried potatoes aren’t bad enough, this little culinary artery-clogger boasts the traditional bad-boy French fries smothered with melted cheese and lots and lots of bacon.

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But wait! There’s more!

The Baconator fries are intended as accompaniment, a companion side-dish to…wait for it…the Baconator and/or the Son of Baconator!

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Now, it’s my understanding that the original Baconator was a double-pattied burger layered with cheese, topped with bacon. Son of Baconator goes Daddy-burger one better (or worse, depending on your desire to live healthier and longer). Sonny-boy has added additional bacon between layers that were previously bacon-less. Why? Because they’re there. Or, as the commercial touting the Carl Jr.’s and Hardee’s burger layered with a hotdog and potato chips reasons: ‘Because…AMERICA!’

Somewhere there are think tanks and brain-storming sessions devoted to the riddle of ‘where else can we inject fat in this dish?’

I despair for our national health.

The only thing I can say on the positive side is: faced with a choice between any one of these grease-monsters or a doughnut containing Ariana Grande’s spit…I’d have to choose the grease.

The world of fast food has become a very scary place.

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Saliva With Your Sprinkles

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Oh, dear.

Another silly celeb spouting stupidity.

Oh, dear.

So in case you haven’t heard, a minor celebrity named Ariana Grande went into a donut shop, bellied-up to the counter upon which rested a tray of the pastries…licked them…and turned away muttering how much she hates America. Then she stuffed a previously un-licked donut into her mouth. All in plain view and hearing of the shop’s surveillance camera.

Clearly, this woman will never be honored for her intellect.

There was and still is a huge outcry about her comments on hating the country that shelters her.

I honestly don’t care. Maybe I should. But I don’t. See…I’d have to respect her to care what comes out of her mouth. I don’t.

Oh, wait…I need to backtrack here.

I DO care tremendously about something that came out of her mouth. Saliva.

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She licked donuts that she had no intention of buying or eating. I hear she tells her fans she’s a vegan, but she did chow down on a non-vegan donut while in camera range…just not one of those she licked. The issue of lying to her fans about her diet doesn’t interest me in the least.

What I do care about is her complete lack of personal hygiene. I don’t care how low her IQ is; she should know not to trail her spit on other people’s food.

The woman herself has no relevance in most people’s lives, so her opinions are powerless. ISIS will not be recruiting her anytime soon, I’m sure.

And although there might be a pre-pubescent fan base somewhere who’d love to suck on her saliva, I doubt the donuts she defiled were meant for them.

So rude.

She’s made some bumbling attempts to apologize for her ‘I hate America’ statements, but not a word about her deplorable lack of manners and hygiene.

And now I have to amend my statement that Ms. Grande has no relevance in my life.

I will never look at donuts again without wondering if someone else’s DNA is lurking among the sprinkles…

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A Different Kind of 4th

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I live on the beach, so the 4th of July is usually a noisy, colorful celebration that sparkles across the night sky from sundown to midnight, with a few inebriated revelers lurching about until dawn, setting off the occasional Roman candle just to keep the rest of us on our toes.

Not so this year.

Extreme fire danger prompted authorities to ban fireworks.

Bans rarely enjoy unanimous compliance here. Especially on the 4th of July. I mean, in a country that treasures individual freedom above all else…a nation based on rebellion…you think we’re going to do as we’re told on the very holiday that honors revolution?

Naaaaah.

But this year was different.

The fireworks displays were fewer and farther between. Instead of sitting on my beach, feeling the ground reverberate, hearing my windows rattle, and keeping a hose handy for the vagrant sparks the wind would fan my way…instead of all that, I listened to quiet voices in the dark.

I listened to an elderly gentleman tell the story of the American Revolution to grandchildren who weren’t distracted by pyrotechnics.

I watched a young father raise his daughter to his shoulders and point out the dazzling constellations that glittered overhead in a crystal clear sky.

I heard someone whisper ‘We’re so lucky to live here.’

And I have to agree.

Happy Birthday, America.

Thank you for taking my people in, so I could call you ‘home.’

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