Quoth the Raven: Holy Sh#t! (You Seriously Need to Thank Me…)

You may not want to read this crescendo-ing post. You’ll know when you reach that point. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

When I look back, the first omen was the underwear.

Lacy Blue Undies of Evil

Don’t Laugh! Evil Comes in Many Guises.

I had gone to visit my pal, A. (no, not that A.—the other one). She’d moved to the wilds of Outer Monrovia (they keep goats there). We’d been walking down the sidewalk (ooo! they had sidewalks now!) when I reached into my purse for a Kleenex but instead pulled out a pair of lacy blue panties.


While A. laughed, I remembered that I had grabbed the panties last-minute to add to the Goodwill bag in the car because they had recently shrunk from bikini to thong-sized. Clearly, it wasn’t that something else had grown.

I started laughing, too. “I’d better get rid of these before we get to the Inn!”
That’s when we heard it: A raven on a nearby branch:

“CAW!! CAW!! CAW!!”


No–No, I’m wrong. The panties were the second omen. The first happened a week earlier. I had just told my Tons o’ Tuna blind date that A. and I were planning to visit the famous Mission Inn in Riverside for the first time, to celebrate our Christmas late by seeing its famous light display. He had recently been, himself:

“Oh, you’re gonna love it! It’s gorgeous. And the food there is world-class!”

Oddly, a chill passed through me. Then, even through the restaurant’s window, I heard it:

“CAW!! CAW!! CAW!!”


(The Tuna date radiated jolliness. I learned of his large circle of friends, three cars, perfect stock picks, many travels—all mentioned innocently, no boasts. I couldn’t help but feel pride: It was MY special life which had enabled him to enjoy such blessed good fortune.)


A. and I reached the Inn early, after passing through hideous downtown Riverside (gack.).

The Inn is a jewel. (pictures here.) I wished I’d had an entire day to wander around. These are the only pictures I took, I was so busy gawking:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At dinner, there were four choices of where to eat. Two had nothing gluten-free but lettuce. One was beyond our wallets–any meal out was a rare treat for us as it was. The fourth was Italian. Nothin’ says gluten like pasta. Worse, directly above the door, peering down at us, was another raven:

“NAW!! NAW!! NAW!!


I threw the panties at it. “Shoo, you!”

We were hungry!

I informed the waitress that I cannot have gluten. A. is a low-sodium vegetarian. Between salads and appetizers, though, A. and I cobbled together a decent meal. Which proceeded to unravel with the WORST service ever.

  • A bowl of salty seasoned bread is set down, prompting irked reminders to server and waitress.
  • The appetizer comes embedded with bread slices.
  • My salad arrives half-an-hour after A.’s.
  • My veggies are delivered between two slices of bread. But A.’s soup has no croutons. Because we wouldn’t want her to get any gluten.
  • After having to ask, A. and I finally get our coffees refilled for the first time. With lukewarm coffee.
  • My salmon is brulée [burnt], but my crème is not.
    When my crème brulée arrives ice-cold, with barely a crust–it is the WalMart of crème brulée’s–I hesitate: What if it has gluten?

    Too silly: This is the fabulous Mission Inn!

    I regret the missing crunch and flavor, but the custard happily tastes quite good. A. has a small taste and agrees.

    After waiting only days for the check, we depart. Despite it all, A. and I agree that we have enjoyed our meal: Good flavor, good company, quiet and comfortable surroundings.

    We stroll up the outside of the mission building. As we reach the front, A. exclaims to me, “Oh, look: “They’ve turned on the lights!” I exclaim, too: “Oh, no!: I have to run to the bathroom–RIGHT NOW!” At which:

    I RACE back in the Inn,
    JET through the lobby,
    ZOOM toward the bathroom,

    Only to find that the staff has ROPED OFF ACCESS TO IT.

    “Guests Only.”

    I give One Hard Look at the man behind the velvet rope and spit “BATHROOM!”
    He immediately jumps to one side and opens the rope.

    Wise decision. He will live to see tomorrow.

    I push past him, run through the door, and find

    THE LINE. It is a woman’s bathroom, after all, and we are, in long-established sexist practice, given half the places as men despite more than the double needed to urinate and handle periods. THANK GOD there are only two people ahead, and they immediately get in, and I get in and–

    You don’t want to hear or be near what happens next.

    Imagine Hades saved what Cerberus had on offer…
    Cerberus Statue
    For a year.

    Add what Hercules shoveled out of the Augean stables
    Mucking Out Stables Comic
    And…   (I’m SO sorry):


    Except for the tiniest portion, vaporized for extra atmosphere.

    Tra-la, tra-lay!

    So there I am, in a public restroom, spilling my guts, so to speak–in a most…indiscreet way, in multiple “scentses” of the word. (Oh, dear—this is most embarrassing to write about.)

    The Professor Farting

    “The Professor Farting In Front of Class”, by Timothy Mooney (an old classmate). See His Coattails Fly Out? Bet HE’s Embarrassed, Too.

    But NOTHING compared to being in my pants shoes then..

    It gets better.

    The next thing I know, I hear a mom-voice saying “Just go ahead, honey, and stand in front of that one and wait.”

    Two little feet point at me under the stall door. Seconds later, a little voice says, “Mommy—there’s something WRONG.”, simultaneous with mommy’s voice gasping “Sweetheart, come away from there! Hurry, darling!”

    Okay, I made up that “Hurry!” part. But not the rest of it.

    Eventually, I was able to leave the stall, acting as nonchalantly as I could, given that I had to step over people passed out on the floor.

    I remembered to wash my hands.

    Outside, I stepped over the guard where he’d fallen at his post (what can I say? my influence was widely-felt) and said to A. “I’m sorry—I have to go to the car RIGHT NOW to get Immodium.”

    I turned my back on her and raced to where we’d parked. She joined me just as I downed two pills from the travel First Aid kit. In time to hear me say:

    “OH, NO! I need a bathroom again! IMMEDIATELY!! What do I do NOW!?”

    Hallejujah! A. saw that we had parked directly in front of a still-open museum. I raced up the stairs, ran through the doors, and screamed at the woman at the desk:

    “I’m sorry to be so crude, but I have GOT to—‘

    “—use our bathroom?” inquired that blessed saint. (Hmmm…Do you think she was used to recently-fed customers of that restaurant showing up on their doorstep?)

    “The downstairs one is in use [Of COURSE it was!], but we have one on the second floor.”

    Past the “Staff Only” sign. Up two flights of stairs. I barely make it.

    A. and I decide to enjoy the pleasures of the museum for 25 minutes until I am able take a third Immodium. By then I’m sure everything will calm down.

    Twenty-five minutes and three bathroom relays later–twelve more flights up and down–the museum closing, I am worried.

    Third Immodium swallowed, we debate what to do. We decide to haul my thoroughly-repugnant backside for home, swinging wildly off the freeway when needed, hoping the third Immodium has done the trick.

    Here’s how THAT went:


    Ten minutes later.
    Scene: A Sports Chalet.

    Cast: A., me, and my #ss. Plus nameless extra.

    “We need Women’s Winter Wear, STAT!
    And where’s your bathroom, please?”

    Boogie to the back, bolt ’round the Golf display, spot the bathroom door,

    DISCOVER IT’S LOCKED (of course).

    Knock on it, no answer, knock more loudly, no answer,


    NO ANSWER !!!

    Run up to the nearest employee, make my voice very peaceful, in inverse proportion to my panic:

    “Excuse me, the women’s room appears to be locked with no one in it.”
    “Oh, yeah, that happens all the time.”


    And of course, of all the places next to this off-ramp, THIS is the place I chose to stop.

    The Sports Spud opens the door. He starts to explain all the ins and outs of the door sticking.

    I slam the door in his face. Better that than the alternative.

    I’m sorry, Spuddy.

    And I’m really, really, sorry, Woman Who Was Waiting to use that tiny room after me. I left no visual evidence of my passing, of course, but I swear A. and I had a tailwind all the way back.


    Somehow, we did make it back: to A.’s home, and then I to mine. (Thank you, Home Depot pit stop!) Where I was deathly ill until 1:00 a.m., despite more Immodium. By this point, A. and I knew it was not an out-of-control gluten reaction, but serious food poisoning, with dizziness and disorientation. A., too, was now ill.

    But of course, A. didn’t get sick until she was comfortably at home.

    Friend she may be, but I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em:

    Clearly cheating, A. is not pulling her full bad-luck weight on your behalves, and you-all do not need to thank her quite so much as me.

    Sad Christmas Star Mouse

    And THAT, Children, Is How This Babe Celebrated Christmas!


    Congratulations to me! This post and its special content has earned me the very first ever “Bravest Blogger Award”!:

    Raven Nevermore Bravery Badge

    Awarded By Yours Truly



    I phoned the restaurant’s manager to report the food poisoning. The Hotel was quite concerned—until they learned A. and I were not guests of the Inn. They went from “Security will call you back immediately” to “Security will call you back tomorrow morning.” to never calling back at all.

    So I called the County Board of Health and reported their #sses. The Bella Trattoria at the Riverside Mission Inn was inspected that same day and it was found that their fridge was overfilled, which resulted in the foods not being kept at a low enough temperature.

    Oh, but they assured the Board of Health that their foods were safe.

    That makes ME feel better.

    I have since learned the restaurant offers gluten-free pasta, not mentioned by our sub-regular waitress.

    A. and I are going out again this weekend for a late New Year’s celebration, since I was, of course, dateless for the real event. I can’t wait to eat out again!

    Next Luck Magnet Post: One of the Tailors Did It
    Prev Luck Magnet Post: The Saga of AT&T–Episode 1
    1st Luck Magnet Post: You All Need to Thank Me


    Leave a comment


    1. This is the most disgusting blog I’ve ever read. Why would you think anyone would want to read anything about this? And how stupid are you? All you had to do was stop at a drugstore for Depends. Idiot.


      • Yes, the blogger is the idiot, rather than the reader who didn’t read the disclaimer.


        Liked by 2 people

        • Thank you so much, Joey: For being my white knight 🙂 and especially for the “Brilliant” 🙂 🙂 🙂

          And thank you again so much for reviewing the draft. I added at beginning/end the truth that the whole pt. of trip was to see the lights, and the initiation of the “event” was when the lights kicked on. Too perfect. I guess, in that sense, my life can have a KIND of beauty, huh?

          (To Satan…)


      • You are so right. This IS disgusting. But I also thought it was funny, and that Americans are too uptight when it comes to bodily functions.

        A. and I briefly discussed Depends vs. speed of reaching home and chose speed–my experience with baby and adult diapers gave me to know that only rubber pants tight enough to cause gangrene would have done the trick.

        Thank you so much for stopping by and providing your comment!


    2. Oh God, i feel for you OB. i had a nice hamburger steak for supper one night at a truck stop while I was trucking. About 3 hours later it started – exactly what you describe – and i was driving in a remote area. It was absolutely the most debilitating attack I’ve ever had – and it went on and on and on. i managed to make it to another 24 hour truck stop and spent the whole night racing back and forth to the washroom. It was about 7 am before it stopped and I felt so wasted, I was like a wrung out rag. Anyway, about 3 months later I was having a yearly physical and my doctor asked about any issues in the last year, so i told him. He is an old fart who has an M.D. an MBA a PhD. and a PEng (all the documents on his wall) and has worked all over the world doing everything from building dams to research to doctoring. He is so full of stories and such a hoot to talk to. And the bastard laughed at me – no, make that cracked up and almost fell out of his chair. i was feeling bad for myself when he explained that it was staphylococcus and that he had had it a number of times – the last one on a construction site in Africa. It has an incubation period between 1 and 6 hours, depending on the individual. He assured me that there were no long term affects – once it was gone, it was gone. if I had been looking for sympathy, I’d have done better looking in the dictionary between shit and syphilis. Ha!

      Great story OB and a good warning to others. Never mind that some idiots won’t say shit of they have a mouth full.

      Liked by 1 person

      • First, Paul, thanks so much for the “Great story” 🙂 , and for commenting, period! Most, I think, were too scared off or grossed out by the topic.

        Next: You poor thing–How cruel! Bad enough when a close friend laughs at one’s misfortune, no matter how comical, but a doctor? Shame on him.

        Dunno about the “no lasting effects”. Depends how you describe “lasting”. Despite plenty of fluids and salt, I was ill, ill in my noggin (dizzy, disoriented still) from that Sunday through late-night Tuesday, and when I had a special New Year celebration on New Year’s day (in my own special way–I’ll blog about it), I felt a relapse and was running a low fever by last night (Friday).

        Perhaps a gift of my autoimmunities. They are always so generous toward me that way, the dears. 🙂


        • Just treat yourself well and For anyone with a pre-existing condition, dehydration can kill you – no kidding. it can take a week or more to recover , even when you hydate, it takes a while for your electrolytes to rebalance. As a dialysis patient, it’s all about electrolytes. By long term effects I meant that once the bacteria has left the body, it is gone, unlike some like mumps, etc.

          Just treat yourself well and you’ll come back – obviously you know you better than anyone when you’re sick.


          • Ha ha ha!! Oh, yes…I would LOVE to treat myself well. If only the Fates would allow. Just wait until that next post… (giggling resumes).


    3. I don’t know what tuna tons means but I voted for it anyway. What a day! You are the only babe I know who can make misery hilarious. I also hope you feel better soon. xxoo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glowing from the “hilarious”. 🙂 Thank you! I’m doin’ all right already.

        I dare not complain. Have a 90-year-old friend (not Millie–another friend) who was run over a few years back by a car while walking her dog in a crosswalk. She had both ankles well-crushed. She never complained once, then or since, about the pain, walks on a treadmill for half an hour daily, takes another daily walk around her neighborhood–does 15 min. more of arm exercises with pulley and stretchy bands in a doorway.

        Come to think of it, I hate her and am dropping her as a friend.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. Hi, Outlier Darling, why are your posts not appearing in my Reader? I can see very clearly that I am following you, but never do I see one of your posts automatically. OK, I’m going back to read this post now.


      • I complained to WP about others’ posts I follow not showing in mine–a lot a good it may do.


        • OK, well, if you don’t see me reading your posts it’s because I’m not seeing them, dash it, and I will do my best to remember click over when I see your gravatar appear.


          • Barbara, I don’t assume anyone reads every one of my posts. Please don’t feel you must explain any missed.

            Or, if you wish, since I typically post so infrequently, and go silent (and deep? Hah!) often enough and long enough, you can always check in quarterly and catch up on the 1 or 2 posts you’ve missed since you last checked 😉


            • No, I don’t assume that either. Good, so we’re cool. It’s just that I wouldn’t necessarily think to go “in search of” if I hadn’t realized I wasn’t getting your posts at all! OK, we understand each other! Good night.


    5. OK, my stomach hurts now from howling with laughter. You are the funniest, wittiest, sweetest, funniest, BESTEST thing to hit the blogosphere in forever. I am sooo sorry this happened to you, but the hilarity of the retelling is priceless. CAW CAW. OMG. Now, just two days ago I had a similar problem involving number one and a flight with my husband and two rescue dogs in his small Cessna. As the pressure mounted and I desperately watched the GPS figure of the plane creep ever so slowly towards home, I thought I would never make it in time. AGONY. I did make it in time, but barely, and it does not compare to what you went through. The only thing that could make your story worse, O. Babe, is to imagine it happening in China in those ghastly pits they call bathrooms. This happened to somebody very close to me who still shudders at the recollection.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barbara, do you know how happy it makes me to hear I caused you physical pain? 🙂 🙂 🙂

        (Do you know what else made me really happy today? Someone linked to this post today from the Mission Inn’s site, so they know they’ve been publicly outed. Had they been decent and responsible enough to call me back, apologize, and look into the source of the poisoning, I would never have identified them by name in the post and its tags.)

        Will you please embroider that multi-adjectived compliment on a sampler and send it my way? Except, seeing that “sweetest” in there, I feel I’m falling down on my snark-factor quotient–will have to work on that.

        I am actually proud of this post, because the first version had a horribly dull first half and I had to really work at it to come up with something. It is so rewarding to hear that it was successful. Plus, I like the post also because I also laugh at it!

        Re: Your Cessna experience: You poor woman. Men have no idea. As a mom who used to camp with unsympathetic male sons and (louse)spouse:

        For future reference: Any woman who can stand can pee securely in a wide-mouthed plastic cup (16 or 24 oz., say, held right against her), even on a bumpy boat or plane ride.

        SO much easier than squatting, or using all those devices sold. Cup’s contents easily poured into Chinese toilet, or Japanese hole in ground, or screw-top water bottle behind a bush or in a tent or on a Cessna. Baby wipes for self and cup–job done.


        • There is NO WAY I could possibly avail myself of any receptacle in the extremely cramped confines of that little plane. I am going to have to come up with a Plan B which will most likely revolve around extreme dehydration and a pair of Depends. Who says flying isn’t glamorous? Also, I have the uncanny ability to see right through snarky comments to underlying sweetness. You can’t fool me. Carry on. I’m waiting for the next post which I may or may not see in a timely fashion!


          • Forgive me. I’ve been in a Cessna, front and back, and wasn’t thinking–it could be done, but much contortion involved. There is one commercial device I’ve used that would work–it can be used by wheelchair-bound, and I used it a couple of times in a moving car–but I consider it revolting and unsanitary in design. A Depends would be preferable.

            Re: That next post, it may or may not be written in a timely fashion : )

            Liked by 1 person

    6. My salmon is brulee, but my creme is not. Brilliant.


      • Thank you. I cheated a little there: The salmon wasn’t brulee, but it did arrive looking like a medium-well steak, and required plenty of coffee to wash down its dryness. Too bad we didn’t HAVE plenty of coffee.

        Liked by 1 person

    7. Potty mouth 😀 It’s true, If it wasn’t for sh*t luck you wouldn’t have any at all. Genius. “Evermore,” quoth the maven.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. Too much quothing leads to self loathing and double dollops of duplicity. Take your wits and run my friend before you are followed by
      by simplicity 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    9. To sleep, perchance no latrine?


      • one can hope, latrine nevermore?

        Liked by 1 person

        • From your lips to God’s head of Maintenance.


        • Have to share: Not being a wordsmith like SOME people, I was totally cheating and using a rhyme site. Just noticed it has “euclidean” rhyming with “preen”. Proof that you don’t need to be good in Language OR Math to become a programmer.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Euclid say that 😉

            Liked by 1 person



            • I am refusing to Like your remark. I think we both know who likes it well enough already.

              (Euclidean DOES rhyme with preen)


            • I was washing my hair in the sink,
              When Dawn bright in my eyes make me think:
              Stephanie means no harm;
              She cannot help her charm;
              Those are my words emitting the stink.

              And both of us missed, as did the Euclidean/preen site, the blatantly obvious “Epicurean/Porcelain Queen/latrine/etc.” delights the story has on offer. I mean, once you open up that -ean ending, the world is our keen crustacean! That ocean is swimming with marine homophuns! 🙂

              Go to it–with gusto 😉 –should you wish to stomp further on this already well-trompled equine cadaver. I hereby forever yield this post’s patty-strewn field to my better.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Doth quoth the Raven (which does rhyme with crustacean). I’m passing on words, while I’m eating my curds, because truly you are the Maven.

                Liked by 1 person

    10. Good night, Stephanie. (Ideal? To dream of gasoline, which to me smells like richest cream.)


    11. ‘night.


      1. Sorry you suffered so.
      2. This restaurant sucks bad.
      3. I’ve had to stay in a strange men’s room stall for an hour because of similar thunder and lightning that I’m pretty sure cleared the entire concourse of a major ice hockey arena that served me two really bad hot dogs. Yeah, I was hungry and clueless until …
      4. Your humor and sensitivity should get you dates for the next three major holidays at least, Babe.


      • Hi, Mark, thanks for visiting : )

        I’m sorry that you, too, have known the joys. As for those dates, I appreciate both your sweet compliment and your confidence (Thank you! 🙂 ), but after all of FOUR meet-ups, I’m afraid that either I’m too choosy, there is a dearth of reasonably suitable men in the greater L.A. area, or there is something terribly off-putting about me. Or, possibly, all three.

        I continue to receive messages, if one can call them such, from barely-literate hugely-obese men who have only viewed my photos, or other shallow sexists who have not bothered to read a word of my Profile–no different in my book from meeting a woman in person, staring at her body, and only half-listening to what she says.

        This BS actually got me so furious, I bitterly and childishly took it out on two innocents one night, in nasty messages to them–to my shame. Thus I’m on a self-imposed timeout from the sites, until my attitude adjustment kicks in!

        What I may miss during my hiatus a little, I confess, are the young men in their 20s and 30s who write just to tell me I’m beautiful. They give me such an ego boost, even though I know they would be frightened, the poor things, waking up beside my makeup-free clothes-free self in the light of a harsh, gravity-filled detail-revealing day!!


        • You go, Babe! Be yourself and be confident. The men will winnow themselves out as they’be been doing, unfortunately. That’s the way we are as a stupefying mass.

          Liked by 1 person

    12. RR

       /  2015/01/08

      So enjoyed this! Not for your suffering but for your telling of the tale. And survivng too!

      May your late New Year’s celebration be less eventful. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Rebecca! You know how pleased that makes me, both in terms of ego, and in terms of having led to some enjoyment for you 🙂

        As for New Year’s, thank you for your good thoughts. Anything is possible. But I would hate to wish such a monstrous reversal of fortune upon such a large number of people. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    13. Yemie

       /  2015/01/18

      Oh Wow! Food poisoning and diarrhea?! What a damper! Spoiler Alert! If only you’d hearkened to the wise words of the ‘Calling Bird’, you know the ‘NAW! NAW!! NAW!!!’, you coulda been saved that grave spectacle! And at such times; once its time to go, it sure as heck is TIME to ‘unleash’, otherwise….I don’t even wanna think ’bout it! Gruesome stuff! LOL

      Thanks for sharing another one of your great experiences, beautifully told and well spiced with sheer hilarity, sarcasm and with such gusto too! You’re phenomenal Phoenix, just take it from me! Kudos! laughing

      Liked by 1 person

    14. Oooooh my gosh. I die just reading this.


    15. I have a Christmassy poo story involving my little dawg….naughty pooch ate something he shouldna oughta!! Resulting in bad things from all ends…..very worried took him to emergency vet who glowered at me and chastised me for feeding him human food….I did not though various sons and grandsons may well have tipped him a treat! I thought it a good idea to take little pooch’s last unsavoury poo with me in case Vetman wanted to investigate it (all wrapped beautifully I might add!)…I put said poo bag down on the chair in the vet’s room. The vet administered an injection and other unspeakable things and said “He’ll be fine, don’t want to check his poo, pay the £240 to the receptionist on your way out!”
      Whilst driving home, smarting slightly from the horrid high cost of visiting a vet on a Bank holiday, a smile spread across my face as I realised I no longer possessed the poo bag of nasty poo and that it was upon Mr. Expensive Vet’s chair!! Hee hee!
      Hope you are well now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha ha ha!! Love it! Glad your puppy all right (all dogs are puppies, to them).

        I’m fine this year: My own icksident was last Christmas–I left it near the top of the Christmas menu ’cause I’m obnoxiously peacock-proud of the piece. It was a job and a half to make it that funny about that subject matter, without mentioning that subject matter (like my recent Master Mechanic post) and the first best time I learned I can WORK at making a piece funny.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah yes, making that brain work….I sometimes sit for longish periods of time thinking thinking thinking!! I optimistically call it work!! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

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