7

No Hippopotamus for Christmas

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Editors: Before Christmas, Cat kept singing a stupid song about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas

Apparently she was only kidding, or the other humans had more common sense, because there were no animals under the tree. Don’t get us wrong. You know we’re all about animals here in Cheeseland. But most of the animals work from their native habitat, and we weren’t sure there is enough space here for a hippo.

We wanted to do some research and asked R. Tavi, our Asian correspondent, to take a trip to Africa.

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I went to Kenya to speak with Nala, an East African hippopotamus. I first thing I noticed was that hippos are really big.

Tavi: Good morning Nala

Nala: Good morning. Don’t bother asking. I weigh 1,200 pounds. I don’ know why everyone is so interested in my weight. I have a big skeleton. In fact it runs in the family, the hippo family. We’re big animals. My husband weighs 2,000 pounds. Get over it.

Tavi: I apologize. I just don’t get around large animals much. I live in India. We have elephants, but that’s about it.

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Nala (huffily): Then you should have seen someone bigger than me.

Tavi (trying to change the subject): So what do hippos generally eat?

Nala: You want to find out why I’m so big? For your information, we hippos live on salad. I have never touched meat. And I don’t eat sugar. I’m not fat. It’s just genetics.

Tavi: I apologize. I obviously have offended you. Perhaps we could start over.

Nala: I suppose that might work.

Tavi: How do you spend your days?

Nala: It’s pretty hot here. I like to be submerged in the water most of day. There is excellent eating in the lake. Once in a while I go over there. (Points at some yams growing in a field.) I love yams.

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Tavi: Doesn’t the farmer object to you raiding his field?

Nala: What do you mean “raiding”? If he didn’t want hippos in his field, he shouldn’t have planted so close to the lake.

Tavi: So it’s an amicable relationship.

Nala: Not really. I’d really be just as happy if he would just go away. Then I wouldn’t have to try to kill him every time he comes after me.

Tavi is beginning to wonder if there was anything they could talk about that wouldn’t upset the hippo.

Tavi: What do you like to do for fun?

Nala (giggling): My favorite is to fling dung at people and other animals.

Tavi: It doesn’t sound like you’re very fond of humans.

Nala (growling): I hate humans! They bring their stupid boats into our lakes and try to take pictures of us. It serves them right when we tip over their boats and kill them. They’re lucky we’re not carnivores.

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Tavi: I suppose you’re right. You’re very fond of living here, aren’t you?

Nala: It’s a wonderful place. Cool water, good food, warm sun.

Tavi: I don’t suppose you’d be interested in traveling, would you?

Nala: Never. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Tavi: Thank you for your time. I wish you well.

Nala: Thank you.

Tavi returns home understanding why hippos have a reputation for being aggressive. He can’t imagine why Cat would want to bring one home.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images, video from Youtube.

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11

Mama Cat and the Badger

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It was Christmas Eve, and Mama Cat was totally exhausted. Her reputation as an herbalist and healer was spreading and she building a good practice. But all that work had put her behind in her Christmas preparations. She had just finished the baking and wrapping. But the house was a total mess.

She was startled by a loud knocking at the door. She hoped it wasn’t that lousy Tom. She should have known he had two other kitten mamas. Mama Cat opened the door.

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It was a very large badger. Mama Cat almost fainted with fear. He asked if he could come in. She nodded and pointed to a seat.

“Are you here to eat me?” She was terrified.

The badger looked hurt. “Of course not. I am asking for your help.”

Mama Cat looked confused. “What could I possibly do for you?”

The badger looked at her hopefully. “My name is Reginald Badger, and I live in the forest. My son was playing with some friends and it got a little rough. He was clawed rather badly. My wife says that you can heal animals and was hoping that you would help our son.”

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Mama Cat looked around the house. “But it’s Christmas Eve, and I have five kittens in the other room who are waiting for Santa Claws.” Reginald looked crestfallen and nodded. “I told Margery that you probably couldn’t make it. I apologize for intruding.” He got up to leave.

Mama Cat looked at his sad face and then around the room. How long could it possibly take? And how could she let that little badger die? “I think there is time to help your son before the kittens wake up. Let me get my things.”

As she gathered her things, she hoped that she wasn’t volunteering to be Christmas dinner for a family of badgers. Reginald took her bag and offered a ride on his back. Mama Cat was feeling worse and worse about her decision.

As Reginald ran through the trees for what felt like an extremely long time, Mama Cat began to worry about getting home in time to finish getting things ready for the kittens. “I wonder if Santa Claws will leave presents at a house that doesn’t offer him a bowl of cream?”

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Finally Reginald stopped. Mama Cat climbed down as he opened the door. She swallowed nervously and followed him in.

Suddenly Mama Cat was being hugged. “Oh thank you Ms. Cat for coming all the way out here on Christmas Eve! I’m Margery Badger, and we are so grateful that you are here. I know that you can help Eugene. Let me show you the way.” Mama Cat was a little overwhelmed. “Please call me Belle. I hope I can help.” She followed Margery into another room.

There was a much smaller badger laying on the bed. He was asleep but was moaning in pain. Belle looked at the wound. “It is rather nasty isn’t it? Let me see what I can do. Would you please bring some warm water so I can clean it out?”

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Margery quickly returned with the water. “Now would you please boil some water and let these herbs soak in the water for 10 minutes?” Belle carefully cleaned the wound and got a better look at it. It was deep, but didn’t seem to have caused much damage.

She took some spider webbing and put it in the wound to stop the bleeding. When Margery returned, Belle poured the hot liquid into a cloth and applied it to the wound. “You will need to re-apply the poultice every six hours for two days. Belle handed Margery a second herb. “Make a spoonful of this into tea several times a day. It smells and tastes horrible, but it will help with the healing.”

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Both of the badgers hugged Belle and asked how they could repay her. Overcome with fatigue again, she said that a ride home would be nice.

When she opened the door to her house, Belle was amazed. It was spotless. There were gifts from Santa Claws for the kittens and a note on the table.

“Dear Belle – Since you were away helping the badgers, I decided that the best gift for you would be to have an elf clean your house. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! All the best – Santa Claws.”

Belle thought she must be dreaming and curled up with the kittens.

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8

Is December Over Yet?

As we get older, the months are supposed to sneak past us so quickly that we don’t even see them going by. December didn’t get the memo. It’s not like I really accomplished anything; it just feels like it took forever not to.

December showed off some pretty quirky human behavior. And some amazing first-world stupidity.

I always do a lot of baking for the holidays. It takes about a week and I generally make the same things. Unfortunately my week was interrupted by cranberry bread for my husband to take to work, breakfast breads for my daughter’s fundraiser, and putting together a gingerbread reindeer and sleigh. (Not really difficult if you have four hands.) Luckily for my family I was still in my holiday daze when they remarked that I had not made fudge this year.

I went to an interfaith peace kick-off meeting on December 22. The timing was significant because it was the season of Christmas, Hanukah, and The Prophet’s birth. And because those of us who work in retail are in a perpetual haze. I hope the woman sitting next to me won’t be offended if we meet again and I have no clue who she is.

Someone left an empty tube of acrylic paint on a shelf at work. There was no mess, so it wasn’t vandalism. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just put the tube in your pocket than empty the contents into it?

Somebody took a small-sized safe. The empty ones we sell. If you can’t afford a safe, what are you going to put in it?

We had a new employee for a few weeks. She was hired as a stocker. After a couple of weeks she could stock five cases of toys in eight hours. (That’s approximately 30 toys.) Turns out that a large part of the problem was that she spent the night shopping – picking out items, looking them over, deciding what she really wanted, replacing what she didn’t, and paying for her purchases.

When the company had documented enough to fire her, she was highly offended. She called the store director to complain about unfair termination. Complain very loudly. He asked her if she was challenging the reports of shopping on company time and inability to perform the job. No, she agreed that it was true. It just wasn’t fair to fire her.

Last night four bored young men came into the store. I heard this tremendous “music” and went to investigate. They had turned on all the dancing Christmas bears and were taping them on a phone. I tried not to laugh when I asked them to please not do it again.

You may recall that my daughter B was invited to L.A. for a modeling/talent convention. They are leaving this coming Tuesday (1/4). Last Sunday (12/27), her agency wanted to see all of the clothes she was bringing to L.A. They told her that her dress for the award dinner was way too loose and needed to be tailored. She was lucky. A couple of the other people had to make major wardrobe adjustments. In a week.

This week the agency told B that she did need a portfolio after all of 6 to 8 pictures. She could get the perfect display album for just $45 from them. But they were out of stock. She bought an $18 presentation portfolio from Staples that displays the photos beautifully. Good thing since last night the agency said she needs 10 copies each of 3 other pictures.

B needed to purchase the pictures from Costco/CVS/Walgreen’s/Staples. It seemed simple enough. Download the picture file, enter the dimensions and quantity, and place the order. The pictures were professionally taken to be printed as 8×10. However to order them as 8×10 online she needed to crop them as if they were taken as 8.5×11. For one of them, she had to choose between taking off part of an arm or her head.

I thought I was going to be a huge favorite with the cats. I bought a water fountain and a huge fleece bed for them. They are finally getting over their fear of running water and using the fountain. The bed is used on rare occasion by one or the other of them. Next year it’s back to special food.

And now that December is finally going away –

Image result for new year 2016 animalsGoogle Images

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!

8

Critter Capers: Letters to St. Nicholas

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Dear Santa Claws

Mom said that if we were good animals, that you would bring us presents on Christmas. I’m not sure when that is, but I think it’s soon. There’s a big tree in the front room and lots of bags upstairs.

But maybe not. Mom said you live where it’s cold this time of year and you don’t look cold in your picture.

Anyway, I have been a good cat. I don’t scratch on the furniture. Well only the love seat, and you can’t even tell. I give mouse presents and cuddle a lot. Even with the other cat. And I always use the litter box.

Would you please bring me

  1. A warming blanket that doesn’t have all those wires that push into my skin. I know I’m furry, but I can still feel them. I can’t cuddle with my human because he wears one of those all the time.
  2. Some smoked turkey in a bag like Mom brings home. I really like it, but they only share a little.
  3. One of those toys I can hold in my front paws and kick with my back paws. The other cat doesn’t like those, so I don’t have to fight her off.
  4. A How to Catch Mice book for the humans. No matter how many times I show them how to hunt, they still want me to make the kill. They need to learn to fend for themselves.
  5. A silencer for the other cat that I can control. She talks a LOT.
  6. A bag of the kitty kibble they buy for the spiny guy. He gets better quality food than I do.
  7. A new scratching post. The ones downstairs are used up. My human keeps saying the he will resurface it, but that never happens. If you can’t bring that, could you please bring him a video of what happens to cats if they can’t sharpen their nails correctly? Or maybe something from YouTube of a bad cat using his human as a scratching post when the post is unusable?

Thank you very much.

Super Snooper (I have enclosed a picture so you know for sure who I am. The humans NEVER take pictures of anything and it shows.)

Snoops_122014

 

Dear Santa

You sure look like a cool cat. I bet you bring all kinds of good stuff.

I have been a good kitty. I make sure my human (Mom) gets up on time for work. It’s not my fault she gets up really early some days and not so early other days. You know cats like routines. I help make sure she gets enough sleep. Twice I have told the humans when the other cat was locked in another room. Maybe it was three times. The first time they ignored my crying. I help Mom find things on this little computer thingy. And I always use the litter box.

Please bring me

  1. One of those fishing pole toys. I used to have a lot of them. The humans got mad when I chewed the strings. How else was I supposed to play with the toy after I captured it? The male humans don’t leave their fish on the hooks.
  2. A warming blanket that the other cat won’t get her smell all over. And that the humans won’t steal from me when they get cold. Something nice and furry would be good.
  3. Some of that meat the humans had the other day. I think they called it a “pot roast”. (That’s kinda weird since it didn’t come out of a pot.) I usually don’t like human food, but that was really yummy.
  4. A How to Speak Siamese for the humans. They keep saying that I talk a lot, but if they would just listen and respond I wouldn’t have to talk so much.
  5. A heater like the spiny guy has if you can’t get #2. It’s some kind of board they put next to his cage. Then they cover his cage with a blanket. He stays really warm. I think the humans could make a blanket tent for us cats (I would share) and attach the board to one of the sides.
  6. A different job for Mom so she can stay home all day and cuddle with us (I would share). Maybe one of those jobs you do at home or something that works with Dad’s schedule so we always have a human to cuddle with.
  7. A cat door to upstairs where the bedrooms are. When it’s cold, Dad keeps the door up there closed. Something about heating a barn. I don’t get it – we live in a house. Anyway, then we could get up and go to sleep up there when we want (I would share). And Mom couldn’t kick me out when I want breakfast on my normal schedule.

Your Friend

Kommando Kitty

Kommando_122014

 

Dear Mr. Claws

I hope that I am not imposing by asking for a few things for Christmas. I have worked on being a better hedgehog all year. I no longer poop on Mom. I don’t hiss at the humans or curl up into a ball every time I see them. I am trying to get my quills to stay soft enough so they don’t need the gloves. I am very appreciative of the wax worms they give me to eat. I cuddle up and sleep on both of them now.

I am requesting:

  1. One of those plastic balls so I can run around the room by myself without worrying about the furballs. Please make sure it is hedgehog-safe.
  2. Soundproofing for my cage. Dad doesn’t seem to understand that I’m nocturnal. He turns on the TV all the time. And loud (hedgehogs have very sensitive ears).
  3. If you can’t soundproof my cage, would you please send him some earphones?
  4. A larger water dish. I am a clean hog and use it for both bathing and drinking. (The bathing is mainly when I stick my snout too far into the bowl.) They don’t remember to check it every day. My home is nice and warm and the water in the air keeps my skin soft. But then I don’t have it to drink.
  5. A timer for Dad. He used to get me out every night at 10p. Now he only gets me out every other night. It would be OK but then he forgets and I don’t get to have my worm snack for several days.
  6. A barrier so the furballs can’t play right next to my cage. They growl and thump and make all kinds of noise. Not only does it wake me up, it gives me nightmares. I guess it would be daymares.
  7. Some extra worms so I can share with Mom and Dad. That way they would know why I like them so much. Maybe we could snack together every night.

Most Sincerely Yours in Gratitude

Horatio, Lord Nelson

Horatio_122014

8

Christmas in the Forest – Part 1

Somewhere in the forests of Montana:

It was time for the Grizzlies’ annual holiday party. The party was highly anticipated – the food was always great, and it usually happened right before hibernation.

Mr. G: So are you ready for the big night, dear?

Mrs. G: I don’t know. I’m not sure I have enough food. Maybe I should go hunting one last time.

Mr. G: (laughs): You always have more than enough. We snack for days. What are we having?

Mrs. G: Well, I wanted to try something different. I saw a couple of joggers. I thought they might be tasty but I didn’t get a chance. Probably just as well. I talked to some of the other bears later. Apparently that kind are gristly. They said that the others are too fatty. So it’s back to the usual cows and sheep.

Mr. G: (disappointed) I suppose that means you’ve invited all those herbivores again. Some of them are delicious. (The guests gets uncomfortable when they see a relative on the menu.)

Mrs. G: Of course I did. That’s part of the tradition. The herbivores have a day when they don’t have to worry about us eating them. The humans call it a “truce”. They don’t seem to last very long. It won’t hurt us to do it for one day.

Mr. G: I suppose. I’d hate to think that we can’t even be as civilized as the humans. So where did you find the food for them?

Mrs. G: The Rabbits sent their regrets. Because of the early bad weather, the decided to den up early. She felt badly, so she sent a huge bunch of greens. Once I knew what to look for, it wasn’t hard to get more.

Mr. G: Nasty things! I don’t know how anyone can get them down, much less live on them.

Mrs. G: I don’t understand it either. But they are guests, so we need to serve them something they can eat. And none of your jokes about inviting them to be dinner. It frightens them.

Mr. G: Hmmph! (as he wanders off)

On the night of the party it was clear and cold. Mrs. G. had just finished the preparations when they heard a rustling.

Mrs. G: Just in time! Our first guest.

Mr. G: It’s probably your freeloading brother coming to eat all the salmon chunks before anyone else gets here.

Mrs. G: Be nice to him. You know he’s been depressed since that girl left him.

Mr. G: What did he expect? Her family’s from Alaska. You know how snobby those bears are.

Sure enough, the brother headed straight for the salmon. Mr. G went over but was interrupted by the arrival of the Black Bears. Hugging his cousin, he asked how things were going.

Mr. B: Haven’t you heard? The humans got my friend from China.

Mr. G: You mean the one that was here for last year’s party? I felt a little badly that he had to bring his own food. Mrs. G couldn’t find bamboo anywhere. She took a real liking to him. He was rather nice to look at with that black and white fur. What happened?

Mr. B: It turns out that he was getting his food from a place they call a “nursery”. One day he got careless and went during the day. A human saw him.

Mr. G: How awful!

Mr. B: He got away, but they knew he was there and they hunted him down. I guess they don’t see very many Chinese bears around here. They took him to a “nature preserve.” I don’t know what that is.

Mr. G: I hope it isn’t one of those awful places where the human cubs scream all the time and throw things at you. I saw one once. I still get nightmares. Bear cubs would never behave that way.

Mr. B nodded. His wife joined them. She gave Mr. G a hug.

Mrs. B: How are you darling? You look wonderful! Where is your lovely wife? I must say hello to her and tell her how fabulous everything looks. I’ll leave you boys to whatever it was you were up to.

Mr. G groaned inwardly. He could not understand why his cousin, as good a bear as he had ever known, had decided to mate with her. He’d met her down in Yellowstone. She’d been in some “Don’t Feed the Bears” video and thought she was a star. Mr. B had brought her home to meet his family and convinced her to stay. It wasn’t even her looks – her fur had no gloss and her eyes were too big for her face.

He overheard her ask Mrs. G if she had any berries, “Because all I ever eat is a small bowl of berries, as you know.” What kind of bear was she anyway? Mr. G had never met a bear who didn’t like fish. Besides, she always looked like she was ready for hibernation regardless of the time of year.

He was getting really irritated when he was interrupted by the arrival of the herbivores. They always came in a group, just in case the bears had changed their minds about the “truce.”

Mrs. G: How wonderful that you could all come. We’re looking forward to a special dinner. Mrs. Rabbit sent over some beautiful herbs and grasses. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

Mr. Squirrel: That was very thoughtful of her. I have brought some nuts to share as well. You are so kind to share your home with us Mrs. G, I hope you don’t mind.

Mrs. G: Not at all, Mr. Squirrel. Anything you’d like is fine. (To herself: How can anyone consider nuts a meal? He’s as bad as Mrs. B with her berries.)

To be continued…

 

 

 

6

Miaow Miaow (Holiday Treat Time)

The holidays are upon us, and everyone knows that means food. And gifts. Everyone loves homemade gifts, right? (Having received horrible ceramics, tree ornaments, and dried-out baked treats – not from our children – most of us would probably question that truism.)

Anyway, cats are members of the family. This year, I decided to look through some of the websites that have recipes for cat treats. As you may recall, Snoops and Kommando Kitty both love the Internet. So I have included their input.

These two received two paws up. (That’s good.)

Holiday Cheese Ball Treats

  • 2 tablespoons of margarine
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar or cheddar jack cheese
  • 1 egg white from a large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped catnip or 1/2 teaspoon of dried catnip

Combine the first three ingredients until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour and catnip. Add the flour mixture slowly to the first three ingredients, mixing until a soft dough ball is formed. Separate into 1/2-inch pieces and roll by hand into small balls. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 300 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes. Yield: Approximately 12 balls. Cool completely before serving.

Tuna Ball Treats

  • 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup of tuna packed in oil
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • 1/4 cup of water

Grease a cookie sheet with margarine or use one lined with a silicone sheet. In a bowl, mix the flour and powdered milk together. In a separate bowl, combine the tuna and egg together, mashing the tuna until it is no longer chunky. Add the tuna mixture to the dry ingredients, and add the water a little at a time until a slightly sticky dough ball is formed. Using two spoons or a small cookie scoop, create balls and place them about one-inch apart on a non-stick cookie sheet. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes. Cool completely before serving to your pet.

Kitty Komment – We don’t know what whole wheat flour or powdered milk are, but cheese and tuna are yummy. And catnip is always good.

These two received two paws down. (That’s bad.)

Baby Food Treats

3 jars baby food meat (or veggies)
1 and 1/2 c wheat germ (or cream of wheat)
small amount of tuna juice

Mix well. Drop by 1/4 spoonfuls onto wax paper covered plate and cover with wax paper. Cook in microwave on high for 5-8 minutes until formed and firm. Store in fridge.

Kitty Komment – Does it really need one? Baby food and wheat germ?

Kitty Bruschetta

  • Lightly toast one piece of bread in the toaster.
  • Cut the toast into one-inch cubes.
  • Brush the tops of the cubes with a little fresh fish oil.
  • Lightly sprinkle the cubes with dried fish flakes.
  • Bake in an oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees F until the cubes are a rich golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

Kitty Komment – Hissssss. Dried fish flakes are FISH food. Real cats don’t eat toast.

 Special Mention

Hanging Treats

  • Christmas tree cookie cutter
  • Piping bag with fine nozzle
  • Red or green grosgrain ribbon
  • 1 pound of lean, ground chicken
  • 1 16-oz. can of mackerel, chopped
  • 2 cups soy flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup powdered skim milk
  • 1 cup coarse, dry cornmeal
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 tablespoons Animal Essentials calcium
  • 3 tablespoons kelp
  • 4 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cod liver oil
  • 1/4 cup alfalfa powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 400 IU vitamin E
  • 1 quart distilled water
  • 1 cup low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

Mix all the ingredients together. Knead into a firm dough. Roll the dough out on a cookie sheet about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into Christmas tree shapes. Poke a hole at the top of each tree for the ribbon.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool in the oven for an hour or leave overnight to harden.

Mix the cream cheese with the honey and add the coloring. Whip into a fluffy consistency. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle. Trace the tree’s outline with the frosting and add a few polka dots. Refrigerate for two to three hours to set the frosting.

Cut the ribbon into strips of about 6 inches, long enough to tie a bow. Decorate your Christmas tree with a few and store the rest in the refrigerator.

Kitty Komment – These really sound disgusting, but it might be worthwhile just to see the humans try to find all this stuff. And go through all this work for something we wouldn’t eat.

So if you’re like most of us and have scads of time during the holiday season, these recipes might fill some of those empty hours. And there are many more online if you can wade through all the doggy treats. Or you could order treats from any number of online vendors. Or you could just open a can of mackerel and show your love by putting up with the smell for a day.

12

I Want to Meet the Person Who…

Came up with the Starbuck’s drink that uses chocolate, caramel, whipped cream, and milk. Oh yeah, and coffee. I read somewhere that the large size has around 1200 calories. Do people really want to use up two-thirds of their recommended daily calorie allotment before they even look at food? I guess you could ask for low fat milk.

Decided that Christmas should start the day after Halloween. Do stores really want to advertise that the chocolate Santas will be two months old before they make it into someone’s stocking?

Designed women’s suede boots to be worn outside. How chic is it to arrive at a party and have to immediately excuse yourself to clean your boots before the salt permanently stains them? Or walk around with stained boots?

Thought up carrying a small dog as an accessory. I’m not convinced the dog really enjoys the crowds and the noise. And I have never seen one allowed to pick out his own food or toys. Not even a Halloween costume.

Decided that women weren’t injuring their feet and calves enough in 3” heels and introduced 4” and 5” shoes. And then thought up the ad campaigns to get young women to wear them.

Introduced the idea of “No Poo.” (Which, thankfully, has fallen out of favor.) And convinced a lot of women that not washing their hair for six weeks would be good for it. Hair is dead. Not shampooing every day to allow the natural oils to do their work? Good. Looking like a refugee from a ‘60s commune? Not so good.

Has convinced some people that a giant inflatable Santa looks good next to a Nativity scene on their front lawn. Two different concepts of Christmas. At least separate them by a sidewalk. Santa blowing over onto Jesus is not festive.

Decided not to commercialize Thanksgiving. You’ve missed untold opportunities for people to hang turkey ornaments on their outside trees, buy chocolate turkeys, and exchange tacky cards. Would you please talk to whoever is in charge of Christmas and Easter?

Sold people on the idea that they need a separate set of dishes for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. Not serving dishes or candy dishes. Full soup-to-nuts sets. (Does anyone know that phrase anymore?) I know there are people with enough room to store all that stuff. Do they really shop at Walmart?

Designed some parking lots so all the handicapped spots are down one lane rather than across two or three lanes in front of the store. Are you hoping to catch scammers that way? Or do you hate your mother and decided it would be a better outlet than becoming a serial killer? (Too many episodes of Criminal Minds?)

Decided to put “ethnic” vegetables in stores in “non-ethnic” neighborhoods without educating us. I wouldn’t mind trying the yellow, oblong, spiky thing or the green thing that looks like a mace with the long handle and round ball at the end. But there are no pictures (or there are 12 pictures, none of which look like what I have in my hand) and no description of its taste or use. Google is not helpful when you type in “yellow spiky vegetable.” And I don’t want to buy something that is going to make my chicken taste like dirty socks because it’s supposed to be eaten raw.

Designed my car radio with six buttons, but forces me to have two FM, one AM, and three Sirius stations. I don’t have Sirius; I don’t drive enough to justify the cost. With my husband, my son, and me driving the car, it’s easier for me to just listen to whatever is on. I never know whether I’m going to get Tom Petty or The Congos when I turn the key. At least I know I won’t get opera or bluegrass.

Designed the website for our Secretary of State. It wouldn’t let me use the location finder because I wouldn’t let its tracker know where I was. But when I backed up the screen, it gave me the closest office.