Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Glaring Oversight

How could we?

It's outrageous that both of us forgot to mention another item that enhanced 2009.

Thank you crockpot! You have delivered tasty turkey and pleasing applesauce for oh so many. We plan to see plenty of you in 2010 as well.

Festivus, the Inaugural Event

Meeting someone for the first time at a party, you may wonder what their interests may be. If they told you, "I like to make sock puppets," you (wisely) might politely excuse yourself, quietly retrieve your coat from the guest bedroom, and head for the door.

This is just one of the many reasons I don't go to parties. Not that I'd run into this person, but that it turns out I AM this person. Or one of them. But the thing is, I didn't know I was one and I don't anticipate regularly making them.

When Trina told me that she had a "craft project" that we all just HAD to do, I was skeptical. My crafting skills don't go much beyond making little bird nests with play dough or winding plarn balls. To know so many crafty people is a little intimidating.

While we had planned to do the typical Festivus activities such as feats of strength and airing our grievances, these were kicked to the curb by all in attendance as we really got on a roll when the glitter and glue gun came out, along with the googly eyes of assorted sizes. You can imagine the mayhem, but everyone was polite.

And yes, that is Elvis, courtesy of Pat. Turns out crafting is for the rest of us too.

A Few of My Favorite Things

The highlights for me in '09 would look a lot like Sue's, minus some things that are strictly unique to Sue. And since we're having a lot of fun, but are not a couple (that would be on the list of catch phrases of '09), the line is getting blurry. So, I'd like to point out that the above photo exemplifies some of the delights of this past year. 2010 promises to have even more.

One thing that I am really happy about, but am unable to easily capture in a photo, is that The Office is now in syndication, and suddenly my evenings are filled with my fictional friends, to go along with my real ones. Michael Scott reminds me daily that I love being self-employed with no employees, and clients I can put in cages if they give me any crap. Wait, they give me crap no matter what, but that's what pays the bills.

But I digress.

Behold - Kool-aid pitcher (an addition courtesy of Sue's childhood, that I refer to as Kevin - see above regarding The Office), Sock Monkey cookie jar AND coffee mug, and, yes, that is the Downy Ball Almighty, liberating me from the tyranny of the rinse cycle forever!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009---The Year in Review

It's time for my second annual top ten list for 2009. Once again, the competition for best things/events/activities was fierce and it was dominated by weird stuff. All in all, a good year.

In alphabetical order, here they are:

1. Bitter Train---This blog has been great fun, even if it's only to entertain ourselves and one or two other people. It's a great way to scroll down memory lane and see all the funny things that have happened and I'm looking forward to more Bitter Train adventures in 2010.

2. Boggle---First there was the whole "actually, I'm pretty good at Boggle" conversation that caused us to register for the Boggle for Breast Cancer tournament (see previous post, sometime in November, I think). Then we had to find pink things to wear in order to get raffle tickets, buying "new" quiet Boggle, practicing (with help from Tap), and then the excitement of actually bringing home a trophy. All in all, $25 well spent. And, it was for a very worthy cause.

3. Dolley Madison---you may recall that last year one of the best things of the year was the fact that on Christmas Day my mother was able to drink apple juice. After months of not consuming any food or drink by mouth, this was a major breakthrough in her recovery. In January she went home and has been getting stronger ever since. In November she did a presentation for her DAR chapter where she portrayed Dolley Madison. She spent hours and hours reading and learning about Dolley and on the big day she did not disappoint. It was a very special day for me to see her doing so well, when less than a year before she'd been so incredibly ill.

4. Florida---As loyal followers of The Bitter Train know, Lynne and I went to Florida last March and had a wonderful time. In fact, just this morning we told Trina the story about two women who were directing traffic on the highway after a major accident. There were so many fun and funny things that happened to make that trip memorable...feel free to go back and re-live the fun with our posts from March.

5. Frankenmuth---Again, this trip appeared several times in this blog, but even that could not capture all the fun of the trip. Who knew you could pack so many laughs into 36 hours?

6. Halloween Bingo---What to do on a dreary October night? Why not drive around and make fun of yard decorations? Sure, we don't have all the glitz and glam of the big city, but I don't think there are too many people who can beat us for making our own fun.

7. Moving in with Lynne---This has been more fun than either of us expected...I'll be bold and speak for Lynne, too. From the morning that I put my early morning thoughts into categories to decorating the house with paper chains, it's been a ton of laughs. I'm even fond of a couple of the cats.

8. Nanowrimo---National Novel Writing Month---First, I'm just proud that I accomplished the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Second, it was really fun. I haven't done much writing in ages and so writing without editing was freeing. I felt like my creative juices were really flowing. I'd be driving along and ideas for my story would be spinning through my mind. Hopefully one of my top ten things for 2010 will be finishing (and selling...dare I say it?) my novel.

9. Pickle Day---Some guys at work invited me to watch a movie with them, but I told them "Sorry, but tomorrow is Pickle Day." (And, yes, they still invited me to watch with them the next time it was movie day.) Once again, Lynne, Pat, Brad and I loaded into Pat's trusty SUV for an interstate field trip. It did not disappoint. Actually, I think my favorite part was this guy:

Why yes, that is a young man in a Sweet Corn Costume.

10. Weddings---I attended two this year and both were very special. First, was the elegant wedding of my dear friend, Ellen. What a treat to see her looking so beautiful and to know how very happy she and James are together. The second wedding was fun, but also bittersweet. How is it possible that the little girl who was the flower girl when I got married is now a bride herself? Nonetheless, it was great fun to see so many family members and to see that Little Sarah has grown up and has such a happy life.

Pickles, men dressed as corn, a trophy and a first lady...I just hope 2010 can measure up.

P.S. I know I used the word "fun" way too much in this post...I can't help it, 2009 was lots of fun...Don't be jealousy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting Our Schtick On

Before she leaves the house, Julie often says, "I've got to get my stick on." That means she needs to put on lipstick before she heads out into society.

I don't have this problem. If I rummage around, I can probably locate two tubes of lipstick, both of which predate my move to Ada (which also means that I've moved them to four different homes. Fortunately, they're small.)

I don't think I'd be speaking out of turn if I said that Lynne and Pat have similar "stick issues", though to her credit, Lynne has been trying.

So, while we may not be too concerned about stick, we are always up for schtick, which is precisely what we got when Lynne found an article in the Lima News describing the food at bowling alleys around the area. Alley Cuisine was born.

Last Friday was our first foray into the bowling world. (Loyal followers know that we have a bowling ball in the flower bed near our front door, but that's just for showin' and not for throwin'.)

Our first stop on the Bitter Train Tour of Bowling Alleys was Westgate Lanes in Lima. I'm actually not sure of the name of the place because I tend to just get in the car and do what I'm told when we go on these little trips. Sure, I could ask Lynne, but it's 3 a.m.

The bowling alley had a nice atmosphere. It looked like it had recently been redecorated in a motif that was a cross between spray painted graffiti and a coloring book, but it worked. I'd expected to be eating at a beat up table near the lanes, but this place had an actual restaurant and our waitress was very nice. She was efficient, friendly and knowledgeable without being annoying and overeager. I give her eight pins.

Now for the main event...the food. We ordered four different items from the menu: a chicken and blue cheese Caesar salad; an appetizer combo that included onion straws, nachos and chili cheese fries; a small pizza; and the Triple Play which included two small sandwiches and sweet potato fries.

So yes, if you're keeping track, we had two types of french fried potatoes. It was Friday night and we were bitter. Get over it.

The chicken and blue cheese salad---as Pat said "We just got it because we felt guilty about all the unhealthy food" and it was a mistake. The only noteworthy thing about it was that the chicken was really dry, in fact it was so dry that Lynne mistook one of the croutons for the chicken. Of course, she also had a beer with her dinner. This item also lost points because it was served with packets of salad dressing rather. Rating: Gutter ball.

Next up was the appetizer combo with onion straws, nachos and chili cheese fries. I think it was called Taster's Trio. I thought it said "Tater Trio" which confused me since there was only one tater related item.

This item got a split. The onion straws were excellent...thin and crispy and they were served with a spicey ranch dressing that jazzed things up quite a bit (I also used it on my salad and on the little sandwich in the Triple Play). The nachos, despite the scarlet and gray chips, were pretty dull. The chili cheese fries had a chance to be good, but the fries were underdone and doughy inside. Next time, we'll just get the onion straws (and ride home with the windows open).

The pizza---a strike! This was right up our alley. The crust was thin. The sauce had a good flavor and the cheese combo had Pat stumped. I just thought it tasted good, but I don't have her Italian genes, though I do like their dressing.

And finally, the Triple Play. Wow. This was a direct hit on the head pin. It was two little sandwhiches plus sweet potato fries. The sandwiches were about like a White Castle burger except that instead of a tiny piece of meat with holes in it on dry bun, it was a nice sized piece of beef on a sweet Hawaiin roll, plus shredded pork and cole slaw (thus the name, Triple Play. We mistakenly believed it was called the Triple Play because there were three sandwiches, but when there were only two sandwiches but each with three ingredients, we figured it out. ) This sandwich was very tasty and it included two of the major meat groups---bovine and porcine.

The sweet potato fries were an added bonus---sort of like getting to roll a third ball in the tenth frame----they were fresh and crispy and had a great flavor.

If the three of us went again, I'd get two orders of the Triple Play (would that be a six pack?) so we could each have our own little sandwich and there'd be plenty of sweet potato fries. I'd also get the pizza again because it was good and because those sandwiches are sort of small and we'll need our strength if we decide to actually bowl. I'd skip the salad and the Tater Trio, though I'd consider getting the onion thingies, if only for the dipping sauce.

Until next time...keep your balls polished and don't let your palms get sweaty.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Accidental Runner

See that? That's me and Rachel. Rachel is my pal who when I told her I had run a half mile suggested we meet and do a run/walk workout. So we did. Then she said, "hey, let's try to find a 5k to do." So we did. This is in Delphos, where they had their first ever "Run Your Ice Off" 5k.

If people ever asked me, "Do you run?" (these were people who obviously didn't know me), I'd say, "Only if I'm being chased." Yuk, yuk. But Sue talked me into doing this run/walk thing this summer while out with the dogs. It basically was to speed up the dog walking. This Fall while she was working more, I kept up with the run/walking. Then, in early November, I decided to see just how far I could run. And that's how this all began.

And we finished - we did a 5k! It was with the run/walk technique and we finished in 35 minutes! Considering I've never ran ever, this was a big deal for me. Thanks to Rachel, for getting me out there. And Sue was our official cheerer-on. Of course, she almost missed our big finish since she was KNITTING in the warm CAR! (Did I mention it was 22 degrees?) In all fairness, she didn't know we'd be so zippy. And I'd like to say, we didn't stop at the bakery on the way home.

But we wanted to.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The One Good Thing From the 70's

Sue's Pandora station for 70's music doesn't seem to include The Ramones in her mix. I just was innocently washing my face and indeed, the BeeGees were singing something about a summer breeze. I fear Leo Sayer may be next. Really, "I Love You More Than I Can Say"?

But in all fairness, she has to put up with me not only dancing around the house to BNL, but also singing. Singing!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Earth, Wind and You're Fired

Admit've wondered, even if very quietly and only once or twice...if Lynne and I could really be roommates and if not, what would be the deal breaker.

I've wondered too. When I forgot to water her window boxes while she was gone this summer and it wasn't until she returned that I even noticed the dried up remains, I thought that might be a deal breaker, but Lynne was cool about it.

What about me parading around in my house dress (which makes her sooo jealous) and rollers (when it's not Halloween)? Maybe. It's sure scary.

I think the real potential deal breaker may be music. It appears that the soundtrack that gets my energy and my silly going enough to crank out my novel this month is a combination of bad 70s music. Right now it's Boogie Wonder Land by Earth Wind and Fire. A couple minutes ago it was Copacabana by Barry Manilow. For whatever reason, this music takes me back to my fun lovin' silly seventies mode and I can write a lot better and faster (which is the real key since I need 16.000+ words in the next week).

All well and good, except that Lynne is a bit younger, and bit (more than a bit) more musically cool than I am, so this is really pushing her to the limit. The other night she was soaking in the tub (doors closed) and she called out "Sue, is that Lionel Richie?" There was a bit of a screech to her voice that made the dogs in the kennel start to howl.

The good news----only another week to go and I have headphones.

Gotta go...The BeeGees are on and I need to write at least 3.000 words today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ode to a Bag Man

In this world, not to sound too cynical, there are very few things we can rely on to be steady, reliable and consistent. To be the same day in, day out. Even here in rural Ohio where change comes a bit more slowly than it does in the rest of the world, change still happens. Yesterday, one of the mainstays of life here in Ada retired.
For the last 40 years, Fred Evans has cheerfully bagged groceries and helped people to their cars at Ada's Community Market. Before there were scanners, before there was "paper or plastic", there was Fred. When I returned to Ada after a fifteen year hiatus, many things had changed, but I was heartened to see Fred still bagging groceries, still pleasant and cheerful.
Yesterday Fred retired. A steady crowd of Ada-ites made their way to the produce department to eat punch and cake, sign a guestbook, and wish Fred well.
P.S. I know I could have taken this in a whole different direction, but I'm feeling a bit melancholy this morning. Maybe it's hormones. Maybe I'm coming down from my punch and cake buzz.
P.P.S. Please feel free to send in caption suggestions for the photo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What We're Doing While Not Writing Toward 50,000 Words

The short answer is - eating. But what?

As usual, we've been surfing our favorite crockpot lady's blog. Yesterday's archived recipe was granola! We couldn't make it right away as the crockpot was busy with Black Eyed Pea Soup (it was so-so).

But today - granola!

And there it is! Sure, it got a little toasty (that's not why it's blurry), but it was yummy!

While washing dishes (see above regarding our eating), I began to think of variations on the granola theme - Autumn Mix, Christmas Jubilee - with appropriate seasonal mix-ins.

Then, I realized that I'm obsessed. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Words, Words, and More Words

But, I'll be putting up pictures to tell the stories about all the words we've been using lately.

First, there's this: Why, yes, that is a picture of Lynne and me with a trophy from the Boggle for Breast Cancer tournament. Third place. Not bad considering the fact that Lynne was looking for words while plotting to kill the dulcimer player. (See her post below). And I was writing words with puppy chow powdered sugar on my hands. Imagine how we might have done in optimal conditions.

So, that was the first very wordy event that we had. Some might say that most of our days are very wordy since we talk a lot but so far I've not found any place that will give a trophy for that.
And now we are both spending November participating in National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 unedited words of a novel between November 1 and November 30. It's really hard for me not to go back and edit, but I'm having fun just writing about whatever random thoughts come to my head for things for my characters to do. Lynne seems to be extra fired up about this because every morning when I go stumbling downstairs to make tea, she's already clacking away at her keyboard.

So, if we neglect The Bitter Train over the next couple of weeks, don't take it personally. And remember, you may end up in one (or both) of our novels. Do you want to end up as a snively minor character, or would you prefer to be a witty main character? Just something to remember, especially if you are baking cookies and wondering what to do with them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boggle for Breast Cancer

On our quest for Boggle Bragging rights, we endured many hardships. First, the confusion of finding our way into the parking garage. Then, our confusion of actually pulling the car into the parking space.

We were a bit flustered by the time we got into the registration line for the Boggle Tourny. With our "Swag Bag" of breast cancer paraphernalia in hand, we switched our focus to staking out our table.

Once we settled into a promising spot, we headed for the much bally-hooed snack bar (I always wanted to use that word). There were cookies of many types. There were chips. There even was a cool "energy mix" of peanuts and candy corn. There was turkey jerky. I had to try it. I nearly broke a tooth. Clearly it was a ruse to keep us from competing against the other 27 teams.

Returning to the Boggle arena, our ears were filled with the music of a dulcimer. And there around the corner, was a woman just hacking away at that thing. She really put the "dull" in dulcimer with her tune selection. This wouldn't have been too bad since I'm sure it was well intentioned sharing of her musical gifts. However, once the competition began, she played for us then as well. It was a bit distracting. At least to me. When I said something to Sue about it, she said, "there was music?" Yes, and not just the dulcimer, she had her mandolin and zither as well. At one point, in the midst of the 10 minute 6x6 challenge, she played "Turkey in the Straw." It was a moment reminiscent of prisoner torture by speed metal bands.

Look at her go! She's so fast it's a blur.

Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?

Some women awaken curled up next to their doting husbands. Other women wake up disoriented and wondering who the stranger next to her might be.

Me, I woke up spooning with Frank, which is some combination of doting and strange.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bingo Pat

Last week was tough for Pat. I won't go into details, but it was clear that drastic measures (beyond a giant pickle) would be needed to get her out of her funk.

Enter Halloween Bingo. Bingo cards were created online. Optimistically, I made enough for all of us to play three games, but we barely finished one. Now...I thought we were playing traditional across, up and down or diagonal bingo...but Pat pushed for the coverall, hence the need for only one card.

Lynne bravely volunteered to drive. Pat managed both her card and Lynne's. Brad and I just sat in the back seat with giant pens. That's not code.

Sadly, Halloween decorations seem to be down this year. Or maybe we bingo'd prematurely. That's happened to me before and boy is it embarrassing.

Anyway, we drove around Alger and Ada scanning the streets for orange lights or other indicators of Halloween decorations.

"To the left" we shouted and Lynne executed a perfect three point turn and off we went. We stopped in front of the decorated houses and started calling out the scene: "Happy Jack O'Lantern" "Pumpkin totem pole" "Graveyard".

Then we gleefully marked the boxes on our bingo cards. Pat of course manned both hers and Lynne's. Who says a parochial school education is worthless?

We took a break midway through for Brad and Lynne to chase kittens. Again, not code.

We exhausted the lawns of Alger and Ada, but still no winner emerged. I needed a Mummy and a couple other things. Brad was in search of a dracula. All Pat needed was a spider made from lawn bags...but no luck.

Finally, worn out from the excitement, we decided that whoever had the most was the winner...and here she is (yes, I did make that hat for the winner. Remember, I'm the crafty one.)

Bingo Pat!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When Left to Her Own Devices...

Lynne has, could or is likely to...

...superglue her fingers together in an attempt to re-adhere the truck's rear view mirror to the windshield. At no time would the cats be helpful in this scenario.

....paced the aisle of a local grocery store for five minutes as she agonized over purchasing instant Jell-o pudding or Swiss Miss pre-made (she bought neither).

...listen to hours upon hours of bad radio dramas.

...become obsessive with the crockpot and crockpot blog, which has resulted in a freezer full of homemade tomato soup (see previous post on garden bounty) and homemade applesauce from reject apples cast off from the neighbor's orchard (and you thought there were only cornfields around here). a reference point for directions on how to get to the local junk yard (and you thought there were only cornfields around here). Passing motorists know to "ask that lady in the pumpkin hat walkin' all them dogs."

...wear a pumpkin hat too much (could there be such a thing?)

...send a book of devotionals and a tomato to a man in an effort to flirt (see future updated post of "Why are we still single?")

Could it be the pumpkin hat?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Zumba and Other Group Activities

Zumba, for those of you don't know, is an aerobic fitness program designed by some dudes in Miami. Or at least that's what Wikipedia tells us. A combination of Latin and other international music, it's draw is loud music with irregular dance steps. It also involves lots of jiggling.

When the music orders, "Shake that thing!" the wrong things on me are shaking. Some moves involve serious hip thrusting, which I have not mastered an I'm on the fence as to whether I want to. As Rachel said, "I don't know whether to just move what I can or just go for it." I compensate with lots of head bopping. My favorite move is the daring Shirley Feeney come-hither-my-Carmine.

Still, we keep up, and there's now a respectable contingent of over 40 somethings (and even a 30 something) keeping up with the 20 somethings.

I have two goals zumba work out. The first is don't flail too much and hurt a fellow zumba-er. The other is don't fall down. Most of the time, it's mission accomplished.

During our most recent zumba workout, a thought occurred to me, "zumba is like marching band." Let me explain. I knew a guy who gathered with his high school buddies each Thanksgiving morning and had a "Turkey Bowl" of tossing around the pigskin like old times. Nearly every activity can be continued in some form beyond high school and college. Even former yearbook editors continue their interests of layout, design, and posting photos of all their popular favorite people on such things as, say, Facebook (not bitter, nope).

And then there's marching band. Who gets all their marching band buddies together, finds a field, and they spell out "Ohio" or weave intricate patterns as the trombones play? If you were in the Marching Band, your glory days have been left on the field like so much stale popcorn.

And so it is with zumba. It is a group activity that could be repeated at fraternity parties and night clubs only if you are with your fellow zumba-ers. Don't worry, I will not be among them. Which reminds me, I do not know any of those people in that picture.

Now I want popcorn.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cabbage Soup Results

September 12th. That's the day we began. That was week one. We took a four day break and then dived right into week two. Let's say both of us are happy with the results with a combined weight loss close to 20 pounds. And seriously, neither of us smell, nor does our house smell like Russia, as some have alleged.

This is the time of the year to do this diet - every yummy vegetable is fresh. And as you see above, a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes made snacking much easier.

Inspiring many, we are now both knowledgeable Cabbage Soup Czars. I mean, it's hip to be a czar these days and we wanted a piece of the Czar action.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Housedresses Take Two

Today dawned with so much promise. We were going in search of housedresses. Ok, we had to go out anyway because tomorrow is Bananas and Skim Milk Day for the cabbage soup diet (yet another exciting, promise-filled day).

We went to K-mart, expecting a decent selection. No go. There was approximately ten dresses, one with sleeves, the rest labeled "dusters." One was a medium. All were in frightful colors, prints or florals. We were disappointed. We didn't even buy our bananas or skim milk there.

Goodwill was our next stop. Nothing. There were scrubs, which may be some sort of transitional leisure wear/uniform in some circles. But, it didn't entirely fill the spirit of the housedress. Nothing at all. We now had Badwill, and no housedresses (and of course no bananas or skim milk here either).

After our stop at the grocery, we returned home with our heads hung low. However, there's still the internet. And that's where we found that lovely number, modeled by Edna.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Housedresses, Dusters, and Caftans

You heard me. Oh year. We're going there.

You know you want one. You just needed a safe place to admit your casual clothing fetish.

Well, we here at the Bitter Train are here to ablige. Come on, Sister, admit it. The idea of all that flowing fabric, sans waistband, makes you breathless.

Where did this sudden interest come from, you ask?
Like all my best ideas, it came to me in the tub.

After a leisurely afternoon soaking in the tub, (see previous posts on Mr. Bubble), the idea of binding my body with a waistband seemed contrary to the relaxation that the tub had offered. Perhaps it's my own fault for soaking for so long in the middle of the day. I didn't want to put on work or play clothes. Yet, it was too soon for pajamas. And frolicking about naked just creates too many awkward moments when you have not just a roommate, but numerous pets. You can see the dilemma and the appeal of the simple housedress. Just toss it on and get on with my day, or at least what was left of it. But no. I do not own any housedresses. Or patio dresses.
But look at this beauty. Can't you just see yourself sipping a fruity umbrella drink (or swilling a beer) while wearing it?

Sue and I swapped stories of housedresses, and when our mothers and/or other neighborhood ladies wore them. Then we wondered if we should go to K-mart and check their inventory. Expeditiously (I just wanted to use that word), Sue went on line to see what could be found.

Clearly, the choices and finer points of fashion wear was vast. Questions remain for me as I am unable to determine the differences between the housedress and housecoat (is it buttons?), caftans and dusters (is it the length? the flutter sleeves?), and just how did the "cobbler" go from shoeing horses in the barn to the kitchen? Why do product descriptions include words such as "ample" and "roomy?" And what is a snapdress? And America's Next Top Model has never featured any contestant actually wearing a "models coat" (although they've worn just about everything but).

Fashion Historians - help! Where did the housedress come from? The affluence of the 50's? More importantly, where did they go? Will they be permanently unseated by robes? Is the term "lounger" a bridge word from housedress to robe?

Further research reveals that one may purchase housedresses from stores that end in "mart" or in questionable catalogs such as Carol Wright.

What is your housedress/housecoat/caftan/duster/cobbler/lounger story? Who wore them when you were growing up? Did you? Do you still have any? Do you have my address?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Yes, that is a Double Tomato

They don't call me "Sweet Maters" for nothin'!

Day Five - The Resolve Weakens...

It's true. Today I want to snack. On everything. The dog kibble doesn't even look that bad. It's Beef and Tomatoes Day, which, as you can sense, is not the same as Bananas and Skim Milk Day. We even were daring and substituted turkey for beef, then got totally edgy and had eggs. I had three. But I still cream...oh, help me.
I had some dried cherries and raisins. I cheated, and maybe I won't feel good in the morning, but darn it, it felt GREAT when I was doing it. Wait, am I still talking about food?

As for the Cabbage Soup Diet in general, Sue made an excellent observation. It is best to do this in the Fall (or "Autumn" for you fancy folks), when cabbage, carrots and tomatoes are at their best. And to update an earlier post on "how will my garden grow," it was wild with tomatoes. Although, we're both guilty of heading out to the garden and munching on cherry tomoatoes, somewhat frantically. It's a good thing I didn't plant cabbages because it would have been embarrassing to be seen grazing on those.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And then the Toilet Broke...

It's Day 4.

Sue came downstairs this morning and announced, possibly deliriously, "It's Banana Day!"

How can you not be excited about that? And more accurately, it's Banana AND Skim milk day. Frankly, we've been looking forward to it.

However, our excitement has been tempered by the downstairs toilet being out of commission. Fortunately, there is still one upstairs, although you have to occassionally jiggle the handle of it. But I digress....

Here's what we've noticed so far:

Yes, weight does come off very quickly and that bloaty feeling is greatly diminshed. We both suspect this is why some have reported an increase in libido. If you don't feel like a bloated cow, you may start feeling a little frisky.

It also may be that if you are doing the cabbage soup diet, you probably are at the age of pre-menopause and your hormones are doing a number on you anyway. It's hard to know where one leaves off and the other begins.

If there has been an increase in phermones that would attract men to our door, it hasn't happened here. Even the painter has stayed away. Maybe that has something to do with those other reports about gasseousness. Honestly, it didn't seem that bad...and wasn't that the dogs anyway?

Our experiences that have not been reported on line by others:

I can't speak for Sue, but I've been on a few good rants the last few days. It all started with a kennel client bringing their "chi-weenie" for me to watch (that would be a chihuahua-dachshund mix). After, I went on a tear about these "boutique" breeds that are generated by puppy mills and where do people get off thinking they are a breed at all and....but I digress again.

Loss of concentration. That has been a big one.

But, it's Banana Day!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cabbage Soup Diet....Day 1.5

Remember a few weeks ago when I said that I'd been saying to guests: "Look at my ass. We've been working out."? Well, those days are long gone and if anyone is checking out the caboose on this bitter train they might be tempted to put a "wide load" sign on it.

Ever the optimists, Lynne and I started the cabbage soup diet yesterday. I've done this diet before, but Lynne is a rookie. Yes, just another item to add to the "Fun things Sue's brought to my life" list. [I see another blog topic...]

Friday we cut up all the stuff for the soup and put it in the crockpot. Wisely, we put the crockpot in Blind Bob's so the aroma of cooking cabbage wouldn't permeate the house (we really are working to reduce the list of reasons why we're still single).

Saturday was day one---all the cabbage soup and fruit you can stand to eat. We survived just fine and this morning we both weighed less than yesterday morning.

Day Two--soup plus veggies and for dinner...baked potato with butter. We went for a long walk this afternoon and talked about how we were both feeling pretty good and weren't sure if we really felt the need to have the potatoes. But, by the time the walk was over, taters sounded pretty good, so off to Skyline I went. Potatoes. Plain. It seemed wrong. But...


And I still have half of mine. I'm keeping a close eye on Lynne. She covets my tater (as do many others).

I did a bit of research on The Cabbage Soup Diet and I found some information that seemed interesting, somewhat disturbing and potentially conflicting.

From Wikipedia: Some claim that after 2+ weeks on the original diet, or especially the Sacred Heart variant, a substantial increase in ones libido is coupled with an overall increase in energy levels. Rumors of an increase in production of pheromones which attract the opposite sex are, as yet, scientifically unsubstantiated. However there is evidence that a diet high in vegetables and low in processed sugars can significantly improve ones libido and general health.

Other sites report that many complain that this diet causes them to be very "gassy".

Which raises the question---can flatulence and a raging libido work together or are they mutually exclusive?

Stay tuned for first hand reports from the field...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thanks Pat!

Yeah, we're bitter. And frankly, we could use a good pickle.
And that's where our friend Pat came to the rescue.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breaker Breaker 1 9

I know I haven't blogged in a few weeks. There just wasn't anything that seemed blog-worthy. Until today.

Lynne and Julie are on their way back from Florida. Pat is off visiting the largest ball of string or some similar roadside attraction. It occurred to me that since everyone is on the road (except me) that we need handles, just like during the CB Era. And frankly, why not just bring back the CB?

Seriously, can "ttfn" (text lingo for ta ta for now) really substitute for "catch you on the flip side"?

Or "where r u" vs. "what's your 20?"

Has text messaging or the cell phone generated any classic songs that can compare to "Teddy Bear" or "Convoy"? Nooo.

I even think there's a movie based on CB radios, but I can't remember the name. (Brian, help me out here...)

So, we've been working on our handles (that's CB talk for names). Julie is Jugs. Lynne is Sweet Tomatoes. Pat is Pill Pusher. I'm going with Code Talker.

[As an aside, I will admit that all these names get complicated. First, there's my actual name (plus all the variations due to multiple marriages) then there's my stripper name (Sugar in the Raw) and my rock band name (Rena Grand and the Purple Velvet Chokers). And now my CB handle.]

I say, bring back the CB radio. Good Buddy. Over.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

$1.50 Well Spent

Winter in Ohio, particularly Northwest

The wind howls. The sun, if it comes out at all, is gone by 5 pm.

I won't even mention the snow.

But, for those brave souls who survive the snow in winter, the mud of spring and then the humidity and mosquitos of the summer, there is a pay off:

And yes, I ate all three...

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Razor, My Hero

If you were a betting man, which razor would you put your money on to effectively shave my legs? Sure, that sleek fancy number has its appeal. But, strong and steady wins the race and the trusty plain blue Bic did all the heavy lifting itself. And just how heavy was it? Let's put it this way, I think I stopped shaving my legs after I moved into my home. That was 1995. I asked my husband, "hey, I hate shaving my legs. Mind if I quit?" He said no and that was that.

I don't want to cave to peer pressure, but it's true that there is some appeal to the opposite sex of a smooth leg. Perhaps it appears I've sold out to The Man. And I'm ok with that. I mean, have you seen The Man? He's cute.

And after your done checking out Sue's ass, check out my gams (blurry as they are).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It Is Mysterious

Here's a question that we at The Bitter Train often ask ourselves (we're smart enough not to ask it of others): "Why are we still single?"

I mean, look at Lynne (pretend you don't see the sock monkey peeking out of her shirt). She's cute. And look how happy she is. might also want to disregard the plarn bag on her shoulder. But other than those two "accessory issues", she's quite a catch. Yet, she remains single.

And here's a picture of me. Sure, I'm with a man (ok, he's also a relative, so I can see where that's potentially problematic) wearing a kilt and a baseball hat and I'm carrying a sophisticated evening clutch made from video tape, but again, accessories notwithstanding, a guy could do a lot worse. Couldn't he?

In an effort to solve this mystery, I've decided to try to look at Lynne and myself as an outsider would. What would they see? What would they hear? Here's a short list:

Conversation from last night:
Me: Hey, is that ham on your leg?
Lynne: Why yes, as a matter of fact, it is.

In her defense, she didn't know it was there and it had been a hectic day (any day that includes ham usually is). And, once the fact that there was ham sticking to her leg was pointed out, Lynne promptly removed it (and no, she did not eat it). Frankly, I think this, like the items mentioned above, is really more of an accessory issue.

Another conversation:
Lynne: Sue, why do you always want to run the vacuum cleaner when it's cleaning day?
Sue: I'm fascinated by the quantities of pet hair. Last time I had to empty the cannister three times.

Sue's comments to most recent visitors: "Hey, we've been running. Look at my ass. Doesn't it look great? Really, check it out."

At the big July 4th celebration (held on the 3rd) the major entertainment was children throwing pieces of a watermelon at each other...and then retrieving the pieces from the pond and throwing them again...and again.

What about the warm greeting that most visitors get? There are three dogs barking at them and, if they are lucky, or just have slow reflexes, chances are that Tillie will give them a nice goose. We're friendly. What's wrong with that?

Ok, so once you're inside, maybe it's a little freaky, but why hasn't anyone even come to the front door? Is it possible that the fact that there is a bowling ball in the flower bed is a deterrent to suitors? I thought men liked bowling.
And finally, there's Lynne's touching tribute to Farrah's classic pose combined with Michael Jasckson's 70's fashion savvy. How many women can top this?

It seems like all the clues are there, yet I just can't figure it out. Maybe our loyal fan(s) can help solve the mystery.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sometimes I Just Feel Like Going to the Zoo

The sights, smells and sounds of a zoo are truly stimulating. However, it's not supposed to extend too far to humans. But on a recent visit to the Columbus Zoo, humans far surpassed the featured animals.

Scene One: Wild Geese Exhibit

Three large birds picking at the grass in their enclosure. Around them, feathers everywhere. Was there a fourth bird? "Something bad must have happened here," I said. Trina reasoned they were molting. I like my story better.

Scene Two: The Moose Exhibit

As Trina and I gazed at the peaceful moose, a woman (with whom we'd made no eye contact) turned around and said, "moose burgers are delicious." "Oh, really?" I wondered if perhaps they were giving away samples somewhere and we'd missed them. Would they be giving samples of all the zoo animals? The woman added (still unsolicited), "they are a bit salty." OH, thank goodness my blood pressure will prevent me from having one.

Scene Three: The Entry Gate

Just days before our visit, the zoo's director died unexpectedly. The staff were wearing ribbons and buttons in his memory. "Sorry to hear about your director" became a popular catch phrase. Ok, only with me.

Scene Four: Women's Public Restroom

As I entered a stall, I heard some of the most tender words of love between parent and child from the stall next to me. "Honey, just pinch it off and let's go." Good thing I was near some tissues to dab my tear-filled eyes.

Scene Five: Elephant Exhibit

"Look, Dad, that's a boy!"
This was painfully clear to all of us. And it was understandable when the next sign we saw for the "Pallas Cat" was mispronounced as "Phallus Cat."

Scene Six: The Flamingos
Overheard, "And you think they look tacky when someone sticks them in their front yards."

That seemed a little harsh.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Year Is It?

Sure, it's 2009. You may even know it's the Year of the Ox.

But for our pal Pat, it's The Year of the Sandwich. As of this writing, there are no commemorative t-shirts to be purchased. The Conductor recently sat down with Pat to see how the Year is going. The interview took place at Findlay's Main Street Deli.

Editor's Note: The Conductor has memory problems and may have, in fact, made some of this stuff up.

Conductor: You're mid-way through the Year of the Sandwich. How would you say it's going?

Pat: It really hasn't cut the mustard. I've been really busy. I'm spread pretty thin.

Conductor: So to speak. What's your favorite so far?

Pat: Could you be more specific?

Conductor: Ummm..maybe...

Pat: Do you mean meat or non-meat?

Conductor: Wow, this is really complicated.

Pat: Could you hand me another napkin?

Conductor: Sure, here. Ok, what's the best meat you've had. I cannot believe I just said that.

Pat: Are you blushing? The award has to go to a stellar reuben I had in San Antonio. It was at this great deli. The corned beef was warm, thick and not too salty.

Conductor: Yeah, I am blushing. That sandwich you're working on now looks pretty darn good.

Pat: This? It's the 8-21 and it is a close second, I must say. It's pastrami, turkey, green pepper with a thin layer of dijon mustard. I chose black bread, which was a fine choice, I must say. Hey, give me that back!

Conductor: Mmrnnmen nrgh gerd.

Pat: I know it's good but I'd like to eat the whole thing!

Conductor: Sorry. Could I have another napkin? Let's move onto the non-meat category.

Pat: Mmerreghgh....ggerrrnnrgh.

Conductor: Hey! That's my tuna reuben!

Pat: And a darn good one. Unfortunately, it's not a contender. Now where were we? The non-meat? Hey, put down that knife! Really - aahhhhh!!!

Editor's Note: the rest of the interview is illegible due to what (we hope) was a smear of ketchup.

Another Candidate for the Bitter Hall of Fame

Sure, we say we're bitter. But we know it. We joke about it. Most importantly, we're bitter and fun.

Kate Gosselin.

Really bitter. Really not fun.

While not a fan of the show, inevitably images and headlines forced me to be aware of them during grocery store check-out lines.

May I suggest that if one would plot on a graph the rise and fall of the Gosselin marriage, then plot the weirdness of Kate's hairstyles the lines are the identical!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Weekend---A Photo Essay

Plarn goes first class.

Sexy shoes for Magaret and me. Wow, my feet sure are big.

Margaret---feeling no pain.

The Bride and Me. Isn't she beautiful?
P.S. How sexy is my necklace?

As if marrying Ellen wasn't enough---James becomes an honorary member of the class of '84. How can any man stand the excitement?

We look just like we did when we were roomies!
I don't even remember what this was about, but whatever it was, it sure was funny. I didn't really use my stash of tissues during the wedding ceremony, but I had to dig a couple out of my purse after this episode to dab my eyes.
Off to bed for me.