Run, Run, Rudoph, Santa’s Not Far Behind


The Smart Aleck Press is publishing this edition of  late due to unforeseen circumstances: The Christmas holiday. There are those of you who would argue that because of the annual nature of the event, we might have seen this coming. Instead, we’ve experienced whiplash when our collective heads turned around and noticed, “OMG, is it here already?!?”

Not only was the holiday here, it’s gone. Not unlike a hit and run. First you’re cruising along, shopping for yet one more perfect “thing”, then the day arrives and panic sets in. There’s no time to give in to such a childish response because everyone descends from out of state, out of town, out of nowhere. They mean to enjoy the holiday and here you are with the goods to make it happen.

Women everywhere who host these holiday get-togethers know what I’m talking about. Did this relative get one of those things that you so diligently shopped for? Did everyone’s plate have the right amount of the foods so carefully prepared from some celebrity chef’s cookbook? Is it cold? Is it hot? Are there drinks? Where do you store your ice? Did you put out the snacks and who the hell forgot the sour cream? You have a scathingly brilliant idea. Let’s call trimming the tree a family bonding experience. There, now you can cross that off your to-do list. The music that runs through my head during most holiday seasons is a line from Chuck Berry’s song, “Run, run, Rudolph.” Sometimes is does feel like a marathon.

But now, it’s done. We can sit back on our laurels and survey our handy work. I didn’t buy laurels this year, so I am sitting in a recliner. As I do so, the smile slowly spreads, taking in that everything is complete. Even if it isn’t, there is no more left that I’m willing to do. Everyone has been fed, gifted and wished happy holidays with love, lightness and Chapstick on my oven-dried lips.  The house is clean. Dishes washed. This is the real meaning of peace  in the land. Next week we can go back to regular television.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit back and breathe. Oh, and eat leftovers.

Je Suis Fatigue’


Google wants to know if I have password fatigue. They have no idea. With the constant insistence that “there’s an app for that” I have ended up with a password list that’s longer that a CVS receipt. It’s not like you can pick one work, then change a letter at the beginning, or the end or something. Heaven forbid you have a password that looks like it’s been used before. It’s like your mother-in-law, who never forgets one single thing you’ve ever said about her darling one who’s sitting on the couch watching football. In my defense, all of my passwords are original, unrelated, organic and free-range. I thought for a while I would start with a password that has a number after it and change that number when it was time for a new one. Oh no you don’t! Google is having none of that. They want something fresh, new and exciting. No mention is made of free-range, but you know they’re thinking it.

Who of us hasn’t wracked our brains trying to remember the names of our first pet, our last pet, our favorite pet? What about the pet that I had when I was 15 and dating the boy with acne who tried to kiss me in front of the neighbors’ house?

There are so many inane questions one can answer to use for a password. We are dutifully warned not to make it easy to guess our password. No using QWERTY! The identity thieves are lurking behind every comma.

Experts recommend a different password for every log in situation. Also, that you shouldn’t write them down. If you’re going to remember that many passwords, Alzheimer’s would seem like a blessing. Why can’t there just be one root password, from which all other passwords flow. Something easily remembered, not easily forgotten, not in common use in your current life, with a capital letter and a special character. Not any special character. You have no choice about that. It’s only the special characters that they parsimoniously dole out because the wrong special character has unimaginable, dire consequences. Sort of like the boys I dated in high school.

I just want to use the internet for important things. Celebrity gossip, checking my horoscope and Wordle. Although I’m currently boycotting the New York Times because their app doesn’t work well. I had a good password for that one, too! There is Pinterest, ordering shoes and purses. Yes, we’re all familiar with my QVC addiction. (The first step is admitting you have a problem. Yeah, I got it.) It’s not like I’m spying on anything, trading state secrets or would ever recognize a nuclear code. After all, I don’t live at Mar-A-Lago.

I would just like to get in, get out and slam Candy Crush. Such is not to be. Much like the errant child in grade school without complete homework, I have to fess up and say, I forgot my password.  

Nothing to See Here


Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, there was no publication from the Smart Aleck Press. Also, no notice was sent out to our dear readers. We believe that readers don’t need a notice not to look at something that isn’t there. Hope your holiday was stuffed with everything you imagined.

If It’s Not Ants in the Pants…


Several months ago a man was arrested at the US-Mexico border for smuggling reptiles into this country. When apprehended, he was detained with an assortment of live snakes, lizards and toads. They were all hidden on his person in little plastic bags.

So here’s this guy, loaded up with 250 turtles, lizards and baby crocodiles, making his way through the airport with things crawling all over him. How does TSA not notice the moving bulges. Is this one of the times when men don’t notice other men’s bulges cuz they’re bro’s? Does he just stand up until he gets on the airplane?  Then what? Does he have a special way of sitting so that they don’t squish? If they squish, do they automatically get sent to the purse factory? I carry an alligator bag myself. Maybe I own one of the cousins. 

News reports indicate that this industrious fellow has been engaged in his chosen profession for six years. His grand total for items brought into the U.S. is 1,700 creatures. Apparently authorities had difficulty catching up to him due to the fact that it wasn’t always obvious what he was doing. Don’t we all count on TSA not looking in our pants? That is unless the agent is good looking.

On the receiving end, this guy was helped by his sister. They shared an apartment and sold the critters out of their abode. News reports didn’t identify the city where they lived, so I guess a little peeky poo is out of the question. But what kind of people are they, that are so up close and personal with things that can literally crawl under your skin. No amount of itch cream would make me do that for a living. It sounds like they enjoyed a nice profit margin by selling their products to stores as well individuals. Then, the man would return to Mexico and bring in another shipment. Street value for this total of creepy crawlies was cited as $739,000. Who knew that a literal two-eyed snake in a guy’s underwear could be so lucrative.

I kept wondering:  How did he hide 250 reptiles on himself and smuggle them onto a plane? The answer was much simpler than anything I would have imagined. He put them in his clothes. Not just pockets, but everywhere. Slimy, crawly things in his pants, shirt, and who knows where else. I don’t believe that I would consciously date any guy who would put snakes in his underwear. And just exactly how do you transport horny toads? Does one use the horny toads as advertising for oneself? Does he just say, “Wanna see my horny toad?” Not much better than the question about seeing a ONE eyed snake. Even if they were in plastic bags, would you really want some of the creatures in your underpants? Or elsewhere. . . Ouch! Really, how does one get comfortable stashing reptiles on one’s person to smuggle them. Not just once, but for many trips over the course of several years. Certainly gives new meaning to snakes on a plane.

With Good Reason


As the famous rock ‘n’ roller once said, welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. Step inside, step inside! On this blog you will find a continuation of weekly-ish, or perhaps monthly-ish, postings that include random thoughts and rants about the ridiculous, the mundane and often the totally useless. Previously privately published, a change of venue was required so that more people could access these random thoughts and ideological meanderings. There is no good reason why. Nevertheless, here is the first installment written on a Sunday, waiting for Finally Friday. Reading these inane missives is better with a cup of coffee, which can be enhanced with a highly caloric sugary baked item.

If you are looking for news, information or intellectual enhancement, there is none of that here. The internet is full of all manner of web addresses that purport to improve your knowledge about the world or whatever. We here at Finally Friday blog aspire to no such thing. There will be no enhancement of anyone’s intellectual functioning as a matter of principle. What you will find are useless, arcane words,quotes and references and this barista’s rants about all things superficial. If you are reading this, you are a select audience. You have been told about this by a friend (or not a friend) and you too are tired of the trite important blogs that serve other interests. At FinallyFridayblog, we serve only the ridiculous so that you can too! It’s short, it’s easy, it’s Finally Friday! (Yeah, we know it’s Sunday).

Moving In


Phew! Finally, the move across country has been completed. The process of living out of boxes and eating off paper plates can commence. There are all good intentions of unpacking every last thing immediately, but the reality of only having about 4 hours a day of sustained energy sets in easily. Sore muscles, aching back and itchy eyes make it hard to be energetic, much less cheerful. Counteracting my enthusiasm with regard to the tasks of unpacking is the amount of uncolored root growth on my scalp. Panic sets in. My furniture and boxes were delivered weeks later than initially scheduled. I don’t have basic necessities let alone hair dye. Looking at my head makes me realize that it’s necessary to find the box with the hair dye in it sooner, rather than later. There’s about a one inch growth of a color I don’t wish to recognize. Kind of like some countries don’t get recognized in the international community. So I try to scrunch my strands into a kind of cover up and pretend that I don’t need to dye my hair right now. The next morning, the process starts all over again. Look in the mirror, brush my teeth, and assess the amount of roots that are sticking out for all to see. What if people figure out that I actually dye my hair? Truthfully, I’m not concerned about that. I dye my hair for myself. Always wanted to have curly, red hair. Chemo therapy took the curl out of it but I can go to the beauty supply store and get more products to make sure that I’m always a red head.

What I didn’t realize was that dying my hair in my new place was going to be tricky. I never did find the box with my own hair dye, so bought some at the pharmacy. The combination of a sale price and the right color encouraged the purchase of a brand new box of “premium” red hair dye. Whatever that means. There were five steps to this process. That’s not bad, except when you consider that four of the steps need to be read about and followed after the dye is in the hair and I need to put on reading glasses. I thought I might try and memorize the steps in order, but there was too much detail in each step for quick memorization. How bad could a misstep be?

Organizing all the bottles, potions and lotions, I put the #2 item into the #1 bottle and shake it like crazy. That’s when I find out the gloves leaked. My left thumb would be 12RIR Real Intensive Red for the next 24 to 36 hours. Unless I find some miracle compound to get it out of my skin. Despite this, I find that the texture of the dye liquid works well. It’s thin, it covers but it also dyes the tops of my ears. See previous comment about getting red dye out of my thumb. Getting back to basics seems the wisest course of action: cover the front around the face, cover the roots in the part that goes to the back of the head and smush as much as possible into the rest of the hair. Directions say let it sit for 35-40 minutes. Anxiety sets in when I’m not sure if it’s 35 minutes from the first application around the face or the last application at the back of the head. What if I do this wrong after twenty some years of bi-monthly applications? Likely my friends and family will make fun of me.

The timer goes off, I rinse the hair in the kitchen sink, where there’s more room to spread out. Wrapping the towel around my head, I head for the bathroom mirror for the unveiling. Hooray! The hair is dark. Now for the blow dryer and, heavy sigh, it turned out red. I can present myself to the world again as I truly see myself. A feisty woman with hair to match. Red hair is not just a color. It’s also an attitude.

Se habla?


Spring is here! At last the weather is warm, winter gear is no longer necessary, days are longer. There is also a plethora of outdoor activities that present themselves. Long walks in the neighborhood, hikes in  State Parks, bicycling along trails, and when the Covid quarantine lifts, there will be outdoor café visits with friends. In the land of 10,000 Lakes, we also await the thaw of all the waterways. Along with that there’s an increase in various flora, fauna, ichthyoids, and testudines. No, that doesn’t have anything to do with male anatomy. Less formally, testudines are turtles. Ever since Dr. Seuss opined about Yurtle and his hard shelled friends, I have been in love with the domed creatures.

One of my hobbies is to visit various lakes to find them. Back when it was permissible, I even owned a couple of them. Fact is, turtles are adorable. I love everything about them. Their shiny, faceted shells that gleam in the sun. Their splayed paws with the long fingernails, their ability to hold their breath underwater. I’m in awe of their ability to sleep without breathing for an entire season. Don’t even get me started on how magnificent sea turtles are!

In pursuing my love of turtles, I often go in search of a peek at them basking in the sun. Turtles sun themselves on logs near the shoreline of ponds and some smaller lakes. The sight of them laying in a row or stacked upon each other is more endearing than I can say.  I have spent hours walking slowly along trails and through shoreline undergrowth to catch a glimpse of dark half circles lined up on a tree branch in the water.

To preserve my citings and to share them as well, I purchased a new camera that has a very long lens. Alas, while I love looking at turtles, they aren’t always fond of my approaching them. Typically what happens is a very soft ‘plop’ into the water and the silent ripples that follow. This occurs more frequently earlier in the spring when the turtles are re-acclimating themselves to the world outside their muddy den below the surface. When they lose their camera shyness, I have been able occasionally to take pictures of them sitting in all their glory. I was using the camera on my phone. This is a perfectly serviceable piece of photographic equipment, but it was difficult to get close up.  So I bought the new camera.

It came with a camera bag, two lenses, one of which would surely enable me to see the turtles painted undersides at long range. In addition to the camera, the lenses and the equipment bag, I also own a tri-pod. With all that paraphernalia and my trusty waterproof hiking boots, I imagined myself as intrepid a naturalist as David Attenborough. For my first outing with the new gear, I wanted to prepare my camera, lenses, and the tripod to be ready for any photos that I’d be quick enough to catch. I got everything out, laid it out on my kitchen table in neat rows and put the camera bag on a chair out of the way. So exciting, so professional. I have to admit, there were images of being a famous turtle photographer dancing in my head.

Holding the camera in my left hand, I got out the instruction book. My primary objective was to understand how to set up for the long range close-ups. Feeling very proud of myself for having saved the instructions, and being humble enough to realize I needed the instructions, I flipped to the first page. It was all in Spanish. Not to be dissuaded, I flipped to the back, thinking the English instructions would be on the reverse side. Nope, just Spanish. While I remember a few phrases from 6th grade Spanish, I am by no means fluent enough to interpret a camera manual. There I was, the sunshine of Spring abounding and a camera that I wasn’t sure how to use. I was devastated. After a few moments of chagrin,  I resigned myself to trial and error with the new lens. Maybe I could get a shot of turtles worth looking at.

Where was the English manual? I have no idea. I had purchased the camera over the winter and fastidiously thrown out all the packing materials and anything that seemed unnecessary. What did this teach me about photographs of turtles? Nothing. I did learn that I don’t have to listen to others when they insist on that it’s important to throw out things you don’t need.

Hands Down


One of the things that has puzzled me throughout my life is that other people seem to believe that I actually want to put my hands into the kitchen sink strainer and scrape out all that stuff that gets stuck in there.  Have you ever looked at that stuff? It doesn’t resemble anything ever cooked in my kitchen. Somehow going from the cooking stage to the rinsed stage and landing in the sink strainer has rendered it unrecognizable. At which point, it must be dealt with. Yuck!

I have never lived with anyone who has offered to clean out a kitchen sink. No roommates, children, husbands or distant relatives have stepped up to the plate to say, “Hey, don’t put your hands in that mess. I’ll clean it out for you!“ Cleaning out the kitchen sink strainer is another level of a dirty, lonely job. Yet if it isn’t done, complications multiply rapidly. Not the least of which is a malodorous kitchen. Or a sink that won’t drain because of the dreaded gook that swirls around as if it’s laughing at you. I’m supposed to put my hand in there and get it out? Yet it must be done.

Because I live alone, the logical candidate is just me. I don’t have a cleaning person for my small apartment and even if I did, they wouldn’t come daily to empty the kitchen sink strainer of its contents. At least not without an exorbitant fee. Stuck with doing the job myself, musings on the reason for being forced into this disgusting job abound as I scrub and rinse. Is there a legal requirement that I must do this? Is there a prohibition in the child labor laws that kept my children from doing this? They grew up unscathed in the art of emptying kitchen sink strainers, so I guess we won’t know the answer to that one. What about any of those husbands I used to have? Why didn’t they step up and save a damsel in distress from the slime monster lurking in the above ground plumbing? None of them ever evinced the slightest interest in intervention strategies needed for kitchen cleaning warfare.

Glaringly obvious is that this task is relegated to the quaint catch-all “women’s work.” If you think that we are more enlightened as a society, I beg to differ. Possession of a uterus is nine points of the law. Because of that I, me and my comrades in kitchen gloves, continue to make more meals, scrub more pots and pans, empty more dishwashers and, you guessed it: clean out the kitchen sink strainers. This is ignominious work. No recognition, no awards, no rewards. Lest it go undone, there would be plenty of notice from those orbiting the kitchen. Comments ranging from unkind to negative would surely abound. I believe that science should be tasked to find a way to keep the kitchen sink from becoming in need of constant attention. Better things to do are waiting. They won’t get done until the kitchen sink strainer is emptied.

Another Newbie

Well, if it isn’t 2023 showing up for a visit! How long ha gonna stay? 365 days, huh? That’ll be a while. Got any plans? Gonna look for some kind of employment? Oh, you already have a job. It’s letting the days pass from one to another. Nice work, if you can get it.

Is there anything in store that I should know about ahead of time? Say another pandemic? Or another crackpot politician trying to overthrow the Constitution. The last two years have been more of a recovery mode and the PTSD is finally beginning to fade. I’m hoping that you haven’t got anything like that planned for the next 12 months. I could do without any of it.

Have ya got travel plans? Oh, yeah, you said just letting the days pass from one to another. Me? I don’t have any travel plans this year. Just moved across the country, ya know. I’d like life to remain steady for the foreseeable future.  I realize you’re a new year, so you may not know how to do calm. Let me tell ya, it better be smooth and easy or I’ll bad mouth you to all the other years that come behind you. For most of the year I’m hoping to spend time enjoying how dull you are, 2023. Could ya just keep it down to a dull roar this year?

On a more superstitious level, I believe that odd numbered years are easier. Less eventful, less drama. I believe that even numbered years tend to be more difficult, with occurrences that shake things up. Let’s not do that this year, 2023. So don’t make a chump out of me by giving in to things like “challenging experiences.” We’ve all been challenged enough. I know there’s a lot of peer pressure from the last few years to be disruptive. But not every year has to be like that.

Get the hint 2023. Take it easy and I’ll try to take it as it comes for a year. If it doesn’t go well, then next year we’re gonna change your number. To be fair, we’re gonna change it anyway, but I just want to give you fair warning. Take it easy and give us a break.

Happy New Year!

Christmas Goods


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This year for Christmas Day I was by myself. Let me clarify that I was not alone, as all of the people who love me made sure I was contacted, gifted and thought of for the holiday. I didn’t necessarily think of it as spending Christmas alone, just spending Christmas by myself. I had already spent a wonderful time with my step-daughter and her family on Christmas Eve. My other adult children were busy with in-laws on Christmas day, but called me and wished me well, as did a cousin or two. When they called, I expressed my appreciation for their gifts and how much they mean to me. This made me realize that this year what I wanted to concentrate on for the holidays was THE LOOT. Being by myself, I could indulge my desire to receive gifts and relish how much fun it is to open them and be surprised.

I was well rewarded for my plan because I scored big this year! From the exquisite jewelry made by my cousin, who is a jeweler, to the very expensive set of re-usable kitchen bags and a hand-crafted jewelry box from the grand kids, I really made out. Each gift was amazing unto itself. I have no illusions about the cost of any of these items. Whether the givers were here in town, or as I said, visiting in-laws, each gift was substantial. Cha-ching!

There was no one but me on Christmas morning, so I ripped open all the wrapping paper. I was not going to set an example of recycling for anyone this year because I was by myself. Ha ha! I threw ribbons on the ground, shredded paper that wouldn’t come off easily, tossed packages aside. What a mess. What I got for my efforts was some pretty amazing stuff and I was really happy about it. Reasoning that I would spend the day in my apartment running my hands over each present, I thoroughly enjoyed each item. I appreciated their colors, the length, heft, form and, yes, the practicality in some cases, of each gift. But this year was not about practicality. It was about giving in to my baser instincts. Which was about all the stuff that I got from people who couldn’t be with me, so they felt guilty and sent me some great presents.

If we are to believe the pundits who encourage us to get in touch with our inner child, this Christmas I completely gave in to that notion. It made me happy and looking at the thoughtfulness and the efforts my family went to, it made me feel loved. I even had a brief moment of looking up in the sky for . . .no, he doesn’t really exist. But I felt like he did and it was so much fun.

Next Christmas will be filled with lots of people around, food to be cooked, babies to be soothed and discussions to be mediated. This year, for one day, it was all about me and the things everyone sent to make me feel special. What a gift.

So This Is Christmas


Sat down with pen and paper

To see what I could say

‘Bout 2021 and all that

Did, or did not, come our way.

After a year of quarantine,

Where nearly everyone stayed in,

I burst into the friendly skies

Visiting kith and kin

A stop in Nashville

To look at a sweet Corvair

With all the insides completely shot.

Had to leave the yellow beauty there.

Drove to Wisconsin to rustle up nostalgia

Got a speeding ticket in the process.

Decided to teach ‘em a lesson and

Took State Patrol off the Christmas card list.

California called,

So it was on another plane.

It’s truly not the Midwest,

I bet you think the same.

Then California again,

Searching for a home.

Lots of help from Kate and Craig

Meant the search was never alone.

Some things fell through,

Others went fine,

Like how Brad got a new job

In the Florida sunshine.

Holidays arrived,

Along with surgery for my right eye.

Guess I’ll be squinting through Christmas carols

And singing Auld Laing Syne.

You get another of these dreadful poems

Because you’re family and friends

But you also get my warmest wishes

In the holiday card I send.

Learning New Old Skills

There I was, sitting in the groove in my couch that I had perfected over the last year and the governor of our state says there’s no more mask mandate. We can go out, be free, fly like the other little birds who don’t have to wear a mask either. Wait. What? I had just reviewed my summer hunker down plan to include solitary walks around a few of the lakes in the city, solo trips to the beach, possibly a road trip up north to a rented cabin-all by myself of course.  Time spent with friends would be outdoors only and then perhaps in the fall we could resume indoor activities. Of course the only thing we do is eat at restaurants, but tell ourselves that we’re engaged in some kind of useful activity.

What I really thought would happen is that there would be a more gradual easing into unmasked activity. First it would be outdoor restaurants, then move indoors to eat. Vacations would be masked up to the point of departure at the airport then we could go bare faced upon arrival in some magical land where Covid wasn’t the case.

What I really, really wanted was a much longer time to prepare for going mask-less. By prepare, I mean that I would become motivated enough to work out and lose the extra pounds acquired with some of the deceptions I had practiced during quarantine. Things like “Couch time is ME time!” “There’s no need for real pants here, sweat pants are just fine.” “You’ll get lots of exercise once the gyms open up again.” “Sea salt caramels have more vitamins than you think.” Every addict has their rationale down pat. I was no exception. It’s not just that I have to face the music, I have to get out on the dance floor and jump, jive and wail.

The prospect of real clothes brings the further dread of make up and some semblance of hair care. With a mask on I could, and did, tell myself that others understood the wisps and tendrils that stuck out was because of the mask. Now that we’ll be operating in real time, I’m gonna have to comb my hair. The no mask mandate also portends a return to regular hygiene practices that had fallen by the wayside. There was no need to shower on the daily because Zoom world is only visual. Thank goodness there is no Smell-O-Vision. I was going to have to brush up on things necessary to enter polite social circles, similar to a young teenage boy. Many of them need a reminder checklist and I was feeling like I needed one too. Things like: take a shower and while you’re in there, wash your hair, wash your face, use soap everywhere, dry yourself off with a towel and wear clean clothes. I’m grateful to a 12-year old nephew that regularly needs these reminders so I didn’t have to try and come up with my own list.

Re-acquiring the habits of how to be with others will prove worthwhile. I hope to have mastered enough of these skills so I can be out and about without my mask. I’m looking forward to the time when the only thing people will find unacceptable is my sarcasm.