I knew from the time I was in the sixth grade what I wanted to be in life.  A private detective.  I wanted to be the hard-boiled kind, like Humphrey Bogart portrayed.  Even though I was a girl, I knew I could be just as tough as he was.  But at 12 years of age, that wasn’t going to happen, so I started writing hard-boiled mysteries.  They were short stories that one of my teachers insisted I read before the class… this was in junior high.  By the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to be a foreign correspondent, traveling the world in my trench coat with the collar turned up around my neck.  Also like Humphrey Bogart.

In my junior year in high school the editor of the local weekly asked if I would like to write a regular column.  I jumped at the chance.  They were pretty basic, but one or two still stand out, like the one I wrote after having lunch with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.  They were going to be in Steubenille, Dean’s home town, for the opening of a new mdean-and-jerry-photoovie and were having a luncheon for the press in a conference room in the Stueben Hotel – on a school day!


My editor arranged for me to attend and my dad asked a local man who drove to Steubenville every day if he would take me with him.  I had to find my own activity to fill the morning until lunch, so mostly I sat in the lobby of the hotel and watched people come and go.

At the luncheon Dean was accompanied by his first wife and oldest son.  Jerry was there with his wife, but I don’t recall any children with him.  Probably not, because he was something else…never sitting down, perhaps didn’t get a bit of food, never being still.  All else paled next to his frenetic motion.

The phone in the room rang several times and he was always right there to answer it.  “Joe’s pizza, we have a pepperoni special today,” he said and went on to describe it.  Another time he answered in a phony language with words that sounded like Chin Yon’s Chinese Laundry.  When not on the phone he made faces at everyone, told silly jokes and worked his way around the room, teasing everyone.  Somehow he overlooked me.  I was the only student in the room.

I can’t recall what we were served for lunch, or what questions, if any, were asked about the movie or their next venture.  Throughout the meal Dean was either quiet or pretending to be upset with Jerry and trying to get him to sit down.  Given the fact that they broke up not long afterwards, maybe he really was upset.  He was certainly being upstaged!

But I didn’t see that.  I saw two big stars having lunch with  a dozen or so reporters and me.  I was star-struck and the column I wrote reflected it.  It’s a wonder I didn’t want to become a movie star after that.  Like Humphrey Bogart.


It’s Cabin Fever Time Again

The trouble is, I’m not a winter person.  I don’t like snow, except for looking out the window at it, and then only if it’s freshly fallen.

So here it is, only the first of February and I’m already weary of this winter, tired of snow and of being house-bound.  Cabin fever has set in.  In fact, yesterday was so bad that I decided to clean the refrigerator.  That’s a sure sign of boredom, but at least it isn’t as bad as reorganizing the spice rack.

Cleaning the refrigerator had been in the back of my mind anyway.  The other day I spilled pickle juice and it had become a sticky mess, attracting… well, I’m not sure what.

I mixed up some warm water and baking soda, emptied the top shelf and started wiping away the bits and pieces from who knows how long.  Among the items I emptied was a can with bacon grease.  Gosh!  How long had it been since I actually cooked bacon?  Mostly I serve the pre-cooked variety anymore. It just needs a few seconds’ zap in the microwave and doesn’t result in a splatter of bacon grease all over the top of the stove.  Standing next to that can were two bottles of beer that neither Rock nor I drink (I like wine he likes soda pop).  Then milk, two kinds of juice and a bottle of coffee flavored liqueur.  I‘ll have some of that later, I thought.

For some reason, there were three bottles of Worchestershire Sauce on the top shelf.  Hmm.  We were never big steak eaters.  Hmm.

The next shelf was crammed with jelly, jam, mustard of all kinds, several jars of pickles and pickle relish, prunes, and yogurt.  Some of the containers were sample size and were so small they had become lost behind the taller jars on the shelf.

The next shelf had more yogurt, butter, butter-like spread, leftovers, etc.  I began checking some of the expiration dates on the various containers and was instantly sorry.  One container of dry lemonade mix (and I’m not sure why it was there anyway), dated back to an expiration date of 2008.  Could it still be good?  Our son, a health nut, would gag!outofdate.JPG

I made the mistake of opening a mystery container and it immediately assaulted my nose.  Rock was nearby, fascinated by the sight of me cleaning something, then nearly fainted when the smell wafted over toward him..

The fresh vegetable drawer seemed to have everything but fresh vegetables.  Then I found, down on the bottom of the drawer, a squishy red pepper, half an onion and some celery wrapped in aluminum foil.  Sad.  Really sad.  This veggie container had been so full of other stuff that the head of lettuce couldn’t fit in and had been on the next shelf up.

I never could figure out what was supposed to go into the bottom drawer.  Cheese?  There was a drawer for that and it was full.  We like cheese.  Meat?  Well, if we don’t eat meat right away I freeze it.  So, the bottom drawer was always a catch-all.

After a good cleaning it all went back in, except for several things I threw out.  It was organized to the hilt!  Just look!  There’s space in this once-jammed refrigerator.  And it’s clean.

I was pretty pleased with myself and settled down with some of that liqueur.  I sighed.  If this malaise lingers I may find myself looking for excitement by watching my chia plant grow.  Let’s hope it never gets so bad that I go to work on the spice rack.