National Holiday

While I don’t know much about football, I do celebrate the annual paean to it called The Super Bowl. They had another one this year and celebrate I did. You see it’s been a little over a month since we’ve had a good excuse to ingest a days worth of empty calories. Super Bowl is that day. Most years, I typically  make a large pot of jambalaya and take it to a gathering with friends. Usually, those people have also prepared snacks, sides and snippets of goodies to share with everyone as well. And it’s all waiting to be washed down with festive beverages. 

The gathering was smaller this year, owing to the pandemic and social distancing considerations. I spent time with two other adults in my family and their children. I didn’t make jambalaya for the first time in memory, but I did order and pick up chicken wings. All of us enjoyed the wings, along with queso dip, something referred to as “crack” dip that no one could get enough of, two kinds of chips, fried rice, celery sticks, a fruit plate, a veggie plate, various cheeses, some olives, diet Coke and white wine. There was enough food and variety for a party the size of the neighborhood and the five of us managed to put a good dent in all of it. Despite our best efforts, there was still enough for me to take home left overs.

That’s why we need to have the day after the Super Bowl declared a holiday. After a day of sampling everything in sight, I was too full to get to sleep, so I stayed up even later than necessary. Yes, I noshed on a few items while watching more tv.  The next day, I was wiped out from all that eating. My body hardly knew what to do with itself, so I took not one, but two naps. Each meal of the day after was comprised of the aforementioned leftovers and as a snack in the evening, I ate popcorn because, you know, Super Bowl.

Not only did my body need more rest, but I was hungry. Not the real hungry you get from working and doing things like an adult, but the hungry you get when your stomach has been fed too much and it just misses more food. So I ate some. 

Throughout the day after, I was tired, hungry and out of sorts from eating food that didn’t have a strong relationship with nutrition. I had done my part in watching some of their activity with a football. Mostly I really just enjoy the commercials. Those things are highly entertaining and I hate to miss even one.  This is the occasion that calls for all this food after all.  It’s a party on TV, so it should be a party at my house. They make it seem like the real reason for all that eating anyway.

I did need to rest up from the workout of all that overeating. I’m sure others felt the same. So I’m going to begin a petition to have the day after Super Bowl declared a holiday. We all need the rest and those leftovers aren’t going to eat themselves.

What’s APP’nen

The title of this week’s tome is not a reference to the television show from the late 1970’s.  Nor is it a reference to the Church of What’s Happenin’ Now.  (Readers are encouraged to check listings from their local church of the month club program for more information, if they wish.)  The title refers to the activity that is going on for all of us, which is downloading more apps.  We’re getting everything from groceries, except toilet paper, to pharmacy prescriptions and pet supplies  via the app related to that product.  Most of the time it works rather smoothly.  While being sheltered in place,  I get my groceries delivered  within a four or five days of ordering them.  It works great.  Cat litter and cat food arrive all boxed up at my doorstep, neatly packaged in one box.  The strength of Hercules is needed to get it from the front door of my apartment building up the stairs, to my apartment door.  Thankfully, though, it’s here.  The cats will not starve or drive me out of the apartment if their litter isn’t changed.

Increased use of electronics at home meant ordering a few supplies that couldn’t be conveniently obtained from the grocery store, the local pharmacy or Pets ‘R’ Us. They were Double AA batteries and printer ink.  Sometime back our society converted to the binary system of one Double AA battery or two Double AA batteries for every device possible.   I can’t go anywhere and wander around looking for these items, so I chose a big box store that was certain to have these things in stock.  Who else but Best Buy.  If they don’t have them in stock when it’s ordered, the store will be getting more soon. Especially the types of common items that I needed.

Wanting to be cautious about not making an extra trip when we’re still sheltering in place, I made sure I had the correct order number for the printer ink.  The TV remote was in need of new Double AA batteries and I confirmed that by opening up the back to make sure that’s what was needed.  Got it.  Two Double AA batteries would restore ease of use in my quarantine-induced binge watching.  Pulled out my smart phone, downloaded the app and scrolled through my choices.  Each item was easily located, added to the cart and paid for with a credit card.  Not the Best Buy Credit card, which would have given me ‘rewards’, just a regular credit card that gets me the merchandise I need.  Ordered, paid for, done.  They will send me an email when my order is ready and I can drive to the store.  I ordered things on Sunday evening and anticipated picking them up on Monday.  This assumption was confirmed with the promised email.

What didn’t work out so well were the parking and pick up instructions.  Before I could tell them I was coming, I had to read through a page of disclaimers.  That’s hard to do on those little phones.  Then I had to tell them I was on my way.  Information had to be entered, and then another email would be sent, containing the code I would have to use.  Instructions followed about how and where to park my car.  I tried reading them but it was confusing.  Upon arriving in the parking lot, I just pulled in to one of the spots available.  I think Best Buy wanted the number of the spot, but that wasn’t clear.  I clicked a button on the app to say I had arrived and waited for the identification code that I would have to provide to the sales person.

It was like buying State secrets.   Erroneously I believed that the app for orders from Best Buy would be easier to navigate and get through pick up.  They are, after all, a successful electronics company.  They must have some idea about how to move things from order to fulfillment in a logical fashion without having to constantly go back to an app that gives vast pages of  directions for the next step in the puzzle.  Guess not.  I left the parking lot feeling dazed and confused.  Somehow I had obtained accurate instructions.  Then I blurted out the correct recipient code at the right time to get the products I ordered placed in the back of my SUV.   I’m really not clear how it all happened because I wasn’t sure what the instructions were saying.  I would have checked further, but I don’t even think there’s an app for that.


The current Shelter-in-Place order has been difficult for everyone around the country and the world.  Personally, I believe that it is harder for Minnesotans than anyone else. We might even be more special that Californians in this regard.  The reason is this:  In Minnesota, we shelter in place for about eight months out of the year.  We think of Ground Hog’s Day as just another reason to make a hot dish casserole, because we know that spring is a long way off.  Minnesotan’s are a faithful lot and believe in their hearts that spring really will arrive and it always does.  Sometimes in May, sometimes in June.  Don’t worry, there hasn’t ever been snow in July.  At least in my lifetime.

So it is that we wait for the opportunity to go outdoors, walk around our thousands of lakes, bike along our hundreds of miles of bike paths, sit at outdoor coffee shops without winter garb on and enjoy the sunshine and balmy temperatures.  Anything about 40F degrees is considered balmy.  Today as I was completing my allotted outdoor walk, I happened past three individuals chatting on the sidewalk.  Appropriately six feet apart, they were all dressed in sandals accompanied by ankle pants, leggings and the like.  No socks, just sandals.  It was 45F degrees with a stiff wind, making it feel a little cooler.  Sandals are part of a uniform of sort for the heartiest of Minnesotans.  Worn with shorts and an enormous puffer coat, the outfit is considered haute couture.  Often we are so desperate for warmth, that we run to the mailbox or take out the garbage in slippers and bathrobes that brush freshly fallen snow.

Given this longing to be outdoors after a long winter’s nap, the shelter-in-place order feels like the unkindest cut of all.  Our governor prudently decided that our citizens should shelter-in-place until the middle of May.  How can this be?  After all these months (it hasn’t been as high as 70F degrees since September) we need sun, warmth, sidewalks unfettered by snow mounds.  I can only take so many Vitamin D tabs.   In the winter, there are times when going outdoors means that the expedition could end in death.  We have exposed skin warnings, insulated insulation pants, shirts, gloves and hats.  Thus Minnesotans opt for life indoors for extended periods of time.   It is the wisest course of action.  Now that spring really is here, with its longer, sunny days and warmer temps that we knew would arrive, we are prohibited from spending time in the great outdoors lest we contract, or spread, a virus that could be as deadly as the worst winter temperatures.  We are used to staying inside and we are good at it.  It shows in our lower rates of contracting the disease and our lower fatalities, all of which is still sad.

In this time of pandemic, my part of the bargain is to stay indoors as much as possible.  I’m in a high risk group due to health issues I highlighted a few articles ago.  So I stay in, make masks, order groceries so as not to come in contact with possible sources of the virus, binge watch the same things others do and I stay in touch by phone.  I appreciate that others are doing the same.  It is the wisest course of action.  It will help contain, and eventually stop the spread of this terrible virus.  Hopefully in time for me to go get coffee dressed in my puffer coat, shorts and sandals.

Stay home and stay safe everyone.


Hippity, Hoppity. . .What?

The Smart Aleck Press prides itself on bringing up to the minute expose’s on really important news events. This column is no exception. Once again we have arrived at the Easter holiday. This is a Christian holiday, wherein consuming large quantities of every relatives’ homemade goodness is in order. This is not to be confused with the Jewish holiday of Passover, where people gather in relative’s homes to consumer large quantities of their families’ homemade goodness. I believe the holidays are fundamentally different because of the types of food that are served. And because this year we are all celebrating with observance of social distancing, we are all celebrating in very much the same fashion. At home, with small numbers of close family, consuming the aforementioned bounty sanctioned by generations past.
No matter which holiday you are observing, we feel that it is your right to know that certain foods are served at various family gatherings, buffets, and brunches. Thinking back, you will recall that there is also a plethora of chocolate animals abounding in most retail outlets. If not chocolate, there are copious quantities of sugar covered marshmallow critters. Looking at the candies in the stores, there is a large representation of baby farm animals. Baby ducks, baby bunnies, baby chicks, baby lambs and of courses eggs in every color imaginable. Nothing but cute; nothing but chocolate splendor. However there is one animal that is under represented throughout the pageantry.
That’s because it’s all a lie. They would have you believe that all this chocolate bounty, along with colored, hard boiled eggs are delivered in a basket by some philanthropic rabbit. Not true.
Think about the scientific rationale here. April flowers bring May flowers. Along with that comes puddles, mud and general messiness. No matter the generosity of any long-eared mammal with soft fur and a cute nose, they don’t like to be messy. Consider the animal that truly does enjoy being messy. It’s the pig. Their fondness for mud bound activities is legendary. They would spend any amount of time in the aftermath of inclement weather. So we submit to you that in reality it is not an Easter Bunny delivering cavity prone goods. It’s the Easter Pig. This is proven definitively by the fact that ham is predominantly served on Easter Sunday. Happy Easter everyone.

Ahead of the Game

We are in the throes of an international crisis due to a pandemic caused by a heretofore unknown virus.  Currently referred to as the Corona virus or it’s technical name, COVID-19.  As well as the problems from the illness itself, this virus has caused myriad social problems.  These include government ordered shelter in place orders, the closing of many places where groups would gather, such as bars, movie theatres, restaurants. There are shortages of all kinds of products as well.  One notable product that disappeared early in the course of the virus pandemic was toilet paper.  People were buying it in bulk, stores were running out of it and it was the hottest commodity since the iphone came out.  This made me laugh.

That’s because I have never been without toilet paper in my entire adult life.  I have always treated paper products with the respect they deserve.  Especially bathroom tissue.  At this point in time, there are only two or three brands that I will purchase for my personal use.  If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you know that I will only purchase them when they are on sale.  At such time of the sale, I typically buy two packages, and bring them home for storage.  I don’t buy more because I don’t want to be greedy.   A part of me wants to be a little greedy, but strict Catholic upbringing really hampers those urges.  That’s probably what the nuns intended.

Several years ago, I moved in with the fellow I was dating.  This was before we got married, but were spending so much time together, it was inevitable.  Doubtless you’ve been there yourself.  So happy, so in love, so let’s move in.  Carloads of necessities went to his house:  clothes, shoes, dog food, the dog, hand bags, make up and piece de resistance:  toilet paper.  This was a carload unto itself.  My car had fold down seats and the car was crammed with unopened packages of toilet paper and paper towels.  My then boyfriend laughed as he opened the hatchback, asking, “Where are we going to put all this?”  “Not to worry, I will find a good place for storage and then we will have this stuff when we need it.”  Using a very sarcastic tone he replied, “How much do you think we need!”  I ignored him and began the first of several trips into the house with my paper treasures.

Perhaps you are shaking your head wondering what on earth would possess someone to behave in such a way, absent a national emergency.  Let me explain.  Remember the strict Catholic upbringing mentioned earlier?  No, the nuns didn’t make us buy toilet paper.  Growing up in our house, many things were in short supply.  I had a single mother who did her best to raise us on a limited budget.  She also did her best to raise her daughter without discussing anything of a personal nature.  This made for a very tricky adolescence and one that often had just a one word answer: DON’T.  Whatever it was that needed to be asked, whatever you were thinking about doing, whatever your body is thinking about doing, just don’t.

Adolescence is confusing for child and parent alike.  I recall spending hours in the bathroom, using it as a sanctuary.  There was one bathroom in the house and this habit wasn’t acceptable to anyone else.  I recall that I had a high use of paper products and, as our facial tissue supply was kept in the living room, I used toilet paper.  Aside from the obvious personal uses, I used it for putting make up on and taking it off.  One day I noticed that my mother had placed pieces of newspaper next to the toilet.  Of course she didn’t explain anything, she just put them there.  Being forbidden to ask anything approaching a personal question, I continued unaware until one day my mother, red-faced and sputtering, asked why I wasn’t using the newspaper for those kinds of things.  When I asked what she was talking about, she gave her standard reply for personal questions:  “Oh, you know.  Just use those instead of toilet paper during the time of the month for wrapping and throwing away.”   I was in shock.  This was as close as we had come to a personal discussion in my life.  Now I knew what the newspaper pieces on the floor were for.  For a few months, I  complied with my mother’s plan. I was still finding sanctuary in the bathroom with various ablutions and using toilet paper for them.  Then one day the newspapers were no longer there.  I don’t know if my mother gave up the plan out of futility, or if she became disinterested.  It’s easy to reach futility when dealing with a teenager.  Nothing was said about the project ever again.  I didn’t question it, because I dared not.  But that was a pivotal moment in my life as a consumer.

I made a decision during those early teen years that I would never risk out of toilet paper again.  Other than the abject poverty of graduate school, I have never had a short supply of toilet paper.

What I have learned from the Corona virus is that others do not approach this subject in the same way I do.


Beauty is as Beauty Does

Buying anything on sale is very appealing to me.  Often I end up with several of the same item, same brand, same size.  Otherwise I end up with several kinds of the same product but with different brands, different sizes.  All of it, after all, was on sale or there was some kind of couponing involved and I feel good that I didn’t pay full price for any of it.

Recently, I began to notice the names of the “beauty” products that take up residence in my bathroom.  They are all purchased with the idea that my appearance will be enhanced by using these soaps, creams, cleansers, and toners.  The word “toner” sounds more melodic than skin-centric, but everyone seems to know what it’s for.

It was unclear if the names of the product are meant to be descriptive of its function, or if it’s meant to make the wearer feel better about themselves.  A product described as Soft Skin Avocado & Honey sounds more like an appetizer.  Not a terribly good appetizer, as the thought of combining smooth, creamy, savory avocado with honey is quite unappealing to me.  Perhaps those with more of a sweet tooth would see the merits more readily.  If the manufacturers are going to include vegetables, I’d vote for anything that includes cucumbers.  They are refreshing, delicious, crunchy and, this is a big plus, extremely low in calories.  I would feel confident that putting a cucumber-something onto my face would not add calories to my thighs.  I would still question whether or not it would make my skin look any better, but my thighs are safe. Full disclosure:  I have used fresh, crisp cucumbers to cover my eyes during facials and I can attest to the soothing nature of the application.

Other names are not so inspiring with regards to soothing one’s eyes, skin, etc.  The Morning Burst Facial Cleanser sounds like it’s meant to jolt me awake.  I don’t want anything bursting in the morning.  Let’s not startle the nice lady when all that’s really needed is a cup of coffee.  Perhaps the Morning Burst marketers would consider renaming the product “Makes You Feel as Good as Your First Cup of Java.”  If you don’t call it coffee, it sounds more hip.

Increased scrutiny of names caused me to be more conscious of items that provide a positive description or image of the intended consumer.  Currently on my counter is Age Perfect.  I actually hold the jar up to the mirror and swoon slightly as I tell myself that I am at the perfect age and that I look perfect for my age.  Slathering it on slows my heart rate nearly as much as having cucumbers on my eyes.  I feel even better when I recall that I purchased the cream on sale.

My favorite product, however, is a facial cleanser.  It’s sudsy, and feels creamy on my skin.  I lather it on a wash cloth  chosen specially for my face.  This cleanser cleans off all the things it says it will.   It leaves my skin smooth.  Even better than smooth skin is the way I feel when I hold the jar next to my face and say to myself, “You are Positively Radiant.”  Likely I would still buy the product because of the name, “Positively Radiant.”   Yes , it was purchased with a coupon.  But even if it weren’t on sale in some way, it would be worth it to have that wonderful reminder to myself in the morning.   Going through my day having been told that I am Positively Radiant.  Boy, am I worth it!


Staffing Changes at Smart Aleck Press

There have been some staffing changes here at the Smart Aleck Press.  The editor, myself, has been renamed the Editor-at-Large due to some recent gains made over the holiday season.  This change in title is in keeping with our policy here at SAP to bring you truth in reporting and editorializing through the  We will update the reading public when the editor-at-large becomes the editor-at-diet or simply just returns to being the editor.

Meanwhile, as the Editor-at-Large, I will still be getting my own coffee, answering my own phone.  Wait, we don’t have a phone, so I won’t be doing that.  Also, I will be responding to all letters to the editor in both electronic and handwritten form.  There will be no change in the staff meeting schedule.  Currently these meetings are held on an as needed basis.  The gatherings are comprised of the entire staff (myself), the editor (myself), and the editorial board.  Serving on the editorial board are the two cats that let me live here.   Theirs is not a working board; strictly advisory.  Primarily, the cats are not interested in anything that goes on with publishing the and have even less concern about the Smart Aleck Press.  What they are concerned with, actually nearly consumed with, is  maintaining their status as world-class sleepers.  Daily practice toward this goal nearly assures their status in this Olympic category.

As a reader , you can continue to look forward to having us maintain our usual standards for hard-hitting, fact-finding journalism that is found nowhere else.  Stories such as the one where we uncovered the scandal of the Easter Pig/Easter Bunny, the trouble with vacuuming wasps in the summer (and at other times) and the notable classification of Californians as the special individuals they all know themselves to be.  You can also rely on coverage of coffee as a beverage, stimulant and possibly addictive substance enjoyed by millions.  What you will get as a reader of the is in-depth information about how coffee came to be this way and possibly why.  The “why” of coffee coming to be the way it is, is currently being reviewed by the editorial board.  This remains a family site and anything possibly offensive in this arena needs review before publication.

There you have it.  The new editor-at-large pledges to keep the blog running the same way the previous editor ran it. You’re thinking that’s not really any change because I’m the same person I always was, just larger.  Remember, with new titles come new responsibilities.  We proudly accept ours!

You can expect to receive weekly posts on the by checking in with us at that web address, by liking us and/or following us on Word Press or you can wait a few weeks until the editor-at large figures out how to get this distributed through Instagram or Twitter or something.  The reason you would want to do this is because: it’s Finally Friday.

She’s Baaack!

For those of you who remember me, or for those of you who never knew me, I’m writing to let you know that I’m back.  It’s been a long two years of surprise packages from the universe.  Some of you may remember reminiscences about my divorce, otherwise known as leaving the tenth circle of hell.  Dante only wrote about nine, but if you’d met the ex-husband, you would understand how there came to be another one. Not that I have any divine right to invent means of eternal retribution; I’m just pissed off enough to do so.  I digress.

This missive is about a return to the blogosphere and what occasioned the lapse in writing.  As I said, there were many surprise packages from the universe and the Big C was one of them.  Seems there was a large tumor tucked away in my peritoneum that had to be taken out.  You know how the doctors are:  As long as we’re in there, let’s do a hysterectomy!  I’m pretty much done with most of the lady parts, so I consented.  The bargain was that I would get to keep my health and my life.  At no time did any one discuss with me an option to take the removed vintage lady parts and sell them on the black market so I could obtain enough money for a down payment on a cabin on the North Shore.  Coulda, woulda, shoulda.  Dopey me, I didn’t think of it until after I was well and the damned organs were long gone.

Following the Big C surprise was a series of infections that nearly killed me.  Literally.  It’s never a good sign when several doctors stand around your hospital bed, stroking their chins, saying, “We just don’t know.”  Some of them appeared puzzled; some of them shook their heads for emphasis.  Things looked bleak.  Some of you may have surmised that your favorite smart aleck writer is a bit contrary.  It’s not that I was trying to be oppositional, I just didn’t have the good sense to die.

I figured the docs better fix it because it was getting harder and harder to be taken care of by my children.  They descended on me like white on rice and gloried in bossing me around.  Often I sat in the only chair I could use and regretted teaching them to think for themselves and to step up when things needed to be done.  I have two children that I adore, as well as my daughter’s fiancé, who’ even came from out of state to take care of me as well.  Cooking, cleaning, feeding, visiting, laundrying, you name it, they did it.  And I loved them all for it.  But every time they told me what to do, they had smiles on their faces.  Eventually I could do things on my own and I could tell they were disappointed about not being large and in charge any longer.  My daughter had even come up with a schedule for friends to sign up to take care of me.  Lovely folks all, generous to a fault.  Because of all of them, I am well, happy and have returned to a reasonable level of sassiness and sarcasm.

So here I am.  Back at this blog.  Come back again for further adventures into the psyche of the ridiculous.  See you soon.



What do the following things have in common?

Big Bird, The Simpsons, Krusty the Klown, rubber duckies, horror flicks, the walking dead, my cat, your cat, bank robbers, George W. Bush, cremation advertisements, television sitcoms, ugly Christmas sweaters, Yugo automobiles, goldfish, roller skates,  Domino’s pizza, chapstick, dental floss, sushi, snake bites on the arm, Ashton Kutcher, water bottles, skillet breakfasts, concrete steps, light bulbs, vegan meals, electronic card readers, lawyers, ice cubes,  medical waste,  nail polish remover, drying paint, doorknobs, vacuum cleaners, snow shovels, marching bands, wine bottles, t-shirts, Walmart executives, mirrors, parking lot stripes, mini-van drivers, garage sales, fish bait, bird feeders, unnecessary tattoos, roof tiles, squirrels,  excessive FB food photos, gym socks, school closing announcements, skin tags, flashlights, kitchen timers, laundry detergent, umbrella drinks, boy bands, cumin, scissors, gB’s, mustaches, Richard Nixon, garage door openers, and comic books.


I have more respect for all of those things than for the 45th president.

Now What?

Not too long ago I let all of you know about my divorce that occurred last year.  It was a whirlwind affair, taking about six weeks until it was all said and done.  My ex-husband insisted that everything be finished as quickly as possible.  This necessitated review by the editorial staff of the Smart Aleck Press. Being the only staff person, I found myself engaged in many one-sided conversations about the matter.  A tentative title in my head for the legal proceedings was “Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma’am.”    It was like a quickie movie star divorce from the ‘50’s, only I’m not a movie star, I’m well past my 50’s, and I’m  not living in that decade.  Most of the time, the movie stars got to go to someplace exotic, such as Nevada or Mexico.  I merely went to my lawyers office downtown.  The only thing exotic was the price of the parking.

During one of the solitary staff meetings of the SAP (not to be confused with the Spanish language option), I thought it might be helpful to trot out epithets from the ‘70’s.  Moving ahead by a few decades felt like an improvement.  Slogans such as: A Woman Needs A Man Like A Fish Needs a Bicycle! came to mind.  Burn Your Bra, was another one.  Bra’s for older women are so terribly expensive, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Besides, the ozone layer doesn’t need the chemicals from that much burned spandex wafting through it.

Being alone for a large part of the time, I began to wonder if I would ever date again.  Not the gentleman caller variety, you understand, just looking for a little giddy-up.  Can that happen when one divorces in the Golden Years of Medicare?  I’ve been told that there’s a word for women who are a lot older but who date much younger men.  The urban myth is that the age group for women who are considered Cougars is younger than I am.  I’ve heard this is somewhere between 40 and 55.  If that’s the case, I am  way past Cougar Town here.  This is one time I don’t feel lucky to have aged out of something.

I have only heard men use this term.  They are referring to a “much older” woman that dates younger men.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what it is.  It is delivered as a derogatory term, as  many epithets about women often are.  Pondering the matter only seems to make the word escape further back into the recesses of the brain but would be s instantly recognizable upon hearing it.  There is a small part of me that wants to blame this memory lapse on age.  I don’t really think it’s my age, I think it’s just obscurity.  Not having heard the word very often, it’s hard to pull it out of storage for convenient use.  As I consider my options for who and when I will date, for whatever reason I choose to date them, I don’t think there’s one word for this phenomenon.  I think it’s a whole phrase, and it typifies how women usually handle the quandaries of life:  I know better.  I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar. (Thank you Helen Reddy).