Saturday, December 27, 2014

This just happened! Yes, really.

Not ten minutes ago I was out front, using the garden hose & a plastic fork to clean dog shit out of the treads of my favorite Dansko™s (the brown brocade ones with the gold sparkles, Sis knows which ones I mean) when --- I swear to God & the patron saint of cute shoes & serendipity --- this happened:

There was an odd noise. It wasn’t loud, just a cross between a thrum and a buzz with a little humminess thrown in. I looked up.

A hummingbird with a metallic red head was hovering at my eye level close enough to touch. I didn’t move.

Involuntarily, I found myself thinking, “Oh. Hello.”

It was still there. We were both still there.

No, I didn’t say anything out loud. No, I didn’t “hear” magical voices or feel a sudden impulse to go out and save the world or anything else. It was just a hummingbird. It was beautiful, and it was hovering but otherwise immobile for longer than I’ve ever seen a hummingbird stay still, but that’s unusual not impossible. Magic still doesn’t exist.

Hang in there, sweetie. This is your Auntie Scarycookies. Trust me. Wait for it. ;)

Of course I eventually won the stare down and the little bird thrum-buzz-hummied off.

NOW here’s the thing: Magic may not exist, but superstition sure does. And who do you know who is more superstitious than your Auntie?

Ha. Your adolescent sarcasm notwithstanding, damn straight no one else.

I’m taking this as a powerfully positive good omen. Because we’re so close to New Year, I’m taking it to apply to all of 2015. And because the first thought I had was to come in here and tell all of you about it, I’m taking it to apply to you, too.

Yes, I knocked wood after each sentence in the preceding paragraph just in case.

So Happy New Year my darlings. I promise to try to blog more often than once a month, but if I don’t, come see me on Twitter and Quora. Big hug!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ask Auntie -- The Not So Cold Fish

Dear Aunt Scary,

Help! I'm reasonably attractive. I know how to make conversation and I do get asked out. But after one or two dates, the guys always vaporize. Apparently I come across as cold and reserved. Don't tell me to smile and make eye contact because I do that. I don't want to be slutty, but I would like to get to a third date.

Please tell me how to fake chemistry.


Not a fish

Dear Fish,

You can't force chemistry, and trust Auntie, you don't want to fake it. Don't worry, there is a lot you can do to express interest.

Since you're already smiling and making eye contact, I'll move on from there. Start by using physical contact for emphasis. This means patting his hand or touching his arm, either when you're making a point or when you want to show you appreciate something he said.

Sit straight (posture counts!) but lean toward him. Keep your arms unfolded. When you're walking, place yourself a little closer to him than you're probably doing -- not so much that you actually bump into him, but close enough for proximity warmth.

The idea is to demonstrate your interest with physical gestures and general physicality in order not to seem reserved. The trick is to stay on the cordial side and not fall into sluttiness. It's not difficult, it just requires a different kind of spatial awareness.

Thanks for asking me. I hope this helps.

Send your questions to:

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Thick-headed Telemarketer

This just happened:

Him: "Hi, I'm calling from (worthy cause), I'd like to..."

Me: "Sorry to interrupt, but we have a policy that we don't donate to charities who solicit by telephone."

Him: "That's fine. Of course I wouldn't ask you to give money over the phone. If it's okay with you, I'll send you an envelope by mail."

Me: "No thanks. Good luck with your other calls."

Him: "What? No?"

Me, patiently: "You're asking me this over the phone. That's solicitation."

He got very angry with me for some reason. Oh well.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Life Lessons In Bulk At Costco™ On A Hot Day

At 10:00 a.m. you’ll be disappointed in a parking space that you’d fight for in the afternoon, even if it's right next to the cart retrieval thingy. No, not me. The guy in the pickup next to me cussing a blue streak.

Auntie jotted down the gist of this for you while the nice but irrational lady blocked the aisle:

“After this I go to Target, then Petco and I want to stop at Walgreen’s. What? (Pause) Why? (Long pause) NOOO!! Don’t you dare! Don’t touch it, I say! I’m coming straight home! Yes I am! Right now! (Short pause) Good. That’s settled. But I have to make a few stops first.”

The sturdy, mid-60s woman in the spaghetti-strap top had her tit fall out while she was loading her car. She didn’t put it back until her cart was empty. That was an object lesson in composure. And aplomb. She was chock-full of aplomb. Probably bought in bulk inside.

I saved the most important lesson for last, so only those of my darlings who have read this far will benefit. It’s a reward, and I hope to save you the ordeal Auntie went through to learn it. The most important lesson is this:

Never ever choose the shortest line. It’s a trap.

P.S. I said, “Would you please give me my card back?” And not one but two angry employees insisted that she had. I got home & searched everywhere. She hadn’t.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

(Ask Auntie) Playing For Keeps

Dear Aunt Scarycookies,

Why doesn't my husband love me anymore?


Sad Somewhere

Dear Sad,

Oh honey. Auntie is so sorry for you. I really am. But there is so much involved here, starting with your feeling of being unloved (which is tragic enough no matter how often people feel that way) and ending with the fact that you went to a total stranger on the Internet for help.

Thank you for your implied faith in me, but this is a real-life problem, and it requires a real-life solution.

Talk to him. If that doesn't do any good, find a qualified professional who can sit down with you and help. If you don't want a counselor, then find a reputable lawyer.

Good luck!

Monday, August 25, 2014


I can go from regal to ungainly just like that.

If you haven’t met me, the only thing you need to know for the preceding sentence to make sense is that I am fairly tall, if you think 5’8” is fairly tall. So when I’m in a good strong mood, I feel regal. It only takes the slightest whiff of just about anything to knock that feeling down into gangly.

This morning I happened to see a total stranger in silhouette. No big deal, that happens whenever any of us goes outside on a bright day. August in Los Angeles counts as a bright day, etc etc ergo sum.

The thing about this stranger is that his silhouette was exactly that of an uncle I used to have. Okay, this uncle is still alive, or he was last I heard, knock on wood…

…but we’re not exactly on speaking terms, so there’s that. Also, my uncle is neither tall nor Asian and the total stranger turned out to be both.

Stop going off on tangents! We were talking about the silhouette.

The silhouette was exactly the same as my uncle’s circa the late 80s when he was still capable of making me feel inadequate. Thus, and for no other immediate reason, I suddenly felt much less adequate.

(Also ungainly, but that’s not relevant despite its appearance in my lead.)

And so bringeth the lesson, my dear ones. Forsooth here it is:

Sometimes you just have to tell the voices in your head to shut the fuck up.

Oh sure, there’s the voice that says not to get fries with that, and the one that prompts you to turn off the computer and go to bed so you won’t be a total zombie tomorrow. I don’t mean those voices. Listen to those voices. One of them might be mine.

I mean the mean little petty voices. The ones that do nothing other than make you feel bad or stupid or just plain wrong. Tell them to shut up.

Auntie thinks you’re a good person, you’re definitely not stupid, and as for wrong … well, wrong is relative and often immaterial.

Speaking of relatives, if you see my uncle, feel free to tell him I said hi.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Put On Old

This happened:

Tonight @RealBobWilson and I took my 87 year old mother Melva to a fabulous new Indian place we found. Turns out it wasn’t new, she used to eat there years ago, but it’s still fabulous.

Anyhow, while Robert stepped away from the table for a moment, the charming, doe-eyed handsome young busser from Mumbai packaged up our leftovers for Melva to take home. We were making the usual chitchat, and I happened to mention that Melva is my mother.

“Really?” exclaimed the charming doe-eyed etc, “I would have guessed you were sisters.”

I didn’t roll my eyes. It’s a good thing, because he added, “That’s because she looks old but you look old too.”

Pow! Zap! Right in the kisser.

Oh, I laughed it off in the moment, and then had tremendous fun at Melva’s expense because she was fuming for half an hour at the insult to her widdle princess. (She’s my mother, if she wants me to be a little anything, well, she can dream.)

But pity poor Robert for the catechism he had to suffer in the car once we dropped Melva off. The conclusion of which is that since he loves me, he also loves how I look and that I don’t look 87.

Then again, neither does Melva.

The picture you see above is a few months old, but it’s only a few months old. If I put makeup on and stand in good light, that’s really me. The busser isn’t 20 yet. Of course he can’t tell the difference between 50 and 80, or in this case 53 and 87. I shouldn’t take it personally.

And that, my darlings, is today’s lesson. You can tell yourself things like “Consider the source” and “What goes around, comes around” and whatever the hell else you like, but in the end, we’re still superficial, we’re still vain, and we still care about the stupid stuff.

They have truly stupendous chili naan, though, so I can’t wait to go back.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

(Ask Auntie) Phish Fry

you have received à message from your comment on blogspot .
to read the message click here
Thank you

Dear Click,

First, thanks for writing to !

Second, since you’re obviously a spambot, you won’t have noticed that the Ask Auntie feature has been moved to

Third, I haven’t made any comments on blogspot, nor do I click on links even if they’re not dubious. Ask my real-life friends who send me links all the time. Auntie just isn’t a clicker.

Nice try, hope the phish are biting somewhere else.

(Ask Auntie) Party Pooper

Dear Aunty,

So I told my friend I’d go to her birthday party but now I have a better offer for that same night. I can’t say I’m sick because she’d know it was a lie. What can I say to make her not mad that I’m not going to go?


Miss Popularity

Dear Not-Miss-Congeniality,

You could say, “There’s something I’d rather do than keep my promise to a friend” and let her react accordingly.

I’m sure you won’t have this problem again, at least not with her.

(Ask Auntie) When One Door Closes...

Dear Auntie S.,

How far behind you does someone need to be following you before it’s generally acceptable to NOT hold the elevator door open for them?


In a hurry

Dear Hurry,

If you can see the whites of their eyes, wait for them.

Unless, of course, you’re the kind of douche who can look someone in the eye and let the elevator close on them, in which case, why ask?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jubilant July

Gather round, my darlings. It’s that time of the year. A time when a young – okay, not young – man’s – ditto, so not a man – fancy turns to thoughts of… you guessed it… Thanksgiving dinner.

Those of you who know that my normal breakfast is Allmax Isonatural™ whey protein in at least 16 oz of strong coffee with soy milk might expect me to think about food first thing in the morning as a matter of course.

Nope. Auntie has always maintained that it’s vulgar to chew before noon.*

It’s just that time. Thanksgiving is the lodestone – or do I mean lodestar? – of my year. It’s when Auntie gets to show appreciation for loved ones, and to craft something that aspires to true spectacularosity.

Cardamom and nutmeg scented apple pie in cheddar crust is a must, because Melva likes it with Robert’s handmade vanilla ice cream and my own warm caramel sauce. And of course a free range happy turkey will die for the meal, even if I won’t eat any of him/her.

There will be stuffings and sweet potatoes and veg-veg-veggies galore, but therein lieth the mystery.

I’m thinking of Morrocan savory cinnamon spices with nuts in all sorts of tasty combinations filling tomatoes and peppers and baked to a lovely yum.

That goes with the turkey, sure, but not with the gougeres (gruyere pastry puffs) so maybe I want to stick with a more French flavor profile, more garlic and less cumin. I just made some beautiful roasted green beans with lemon zest, garlic and almonds. That would work. Also I thought of a Greek-style spinach pie with feta.

The possibilities boggle, my dears. They simply boggle.

But both alas and alack, it’s nearly time to set aside these fragrant mental murmurings and fall back into today with a thunk. Specifically that thunk the washing machine makes when it’s finished and I have to get up and go be useful in this moment.

Heavy sigh. I’d prefer heavy cream, but the sigh will do for now.

Have a glorious day, my children. Auntie will try not to neglect this blog so much in the future.

* Unless you have the opportunity to go to BeaBea’s, in which case chewing before noon is a delight.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Existential Wtf

So I set the stainless steel teakettle on top of a nice, clean folded sheet on top of the kitchen stool. I thought to myself, “That looks fairly steady, it’s only for a second, but yeah, it’s probably gonna fall.”

I left it there.

Within the abovementioned second (but not until after I was all the way across the room) oh yeah, it fell. Was I surprised?

You betcha!

It also broke, which made me doubly surprised because I never really expect metal things to break, but that’s superfluous to the existential wtf.

This is the existential wtf: No matter what happens, even if we pretty much saw it coming, we still feel bushwhacked.

Sure, some of our expectations are born out of arrogance (“I’ve got this!” “I deserve this!”) and some are born out of insecurity (“I’ll never get this!” “I don’t deserve this!”) but if you survive long enough, most of your expectations will be born out of experience.

And yet those expectations still won’t be met.

Do you rely on machines to function and people to keep their word? Do you believe you’ll never have to wait more than ten minutes in the doctor’s office? Did you buy a lottery ticket when the Powerball™ was up to sixty kajillion bucks?

But when your lunch buddy didn’t bother to text you that they were running half an hour late, be honest, didn’t you think “What the fuck?” even though s/he has done that the last two times you were supposed to get together? And weren’t you the teensiest bit disappointed when none of your numbers matched?

For all of our fashionable cynicism, that existential wtf response speaks to the hope that ever still dwells within the dourest, most hipster-esque human breast. Our ability to be surprised in the face of our logical expectations belies our vaunted pessimism.

Think about it. If we really, truly expected the worst, we’d just ”Uh huh” instead of “What the fuck?”

I’m not saying we’re all closet optimists. God no. I’m saying that there’s a shred of positivity in our gloomy little hearts. That means we should be able to look for the up side when things don’t work out. Whether we will or not is our choice.

I’ll tell you one thing, I’m kind of glad I don’t have to scrub that old kettle, now that I have to replace it.

But why was the folded sheet on the stool in the first place? What the fuck.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reach Out & Touch Someone

Have you ever gone with me to a restaurant?

If yes, keep reading. (And, by the way, I’m sorry about that time. You know.)

If no, call me. We’ll go out. Then you can come back and read the rest of this post.

So you know that thing I do in restaurants, well I did it again this morning. It was such fun that for the first time in ages I am energized to write to you guys.

Of course we were at BeaBea’s. (Google the menu if you haven’t been, then you’ll know why if I use the word “out” in reference to “morning” ergo hence BeaBea’s Q.E.D.)

Rika was there, radiant as ever, but this is about Tony. Turns out he’s a street photographer! I adore street photography. We had such fun talking theory that I want to go outside right now and take pix.

Think about that for a minute. I. Want to go outside. Your lazy-ass auntie who despises daylight. That I.

And that’s the lesson for today. (Bam! Gotcha.)

We need other people in our lives. Not just the beloved and/or familiar kinds of people. Those are good people to have, except maybe that guy from work, but still.

I mean people you don’t know, people outside your circle of work and family and Facebook friends and Instagram buddies.

Random people will give you insights, even if it’s only because you weren’t expecting anything. A passing smile or nod can break whatever mental exercycle your thoughts were looping through over and over again. Even a banal comment about the weather can take you out of yourself.

But if you actually have a conversation with this person you don’t know, well then, that’s like the grab bags we used to get when we were kids. There’s a prize inside, and it might even be something terrific. Serendipity can be as good as a double red-eye to get you going again when routine has bogged you down.

Sometimes you need to have a stranger tell you something you already know for you to take it seriously, get off your ass and DO something about it.

Besides, people can be fun and it’s nice to Play Well With Others.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How Low Will You Go?

This happened:

It was last Friday. For a lot of reasons, Friday was a hectic and stressful day following a nearly sleepless Thursday night. That wasn’t why the guy seemed so creepy, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

“Get gas” was the fifth item on my to-do list, and there was an empty pump at the huge gas station I usually avoid. I was jamming through the list though, so I pulled in. Of course I was almost half a block away from where you pay. I said the station was huge.

So I’m walking across this open space and I see a very creepy looking guy. He’s standing far enough away from the repair bays that the employees can’t see him. He’s scruffy. He’s not quite scowling but he’s definitely not feeling jolly. He’s wearing a heavy coat in 80 degree heat. And he’s staring at me.

That’s not paranoia. He wanted me to know. He leaned forward and rotated his head when I walked by. Besides, when I was your age I got stared at a lot. I know what it looks like. This wasn’t a hubba hubba hey baby kind of stare. I don’t know what kind of stare it was. I wasn’t feeling particularly analytic at the time.

Anyhow I paid my money and got stared at (full head rotation) on the walk back to the car. He stared while I pumped the gas. He stared while I put the thingie away and closed up the cap.

I had overpaid by $1.15.

What price comfort? What price security? I had change coming to me. Yes it was $1.15, but it was only $1.15. In effect, I could pay that amount not to walk in front of the creepy guy again. Conversely, I could move my car closer to the cashier, but that would be silly.

In the end, I walked back for it. But, next to the cash register, they had these little bottles of liquid breath mints that I love. They cost $1. So I handed back the dollar I had just gotten and took one.

Most of us go through life without quantifying our value systems. We know we want to be comfortable. We want to be safe. Most of us just want to be left alone most of the time. But how much do we want these things? It’s usually a mystery.

Me, I know. I have proof that my personal comfort is worth exactly fifteen cents and a breath mint.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Thanks For Calling!

Guess what! Today is their second wedding anniversary. It’s his second marriage but he says he got it right this time. His wife is a screenwriter and has been hand-picked by Keith Richards to write the next Rolling Stones biopic, which will be based on the life of (first & last names redacted) who was Keith Richards’ valet in the 70s & 80s.

Who was this, you ask?

I'll explain in a minute. Be patient.

And did you know that Ringo Starr named Led Zeppelin? I sure didn’t.

Meanwhile, he (the guy, not Ringo Starr) just had his high school reunion, which went very well indeed, and kudos for that. I won’t go into the reminiscences, but rest assured that he included first and last names for everyone mentioned.

No, Auntie doesn’t have a new BFF nor a long-lost cousin.

(Auntie only has lost cousins, har har, never mind, I thought it was funny.)

Auntie answered the telephone. He was a telemarketer. ‘Nuff said.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Change Of Address for "Ask Auntie"

Just so you know, the “Ask Auntie” feature of this blog has officially moved to its own space.

Don’t bother looking yet, there’s nothing new. I just moved over some of my favorite letters from this blog to get the new one started.

Keep sending your questions to but don’t watch this space for the answers. That’s when you should go to the new one.

The Entertainment Of His Choice...

Yes, my darlings, Auntie is back! Of course, we were only in Las Vegas for two days so that doesn’t explain how long it’s been since my last post, but still.

I have a cute story for you and that’s all that matters.

We were in an adorable Italian restaurant in the Venetian. No, that doesn’t narrow it down much but never mind. The point is that it was semi-posh and very, very full of businessmen.

(Auntie isn’t being sexist here. There was an IBM convention in town, and the male/female ration was along the lines of a kazillion to one. Don’t ask about the other demographics.)

Anyhow, we’re sitting at a nice big table, listening to our feet ache after walking the length & breadth of the Strip for four hours, when two Brooks Brothers™ suited guys took the teeny table next to us.

Suit #1 started going on and on about how chlorinated the tap water is in Vegas, especially compared to Austin.

Suit #2 offered a level of comfort that I usually reserve for tragedies requiring hospitalization.

Emboldened, Suit #1 went on to describe – in detail -- how he’d been experimenting in his hotel room, pouring water from glass to glass trying to aerate it. It sounded like quite a production.

I leaned over to Robert and said, “Most guys come to Vegas and watch strippers.”

Sunday, April 6, 2014

(Ask Auntie) Rhymes With Snore

Dear Auntie Scary,

What do you do about boring people?


Eye-rolling in Ohio

Dear Eye-Rolling,

You stop being one.

Friday, April 4, 2014

(Ask Auntie) Asked & Un-Answered

We have not one but two (count’em 2!) letters in the inbox today!

Woefully, the first one had an unfamiliar return address and included an attachment. It might not have been a woeful attachment. It might've been a completely woe-less attachment. But the attachment might have been a bringer of woe, ergo we all are forever bereft of the contents because I deleted that sucker right away.

That said, there is another.

Woo hootie hoo! Going live now…

Good Day,

I am George Thompson, an Attorney from Republic of Togo. It might interest you to know that i have a deceased client that bears the same surname with you, who is now late. He deposited the sum of Nine million five hundred thousand US dollars $9.5million in a bank here. I am contacting you to stand as his heir,reply if you need For further information. waiting for your reply Sincerely Yours,
Please Reply to my private Email Address:(REDACTED)
Lawyer George Thompson(Esq)

Dear Lawyer George Thompson(Esq),

Thank you for writing to Aunt Scarycookies. Please understand that “Aunt” is not my first name. It’s more of an honorific.

Also my last name isn’t really Scarycookies. Therefore, if your deceased client’s surname was Scarycookies, you’re S.O.L. on this end.

If, on the other hand, your deceased client was just Mr. Cookies, that’s too cute. I'm very sorry he's "now late" but I do think that being deceased is an excellent excuse and you should cut him some slack.

Thanks again, and remember, send your comments, questions and apparently excess spam to

But if you include an attachment, you too will be S.O.L.

Have a nice day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

(Ask Auntie) Yes, You Are!

Dear Aunty Scary,

A woman where I work seems to be going through a rough patch right now. I’m not exactly sure what it is. Office gossip has two different stories going. Some people are joking about placing bets. (I hope they’re joking!)

Naturally I’m curious. I also think it would be helpful to her if the rest of us knew what’s going on. Can you give me a polite way to ask?

Not Nosy Just Curious

Dear Nosy,

Nope. I can’t, because there isn’t one.

(And yes, you are being nosy.)

You didn’t explain how you know your coworker is in distress. If she’s missing a lot of work, it could be a child or a spouse or a family member who has the problem.

I’m assuming that she doesn’t have visible bruises or bandages. If her eyes are red, that could be allergies as much as it could be tears. Or she could just be tired because she’s spending her nights binge-watching that terrific TV show everyone was talking about last week.

The thing is, none of the above is any of your business, nor is it your business if she really is in distress. Since you’ve made it clear that she is a coworker and not a friend, and since this is a business relationship, Auntie suggests that you mind yours.

But there is one thing you can do, provided that you can do it in good faith. Are you ready? Here it is:

You can offer to help in a specific way with a specific activity, and add that you’re also willing to be of some further unspecified work-related assistance.

Don’t say “Let me know if I can help.” Auntie hates that. It’s too vague. Besides, if your coworker felt comfortable asking for help, she would have done so already.

Make an offer that’s particular enough that she knows you’re sincere, and open ended enough that if she has something else that needs doing, she might mention it as an alternative.

And who knows? If you do end up working together to get her stuff done, you might find that you also get to know each other well enough that your curiosity is satisfied.

Auntie trusts that you won’t take advantage of that in the betting pool.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Many, Many, Many, Many, Many Returns

Yeah, I had another birthday.

Of course I did. Had I not, I wouldn’t be able to type. That’s neither here nor there. Let’s talk about celebrations.

I’m not opposed to making a fuss. Your Auntie is neither modest nor self-effacing, as the mere fact of having a blog attests.

But to celebrate, or not to celebrate? That is the question.

As I explained to a charming young friend of ours; when you do anything fifty-two times in a row (yes even that) the fifty-third time isn’t going to be noteworthy. It can be good, but it probably won’t be noteworthy.

Besides, Auntie is lazy and celebrating properly is a lot of effort. Still, even the laziest human slug can manage an unhealthy level of self-indulgence.

In my case, that involved consuming heart-throttling amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

Happy sigh.

It was a celebration of a sort. I got a tip about a doughnut place that makes blueberry doughnuts even superior to the formerly nonpareil blueberry doughnuts in Victorville.

That’s where we went, and my oh my, it turned out to be true. Heaven!

The bad news is that this angelic new-to-me doughnut place is five minutes away from where we live and I only allow myself those kinds of treats at significant annual intervals. Now whenever I go through that intersection, which I do semi-daily, I will yearn tragically.

Sigh-y sigh.

Oh well. Happy birthday to me.

Friday, March 7, 2014

T'Ain't Funny, McGee

Dear Stand-Up Chick from last night,

I’m delighted that you find my demographic amusing, especially considering that -- unless tragedy strikes, godforbid -- you will eventually become one of us middle-aged women.

However, if you are going to target a single member of your audience for most of your show, you might want to pick one who isn’t the butt of most of your humor.

Speaking on behalf of all women of a certain age (53 next week, but who’s counting?) yes, we do carry large purses. In itself, that is not funny.

It's a set-up for funny.

In order to make the leap to funny, you have to offer a humorous reason why our purses are so large. For example, I might suggest that at my age, I require hydraulic level maintenance equipment that takes up a lot of space.

Or perhaps I’d point out that buckets of spackle (or maybe bondo. No, spackle is funnier) are bulkier than the delicate powder compacts younger women carry to touch up their make-up.

Hell, you could even imply that we all tote around a spare set of dentures, or orthopedic shoes or a walker. I dunno. Something.

Then there’s all the stuff you don’t know about yet.

Like, how “You’re how old? Wow, you sure don’t look it” turns into “You look fine for your age” which, in turn, becomes the dreaded, “Yeah, that’s about what I thought.”

Or simply what it feels like when someone who is two years off from being half your age complains about feeling old.

Don’t worry, I saw the camera and realized that this was going to be your reel. I laughed when I could and smiled when I didn’t laugh.

You’re very welcome.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ode To Oleo

It started with a dollop of mayonnaise the size of a double-scoop cone from Swensen’s.

(If you don’t remember Swensen’s, you can check Wikipedia while the grownups visit.)

The pretty young thing sitting at the counter was complaining that “places in LA never use enough mayonnaise. Can I please have some more?”

The guy making the sandwich dolloped a big ol’ glob onto the already well-mayo’ed bread. It was an absurdly huge dollop, an ironically sarcastic dollop, presumably intended to shut her up. Of course it didn’t.

“A little more, please?”

Eventually they reached deli détente. Let me tell you, even from where I was sitting, that sandwich looked bizarre. The mayonnaise stratum was about an inch thick. Like I said, I could see it from most of the way across the room.

The pretty young thing was burbling happily. Apparently, that’s how it’s done “back home”.

No, I’m not going to make a joke about American obesity. Besides, she was skinny.

I want to talk about childhood.

Unless you clicked to this page by accident, you already know I was born and bred right here in Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in the hippie-dippy sixties, whence carob came.

You don’t remember carob? Click over to Wikipedia again. We’ll wait. Carob was fairly disgusting, as I recall.

Be that as it may, no matter how far you’ve come or how much you changed in the process, the tastes and flavors of childhood go with you, tucked snugly into your subconscious next to “comfort” and “solace”.

Carob excepted, of course.

Make your own “comfort food” joke if you want to, I will not denigrate such a sacred phenomenon with base humor. Also I couldn’t think of a good one.

The pretty young thing mentioned above found happiness in her mayonnaise-squirting sandwich. It won’t make up for a failed audition (statistically likely) or a bad date (also possible, given how annoyed the guy with her looked) but comfort food does just that, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Now we can all go Wiki “oleo” and don’t grumble, it comes up in crossword puzzles all the time.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mentor Fresh

A very dear friend of mine who died recently used to raise Pekingese. Don’t ask me why Pekingese, I always just attributed it to a personal eccentricity, like her devotion to Yuban brand coffee.

Still, she did everything so well that her Yuban was delicious and her dogs were cool – as cool as Pekingese could be, anyhow.

She used to feed the Pekes boiled beef liver. I used to make fun of her for it.

I mean, come on, boiled beef liver? The smell alone makes you long for the meadow-y freshness of the Hollywood Freeway at rush hour.

And really, it’s enough of a bother to fix food for people, cooking a canine menu is just de trop, reminiscent of elderly spinsters with a bajillion cats all named Mr. Whiskers.

But I digress.

Her dogs, like my friend, lived for a very long time.

(Unlike she, the Pekes obviously had an excellent quality of life, but this is a happy blog so we’ll leave it at that.)

For all the ways I imitate her, both deliberately and inadvertently, the one I want the most is to have an average lifespan of 20 for my dogs.

Yes, I said “average”.

Yes, I said “20”.

Tasmania was 26, Brandy was at least 22 but we never knew for sure. Doozer was 24-25ish. That averages out to a hell of a lot more than 20 so don’t get on my case here. It’s Auntie-math, and anyhow I made my point.


What do you mean, why am I telling you all this?

I’m sorry, I thought you asked me why I’m boiling beef liver in a rainstorm when I have to keep the windows closed so the whole house stinks of boiled beef liver.

I also have some Yuban brewing. You’re welcome to stay for a cup.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Celebrity Sighting

Let me tell you a story about my friend, we’ll call him “Mr. Celebrity-Man”.

No, I’m not talking about Max Maven. If I talk about Max, as you all know I have, you can search the archives if you want to bother, anyhow, if I talk about Max, then I say that’s who I mean.

This isn’t about Max.

This is about “Mr. Celebrity-Man”, who isn’t going to get identified beyond that to spare you having to say “Huh, yeah, I think I heard of that show or movie but I didn’t see it” which would be half true and I like you all too much to make you lie to be polite…

… because this is really about being polite.

You see, “Mr. Celebrity-Man” was just in town. He was busy the whole time, performing and filming and such. This is a good and happy thing. My friends should all be busy like that, knock on wood.

But as Melva says, “It’s not what you do. It’s how you do it.”

See, “Mr. Celebrity-Man” is enough of a celebrity that he got tagged on Facebook the day he arrived.

(I didn’t see it, but I was told soon after it appeared.)

So we all found out he was here, but he didn’t contact anybody. Eventually I did text him, mostly as a good-natured gotcha, and we had a lovely meal at BeaBea’s right before he left, but the question is, as Melva asked me last night,

“Well, how would you have handled it?”

Auntie is not a celebrity of any kind, but I do recognize the unavoidability and ubiquity of the Internet. I’m also really big on the principle “What you can’t fix, feature.”

Ergo, I would have posted on Facebook something like:

“Dear friends, I’m in L.A. and I wish I could see you all but I’m afraid that work will take up my time this trip. If you can, please come by one of my performances, and if you can’t, I look forward to seeing you during a future visit.”

The take-away from all this, an un-asked Ask Auntie if you will, that may come in handy someday, is that if you state the truth with courtesy, sincerity and, most of all, respect, then you can get out of a lot of stuff – or at least postpone it.

Well, that’s a message which “Mr. Celebrity-Man” may or may not ever see depending on if he still reads this blog. I’ll let you know.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Encore, Encore!

People bitch about growing old. Yes, yes, I know, I’m one of the worst. Although this time I’m not. This time I bring good news.

There’s an up side to aging. Indeedy do.

It started when I wanted to sit down and read a book. I have a great system for choosing a new one: I wander around my own stacks until I find something I’ve forgotten, or at least one where I don’t remember the ending.

See? It’s free, it’s easy, and I already know I’ll like whatever it is since I don’t keep books I don’t like. (Well, except three. One for the title, and two each for a single line.)

This is what just happened: I picked up “The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars” by Steven Brust. Partway through it, I started to think that this would be a good book for Melva.

Four pages later there was a note in the margin. Yes, in Melva’s handwriting.

The coda is that I’m still going to bring her the book as soon as I finish it. She won’t remember it any better than I did, and she’ll enjoy it all over again.

If not, I’ll have to put a note in it for the next time I forget and read it again.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Art For Fart's Sake

You want to do something new, something worthwhile, something fun. Ideally, you want to do something that’s all three and then some.

A painter’s gotta paint. A sculptor’s gotta sculpt. When you have to fart, you’ve got to let it out.

(Okay, that takes care of the title. Check.)

That’s how I ended up starting Scarycookies in the first place. I had things I wanted to say, so I said them. And yes, I know I’m putting that dangerously close to a fart analogy. Be kind.

But I digress.

What do you want to do that you’re not doing?

I bet your first thought was about the reasons why you’re not doing whatever-it-is. Work, time, opportunity, lack of skill – all the negatives.

Don’t make that face. Auntie knows you better than you think. Besides, I do it too. Everyone does. It’s whatchacall human nature.

The trick, and it is indeed a magic trick, is to get past all that, or at least to get off of our asses and do something.

Auntie is still working on that last bit. I’m not sure if writing a blog post counts, since it conveniently doubles as an avoidance mechanism.

Let’s take a lesson from Improvisational Comedy and “yes and” the situation.

It’s a cold dreary Thursday afternoon. Responsibilities and obligations make tidy heaps on your schedule. The weekend is still ages away. The suggested word is “fun”.

What do you do?

Ahem. I really hope your coworkers didn’t see you flip off the monitor. However, Auntie agrees with your sentiment, and I have to admit, you made me smile.

Then again, it could just be gas.

Monday, February 3, 2014

R.I.P. Mr. Pribble

Jack Kerouac would have been proud. Our reaction to the looming Super Bowl, given the history of our Loud Neighbors and their obsession with football in all its variety, was to get the hell out of town.

We hit the road at a leisurely hour and pace, with no particular destination in mind except that I wanted to have trout & eggs at the legendary Farm House restaurant where Rollie, the ten foot tall fiberglass rooster, lives.

Of course I wasn’t paying attention and I took the wrong freeway but getting lost (although we weren’t) is all in the spirit of the archetypical road trip.

So there we were, on the Frank M. Pribble Memorial Highway, which we hadn’t been on since it was just I-60.

It’s a lesson, it’s a metaphor! You can be where you weren’t planning on being, but still get where you’re going --- and you can enjoy it.

When we finally approached the Farm House, it was obscured by a brand new Denny’s. How could that be? Who would want bland food coated in tasteless oil when they could have the hearty grease and genu-wine Americana of the Farm House next door?

Answer: Not us, but anybody else who was hungry. The Farm House is closed for business, and Rollie (with his fresh coat of patriotic feathers) guards an empty building. Please turn on the sound.


So we went a ways further to Gramma’s House (sic) and had trout & eggs there, amid the exact same kind of plastic Americana that used to grace the Farm House walls. So exactly the same that I’m tempted to Google it and see if someone sells Americana by the yard.

The waitresses at Gramma’s (still sic) all wore football jerseys. And there were TV sets, turned to a sports channel. I was afraid that the Super Bowl had followed us until I saw that they were all showing women’s basketball.

I now love Gramma’s, despite the mediocrity of the food.

Next, instead of a pointless venture into Outlet Mall Hell, we decided to take a trip (way) back in time to my adolescence. We dropped south and started to climb the San Jacinto mountains, banking vertiginous drops through the blackened skeletal detritus of fire and drought, up and up and up six thousand feet past what used to be hippie communes but are now Christian retreats, until we got to Idyllwild.

I went through the arts program there (dance and drama) as a tween and teen. I had formative experiences and forgettable performances. I haven’t been back since the 70s.

It was fun. It wasn’t quite like I remembered it, but never mind that. Time passes, etc.

I found only one person who looked older than me, and asked if the Red Kettle restaurant used to be called the Koffee Kup. (I love-love-loved the Koffee Kup.) Mrs. Santa Claus looked at me strangely and said, “I don’t know. I’ve only been here since 2004.”

On the way down the mountain, we stopped by the side of the road so that I could photograph the sunset for @insightofaseed who takes lovely landscape photos on Twitter.

Robert disappeared off the path for a bit, then came back smiling, waved both arms in the air, and yelled “I’m a boy!”

Luckily I had gone back in town, so the rest of the drive was peaceful and comfortable.

It was a lovely day and I hope your team won.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Substitution, Mass Confusion

I’ve been replacing intangible things all morning and now my hands smell like bleach.

(Yes, I am well aware that I’ve fallen into a pattern of beginning each post with an enigmatic statement without a shred of context. Thank you for noticing. The system works dammit and I’m not fixing it.)

It started when I replaced next Tuesday with next Wednesday. That was easily done, though there will be ramifications. Next, I replaced this morning, Friday morning, with Monday morning.

That’s why my hands smell like bleach. I was going to do the big cleaning on Monday.

Gotcha! You probably thought that your philosopher Auntie meant significant intangibles. Granted, the bleach was a bit of foreshadowing.

Nobody ever ended up smelling like bleach after contemplating a significant intangible.

Well, nobody except me.

I don’t iPod or mp3 or podcast or anything. I just scrub and think. So I end up contemplating significant intangibles when I run out of insignificant ones. This is what I came up with:

Intangible #1: A new tweet, one I rather liked. It’s been retweeted twice already, so at least two other people liked it too.

Intangible #2: A new plan.

Daunting as it is, Auntie has decided to go back to doing jokes-a-day. It’s been more than a year. It’s time.

So, like I always do, I’m telling you all of this to force me to follow through.

But this is a post about substitution. And the last thing I substituted was doing this post instead of the jokes.

I’d blame the clouds inside my head but that would make it too easy to identify the song whence came the title quote.

Bye, bye love. I’m off to try to be funny.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Loose Change

Scene: A long shadowy corridor. A monitor flickers in the distance. Begin V.O.

Times change. People change. And by “change” I mean “move on.”

Relationships often come with a natural sell-by date that’s nobody’s fault. Maybe everyone graduated, or somebody left the company or the city. Children can make a difference, as can sobriety or the lack thereof. New relationships can choke out the old.

The point is that people, for whatever reason, move on.

Intro over. Lights up. Cue Facebook theme song for foreshadowing & background music.

In ye olden days, there were visible signs that yes, the times had changed and someone had been cut loose.

First there would be a delay in returning phone calls (this was pre-texting, my darling children) Invitations would be declined and later ignored. Birthday and Christmas cards would stop appearing.

That much is the same now. The difference is that back then we didn’t have Facebook.

Music cue: Old time-y organ pounding out da da DAAAAH!

Montage: Your own FB TL. Yes, yours.

Take a good look. When was the last time you saw some of these people?

If you happened to be visiting their town, would you arrange to hang out? Would they call you if they were going to be nearby?


Then why the hell do you know so much about their lives?

That’s rhetorical. Facebook, obviously. This is what it’s for.

In my case, Facebook is for finding out that someone who cut me loose has had a catastrophic personal tragedy. She moved on, so I have to respect that and not offer sympathy, support or even soup. No matter what the protocol is, I can’t bring myself to “like” a sad status.

In case you were wondering why I avoid Facebook, this is just another example.

Cue Oingo Boingo: “Goodbye-Goodbye”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Digression From Nothing

Let’s try this again.

Don’t ask me “try what?” because I’m about to tell you. That was just my way of jumping into the middle of an idea to make all this seem more active and interesting.

Yes, yes, yes I know. It would have had to already be interesting in order for it to seem more interesting and when I only said “Let’s try this again” that wasn’t at all interesting so I’ve already obviated that second (ersatz expository) paragraph.

What was I saying? Oh. Right.

Absolutely nothing.

But I was about to apologize for the long post-less stretches of nothing.

The nothing keeps happening because enough of you have kindly contacted me about old posts to make me self-conscious about coming up with new ones.

Actually, the “new” part is the problem. I just found out that I’ve been on Twitter for exactly five years yesterday, which means that I’ve been doing this blog for five years plus a few days.

Let’s not speculate on how long it took me to start to repeat myself, ok? At least give me some points for trying not to.

So when I said “Let’s try this again” I was really thinking out loud after having read through the bits and pieces of formulaic drivel that are in this Word™ file.

Sure, there are a couple of clever things, but the humor is of a pattern an elephant would recognize if that elephant had read three or four of these posts.

While I’m not above repeating myself, and I’m really not above repeating myself har har, I don’t want to go to the well too often. I feel like I’ve been doing that lately.

Then again, this post right here breaks the pattern, even more so because I’m not trying to be funny. We’re having a conversation, you and I. Well, I’m having a conversation with you and until you send your half to the address above ( or leave a comment in the comments section, then my half will have to suffice.

What a great word that is. “Suffice.” We should say it more often. But I digress.

Is it possible to digress from nothing? Well, I just did so never mind.

I’m going to go look for a new (ha! Let’s say new-ish) idea. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, behave yourself accordingly. And if you can't, feel free to Ask Auntie how.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Going To A Goal-Goal

Well, it’s been January for almost two weeks now. That’s enough time to have the test results back on your resolutions. Sit down – oh right, you’re already sitting down.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Those of you who are still plugging away deserve applause. Auntie is clapping and smiling and very proud of you. All the darlings in this group can go back to flossing your teeth or exercising or reading Serious Literature or not biting your nails or whatever it was you resolved to do. Congratulations, and keep up the good work.

This is for the rest of you.

Auntie gets it. Change is hard. That deserved an exclamation point but instead I’m going to emphasize it by reminding you that change is so hard that Auntie doesn’t resolve to do it no matter how much she may need to.

(Viz., it’s been ten days since my last post.)

You made a resolution, or more than one, to change something you don’t like about yourself and/or your circumstances. This is huge.

(Unless you’re one of those superfit people who claim to need to lose weight. That’s just annoying. But who am I kidding? They’re over in the health and fitness section of the blogosphere. Never mind.)

Where was I? Oh, right. You took a long look at yourself and figured out what needed to be fixed in order for you to get closer to happiness. In a sense, that’s an end in itself. Understanding the problem is half the battle. (Yo, Joe!)

If it had been a little thing, you would have just done it like a snap of the fingers. No, this was something big.

In fact, it was something so big that you needed the symbolic push of a New Year.

Okay, so you missed perfection. The inertia of a bad habit or the difficulty of a new goal was too much to overcome right off the bat. Of course that’s discouraging. But it’s still a New Year, and you can try again. Please try again.

I believe in you.

I’m going to floss my teeth now.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hear, Hear, New Year

There’s a saying, “The opposite of talking isn’t listening; the opposite of talking is waiting.”

Oh, you don’t do that. You listen. But you’d probably agree that most people don’t. Most people just wait for their turn to speak, or only hear what they expect to hear. Then they argue with what they thought they heard even if it wasn’t what you said, but never mind that.

I suspect that an optimist would hear what s/he wants (not expects) to hear, but I don’t know any optimists so I can’t ask.

We value listening --- well, we value it when people listen to us. We like people who listen to us. It means they’re paying attention to us.

Think about that for a sec.

They’re “paying” attention. We’re being compensated. But compensated for what?

Relax. Auntie isn’t giving a pop quiz today. That was rhetorical.

We’re being compensated for our affection, or if not affection, at the very least our good will. That’s why politicians and telemarketers and Hi-I’m-Kevin-your-waiter all seem so solicitous. They profit from our good will so they try to buy it with attention.

Before you say anything, sincerity isn’t on the table right now. Not even the table in Kevin-your-waiter’s section.

Anyhow, we’re talking about listening.

A cynic might say that we like it when people listen to us because we think that if they’re not interrupting us, then they’re agreeing with us.

I know lots of cynics. I could ask one of them, but I might not hear the answer I want.

That’s a joke. It’s true, but it’s a joke.

Most of us think we’re good listeners. Some of you are. I don’t know if I am.

How can we tell? We can measure listening by understanding, as in how much and how well the listener understood what was said.

Most of us think we’re good understanders. Some of you are. I try to be.

That would be a good New Year’s resolution, to try to understand better, or at the very least, to listen better.

Then again, maybe I’m being optimistic. I'll just try to wait more patiently while you're talking instead.