Monday, September 30, 2013

With the GG

For those of you not privy to my Facebook post, that would be Geezers Galore!  It's a full bus of retired teachers heading out for a three hour day adventure.  Surprise!  We started early.  Name me one teacher who isn't on the over-achieving, wanting to please lane?!  The corn is a beautiful gold.  The trees have just the slightest hint of and red, and yellow.  And casting my eyes forward, I see a lot of gray!  This isn't our first rodeo!  We've ridden this horse before (and that ain't no bull!). Traveling with this group is a hoot!  I'm sure there will be stories!  I know there will be doggerel!  And I know you are loved!  Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Urban legend

Men and women cannot be friends.  There of necessity must be some sexual overtones to any relationship involving an xx and an xy!  To this, I would say bovine feces!!!  What then would be necessary to disprove this myth?  First, a man must have a confident, secure spousal who recognizes the complete and undying love she has in her husband.  Or perhaps she could just recognize that no one else would want the jerk!  Then, the xy must discover xx's who are secure in their persons enough to to share their true thoughts with the xy.  Alphabetically, it can get confusing!
I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with four amazing women (and two lucky husbands!). One was the amazing Miss Cathryn of whom I have spoken before.  The other three were a mother, her daughter, and her daughter-in-law.
The mother.  Amazing woman.  Over the age of consent, minimally three times, this woman is witty, charming, intelligent, generous, and just plain fun to hang with.  She is an amazing role model of how to grow old without getting old.  To see her and to watch her is to see a person of great character...and willing to enjoy life!  Can you tell I enjoy the grand dame?  I revel in calling her friend.
The daughter.  Chip off the not so old block.  She holds a position that requires great leadership, great vision, and great patience.  Her people skills rival the greatest of diplomats, her quick and genuine smile engenders trust, and her sense of family is amazingly refreshing!  She shares with all a robust concern for the world around her.  I revel in calling her friend!
The daughter-in-law.  Our hostess for the weekend.  But she couldn't get there by the time we did so she allowed us into her house and her kitchen without a single noticeable concern.  She made us feel welcome and familial.  Her faith and her love of family inspired.  Her generosity (other than the fact she wouldn't let me steal the bean pot) showed no boundaries.  I revel in calling her friend!
The husbands.  Smart enough to recognize how lucky they are.  Strong enough to let the women they love befriend an xy.  And they let me enjoy an adult beverage with them as well.  I revel to call them my friends.
I have been amazingly lucky my entire life...when it comes to women (well, there was that one exception, but that's a different blog at a different time!).   Raised by Ms. Lucy.  Brother to Ms Linda.  Married to Ms. Cathryn. Friend to Missy R.  Ms. A.  Ms . B. Ms. C. Ms. D...and with the exception of Q and X, I think I could finish the alphabet.  These women have supported me, chided me, and proved to me that it simply doesn't matter when it comes to friends.  In this case, you can be an XX Or an XY, to be a friend of XY Z!  Know you are loved!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Anniversary issue

Here it is!  For all the doubts...for all the insecurities, for all the history of what I classify as adult deficit disorder, I PROUDLY present to you my 90th consecutive blog!  Now granted, there was that two week African hiatus that I attempted to pass off with the one post covering that time period, but any excuse in a storm.  I have probably repeated myself.  I have probably offended someone ( or someones). I definitely have vented, emoted, and considered this thing called life in all it's glory, and, after 90 efforts, I have to say thanks to those of you who have read.  I can tell you I am amazingly lucky.  I have an amazing spousal unit.  I have a supportive and thankfully diverse family.  I have the best friends for which a man could hope.  In every way, I realize the purpose of existence...I (we) need to add value to life.  You have done that for me!  Happy anniversary!  And you ARE loved!

Friday, September 27, 2013


Once again, it's geezer groupie time.  Put 42 retired teachers on a bus and you have the makings for some of the best times you can imagine.  Headed for Kansas City to see the sights, eat the eats, and enjoy the environment without the encumbrance of work!  If you are not yet of an age to travel by bus with coots and geezers, you truly have something for which to look forward!  We're pretty laid back.  As long as you don't take away our medications, we rock!  There's nothing to prove.  There's no one to impress.  There's just a "pack as much as you can into five days of travel" attitude and let's go!  Of course, there's a different flavor of fudge for each day of travel:  you can never have too many sweets!  I will keep you appraised of our progress.  For us, it starts today with a trip to Okoboji for food and friends, a stop in Sioux Falls on Sunday night to visit friends (we haven't informed them yet that they are hosting us!), and then it's full tilt on Monday.  Stay tuned for what can only be labeled Old Farts at Large, or, OFAL!  Know how much you are loved!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

to the vet

We have these two amazing dogs.  They were 15 in March.  They are litter mates.  15 years ago, one of our two dogs died.  Since we were still working, we didn't think it fair to leave the remaining dog alone, so went to the shelter to get her a pet!  Well, there were these two puppies--a white one and a black one (to this day, based on their size, shape, and temperament, we believe their mother was a slut and they had different fathers, but that's a little too risque to speak of in this environment!  So I won't!  Any more!  Soon!)  Cath picked up the black one.  I picked up the white one.  What were we to do.  The only obvious answer was to take them both, so we did!  They fit in the palm of our hands.  Over the past 15 years they have provided endless entertainment (granted, they are still on probation and if they misbehave we will take them back to the shelter!), some frustration, a continual financial drain (one has no digestive enzymes so has been on a food additive for the last 10 years!  The other has leg problems so gets acupuncture and trips to the vet!) but who cares?, and an endless supply of love and affection.  It is amazing how 8 legs can fill the house, but when they are clipped, it's awfully quiet and pretty strange around here!  Their sister died a couple years ago at the young age of 19, and they went from our young puppies to our old puppies.  They are both 99.9% deaf.  Their vision isn't what it used to be, although the black one did suggest to the dog across the road this morning that it had no business to be on our street!  It was exciting to know she could see that far!  Lambchop (she would be the white one) was pretty much unable to move either back leg this morning, so it's off to the vet again.  The problem is, I don't know how many more times we will be able to bring her home.  We thoroughly believe that no animal should suffer needlessly.  If nothing can be done to ease their burdens, we have pledged to do the humane thing.  It is a sacred trust that every pet owner accepts when deciding to open their home to any critter!  I know that.  I comprehend that.  I believe that.  But when the time comes, it will not make the decision any easier.  Hopefully, today is not that day!  If you have a pet, give them a little extra love today.  If you don't, give someone for whom a care a little extra love today.  And always know, you can give a little away, because there is always love coming in to you from me!

Post script.  After a shot and some medicine, she's home again and ready to face whatever may come.  And with thanks, so are we!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the spokesman for his time

That would be 5:49, Wednesday, September 25, 2013, following my morning run!  I truly believe that the quiet and the stars conspire to engender deep thought processes (or perhaps it is just the lack of oxygen due to the fact that I'm struggling to breathe?).  Having established causation, here is today's result.  How to live, in ten easy steps.
1)  Learn to compromise.  Contrary to popular opinion, you're not always right.  Neither am I!
2)  Play fair.  See note above.
3)  Respect everyone.  I truly believe that respect is a quality that should not have to be earned.  It should be given to everyone we meet.  It can, however, be lost, and once lost, is hard to find again!
4.  Do unto others....and NOT before they have a chance to do it to you!
5.  Do for others.  When you give from your heart, your heart will grow.
6.  Choose your companions well.  Find someone older, someone younger, someone of a different background, someone with different beliefs, in short, someone who will bring a different perspective to your life.
7.  And while you're choosing, carefully choose a life partner.  It makes all the difference in the world!
8.  Moderation in all things!  Even blogging!
9.  Travel.  It's that perspective thing again
10. Love freely and deeply, and tell those you love how very important they are to you!  I just did!

Okay, so you've probably read all these on a poster somewhere, and I'm doing nothing original or clever.  Blame it on the lack of oxygen.  But you know, a little reminder every once in a while can be a good thing!  Now take the list, print it off, write "To Do" on the top of it, and see how many you can check off every day!  The spokesman for his time has spoken!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Magic Moments

Here are two things you might not remember.  The first?  The song "Magic Moments".  It was written by Burt Bacharach with lyrics by Hal David (okay, I had to look it up!).  The second?  Perry Como!  1957.  And for each of you who is saying, "Who the heck was Perry Como?", thank you.  It means that I actually have some readers under the age of 50!  I don't know why, but as I was lying on the couch last night, I started humming the tune and then I thought, "Heck.  I've had a few of those!"  Okay, I've actually had a lot of those!  Let the games begin (since sleep wouldn't!)  My top five magic moments (chronologically speaking!)
#1--Junior in high school--walking into the wrong room and discovering debate!  What an impact that mistake has had on my life!  It gave me direction.  It gave me an outlet.  It gave me the ability to think on my feet and find quick responses to questions asked. 
#2--Senior year in college--my first day of student teaching.  We've talked about this before!  Hooked.  I love what I have done professionally since that day!
#3--March 23, 1973...August 11, 1973...every day since.  March--Cathy said "yes"!  August--Cathy said "I do"!  Every day since--I am the luckiest person alive.  The most important decision we ever make is with whom we choose to share our lives!  This truly was magic!
#4--2000--South Dakota Teacher of the Year (also referred to as my year as Miss America!)  The people!  The events!  The life-changing relationships!  It was from this that I started motivationally speaking.  And I can't put into words the people that it brought into my life!  While the sash has been retired, the benefits continue
#5--South Pacific!  And I'm not talking about our two trips to Hawaii.  I speak of Rogers and Hammerstein.  I speak of Lincoln Center.  I speak of two of our favorite people in the whole wide world who made it possible.  I speak to that little boy who finds wonder in the magic that is theatre.  As I write this, it still brings tears to my eyes!  Front row!  Mother of Lieutenant Cable sitting next to me.  In a word..."WOW!"
This was very hard to do.  As I played the game, I realized how amazing my life has been.  I have avoided listing those people (sans my bride) who have made my life magical!  Hopefully, you know who you are!  I have avoided familial things.  I have focused on five.  I could have chosen 500!  But there are rules to how the game should be played.  And it's your turn.  Name five (and should you want to include the fact that you are loved, you need not list it.  You know it!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

the nudist camp!

I am thoroughly convinced.  I am REALLY ticked off at Eve.  If she hadn't tempted Adam with that apple, I could be attired in the outfit that I most enjoy...the outfit in which I am most comfortable...the outfit with which god sent me into this birthday suit!  Can you tell I just took off my daily clothes and breathed a sigh of relief?  For you visual imagists, I will assure you that I am not sitting buck naked at the computer. (Stop that giggling!  Stop it right now!)  I have on the least restrictive item of clothing I own--a robe of many colors--a marvelous gift from my wife.  (I have often thought of changing my name to Joseph whilst I am so clad, but that's a different musical altogether!)  I do realize that even if clothing were optional, I would probably dress just to avoid the laughter and ridicule, but...a man can dream!  I realize there are tender parts of the body that need protection.  The feet, for example, would get awfully cold in the South Dakota winter.  I would guess there are other parts that spring to your mind, but I'll let you wander there on your own.  And during the cold, George Costanza had it right!  There's that shrinkage thing.  I would have to buy smaller shoes!  Anyhoo...if social morays change, and climates change, and my sensitivity to laughter changes, who knows.  I may just test the a Speedo!  And if that doesn't make you smile (or outright laugh!), it will at least frighten you to do something about Global Warming!  Run free, and know you are loved!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

From left to right:  Red with black stripes, yellow, red, navy, orange, navy and sky blue stripe, yellow, orange, green, orange, burnt sienna, black, red, yellow, pink, white, paisley (!), orange, orange, color block, lime green white, and pink.  And a virtual rainbow of color on the shelves.  Conclusion.  I have too many shirts!  And the frightening fact?  These are the "summer" shirts.  The long sleeve babies are stored!  In all fairness, this is a collection amassed over 25 years, and range in size from medium to 2X to correspond with the amount of fluff I was/am carrying at the time.  Each has been to a myriad of places.  Each has experienced a plethora of events.  (And they said it was impossible to use myriad and plethora in juxtaposed sentences!)  Each has thankfully covered the body beautiful when good taste and the law have so required.  I truthfully and flummoxed as to where the black and white came in.  Must have been in a fit of conformity.  Needless to say, they do not rank among my favorites.  Says something about the way I choose to live my life, doesn't it?  Never having grown out of the "look at me" terrible twos, I believe one's apparel should express a feeling, and obviously, bright, loud, and obnoxious, you'll excuse the expression, fit!  Now, however, I must take it one step further.  Should the situation arise and I am REQUIRED to put a noose around my neck (translate tie), I have one that will go with each of the shirts.  Actually, I probably have two that will go with each of the shirts!  Thankfully, I'm old enough and crotchety enough to be able to eschew ties with a great deal of ease.  They do make a colorful wall, however, hanging there, just waiting for their 15 minutes of wear! 
I guess the point I make is this.  Heck--there really isn't a point other than I like color, I like different, and I like the fact that we all get to choose and get to live with those choices.  The answer to the only remaining question is, orange, with orange, red, blue, and white patterned shorts with a black background.  Oh god, don't get me started on shorts!  Flamboy your way through life, and know you are loved!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mr. Bill's Neighborhood

"Oh, no!  It's Mr. Bill!"  Devotees of Saturday Night Live will recognize the opening gambit.  It's probably what echoed through the neighborhood when we moved in.  But let me tell you about that neighborhood!  Not many people today can say they have lived in the same house for 37 years.  Not many people can say they have had the same neighbors for those 37 years.  Next door and down the street!  And I LOVE our neighbors. 
Down the street.  Big old house.  Older than ours!  She was a teacher!  He worked in a Savings and Loan and was a recruiter for the local tech school.  We have a lot in common.  They have no children of their own.  We have no children of our own.  They're nice people.  We're...well, I prefer to think we're nice too!
Next door.  Big old house.  Built by the same carpenter as ours.  Husband took our wedding pictures.  Children grew up.  I had them in class...I think.  It was a long time ago.  But we've had the privilege of watching them both be successful.  Husband died.  Children moved away from home.  (Okay, one of them moved four blocks away, but they aren't living next door any more!)  That left Sally.  Sally is not just a neighbor.  She is family.  She looks after the house while we're away.  She looks after the dogs while we're away.  Over the 37 years, we have laughed together, cried over the loss of her grandchild, cooked together, eaten together, grown old together and laughed again!  She doesn't drive.  We park our car in her garage.  We are the true picture of symbiosis.  When we need her, she is always there.  When she needs us, we try to be there!  Let me put things in perspective.  When they built their addition, they built the outside entrance with the door to our driveway rather than theirs!  It just made sense!
Other neighbors have come and gone.  Some of them, "interesting" (they probably have said the same about us!)  Just today, the across-the-street neighbors who moved east to be near their grandchildren stopped to see us.  GREAT people.  When they lived in town, we took care of snow blowing tasks.  If the city were kind enough to go by before I got home, he would have blown out the residue before I got home.  We reciprocated.  In fact, when we were trapped in Costa Rica due to a storm in Dallas (now there's a story I will share some day!), they had a blizzard.  When we got home, the driveway was completely cleaned!  I told you. I love my neighbors!  Couple that with the jars of hot-pepper jelly and salsa they brought with them, and we REALLY love our neighbors.
The whole thing gives me pause.  For 37 years, there have never been cross words.  For 37 years we have developed amazing relationships.  For 37 years, we have grown, and aged, and laughed, and loved.  If we can do it, why doesn't everyone else?  Can't we all just get along?! 
I'm going to put on my slippers and my cardigan sweater and think about how lucky I am to live in Mr.s Bill's neighborhood!  Know you are loved!

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's late

For those of you unaccustomed to the lateness of the hour, I apologize!  It's now about 21 minutes past my bedtime (which is two hours and 21 minutes past the time I usually fall asleep!, but that's a different story!)  It was an interesting day--one of those where nothing goes the way you thought it would?!  For example, I was up early to bake a pie.  Okay, I lied.  That went the way I had envisioned it.  And it was good!  Then I had to go to the grocery store to pick up items for salad for supper, only to discover when I got home, I had forgotten the onion.  Okay.  Out to the garden for one of our own.  Have I mentioned our two dogs?  Apparently, their waste production was exceptional yesterday, and I found one of the land mines on the way out.  Crap!  (And I do mean that literally).  I had visions of spending the noon-hour cleaning the kitchen, but the neighbor decided to buy me lunch (a nice non-planned event).  Just before I left, Cath got home from walking and had hurt her knee.  She had a meeting to go to, so off she goes and off I go.  When I get home, she's in significant pain.  (I'm still amazed how willingly I put up with my own pain but feel badly when she hurts!)  Off to the doctor for a 2 1/2 hour visit.  No time to vacuum for company coming.  Only time to scrub the kitchen floor and hope that everything is done when the company gets here for supper.  They came a little early.  But I WAS ready!  There's another thing that went as planned.  We enjoyed our time together immensely (well, when Cath wasn't in significant pain with her knee!)  Friends have a way of making everything better!  Now, the dishes are done and put away, Cath is nursing her knee and a glass of wine, and I'm trying not to break the toothpicks that are holding my eyelids open.  All in all, the best laid plans gang aft aglae!  Or something like that, Bobby Burns!  My all your unusuals be as minimal as mine and may you always know you are loved!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Everyday kinds of things...

It's clean the house day!  We haven't had a real one of those since coming back from Africa.  Ergo, it was time.  Started in the front porch.  We have the world's most amazing floor in there.  You CANNOT see anything on it.  Great for cleaning.  No one will know if I missed a spot!  It's also that time of year.  The recliners which for the summer have faced the south, now face north.  It's a reality weather check.  Inexorably, fall and winter will arrive.  The chairs tell it all!  From there, it's into the man cave!  Have I mentioned our two 15-year-old dogs....lately?  Well, even though they don't have a Y chromosome, it is their domicile.  So, as they sleep on their beds, I have to pick the bed up and move it to clean.  One of them didn't even wake up.  It also means that there is a lot of Febreeze used.  15-year-old dogs actually smell worse than 63-year-old men!  So I turn the tv to 924 (appropriately, the oldies) and rock through the room! 
Onward to the bathroom.  This is "my" bathroom.  Enough said.  It needed cleaning.  It got it.  The summer curtains are now fall leaves, and the porcelain throne gleams in the afternoon light!  Of course, this means that until our company leaves tomorrow night, I have to go somewhere else to pee, but it's a small sacrifice to pay!  That leaves the back porch and kitchen.  Refer to the old dogs.  Because they really have no in/out schedule, and because it's easier on old people, we usually leave the door open for them so they can go out when they want.  (I know, I know.  There are doggie doors.  But we have glass doors, and there is that thing about old dogs and new tricks...)  That means the flies can come in when they want as well.  I don't get it.  They come in but they don't go out?  Hmmmm.  We must be more hospitable than I imagined.  Anyhow, I sweep up the dead flies (I'm truly lethal with the swatter) and wash the floor.  Did I mention the old dogs?  They like to be where I am sometimes--especially when I wash the floor.  Ah well.  Dog prints make an amazing pattern on the tile!  That leaves the kitchen.  Now, I will tell you, when I'm cleaning, the house has a tendency to throw up into the kitchen.  Everything that doesn't belong anywhere else ends up there.  The counter is full.  The sink is full.  The floor is full.  And I'm in the basement, blogging!  I am definitely a PRO when it comes to cleaning.  By the way, the rest of that word is CRASTINATOR!  It'll be there!
Oops, it's now supper time.  (that would be senior supper time--anytime after 4:00 pm).  I suppose I should finish the kitchen so we can eat.  And if this isn't more than you wanted to know about my day, you're a good sport!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Allow me to introduce myself....

My given name is Ima.  My surname is Idiot!  I have just spent the better part of an hour trying to add names to a group on my Outlook list.  I have been completely ineffective.  I have searched the internet for help.  I have prayed.  I have sworn.  I have quit trying!  You would think a computer teacher would be able to figure this stuff out, wouldn't you?  I am convinced that my brain has decided to go south whilst my body stays here!  The absolute frustration is amazing.  I'm sure when I get up, go do something else, and come back, I will be amazed at how simple it truly was.  Or...this may be my last blog on this computer as i put my fist through it!  :)  I suppose the up-side of this event would be curly hair caused by the electric current flowing through my body.  Wait...that would require hair.  Maybe I've just discovered a new hair club for men?  Hmmmm.  So, here's my question:  how's your day going?  May it be amazing, stunning, worthwhile, and above all else, Outlook free!  Know you are loved!

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.  Ane Idiot (that would be Ima's brother) would be able to solve my problem in outlook.  Only a special idiot could be this dense.  I finally gave up and called a toll free number courtesy google to solve my problem.  A gentleman by the name of Prashant Arora at was very patient and attempted to fix my problem remotely.  During the process, he did get to a point on my screen where I thought the problem could be solved, but he skimmed over it, telling me that it wasn't important.  He then proceeded to tell me it was my computer's fault that Outlook didn't work.  And for the small price of $299.00 ($399.00 for a longer subscription!) he could fix this and any other problems I had.  Hmmmmm.  I thanked him for the offer and told him I would return his call if I decided to opt for the program.  I then opened Outlook, found where he had been (that skimming, unimportant part) and discovered that my problem was solved in two clicks.  Go figure!  For just a little frustration (and a sales pitch that I really didn't need), I am now an expert at adding names to an outlook group.  And for $199.95, I'll gladly explain the process.  Ask for the friends and family discount.  It's $199.95!  Be safe.  Be careful out there, and remember I love you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I have determined, carbohydrates are a gift from god!  Is it at all possible to fix potatoes in a way that they don't taste good?  Can bread really be bad for you?  Even the fresh-baked, just out of the oven kind that's sitting on our counter for the dinner tonight (less a butt end slathered with enough butter to choke a horse)?  And now, Uffda Chips!  They are little bits of heaven made by deep frying lefse.  And then salted!  For the unindoctrinated,  lefse is a Scandinavian treat made by adding butter, cream. sugar, salt and flour to mashed potatoes and then rolling them thin and frying them on a grill.  They are, of course, slathered with butter when eaten (and as every Norwegian I know shudders and crosses their eyes, a little sprinkle of sugar before rolling doesn't hurt!).  Now deep fat fry the result...Ah...did you hear it?  Another artery just closed!  Oh how I envy those of you who do not hear the siren call of the carb!  How lucky to not be tempted by potato chips, french fries, tater tots, twice baked potatoes, toast with peanut butter, sourdough anything, pie, cake, cookies...lord, I just gained five pounds.  For me, there is a direct link from any carp to the pleasure center of my brain.  Oh, I do refrain.  I only eat potatoes prepared in fat one week a year.  I limit my intake of bread.  I eat Atkin's candy bars (okay, 1/2 a candy bar--1 total carb!) instead of dessert.  But on those rare occasions when that stubborn streak recedes, the flesh is weak, and the mind is willing, I splurge.  In fact, I believe there is another butt end calling me right now!  May all your problems be this trivial, and may you rest assured, always, that you are loved!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The ponderables

As I sit here, one of a series of large, problematic questions weighs heavily on my mind.  Should I blog, or should I do the dishes?  "Dishes?", you ask.  Dishes.  As I write, pie crust number two is blind baking in the oven and the French bread is proofing in the warming oven.  My kitchen is in a "Oh god, who let Lucille in here?" condition (Ms. Lucy could take a completely clean kitchen and in no time at all, have every utensil, every pan, and every baking dish sitting on the counter.  Genetics.  I claim genetics!), and the wise choice would be to stay on top of the dishes.  At times, apparently, wisdom can be trumped by desire!  I ask you:  Who wouldn't rather sit at the computer and demonstrate his cleverness rather than clean a kitchen?
Pie crust number two is out!  And it smells wonderful.  You can't even detect the aroma of the vodka I used to make it.  (I'll wait for that to sink in!)  Tomorrow night is the kickoff meeting the the 2013-2014 drama study club, to which I am an honorary member (due to a chromosomal difference) and to which my lovely bride belongs.  This group of 20 women meet once a month for the purpose of "studying" a particular play and enjoying each others' company.  I think B trumps A, but I'm just an outsider.  For the past dozen years, the kick-off meeting has been a dinner that my bride, her sister, and I prepare, and her sister and I serve.  Tomorrow's menu begins with blt bites (black cherry tomatoes stuffed with a cream cheese, bacon, mayonnaise filling), avocado salsa with lefse chips (!) and tortilla scoops, followed by two different kinds of lasagna, (one with meat, one not), the French bread that is proofing, an orange and cranberry salad, and lemon meringue pies (with a little chocolate fudge on the side!) for dessert.  (I know.  I know.  Lemon and fudge on the same plate?  Well, the fudge will be individually wrapped to be consumed at a later date, but come on...a meal without fudge?)  Early tomorrow morning I will give sight to the blind baked shells, put together the lasagna, and avocado the salsa.  Early afternoon I will bake the bread, joyfully wed the greens for the salad, make the dressing, and bake the lasagna.  Then we will pack everything up and take it over the Liz's house to serve.  Some would say we're crazy.  But speaking for myself, I'm in heaven.  To me, there is no better way to tell someone you love them than feed them good food.  Now, if I could only invite you to join us, you would know, too, that you are loved!  And you are!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

all is right with my world

Immediately the self-fulfilling prophesy will come true.  The excrement will hit the rapidly rotating blades of the cooling device.  Following that title, it's inevitable.  I'm going to take that chance.  Allow me to elucidate.  I am in that post bike, pre hot-tub position, comfortably exhausted from the chance to exercise and anticipating the calming sprays of the jets.  The temperature--just at 60--is cool enough to make both events pleasurable.  Bike rides exist in my world for two purposes.  First, obviously, the exercise.  I wish to stave off dementia as long as possible (or, for those of you who know me, try to keep it from advancing a little longer!)  Second, it allows me time to think.  As I was taking the curves of the bike trail a little faster than I should (you gotta love the adrenalin of not knowing whether you'll walk home or ride!) I replayed last night in my mind.  You remember--last night was my 45th class reunion.  And to be quite truthful, I was nervous.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  To cover my bases, it must be reported that I did take fudge!  In retrospect, the night was amazing.  I got to see and talk to a great number of the people that had an impact on my formative years.  My first real crush was there.  My next three crushes were there.  The people I admired were there.  But there wasn't really a time to sit and talk to any of them.  Three to five minutes isn't enough to tell them their import on and in my life.  But it was good.  And I am GLAD that I went!  The trip home was wet but uneventful.  Today, there was church, a birthday party for our great niece, some prep work for a dinner party for which we are responsible on Tuesday, some comestibles, and the bike ride.  Back to the bike.  As I turned off the bike path onto the road home, the sun (you know, that amazingly bright, amazingly orange ball) was right on the horizon in front of me.  In the east, the waxing gibbous moon (look it up--I had to!) was taking its rightful place.  The sun met the horizon and the sky turned a brilliant orange.  The shape-shifting clouds quickly became an opaque gray on top with wispy orange tentacles reaching toward the earth.  It was glorious.  And the thought occurred to me:  at this very point in time, my world had achieved a synchronous orbit!  Everything was where it should be.  Everyone was where they should be.  My mind and my heart were both full of the knowledge that right then I was the luckiest person in the world.  Friends.  A wife who is willing to put up with me.  A family that loves each other.  AND my own personal sunset.  There's nothing left to do but wait!  And tell are loved!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

to the ladies who are fighting

Two special friends have been diagnosed with stage four cancer in the last month.  Each is a retired teacher.  Each is an amazing woman.  Surprisingly enough, their names with one exception are the same.  One ends with an E.  One ends with an A. 
E and I go way back.  The times we have spent working for our common cause have built a bond that can't be broken.  Her amazing attitude and willingness to serve are brilliant role models for all people.  A quick laugh.  A beautiful smile.  A growing aptitude for computer generated work.  And the best recipe for caramel pull-aparts I have ever found and/or made.  Common sense is her north star, and supporting her friends her mantra.  And now, literally, a fight for her life.  You continue to amaze and humble me, E!
A is a recent addition to our family of friends.  With the most beautiful of smiles, she unstintingly gives of her time and herself for a variety of folk, but especially, for the state organization of retired teachers.  She has served as the editor of the newsletter (oh my god, can you possibly give any more than that?) and now as our executive secretary (an unpaid and under-complimented position!).  To know her is to marvel at her ability and revel in her love for life.  Another amazing and humbling woman.
A & E battle the big C.  They do it with class.  They do it with fervor.  They do it because we, their friends, are not done with them!  Whether you believe in prayer or not, I would ask you to do two things:  1) LIVE and GIVE to those around you, as A and E do.  2)  Keep good thoughts and positive vibes for these two wonderful women.
I am a better person because of the two of you.  The English teacher in me and only put it this way:  A and E...I O U!  Know how much you all are loved!

Friday, September 13, 2013


takes one of two meanings:  today is the finale of the 2013 KI-YI festivities.  When I taught, I was of two minds (for those of you who have maintained for years I don't even have one, SURPRISE!).  Mind one--the educator.  The entire week was an uproar.  Sequence vanished.  Attention span deteriorated (and probably more for this teacher than his students).  Focus was obviously possible, but not on curriculum.  A colossal waste of time, educationally speaking.  And I know you will find this hard to believe, but I did at times suggest this is how I felt!  Mind two--the educator.  What an amazing way to pull a school together.  Unity of purpose.  Creativity.  Team spirit.  (Never mind the freshmen didn't DARE walk in the senior hall!).  And TRADITION!  We've lost a lot of that, and I think that is sad.  So as I sat outside the Jenkin's care facility with my lovely wife and our aunt watching the parade, I was a bit nostalgic.  Well, until the class of 1983 went by and I knew them!  Then it was real...and real fun.  So...Rock those vans, baby!  Enjoy and support your school! 
Tomorrow is a different kind of homecoming--MY 45th class reunion.  Talk about nostalgic.  For the past week, I have been flashing back.  And no--it's not that kind of flash back.  I haven't done those drugs yet!  I've read the profiles of those who will be there and remember what a PITA I was then.  Of course, no one really knew it.  I was the "good" kid.  But there was that time when a certain young lady and I conspired to drive one of our teachers to the brink.  Seems as how he was quite religious.  It was our junior year.  We wrote love letters to each other and left them lying about for him to find.  You have to understand, this was 1967, so these "torrid" love letters were amazingly tame by today's standards, but they did the trick.  I recall a "I/m really concerned about your soul" discussion between him and me.  Somehow, I managed to keep a straight face!  She will be there!  There was this drop-dead-gorgeous young lady on whom I had an amazing crush.  She will be there.  There was this young gentleman who had a rabbit hutch and we used to sit outside and tell dirty stories (the one about the young English girl coming home from finishing school is still my favorite to tell!).  He'll be there.  And one of the myriad of followers of my blog (you know who you are!  It's relatively easy, since I only have 15!)...she'll be there.  She married one of my classmates!  My senior debate partner will be there.  The amazing lady who sat next to me in band will be there.  My friend the lawyer will be there. My friend the doctor will be there.  My friend the military VIP will be there.  And one of our classmates stated it best.  With the variety of occupations and hobbies we engender, we could make an amazing community.  I'll settle for an amazing evening of reminiscing, libations, and realization that Thomas Wolfe was can go home again!  I'll report back!  And know you are loved!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

random questions

Does anything taste as good as a tomato fresh from the vine? 

Is it possible when volunteering that you actually get more than you give?

Don't old people rock?

Isn't it great to live in a place where you can turn around and not run into someone?

How lucky is it that I chose well in love?

Do you ever get over losing your parents?

How can the clothes chute fill so quickly when I don't change clothes that often?

Does anyone else turn the sprinkler on and forget it...overnight?

Would I sleep better if I put my I-Pad away earlier?

What's your favorite food?

Can Meatloaf sing?

Why does the bobbin on the sewing machine always run out before the project is done?

Why would a man know anything about a sewing machine?

Is this still my first childhood, and if so, will puberty be hard on me?

Isn't it amazing what a lack of sleep can do to a normally semi-sane blogger?

Who loves ya, baby?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

to experimentation

It's in the oven.  That would be the vegetarian lasagna we are trying out for a dinner we're cooking.  Got the recipe from the net.  Didn't follow it exactly.  SURPRISE!  Hedged my bets.  Invited the neighbor over for lunch in case we needed to get rid of it!  Don't tell her that!  20 years ago, if you had told me that I would be cooking vegetarian lasagna, I would have frowned, called you names under my breath, scoffed, and walked away.  I mean, really?  Spinach?  Artichoke hearts?  Alfredo sauce?  Vegetable broth?  I DON'T think so.  Amazing how things have a tendency to change.  What then would have sounded gross now sounds kind of appealing.  Truly makes me realize how important it is to be open to those changes.  As I age, I have a tendency to rely on the old favorites.  Love those situation comedies.  Revel in meat and potatoes.  Still think running is god's punishment for leading a bad life.  In other words, if it ain't broke....  However, I've also realized that if I don't try something new, I'll always be the same.  And while, as you know, I'm okay with who I am, I'm not done yet!  Don't be sticking no fork in me!  I'm ready for that new experience.  I'm willing to try anything that isn't extremely life threatening.  (Have I told you about my desire to parachute?)  I'm even open to the fact that meatless main dishes have their place!  While the breath continues to go in and out, the heart continues to pump, and the brain continues to function (on occasion), experimentation is the rule of the day.  And if something doesn't turn out...we have lots of neighbors!  Try something new today and know you are loved!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

to livin' large

For those of you who live your life ignorant of the important celebrations in life (or those of you under the age of 60), it's national assisted living week, and little billy is speaking at one of our facilities!  It's been an interesting journey to the speech topic, but here it is..."How to grow old without getting old!"  Once the topic took root, the delineation became problematic.  Growing old is inevitable and desired, since the only way one doesn't grow old is to die young!  And 20 years ago one of my students told me I should be happy because I could no longer do that!  20 years!  I suggested if she didn't change her attitude, she might...but it was an idle threat, I'm sure!  Surprisingly, I digress.  We can most definitely try not to get old!  I'm always looking for a hook--something on which to hang my ideas.  It became live Large (abbreviated LGE).  First, I will share with them the health and psychological benefits of Laughter.  Two recent studies suggest humor makes you smarter (!) and laughter decreases the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.  Something about expanding the endothelium!  The most recent issue of the AARP magazine addresses the fact that exercise can reduce dementia and the onset of Alzheimer's.  By 60%!  I will tell them they need to Get up and Get Going.  Hopefully, they will join me in a little rhythmic exercise.  Hey, they're in a Catholic home.  If they don't have rhythm, who does?  Finally, I will encourage them to Enrich the lives of those around them by being a force of good.  No matter how old we get, there is always something positive we have to offer.  Of course, I will tell them also that they need to make their own lives better by Eating Fudge!  But that's a given!  So there you have it.  The way to grow old but not get old, in a nutshell!  Hopefully, when I'm done, they won't have determined I should move in with them!  So get out there and live large, and know you are loved!

Monday, September 9, 2013


There are things that I will only share with my most personal friends.  For you who also follow Facebook posts, you will discover that on Saturday, I will be going to my 45th class reunion.  From this you can draw two brilliant deductions.  One--I am old.  Two, I am old!  However, the event has put my thinking cap into reverse, and I'm 14 again (this time, chronologically--mentally I've been 14 for 50 years!).  I'm a loud-mouthed attention seeker who, to put it kindly, is "fluffy".  Okay.  I was fat.  I was un-athletic (and oh, my, god, is that an understatement).  I was teased about both.  In truth, I believe the catch word is bullied.  I can't even begin to imagine what my life had been like if social media had been invented!  As it were, it could have been wretched.  And at times, it probably was.  But thankfully, I was born with and raised with the philosophy that everyone had a god-given talent.  Everyone had worth.  Instead of caving into the philosophy that I was a waste of oxygen, I searched for and found my mantra.  I couldn't do anything better than anyone.  There were better speakers, better actors, better cookers, better singers, better band members, better everything.  But I could speak, act, cook, sing, and play my horn well enough to earn the recognition I sought.  My "thing" if you will, was to be more "rounded" than those who would cast aspersions.  (Understand, I unfortunately took that both mentally and physically!)  And most importantly, I was surrounded by love.  My parental units took me as I was, and praised what I could do.  My sister unit would have died any number of times because of my actions, but I knew if push came to shove, she was in my corner.  My friends laughed with me, not at me, and thank god I discovered debate!  It was to make life bearable whilst I aged and provide me with an amazing start to a career once I graduated college!  Granted, there were times when my feelers were hurt.  There were times the tears came in gigantic sobs.  But I am convinced, if I hadn't gone through that stage of my life, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  And, I'm okay with who I am.  Not the best...not the worst...but as good as any...and a better fudge maker than most!  So Saturday I will celebrate with my classmates that we have made it this far.  I will hug the ladies (and the men).  I will probably tell a joke or two.  I will take fudge.  And I will let them know that they, like you, are loved!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

past Lake Area Technical Institute

Take two.  Seems as how I had this blog almost finished once when I clicked the wrong key and erased the whole thing.  Got it back.  Clicked another key.  Gone.  Forever.  Grand Coulee!  Once more, with feeling.
Went for a bike this morning and headed home taking the LATI cut-off.  Side note--this took us right by a good friend's house who is having some significant health issues and I was reminded of the amazing times we had had together.  I was reminded that we have a tendency to deal with our own pain, but can't accept the fact that friends have to suffer.  It's just not right.  Anyhow, after a quiet prayer and those good memories, we moved on.
LATI.  WOW!  What an amazing campus.  We had a tour of the new ag building last week and I was reminded of what this institution was like when I first moved to town.  It now hosts over 1600 students, an amazing staff, and a gorgeous campus.  Quite the difference.  Of course, I believe it has to do with three issues.  #1-  It is a performance based educational concept.  Unlike the traditional classroom, where you "learn" the "stuff" and regurgitate it on a pen and paper test, the way you show mastery at LATI is performance.  What an amazing idea.  Show you can...not you can memorize!  This perhaps explains the unusually high placement rate and the fact that the school has been recognized as one of the top five two year institutions in the US of A for the last two years.  Now, if only the high schools around the nation would understand this success model!  #2- Staff!  What a dedicated group of professionals.  Each has been trained in his/her field and has demonstrated success in that field.  Couple that with the caring attitude toward their students, and the success will follow, as it has.  Meet them and you will understand.  #3- Administration.  It must be stated that the president of LATI is one of our closest friends, so I understand the bias principle is in effect.  Never-the-less...Ms. Shephard is amazing.  Her leadership style is exemplary.  I believe the new buzz words are, get the right people on the bus, get them in the right seat, and then let them do what they do so well.  Her care and concern of both her faculty and her students are the things that engender the success they are experiencing.  Her unwavering forward-looking approach explains the new fields of study, the advanced placement of the students, and the amazing facility!  Put these three basic concepts together, and the city of Watertown, the state, and the nation are the beneficiaries of an amazing educational system.  And all this from a bike ride!  Think what might have happened had we been walking! 
A day of positives.  Exercise.  Memories.  Admiration.  And above all love--for my bicycle partner and my friends.  May you find your positives as well!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

from the man cave!


Yes indeed.  Technology and little Billy have come to an accord.  I am now the owner of an I-pad Mini and a full size roll up Blue-tooth keypad!  This 21st century stuff is really kind of fun!  Now all I have to do is figure out how to use the thing.  Easy, you say?  Well, let me put things in perspective.  When we got home from the store last night I immediately wanted to be sure the little devil was fully charged, so I take out the cord and the plug  Now, I'm advanced enough to know the plug goes in the wall.  But there's this lightning adapter thing that goes into the I-pad.  Sure it does  If you know where to put it.  I search for the connection.  Cath searches for the connection.  It's hidden.  It's been a long day.  I'm tired.  I am willing to admit defeat.  So I put it down and pretend it doesn't bother me that I can't even plug the darn thing in.  That lasts about 25 seconds.  I will not let a piece of equipment get the best of me, I Google how to plug it in.  Let me tell you, there are hundreds of articles about how much power an I-pad mini has and all the things it has to offer!  NONE of them says how to power the devil up.  After 20 minutes of searching, I mistake upon a diagram that shows the different parts of the mini.  Voila--there it is--right where it should be.  I even figured out how to charge the key-pad.  I can now go to sleep assured that in the morning, I will be ready to go.  Morning comes.  The I-pad is charged.  I get to move on to the next challenge.  Aps!  Now understand, my flip phone doesn't do aps!  And there are a lot of them!  I could be looking at aps for the next thirty years.  I never have to leave home again!  I think I even found a bathroom ap!  Maybe not.  Anyhoo, here I sit in my man cave with the television playing oldies, the roofers next door running the air compressor so I can barely hear the oldies, realizing that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  It just takes a while!  If you need me in the next few days, you'll know where to find me!  Heck, just e me!  My Mini will let me know!  Oh, and the ezbz ap says to tell you you are loved!

Friday, September 6, 2013


The thermometer on the dash says 92.  My stomach says Hu-Hot was a good choice for lunch.  In the back, riding peacefully, are 102 rolls of toilet paper, 36 rolls of paper towels, varietal dog products, and 50 pounds of sugar!  You gotta love Sam's club.  Of course  one of the major impeti of the trip was the Crystal sugar.  To my knowledge, I can't get the ten pound bags in least for under $5.00 a bag.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  And Crystal sugar is what I need to make fudge.  Okay, maybe "need" is an over statement.   But it's my sugar of choice.  And that brings us to...
Fudge!  Lord how I wish I had kept track of the pounds of fudge that have left our house.  And it's all Adeline's fault!  Understand, when I was getting older (I still am forbidden to allude to the process as "growing up") Miss Lucille used to make GREAT fudge at Christmas.  So, my first year at Watertown Junior High, I decided to try my hand at making the sweet treat.  I took some to school, and Adeline, the custodian, thought it was good enough to have me make some for her.  I did.  Then she wondered about different favors, so little Billy started experimenting.  And of course, if it is made, it must be eaten!  Enter the concept of sharing.  And it just grew from there. I started the speaking thing, and the fudge just fit in.  Then there were the auctions, and people liked it.  The great thing is, I love to make it!  New flavors are a challenge, and what better way to share the love?  So...while the paper products are necessary, and the dog treats will be appreciated, the sugar will allow me in yet another way to tell you you are loved!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

to the little things

Have you ever noticed how the "big" things in life have a tendency to take over?  For the 3,232,152 time, I was looking at the Africa pictures, trying to decide which elephant picture was best.  Where was the best shot of the warthog?  And did I really need 3180 pictures of giraffes?  When I cam across this shot.  As I recall, it was an extremely small capture--but one that really shows off!  The fighting hippos movie takes my breath away.  The lion, close enough to reach out a pet, sends chills down my spine.  The memory of the elephants chasing the lions is one I will never forget.  And yet, I come back to this shot.  It was just there...surviving...flourishing...making its own statement!  And it reminded me that spectacular doesn't have to be the biggest.  Spectacular doesn't have to be the loudest.  Spectacular doesn't have to grab the spotlight.  Spectacular is that small part of the big picture that somehow manages to create quietly exist.  And isn't there that part of the grand scheme of things in all of us?  We have a tendency to miss the small, enticing things by getting caught up in the larger effect.  We need to spend a little more time reveling in the quiet, amazing parts that each of us has!  And that's my philosophical diatribe for the day!  By the way, the elephant, the giraffes, the lions, and the warthog will take center stage in the soon-to-be-created powerpoint, available soon for oral discussion and viewing.  But NEVER underestimate the beauty that is often hidden, and know how much you are loved!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

to the next season

So...we're on our bikes, heading north on Broadway, when my olfactory sense sends a message to the part of my brain that's still working (god forbid it gets overloaded!);  autumn!  Granted, the temp is supposed to get to 90 for the next three days. But there was that distinct leaf smell that says change is on the way.  Oh, and football starts tomorrow night.  Whee!  (For those of you who don't really know me, the sarcasm in that "whee" was as great as you can imagine.  All I can say is I'm happy for my espoused and all my friends who enjoy the sport.)  There was a time when the end of a season marked direct changes in my life.  The end of summer meant back to work.  The end of autumn meant Christmas season.  The end of winter meant more winter, and the end of spring (that elusive little devil) meant school was out.  Now, amazingly enough, they all just pass.  Yeah, it's hot.  Yeah, it's cold.  But little changes in world.  Shorts become sweatpants.  Bare feet put on socks and shoes.  Bring out the sweatshirt.  Or go visit someone who is smart enough to be where it is warm!  One day follows another, and each in its own way provides a reason to celebrate, a reason to bitch, and a reason to reflect.  The trick is to spend the majority of my time on A and C!  B is kind of a useless waste of breath, and I really hate to miss any of that!  Perhaps it's the onset of my 64th year.  Perhaps it's the realization that my 45th class reunion is next week.  Perhaps it's the hips, the knees, the other varietal joints.  Or perhaps, it's just as time has passed, I've discovered it really doesn't matter what the temperature is, what the season is, or what foolishness we have embroiled ourselves in, EVERY day is amazing!  So bring it on.  Fall, leaves.  You'll be back next spring.  Fall, snow.  You'll be gone next summer.  Bloom tulips.  No matter how hard I have worked to kill you off, every spring you return!  And grow, zucchini.  I will find SOMEONE who wants you!  In short, the next season will be the best it can be.  I will embrace it.  I will cherish it, as I do you!  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

ode to the mundane

At 2:22, the mind was awake; the body, alas, not in sync
Sweet slumber eluded our Billy last night, affording some time for to think.
Oh try as he may, soporifics were nil, the tv was no help at all
The internet players of bridge were quite rude so off for a run was the call.

Upon his return, the joints they did ache, the breath it was short but alas
Whilst tiring out the body a bit, the mind it was still on full gas.
You see, in the morning, presenting was due and timing was first thought in line
10 minutes they said would be what he did have. 10 minutes?  That's simply and truly not fine.

Impossibly short for a point to be made, the intros last longer than that
10 minutes it was to be over and done...the chance, as they say, was quite fat.
But up to a challenge (well up any way!) the mind did its thing on its own
Ideas they did clamor around in that void, and seeds of solution were sown.

Scatology was the receptor of choice--now get the ideas in a group
What can you tell this wonderful crowd?  How will you excite them with poop?
The answer quite simple, it popped into head--don't treat them as if they were fools
Share concepts and thoughts and put it succinct--just tell them the primary rules.

Crap happens, it's true as we all can attest; Avoidance a pitiful ruse
Bad things seem to happen to all sad and good, on this you can ask them to muse.
Rule two a bit dicey, straightforward you go, at least at this time that's the plan
Not evenly divided this load full of crap whenever it locates the fan!

Conceptually speaking, the idea was great.  On these I could limit to ten
My hope was that audience make up would be--few women primarily men!
Of course I'm not stupid, my bases I psyche it gives me a nudge
They'll tolerate you and the message you have if in the end they all do get fudge!

I'm here to report that the speech it went well.  Receptive were they to the speech
It lasted 10 minutes 15 seconds more--that goal I surely did reach
And smiling they were at the end when I said, perception was what they did need
Get up get going recover my plea when crap did creep up and breed.

So now it is noontime and speech it is past, the eyelids are starting to droop
Perhaps when I'm sleeping the mind it will cease continually thinking of poop.
And oh, by the way, there was quite a stir--most smiling and nary a frown
When fudge it was offered to all who were there--you see it was soft--and was brown!

May all your slumbers be joyful and know that you are loved!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bond...James Bond

If you want to stimulate a true controversy, simply ask the question, "Who is the best James Bond?"  The obvious answer is Sean Connery, but there are those aficionados who will proclaim with all certainty, Roger Moore.  Oh sure, you may get a few Lazenby's, perhaps a few Brosnins, and this Daniel fellow of late, but for sheer gut-wrenching, post pubescent excitement, no one touches Connery.  After all, he was the first--the prototype.  Understand--if Ian Fleming wrote it, I read it.  If there's been a James Bond movie, I've seen it.  That, of course, makes me an expert!  And from my lofty position of Know-it-all, I believe I have just put the controversy to rest. 
You may well be asking yourself, what the heck does this have to do with anything--especially on Labor Day?  Following a four hour pontoon picnic with our family on one of the most strikingly gorgeous summer days we have had, my sunburned body was ready for a little light escapism to cap off the day.  Well, it seems as if there was a JB marathon on one of the 230,415 channels on cable tv celebrating today (a correlation that I simply cannot understand) and I managed to find it!  Voila!  I immediately became 14 again.  Never mind the fact that Mr. Bond was a stereotypical chauvinist--a womanizer--a sexist of the highest order.  Never mind that the solutions he found invariably led to the demise of hundreds of human beings.  His quick wit, his clever Q-esque contraptions, and his bevy of beauties overcame those minor peccadilloes.  He was, after all, the good bad boy we all wanted to be.  And of course he always beat the bad guys, got the girl, and left us smiling!  The proverbial happy ending.
Wait...I think I get it.  Every person out there who labors allows us to search for our own happy ending.  Whether they protect us, provide for us, create for us, build for us, feed us, transport us, clothe us, inspire us, heal us, teach get the picture...we are blessed with the opportunity to find that which makes us happy.  There is no way we could exist alone.  It is the hundreds of thousands of workers who toil to make our lives better.  And it is these individuals for whom today exists. 
Clever, these network professionals.  Who would have known how subtle they could be in reminding us to say thanks to the people that make life better?  See how well they have created a tie between and among the entire nation...a Bond, if you will, that should be celebrated!  And I do!  Know you are appreciated and loved!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Honkin' big cucumbers

You gardeners know of what I speak:  those wily cucumbers that manage to hide from you for a significant amount of time and then you trip over them because they are so large?!  Well, apparently my Y chromosome has truly been working whilst picking, and day before yesterday I discovered about 10 of these behemoths.  Now, you have to understand, sometimes I have this little stubborn streak.  Says I, there must be something to do with these honkers.  So to Google I go for a recipe for mock apple ring pickles (we had received some from the neighbor a couple years ago and Cath really liked them, so...).  Here's the process.  Pick the stupid things.  Peel the stupid things.  Slice the stupid things.  Core the stupid things.  Find a five gallon bucket, mix the pickling lime with the water and place the stupid things in this mixture.  Cover and let sit 24 hours.  Yes.  24 hours.  Drain the stupid things.  Rinse the stupid things until the water runs clear.  Place the stupid things back into the five gallon bucket with ice water.  Let the stupid things soak for 3 hours.  Combine the brine ingredients.  Place the stupid things in the brine on the stove and simmer for 2 hours.  Meanwhile, mix up the pickling melange and bring it to a boil, waiting for the tiny red hots to melt.  (Have you ever really tried to melt red hots?  FOREVER!)  Sterilize the jars.  Sterilize the lids and screw on caps.  Drain the stupid things.  Place the stupid things one by one into the jars.  Cover with the hot liquid.  Lid and screw the stupid things (by now, the most appropriate four words I can think of!).  Place on counter and cover with a cloth.  Wait for the stupid things to seal.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop.  Pop!  (Of course, this was over a 12 hour period, the sound of which was a blessing to my ears!)  Now to wait the two weeks before we can see if they are even edible!  Betty Crocker, eat your heart out!
You may have noticed a bit of redundancy in the above literary effort.  I am totally convinced it is not the cucumbers that were stupid.  Next time, when I find one of those big suckers, it goes in the compost bin.  Once bitten, twice shy!  Stay tuned for the taste test to see how truly stupid I may have been. 
May all your cucumbers be picked at just the right size, may all your efforts be timely and enjoyable, and if you ever have 53 hours to spend, let me know.  I have a stupid idea for you!  What's not so stupid?  The fact that you are loved!