Brain Dump

Okay little Thoughts, stay here and play for a while. Have fun and don’t hurt each other. You’ve all been cooped up in my brain far too long. Brainy needs a good airing!



Calling All Food!

Dee (my dear 70+ year old neighbor who passed away last October) is the one who gave the name Donut to the matriarch of the hillbilly family living next door, but to my knowledge Donut is not aware of her nickname.

Coincidentally, Donut named her dog and cat Taco and Oreo.

Several times a week I hear her calling for one or both of them, either to call them in for the night or to call them in for their dinner.

Donut calling for Taco and Oreo is enough to make one hungry. It’s like food calling food to come in and eat their food.

I posted this on Facebook a month or two ago and was surprised by how many of my friends name their pets after food items, but then again I once heard of a woman who named her daughter Frappuccino, so I guess naming your pet Hamburger Helper or Chips Ahoy isn’t much of a stretch.

Peanut Butter vs. Marmite

I have a thing for BBC panel shows – especially Q.I. (I miss Stephen Fry as the host.)

I honestly don’t remember on which panel show I heard this discussed, but apparently it’s very hard to find peanut butter in most European countries. It’s not that they don’t have peanuts – it’s that they don’t find grinding them into a paste to be very appetizing.

Personally, I love peanut butter, but I do understand that tastes vary from culture to culture. I wouldn’t question their distaste for peanut butter if it weren’t for one thing.


If you’re not familiar with Marmite, their slogan is, “Love it or hate it” because few are neutral regarding the salty goo. It’s made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. I’m sure there are many creative ways to use Marmite (or similar products) but one of the most common methods is to spread it on buttered toast.

Perhaps I might actually like Marmite if it were used sparingly as an ingredient in a dish for the purpose of adding a little flavor, but straight or on toast? No thanks! The only word that comes to my mind to describe the flavor is “bouillony”‘ or perhaps “bouillonish”.

To further understand the taste of Marmite, let’s break the word down.

mar – 1. Impair the appearance of; disfigure. 2. Impair the quality of; spoil.

mite – 1. A minute arachnid that has four pairs of legs when adult, related to the ticks. Many kinds live in the soil and a number are parasitic on plants or animals.

I think the manufacturer of the yeast extract goo was smart to choose the brand name Marmite over Spoiledparasite.

To be fair, there are many who love Marmite. Those who love the brown salt lick syrup are very passionate about their love for the product.

Those who hate Marmite describe it as “salty”, “having the flavor of straight soy sauce” or, my favorite description, “ass crack”.

If the flavor of ass crack were to be manufactured and marketed to the public, I have no doubt there would be a market for it.

Love it or hate it, there will always be those who have a hearty appetite for the taste of disgusting.

I’m an Idiotic Genius!

I don’t own a cell phone. I still have a landline.

I wouldn’t know how to work a modern cell phone if it were a matter of life or death. People have tried to hand me their cell phones before to make a call or look something up on Google, but I just stare at it as if it were alien technology. To me it’s definitely futuristic technology – at least 20 years ahead of my understanding of technology.

I have operated three cell phones in my life. The first one was so large it was housed in its own suitcase. The second one predated texting technology by a year or two. The third came with the ability to make a call, text or play Sudoku – the latter option being its most attractive feature. The latter two phones were temporary pay-as-you-go track phones which were purchased for out-of-state moves. It will be a huge learning adventure if I’m ever able to afford a modern cell phone. But this story isn’t about my lack of mobile communication. It’s about my landline.

Two years ago I bought a new home phone because the three people I talk to on a semi-regular basis (my brother and two best friends), all complained that they couldn’t hear me when we talked on the phone. I just assumed after the first few complaints that the problem was with their cell phones because cells often fade in and out, echo one’s voice, etc. There seem to be many occasional sound problems associated with cell phones that one rarely has to endure with home phones these days. However, after several months of complaints that the other party couldn’t hear me, I started entertaining the thought that my phone might possibly be the problem. The phone I had been using was manufactured in 1981, so it was possible that it might need to be replaced.

So I bought a new phone. It cost $10 or $15. I was looking for a very basic, no-frills, corded phone because that’s what I’m used to. The most basic corded phone available came with caller I.D. – a luxury I had never had before.

I brought the phone home, plugged it in the phone jack and was amazed when I got my first call and only had to look at the handset to see who was calling. I had finally reached 1990s technology!

I used the phone for a year or more without issue, but last September my Caller I.D. stopped working. I was a bit upset but I dismissed the malfunction as proof that “things aren’t built to last like they used to be”.

Early last week I was talking with my brother. He had a lot to tell me due to recent unpleasant events in his life, so he was doing most of the talking and I was trying to concentrate in order to hear his story. (I get distracted easily.) I was fidgeting with the phone cradle as I listened to Scott and during my fidgeting I found a tiny little clip on top of the phone cradle. I had never noticed the clip before. I picked at it and a big piece of plastic flew up in the air. I thought I had broken it!

Upon inspection I discovered it was a battery cover!

I missed a minute or two of Scott’s story as my internal monologue kicked in, robbing Scott of my attention.

“Why are there batteries in my phone? It’s a friggin’ landline! It’s not even a portable! I’m tethered to this thing like a dog on a leash whenever a take a phone call. This doesn’t even make sense! I’ve never heard of a corded phone requiring batteries. The phone company provides the needed electricity to operate a landline which is why one’s phone will still work during a power outage. I wonder why…”

Then I had a stroke of genius!

“I wonder if the Caller I.D. requires batteries. I never had Caller I.D. before buying this phone. That’s the only thing that’s different between this phone and other tethered phones I’ve owned.”

As soon as my conversation with Scott came to an end, I went to the drawer that houses twist ties, random pieces of string and wire, screws, washers I’ll never use, rocks I’ve brought home after falling in love with them and batteries! I found three Double-A batteries, exchanged them with the ones that came with my phone, and called up Cindy and asked her to call me back.

She called me back and voilà! My Caller I.D. performed its job perfectly, after six months off the job!

I love being able to know who’s calling before I answer the phone. After 48 years of life I had only lived with this luxury for one year, but I had grown accustomed to it and missed it after it went on strike.

But I finally fixed it because I am an idiotic genius!

The Mysterious Hymn

I have been hearing the faint sound of a melodic hymn for the last half hour. No words – just music. The music would play for two to five minutes, stop, then start up again. I’m not very familiar with many hymns any more but the music was beautiful! I thought it was an awfully strange thing to be hearing from next door. I’ve never heard the hillbillies play anything so beautiful or to play their music so softly – regardless of time of day.
Finally I stopped what i was doing to concentrate on the beautiful music in an effort to identify the song. I sat quietly, focusing all my attention on the music and that was when I was finally able to identify it.

It wasn’t music at all! It was a fly that had been buzzing around the room the whole time – a very musically inclined fly!

I didn’t have the heart to swat such a talented fly, so I’ve spent the last fifteen minutes trying to shoo him out the front door. I have not yet succeeded in this endeavor and he’s still serenading me with his hymn.

Herding cats may be impossible but not so much as herding musical flies.

Sleeping with a Spaghetti Squash

My hillbilly neighbors went to the food pantry yesterday and as is their custom, they brought me all of the fresh vegetables they were given because they think canned, boxed and fast food is safer. They basically don’t eat vegetables unless they’re on a pizza, burger or in a can of soup. I suppose they think if they never have to see the fresh veggie, it couldn’t possibly have been contaminated with pesticides.

Anyway yesterday I was gifted with three huge spaghetti squash and more carrots. I took the veggies to the kitchen to put them up and absent-mindedly returned to my bedroom with the third bagged spaghetti squash hanging from my left arm. Instead of making another trip to the kitchen at that moment, I sat it on the corner of my bed with the intention of taking it back when I made my next trip.

I dozed off without remembering to put up the squash and woke up holding it like a baby several hours later.

I felt stupid but honestly, that’s the closest I’ve gotten to cuddling with a living thing since I lost my cats last year.

I hope the spaghetti squash feels loved.

So I have a new friend now and I’m terribly confused. Do I eat it or let it rot? It just seems so wrong to take a knife to one’s security squash.