Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I wish...

that everyone could have sat in on the mock interviews I did with eighth graders this morning.  I think it's amazing that I must have had the cream of the crop!  Each was well dressed.  Each had a fundamental resume and application.  Each was extremely pleasant and easy to interview.  There were so many different personalities, it almost made me wish I were still playing with kids.  Notice, it said almost!  There wasn't a one that I wouldn't have hired.  I truly believe in the adage, "hire the attitude, train the skill."  And with attitudes like this, ezbz fudge could go international!  I believe in performance based education.  Each of these students had to show what they knew and use it appropriately!  What a great lesson, and what great teachers!  Kudos to fact....kudos to all who teach our children!  We are amazingly lucky you do what you do!  Now, for a piece of fudge....  Know you are loved!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

As I sit here

in the man cave, wrapped in a Biederlach, looking out at the trees bending to the will of a strong north wind, I wander to places we have been.  I remember the intolerable heat of Zion, made tolerable by misters and a walk up the Narrows in the river...and smile.  The 40 shades of green (and the Blarney castle and stone) of Ireland warm my heart.  Watching the sun try to shine through the clouds as we sit on the outskirts of Angkor Wat in the early morning hours encourages me to see the beauty around me...despite the clouds.  The volcano erupting in Costa Rica,  the hike on the glaciers in Norway and Argentina, the botanical gardens in Christchurch, center court Wimbledon, and baking my soaking boots in an oven in the Canadian Rockies all remind me how blessed and lucky we have been!  I can put up with a little rain...a little cold...a lot of gray.  The sun will shine again, I will complain of the heat, and we will make more memories to see me through the blahs!  So be it with you, and know you are loved!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The current state of affairs

My eyes agree; decision reached, they're tired and one's weak
My tooth some years ago was capped, I think it's sprung a leak.
And leak's a truly nasty word when speaking of my bladder
So here's the rub to end all rubs, they say it will get badder!

But bitching and complaining will exacerbate bad mood
And language quick to come to tongue considered really rude
Enjoy the good things as they come, alternative's not pretty
For life's too short to spend much time ensconced in pity city!

I've family up with me will put, a wife who's shown her worth.
For 40 years she has endured my moods, my "jokes", my girth
And friends who make life easier, thank gods who live above
Who needs the eyes, the teeth, and such when one enjoys their love?

Mistakes and errors have I made--from these I've learned a deal
I've found a way to smile at me--and haven't missed a meal
My life ain't perfect I'll admit, but say I now with verve
I'll take it all and thank the lord I've missed what I deserve!

Every story needs a moral.  Mine hangs in our kitchen:
We don't stop laughing because we grow old.  We grow old when we stop laughing!
Know you are loved!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

bz's if/then's

1.  If you think you won't need something, give it away.  The need will quickly come to the surface.
2.  If you think something looks "pretty delicious" and therefore you make it, you will quickly discover that form over substance is not a good choice.
3.  If you think that April 26 should be a nice spring day, you will quickly discover that Mother Nature does not keep a calendar.
4.  If you think the dreadmill is a good form of exercise, you would be wrong.
5.  If you believe that leaving clothes in a dryer overnight won't be a problem, you will discover a new wrinkle on life.
6.  If you think continuous winds above 20 miles an hour for a period of days is not a good thing, you should not live in Northeastern South Dakota
7.  If you think it isn't possible for a dog to suffer from OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive/Dog!), you haven't met Lambchop who only eats a piece of food after turning her head from side to side 15 times before she eats.
8.  If you believe in the innate goodness of all men, God bless you!
9.  If you believe at any time that you are unloved, you are wrong!
10. If you made it this far, then you are to be congratulated!  Life in its very nature is good.  Go forth and return that good!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Peeved? I don't think so!

I was so ready to be peeved.  I wanted it!  I thought I was entitled.  After all, who do they think they are?  Not allowing everything to be done on my time in my way!
What is he talking about?  Why does he rave incessantly about the most trivial of things?  Fair questions.  Let me bring you up to speed.  We have a design for a t-shirt ready to be screen printed.  Since it is above 40 and I am NOT going to run today, I thought I should walk downtown to set up the printing.  It was 9:15.  A leisurely walk would get me there by 9:30, the time at which I thought any merchant would be open.  I walked a little faster than anticipated.  9:25 and not one of the three screen printing establishments was open.  I could deal with that.  Walk over to the grocery store and purchase needed sustenance for preparing supper.  Run into a good friend.  Talk for a while.  Purchase my groceries.  Wander back to main street.  9:45.  No one is open.  So I figures, probably 10:00, Bill!  Head for the Goss (coffee shop) for a cup of non-polluted (see Facebook entry today) coffee and a scone (white chocolate and raspberry).  Enjoy a leisurely pleasant repast.  10:05.  Wander across the street.  Closed.  Closed. And Closed.  Stop in at a former student's establishment to see if he did screen printing.  He said he jobbed it one of the three shops that was closed.  He also informed me that it WAS Saturday, so they were probably closed for all day.  What?  Closed for all day?  When I "need" something done?  How rude!
You are now up to speed.  My first reaction?  See opening paragraph.  Then, however, I thought about it.  How smart of them to realize there are other things in life than work.  How common sense of them to realize that there probably are no life or death situations in the screen printing business.  Whatever "needed" to be done could wait until Monday.  Hopefully, they were doing something of priority they wanted done, or, in lieu of that, having a good time doing something they wanted to do.  You see, I object to the philosophy that every business should cater to my every whim.  On special holidays, they SHOULD be closed.  Easter.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  Weekends.  My birthday.  All the biggies.  If I can't plan ahead enough to have what I need for those days, shame on me.  I can just make do.  And once they set normal business hours, I should be able to plan around them. 
So, I am not peeved.  Instead, I am pleased for them, and from now on, if there's a chance they're not open, I'll call before I walk.  Besides, the walk did me some good!  Enjoy your Saturday and know you are loved!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Phriday Phood Philosophy --- Hopeless romantic...realistic old fart

I love this time of my life.  It's when the two polar opposites come into play.  By nature, I see the good in everything.  I look to the future with anticipation.  I enjoy every task that befalls me.  Also by nature, the years have taught me a few lessons that I really didn't need to know.  But I learned.  Here's how my life plays out.
Hopeless romantic...first snowfall.  How gorgeous.  How fun.  Time to play with the skis and the snowshoes.
ROF...last snowfall.  Thank you Jesus!  If I have to shovel one more time I am going to drink heavily and continue to flip off the weatherman.
Hopeless romantic...first striping of the lawn in the spring (some foolishly call it fertilizing!).  Great.  Finally I get to play in the dirt.
ROF...56th time I've mowed the yard.  Will it never snow?
Hopeless romantic...Forsythia is blooming.  How gorgeous.  What a burst of yellow in the yard.
ROF...pollen?  Is that pollen in the air?  Achoo
Hopeless romantic...Rainbow ice cream cake with three kinds of sherbet, pecans, toasted coconut, and marshmallows.  Yes!
ROF...three days of preparation to serve ice cream for desert?  I don't think that will happen again.  Instead, lets have stuffed brownies!

1 family size brownie mix
1 pkg. dark chocolate chips
1 small pkg. coconut
eggs, oil, and water as described in brownie mix directions.

Prepare the brownie mix as per label instructions.  Spray bottom of a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.  Spread half the prepared brownies on bottom.  Sprinkle with chips.  Sprinkle with coconut.  Cover with remaining brownie.  Bake as per minimum time on brownie mix directions.  Drool and Enjoy!

Finally, agreement between the hopeless romantic and ROF!  These rock, and you are loved!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It is just a rumor...

If you talk to any of my yy chromosomal friends, they will tell you we xy types are babies when we're not feeling well.  That simply isn't true.  A baby can not explain in graphic detail how unfair it is that he has to suffer with the miseries of a cold...or share his dampish Kleenex.  A baby will not whine about every little ache and pain as if he were drawing his last breath.  A baby will not demand to be waited on hand and foot.  A baby will not rationalize that alcohol kills germs so the sure cure for any illness must be a cold Chilada!  And it's darn hard to ignore the whimpering that accompanies each cough or sneeze.  So you see, the comparison just isn't fair or true.  Babies are much easier to care for!  Achoo!  Will someone PLEASE get me a fresh box of Kleenex?  Sniffling and sniveling, remember always you are loved!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A question.

What things have the ability to transport you beyond the mundane?  What floats your boat?  What uncorks your bottle?  You know of what I speak.  If you're having "one of those days", what turns it around?  Or better yet, it's an amazing day.  What makes it better?  And what, you might ask, is the precipitor of all these esoteric questions?  The answer lies in a television program!  Last night, while channel surfing, I happened upon Ellen DeGeneres first HBO special.  I was intrigued.  Her timing is impeccable.  Her facial involvement is stunning.  Her topics?  Well, they were honest and hard hitting.  But the amazing thing was, I was laughing out loud!  And the structure was point on.  She started talking about the fact that during a conversation, she had a tendency to wander, and would attempt to "catch up" when she came back on point by mentioning Gloria Estefan!  This, according to Ellen, was a foolproof way to cover her absence of interest.  She finishes the program with a story about a conversation with God.  And when she was about to leave, God says something to her about Gloria Estefan!   Maybe you had to be there.  For me, intelligent humor makes life so much more entertaining.  Okay, any humor makes life better.  Make me laugh and my mood automatically elevates.  When I speak professionally, my first point invariably speaks to the healing impact of humor!  So if you want to beam me up, make me giggle.  If you want our cruise together to be enjoyable, make me laugh!  And should you uncork a bottle or two, the jokes seem to get funnier!  Whatever, give me a slight chuckle, a belly laugh, a loud guffaw, and I'm yours!
By the way, there are more things that make me all a twitter, and I will definitely share them with you...later.  For now, laugh a little and know you are loved!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A new choice

One is never without choices.  For example, this winter I could choose to run...or not to run.  I usually chose the former due to increased fat intake and retention so that I could stem the numeric increase on the scale on which I can't cheat!  (diagram that, I dare you!)  With the advent of temperatures over 50, a third choice has been added.  A)  I can run, B)  I can bike, or C)  I can not!  This was a bike option day, and on a comparative basis, biking is a little bit of heaven.  Of course, it IS still exercise, and as such, is somewhat suspect from the get go, but compared to running, it is a gift from god.  Don't get me wrong.  C would still be the choice if I thought it were at all prudent, but eating continues to lure me with its siren song, so I must counter attack in some way!  (My god, Zubke, have you ever heard of a simple sentence?) 
For all you century bikers out there...for all you aficionados of killing yourselves with grueling up-hill-both-ways routes...don't call!  There is a limit to what this body will endure.  However, if you're up to a leisurely trip down the bike path, with interesting conversation and frequent stops, I'm yours!  Unless of course, C wins!  Enjoy whatever makes you happy, and know you are loved!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I blame the park and rec department.

Absolutely gorgeous morning.  To atone for my sin of gluttony yesterday, I make the ultimate sacrifice and prepare for a full circuit run.  I am subtly clad in my bright orange shorts and hoody (if I'm going to run, I do so want the whole world to take notice!).  I head north.  Somewhere, around block five, my stomach remembers what was put in to it yesterday and decides that it doesn't have room to store ALL the contents.  Wisely, I head to the privy in the park.  Imagine my chagrin.  Locked.  Thankfully, I am but half a mile from home (okay, it was six blocks).  With intense purpose (and no lack of clenching) I head back south, tear to the basement, and make room for today's comestibles.  (Have you ever heard anyone wax more poetic about their paristalsic reactions?)  Here's the deal.  What was to be three miles was barely one, and I have this rule about running twice in the same day.  It's called sanity.  That means any weight gain incurred can be directly attributed to the P&R's failure to foresee my need and open the crappers for the summer.  It has nothing to do with the ham, roast beef, dressing, gravy, carrots, ice cream cake, or the second serving of those I had for supper.  Let's be fair.  Blame should be placed on anyone but me.  Having established that, it's less to eat and more to exercise in store for me.  I just won't get too far from an unlocked comfort station!  Know you are loved!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

You gotta try it...or not

So, I see this amazing picture of an ice cream cake I absolutely have to try...a combination of ice cream, sherbet, nuts, and in my rendition, some toasted coconut.  Now here's the question.  Does it sound like a three day project?  Well, it was, and the ROI was not great!  It looked great thanks to the marshmallow bunnies and raspberries with which it was festooned.  It tasted fresh, but was impossible to cut in small enough pieces.  As Cath said, a pie takes far less time and tastes just a good...or better.  But if I had never tried it, I would never have known that this was my first and last attempt.  Sort of like life.  Not all our decisions are fruitful in their yield, but I never do anything without learning something.  Today, I learned lemon pie is still a wonderful option!  Try something new this might love what you learn! And know you are loved!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

On hiatus

It's that time of the day...chores are done (tables are set for the Easter feasting beginning at noon tomorrow) and not quite yet time to put the brats on the grill!  So here I sit in the front porch, listening to the dog barking because she is outside and would prefer to be in.  Of course, she is totally capable of opening the screen door herself (or, as she has proved twice, coming right through it!), but I am convinced she just likes to hear her own voice.  Of course, she may not be able to hear it, so maybe she just likes the feel of barking!  Or since it is her supper time, she might just be hungry!
This will come as no surprise to you, but she won!  She is in, and eating!  Anyhoo, the weather is gorgeous, we have a clean house, I'm about to frost tomorrow's cake, and life is good!  Enjoy the season that celebrates rebirth, and know you are loved!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Phriday Phood Philosophy

Everything I read says you should start your day with a good breakfast.  Everything I know says if it doesn't have just a little sugar, it's probably not going to happen.  Millions of you, my readers, will be up to your ears in hard boiled eggs, looking for any and all recipes to use them.  You won't find that here.  Instead, you will find an amazingly simple caramel pull apart recipe to thrill your Easter morning guests (who are also dreading another hard boiled egg concoction!)  No one need know how easy this is!  Have a blessed holiday, and know you are loved!

Caramel pull-aparts
3 pkgs. refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cinnamon
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease a heavy Bundt pan.  Separate biscuits.  In a zip lock bag, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Shake each biscuit in cinnamon/sugar mixture and stand on end in Bundt pan.  Continue until you have all three packages (making a wreath-like structure) in the pan.  Mix brown sugar, cream, and oil.  Pour over the biscuits being sure they are uniformly covered.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and invert on serving plate.
Option--for true decadence (and an extra five minutes preparation!), cut an 8 oz package of cream cheese into 30 pieces.  Place one cube in the center of each biscuit and pinch to seal.  Layer in Bundt pan and cover with caramel.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

mortality and taxation

They say there are only two certainties in life--death and taxes.  They are wrong.  But before I elucidate, let's consider the first two.  I understand my mortality.  I do not embrace its final outcome.  Don't get me wrong.  When it's my time, I want it to come quickly.  I just don't want it to come soon.  And when it does come, I want the entire world to know (or my 22 followers for sure!) that 1) I hate funerals, 2) I am claustrophobic, and 3) I don't want to take up space when I'm not here.  Here's the plan.  I will be cremated.  My ashes will be collected in an inexpensive receptacle (a shoe box would do!).  I then want my designated driver to put the top down on a convertible, place someone on the back seat holding my shoebox open at the top, and accelerate, allowing my ashes to blow to the wind.  While I would suggest not doing this in sight of the EPA, I really won't care since they would have difficulty collecting me to fine me for littering.  Should you decide to hold a memorial service (read that PARTY) after I'm gone, I request the music be the music found on ABBA Gold, a rousing rendition of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" with lip synching as appropriate, and a boisterous all-out rendition of "Running Bear"!  Should you be so inclined, doing so with an adult beverage in your hand would be even better! 
Having sufficiently morbidized this blog, let's move on to certainty #2.  Here's the thing.  I don't mind paying taxes.  You see, in my mind, any money that we share with the government pays the salaries of the men and women who protect us!  (What they do with your taxes, I don't know!  I would like to borrow your $15,000 hammer, however!)  So I pay...and I smile. 
Now, to the rebuttal to the claim of only two...Running.  Running is God's punishment for leading a bad life.  Running exists to make all other activities seem meaningful and enjoyable.  And yes, I came directly in from my morning run to sit at the computer.  As certain as I am that running is a tool of the devil, I do it--to postpone certainty #1 and increase my opportunity for certainty #2.  May your #1 be avoided for a very long time, your #2 be as small as possible, and if you run into me, be assured I will tell you that you are loved!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Room mates

Is there ever a bigger crap shoot than looking for (or being assigned) a room mate?  When I was teaching, they told me I would be sharing my room with a young lady who would teach part time.  Since my mother raised three only children, I wasn't thrilled with the idea!  She was younger than I, she had young children, and she bowled!  None of these boded well.  Little did I know she would become one of my very best friends, have three amazing children she shared with me, or would provide amazingly entertaining stories from the bowling alley!  As teachers, we became joined at the hip.  Her kids were my kids.  If I needed help, she was there.  It simply worked.  When I moved out of the room to do my next job (I got an office!), I was replaced by a young man who to this day claims to be "the new and improved bz!"  Cocky!  Self assured.  Green behind the ears.  And wore ugly socks!  But oh, how he loved kids and teaching!  And how lucky he was to be given the opportunity to enjoy my former room mate!  She took him by the hand and guided him through that first year, showing him how to maintain the love AND provide a good classroom atmosphere.
Both are now teaching across the street from our "home" and are once again room mates.  I went to visit yesterday and as always had a blast.  How lucky those students are to have them.  How lucky I am to have them!  And how glad I am they have each other!  My current room mate (of forty plus years) is the love of my life.  These former room mates are life-long friends.  I am an amazingly lucky man, and you are loved!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

puppy love

We have these two 16 year old dogs.  Surprise.  Lambchop and Rocci.  Lambchop is named for Shari Lewis' sock puppet.  Rocci is named because she has the markings of a raccoon.  Why, you might ask, do we have two dogs?  Because the third one died--at age 19.  Seems as how we always tried to have two dogs whilst we were working so they had company while we were gone.  When the penultimate puppy passed (say that three times quickly!), we went looking for a playmate for the remaining poodle.  Of course, we went looking at the shelter, because all our dogs are "rescue" animals.  There were two poodle cross puppies left from one litter.  I picked up the white one.  Cathy picked up the black one.  That's all it took to bring two new balls of fur home for Mitzi to play with.  Now understand, we do have the philosophy that the only way these two could be litter mates was if they had different sires.  We understand that can happen.  They have nothing in common, including disposition.  For years, I have maintained their lineage in this way...the mother was poodle and the father came from a good neighborhood.  When we decided they may well not have been conceived by the same male, I changed my story to the mother was a poodle of loose morals.  Whatever.  These two are now infirm.  Neither all, and Lambchop's eyesight is failing.  They no longer can make it up the steps to the bedroom, so they sleep downstairs.  Because Lambchop is incapable of managing stairs at all, and is old, hence requiring middle-of-the-night trips outside, one of us now sleeps downstairs every evening to tend to their needs.  They are, indeed, spoiled.  Always have been.  Always will be!  You see, for 16 years they have given us the love and comfort only a dog knows how to give.  They are overjoyed to see us when we get home.  They understand when we need a dog to pet.  They accept us for who and what we are.  They are the company that makes coming home a little easier.  And they never, never, never have asked to borrow the car or for an increase in their allowance!  In short, they are a continuous reminder of the power of trust and love.  It has been said, "I want to be the type of man my dog thinks I am." 
I know they won't be here forever.  And I know, we will probably be "rescuing" again.  But while they are here, and while we can, we will care for them, learn from them, and love them...and you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why can't we all just get along?

I have a confession to make.  As a literate, concerned citizen, I frequently don't watch the news.  I just get upset.  Three people dead at a Jewish center.  Police actions in Crimea.  An entire plane missing, perhaps purposely.  I don't get it.  At what point in time will we realize that any extreme position is exactly that...extreme.  For 34 years, I tried to teach my children to help each understand there are two sides to every issue, and respect had to be lost, not earned.  We are unique gifts, designed to share our talents with each other to make life a better place to be.  We do not exist to judge, to "correct" or to act the hand of any god's retribution.  I understand I am old. I understand I am amazingly naive, but I believe that good is learned, and practice makes the world a safer place to be. answer in the Miss America interview would unabashedly be "world peace".  And it starts with me...and you.  Know you are loved...and pass it on!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Family--the reprise

I warned Sioux City!  We are now home, and it was an amazing weekend!  A reminder of the import of family, and as I suggested, mine is truly unique.  You might remember there are only two of sister and me.  But what we lack in size, we make up for in exuberance.  Growing up we were polar opposites, and more than once she would have preferred a hole had opened up and swallowed me whole!  And I admit, I may have at times given her reason.  But somehow we managed to survive.  She married and had three children.  I married and had 14000!  But she got to keep hers.  I sent mine home to their parents every night.  Each of the three (two nephews and a niece, chronologically speaking) is as unique as their mother.  The eldest has a heart of gold, and three beautiful children of his own.  His significant other is a beautiful lady with a nurturing soul.  The kids are bright, fun loving, and extremely caring!  Love all of them.  Middle child...policeman and at times, my mini-clone.  When he is not pantsing his uncle in the K-Mart parking lot, he is lovingly caring for his blended family--a wife who is an amazing educator and their two talented and gorgeous daughters.  Finally, the youngest...a most entertaining young lady with two of the most darling young boys you will meet.  One never knows what to expect from this dynamo, but she gives love as if it were an endless commodity...and for her, it is.  Put us all together for a weekend, and the noise level matches the zest for life.  We are not perfect.  We at times are not couth.  But we are always a family that loves and cares for each other, and that, in the end, is all that matters!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's all in how you look at it

On our walk yesterday, I noticed these cactusesque plants growing down by the river.  They intrigued me, but as it was a typical outing for me, I didn't have my camera.  Today, whilst enjoying the repartee of our family get-together, I remembered that I was intrigued, so I hikes my body out to the river and take this picture.  Okay, quit that yawning.  It was upon closer observation that I saw it.  I grew up with it.  (Okay, okay, I got older with it.). I loved it as a child and I love it as an older child.  It struck me.  If I hadn't gone back to take a second look, I would never have seen it.  I just assumed a weed was a weed was a weed.  How wrong initial impressions can be.  Because there was something haunting about it, a return visit disclosed it's true identity.  Can you see it in the picture below?  Beep!  Beep!  You are loved!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Phryday Phood Post

As promised, an easy recipe that will thrill any who wish to sample.  For years, my mother-in-law would spend hours at the stove making my birthday gift--home built caramels.  I would get a check box full of individually wrapped sweet delights that I would budget myself to one a day.  I knew the work that went into them.  I also knew how absolutely delicious they were.  I tried to make them.  I failed.  So every January 26, I would anticipate that sweet treat.  Sometime since then, a good friend shared with me her recipe for microwave caramels, and I hate to say it, but they are as good (actually, better because of the work involved) than those much anticipated birthday goodies.  And now, because I love you, the recipe is yours!

Microwave caramels
1 cup butter 2 1/2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup white corn syrup 1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Butter a disposable aluminum cake pan (2 for a buck at the dollar store!)  Place the 1 cup butter in a LARGE microwavable bowl (8 cup Pyrex ISN'T large enough) and nuke until melted.  Add sugar, syrup, and condensed milk and stir until well blended.  Set power on microwave to 90 percent.  Return to microwave and nuke on high for a total of 17 minutes.  Every two minutes, remove and stir completely.  Return and continue nuking until the 17 minutes have transpired.  Add vanilla and pour into prepared pan.  Allow to set up (4+ hours).  Turn onto glass (marble, whatever you have that's smooth and "cutable on") and peal off disposable pan.  Cut into rows and then into pieces.  Wrap in good quality wax paper (the cheap stuff sticks and wax-papered caramels are not nearly as good) and store in a sealed plastic bag.  Don't worry, they won't be there long!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

To Dream the Possible Dream

This morning, at coots, geezers, and old poops (retired teachers' meeting!). Cath and I did a presentation on the new AARP program called Life, Reimagined!  It is a national program to help retirees and people of age (50 and above!) to help discover life after 50.  As we understand it, the purpose is to help transition mature individuals into their increasingly active encore activities.  We truly were preaching to the choir.  Our group of retirees is anything but old, and anything but inactive.  Yet sometimes, a reminder can be good.  There are six tenets to the program.  First, one needs to reflect on the things they love to do and the people with whom they love to do them.  Second, we need to be aware of and utilize the technology available for staying connected.  Third, we need to explore what possibilities exist for us.  Fourth, we need to poop or get off the pot (as my sainted mother would say, not necessarily using those terms).  Choose something and try it.  Fifth, and my favorite, we need to repack.  We carry so much baggage in terms of our weakness and failures that we are weighted down and can't soar.  Since none of us is a time traveler, we can't undo the past.  We need to learn from it, shed it, and move on.  Finally, none of this is available without action.  Basically put, I now have the opportunity to do things that I want to do, with whom I want to do them, and by gosh, I'm going to!  All things are possible (not necessarily attainable, but possible) and now I am going to "go for the gusto!" We need to dream in possibilities! And live knowing how to love!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dear senior shield,

Thank you so much for your concern over my credit card amount.  It gives me nothing but a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that you are personally worried about my well being economically.  I can't tell you how much it means to me that you have taken the time to tell me that this is my last reminder about the possibility of giving you some of my money for a service I do not require and most definitely did not request!  And to think, this is at least the thirteenth time it has been my last chance to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.  And here's the best part.  You woke me from a much needed nap to present me with this offer.  And being the kind, caring person I am, I once again pressed 1 to speak with a representative, and when I asked how and why you had my name, you hung up on me, again!  Will this amazing spate of personal concern never end?
Just a reminder, to be added to a post script next to my name.  Knock this crap off!  I have your number (360-322-6714) but if I call it, I get an automated opt out recording which I don't trust as anything more than another scam!  Have a nice day, and for all my readers, hold on to your hats!

Recording at senior shield...know you are NOT loved!  (But the rest of you are!!!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's all about windows

Nice weather brings out the beast in me--at least when it comes to being able to see it.  Having finished the windows in the porch, I have now attacked the windows on the she vehicle.  I am amazed at the glass space on a mini-van!  But the crud and crust of the last month is now removed from every glass surface, leaving an interesting pattern of clean streak marks down the side of the van!  But as we traverse beautiful highway 29 on our way to Milbank to get a she haircut, we will be able to see, and this is a good thing.  Sometimes I find it necessary to clean the windows of my mind as well.  It pays great dividends to be able to see things in a different light!  Philosophy and window washing.  What more could a woman ask for?  (And if you ask the woman I love, she may have a list!)  May your vision be true and you always know you are loved!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Look out Sioux City

My parents had two children.  My sister and me.  Those two children had three children.  My sister had three.  Those three children have 3 wonderful people with whom they are sharing their lives.  They likewise have among them, 7 children (one with a serious beau).  For the first time in ever so long, we will all converge on one location at one time this weekend.  That would Hilton Garden Inn in Sioux City.  Perhaps I should not mention the location.  There's still time for some crafty person to call and warn them, but I take that chance.  Here's the deal.  We're ALL crazy!  Among us we have several motorcycles, a myriad of tattoos, a penchant for depantsing their uncle in the K-Mart parking lot, a blogger, sports fan(atics) and a wanton disrespect for conventionality!  I've spoken of my parental units before.  W.A. and Miss Lucy would quite frequently roll their eyes, complain bitterly that they NEVER taught us this behavior, and all the while would be glowing in the realization that they have created a family that knows how to love each other and have fun!  So on Friday, my understanding wife and I will jump in the car, head south, and enjoy a weekend that has the promise of greatness.  And I will tie the drawstring on my shorts extra tight!  May you find in your family the same joy we anticipate, and know you are loved!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

It's called an Amarine

As I understand it, you are looking at a flower that has only been imported into the United States for the lasts two weeks.  It is a cross between an amaryllis and a nerine, both native to South Africa.  When we got them, each stalk had one flower.  As they develop, they actually produce multiple flowers on each stalk, turning what seems to be a simple bloom into a sphere of color.  Watching them develop has already been an experience.  Isn't it amazing what can happen when you take one beautiful thing and cross it with another?  To me, it's sort of like attitude.  It is my belief that attitude is both infectious and contagious.  When I meet someone is a good mood, I feel buoyant...lighter than before meeting them.  When I meet someone with a crappy attitude, I do my best not the catch it.  I'm usually successful, but....  How much better, fuller, and prettier life would be if I maintained a positive attitude and CHOSE to surround myself with like people!  So it is with all of us.  I understand that life is not always rosy.  Sometimes you are the statute and sometimes you are the pigeon, but we can CHOOSE to avoid sinking into the poop!  Hows that for a Sunday philosophy?  And if nothing else, you got to see a rare and beautiful thing!  Ain't life grand?  And you are loved!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

It oughta be...doggerel

The robins are chirping, red breasts are their bling
Proclaiming quite loudly, "It oughta be spring!"

Orange shorts I am clad with, sweat pants I do fling
The temp passes forty, it oughta be spring!

In season that's vernal, tulips are the king
Tenaciously growing, it oughta be spring!

The Neon complaining, the engine does ping
It's time for a tuneup, it oughta be spring!

It's forty-one years since I gave her the ring
Romance still does blossom, it oughta be spring!

The weather is changing, I won't miss its sting
I'm ready for planting, it oughta be spring!

By now you should notice the alphabet thing
In order, peculiar, let's hope it's soon spring!

I think it's soon over, from words I do wring
Penultimate rhymer that goes well with spring.

I'm skipping the yang/ying, I go straight to zing
That wonderful feeling to know it is spring!

So throw your eyes upward to heaven above
It's finally, actually, undoubtedly excitedly, stupendously, irrefutably, undeniably maybe here....
and it's you I do love!

Friday, April 4, 2014


a great day to plan what to eat for the weekend.  And I have an amazingly simple dessert for you.  If you like lemon, you'll adore these bars.  If you like coconut, you'll fall in love.  Here it is.

1 pkg. one step angel food cake mix
1 can lemon pie filling
1 small package coconut

2 cups powdered sugar
juice and zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine first three ingredients (omit coconut if not a fan!)
Spread evenly into an UNGREASED jelly roll pan
Bake for 18 minutes.
While baking, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice and zest
Spread on bars while still warm.

In my life, easy is good, and this is good and easy!  Find time to share these with someone you love, and know you are!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The mundane

Got up.  Did the puzzle.  Drank the coffee.  Played a little bridge.  Went for a run.  Cleaned my kitchen(!) Did some clothes. Had leftovers for lunch.  Watched a DVR episode of NCIS:Los Angeles.  Showered.  Put on same clothes I had on this morning (now clean and fresh thanks to item seven above!).  Last load in the washer.  And it's only one pm!  Truly, a typical day...well, except for that clean the kitchen thing!  I am remiss in that particular duty, but it looks so nice when I finally get it done!  What, you say, makes me think you give a rat's rump about my day?  Perhaps it's because it is in the mundane that we can find our blessings.  We often look for those "defining moments" in our lives...births, graduations, weddings, first jobs, new jobs, new houses, retirement, do just that...define us.  To a degree, they may.  But I have my health, ergo, I got up this morning.  I still can fire up the gray matter, so I did the puzzle.  I am addicted to caffeine, so one caters to the monkey on one's back.  I love to play bridge!  I hate to run, but I hopefully will live longer to enjoy the other things if I do.  Okay, cleaning is a bit iffy.  Washing clothes?  I love how they look and smell, and how I look and smell when they are clean.  Eating?  Come on!  You've got to be kidding.  I run!  I eat more!  Spending time with mi esposa watching a tv show that intrigues us, a joy.  And the shower?  Well I do that for you folk.  It is truly in the everyday items that we can find joy...if we look for it.  Those big events?  They're transient.  The mundane can and should be celebrated every day.  I am blessed.  And you are loved!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WW III The battle for...

I speak not to war as we know it.  In fact, war is not even in the abbreviation.  I speak instead of our Wireless World.  I sit with my I-pad, and if I want to print what's on my screen, I send it to our wireless printer.  Currently, I sit at our desk-top computer, entering data on our wireless keyboard and manipulating our wireless mouse as needed.  If I want to call someone, I pick up my cell phone.  (Trust me, I NEVER want to text someone, but I could if I had to.!)  We wirelessly play bridge in the morning with people from all over the world.  When I want to go somewhere, I remotely start the car and raise the garage door.  I even paid the government my fair share of taxes with a wireless transfer from my bank.  Convenience, in all instances.  And yet, I fear convenience is trumping communication skill.  Freedom from contact is decreasing contact skills.  And yet we continue to find ways to transmit concepts without face time, without sharing, and without touch.  The possibility of poorly designed online classes scares the bejeezus out of me.  I understand their worth and their benefit, but unless they are integrated with classroom interaction and human presentation, they provide ONLY information.  Life is not about what I know.  It is about how I use it and how I can make the world a better place for those around me.  Doing so without personal interaction for me is far too sterile and atmosphere.  And we all know that sterility precludes growth.  Yes, we can get more information to a wider range of people.  Yes, we continue to go where no man has gone before.  And yes, there is a place for all of these wireless activities.  We must fight for the integration of them and personalization.  We must battle for the ability to write cogent sentences, to see the beauty in another person, and to know the joy of a simple touch.  So let it be written.  So let it be done.  In that vein, imagine if you will a 64 year old graying non-texter, embracing you in person and telling you that you are loved!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


There are parts of my thighs that don't hurt...I think.  Quick translation, I started Yoga yesterday.  That which is supposed to free my inner being is obviously fighting its way to the outside through said thighs.  I don't want to suggest that I am not in the best shape, but there are truths that cannot be hidden.  The simple whimper and groan when I stand give them away.  Of course, the Yoga of which  I speak is chair Yoga, designed for those of us who would more likely qualify for stewing roosters than young chicks.  Never-the-less, we obviously stretched parts that had hitherto remained in pristine, unexercised positions.  I can do the breathing.  It's a good thing.  I can take the upper body stretches and the shoulder rolls.  Great muscle relaxation.  It's the position in which you are squatting with that part of you that longs to be on the chair is thrust haphazardly behind you that has taken its toll.  I don't remember what the position is called.  I prefer to think of it as a pain in the assets.  At the end of the class, the instructor turns out the lights and asks us to completely relax.  I did that.  I could have done that all hour.  But being the non-quitting individual I am, if I am able to get out of bed tomorrow, I shall return, if only to give grist to the bitch-and-moan mill!  The one thing I did learn is the title of this particular epistle...I bow to the divine in you!  And know you are loved!