Wednesday, July 31, 2013

These are the times that try...

My soul.  It was the article in the paper last night.  "Arming the classroom."  Let me set some parameters.  Personally, guns of any kind scare me!  They simply don't appeal to me.  I had a shotgun growing up.  I went hunting.  It was a great bonding time with my dad (the few times it happened!). But I was much more comfortable rousting the birds.  The fact that I could possibly hurt someone played a large part in this feeling.  So the gun was eventually sold and fishing became the bonding time.  I do not object to hunting.  I appreciate hunters and see no problem with owning and using a shotgun or rifle for hunting.  Pheasant chowder would not happen without the friends who hunt!  Having established that, let me ascend my soapbox.  In my estimation, there is NO reason for non-military, non- police individuals to own or use assault weapons.  They do not exist for defensive purposes.  Their very name suggests offensive action.  They do not protect...they assault (go figure!). That's my generic rant.  Now, to the specific.  Bring a gun into my school?  NO!  NEVER!  Goal number one for me was always provide a SAFE environment for learning.  The very presence of a weapon on campus does not guarantee that.  What it does is make a weapon accessible to anyone already there.  What is does is imply that guns are an answer.  They're not   I have read no studies that suggest the presence of a gun acts as a deterrent.  I have, however, read where the presence of a gun encourages its use.  Quite frankly, if I were still teaching and the school allowed a gun on campus, I would not still be teaching.
Hunt if you will.  I'll gladly cook the result.  Good hunters always keep their weapons stored safely.  Own the non-assault weapons you choose.  Keep them stored safely.  But do not bring them into my (or anyone's) school!  It teaches the wrong things!  I understand we may not agree.  That's okay.  But you should know who I am, and that you are loved!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

It's about time!

There isn't enough of it!  Today is the perfect example.  We had to have coffee and do the puzzles.  Then there was breakfast.  That was followed by a trip to the store to buy shoes for our up-coming excursion (shoes, underwear, more shoes, sun glasses--a virtual plethora of ways to spend our money!)  Our travel agent called to say she had our final papers for the trip, so off we go to see her.  Of course, the insurance we had purchased for the trip didn't cover the airfare, so more money and that's taken care of.  Stop at Hy-vee to pick up fruit for this afternoon's dessert.  (That would be the bridge group that Cath is entertaining at 1:00).  Picked up birthday cards to send for the birthdays last week, today and tomorrow.  (Not exactly what you would call on time!)  Home!!! There were beets to be prepared for supper tonight, a lawn to be mowed, a toilet to be cleaned, and lunch to be had.  Mine?  A nutritious combination of fresh beets and lemon angel food cake!  I'm sure it covered all food groups!  Now, the coffee is brewing for the ladies, I am preparing for a bike ride to toughen my butt and soothe my psyche, and then a stop at another grocery store to pick up the things I forgot to get at the first one!  Oh, wait!  I'm forgetting the time spent before our first outing looking for my billfold.  (If I could recoup all the time I've spent looking for my billfold and cell phone, there would be more than enough time!)  Once the ladies have had their fresh cake with lemon mint, blueberries, peaches, and raspberries, all topped with whipped topping, and their hazelnut coffee, I need to get fudge made to take on our trip to Minneapolis tomorrow.  Then it's time to get supper ready for the company that's coming.  Not what you would call an a-typical day for us!  Now understand two things.  First, I am never allowed to say I don't have the time.  I have learned that we can always make time for what we want.  I may make the choice to not do something, but it isn't because the time isn't there!  Second, I really am in hog heaven.  Keeping busy is so much better than sitting around watching the lawn grow, the flowers bloom, and the dogs poop!  (Oh yeah, we had to pick that up this morning too!)  Whilst I may complain on occasion (okay, often!) I really love my life and the fact that we can do what we do.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I might, however, barter for more time!!!!!  Take a moment to remember you are loved!

Monday, July 29, 2013

ain't nature grand?

From the majestic to the smallest of features, nature has a way of inspiring the ooh's and aah's of our lives.  Amazingly the big things and the small things are capable of illiciting the same response

Our trip to Palisades State Park.  Wow!  Everywhere we went, there was the subtle reminder that we are not in charge!  None of us could have sculpted the beauty of the rocks.  None of us could have imagined a small cactus taking root in a rock.  And none of us could have created the beauty of the flowers that adorned the shores of Split Rock Creek.  What we can control is our reaction to things beyond our control.  We can enjoy them.  We can protect them.  We can understand that in the grand scheme of things, we are probably insignificant, but in the true scheme of things, we are in charge of our responses.  And there you have it--my philosophical approach to a Monday morning!  May you find the beauty that surrounds you.  May you take comfort in the knowledge that you have done what you can to protect it, and may you always know that you are loved!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm sorry, Chuck

My apologies to Charles Dickens.  Wait.  Why would I apologize to the man who wrote Great Perspirations?  Oh yeah, because I'm stealing an opening line from him.  And bastardizing it.  For my own gain.  Serves him right for making me read Great Perspirations in ninth grade!  Oh, as I recall it wasn't he who forced me.  It is my ninth grade English teacher.  But to my knowledge, she never wrote anything I could steal, so...
"It was the best of times.  It was the best of times."  What an amazing Saturday.  Up and in Sioux Falls by 11:00.  Stop at Breadsmith for sour dough, jalapeno cheese bread, and a caramel roll.  Inhale the roll and deliver the bread to Jeff and Sarah.  Never mind the fact that I had just been told Jeff would be out buying bread.  That sunk in when we pulled in, unloaded the bread, and found that we had similar tastes.  Ah well, listening was never at the top of my skill list.  (Apparently, neither was comprehension, but that's a different story!)  Anyhoo, Lu shows up, we pack a picnic, and head to the Palisades state park for an afternoon of picnic feasting and hiking.  What a gorgeous day, and gorgeous place, and gorgeous friends with whom to spend quality time.  It's interesting.  We've been friends for more years than I care to admit.  We understand each others strengths and weaknesses, celebrate the former, forgive the latter and move on.  To me, if you are lucky enough to have even one friend like this, you should count yourself blessed.  To have three in one place at one time is just short of perfect.  (One never wants to reach perfection--for where is there to go after that?)  The scenery was amazing,  the conversation delightful, and the food wasn't bad, either.  Following our trip home, we feasted on chicken, salmon, and bread (go figure!) and then went to see that Prairie Rep theatre thing I talked about yesterday.  Church ladies.  What a hoot.  I was concerned with the sound system--at times it was very hard to understand the lyrics.  But the overall impact was amazing.  I love to see live theatre, and I love to see an audience this large enjoy it.  A great way to finish the day.  Up early for breakfast and a stop at Sam's.  Came out with our supplies.  Placed the key in the ignition.  Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap.  Crap!  Opened the hood of the car.  Ascertained the motor was still there (the sum and substance of my mechanical automotive skill set!) and called triple A.  Of course, it was Sunday, and all the garages they supported were not open.  They did send the tow truck.  We envisioned spending another night in Sioux Falls.  Mike, the tow operator, said, "Let's check the battery."  We couldn't be that lucky.  It couldn't be that simple.  It was!  After and jump and a prayer (please dear god let us get to Watertown) we were on our way home.  You may we discern we made it.  Once home, the answering machine held a message from a woman to whom I had promised fudge--to be picked up on Saturday.  I had forgotten.  I AM a dolt.  Thankfully, one of her associates was going to Mitchell where the fudge needed to be, so it will be on its way soon!.
You are now able to understand the opening line.  It could have been ugly weather.  It could have been a horrendous play.  It could have been extreme automotive dysfunction.  It could have been apologizing for the next 10 years.  But it was grand, it was fun, it was no big deal, and it was solvable!  It was indeed, the best of times!  And you are loved!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

picture taking

Give the boy a toy, and he becomes impossible.  If that toy is a camera, watch out.  Anything and everything is fair game.  In preparation for our safari, said boy did indeed purchase said toy, and it was on!  First, we had to picture the back yard.  Oh look, the water feature.  Let's take 35 pictures of that (including a 3-D attempt!).  Then, of course, there was the wide-angle picture(s) of the perennial garden and a plethora of photos of flowers--close up and personal.  Next, there was the comparison of a similar picture from close up and with the zoom.  Of course, at this point in time the internal memory of the camera was filled (seems as how said boy hadn't put in a memory card) so we had to do it all over again.  Off to the zoo to see if we could capture wild animals.  Okay, not so wild.  The tiger pictures were amazing.  The monkeys?  Not so much.  GREAT pictures of the wire fence, but poor pictures of the animals.  LOTS to learn.  None-the-less, there were pictures, and pictures were meant to be shared.  Facebook!  Let everyone see you have a new toy!  And I have discovered that my friends on Facebook are very polite.  They didn't stone me for putting attempts for them to see.  Friends are like that.  Today, it's into the wilds of South Dakota with friends for a picnic and a hike through the Palisades, followed by an evening of Church Ladies, volume two, presented by Prairie Rep Theatre.  Lots of chances for flowers.  Lots of chances for zooming.  Maybe a portrait or two.  I'm excited.  And I will share!!!!  Finally, picture this--you are loved!

Friday, July 26, 2013

on the bathroom wall

Call it strange, but I have always been amused and amazed at what I find on bathroom walls.  Some of the funniest off-color humor I know has come from these inspired essayists, novelists, and poets.  The one-liners rock.  The doggerel is unmatched in clever intent.  But last night, it was obviously an inspired philosopher who moved mean...caught my attention.  We were in a delightful little restaurant in Twin Brooks, South Dakota, called the Bird Feeder.  Actually, the "we" in this case was a group of nine retired female teachers who meet every month, and me.  Great odds.  I was honored that they invited me to join them.  They're usually a no "y" organization.  We started at the farmers' market.  We toured the metropolitan area.  We ate an amazing four course meal, complete with birdseed, and then it happened.  I should inform you that there are all sorts of tchotchkes available for sale here...wall hangings, bird paraphernalia, napkins, get the picture.  Anyhoo--I head to the bathroom and there, for a mere $3.00 was the most insightful, direct, complete statement of philosophical truth that I have ever seen.  Of course, I didn't buy it.  Remember, I taught for a living.  I could memorize it and make it myself!  But I digress.  Standing on its rough-cut wooden base was a plaque that said, "I'm too young to be this old!"  Ain't it the truth.  My arthritic thumb throbs.  My manly chest will soon require a "bro".  And let's not discuss peristalsis.  The hair on my head continues to wane.  The hair on my ears, nose, and other unusual places continues to wax (or I probably should wax!).  I occasionally break wind (okay, so that's not a new thing, but I now have something on which to blame it!)  But inside, I'm 14.  I get excited about doing something new.  I find the unusual to be interesting.  I like to be the center of attention.  I really don't listen all that well.  I want to do the things I did then.  As a good friend said last night, as I was admiring the cast on her broken wrist, acquired by climbing on furniture to access something taller than she, "but I did it when I was 30!"  I'm really sorry she broke her wrist.  But a part of me is really glad she's not giving in to years!  I've seen too many people get old by choice!  It's just plain ugly.  So to you fuddy duddy types who would suggest that I "act my age", understand I am!  14 Forever!  My new motto!  63 goes back into the box in the very farthest recesses of the attic.  I don't have to comb my hair, I can pluck that which I don't like, and darn it, I've always admired cleavage!  Now let's go play!!!!  And remember you are loved!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

to teaching

There was one thing I was never going to be.  My sisters were.  It didn’t pay.  It was hard work.  Kids laughed at you and made fun of you.  Even if Anita and Cheryl were, I wasn’t.  I was going to be a Broadway star.  I was going to be on television.  I was going to direct and act and produce and emote.  I was NOT going to teach.  Everyone knows those that can, do.  Those that can’t, teach.  Not me.  No way.  I didn’t even like kids that much.  They were disrespectful.  They were lazy.  They were rude.  They didn’t do as they were told.  (Understand, I was one of them, so I knew of what I spoke!)  No one is his right mind would want to do that.  Not even for June, July, and August (a myth about the time teachers have off!).  Oh, I had had my share of good teachers.  Mrs. Duba.  Mrs. Grannis.  Mr. Paulson.  Rosemary Smith (By the way, you must read that with a sigh in your voice.  Rosemary Smith taught American Literature at Moorhead State.  She was GORGEOUS.  She was witty.  She was intelligent.  She made Moby Dick interesting.  She worked miracles!)  And Hazel Scott.  Hazel (or ma, as we called her) was my college debate coach.  She was the best of the best.  What she did was. . .she loved us. . .and let us know she loved us.  She was diminutive, wry, brilliant, but most of all, caring.  I would have done anything for her.  Hazel died recently.  And 39 years after my last class with her, she still motivates and teaches me.  Let me ask you a question.  When you die, what do you want people to say?  My answer to that question is always the same.  “I miss him.”  Well, I miss Hazel! 

Even with all these inspirations, teaching was right below the last thing I wanted to do with my life.  However. . .Miss Lucy, my brilliant mother, suggested to me that perhaps I should have something on which to fall back if the performance thing didn’t work.  Maybe I should take the education block as a levee to hold off the creditors should I not tread the boards and make a million.  So I did.  It was AWFUL.  In my educational psychology class, we had to “experience” something.  I sat in a manhole in the center of campus for 30 minutes.  It was an experience.  And it must have been good, because I got the “A”.  In my Teaching of Speech in the Secondary Schools class, I got the only B I have on my transcript in my major.  Something should have been speaking to me.  In my Teaching of English in the Secondary Schools class, I went three times during the quarter.  I presented my project (teaching Thoreau using “You and I Travel to the Beat of a Different Drum”), took the midterm and took the final.  I was proud of that B.  In my Secondary Education class, the assignment was to write a 15-25 page paper on something about education.  My thesis of the paper was education was too verbose.  Words should be valued.  The paper was 3 pages long.  I received an A.  I was not a believer in the profession of teaching.

Final quarter.  Course work completed (except for the class in drug and alcohol which was required of all teaching candidates and during which we were given a “card” with all the answers the week before the test.  On the day of the test, the questions were handed out and the instructor left the room.  Be aware, his name does not appear on the list above.  One by one, cards materialized, cards were passed, and cards were used.  Now understand, I do not condone cheating.  Nor, however, do I condone stupidity.  I learned that memorization was a good thing, but knowing where to find the answers was a better thing!).  Student teaching.  Junior English.  Moby Dick.  (Thank you Rosemary!)  OMG!  (See, I may be old, but I’m hip to the lingo?!)  I was hooked.  I was reeled in.  I was stuffed and mounted.  From the first day to the day I retired, I knew what and why I was on this earth.  It was to teach.  I loved the atmosphere.  I loved the subject areas.  I loved the faculty.  I loved the administration (well, all but the former marine who was the principal).  And surprise of surprises, I loved the students.  (Of course, I was only 3 years older than most of them.)  And I had no discipline of which to speak.  And I made mistake after mistake after mistake.  And I was fired.  (And I should have been.  Can you believe an English teacher who would start that many sentences with “and”?)  But not before I learned.  Not before I cared.  And not before I knew it was what I would do the rest of my life.  Statistics say most people will hold 7 different jobs in their lifetime.  One of my debaters at Fargo used to say in his debate round, “Statistics are like a beautiful girl in a bikini.  What they show is interesting.  What they don’t show is more interesting.”  (Could be one of the reasons I was fired!)  I believe that there is the perfect match out there for some people.  One job is all that is needed.  And I found mine.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Have you noticed life is full of them?  I, for instance, was surprised the day my first grade teacher didn't see my hand in time for me to "go" to the bathroom.  So I went where I was!  Surprise.  As a junior in high school, I was searching for the av boys for one of my teachers, walked into the debate room, and changed my life.  Surprise.  I finished college in three years.  When I enrolled, the very last thing I wanted to do with my life was teach.  Ugh.  Surprise.  Right after graduation I was hired by the largest school in North Dakota (okay, so it's not that big a deal!) and was fired.  Surprise.  After first exposure, my bride of 40 years said she could never go out with someone like me.  9 months later we were married.  Surprise.  She has stayed with me for 40 years!  Even bigger surprise!!  I can truthfully say in the 34 years of teaching, I only had ONE run in with a student that I was convinced had no socially redeeming features.  A-moral.  One out of over 14000 ain't a bad surprise!  I NEVER thought I would run for the health of it.  Running was god's punishment for leading a bad life.  Now, if I want to eat, I run!  Shock and surprise.  I'm old.  I sometimes thing bladder and sphincter control are better than that are.  Unpleasant surprise!  And last night, two of my favorite people showed up at my cooking class, registered as Thelma and Louise.  SURPRISE!  Obviously it started me thinking about those inadvertent occasions.  Sometimes, they truly can be embarrassing.  Sometimes, they can be uncomfortable.  Sometimes they can be disappointing.  But for me, the majority in retrospect have been amazingly good.  And how boring would life be without them?  So the next time I'm walking barefoot through the back yard and discover a surprise left by one of the dogs, I'm going to simply think of Thelma and Louise, and smile!  After all, feet are easier to clean than shoes!  Finally, it should come as no surprise to you....that you are loved!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

to outdoor chores

I love to mow!  It is a sickness, I understand, but one I have learned to live with!  Mowing simply provides me with a plethora of benefits.  Consider first, the Zubke mowing uniform.  Shorts.  That's it.  Shorts.  No shirt, no shoes, just service!  (By the way, the time will come when I go to McDonald's wearing only a shirt and shoes, but I will alert the press before that happens!)  You will understand the consternation of my neighbors and those driving by on Broadway.  I am not the body beautiful.  Our lawn is not even or smooth.  As I mow, the mower jumps and skips, causing my untoned body to jiggle and dance in a myriad of ways.  I'm pretty sure it isn't an appealing sight.  But it is medicinal.  You see, the more body exposed to the sun, the more vitamin D I am absorbing.  Vitamin D has a suggested link to weight loss.  Vitamin D has been proved to have a significant impact on the genes that are involved in several biologic pathways associated with illnesses, including cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases.  (Ya gotta love cut and paste directly from the Internet, don't you?)  Obviously, I will go to extreme lengths to justify my mowing apparel.  (Insert here disclaimer about over-exposure to the sun.  This can be very bad, so I mow quickly!)
Then, there is the time involvement/thought necessity correlation.  It takes a while to mow the yard.  It takes no thought to mow the yard.  Time spent mowing can be spent thinking of other things, like what's for supper, should I stop now for a cold adult beverage, on what should I blog today....  Solutions to many world problems have been found whilst mowing.  Now, if I could only convince others that they will work! 
Next, there is the job to do/job done motivator.  I hate things that must be done but don't show.  When I mow, it's because the yard has incessantly reminded me it's time (never knew grass could nag, did you?).  Therefore, it is obvious where I have been, and obvious that I have done something.  The feeling of accomplishment is amazing.  And of course, there is that cold adult beverage waiting for the completion of the task.
Mowing increases the aesthetics of the neighborhood.  When the yards look well groomed, the houses actually look better.  The value of the property increases, and my neighbors, who are sick of seeing me mow, can get more money for their homes when they move!  Another instance of Pollyannaism--win-win.  All because I cut the grass.
That pretty much sums up my depth of thought for the day.  And for those of you who think I maybe hit the cold beverage already, you could be right!  Do what you love, and know I love you!

Monday, July 22, 2013

to passion

If that title doesn't get you, we need to talk. I do not speak of sex (although I would if prompted!), I speak of that thing that floats your boat, that makes your eyes twinkle, that titillates you.  Okay, maybe I am speaking about sex?!  NO!!!  I speak of that thing that you would rather be doing right now.  With the exception of the aforementioned activity, I want you to think for a minute of your passion.  For some, it might be fishing.  For some, it might be quilting.  For some, it might be Sudoku (and if that's you, we again need to talk!).  Got it?  Now the big question.  Have you visited it lately?  If not, why not?  You see, I believe that it is those passions that allow us to do the mundane, requisite things in life.  Work.  Chores.  Work.  And it is passion that allows us to do the important things in life.  Care for our families.  Care for our friends.  Care for our environment.  You see, if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't really take care of anything (anyone) else.  Consider the prompt of the airline attendant.  In case of a loss of cabin pressure an oxygen mask will hit you on the head.  Place the mask over your face and breathe normally (yeah, right...we're about to crash and you want me to breath normally?!).  Be sure to secure your mask before you help someone else.  Makes sense.  If we can't breathe, how can we help someone else?  The same is true in life.  If we don't take care of ourselves, how can we care for others?  And to take care of ourselves, we need to be centered--comfortable in our own skin.  And your passion stimulates that comfort.  It encourages it.  It engenders it.  For me, it's cooking.  And baking.  And making fudge.  I love to do these things.  And the beauty of my passion is, I get to share the results with other people.  This past weekend we had lots of company at our house to eat, and I was literally in hog heaven (that would have been the pulled pork!).  I got to salve my passion and soothe my ego by cooking things that the company loved to eat (or so they said!).  I got to experiment in some cases and rely on tried and true recipes in others.  And while the work (play?) was tiring, the results and rewards were amazing.  I got to say "I love you" without ever opening my mouth!  They had to open theirs!  And suddenly, once again, my compass points true North.  (And no, that is not a veiled referent to the topic of which I am not speaking!)  I am complete.  I can take the garbage out and not complain.  I can do a couple loads of laundry and not complain.  I can pull weeds and enjoy it.  Because I have passion, and I visited!  May you find time for your passion.  And may you always know you are loved!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday ponderings

Comfort.  It's what I want in my food!  It's what I want in my clothing and lack of shoes!  It's what I want in my friends.  It's that feeling I get when there's a little fat (okay, perhaps a lot) in my food, clothes to cover a little fat (probably more after the afore-mentioned food!), and friends who don't notice the fat at all!  All of this is precipitated by the biscuits that are in the oven and the sausage gravy that awaits devouring!  It's enjoyed by the elastic waist shorts, the loose shirt and absolutely nothing on my feet!  It's the fact that we are sharing it with family (both genetic and the kind we adopt) as an ending to a great visit and the start of a new week.  It's the realization that we are of an age where comfort is good!  Please notice, however, that I use the word comfort, not complacent!  I do not assume that we will eat this way often.  I do not assume that friendship is a state of taking and not giving in return.  I DO assume I will avoid situations where elastic waists and bare feet are not allowed!  I know how lucky I am, and how much I wish to stay lucky!  I will NOT take for granted how fortunate we are!  I will not for a minute believe it is what we deserve (I actually pray each morning I don't get what I deserve!).  Instead, I will revel in the joy that is ours in the moment.  I will attempt to live by a credo I was forced to write in one of THOSE in-service meetings (where the very best thing that ever happened was I learned to weave a basket--yes, there REALLY was a session in basket weaving!)--a personal mission statement.  Mine?  "I will attempt to add value to every circumstance I encounter." Now understand, I know my short-comings in meeting that mission, but at least it is there!  And finally, I will attempt to live the prayer--to add good to life, not evil.  Tall orders.  But achievable with effort.  As long as I don't get too comfortable!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

to the oven

I am convinced we are olfactorilly (lordy how I love to coin my own words!) influenced, and nothing...absolutely nothing...can inspire a positive response more consistently than freshly baking buns!  Likewise, I'm not sure anything tangible can match the "I love you" factor of bread you have made for someone important to you!  Buns (bread in general) is a physical experience.  From the mixing (is that really enough flour?) to the kneading, it is hands-on.  Now understand, a bread maker will give you the same aroma.  Frozen dough will give you the same aroma.  But nothing matches the experience from scratch.  And nothing says "you are important to me" like scratch.  And nothing has saved as many lives as scratch.  Allow me to elucidate!  There were days I came home from teaching with students on my mind.  You know, the ones who pushed every nerve I had, and then one more big shove?  During the day, I had to convince myself that while orange was my favorite color, I wasn't interested in wearing a jumpsuit every day and even the promise of three meals a day and a cot at night didn't dissuade me from keeping my hands to myself.  However, when I got home, to the mixer I would go, and make buns.  This truly was a circumstance where the process and the result were both amazingly positive.  When I knead bread, I am extremely physical.  I take it from the bowl.  I THROW it onto the counter, and while one had is constantly prodding and turning, the other is a fist, pummeling the dough.  What an amazing release.  Every bit of anger went from me into that yeasty concoction.  It got more resilient.  I got more resilient.  And I named the dough whilst I was kneading.  Picture it.  Dough on counter.  Left hand turning.  Right hand punching.  Voice in my head saying "Little Johnny!  Little Johnny!  Little Johnny!"  And my aggression abated.  And the buns went in the oven.  And when they came out, we ate Little Johnny!  The next day, the positive taste of fresh buns in my mouth, I greeted Little Johnny with good cheer!  He had been quite tasty, and I was ready to see where today would go!  Today we celebrate with our friends 50 years of memories since Cath graduated from high school.  Today we revel in the fact that while we have aged, we're still powerful forces who laugh, learn, and love.  And we do so with fresh buns!  But today, instead of "Little Johnny", I was enjoying the physical release with the knowledge that I could once again tell our friends I loved them.  As I do you!

Friday, July 19, 2013

to the elder hostel!

A good friend turns 50 today.  It started me thinking about this age thing.  First, 50 sounds awfully young!  There was, of course, that time when just the opposite was true.  But I was younger then, and age was an entirely different concept.  Old people had to work.  Old people had responsibilities.  Old was something I was never going to be.  (You have to understand, there was that faction that believed that to be true--they were convinced my smart mouth would get me killed before I was 25, but I guess I showed them!)  Then there were those early working years, when old was my parents and their friends.  Mom was 30 when she had me, so when she was 50, I was 20.  Invincible.  Obnoxious.  And probably just a touch inebriated!  (20 is not my best memory!)  I knew I would never be like them.  Thankfully, I did live past 25, did grow up a bit, and old simply became something over sixty.  I remember asking a friend who was celebrating his 65th birthday what he would do now that he was officially old.  He took it as a joke.  I was NOT kidding.  Somewhere, in the deep recesses of my mind, social security was the true mark of ancient age.  Then I turned 40.  What a day that was.  My friends made it one I will never forget. Black flowers.  Black arm bands.  The mortician came to take my measurements!  I was kidnapped and hauled through town in a bag!  We laughed, we partied, and I was probably a little inebriated!  (twice 20--still drinking a bit--ufda!)  Old was then (and since then) anyone more than 15 years my senior.  When I reached 55, I would be old.  Of course, when I reached 55, old was 70.  Now that I'm 63, old has become a state of mind.  Gravity?  Not my friend.  Memory?  What were we talking about?  But old?  No way!  I feel like the 14 year old I've always been!  So here's to you, Kimberly!  May your next 50 be filled with awe and wonder (and not, "awe shucks, I'm tired!" and "I wonder where my keys are"!)  And may you always know that those of us older than you believe it to be a number, not a life style.  You are loved, and the rest of you are loved as well!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

ode to the warts

I'm not what you would call comely.
Average if you were kind.
I'm classified as quick witted
But not amazing of mind.

Mechanically challenged?  You got it!
Motor head?  Decidedly not.
An actor if you're not too picky
But cookin'? Now that I do got!

Addition, subtraction?  Amazing!
Division and times it I can
Geometry, algebra, that stuff?
I'm definitely not your man!

Power tools are an anathema
I'm dangerous to a degree
A hammer, screwdriver, and level?
How crooked can real crooked be?

From youth, weight and I we have struggled
I'm thinnish (for me) on this day
But looking at breads and at pastas
Won't let me remain in this way!

But none of us really is perfect
All of us truly unique
It's problems and struggles that make us
The people that others do seek.

So here's what I am truly proposing
The ball? It is now in your courts.
I'll love you support you protect you
If you'll kindly ignore all my warts!

Some days, the savant rhymer in me must be unleashed!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I wish that

...I had invented the self cleaning oven!  Wise people buy oven guards.  Frugal people place aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven.  Little Billy forgets to do both.  As a result, the build-up amasses.  I remember cleaning the oven when I was younger.  Of course, like everything, I'm sure the bad memories get worse even as the good memories get better, but I just can't shift the oven cleaning over into the good column!  Go figure!  But now, with the touch of a button, the door locks, the oven heats up to 950000 degrees, and the pie/cake/bars/casserole/mystery ingredients are disintegrated into an amorphous pile of ash, easily whisked away with a damp cloth!  The process although malodorous, is painless, and I get to start over once again.  Maybe this time I'll try the foil.  Or not!
...I could explain how two relatively neat, clean people can create floor washing water the color of ebony!  Could it have something to do with the fact that I mow the yard in my unclad feet (I would say bear/bare feet, but the image of the former is too close to accurate!)  Could it have something to do with the eight little feet going in and out several times a day?  Of is it like life, where a little dirt always manages to sneak up on you?  Thankfully, with a good wash and a poor memory, you can get rid of floor and life problems!
...I could stand atop the highest mountain (notice, I didn't say ascend.  Someone magically would have to place me there!) and extol the virtues of the people I have chosen to surround me!  The love and support are constant, and the reciprocity is amazing.  It's like I said yesterday in my and smiles are the only two things that increase in amount when you give them away!  And so it is with you.  Here's your silly, lopsided, heartfelt grin for the day, and always, here's the love to go with it!
...I could say all this to you in person!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In the car

Trip number two to Minneapolis this month!  Presentation to the  National Network of Teachers of the Year.  For those of you in the loop, this is the organization to which I can belong because of my Miss America year (when I was the SD teacher of the year).   I presented early and then had to leave for home--appointment tomorrow and company Thursday.  Contrary to the Amazon temptress's suggestion, I opted not to wear the tiara and sash.  Hell, I didn't even wear pants for most of the speech, but that's a different story!  I can't begin to tell you about the energy in this group!  It was palpable.  These are indeed the movers and the shakers in the classrooms and schools across the country!  The opening presenter mentioned that energy and said she could count on one hand the times she had been in such a group!  That gave me pause.  I felt that way every time I was with the teachers with whom I taught!  I feel that way every time we go to retired teachers!  I feel that way every time we meet with friends!  Are we not all movers and shakers in our own right?  Don't get me wrong.  I would in no way diminish the group.  They are to be admired and appreciated.  (and missed, for they quickly become friends!)  But so too are the other people with whom I choose to associate.  So to the NNSTOY's, thanks for everything you do and for having me!  It was a hoot!  And to the rest of you, thanks for everything you do and for having me.  You are a hoot!  I'm just the luckiest man alive!  And you are loved!

Monday, July 15, 2013

to Ireland

Sign in a bookstore in Nova Scotia--"Life is like a book.  If you don't travel, you're always on the same page."  To say we've been lucky is a humongous understatement!  We have seen parts of the world that most people just read about.  In fact, this August, we will be able to say we've been on six continents--and as close to the seventh as is humanly possible if you want to have earth beneath your feet!  Today we get to return to Ireland, if but for a few moments.  We (that would be Cath and her arm candy!) will do a travelogue at the church about last summer's expedition.  40 shades of green will once again glimmer.  The warmth of the people, the friends we made, the scones and brown soda bread--ah yes, I remember it well!  I also know this to be true.  The destinations are exciting.  The journeys, if not stellar, are something to talk about.  But the people with whom we have chosen to that's what life's about!  The connections, and the reconnection's!  The intertwining of hopes and dreams with reality.  The realization that we are the sum of our choices, and the most important of those are our loves and our friends.  They make the journey worthwhile!  So, here's my Monday toast:  May you always find new pages, whether epic or close to home, and may you realize that wherever you are, you are loved!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

to Minneapolis again

I am constantly amazed.  Every speech I give takes on a life of its own.  Granted, I steal from this one and that one, but each seems to find some way to challenge me--to keep the nerves active.  Tuesday, I get to preach to the choir.  I get to talk to educators--but in this case--retired educators.  It is my opinion that old teachers don't die...quietly!  We do not go gentle.  Instead, we find ways to continue doing that which we have done for so long before.  We do not rust out, we wear out, and that will be the gist of what I have to say!  The title of the speech is Pay It Backward, which I thought was quite clever and unique until I checked it out on Google.  Not so clever.  Not so unique.  So it behooves me to find the new and different in the tried and true.  Sounds like teaching to me!  I do truly believe that all teachers spend their careers paying it forward...teaching students to become adults of purpose and substance.  Christa McAuliffe was right--we touch the future.  And now that we're done teaching, it is my premise that we are not done touching!  We need now to give back in a way that continues our legacy.  And that will be the gyst of what I have to say.  Hmmm.  That's two gist's.  Guess there will be at least two PowerPoint slides, huh?  I'm only hoping the title slide which refers to them as old farts doesn't offend!  After all, we old coots need a sense of humor as well, right?  I'll let you know how it goes, and in my own way backward...know you are loved!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

to the ladies!

Nine women.  All telling a story.  Not the same story, and yet, relatable to other women on so many levels.  Some of them were experienced.  Some of them, a virginal foray.  All of them anxious to express the author's feelings and beliefs; her fears and jubilations.  All dressed in black with just a hint of color.  And those lips.  Those red, red lips.  And now it's over.  Each has gone her own way, hopefully the richer for the experience and glowing just a bit in the audience reaction to what they have done.  And I?  I was the lucky one.  I got to watch them grow and improve and become someone they weren't, yet, on a deeper level, someone they were!  I know--it doesn't make sense that they could be both, but I think it's the true power of the show.  They were able to do the most important thing a person can do.  They were able to help others see that they are not alone.  They have similar fears, similar desires, similar needs.  What an eclectic group.  And yet, for two magical nights this week, they were an ensemble, supporting each other, sharing with each other, and bringing the theatre to life.  And while the premise was a simple exercise in drawing different dresses, they instead drew the complex, funny, sad, threatening, tumultuous, endearing thing called life.  Here's to the women who act.  Here's to the cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore.  Here's to "everywoman" whose lives inspire and teach, who laughs and cries, and who manages to take care of each other and us men who love them!  Ladies, it was a hell of a ride!  Thank you!  And always know that you are loved!

Friday, July 12, 2013

to memories

We had a friend come for the play and stay with us overnight.  She is the most delightful young lady (and I realize, for the most part, "they" are all young!) who reminded me of three things.

First, friendship is a garden that provides constant beauty and amazing resilience.  We make friends wherever we go, and that support and love sustains us.  For the most part, however, they are annual gardens that need constant tending--attention paid, if you will--for them to flourish.  That's okay.  Anything worth having is something worthy on which to work (god I hate not ending sentences with a preposition.  Let's make a deal.  You don't count them, I'll ignore that rule?!  Good!)  But ignore them, either by choice or life intervention, and they wither to acquaintances and then just sort of disappear.  Then there are the perennial friends.  For some reason, they are always there, requiring little maintenance and providing endless enjoyment.  Touch base with them on occasion, and it's as if you have never been apart.  Start a conversation one year, pick it up the next--or even five years later--and you're right where you left off.  They don't get older, slower, or less hardy.  They do spread a little and lose a little color on top, but my, they are important!  Sometimes you have to divide them--leave a little for you and share the rest with someone else, and this is great too!  Maybe the sharee will look good in your garden as well!  I'm so thankful Cathy shared me with LuAnn, our guest.

Second, to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend, and that requires listening.  Not only to what is said, but to what is not said.  I'm disgusting when it comes to listening.  I'm soooooo clever, I don't want to miss the opportunity to share it with whomever is talking...and as such, I miss what they are saying, or worse, how they are saying it.  I need to shut up, open up, and absorb.  I KNOW I'm clever--I don't have to prove it!  (Ego is an AMAZING thing, isn't it?)  But my friends are awfully clever too, or...they probably wouldn't be my friends!

Finally, there is NOTHING as important as friendship.  Sex is wonderful.  Food is wonderful.  Possessions are wonderful.  But they all fade in time (even if science has developed that little blue pill...)  A friend will tell you when your head is so far up your butt you can see your throat, and you thank them for it.  A friend will support you when you are right--and stick by you when you are wrong.  A friend will recognize that at times Preparation H could make you disappear, and they don't go buy a case!  A friend will sustain the good things, not add inches to your waist, or fall into disrepair.  A friend will allow you to love them and love you back.

I am the luckiest of all men.  My best friend is the woman with whom I live.  My perennial garden, if you will, is supportive and clever, and for the most part, well established (isn't that a lovely way to say old?)  And they are beautiful, and resilient, and mine!  And they, like you, are loved!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Actually, we're home!

There are things that still stir my soul.  The love of a good woman.  The closeness of family.  The import of friends.  But, let us not diminish in any way, the first tomato picked for the year.  Understand, I speak not of the cherry variety.  While they excite me, they do not stir.  I speak of the full grown, full handed, delightfully red tomato.  You can, of course, buy good carrots in the grocery store.  I prefer to buy my broccoli rather than grow it.  Cabbage?  Please--too much trouble for one head.  But tomatoes?  Oh, sweet lord, thee is NOTHING that compares to the taste of a vine-ripened, home grown tomato.  And we picked our first today!  My salivary glands have become Pavlovian.  Just looking at it starts the drooling process.  Of course, it needs a couple days to finish to its full potential, so for 48 hours I will continue to anticipate.  Makes the experience all the more sweet!  I'm thinking Sunday evening--fresh tomato--fresh cucumber--with any luck at all, fresh green beans and protein of some kind.  Maybe a left-over mini carrot cake for dessert.  All else pales, however, at the thought of the first tomato slice!  Perhaps, that's what life's about?  Deciding what's important, doing what you can to achieve it, anticipating the results, and then the event itself.  And if, god forbid, it doesn't measure up to the expectation, try again!  There's always that good woman, that family, and those friends!  They make everything a win-win!  Oh, and you are loved!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

home again, home again

It was a loooooooooooong day!  It is my considered opinion--no--a proven fact that time passes much more slowly in a hospital waiting room than anywhere else.  Whether it is an anomaly of nature, a black hole in the logical spectrum, or an old man whose patience ain't what it used to was, 10 hours in a waiting room is an eternity!  Now understand, the result was good!  It was worth the wait. But it WAS a wait.  Then it was in the car and home by 7:30 for play practice.  Let's see...leave Minneapolis at 3:45 (can you say rush hour?)  (can you say I wouldn't live there for all the money in the world if I had to put up with traffic like that every day?) and still make it home by 7:40.  That's some driving, Parnelli Zubke.  And so very appreciated. Of course, there was the fact that we didn't stop to eat and we didn't stop to pee.  And we didn't stop to be sure the joints were still able to function.  The last is probably the worst.  My hips just don't like four hours in the car at a time!  Anyhow, we made it!  In time for play practice!  And then, we stopped at Taco Mel's for supper.  Let's see.  Tacos.  10:00 pm.  Old man.  Probably the reason I'm blogging at 11:00, huh?  (and probably the reason I'll be seeing 12:00 and 1:00.)  Oh well, the taco food was good after 14 hours of nothing!  And while I sound like Wendy Whiner, I must tell you that everything we did, we did by choice.  I would do NOTHING differently!  We left Minneapolis knowing my sis was in recovering and had done well.  We finished play practice with some good changes for tomorrow night.  And I lied.  I might reconsider the tacos!  Life is good, and you are loved!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

to the cities

There are still a few things that scare me.  I can deal with spiders.  I don't like them, but I can deal.  Just not bare handed!  I need a weapon!  I no longer have dreams that I've gone to school to teach, naked as a jay bird, and have to cover up with available objects.  Used to scare me, even though it was no big deal--ANY object would do!  Idiots behind the wheel of a car doing something other than driving worry me, but if I am vigilant, I can usually avoid them.  But my sister?  Well, today she scares me.  Tomorrow morning she goes into Abbot Northwestern to be re-circuited!  She has suffered from a-fib for quite some time.  Medicine has not worked.  Shock has not worked.  So they're going to open her up and redirect things!  They've done the surgery frequently.  They're one of the best heart hospitals in the world.  But she's MY sister, and while in my heart of hearts I believe she will come through this with flying colors, I'm still scared.  You have to know Linda.  First and foremost, she owes my $4.95 for leaving the hall light on when we were children.  I believe with interest (and the fact that we're both old coots), that is now somewhere near a million dollars!  I can't tell you the number of times she wished she could crawl in a hole and die because I had embarrassed her.  But she didn't.  Her life was not always a story-book theme.  She had her share of disappointments and disasters--hell--she had my share too.  But she survived.  She raised three amazing, loving children, of whom we are both proud.  She has taught, retired, and taught again--much to the luck of the children (and their parents) in Ipswich for a myriad of years.  She was a GREAT teacher.  She made education real.  She is one of the best writers I know.  Her sense of humor is amazing.  (I did learn one Easter, however, that I should never smirk!  Come to think of it, everyone in Willmar knows that I should not smirk!)  We used to hit each other.  We used to swear at each other.  (On occasion, she probably still does!)  But the bond between us is much thicker than the genes we share.  I admire her immensely.  I love her.  And therefore, this scares me.  Thankfully, we will be there when the process starts, and will always be with her when she's recuperating and in sinus rhythm.  after all, she is MY sister!  And she, like you, is loved!

Monday, July 8, 2013

to the shower

Fresh would NOT be the descriptor first to come to your olfactory senses!  Hygienic would NOT be the adjective first uttered upon ocular exercise.  I look like crap, and smell..well...not much better!  But it is the result of good things!  A run figures in.  25 dozen cookies figure in.  4 pans of fudge figure in.  225 individual frosted carrot cake bites figure in.  One freshly mowed yard figures in.  And of course, there is that age thing.  Today, I smell old!  The beauty of all this is, it's fixable.  A quick shower, a once over with the vegetable brush on my feet and knees, shampoo (okay, so it doesn't take nearly as much as it used to!) and a mighty strong anti-perspirant, and I'll be as good as gold.  Even the old will be hidden!  Sometimes we forget the little lovelies of life:  the joy of doing what's right for you; the pure excitement of a project that turns out; the knowledge that the yard always provides you with something to do.  I'm here!  I choose to do these things!  And I CAN!  For that--and for you--I am extremely thankful!  Know you are loved!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

to the Asiatics

To me, there has always been something unbelievably special about Asiatic lilies.  Whether it's their color, their shape, or their ability to continue to be gorgeous year after year, I anxiously await their opening.  Of course, I never remember which is planted where, so every year is a surprise!  Maybe that's the allure of perennial gardening?  The ability to be amazed year after year and not to have to do much!  One year, we awoke to the sad sight of our front garden having been vandalized.  Some inebriate on his/her way home from the plethora of drinking emporiums on Broadway thought that we could find a better way to show our work than how we had configured it.  There were plants pulled by the roots and strewn across the driveway.  The good news is, they had rooted them.  After a few words that cannot be repeated here, I got the shovel and gingerly placed them back.  For some reason, they found their new location to be acceptable, and the next year, Voila, they grew and they bloomed.  Maybe it isn't about the optimal spot to live.  Maybe it isn't about the best conditions in which to grow.  Maybe it isn't about the fact there are Preparation H treatable individuals in this world.  Maybe the concept is, we should bloom where we are planted?!  And color of bloom, shape of bloom, and variety of bloom only add to the beauty!  So bloom, already, and know you are loved!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

here's to the in-laws

Every second year, my wife's mom's family (that would be the in-laws [question, if my wife's family are my in-laws, does that make my family outlaws?  Hmmm.  The answer would probably be yes, thank god!]) have a family reunion.  Today is the day.  Out to the lake we go to see people we haven't seen, some for two years.  But after 40 years of marriage, I at least recognize most of them.  They're the usual Midwest family, so there will be enough food for most of South Dakota.  And it WILL be good!  The frightening thing is, we are quickly becoming the "older" generation.  Attrition is inevitable, I guess!  Anyhoo.  The day reminds me of Cath's parents.  I wish you all could have met Esther.  She was an amazing woman.  The first few times we met, she wasn't sure what her daughter had done.  She had one son-in-law who adored her, and she, him, so at times our relationship was cordial but cool.  As we got to know each other, that changed completely.  I could not have asked for a more caring, supportive mother-in-law.  Few men are lucky enough to have two mothers who care for them!  Now, you have to understand, there are stories to tell.  You see, Esther was not what you would call liberal in her language or demeanor.  I believe the best descriptor would be "proper".  She and Wid had been up to Brained for some kind of get-together, and upon her return, we're sitting in their kitchen and out of the blue, Esther says, "I heard a story," and proceeds to ask, "Do you know why the Dairy Queen got pregnant?"  Of course, none of responded.  I believe were were caught off guard.  After a beat, she says, "Because the Burger King forgot to wrap his whopper!"  Needless to say, I had to leave the room before I exploded.  To this day, I'm quite sure she didn't understand the joke, but it certainly made an impression on the rest of us!  Then there was Wid.  Wid was the all-American boy next door.  Athletic, well-mannered, proper, did I mention athletic?!  While Esther may have wondered what her daughter was thinking, Wid I'm sure wondered what should he think of a man who would rather cook than play ball, act rather than hunt, in other words, pretty much the opposite of him.  But he NEVER suggested or showed disappointment.  Instead, over the years we developed the kind of relationship you only have with mutual respect.  He would have done anything for us, and the same was true for us.  My parents were overtly loving and caring.  Wid and Esther had a quiet way of letting you know you were important to them.  All four parents are gone.  All had an amazing impact on our lives.  But today, as I stuff my face, converse with the relatives, and enjoy the out of doors, I will remember Esther and Wid, and give thanks for yet another proof that life is good!  And you are loved!

Friday, July 5, 2013

save your fork

Desserts for 200!  I'm in heaven!  Right now, the menu includes mini-carrot cakes, stuffed brownies, two kinds of haystack cookies, 4 kinds of fudge, and a player to be named at a later date.  Never mind the fact that we will be gone the two days before these need to be done.  Just adds to the excitement!  But as I plan the desserts, I remember my mother (it seems to happen at the strangest times!).  We (none of us) didn't like to clean silverware.  An odious task, to say the least.  So if there were dessert, it was always "save your fork".  That meant, of course, that the best was yet to come.  You have to understand, mom was a great cook.  But every once in a while....oops!  Sort of like life.  For the most part, it nourishes us, it pleases us, and it sustains us.  But every once in a while....oops!  It's at times like that I go to the silverware drawer and get a fork to remind me that what's to come may be better than what has passed.  It could be raspberry pie (yesterday's dessert--and lordy, lordy, but it was good!).  It could be lemon pie.  It could be something made with chocolate and angel food cake.  It could be fudge.  But it probably will be better than what has come before.  I think that explains the Pollyanna in me.  I always think the best is yet to come.  And every once in a while....oops.  But I hang on to that fork!  May your attitude match your best desserts, and know that you are loved!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Because of my parents, I have the independence to share with others their import in my life.  Because of my sister, I have the independence to revel in the knowledge that she is an amazing person who has done so much with her life.  Because of my wife, my completion, I have the independence to be the person I am and know that I am loved.  Because of my teachers, I have the independence to continue learning and growing, even at an advanced age.  Because of my friends, I have the independence to enjoy life to the fullest.  Because it is the way it is, I have the independence to realize that we are interdependent on each other for so many things.  To each and every one of you, may you understand your strengths and share them, realize you can't go backward so get rid of that baggage we all carry, and marvel at each new thing that confronts you!  And always know how much you are loved!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

pre fourth

Another one of those days.  Grocery shop so I get my senior citizen discount.  Eat a nutritious breakfast of half a biscuit and two sausage patties at McDonald's.  Do a little yard work.  Brussels sprouts and Bratwurst for lunch.  Bike.  Die a little!  Meet with the lighting guy for Town Players.  Ask a friend to do a favor and of course he does!  Meet Sergei, the 120 pound Burmese mountain dog.  Come home.  Shower (thank god I finally got to that!), and head out to play bridge at the lake.  In the process, remember EVERYONE who made it possible for me to do these things.  Remember the events that make this country free--every day!  And give thanks that I am lucky enough to understand what the Fourth of July really means!  Yup--just another day--thank god!  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

stating the obvious

"So it is written.  So shall it be done."  Nothing like starting with a Cecil B. DeMille Ten Commandments cite, right?  "What?" you might ask.  "What is written?" 
1)  The stool will not start leaking until 5:25 Friday evening.  Understand, a bachelor of science degree from a Liberal Arts college does NOT suggest plumbing expertise.  It suggests that if I wanted to graduate in education, I had to take those science courses.  Realize, I have enough credits to teach science in most states, but the only scientific fact I remember is acid used in experiments can and will burn through several layers of skin.  Personal experience is an amazing educator.  But I digress.  Because I am cheap, I suggest to the love of my life we simply place towels down to soak up the clean water and call the plumber Monday.  3 days (and a multitude of heavy wet towels later), the plumber comes, discovers that somehow the nut connecting the water supply to the toilet is loose, takes one minute to tighten it, and leaves (and I KNOW smirked all the way back to the shop, thinking, "My god, what an idiot." )
2)  If one thing happens on the weekend, be prepared for more.  Saturday morning I awaken with a nagging feeling that something is wrong.  There is an odd pressure on the upper left portion of my gum, and when I bite down, it suggests less than happiness.  Should I not bite down and aggravate it, the pressure is obvious but acceptable.  Should I, however, bite down, the pressure becomes pain and not only it, but my entire body is at less than happiness.  Obviously, I have two options.  One is NOT call the dentist (see note about my frugality above!).  I can eat and hurt, or not eat, and not hurt as much.  Okay.  So the two choices thing was an out and out lie.  Spend two days without eating?  I don't think so!  I was unaware until this weekend that Advil was a dessert option!  I did manage to get into the dentist today, and am over step one of a root canal. 
3)  Ear plugs and nose plugs should be standard issue for all root canals.  I was numb, but my other senses were acute, and to hear the drill grind away at my tooth and to smell the heat generated by that drill were both less than enticing events.  I really like my dentist and adore his staff, they got me in when I was hurting and didn't hurt me to fix me, but the "sound and fury..."  Not bad, huh, Shakespeare and DeMille in the same post!
Life, however, is good.  The floor is dry.  My abscess is gone, and I had Dairy Queen ice cream for lunch to take away the memory of sound and odor.  All in all, it's a good day!  Know you are loved!

Monday, July 1, 2013

to the home

You have to picture our back yard.  We have spent hours getting it ready for it's "summer showing".  Every morning, our ritual is coffee, crossword puzzles, dog poop and weeds.  The coffee stimulates us.  The puzzles check our mental acuity.  The dog poop?  Well, we have two dogs, their comfort station is the back yard, we prefer to walk safely for the day, so we do the poop scootin' boogie, followed by a tour of the gardens, deadheading flowers past prime, defying any weeds to show their heads (and they are ALWAYS there!) and into the bucket they go.  Then it's water the pots and we're ready for the day.  Every morning.  Rituals must be observed.  (And I dare you to diagram the complex sentence beginning with "Well"!)  Today is Monday.  That means a trip to the senior center to play bridge (and get our ashes hauled!) and then a stop to see Aunt Edith.  By the time we get home, it's 5:00--we're late for the early bird special, so we fix our own.  Following supper, we sit on the deck, enjoying the fruits of our labors.  Then it struck me.  Cath was rocking, listening to the Twins.  I was rocking, lost in la la land.  We looked just like the stereotypical old farts sitting on the back porch in their rockers watching the grass grow!  I giggled.  Then I realized, we ARE the stereotype!  But oh, it's good to get old!  Beats the hell out of the alternative!  And if I remember to turn off the sprinkler, the grass won't grow as fast!  The key word there?  If!  Revel in the aging process and know you are loved!