LIGHTEN UP, WORDPRESS

Todays’ Daily Prompt: Circle of Five is so dreary, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to, don’t want to. Can’t. No more. This has become the Daily Angst … or maybe the Daily Downer. So instead, here are some one-liners, a couple of cartoons. Maybe a laugh or a chuckle. I promise there is nothing profound here, not a single life changing revelation in this post. You can relax now.

72-Glow-Snow-3-2_15

The sun is out. It snowed (again) last night and the world looks pretty this morning, even though our car is buried and poor Garry will have to do some digging. Later.

72-Branches-Snow-3-2_08

I’m stressing over needing to get our taxes done … and wondering if we can get there from here because they are even more buried than we are … and that’s pretty buried.

It's a beautiful day ... snow and all ...
It’s a beautiful day … snow and all …

I love jokes. I collect them. If you have something you think is hilarious, send it to me. I’ll save it and when I have enough to fill a page, I’ll post it and we can all enjoy a good laugh. If it’s something you made up yourself, make sure to sign it so I can give credit where it’s due!


Bob-Mankoff-cartoon_660

No moment is more painful than the moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

Does anyone know how to fold a fitted sheet? If you do, will you let me know the secret?

Bad decisions make great stories. If we didn’t make dumb choices, we wouldn’t have great anecdotes. I think that’s what we call a silver lining.

Can we agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I can’t redo my collections again. I replaced records with tapes and tapes with CDs. I’ve replaced videocassettes with DVDs and may never fully embrace Blu-ray. I don’t think I’ll live long enough to go another round.

Sounds like my AT&T Password. And THEN they say "Make it something you find easy to remember."
And make sure it’s something you can easily remember. Right.

I’m always slightly worried when I exit an application and it asks me if I want to save my changes when I’d swear I didn’t make any changes.

Why doesn’t the freezer have a light too? Don’t we need to find stuff in the freezer?

Mental-Health-Humor_cow_500

You want to know how many times you can say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said? The answer is three. Try it. You’ll see.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty. You can wear them forever. After a while, you can train them to come when called.

First Senior Moment
The first senior moment

I used to look at my watch 3 or 4 times in a row and still not grasp the time thing. So I stopped wearing a watch. No more problem.

BISHOP IN THE SNOW – NEW PICTURES!

72-Bishop_01It didn’t snow a lot today — at least not compared to a lot of other days — but it snowed and is still snowing. I keep hoping it’s the last one. That the winds will change and spring will begin to inch into the world.

72-Bishop_08

Not everyone is tired of winter.

Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn't want to come in ... until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered ...
Today, after the new snow, Bishop didn’t want to come in … until he heard the sound of biscuits being offered …

Bishop, our big Australian Shepherd, of all our dogs, loves winter. His coat is so thick, so weather-proof, he will — by choice — sleep in a snow drift and let the little dogs use his body as a mattress. They have their own flap door, so this is their choice. They come and go as they please.

72-Bishop_07

To each his or her own. I prefer my recliner and a hot cup of coffee. Or tea.

72-Bishop_02

MARCH FIRST, SUNRISE

72-Sunrise-Early March_04

It’s March. The month of spring, the end of winter. My birthday. This morning, I woke up and looked out the window. It was sunrise. I wanted to go back to sleep. It was so early, but it was a pretty sunrise. Soon (I hope), there will be leaves on the trees. I won’t be able to see the sunrise until next winter.

72-Sunrise-Early March_03

So I went to get my camera. But it’s not that simple. The dogs were waiting. I managed to get them out the door and grab my camera. I took pictures, then went back out to give the required biscuit. You cannot just make the babies go out into the cold and not reward them with something. How do you say “that’s so wrong” in dog?

72-Sunrise-Early March_20

Now, as the light is fading, it’s snowing again. When I looked at the forecast last night, it said snow showers. Tops, an inch or two. Now the prediction calls for heavy snow, maybe five or six inches. Which, as these things go, isn’t much. The pile of snow on my deck is as high as my door. I can’t open my door. I haven’t been able to open it for weeks.

It isn’t supposed to snow again until Tuesday night. I’m relieved to hear that. Aren’t you?

72-Sunrise-Early March_06

I took all the pictures with the Pentax Q7 … and without my eyeglasses. I forgot to put them on, probably for the first time in 50 years. Let’s hear it for auto-focus.

I’M JUST FINE, THANK YOU

DAILY PROMPT: Plead the Fifth

What question do you hate to be asked? Why?

72-Sunrise-Early March_22

“How are you,” they say, smiling with their lips. Their eyes are unhappy. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to hear. It’s a ritual. They ask, I answer. We both hate the exchange, but for some reason, they feel it’s obligatory. Civility? Manners? They need to ask, but they don’t have to care. I give them the answer they want, because anything else would be unbearable.

I curve my mouth into a big, bright smile. With as much enthusiasm as I can muster, I say “I’m fine, thank you for asking. Just fine!”

If I’m lucky, they go away after that. Because they are just fine too. We are all just fine.

A CEREMONY OF TEA

For Rashmi Kashyap of Soul n’ Spirit, this post is for you.


I don’t remember exactly when, but a while ago … a month? two? It’s hard to keep track of time. I mentioned in a post how difficult it is to get good tea in the U.S. It isn’t impossible, of course. If you have sufficient resources, you can get anything.

Ordinary folk are limited to local shops and the ubiquitous Internet. The problem is not that tea (in general) is not available. It is quality tea, fresh tea, which is nearly unobtainable. By the time we get it, it’s old. Tired. Teabag tea is not tea. I’m not sure what it is.

tea pot, tea canister, tea

I’m sure there are sources for better tea, especially in cities which are home to large Asian communities. But not here. In this part of New England, items people can find routinely in shops elsewhere, are unavailable.

We won’t starve. Beef, chicken, some fish. If you want something more exotic (by local standards, anything other than brown gravy, white bread, and hamburgers is exotic), for example items you need to create Asian cuisine, are not for sale. For years, I couldn’t even find matzoh meal, which I never considered remotely exotic. Perhaps I am exotic.

We live in the country. Rural. On the plus side, we are blessed — in season — with fresh produce from local farms. Milk comes from cows who graze in green pastures and sleep contentedly in the shade on warm summer days. Eggs are laid by chickens who wander about, pecking and clucking. They don’t know how lucky they are.

glass teapot

We’ve got horses, goats, and the occasional llama … but fresh tea? Rice other than Carolina long grain? Spices? Fresh curry powder? Light or medium soy sauce?

It’s no wonder Americans are not tea drinkers considering the tasteless dust which passes for tea. I’m pretty sure our local Chinese restaurants makes its tea made from teabags in the kitchen. The only good tea I’ve had in years is the green tea at our Japanese restaurant.

tea in teapot

The miracles wrought by the Internet are not limited to exchanging email and reading each others’ blogs. Rashmi Kashyap of Soul n’ Spirit heard the yearning in my post. Last week, a package arrived from far away India.

Wrapped carefully in fabric, packed for its long journey around the world. Tea. Fresh, beautiful tea. Not the dry, old stuff you get here or even online, but tea so young it can remember growing in the earth.

teapot and canister

I have a big earthenware teapot and made a pot that same night. It was amazing. Garry admitted he had never tasted tea like that. It was a different experience.

I needed a smaller, brewing teapot suitable for a couple. I have owned several over the years, but since coming back from Israel, it has seemed pointless. Now, though, I have a reason.

brewed tea in glass teapot

Amazon to the rescue. One glass, brewing teapot, perfect for two people. A small canister to store the tea, seal out light and seal in freshness. A tea measuring spoon because (blush) I don’t remember how to measure tea anymore. After 33 years in the U.S., I can’t think metric.  I thought I couldn’t forget. I was wrong.

It took a couple of days to get my teapot and other things. Finally, I could properly serve tea.

It is a soul-enriching experience. Tea in the evening. A couple of crispy things on the side. Garry drank three cups (they are little cups, tea cups) as did I.

I thank my friend on the other side of the word with each sip. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. Maybe this post will help.

SUNSHINE, SPRING TRAINING AND SURVIVAL

The missing Harold mystery, Rich Paschall

George and his ever talkative wife Martha had just about enough of the Midwest winter. They were tired of snow,  tired of cold. At close-to-retirement age, they were just plain tired. When another cold night forced them to stay at home rather than visit a favorite neighborhood stop, they realized there was only one thing which could pull them through to warmer weather. Baseball! Right then and there, they began to talk about a trip to sunny Florida for a round of spring training games.

A year before, they had traveled to Florida on a rare road trip to see the Chicago Cubs play. The Cubs lost, of course, but they deemed the trip a success. They had visited a ball park other than Wrigley Field, spent a day at the beach, and wandered through town to do some typical tourist shopping. They had some very hot days, but did not suffer the kind of stifling humidity Lake Michigan can serve up in July. Now, in March, they were ready to go south again.

Always sunny Florida?
Always sunny Florida?

George sat down with spring schedules to see what teams would be playing, so that he could  find the best matches for the days they could go to Florida. Martha researched the ball parks themselves and the surrounding night spots on the internet. When they had chosen a few games they might like to see, they looked at hotels, air fares and rental cars. After a full night of debate and delay, they made their choices.

They would return to the familiar spots of St. Petersburg. From there they could go to Tampa to see the Yankees, then down to Bradenton to catch the Pirates and from there to Sarasota to see the Orioles.

Unlike the famous George and Martha of Broadway play and movie fame, this couple rarely had arguments. In fact, they were in agreement on just about anything that meant parties and good times. When almost all of their arrangements were in place, and they were congratulating themselves on another “road trip extraordinaire”, Martha had one more good idea. Of course, the good idea may have been fueled by the German beer she had been drinking all night, but it was an interesting idea, nonetheless.

“Why don’t we call old Harold for the game in Bradenton or Sarasota?” Martha blurted out as if her head had been hit by a rock and she was stunned silly.

“Harold!” George shouted with glee. “That’s a wonderful idea. The old boy probably needs a road trip anyway. Let’s give lucky old Harold a call.”

While Martha dutifully looked for Harold’s phone number, George wondered why the little tapper of Dortmunder beer had run dry. “I am headed to the basement, ” George called out. “I have to find another one of these big cans of beer. You killed the last one.”

“I did no such thing, George,” Martha lied.

When the twosome finally met back at the kitchen table, each was carrying the object of their search. “Well dial the phone and hand it over, old woman,” George said with a laugh.

“I am not as old as you, wise guy,” Martha said as she handed over the phone. Both began to giggle and laugh like school kids up to no good. The phone rang away as the couple talked on until George finally realized there must have been at least 20 rings. He hung up.

“I can not imagine that Harold is not home at this hour. He was never out late.” It was true, of course. In all his life Harold was rarely out at night, and since he retired and moved to Florida, he was always home by dark.

“He’s probably sleeping, you nit wit,” Martha declared. “Let’s give him another try tomorrow.” And so they did. In fact, they called for several days in a row and at different times of day, but Harold never answered. When the day of the trip arrived, Harold was not part of the plan.

Undeterred by their lack of success at lining up Harold for a game, they resolved to try him again once they landed at the Florida airport. They departed from Chicago’s Midway airport. Unbelievably, it was once the busiest airport in the country, but that was before the jet age. Now the crowded airport just seemed like the busiest airport. St. Petersburg airport, on the other hand, was in stark contrast, even for spring training. The crowd was small and the rental car line was short. The couple got their car, got to their hotel, and got on the phone. Still, there was no Harold.

“I hope the old guy is OK,” Martha said, finally voicing more than a bit of concern.

“Sure, Harold is just fine,” George insisted. “He is probably at some nice restaurant right now being fussed over by some cute waitresses. Don’t worry.”

At that very moment Harold was being fussed over by some weary nurses at the Intensive Care Unit of the county hospital. This trip, the retired planner from the Midwest was going to miss the endlessly talkative George and Martha.

Note:  The next Harold story appears in 3 short weeks.

MERELY LIVING

DAILY PROMPT: ME TIME — What’s your ideal Saturday morning? Are you doing those things this morning? Why not?


I woke up this morning. I did my physical checklist. Did anything hurt more than usual? Less? Breathing okay? Everything was working as well (or better) than usual, so I put a bit more effort into “me” than usual, weeding through eyebrows until I found an arch. Not as nice as the lady in town creates with her wax, but weather has made going anywhere a hassle. I haven’t gotten to town more than a couple of times all month.

I made it to the kitchen and did my Alpha Bitch thing. The dogs obediently (with just a bit of back talk) went outside to do whatever business they needed to conduct. By the time they got back, I was cleaning.

coffee kitchen view sepia art effect

It’s not that I don’t clean. It’s that I need inspiration and energy. I had a little of both and I cleaned the places around the sink that don’t get cleaned because they are behind or under something. I did the sink, scrubbed the water dishes, refilled them … all the while hearing heavy breathing and the click-clack of excited toenails on linoleum.

The dogs were swirling with energy. Admittedly, I was slow with biscuits. The longer I take, the more worked up they get. Finally, finished, I pivoted to face the fur people. “Huffa, huffa, huffa,” they said. You’d think no one ever feeds them.

“Liars,” I tell them. They huff some more. Bonnie does her happy dance, leaping up and down until finally, I distribute a Greenie and a crunchy to each. Do they think if they don’t do their routine, I won’t give them their treats?

three dogs on stairs sepia

I’ve been up a while. Coffee is emitting little hisses of steamy satisfaction. I straighten the sofa. Bishop has been sleeping on it. He knows he isn’t allowed, but his interpretation is “what she/he doesn’t know doesn’t count” and makes sure he is off before Garry or I gets to the end of the hallway. Sometimes his timing is off and he gets caught in “flagrante delicto” so to speak. He leaves huge tufts of hair behind, so it’s not hard to figure out. Not to mention (but I will mention it) he rearranges the coverlets, pulling them off and putting them in a pile more to his liking. Bishop has the soul of an interior decorator. A hairy decorator with limited taste.

Eventually, seated, with a cup of coffee in hand, I turn on the computer and my day begins.

Today is Saturday. We are retired, so everyday is much the same as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Soon, Garry will join me. We’ll share quiet time, sifting through our email, answering and writing comments. It’s my favorite part of the day. Quiet, friendly, low stress. Whatever hassles the rest of the day may bring, morning is our time to decompress.

It’s life. Unsegmented into “me time” or “he time.” Life does not have sections. I don’t own a piece of the day, nor does Garry. I supposed you might say the dogs own all of it because they own us — but that’s another story.