The Pop-Up Ad I’m Not Expecting

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Department Of Authenticity

Next week I am hosting my annual Ladies Lefse Party. Well, once upon a time it was an annual event. After a hiatus of two years, following my mother’s death, I’m ready to get back in the saddle – or lefse griddle, that is.



This versatile appliance can also makes an adequate alien landing pad and/or satellite dish substitute.



After my paternal grandfather, a full-blooded Norski-American married to a full-blooded Irish-American,  [1]  died (ca. 1963), my grandmother no longer felt up to making the lefse her husband had so adored and that she’d come to love as well.  [2]  My mother’s eldest sister, my late Aunt Erva, lived in Spokane, and after her husband died  [3]  Erva would drive down south every year in autumn, ahead of the first Spokane snowfall, to spend the winter with her mother in Santa Ana. Thus, Erva assumed the mantle of lefse maker in our family. She made meatcakes (Norwegian-spiced meatballs, a traditional lefse accompaniment) as well.

Like many traditional ethnic dishes, lefse has foundational ingredients, and also variants in composition, preparation and serving. Evey family I’ve met who also “do the lefse thing” have their own favorite recipe which, of course, they consider the “most authentic” way to make and eat lefse.

I’ve been making lefse for longer than I can remember. I took Erva’s recipe and evolved it over the years (or made it “kooky,” as Erva would likely say  [4] ).  The lefse is still delicious, if dairy-free, and the “meat”cakes I make are now sans meat (a plant-based version, main ingredient tempeh).  Back when I did eat (some) meat I used ground turkey when I made meatcakes, instead of Erva’s more traditional pork-beef blend, but what with my using the distinctive/traditional spices  [5] my parents said, when they were  guest at my Christmas Eve table, that they couldn’t taste the difference. Still, moiself always felt my version was missing that certain tinge of maternal family authenticity, which, I came to realize, had nothing to do with the kind of ground meat used.  Here is the “flavoring” my versions of meatcakes have always lacked:

(1)  an overly crisp exterior (read: I didn’t burn them, which Erva did without fail);   [6]

(2)  the ash from Erva’s cigarette.    [7]



What other key ingredients am I missing? One tablespoon repression, ¼ cup disillusionment with life choices….




*   *   *

Department Of Look Who’s Talking, Considering What’s On The Back Of My Car….

Dateline: Monday morning, on my way to yoga class. I’m driving behind a big ass truck that has three bumper stickers, which I read when I’m stopped at a traffic light and which get me to wondering about what goes through someone’s mind when they purchase and then apply to their vehicle stickers which proclaim,

My grandson is a Marine


Gulf War Veteran

My car’s stickers are a combination of puns/whimsy and opinionating, meant to make a few salient or silly points or in a (hopefully) humorous manner.






The truck’s third bumper sticker was some variation on the Gun Control Means Using Both Hands rant, and while I disagree with those stickers’ inherent pro-firearms sentiments, I appreciate the jests of the message. As for the previous two stickers I mentioned, I’m curious: why does the person driving that truck think it’s important for moiself, the person stuck behind them in traffic, to know that their grandson is a marine, or that they (the truck’s driver) are a veteran of the Gulf – or any – War? Is it because, as son K has opined, [8]  they want, blatantly or slyly, to brag (ala, My Child Is An Honors Student At Schlemfarght Junior High School   [9] ),  or have people think highly of them and/or give them receive special treatment because they’ve been in the military?

Perhaps a more generous interpretation would be to ask questions re their motivation along the lines of, Is it that they take pride in their family’s history of military service and/or they wish to raise awareness of such in a society where such service is not mandatory?

Of course, it’s much more petty (read: fun) to impugn their motives using the scant evidence available.

Anyway…just curious.




*   *   *

Department Of ‘Tis The Season For Surprises

Dateline: Wednesday am, 12/5. After posting a Happy Krampusnacht message on Facebook I went to my yoga class. After class, when I turned my cellphone on, I saw this message from daughter Belle:

You gotta change that link you posted on fb about krampus
The very first thing you see when you open it is a huge picture
of someone’s VERY spread open butthole
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry





Before I could panic, the message continued:

Wait I just clicked on it again and it wasn’t there????
I’m sorry I don’t know what’s going on haha
I think I might have gotten a very terrible pop-up ad?

I quickly checked link I’d posted on FB – as intended, it merely led to the Wikipedia article on Krampusnacht. I haven’t heard any other OOPS feedback, so if any of y’all followed the link and got the…unexpected pop up…Happy Holidays!



Well, maybe some of us prefer the other picture.


*   *   *

Department Of The Partridge [10]  Of The Week

As per an earlier warning post, I will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in my front yard. Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?




*   *   *



May you evolve your own holiday culinary traditions;
May you have patience with those of us who don’t give a flying fart
where your child is an honor student;
May you enjoy the petty thrill of impugning the motives of strangers;
…and may the hijinks ensue.



Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


*   *   *



[1] That was considered somewhat of a mixed marriage in Northern Minnesota;however,  “Bapa” (my Irish grandma) told me that her husband’s parents would have considered it “worse” if he “had married a Swede.”

[2] No great surprise that an Irishwoman took to loving something which is essentially a potato tortilla.

[3] In the later 1960s.

[4] “Kooky” was Erva’s catch-all descriptor for things of which she did not approve, which could range from one’s choice of life partner to haircut or clothing to your career or political opinions. Deciding to open a boutique, which the wife of one of my cousins did, was, according to Erva, “a kooky thing to do.”

[5] Nutmeg; allspice;, white pepper.

[6] She swore that’s the only way you could tell if they were “done.”

[7] More than once I “caught” Erva in grandma’s kitchen frying the meatcakes, a cigarette clenched between her lips, the cigarette’s inch long ash column precipitously dangling over the frying pan.

[8] K is very, very, “unfond” of such announcement-type bumper stickers.

[9] I love those immodest stickers for one really great reason: they led to the plethora of “response” or parody stickers which read, e.g., “My golden retriever is smarter than your honor student.”

[10] In our pear tree.

The Chemicals I’m Not Balancing

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Department Of Sometimes I Just Can’t Help Myself

Last week I ordered some Star Trek birthday cards, featuring the visage of Captain Jean Luc Picard, from an Etsy vendor. The vendor emailed me to verify the order:

I just wanted to contact you to say thank you for your order and to confirm your shipping information. So, you would like a set of 5 Star Trek Next Generation Birthday cards, shipped to ______(my address)

I of course had no choice but to respond: Make it so.





*   *   *

Department Of I Love Learning New Things

And here are four New Things ®  I’ve recently encountered. [1]  The first, via my “reupping” my volunteer status for C.A.T. (Cat Adoption Team).





The typical female kitten or cat is (or once was) spayed via an abdominal incision. For several years now veterinarians have had the option of performing a “flank spay” – which uses a lateral entry. A lateral entry is especially useful for cats that are lactating, as it reduces chances of infection and makes it easier to monitor the incision as the cat does not have to be handled (turned on its back and its tender belly exposed) to do so.



How intriguing. Do tell us more.


New thing #2 is the third meaning of the word, abduction.

I was aware of the first two meanings of the word (1. The act of forcibly taking someone somewhere against their will; 2. The movement of a limb or muscle or other body part away from the mid-line of the body), but didn’t know that abduction is also a form of scientific reasoning, abductive  aka inference) reasoning:

…a form of logical inference which goes from an observation to a theory which accounts for the observation, ideally seeking to find the simplest and most likely explanation.


This came courtesy of a Freethought Radio podcast interview with physicist Sean M. Carroll,



Get on with it, please.



New Thing #3: “Your brain has a chemical imbalance.”

That statement always sounded fishy to me, even when I was using it, with family members suffering from depression, to discuss their situation. Sure, it sounds scienc-y…but what does it actually mean?  As it turns out, in cases of brain disorders (aka depression and other mental illnesses), probably nothing, according to professor and psychologist Elliott Ingersoll, [2]. Ph.D. , who has given a provocative TED talk on the subject.

Unlike chemical imbalances in body organs or systems that can actually be measured (e.g. the insulin/blood sugar imbalance in diabetics, which can be measure through blood and urine tests), brain chemistry is highly complex and not completely understood. There is no way to measure levels of neurotransmitters, hormones and other messenger transmitters which may be involved in clinical depression, nor even an agreement on which ones are involved and what a “balance” of those would be.

I spent a decade researching psychopathology and psychopharmacology and neuroscience…but, I kept thinking I was missing something because I never came across what the actual chemicals were in this mysterious ‘chemical imbalance’ everyone kept talking about…. I came to realize that there was no such thing, and that, for years mental health professionals were telling clients, ‘You have a chemical imbalance in the brain,’ (A) there was no way to measure brain chemistry – it’s too complex and you can’t get it through peripheral measures like spinal fluid and, (B) I was more horrified to realize that this was being driven by marketing and pharmaceutical companies….”

(Dr. Ingersoll’s interview with Freethought Radio, 6-5-16


There is no New Thing #4.


*   *   *

Department Of Kids Say The Darndest Things

Background info to apropos to this Department:

  1. Our annual family Solstice/Christmas/Year’s end letter to family and friends opens with a quote from each family member, chosen by each person to be somehow representative of the year for that particular family member…or to just confuse people.
  1. Son K is reveling in young adulthood: gainfully and happily employed, he’s residing in a house he rents along with four of his friends.

On Monday, apropos of seemingly nothing, K initiated the following exchange via FB Messenger:

K: Okay, my Christmas letter quote will be, “I am the Folks.”

Moiself: Nice to know in advance. I’m sure an explanation will be forthcoming.

K: door to door sales type guy asked if my folks were home and that was my response.



They are the folks.



*   *   *

Department Of All Things Must Pass


Buh-bye to our Honda Odyssey minivan. It joined our household…over sixteen years ago – can that be?  That’s the longest period of time MH or I have ever had a car.

MH decided to get the van during the height of his company’s stock boom years. While many of his (male) work peers were opting for what Perspicacious Friend ©  SCM describes to her daughter as, The kind of car a man buys when he has a small penis,” MH opted for the Practical Family Car ® . Indeed, the van served our family well over the years, with little output in terms of repairs, until recently, when that mutha Father Time turned it into a new-transmission-needing money pit.

Although I came to see the logic of acquiring a minivan, I was initially and strenuously opposed to the purchase. (“If I want to drive a bus I’ll get a job with Trimet,” I huffed to MH). And then, I found a way to make it  – driving a minivan, FFS – more tolerable to me: I bumper-stickered the holy crap outta that vehicle:






The above picture was taken (unbeknownst at the time, by me) by a reporter for the now defunct [3]  Hillsboro Argus, and appeared on the paper’s front page, circa late 2009. Although we subscribed to the paper MH and I had no idea the back of our van front page news, until a friend e-alerted us to check out the paper’s latest edition (“That HAS to be your van!”). The photo was accompanied by a sweet – if misleading – caption, written by someone who AS to be yourobviously didn’t read all the stickers:

No Personal politics on display, but a bumper crop of humorous stickers to make fellow motorists smile at stoplights.”

Over the years, after shopping at New Seasons Market or running some other errand, or returning to our van after, say, seeing a movie, we discovered hand-written notes pertaining to our stickers left on the windshield. On more than one occasion I returned to the van as someone was in the process of writing such a note. I enjoyed sneaking up on them, pretending to be Not The Owner, and usually greeted them by indicating the back of the van and cracking, “Get a load of these weirdos, eh?”  to gauge their reaction.

It’s hard to believe, given the political and freethought nature of many of the stickers, that not once did anyone leave a negative comment (or slash our tires). Most of the notes expressed sentiments along the lines of this one, the only one I kept:





*   *   *

Department Of Not Exactly Late Breaking News


In fact, I was wondering why it was even considered news, when I read that Rep. Speaker of the Houser Paul Ryan announced he will support Trump.

What an earth-shaking, bone-breaking, tooth-rattling, sphincter clenching surprise that absolutely no one could have predicted: The Republican Party leader announces he will support the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

Please, someone bring me the smelling salts.





*   *   *

Snakes on a Plane! ( Actually, in terrariums…. )

That was the subject line in ads MH and I placed on Craig’s List and the FB page for Oregon Reptile Association. We are trying – successfully, if current arrangements go well – to re-home our cornsnake, T’Pol, and ball python, Andy.

The snakes were acquired many years ago by our offspring, along with the late great bearded dragon, Belle (from whom my daughter took her pseudonym for the purposes of this blog).



Blueberry-loving Belle



All were captive bred, acquired during the kids’ Reptile Are Cool Years ®  (Belle the BD has since gone to join the great Beardy collective consciousness). In the past couple of years the snakes weren’t getting much pet action, what with son K and daughter Belle out of the house; thus, MH and I decided that finding another home for them was a Nest Cleaning ® thing to do.



T’Pol on a hot day, enjoying a dip in her water dish.



We let K and Belle know of our intentions. [4]  Even as they understand our reasons for re-homing the reptiles, I imagine they’ve a certain sense of poignancy re the matter: another piece of childhood passing by.



A rare picture of Andy not curled up into a ball (which ball pythons like to do).


*   *   *

Department Of Signs Of The Times

The first (and not last, I hope) political yard sign of the season that’s made me laugh.




*   *   *

Department Of Current Events: In Case You Hadn’t Noticed

I am not planning on addressing the case of the Stanford Student/Swimmer who raped an unconscious women in this space. The despicable incident is just now coming to the general public’s attention due to the sentencing of the rapist and the revealing statements from the victim, the rapist’s father, and the rapist himself. I’ve let just a smidgen of my disgust and outrage leak out onto FB, but I just cannot go there…here.


*   *   *

May you heed the signs of the times;
May you leave kind notes on other people’s windshields;
May you be able to there when you are here,
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


*   *   *



[1] New to moiself, although other people may find some of these tidbits old nets.

[2] Yep, related to (a great-grandnephew of) the greatest American few people outside of the Freethought and atheist communities have heard of, the 19th century civil rights champion, orator & lawyer Robert G. Ingersoll.

[3] as an actual, as opposed to virtual, community newspaper.

[4] And overrule it, should they be able to provide a home (read: get a landlord’s approval) for one or both snakes.

The Blog I’m Not (not) Writing.

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– Do you know what Annabelle’s doing now?
– A blog.
– Of what?
– What do you mean “of what”? A blog of Annabelle.  Of every thought that passes through her brain. Her stupid, vapid, insipid…I could write a blog!  I have thoughts! 

(from Julie and Julia, written and directed by the late great Nora Ephron)

*   *   *

You should write a blog; you’re a writer!
I can’t believe you, of all people, are not blogging.

*   *   *

The name of this venture is inspired by my favorite Patty Larkin song, as well as my long-held reluctance to never do…what I’m apparently doing.

I wasn’t going to write a blog, for myriad of reasons.[1] The #1 reason is that you don’t get paid for doing it. There are many, many ways writers don’t get paid for writing.  I’m not keen to take part in yet another.

Professional  excuse reasons?  Despite the plethora of trade publications and associations desperate to sell you a plethora of social media tutorials, a dirty little realization among social media-proficient fiction writers is that author blogs do not sell books.

Perhaps the reasons are more personal; as in, keeping a journal of some sort?  Wait a minute: what about a new way to communicate and reflect on life, one that, if done with discrimination and  integrity, might aspire to be a form of entertainment for readers, more than just a regularly updated entry of events, transactions, or observations, or a chronicle of excessive self-contemplation?  What about an informational and personal site, a log of sorts, published on the web…log…web…log…. 

Why hasn’t someone thought of this before??!?!?!

Reluctance, schmuctance.

I surrender, at least temporarily, to the culture of social MEdia.  After all, I am so significant, my every thought must be documented, and ME is too vast, too important for a mere private journal. I must announce it for the world to see.  Think of what I’ve been missing – what you’ve been missing. No longer shall we live without me posting my every reflection on the smell wafting down the hallway from the unscooped litter boxes.[2]

So, yeah, that will also be the blog I’m not writing.  I’m still refusing to join the tumblr-ing tweeting twats and don’t care to see someone’s pinterest pictures of their pinworms.  A relative latecomer to Facebook, I am a sporadic and not particularly competent FB poster and commentator. And despite me sticking another toe into what I once heard described as the “vast ocean” of social media, the waters I’m testing still remind me of those that pool on portions of the nearby Tualatin Valley Highway after it rains.  From a distance it can look like the deep blue sea, but the closer you get, you see that it’s just a really, really, big puddle – wide, but shallow.

Now that I’ve lowered your expectations to fit my comfort level….

Ground rules/expectations:

1.  I shall attempt to post every Friday.
2.  Except when I don’t.
3. There shall be some regular entertainment features.  Perhaps even recipes:

Now that the Autumn chill is setting in, it’s time for a
Hot pepper jelly glaze and sauce to warm the cockles of your heart

– 2-3 T of your favorite hot pepper jelly (Republic of Jam’s habañero Hellfire & Jamnation is what floats my boat)
– 3T orange juice; 2T fresh lemon or lime juice; 1t low sodium soy sauce
– ~1 c nonfat regular yogurt, drained over a fine mesh colander, or NF Greek-style yogurt 

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Amounts are approximate.  Taste and adjust to get the consistency, flavor and tongue-tickling (or burning) sensation you desire. Use as an accompanying sauce and/or finishing glaze for pan-seared or grilled tofu, chicken, catfish… 

Wondering what to do with the homegrown, truncheon-sized zucchini your vegetable-gardening neighbor foisted off on so generously gifted you? Thinly slice the zucchini, then add it to the compost pile and ask yourself, What was I thinking? Don’t even consider wasting a yummers hot pepper sauce on a vapid, overgrown zucc.

4.  Or maybe just pretty pictures of my mascot.

(everyone loves a new, shiny blue mouse)

5.  There will be the occasional link to recommended books, films, TV shows, videos and music (my daughter made me promise never to link to that Friday song she so loathes )
6. I shall not excessively write about nor embarrass my offspring.
7. Except that it is my parental obligation to embarrass my offspring, or so said the instructional pamphlet that was attached to their respective placentas.
8.  I shall try to respond to insightful and respectful comments, despite my fear of entering into dialog that would take away from what I actually should be writing….
9.  Although I’d’ have to have a certain critical mass of readership before the fear expressed in #8 would be a problem; thus, problem #8 may solve itself by never arising.
10. I am not going to censor myself.
11. Except when I do.
12. This list has no item #12.

*   *   *

The working title of this venture was The F-Blog.  F for Friday, and for the first thing that came to my mind when I realized I might actually try this out (like the world needs another F-ing blogger?).  Also, I am a fan of so many things F [3], including:

– the Fab Four; Tina Fey; flippancy, footnotes [4]; fermentation; forty winks; feasts; FAQ; flamingoes and flamenco; facts; fart jokes; friends and family and felines…

I am fond of many, but not all, F-things.  Some I find downright dreadful to even consider.  Fistulas?  Ick.  And please, don’t feed me fennel.  One especially unpleasant, recently acquired F-thing is partly responsible for me having time to ruminate about finally doing a blog – a fracture (luckily not a femur or fibula).

But I digress.

Although The Blog I’m Not Writing is not the F-Blog it will frequently reference a few of my favorite F-follies:

1.  food
2.  feminism
3.  freethought
4.  frivolity and festivity
5.  fiction feats and frustrations
6.  whatever the f-word is for politics and/or current affairs
7. – 50. there are no follies numbered 7-50.[5]  Oh, but just you wait.

Is it obvious that I enjoy making lists?  Pity, that activity doesn’t start with an f.

*   *   *

This is getting rather wordy for a first post.  I warned you, I’m new at this.

*   *   *

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
 (Henry David Thoreau)

Or in my case, that require learning new jargon.  I have about a 50 second attention span for tech logistics; they tear me a new one with boredom.  Thus, please excuse the glitches that will inevitably arise.  This won’t be the flashiest blog you’ll read.  But what it will lack in bells and whistles it will make up for with rubber chicken pictures.

*   *   *

Searching the sites, seeking advice for newbie bloggers.  Introduce yourself, they say.

There are blogs I follow on a sporadic-to-regular basis, and I’ve enjoyed reading some of the personal details behind the public opinions. Even with that in mind, composing an author’s bio blurb is one of my least professional favorite tasks.  I’ve been thrown for the proverbial loop when a few editors have requested detailed, personal info along with the standard publication history.  Moiself, I’ve little interest in the personal lives of authors.  Should knowing that a writer spends their spare time volunteering at the Corgi-doodle rescue association affect my appreciation of their latest haiku novella?

Neverthemore, one and all, they clamor for the amazing story of me.  For a meet-the-author blog bio, I need to have some fun to stay on task.  Some of the following is true:

I am the second of four children and the middle daughter, which means I am destined for either ground-breaking gender role usurpations or middle management in Tupperware® Sales.  Orphaned in a tragic Slip ‘n Slide® accident, I was raised by ospreys in Santa Ana, CA.  I live and write in Oregon, in a mid-sized city whose motto is, “Yeah, fine, so we’re not Portland, but at least we’re not Oxnard.”  My blood type is a deep, viscous red, with a bouquet of sun-ripened marionberries.[6] [7]  I like walking along the roses at sunset and always stop to smell the beach.  I’m afraid of anything Fifty Percent Less Filling, of having a supercilious award title (Winner of The Condoleeza Mae Brown Faulkner Prize for Fiction in Support of Social Change and Diverse Personal Hygiene) appended to my name, and of having to pronounce words like supercilious in public.  In my spare time I annoy PETA members by campaigning for the extinction of the spineless weasel.  When not working on innumerable fiction projects I study state and federal Articles of Incorporation, in hopes that by December 2016 I will have opened the doors to “A Goddess in Every Garage,” the nation’s first feminist political consulting firm and[8] auto repair shop.

*   *   *

What else can I add that is of relevance?  I am a W-O-M-A-N, one who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan,[9]  a writer of fiction, a Southern Californian by birth and Oregonian by choice.  I check the decline to state options when a survey asks me to choose my age, racial/ethnic identity, political affiliation and income categories.

A brief introduction to my family, using their respective noms de blog.  I’ve been married to my husband[10], the lovely and talented MH, for 20+ years.  I am the mother of the national average of 2.06 children, that I know of.  For the .06 I count our four cats, two snakes, innumerable house spiders and dust bunnies.

Son K is a college freshman, daughter Belle a high school junior.  My progeny will undoubtedly, inevitably, find their way into subsequent posts.  For now, suffice to say they are the inspiration for my most recently acquired, custom-made [11] bumper sticker:

Proud parent of students
who do not need their academic achievements
bragged about on the back of my car

There are more bumper stickers.  There will be more bumper stickers.  Many more.  Be afraid, be very afraid.[12]

Thanks for stopping by.  Tune in next week, as hijinks ensue.
Au Vendredi!

[1] Okay, certain person out there, Shelley, enjoy doing your Gloaty Dance (For those unfamiliar with the concept,  it’s like the Antler Dance, only less dignified).

[2] Yep, plural.

[3] I know what you’re thinking. Elevate your mind from the gutter.  Right now.

[4] See?

[5] Yes.  Oh, but just you wait.

[6] A yummers  blackberry cross, a mix between the ‘Chehalem’ and ‘Olallie’ berries, developed at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

[7] Yummers = really, really, lip-smackingly delicious. A modifier cross, combining the “yummy” adjective with the surname of the Balmer Word Scientists institute in Manzanita, Oregon.

[8] Nothing to cite.  Just seeing if you’re paying attention.  A gold star for you!

[9] I never do, but I can

[10] How convenient is that?

[11] with a grateful nod to the late, greater-than-great, George Carlin

[12] Did you know that people who read footnotes tend to have higher IQs and mintier breath than non-footnote readers?