Famous People I Have Known

All two of them.

I like my famous people un-spot lighted, un-made-up, un-scripted, un-programmed, un-scheduled.  In other words, just real and down to earth.

We’ve had two opportunities for that during our lives.  One was with George Gallup, of Gallup Poll fame.   See Thoughts on Listening , if you’re interested.

The other was with James Taylor.

James had occasion to visit Dayton, Ohio, many years ago, for a reason other than a performance.   Hence, he was all of those un-things when I met him.  He was also sick and scared.

Jim Henson of the Muppets had just died a sudden death, seemingly from complications of a flu-like illness.  Performing artists all over the country were in a collective panic that they might be similarly attacked.  Without warning and in a strange place.

As it happened, I was the only person in the small group joining James who actually lived in Dayton and had access to a doctor.  And did we ever need a doctor.

Come ASAP, the office said, when I called.  We hopped in the car, he saw the doc, tolerated the swooning nurses and were quickly on our way, assured that he had the sniffles, a slight sore throat and would be just fine.  Not to worry.

Later that evening, he sang for our little gathering.   Un-made-up, un-lit, un-scripted and un-programmed.  Just a few wonderful James Taylor songs for a small group of people, including one who had enjoyed the pleasure of his company, if only for a short while.

Me and “Sweet Baby James”.  Just the two of us.

And the doctor, of course.

SCANDAL!

Scandal has recently scorched the reputation of the venerable game of Cricket.  There’s been a major set-to in the leading Australian team.  Ball-tampering, they’re calling it.  I find it quite distressing.

I really wouldn’t care except we have a Cricket bat hanging in our den.  It brings back good memories.  It came home with me after the summer I spent in England with my college roommate.  During that time, we were fortunate enough to be invited to garden parties, house tours and Cricket matches.  All terribly British and we loved it.

If you’ve ever been to a Cricket match…..and really, who among us hasn’t?…..you’ll know that they represent the epitome of manners, graciousness, proper decorum and demeanor.  That applies to players and spectators alike.

While Cricket players have always claimed a moral high ground, apparently, they’ve been at this cheating thing since the 1800’s.  Gambling, match-fixing, doping.  “It beggars belief,” say the Australians.

The media voice of Australian Cricket, according to the press, was reduced to tears over the latest scandal.

Furthermore, the Australian Prime Minister states that, prior to this egregious act of poor behavior, Cricket stars were held in considerably higher regard than politicians.

Well, now.  That took the wind right out of my sails.

I got to thinking about all that and wondered: Just exactly how far was the descent from Cricket star to politician?

 

 

Two-fers.

Who doesn’t love two-fers?

Talenti is our new favorite two-fer.  Buy that yummy, refreshing, tantalizingly-tart, many-flavored gelato, and get an adorable little plastic see-through container and snug-fitting lid.

That’s all good except for one little issue.  Our addiction to the gelato hasn’t stopped.    The little jars, however, have become a problem.  While there’s no such thing as too much gelato, the same cannot be said of the jars.

The mister’s workshop is overrun with them.   Screws, bolts, nails…all  visibly and neatly organized.

Same for the kitchen.   M and M’s, small round cookies, peanuts, cashews, raisins.

Pantry, bathrooms, desks.  All organized.  Many for the first time in their lives.

The house runneth-over with cute little jars.  Enough may, indeed, be too much.

What do to?  I hate tossing them.  It seems ecologically incorrect.  And I certainly don’t want to buy more things that could nicely fit into them.  That seems wrong-headed.

So I save them. The stash grows.  And grows.

No solution is apparent.

But, as I write this….I’ve had an idea.  Perhaps art classes or shop classes at our schools might like some of those jars.  I’ll look into it.  I hope it works.  It means we can continue our love affair with Talenti gelato, the little jars get a second life and the schools benefit.

Sounds like a three-fer to me.

 

Let Me Count the Ways…

A friend who knows me pretty well is redoing the operative parts of  her kitchen. She’s wisely gathering data from the Internet and from her friends before she makes her new purchases.  She called to ask my opinion on one of her considerations.

Her question for me was: “Do you like your oven?”

Let me count the ways that I cannot answer that question in any helpful manner.

But friends don’t “dis” friends.  So I shared.

First off, I don’t like the fact that it actually exists and/or works.

Second: It takes up space that could be used to house other things.  Like wine or sweaters.

Three:  Any dish that goes in it will inevitably come out dirtier than when it went in.

Four:  A turned-on oven suggests we have scuttled whatever plans (or hopes) we had to eat elsewhere.

I had more to share but at this point my friend had lost interest in my perspectives and taken herself off to Lowe’s.

Too bad.  I had some really nice things to say about my wine-cooler.  And my ice maker.  Maybe she’ll call back.  I sure hope so.

 

Image of oven actually being used thanks to Unsplash.com

How sweet it is.

Revenge, that is.  It sits so gently on the tongue.

I’m a cross-word puzzle person.  Our local paper carries the New York Times and the Universal puzzles. I’ve always enjoyed both.  Until today.

This morning, one of the down clues in the Universal puzzle was: “Any great-grandmother.”   Well, I’m one of those, twice over, and I wondered what on earth the answer would be.  It was an 8 letter word.

I could think of many definitions for that clue so I was curious when I discovered the first letter was “O.”  I got concerned when the second was “L”.   I went ballistic when the third was “D”.   This was definitely going nowhere good.

In fact, the full answer was OLDWOMAN!   Okay, we’re usually sort of old, at least older than the mother or grandmother in that instance.  But a good answer to that clue?   No, no, no and no.  We are so much more.

I took myself to Google and searched the name of the puzzle constructor.  He was going to hear from me and it was apt to be harsh.

But, oh, Joy and Happiness.    I was avenged as I discovered he’s recently been dismissed from the Universal puzzle staff for plagiarism!   I can think of another reason for dismissal but plagiarism did the job.

Now I can happily continue my morning puzzling routine knowing that there won’t be any more ugly surprises like that one.

How sweet it is.

 

 

Crossword image courtesy of slate.com

I simply don’t want to. Redux.

For very technical reasons (and with extensive apologies from our technocrats), we are reposting!

I know should.  I know I should go up there, to that room, to that corner.  I simply don’t want to.

It’s not just any room in the house.  No, this is a special room.  It’s really quite lovely.  The sun comes in and warms it. The cats love it.  There’s a comfy sofa and lots of books.

It has historical significance as it’s the room from which the family creatively made and hung a Red Cross sign out the windows in 1863, thus saving this old house from being burned down along with so much of Bluffton.

So why do I resist going there?

Two words:  Stationary Bicycle.

It sits there and glares at me from its space in the corner. I have to walk around it to get to the other rooms.  We both know I should be using it.  It’s too big to put in a closet; too heavy for me to haul downstairs and quietly dispose of.

Do not tell me that if I turn on the television while I’m pedaling that time will fly by and I will develop muscles I never knew I had.  Tried that.

Do not tell me to get a good book, pedal away and time will fly by, etc. etc.  Done that, too.

Do not tell me that I should just grin and bear it.  That it’s good for me.  That I’ll feel so much better when I’ve finished.  I don’t need to hear that.  I feel sufficiently guilty as it is.

But didn’t I say that the room has a comfy sofa, books and cats?

I think I’ll go up there after all and enjoy those things.  That silly bicycle has spent most of its life un-attended, un-sat-upon and un-pedaled.  What’s one more day?

 

Devil machine image thanks to thenounproject.com

I simply don’t want to.

For very technical reasons (and with extensive apologies from our technocrats), we are reposting!

I know should.  I know I should go up there, to that room, to that corner.  I simply don’t want to.

It’s not just any room in the house.  No, this is a special room.  It’s really quite lovely.  The sun comes in and warms it. The cats love it.  There’s a comfy sofa and lots of books.

It has historical significance as it’s the room from which the family creatively made and hung a Red Cross sign out the windows in 1863, thus saving this old house from being burned down along with so much of Bluffton.

So why do I resist going there?

Two words:  Stationary Bicycle.

It sits there and glares at me from its space in the corner. I have to walk around it to get to the other rooms.  We both know I should be using it.  It’s too big to put in a closet; too heavy for me to haul downstairs and quietly dispose of.

Do not tell me that if I turn on the television while I’m pedaling that time will fly by and I will develop muscles I never knew I had.  Tried that.

Do not tell me to get a good book, pedal away and time will fly by, etc. etc.  Done that, too.

Do not tell me that I should just grin and bear it.  That it’s good for me.  That I’ll feel so much better when I’ve finished.  I don’t need to hear that.  I feel sufficiently guilty as it is.

But didn’t I say that the room has a comfy sofa, books and cats?

I think I’ll go up there after all and enjoy those things.  That silly bicycle has spent most of its life un-attended, un-sat-upon and un-pedaled.  What’s one more day?

 

Devil machine image thanks to thenounproject.com

Words.

What we hear and what was meant are frequently very different things.

I had the television on the other day, just for background noise and company.

With one ear tuned in, I heard the following:  “The difference has been incredible.  She has her old energy back, she’s more alert and wants to learn new things.”

My second ear perked up at that.  I wanted some of it, whatever it was.  It was truly a “When Harry Met Sally” moment.  Cost was no issue.  Can I Amazon-prime it?

Unfortunately, it was just commercial for Purina.

 

 

Oh Danny Boy, The Pipes, the Pipes are Calling……

 

Suddenly, it seems it’s all about the pipes.  Tending to them.  Making sure they flow freely.  That they stay uncongested.

Pipes are everywhere.  Demanding our attention.  Running our lives.

We have a list of pipe experts available to us, on our personal 911, because there’s rarely a day that we don’t call one of them.

The house has chimney pipes, irrigation pipes, electrical pipes, water pipes, HVAC pipes, septic pipes.

The cars have a mess of pipes, too.   Exhaust, fuel, window-washer, tail.

And then there’s us.

We have so many.   Eustachian, wind, sinus, and many other “pipes” I choose not to mention here.

There’s always a pipe problem somewhere.

I guess it’s always been thus.   I’ve just never thought about it before.

And you might not want to think about it either.

But the next time you beckon the “piper” for what ever his or her specialty is…. be nice.

You’ll be calling again.

Soon.  For something.

I’d put money on it.

Porches

Not long ago, a friend gave me a tea towel, embroidered with the following:  “I’m outdoorsy.  I enjoy cocktails on the porch.”

Okay, so I may not be a fan of the outdoors but I do love porches.  They’re usually protected from bugs, have access to electricity and plumbing, and exude an aura that inspires good conversation and laughter.  All of that works for me.

My Aunt Mary had one that she called her Gin and Tonic porch.  You knew what she’d serve and you knew you’d have fun.

We have friends who have summer homes in Michigan.  Such wonderful memories were made on those big porches, from the first cup of coffee (or three) in the morning to the last Hummer (or four) at night.

A special porch that lingers in my mind was in Dayton, Ohio.  A big porch, screened-in with comfortable furniture, surrounded by giant Oak trees, it was an after-dinner haven for conversation and laughter.

One of the things we did on that porch was to plan our futures.  Far, far in the future when we might not be self-sufficient and might need to live communally.  We were young and the idea of a retirement home was fodder for silliness and laughter.

We designed our ideal residence but, more importantly, we attributed roles to each of the inhabitants.  They would be us, of course, and only us.  We pooled our talents and skills and mapped out a very doable, self-sustained retirement home.

We had a carpenter, a gardener, a cook, an accountant, a plumber, a choir leader, a spiritual guide, a party planner, a lawyer.  Everyone had a role; everyone was needed.

Of course it never happened.  It should have but it didn’t.  We knew it wouldn’t but it didn’t stop us from dreaming.  To this day, I think of all that, the friends who would be there and the fun we’d have.

There was one little hitch.  No one could come up with a job for me.  Happily, they all agreed that I could just BE there.

Oh, if only I could.

 

 

This is not a joke.

This is an actual event.  I was there and besides there’s no way you can make this stuff up.

Not long ago, five friends walked into a restaurant.  They were lunching to celebrate the birthdays of two of them.

The two birthday girls remembered to bring cards for each other.

The three un-birthday girls forgot to bring cards for the two birthday girls.

The card exchange was swift.  Each birthday girl opened her card and thanked the other for remembering her special day.  They then showed their respective cards to one another.  (One could speculate as to why they did that but there’s little to be gained from it.)

One commented that she had especially liked the card she had just given the other and had carefully held it in reserve for this very occasion.

The other one looked at the card she had just given the other and said….and I quote:  “This is a really cute card.  I bought one just exactly like it two days ago.”

Think about it.

Maybe you had to be there.

Or maybe you just need a few more birthday notches on your belt so you could enjoy that (senior) moment as much as we did.

Do I look really look THAT old?

The message from the Bluffton Christmas Parade this year was quite clear.  Yes, indeed I do.  Look that old.  Or maybe older.

I opted not to be in the parade this year.  But, of course, we went to the parade.  It’s just not something you miss. We have a great place to stand and enjoy it.  Right near the judges’ viewing stand so we get to see all the parade entrants do their thing.

We’re also in a great spot to get candy.  Almost everyone in the parade passes out candy.  Some put it right in your hands, or your treat bag if you have one.  Some toss it at you.  Others just throw it on the street and you dive for it.

This year, we stood there for an hour.  Smiles on our faces.  Christmas spirit at the ready.  Not one candy-passer handed us anything, tossed anything at us, even looked at us.  And we weren’t about to dive into the street.  Not even for a Heath Bar.

We weren’t just old.  We were invisible.

But we stuck it out.  Held out hope.  Our patience and persistence were rewarded.  We did not leave empty-handed.  The only problem was that it wasn’t candy we brought home.  It was Chap Stick.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  I like Chap Stick.  A lot.  It’s almost an addiction.  Can’t go to sleep without it.  But I don’t go to the Bluffton Christmas Parade for Chap Stick.  I go for candy.

See, there was a dental office in the parade and they were passing out floss and Chap Stick.  A nice man, dressed up as a tooth, came right up to us and said that we (at our obviously advanced age) probably suffered from dryness and it looked like we could use some Chap Stick.

He was right, of course.  We could.  We do.  But was it really that obvious?

Not one of those candy people even gave us so much as a fare-thee-well but that Chap Stick person honed right in on us.

Old.

Rats.

 

 

Parade image thanks to Blufftontoday.com

Snow Days

A dream for children;  a nightmare for parents.

We could always tell, as we woke up, if there was a promise/threat of a snow day upon us.  It was the quiet.  The peace that falls with the snow.

But we lived in a little town where all the kids could walk to school.  No buses. No public transportation.  Just their feet or a parent willing to drive them to school.  Not for nothing did we pay taxes on a fleet of snow blowers and salt trucks.  The roads and sidewalks were almost always clear and usable by 7:00 am.

The grumbling and griping was expected but manageable as we stirred them from their warm beds.  The entire world, according to them, was sleeping in, drinking warm cocoa, sledding, watching television and having snow fights.  They were going to school.

Darn right they were!

So get a move on.  Find those gloves, boots, hats and scarves.  Slurp down your breakfast.  Chop, chop, don’t be late.  Good boys. Have a nice day.  See you later.  Ta!

And with that, I’d close the door, pour myself a second cup of coffee, gather up a cat or two and a good book.  Walk up the stairs, climb back between the barely cooled sheets, inhale deeply, count to four, exhale slowly.

It was a snow day after all.

 

 

Snowy picture thanks to sheknows.com

Lifetime Appointments

Such appointments are usually regarded as special, unique, admirable.  They might include Saint Hood, a seat on the Supreme Court, Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  All represent hard-earned, meaningful, and extraordinary accomplishments.

Occasionally, however, there are lifetime appointments that come your way that you never wanted, certainly didn’t strive for, and have tried everything possible to get rid of.  All to no avail.

One such appointment would be a spot on the United States of America’s No-Fly List.

The Mister’s brother and his lovely wife have been on that No-Fly list for over fifteen   years now.  Nicer, kinder, more law abiding (senior) citizens you will never meet nor know.

How and why it happened is a mystery.  It may have had something to do with a large railroad spike, which they, as railroad buffs, picked up as a souvenir from an abandoned track in Colorado.  How else to get it home but in your suitcase on your flight back east?  Coincidentally, there had just been a suspicious train derailment, not terribly far from where they’d acquired their new bit of railway memorabilia.

That bit of confusion plunged them into hot water with Homeland Security.  And it has been thus for all these years.

With increased security since nine-eleven, they have been subjected to many hours of detainment and extensive questioning.     Once upon a time, those events were fodder for conversation, reflection, even amusement.

No longer.  Now they are obstacles to the fun and joy of travel, which they, in spite of all that, still love to do.

They have tried, in vain, and through untold numbers of channels, to get the “appointment” un-appointed and have been told by high-ranking officials that “once you’re on that list, you’re on for life.”  Just like a Supreme Court Justice appointment.

Or not.

 

 

 

 

Benign or Malignant

Which one of those options would you prefer?  Benign, obviously.

Malignant’s a whole other ball of wax.

Let’s look at some situations.  Breast lump?  Colon polyps?  Benign or malignant?  Benign wins every time.

Then, there’s language.  Profane language.  I’ve made it clear that I can and do swear like a sailor.   Stub my toe and out comes the S***word.  Break my toe and you’ll hear the F***word.

That’s benign swearing, in my mind.  The only object of my disdain is my own clumsiness and a painful toe.

Malignant swearing is a whole other ball of wax.

I said I’d stay away from politics in this blog.  But our president’s use of profanity this week, referring to certain people and their countries, was truly malignant.  A lot more is at stake than his toe.  His platform’s a lot bigger than mine. I try to be careful and I wish he would, too.

I wrote about my breast cancer once and I’m writing about  “S***hole” now.  Both malignancies rocked my world and caused me to worry, to be deeply concerned about my life as I know it and my future well being.

And that’s that.