Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas From a Mess O' Monkeys

It's unclear how Sock Monkey Madness began on the Gold Coast.  Clearly, it was an epidemic that overflowed here, as it certainly did not begin here.

As memory serves, it had something to do with this:

The good thing is sock monkeys are highly photogenic.  They don't blink and are always smiling.

I should be so lucky.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ultimate Fun Friday Cake

Despite the 302 steps it took to make this cake, Darlene was up for the challenge (note:  none of those guys behind the cake are Darlene). 

This picture doesn't do that chocolate mousse justice.  Trust me - it was -

AH-MA-ZING with extra ZING!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Benefits of Self-Employment

Being self-employed is not for the weak of heart.  It is a lot of work and often it is unpredictable.  If you are self-employed and the sole employee, you do everything.  You're the Business Owner and the Janitor.  You get to go to the bank (and pay lots of taxes) and you do the lowliest of cleaning tasks.

But in general, I like pretending I am Corporate America.  I get to make all the decisions.  However, when I was down with the flu for two weeks solid, this was all rather unpleasant and challenging.

This time of the year is the best.  I can have my own office Christmas party.  I choose the menu.  I also get to eat everything all by myself.  There's no waiting for the karaoke machine and no booing at my terrible singing.  If I get really drunk and hit on the boss, it's still a compliment and I won't get fired.

Don't be jealousy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Cancel Your Vacation by Leaving Home

It wasn't that long ago I spent two months of two different winters by the beach.
Then it was 2012.
And I went nowhere (in oh so many ways).
Yes, in nearly two years, I've spent only one night away from my home on the Gold Coast.  Then, unexpectedly, the opportunity for me to escape for a couple of nights for some much needed rest arose. 

A simple plan was made, and vacation time began by going to a concert Sunday night in Columbus, then leaving for Indy the next morning.  Because of the time I'd be away, a neighbor came to let the dogs out.

Returning home about 11:30 and stepping out of the car, my nostrils were invaded by the stench of skunk.  This isn't too unusual in the country, and manages to permeate the house as well.  This time was no different, though it sure was strong inside too.

Dropping into bed exhausted (it was way past my bedtime), I woke up several times, noting the skunk smell still was strong.  The neighbor taking care of the dogs called me first thing in the morning.

When she let my dogs out, one ran straight for a skunk she probably had been watching for some time.  Guess which dog?
Of course it was Tilly. Foster would hardly have done that, even if he had his vision.  My poor neighbor took a direct hit from the skunk too, and she put the dogs back in the house and found her way home to bathe the scent off of her (and her truck).

That explained why the house still smelled terrible. 

Still, I was in denial, and proceeded with my vacation plans.  I even made it to the Indiana State line.  Then, I turned around.  I came home and did four loads of laundry, aired out the house and bathed the dogs (then me).

Hardly restful.  Hardly putting my feet up.  Sometimes you just have to take care of business.

By Friday, I'd managed to enjoy a break in my routine anyway.  That evening, I was to have dinner with some friends and cheerfully jumped in the car when they pulled up to the house.

"You still smell like skunk."


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why It's Fun Being Me

1. This evening I spent a fair amount of time looking through the house for my phone. I even called it from my land line. Nothing. I looked in the bed since the last call I got woke me from a very nice nap, but it wasn't there.

I didn't panic. What are the odds of someone breaking into my house and only stealing my phone. Especially when I was in the house.

It was on the charger.

2. On Yahoo I saw this headline: Beano Cook dies.

Honest to goodness--- I thought that someone who was cooking with Beano had died as a result of using too much of the over the counter medicine in a recipe. Turns out he was a football player. He must have been bummed to be named for an anti-gas medicine.

3. Tomorrow Lynne and I are going out for pumpkin pancakes. 'Nuff said.

Don't be jealousy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Big Adventure Indeed!

Recently, Liz and I had an unusual mutually free-from-obligations day.  Living on the Gold Coast, there are so many possibilities of how to fill this time with interesting and enlightening experiences.

Which is why we went to the Bicycle Museum.

First, Liz took a spin:
Then it was my turn:
As you can imagine, it was pretty darn exciting.  By the way - look at our calves!  Man we have sexy legs.

There were many vintage bikes, and the museum was arranged from oldest bike-like vehicles to the latest and greatest.  They even had some kitsche old signs.
Umm..yeah, I'm not sure I even WANT to see...that.

It was all moderately interesting, but then the Wow Factor really popped when I saw this:
What do you mean you don't know what that is?  How about WHOSE it is?!

Here's a hint:

YES!  It is the very own bicycle of Pee Wee Herman!  The Real One!!!  Sqweee!!!

Just when we thought we'd done it all.....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What's On His Mind?

I don't want to take anything away from Lynne and her Tails From the Kennel fact, when you finish reading this you should go and see what's going on there...but I've been concerned about my dog, Dooley. Isn't he cute? I thought I'd try to probe his canine mind so I've decided to ask him a few quesitons. Here's a transcript of our conversation.

Bitter Train: Dooley, how has the summer been going for you?

Dooley: Summer, fall, winter, spring. It's all the same to me as long as no one tries to take over my couch.

Bitter Train: You do let some people share the couch, don't you?

Dooley: Well, you've caught me. (grins sheepishly). When that boy with the big feet comes over, I get as close to him as I can and when he sleeps on the couch I can still usually find a tiny spot to curl up in. And when Lynne comes over, I sit as close to her as I can too. She never sleeps on the couch, though. Sometimes I wish she would, but I think she has to get home to those dogs that live at her house. I went inside her house once. She has cats! Oh, I got so excited and I wanted to chase them all to protect Lynne from them, but she seems to like the darn things. I like to chase them and watch their tails go bobbing through the air as they run away. I like to chase them out of my yard too. I got into some trouble, though, when one big cat did a pooh in the flower bed. Sue gave me quite the lecture that day. Something about not pulling my weight. Hellooo? I'm a dog and I live on the couch. Is that so hard to understand?

Bitter Train: So, you like the boy with the big feet and Lynne. Who are some of your other friends?

Dooley: Of course, I love Chris. He lets me sit in the big leather chair with him, even when I shed all over his clothes. Sue won't let me do that when she's sitting there because she's always knitting and she doesn't want my hair to mix with her precious yarn. If you ask me, she needs to get her priorities straight.

Pat's my pal, though I don't think she likes to have me sit on her lap. I heard once that she let a kitten sit on her shoulder, though, so I am holding out hope that she'll change her mind and cuddle with me. I know she wants to. Dogs can just tell about these things.

Bitter Train: Anyone else?

Dooley: Well...there's Liz. I still feel sort of bad about barking at her the first time she came to take care of me. Do you think I hurt her feelings?

Bitter Train: Hmmm. She is pretty sensitive, but I'm sure this public apology will make a big difference to her. If she ever gets near a computer and can read it. But, I'll tell her you're sorry.

Dooley: Thanks....can I go back to the couch now? This is starting to feel like I'm getting my temperature taken...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Danger on the Gold Coast

Perhaps you wonder where the girls who are practicing Bitterites have been. It's been a bit hazardous, living life lately, especially out here on the Gold Coast. First, there was the straight line winds storm: Then, during the big July 4th Festivities, the party was interupted by giant man-eating frogs! Actually, a frog killed a bird. Apparently the frog was overly ambitious as it began to choke on the bird. Tyler gave the frog the Heimlich maneuver. I mean, that hasn't happened here before. It's sort of nice that life still has its surprises, though that was just plain weird. Then, it happened again the next day, minus the choking incident. Who knew? I mean, frogs are cute and eat nasty things like flies, not birds, right? Be careful - you don't know where that frog's lips have been.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gravity Schmavity

Perhaps you, as a semi-regular visitor to the Bitter Train, wonder why there has been so little activity on the blog. Good question. Is it because the writers of this blog are so content in their lives and therefore lack bitterness? Could be. But why would happiness exclude the fun of being bitter on occasion? However, yesterday I made a purchase that may cure me of bitterness forever:
Behold the Zero-gravity Recliner! How do I love Thee...let me count the ways.... 1. Easily available for purchase at the local Big Lots. Seriously, this is something to love because buying anything really great around here is not always easy. 2. A bargain! Dollar for dollar, can any recliner compare? 3. Lightweight - I could pick it up, load it in my car, and bring it in my house without straining any major or minor muscle groups. 4. It folds up, therefore taking up little space.
5. Inside/Outside - when I was done sitting on it outside, I brought it inside and watched television. 6. COMFORTABLE.....I fell asleep in it not once, twice or even three times - four dozings. For the record, I don't ever fall asleep in random furniture. 7. Color Choices - On-line I noticed they come in quite a variety. Fortunately for me, who is easily incapacitated by too many choices, it only came in brown at Big Lots. Brown. It is perfect everywhere. 8. Finally, having one's feet elevated is easily done without laying on the floor and being attacked by the family pet(s). And that's after only a mere twenty-four hours of ownership. I anticipate a happy summer.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bitter Train Plan to Make America Great

Maybe you haven't noticed, but this is an election year. That means that everyone has an idea about how to fix all the problems that our country has.

But here's one that I bet you haven't considered.

In my administrative law class, I asked my students to research jobs at different government agencies and then to fill out an asignment with what they found out.

One outstanding student responded that the government agency that she'd like to work for is....not the FBI, not the Justice Department. No she wants to work for Glam Fairy as a make up artist.

There it is. The answer we've all been waiting for. Check this out Mitt and Barack....we need a government agency devoted to make up artistry. Talk about America the Beautiful---here it is.

Now, here's the big question. Who would be the head of this agency and what would their title be? Obviously Fairy Godmother would be fitting, but what personage is qualified for this job?

If you're old like me, you might suggest Tammy Faye Baker and I think that's a reasonable suggestion. But, all the candidates are trying to be hip and young so I'd suggest Snooky.

Any other suggestions?

P.S. This scenario again raises the issue "I went to law school for this?"

Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't Be Crabby

How did it happen that we went an entire month without blogging? Are you still with us? Wow, we were seriously MIA.

Somehow, this little purchase went undocumented:
The tag says that it is "genuine faux wood."

It was so worth it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sue's Birthweek - A Pictorial Homage

After looking up the definition of the word "homage," I'd like to note that here it means "a tribute, often of high respect" and NOT "a feudal ceremony by which a man acknowledges himself a vassal of a lord."

That out of the way, let's celebrate the many faces of Sue.

Here we see Sue, the animal lover, using her monkey thumbs to take a picture of Spanky. Come to think of it, she isn't really a big fan of Spanky (maybe it's the dead squirrel). Or Carbon(maybe it's the hair). Or Tilly(maybe it's because of Tilly). Perhaps it's better said that she is kind to animals.
Sue is fun-loving and knows how to bring people together for a good time. I mean, look how happy that football player is to be with her and her friends.
And versatile -
As a history buff and extraordinarily talented crafter, here are two of her interests combined:
She's generous, just like Santa.
Happy Birthday Sue!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Bologna Dreams and Cream Pie Wishes

Remember the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and their tag line: Champagne Dreams and Caviar Wishes?

We had our own version of it last night. In celebration of birthdays for both Chris and me, there was a gathering at the G and R Tavern in Waldo, Ohio. The G and R is known for its World Famous Bologna Sandwiches and we loaded up. The guests included my parents, my son, my in laws, and my dear friends. It was hard not to look around the table covered with bologna, curly fries, onion rings, napkin dispensers and mile high cream pie and not feel like I was truly blessed.

Fortunately, I don't need Robin Leach and his faux accent to tell me that I'm living the dream.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some Assembly Required

Alerted to a big sale at Big Lots, I headed there with my gift and discount card in hand. I decided to get a new office chair.

However, when I saw that I needed to assemble it myself, I had serious doubts, despite the assurance of an employee that they were simple. "Yeah, but simple enough for Lynne?" Obviously she doesn't know my skill set is very limited (and I hate the phrase "skill set"). When I opened the box, I had even more doubts.
There were many obstacles to assembly, including curious cats who each needed to inspect the empty box and the many chair pieces. Then there were the dogs who needed to be exactly where I was on the floor for an impromptu wrestling match.

Despite repeatedly saying, "I can't work like this, People!" (wrong audience for one thing), I made progress.
The directions said it could be put together in 30 minutes. Miraculously, I finished it just under an hour.
Look! It's the Executive Office Chair with High Back. And I'm sitting in it right now and it hasn't fallen apart. Not yet anyway.

However, it is only right that we take a moment to acknowledge the chair that The Executive is replacing. It's never had a name. I guess if it did it would be something like "Reuben Kincaid" because I'm pretty sure that this chair is Partridge Family era.
This chair was salvaged from the Admissions Office dumpster twice. Darren retrieved it the first time and gave it a home in his tiny office. Always unreliable, it threw many people out of it if they did much beyond sit quietly in a rigid upright position. No leaning - absolutely not! It tossed Darren over more than a few times, as well as many coworkers, visitors to the university, professors, and the director of Financial Aid (I was there for that one). Then when Darren left Admissions, they were going to throw the chair out (again), but Darren brought it to live on the Gold Coast. It's been here ever since.

So far it's lived longer than all the nine lives of all the cats. I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Maybe it will go into permanent retirement in the upstairs abyss. Or maybe I'll put it outside to see if someone wants to rescue it one more time. Old Reuben may still have some life left in it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Gold Coast (Social) Living

You've seen the commercials of the couple who take advantage of those daily deals for saving on big fun in their city?  Yes, I've watched them get massages, hang glide, and eat sushi for a bargain.

I looked on some of those sites, and strangely there are no such offers for this immediate area.  It made me wonder what a day of big fun would look like.

A very necessary stop would be the local dive-bar-turned-dive restaurant.  A mere two miles away from Gold Coast Central, it does indeed deliver on some tasty, if not extremely country, fare.  Why just today I noticed their lunch special was ham and beans with a side of corn bread. 

Take that sushi!

While I do not know of a local boutique that sells those bizarelly high wedge heels, I do know of a certain thrift shop where you can try on a faux fur coat.
Did you see that? Less than $8 and I could have taken that puppy (I don't think it was made from real puppy) home - no coupon necessary! The helpful tag even told me to "clean using fur methong." As T and Pat will attest, their first thought was the tongue a la cat grooming.

Who needs aroma therapy and a babbling creek for one's massage when a new massage therapist has converted a room at the middle school-turned community center into their very own lap of luxury? (I sure hope it doesn't still smell like gym socks.)

Perhaps city dwellers like the fact that fate may have them run into some random celebrity who happily breezes about their town.

Recently, there were not one but four said famous "people."
And some people think the weiner mobile is a big deal.

While I can't think of the equivalent of zip lining or parachuting at fifty percent off, I do know that walking out to the kennel in forty mile per hour winds is SUCH a rush. And no charge!

Casino trips can not compare by the bet I have every winter that the snow plow will knock over my mailbox a minimum of three times.

And while there's Cirque de Soleil and the Blue Man Group with their fine talent, how can that be compared to this:
It's all in ther perspective.

Peace out, Dog.
Update: On January 14, my mailbox sustained its first blow. While still standing, it has a dent that prevents the lid from closing. Of course.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Pat's Birthday!

And here are 50 reasons why we love her:
1.the macaroni and cheese champ of Hardin County…and she’s ready to challenge in adjoining counties.
2. theme years----cereal, sandwiches and this year…bacon!
3. freakish ability to remember details from farm auctions
4. cavernous basement
5. ready supply of cheese peanut butter crackers at her house
6. store bought ice
7. buffalo chicken dip
8. getting stuck behind her dryer
9. lost her cowboy boots in a freak kite accident
10. found two reasons to wear a cape/veil in 2011
11. keeps her house freakishly cold
12. not afraid to hold a big pickle

13. takes her chocolate wheel seriously (even if others don't)
14. got her first Nerts in 2011
15. can be called upon for bail money
16. mortar and pestle fetish
17. unlikely to get stuck under her bed
18. likes to use power tools
19. not always allowed to use power tools
20. often disappointed by free knives

21. stymied by Boggle
22. dedicated Zumbanista
23. likes to tell stories in her head
24. Queen of Chex Mix---bugles are her secret ingredient
25. still has the little paper covers for her knives. What's up with that?
26. runs Casino Parteleno
27. only allowed to wear hats with permission
28. has a secret relationship with Mike Rowe. Guess she likes 'em dirty.
29. knows how to play exotic poker games
30. excellent sock puppet maker

31. secret crafter
32. secret yet talented choreographer of Black Eyed Peas songs
33. can dance the Batman with true skill
34. keeps all tiny soaps and what nots from fancy hotels, later presented as valuable gift baskets
35. can clean a refrigerator better than an old Amish woman (mainly because they lack refrigeration)
36. feels strongly about tobacco products and misuse of prescription medication – not that this is an unusual stance, but perhaps the intensity is
37. knows people who know people in the mafia
38. dreams of herding hummingbirds – what’s not to like about that?
39. effectively uses shop vacs to clean her and others vehicles
40. has finally discovered the proper products to clean her floors
41. is working her way around the Las Vegas strip
42. loves her some tasting menus and flights of wine
43. is a good houseguest – cooks and cleans
44. cleans her house in zones
45. decorates HS Lehr  every New Year's Eve
46. freakishly delicate palate that can detect subtle flavors
47. loyal fan of the Polar Bears
48. when there’s a death in the family, you can count on Pat to show up with paper products and stamps.
49. the first, and only, winner of Halloween Bingo

50. a good and loyal friend