Pullover conundrum

When I’m watching a TV show or movie and a character is putting a shirt on they first sort of roll up the shirt and stick their arms through the sleeves and then pull the neck opening over their head. Once I started noticing this, it seemed the predominant method for donning any kind of pullover UNLESS the scene was being played for comic effect (whereupon the character gets the shirt stuck on his or her head and proceeds to stagger around crashing into walls and knocking over lamps). Usually it’s a smooth two-step move though, and the character hardly breaks rhythm. They make it look cool.

This is not how I put on a pullover. First I pull the shirt over my head and then I wrestle into the sleeves. I’d have never given it a thought but for noticing how actors do it onscreen. It made me think there are two distinct schools on the proper way to get into a pullover – and maybe an adult just does what they were taught as a child. (I know my mother had me put the shirt over my head first).

It further occurs to me as I write this that the onscreen method is probably deliberate so that the actor’s head is visible most of the time and he or she can go right on talking. In any event whenever I see someone do the arms-then-head method I think to myself “I should try that” but invariably I forget to and I remember only as I am contorting into the sleeves. And no, I am not so demented as to take the shirt off so I can start over doing it the other way.

So. How you YOU put on a pullover? If you’re not sure feel free to get back to me on this after the next time you put one on. I’ll be here.

Chinese lions get a paint job

The Chinese lions have appeared in the blog before, most recently last summer. They also turned up herethere, and here too. The story is I found the pair chucked out by the road and rescued them. This was several years back and they’d since started to look like they’d been taking in a bit too much sun.



It was time for a little sprucing with gold paint.



Although they weren’t painted differently originally, I thought the eyes should be red.


You can sort of see the newly red eyes. And look at those teeth! (Somebody hasn’t been brushing.) Gotta love the intricate detail.


Don’t answer

Thinking it might be the person I’d just spoken to, I made the mistake of answering the phone. No Caller ID here and while the supposed National Do Not Call list initially worked for awhile, it stopped being helpful years ago when the phone peddlers realized there’d be no repercussions.

Me: Hello?


I was about to hang up when I thought I heard something.

Me: Hello?

Girl: You are so hard to reach!! And I have short arms!

Me: [         ] Not recognizing the voice and thinking who the hell this is saying stupid things in such an overly familiar way.

Girl: This is Anna with the Children’s Fund…

Then I reached through the phone and cracked Anna across the head. That felt good so I beat her with the receiver. She stopped making bad jokes and trying to trick me into thinking I knew her.



Easy Bean Soup with Vegetables

I didn’t grow up eating beans. The most I remember were baked beans that were served when we had hot dogs for dinner, the latter of which was an infrequent treat. Those beans were nasty and kind of creamed but they were non negotiable.

Many years back I started educating myself on nutrition and beans became a staple in my diet. Beans are filling, nutritious, fiber powerhouses. I love chickpeas/garbanzo beans above all others but also like black beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, white beans, and lentils. Some people don’t like beans because of the gas but one thing I read early on was that the more you eat beans the less that is a problem and it’s true (not just something they say to talk you into eating more beans).

The other day I saw a bean soup mix on sale for $2 so I bought two packs. Generally I don’t pay more than a dollar a pound for beans as one of their attributes is their low price. However, a mix of bean types is always priced higher. One time I made my own bean soup mix by combining a variety of beans I had on-hand but I assure you I got nowhere near 15.


The first thing I did/do is toss out the little chemical packet of flavoring that comes with the soup. Dry beans need to soak overnight so I put these in a big jar covered with water in the refrigerator so they’d be ready to cook the following day.

This winter I treated myself to a wonderful purchase, a deep stock pot. I love it! In it I sautéed a smallish chopped up onion in a little canola oil, stirring occasionally. After the onion had cooked, I filled the pot half way with water and added the now-drained beans. I don’t always add vegetables but I had some ready to use, so I added half a pound of fresh green beans cut in half, and a little over half a pound of sliced carrots, all of which I brought to a boil. If you don’t bother adding vegetables it’s still a healthy, filling soup.



I turned the pot down to a simmer and added fresh ground pepper and some fresh Rosemary from my herbs. (You can add whatever you like.) After about an hour I tasted the largest bean to make sure it was cooked as well as a green bean and carrot slice. Near the end of cooking I added a 28oz can of rinsed, diced tomatoes and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar. Vinegars are a great way to add flavor without salt or more fat (the only fat in this is the canola oil for sautéing; you can even saute with just water for no fat). I add the vinegar toward the end of cooking so the flavor doesn’t all cook off.


With the canned tomatoes added near the end of cooking since they are already cooked


Icky encounters

Maggie’s recent post on Trolls reminded me of a weird little period of time I had not quite a year ago. I considered writing about the incidents then but opted not to. I didn’t forget them but I wasn’t in the frame of mind to dwell on it by blogging. It was soon after the man I knew killed himself and I felt like the universe was piling on, as in “I really don’t need this now.”

Things are different at this point and I can write from a more comfortable distance. I had three weird incidents with men, strangers, in the span of a few weeks, all during the daytime. I live in a moderately small community which is part of a much larger metropolitan area. The immediate area is a walking, sociable town where you often see the same people or at the very least, assume for the most part the people you see are your fellow townspeople. I assure you this is not though, to some people’s disappointment, any kind of crimeless Utopia. There is crime as well as distinctly odd people who live here, but mostly, so far as the latter anyway, it becomes clear who they are and you can act accordingly.

On this day in March, it was still cold and overcast. I was headed for the library and left my house on foot in a long coat, hat, scarf and gloves. As I walked down a street about half-way to the library, an off-white SUV pulled up alongside me going the same direction. At first I expected someone wanted directions since I am stopped very regularly by people who are looking for an address or how to get out of the neighborhood. A man I didn’t know, possibly Indian, was alone in the vehicle. He didn’t smile or offer a friendly greeting but kind of looked at me in a peculiar way and asked if I wanted a ride. I thought it was odd but replied “no thanks, I like to walk” in a friendly fashion. Do understand – I had ZERO intention of taking a ride. He drove off.

The incident left me with a vague unease. It wasn’t that a stranger had offered me a ride. It was something about the man and the interaction itself that didn’t sit right.

I continued to the library and then the store. A few hours passed before I headed home. And again as I was about half-way to home, what did I see but an off-white SUV pulling onto the street on which I am walking. Now I was alarmed. The man, this time going in the opposite direction from me again stopped. I stayed where I was but bent a little to look at him across the passenger seat. He muttered something I didn’t understand. As before, there was no smile or sense that things were on the up and up. Now I was irritated. “I don’t know what you want,” I said. Then he did a strange thing. He made the hand gesture for money, where you rub the ends of your fingers together. Was he offering me money? Did he want money? I have no idea but I’d had enough. I was pissed and I was done.

Remember, hours had passed since I’d first seen him. What was he doing all that time? Did he live in the neighborhood? Did he drive around for hours? Had he bothered anybody else or was he looking for me? “You need to leave me alone!” I said emphatically, no trace of friendliness in my voice. That was enough to send him away. I was rattled and not quick enough to get the full of his license plate as he drove off.

I didn’t report this to the police, in part because I didn’t have a license plate but also because I haven’t had good experiences with the local police, particularly with incidents of harassment. I don’t have confidence in them. A friend did encourage me to report it anyway because there is an elementary school in the neighborhood. I stuck with my decision not to bother; I wasn’t in the frame of mind to have anyone make it worse.

Another day not long after, I was walking on the sidewalk down a long hill in the neighborhood when a truck slowed down beside me for no apparent reason. Any time a vehicle slows or stops near me I pay attention. As I say, usually the person just wants directions but not always and in any event, I am very mindful (even direction-asking can be a ruse). This time after slowing the truck suddenly picked up speed and as I watched it race ahead the vehicle inexplicably drove up onto the curb before righting itself and returning to the street.

Now I’m not going to tell you I’m unattractive, but people don’t drive off the road when they see me. I was still stopped in my tracks watching as another car, which had been behind the first, pulled alongside me. It happened to be a woman I know. “What was THAT?!” she exclaimed. Her reaction confirmed how strange what we’d just witnessed was. I told her I’d been having some weird incidents lately. She definitely thought it had something to do with me and wanted to know if I’d be okay. I assured her I was going to leave the street and take a walking path in case the truck came back.

The third incident was milder than the first two and not one I’d even consider worth mentioning but for the fact it occurred so close in time  to the others. Again, I was out walking on the sidewalk adjacent to a busy road. A middle-aged man I didn’t know stopped his car in the road, despite other cars being around, and stared at me. Instead of the expected friendly smile or “Hey, howya doing today?” or even “Need a ride?” he basically grunted at me loudly. What the hell? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE???? I just looked away and kept on walking. I’m not 12. I’m not 25. I’m not 30. I am a grown up lady person minding her own business. What do you think you’re doing???

After these three back-to-back incidents, I was feeling rattled and a bit paranoid. I studied every white SUV I saw for quite some time since that was the creepiest encounter. I didn’t see one with the right suggestion of cream in the coloring. Only recently did I throw out the small scrap paper I’d kept that had part of the vehicle’s license plate. I don’t think about these particular incidents much now but I haven’t forgotten either. And other weird things have happened in the not-quite-year since – one in particular stands out in my mind where a younger man came on with me pretty aggressively – but they seem like grist for the mill. That is, I don’t feel paranoid or singled out in some icky way.

I think most women have incidents like these, ones that feel like near-misses. Where she has to use her smarts and intuition to stay ahead of a potential threat or predator. It’s not like I think living in a friendly, sociable community is an automatic protection from all potential harm. I believe I need to look out for myself and not count on anyone else. I tell you I’m pissed that I still have to deal with this crap. But at least I am more confident and resourceful than I was when I was younger. I don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings or not being a nice girl. I think: stay the hell away from me. If you show me you mean trouble, I will send you packing.

Short Thought 180 (friendly)

As I was walking along I crossed paths with a woman I hadn’t seen before. She was wearing a pretty coat so I complimented her on it. She was new to the neighborhood and told me several things about herself, and not just chit-chat either but personal things. I came away thinking she was friendly. But although I saw her around she never acknowledged me or spoke to me, even though not much time had passed. It took awhile but it finally dawned on me. She wasn’t the friendly person; I was.  l initiated the contact. I had complimented her. I was kind of bemused by this realization.



Oh you want something now do you?

I have noticed that some people talk to me only when they want something. If I suspect that might be so, I start making a point to pay attention to our encounters. When our paths cross or I hear from them, does this person talk to me about general topics (“This sure is a hot summer isn’t it?”) and do they seem to enjoy talking to me?  (“Good point, Colette.”) Do they appreciate how delightful I am can be? (Oh Colette you crack me up.”) Or do they have no use for me until the day rolls around when they want something?

See, here’s the thing. I don’t know why anybody much approaches me this way ever anyhow, with an agenda of what they’d like me to do, because anymore I rarely grant satisfaction. Good luck trying to get me to run for an office, volunteer, join a committee, or help organize an an event. And if you think I’m going to give any money to your cause, pledge drive, fundraiser, or any other pet project, you go on and sleep tight because you are dreaming. If I give money, it’s voluntary and for something I believe in, never because I’m harangued for it and it’s important only to them.

It is not flattering to realize someone only approaches me when they want something. That fact alone makes me disinclined to acquiesce. Now, if I like you and/or you give me the time of day when you don’t want things, yeah sure, I may sign a petition, show up for a meeting, or volunteer for a limited time (the last of which you best appreciate – a “Thank you, we appreciate your help” oughta do it – or that’ll be the last time you see me volunteering). What I expect though, is that these people simply aren’t paying enough attention to me to realize or care that I won’t like being asked for something under these circumstances, i.e. the blow-me-off-till-you-want-something ones. But I’m paying attention to them.