Road Rage at Wal-Mart

I’ve seen old people ride around Wal-Mart in those electric carts with big baskets. It sort of looked like fun. I never had used one, not even after my knee surgery, but my back has been really bothering me lately, especially when I walk — very especially when I walk all over a big box store like a Wal-Mart Supercenter.

The other day, I relented, decided to admit I am an old fogey and need to drive one of the elder four-wheelers.  So, I got on one, but couldn’t figure out how to make it go. I pushed the yellow lever and nothing happened.

“You have to unplug it,” said one of the employees who happened to be on break. I hadn’t thought of that. She showed me the plug in back and how to fix the cord and I was ready to rumble. Off I went through the automatic doors and down the aisle.

The fun part wore off pretty quickly as I dodged people and people dodged me, giving me angry looks for getting in their way. Getting in their way? They were in my way! What is the matter with people? “Do you think I’m on this stupid cart because I want to be?”

Cutting in, cutting out, narrowly missing thoughtless people and flying shopping buggies. Sometimes I had to just stop and set there until some rude person finished browsing and decided to clear the path. “Get out of the way,” I screamed. Well, not really, but that is what I felt like doing.

I thought I could shop faster with a motorized cart, but actually I found it much slower. The cart had two speeds, go and stop. I jerked along, whizzing and screeching. What a way to shop. Any hope of shopping while sitting down was dashed as I found I could not reach what I wanted without standing up, or I could not get to what I wanted because someone had a shopping buggy parked in front of it.

“I wish this darn thing had a horn on it. I would blast them to kingdom come.”

People are incredibly rude to those with lesser abilities, I discovered. They do not want to be bothered with being nice, so they cut in front of you to avoid slowing down, or they ignore you to keep from being inconvenienced. They avoid eye contact and you become an invisible person.

I resisted the urge to wham into people and knock them out of my way. It was hard. I did finally learn to make the cart move slower so I could creep up on people who were in the way, sort of like bullying. Eventually, they seemed to get the point and move on.

The carts are pretty maneuverable. I guess they have to be to make the sharp turns and get down the narrow aisles. They will not pop wheelies, unfortunately (or fortunately) but you can get them going pretty fast when heading across the back of the store toward the garden center.

If you get into a spot that you can’t get out of, you can back up. They make a loud beeping sound when in reverse, like a garbage truck. However, it is hard enough to keep from running over people going frontwards, so I didn’t do much driving in reverse.

Driving a four-wheel cart is not nearly as convenient as I thought it would be. I’m still angry at the stupid lady in the shampoo aisle who would not let me through. She has no idea how close she was to death, or how lucky she is that I discovered reverse.

If you see me on a cart at Wal-Mart, stay out of my way if you value your life. Keeping control of my road rage may reach its limit any day now.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

Posted in Humor, Shopping | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Easy* Cheesecake

Have you ever looked at the price of a cheesecake in the grocery store? It is absolutely ridiculous. You can easily make your own. In spite of many previous attempts to cook and the disasters that ensued, this recipe is so easy that anyone (almost) can do it.

First, the list of ingredients: 16 ounces of cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, graham cracker crumbs for crust, whipping cream. (No, Cool Whip is not the same thing.) It is in the dairy section and comes in a container that says “whipping cream.” How hard can that be?

Now, here is how to do it:

1. Put the graham cracker crumbs in a medium baking dish and press down firmly to make a crust. You couldn’t find graham cracker crumbs at the grocery store? I can’t stand it! Fortunately for my sanity, there is a work around. Crumble up 18 graham crackers…. with a rolling pin. Do I have to tell you everything?

2. Melt one stick of margarine in the microwave. I know it was not on the list. Just get it out of the refrigerator and put it in the microwave. PUT IT ON A DISH! Boy that was close. What’s burning? Hurry and open the window before the smoke alarm goes off. You should melt butter on low, not high or it will burn. Throw it away and try again.

3. Mix the butter and crumbs and press into the baking dish. Okay, you finally did something right. All this trouble and we have not even started the cheesecake.

4. Now, mix the softened cream cheese with the sugar and eggs. How do you soften it? You should have left everything out of the refrigerator for a few hours. WATCH OUT! Cream cheese is wrapped in foil and you can’t microwave it. I hope you didn’t ruin the microwave.

5. Now mix everything together. The spatula got into the beater? How in the world did you do that? Do you know the meaning of being careful? You don’t need a mixer anyhow. Stir it with a spoon. Just trust me.

6. Add a tablespoon of vanilla. Well, maybe it will not hurt to use two, or three, or whatever. Pass me that bottle of vanilla. I need a nip of vanilla more than the cheesecake does.

7. Pour it into the pan with the graham crackers. NO! Don’t mix it up. Put it the oven at 350 degrees. You forgot to turn on the oven? Why am I not surprised? Set the timer for 22 minutes. While it bakes, you can clean up the kitchen. Be sure to wipe the splatters off the wall, and mop the floor. We can wash the dog later.

8. That bell is the timer. Turn off the oven and remove it. Use pot holders. Why didn’t I tell you before? I thought you knew something was hot after being in the oven. Just leave it in the oven and let it cool. No wonder experts cool it in the oven. Apparently, they don’t know about pot holders either.

9. Now all we have to do is wait for it to cool and put it in the refrigerator. You can make your own topping, but all things considered, I think we will use a can of cherry pie filling. Why couldn’t you wait until the cheesecake cooled? What a mess. Maybe we can cover it up with Cool Whip. I give up on the whipping cream.

Don’t try to cut it until it is cool. You did? Well, just use a spoon. What does it matter? Now I know why cheesecakes cost so much in the store, $10 for ingredients, $20 for the aggravation.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

*For some people

Posted in Food, Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waltz of the Flowers

A number of years ago I took my grandkids to see The Nutcracker Ballet at a local community theater. It is, of course, a classic, performed mostly at Christmas. I have seen it many times before, in fact, when I was child I was a dancing flower in a local performance.

Did you know there were words to the music of “Waltz of the Flowers”? I can never quite remember the lyrics and get them all mixed up. There are numerous versions.  The one I was taught, was the one by Fred Waring, a popular television band leader in former times.

I’m not sure what kind of flower I was supposed to be, a morning glory, I guess. My costume was blue and green. I hated it. The green was supposed represent the stem. My tutu was blue. I wanted to be a pink flower, like a rose. Actually, I wanted to be a white snowflake like my little friend Johnnie who was in the “Dance of the Snowflakes.” But here I was an ugly blue wall flower.

I did not, of course, actually know how to dance. I merely whirled, swirled, and pranced with the other kids in some sort of choreography worked out by adults who supposedly were wise in the ways of dance. We didn’t know this and thought we were actually dancing, in spite of the ugly costumes.

I’m surprised that I like flowers and didn’t grow up warped from the ballet version. Nowadays, I plant flowers, and some of them succeed and some don’t. I seldom plant annuals any more as the perennials have taken over the flower beds. It is probably just as well as digging in dirt does not appeal to me any more than a morning glory costume.

I once had climbing roses all around my back yard. Roses are a lot of work. You have to fertilize, spray, trim and mulch. Even then, they will die back in winter and go wild. So the roses of the world may be more beautiful, but they are no better in the end than the morning glories.

I decided that morning glories might be easier to grow than roses. They are. The first year the blue morning glories were beautiful and greeted me at the back door each day in glorious bloom. The next year wild ones sprang from the seed and I fought morning glory vines in the garden for years afterwards.

I now have several other aggressive flowers that remind me of the wild nature of flowers. Black-eyed Susan’s are bright, yellow flowers from the daisy family. They would happily take over my entire backyard. However, they have to fight for it with the pink primrose, another pretty, but highly invasive flower that has jumped the garden wall and gone wild. So, my flowers are not exactly waltzing these days. It is more like the catfight of flowers.

This morning I woke up and came in the kitchen to find it filled with large poinsettias. I rubbed my eyes. It seems my son went to the hardware store and ran into a special on poinsettia plants. They were so cheap he could not resist buying a half-dozen. I have placed them all over the house. So far, they are well behaved and have remained in the foil-wrapped pots where they belong. I hope they can be trusted.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

Posted in Holidays, Humor, Plants/Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Kitchen Tree

People are beginning to post pictures of Christmas trees on Facebook. A few early birds even posted trees before Thanksgiving. I do not have a tree and am procrastinating the task, as usual. However, I am beginning to feel guilty about my lack of Christmas spirit. What’s wrong with me anyhow?

I used to blame a lack of Christmas spirit on being forced to do Christmas shopping with the crowds and all the stress involved. Now, I do not shop anymore, or at least not in regular stores.  Granny Gift Card is my middle name and Cyber-shopping Mamma is my nickname.

My name should be PayPal Grandma. Since my grandkids found out about iTunes, they do not care about gifts or even gift cards. Now they only want money for their PayPal account. Did you know online game sites will accept only a real Visa card, not a Visa gift card? Ask a teenager if you don’t believe me. At least PayPal is easy.

You may think it would be a relief not to have to shop, but shopping has become so much a part of the American Christmas celebration that it is difficult to get in the spirit without it. After all, it is the stores that decorate for Christmas in October and play non-stop Christmas carols. Commercialism is the subliminal voice of Christmas.

I finally had my son bring down part of the decorations from the attic, the box with my Santa figurines. I have dozens of antique Santas. Don’t worry; I didn’t rob the bank to pay for my collection. I found 99 percent of them at thrift shops. I have a hard time passing one by, but I’ve had to become a bit more selective lately. After all, there is only so much room on the mantel. My hobby is already starting to overflow into the rest of the house.

After looking at the box for several days, I finally opened it and took out the figures. Seeing them made me feel a bit more motivated. Maybe I will put up a tree after all. My granddaughter will help me decorate it. The cats will help me undecorated it, but I’ll try not to think about that part… at least for a while.

The main problem is figuring out where to put the tree. Some people have nice big windows where they always put the tree. I am not one of those people. In today’s smaller homes, a place for a tree can be hard to find, even a small tree. I usually squeeze it into the living room, but it really does make the house seem crowded.

Where can it go? A bedroom? No one would see it in a bedroom. The bathroom? Don’t be ridiculous. Where would it go, in the shower? The garage? I thought I said don’t be ridiculous. The kitchen? That’s it. I’ll try the kitchen this year. Seems like a good idea since I will not have a lot of gifts to put under it anyhow. This will be a first. I don’t think I’ve ever had a kitchen tree before. I’m starting to get excited.

So, Christmas will be a little less than traditional this year, but rules were made to be broken. I didn’t cook a large dinner at Thanksgiving this year, so I can roast a turkey. A tree in the kitchen should be perfect.

Who knows, maybe I’ll start a new trend.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss    

Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gourmet Junk Mail

At this time of the year, my mailbox begins to sprout gourmet food gift catalogs. It seems that everyone with your address and a mail order business wants to sell you their goods. I don’t know how they all get my name as I have never ordered anything from most of them. I suppose businesses exchange lists of potential mail-order customers.

The gift catalogs start arriving at the beginning of October. At first it is only a trickle. Before Christmas it becomes an avalanche of sausage and cheese, gourmet popcorn, decorated cookies, gourmet popcorn, spiral hams, gourmet popcorn, fruit baskets, gourmet popcorn, chocolate candy and gourmet popcorn.

I blame my sister for the popcorn. One year she sent me a can of fancy popcorn from The Popcorn Factory. I’m sure it was supposed to be a one-time transaction, not a life-long friendship. They flood you with catalogs not only at Christmas, but all year long. I got even with my sister for giving them my address, though. The next year I sent popcorn to her.

I think these places must have a pretty good idea of what happens to the catalogs shortly after they hit the door. Otherwise, why would they send another one a week later? Maybe they think you will eventually break down and order. Or maybe they think your trash can is full of catalogs sent by the people they gave your address to and there isn’t room for another.

And what do you do with all the fancy tin cans that this stuff comes in anyhow? They are too pretty to throw away, but you really can’t use a decorative tin Christmas can for much … except popcorn. So, I put them in the attic.

When I finally decided to clear the attic out one year, there were dozens of empty cans, too pretty to throw away. I gave them to charity. I don’t know what the charities do with them. Probably sell them back to gourmet gift catalog stores.

This year I got a catalog from a new place called Cheryl’s. Cheryl makes decorated cookies. She really thinks highly of her product. You can get a “free” sample of 6 cookies for $6.99 shipping. That comes out to over dollar a cookie in my book. I had the ridiculous idea that the cost of free stuff was nothing.

We all know that the postal employees play soccer with packages at Christmas, especially when they are marked fragile. With my luck, my friend would end up with a box of gourmet cookie crumbs. I guess they overcharge for stuff to pay for the cost of printing up the glossy color catalogs.

I just bought a tray of decorated cookies at Walmart for $6 and got a couple dozen. Walmart doesn’t pack them in fancy cans and mail them for you, though. Or maybe they do. They just didn’t have my address to send me a catalog.

One year I thought I would save all the catalogs that came and see how many I got in one season. I had to end up throwing them away. By the middle of December, the coffee table collapsed.

After that, I began to have reoccurring nightmares that the gourmet gift catalogs stacked up so high they fell over and buried me. It was awful. What was even more awful was when I checked the mailbox and found my dream coming true.

My sister says she loves to order thing. by mail. By the time the package finally arrives, she has forgotten what she ordered, and it is almost like getting a gift in the mail.

I just thought of a use for the leftover cans. I can use them to hold all the catalogs.

Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss

Posted in Holidays, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Home Alone

Day 1 – I come home and find the garage door partly open. “What’s going on?” I wonder. I go inside to check and find a strange dog in the garage. Whose dog is that? “Get! Go away! Shoo!”

I guess I will just leave the garage door open until it decides to leave. I’ve seen him around here before, but I’m not sure whose dog he is.

Day 2 – My daughter informs me that the black lab belongs to the neighbors. “They are gone for the week. Something could happen to him”

Yeah, like he could get reported to animal control. But, she makes him a bed in our garage and closes the garage door so he will not get cold.

“Okay, he can stay in the garage until they get back, but he absolutely cannot come in the house. He is not our dog.”

Day 3 – I walk into the kitchen and the dog is sleeping on the rug by the door. “What is that dog doing inside? “Smokey was cold outside.” Smokey? Now it has a name. “He is too afraid to get off the rug. See him shaking?”

Probably afraid the dogcatcher will get him. “Okay, he can sleep on the rug in the kitchen, poor thing, but he absolutely cannot go in the rest of the house. He is not our dog”

Day 4 – My daughter says, “I checked the neighbor’s yard. Smokey’s leash is broken; he chewed though it.

“He has food and water and a warm doghouse to sleep in. But you are not going to make him go outside in the cold rain, are you? They don’t ever let him run loose.”

Meanwhile, the dog is in the garage scratching on the kitchen door. Next thing I know, he will want to bring 20 canine friends inside with him.

“Okay, he can sleep here until they get back, but he has to stay outside except at night. He is not our dog.”

Day 5 – The door to my grandson’s bedroom is closed. I knock on the door and the dog answers, “Woof”

“What is that dog doing in the bedroom? He is supposed to stay in the kitchen! He is not our dog.”

“He is sleeping on the floor, grandma! He likes it in here better than in the kitchen. He is lonesome.”

Am I the only one that suspects a conspiracy? “Okay, he can sleep here, but just on the floor, and just until the neighbors get home! He is not our dog.”

Day 6 – The dog is in my grandson’s bed, stretched out on the bedspread, snoring.

“What is that mutt doing in the bed? Lonesome? How can he be lonesome? Why isn’t he outside? No, you can’t keep him! He is somebody else’s dog!”

Day 7 – The neighbors are home! Yippee! I see their car in the driveway. I immediately give the dog his walking papers and put him out the back door without any luggage or spending money.

The dog walks through the wet grass, slowly drags himself to the neighbor’s house and scratches the door. No doubt he is pretending that he was locked out the whole time, was cold and hungry, and was chased by wild cats. He had to chew through his collar to escape and is lucky to be alive.

I have not seen the dog since they came back. I’m sure they have no idea that their mongrel was sleeping in the neighbor’s bed, dining on the neighbor’s dog food, being petted by the neighbor’s daughter and spoiled by the neighbor’s grandson.

They are probably so happy to have their dog come home unharmed that they will lavish him with affection and promise never to leave him home alone again.

Actually, there is no point in leaving him home alone. The next time they go somewhere, they might as well leave him with us. We wouldn’t want him to be lonesome.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

Posted in Humor | 1 Comment

Scarecrow Interview

Here I am, standing out in the middle of a muddy cornfield trying to interview a scarecrow. Pumpkins are more popular at this time of the year, but, unfortunately, the Great Pumpkin was not available due to a previous commitment.

Thank you for agreeing to speak with me tonight, Mr. Scarecrow. People don’t really know a lot about scarecrows. Maybe you can enlighten us about what it is exactly that you do.

You work really hard at your occupation, keeping the corn crop safe from harmful crows so they don’t destroy it, don’t you?

No, not really, I just sort of hang around. The crows supposedly think I am an actual human, get scared, fly away and don’t eat up the corn before it can be harvested.

What do you mean “supposedly?”

Crows are not as dumb as people seem to think. They know the difference between clothes stuffed with straw and a real person. They fly around my head laughing, even land on my shoulders at times. You should see some of the corn roasts and bonfires out here at night.

Isn’t it your job to scare the crows? Why don’t you bust them?

I’m just a straw man. Do I look like a cop in this straw hat? I shoo them away; they come right back. It’s like a game with them.

Maybe you could use a shotgun! They wouldn’t laugh then!

Farmers always want to shoot them, but straw men have no brains. You can’t give a gun to someone without a brain, contrary to what some people seem to believe. Anyhow, I don’t believe in violence. Live and let live I say.

You sound pretty smart to me.

Thanks, I will take that as a compliment.

Do you ever get to spend any time outside the cornfield?

Believe it or not, I am an actor. I have had some excellent parts. Remember “The Wizard of Oz?” and “The Wiz?” The great Nathanial Hawthorn wrote about an ancestor being brought to life by a witch. I’ve worked for Disney, in comics with Batman, and am featured in many other books and films. You might say that I am outstanding in my field. Pardon the pun.

Do you try to keep a positive attitude? It must be hard working most of the time on a menial job that doesn’t utilize your potential.

It has its benefits. The crows are pesky, but kids love to visit me and run through my corn mazes. I love spending time entertaining the kids. I don’t mind the long hours and enjoy working outdoors in the fresh air.

So, actually you are a guy with a soft heart and a good nature?

Yes, I’m stuffed with straw, so I how can I be anything but soft? I may not be handsome, but there is nothing wrong with being comfortable in jeans and old plaid shirt. The straw hat I don’t really need, but it is sort of a trademark in the scarecrow profession.

Well, thanks again for your time, Mr. Scarecrow. I had no idea there was so much to know about scarecrows.

So. that’s it from the cornfield, folks.

Kerchoo! Kerchoo! Drat my hay fever is acting up — just an occupational hazard of my profession when interviewing a scarecrow.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Seventy Year Old Car

Clackity, clackity, clackity. “What is that noise?” I wondered. No, the left-turn signal was not on this time. I could not tell where the sound was coming from. When the car stopped, the noise stopped too. “It will probably go away,” I thought. “It’s nothing.”

But like cavities in your teeth, funny car noises do not heal themselves. I am mechanically impaired, but I did have a car once that had clattering valves. Could it be valve clatter?

I asked my daughter to listen to it. “I don’t hear anything,” she said. That proves it. It’s nothing.

Later I found some green oily-looking stuff on the floor of the garage. “It looks fresh, but it is probably old. The car is running and none of the gages show anything. It is okay,” I told myself. “There is nothing seriously wrong.”

Okay, so my car is 70 years old in car years. Supposedly, if you divide the mileage by the year, you can find out how old a car is in human years. But I take really good care of it. I give it only premium gas, I change its oil every time I am supposed to. I have it serviced at a dealership. So, why is it leaking oil and making a noise? It has only been driven by a little old lady at 35 mph.

“The car is making that noise again. I heard it today,” my daughter informed me. We could not both be imagining the same noise, could we? Face it, the car is a senior citizen.

I have things to do and places to go. I don’t have time for the car to have a senior moment. But I don’t have time to get stranded on the road either, or have the noise get worse and tear up the entire motor.

Suddenly, fixing the car became an emergency.

I called Cindy at the auto shop and made an appointment. “It is making a clackity sound,” I told Cindy. “It only does it when the car is moving.” I didn’t tell her what I thought it was. No use suggesting something expensive. They have diagnostic equipment and expert mechanics.

Cindy called me later. “It is the serpentine belt,” she said. I didn’t know what that was, but I was happy when she told me they could replace it. “We are not sure about the leak,” she said. “I want the transmission guy to look at it and he is out of town this week. Can you bring it back?”

Transmission? My heart stopped as I watched hundred-dollar bills sprout wings and fly out of my purse. “Okay, I will bring it back.” I was sure it was going to have a spasm and drop the entire transmission on the Interstate somewhere on the way home.

Nothing is worse than having a car that is over the hill and not dependable. Finally, the next week came and I took it back, knowing the car was senile and the diagnosis could be chronic.

I called Cindy later to check on it. “Oh, Joe is working on another job,” she said. “I’ll have to tell him to check it.” In a while she called back. “It is the transmission oil pan.” She said. I didn’t know what that was either, but it sounded better than a fried transmission. “We will have to service the transmission, but he should have it ready today before we close.”

What a relief. It will not be pushing up daisies for a while yet. Seventy is the new 50. Maybe I will fill up the gas tank and take it to the car wash, just to let it know I am not ready to put it out to pasture.

I only wish cars had Medicar.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

Posted in Automotive, Humor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Eater

Autumn has arrived, time for falling leaves, apple cider, and especially for those orange orbs that seem to invade all aspects of life at this time of year… pumpkins. I think pumpkins are great as a fall decoration and make a lovely jack-o-lantern. But pumpkins are not content to remain where they belong. They have jumped the garden wall.

Case in point: We went out for pancakes for breakfast last week. What was the breakfast menu special? Pumpkin pancakes, what else. I don’t think so. I tried them once, and I really am not so fond of pumpkin that I want it in my pancakes, or my cereal, my muffin, or in pumpkin spice cream cheese on a bagel.

Peter in the children’s nursery rhyme was a pumpkin eater, at least according to legend. He may have been fond of pumpkin, but between us, I don’t even like pumpkin pie, especially not with pumpkin whipped cream on it.

Pumpkin has even assaulted the coffee menu at Starbucks with a pumpkin spice latte. It has been recently revealed that this coffee has no actual pumpkin; it is only pumpkin flavoring that makes it taste as if it has pumpkin. In a way that is even worse. Artificial pumpkin is like a plastic jack-o-lantern.

Pumpkin is baked into almost anything you can think of now, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and cookies. There is even a pumpkin-flavored peanut butter. For some unfathomable reason, fall just isn’t festive without pumpkin in almost any food you can think of.

Google your favorite food and add pumpkin. There is almost nothing you can find that is not available in some sort of pumpkin version. I searched for pumpkin spaghetti and found all kinds of pumpkin pasta and casseroles. I suppose it is not that big a leap from vegetable spaghetti if you think about it.

Pumpkin dessert pizza comes complete with a jack-o-lantern face; pumpkin ice-cream is only available in the fall. How about a pumpkin veggie-burger slider drizzled with honey? Do you want fries with that — pumpkin fries, that is. Well, they make fries from sweet potatoes, don’t they? What did you expect?

Not only has pumpkin overrun every aspect of the human culinary world, it is even found in pet food. It is good for an animal’s digestion the label says. I have a feeling it is also good for the pocketbooks of pumpkin farmers. My dog will eat about anything if it thinks it is a treat, or if it is buried deep enough in something that is meat flavored.

Not only have pumpkin people taken over the kitchen, they have also invaded the world of health and beauty. You can bath with pumpkin scented soap, wash your hair with pumpkin shampoo, soften your skin with pumpkin lotion, give yourself a pumpkin and sugar facial, squirt a bit of pumpkin cologne behind your ear, dab on a bit of orange pumpkin lipstick and finish your beauty routine with pumpkin-scented feminine hygiene products.

If it can be scented, it can be made to smell like a pumpkin. Scent the air with a pumpkin-spice air freshener or light a pumpkin scented candle for a romantic evening. It’s enough to drive you to drink — if it wasn’t for pumpkin-flavored cocktails.

Somehow this lowly fruit has taken over our common sense. I am content to confine pumpkins to fall decorations for the front porch. I do not want pumpkins in my kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or anywhere else in my house. I do not want to roast pumpkin-flavored marshmallows, make turkey pumpkin chili, or smell like I’m married to a pumpkin pie.

Get thee back to the pumpkin patch, orange gourd! Fall has been commercialized to the point of ad nauseam. Enough pumpkin is enough, even for Peter, pumpkin eater.

Copyright 2014 Sheila Moss

Posted in Food, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Get Out of Dodge

Usually I try ti stick to humor, but once in a while, I have to have my say. Agree or disagree if you want. I know there are many who think otherwise, but for Pete’s sake, people, it’s time to use a little common sense.

Sometimes I have to wonder about people and why they make the choices that they do. Oklahoma is not only in tornado alley, it is the bull’s eye for storms. For some reason people continue to choose to live there and dodge tornadoes like bullets, hoping that Mother Nature will be a bad shot. They are “used to tornadoes.” How can you get “used” to a tornado?

I don’t get it.

“We know other people who have been hit, and this time it was our turn,” says one woman, with resolve, as if there is no opportunity to do anything else but sit in harm’s way with your fingers crossed and hope statistics don’t catch up with you. Some people are hit not only in one devastating tornado, but are hit again later. I think I would give up on the laws of probability and take matters into my own hands.

Most people say they don’t know how they survived. “I hid in the closet, in the bathtub, or in the hall under a mattress. I was lucky. God must have winked and let me survive.” So, what if God doesn’t wink next time? Should people continue to depend on God winking, or does God expect people to take some responsibility for their own safety?

I don’t get it.

Oklahoma people are resilient, they say on the news. In a year it will all be rebuilt. People in Oklahoma come from hardy stock. They are cowboys, oil workers, people whose ancestors claimed the land in land races. It will all be rebuilt with the help of the taxpayers and the insurance companies. It will rise from the debris in plenty of time for the next big one.

A few more people will build storm cellars or concrete bunkers to hide from the storms. Regular wood, plywood, and particle board cannot possibly stand up against 200 mph winds with the force of a mega bomb. Houses can be reinforced with steel and made somewhat more resistant, but they are still only wood.

The only thing that can withstand a force like that is a home built like a bomb shelter with reinforced concrete walls and roof. Not very attractive or practical and probably very expensive, but maybe it is time to consider something other than conventional wood homes if people must live where it is only a matter of time.

People do not like to relocate. They are tied to a geographical area by jobs, friends, family, and community. Is Oklahoma really that great, or just what is familiar? It seems to me when everything familiar is gone would be the best time to throw in the towel and go elsewhere.

Most tornadoes happen in what is called “tornado alley,” the plains between the Rockies and the Appalachians, where the land is flat and where moist air from the Gulf and cold air from the north meet. The two fronts collide and begin to spin as hot air rises. Then the spin becomes vertical and a tornado is born.

Granted, no place is totally immune from natural disasters, whether it is tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, fires or floods. But it seems better to play Russian roulette where there are fewer bullets in the chamber.

The changes of being hit are greater than ever. Most tornadoes are small, not the large super-cell type. Only a few usually achieve that status. However, we know that storms are becoming bigger and more frequent due to global warming.

I don’t get it. I will never get it.

All I can say is it is time to get out of Dodge while Mother Nature is still blowing the smoke out of her pistol.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
Updated 2022

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