Wednesday, September 28, 2011

God Save the Queen

Reading E-mail and doing OK
Ha, ha, ha.
My, what white teeth you have: Kumi the gorilla has a fit of giggles in this image taken at the Bronx Zoo in New YorkI have found  that one of the things that retirees do is to send jokes or frightening, but usually erroneous information, via e-mail to their fellow retirees.  At the end, it will say to pass it on to 10 friends or any warm body with an e-mail address.  They warn you that if you don't send it out in 30 minutes, a pox will fall upon your house for ever and ever.   All a senior citizen needs is another jink on them.  I must receive at least five of these a day and may read three (Yes, Chris, I read all of yours) but I seldom pass it on, no matter the threat.  However, today I received something that I thought was a belly laugh and instead of sending it on, I am going to put it in my blog.  This is so much easier than thinking. 

The queen has sent an e-mail.....
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There are only two kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, and rugby (dominated by the New Zealanders). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians (World dominators) first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!

One thing Americans have is a good sense of humor and they can't off-shore that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thank you Susan

Got an award, and doing OK

Thanks to Susan Flett Swiderski of I Think; Therefore, I Yam, I am reading over my old posts and looking at my life in the past year.  I was reviewing them, trying to find ones that fit into this 7 X 7 award that she so nicely bestowed upon me.  Susan is a terrific writer and she has me in stitches all the time with her comical, interesting twists on anything and everything.   Susan is very, very talented.

Now about me.........

I have been writing my blog since January, the first month of my retirement.   Sometimes I am happy that I am retired, other times I think, "why did I do that?."  However,  I would have never started this journey into Bloggerville, and never gotten to know so many nice, funny, interesting people.  Notice me kissing up here, but I truly mean this.

So here is what I came up with:

Most Beautiful:   Losing a Friend.  I wrote this the day after we had to put my beloved pet cat, Martian, to sleep.  It came from my heart, as I truly felt very wounded that day.  Of course, it is sad, but I think many people with pets can relate. Can be found in April's blogs

Most Popular:  I am not going to list the most popular one here because I am saving that for another category.  Some others are more recent like "I'm Not Getting Fatter, I Am Just Post-Menopausal, so I chose one of my top five from 8 months ago.  My Retirement - Week 4. which tells about my fruitless efforts to look younger.  January

Most Controversial:  I never, never, never want to write anything really controversial.  What if I offend someone?  No, that is not where I am in life now.  I did do a short political commentary on former Congressmen Weiner called "My Retirement - The Caveman",  and some in my family thought I should have stayed away from that.  Nobody else seemed to mind though. June

Most Helpful:  This one had me stumped.  I don't write recipes (you should be glad that I don't), make quilts (did make one years ago), or knit (hands don't work so well).  I can help people laugh sometimes though, so I looked for one that people found funny.  My Retirement - - Month Two.  It is about trying to find a pair of pants that will fit.  February

Surprisingly Successful:  My Retirement - Day 2.  This was my first post and I was so surprised to see that I had an audience.  It is also my most popular. January

Most UnderratedMy Retirement - Dress for Success.  I liked this one, but it was probably too long to read.  It is about my fashion faux pas. May

Most Pride Worthy:  A Mother's Love.  It was Mother's Day and I wrote about how proud I am of my four children.  May

That's it.  It was fun reading my old posts, regardless of the errors I found in them now.  I love writing this blog and have great fun doing it.  I am always unsure about what I write and am usually nervous when I click on "publish".  However, I found a quote (author unknown) that sums it up for me,  "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember amateurs built the ark;  professionals built the Titanic.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ruby Day

The rain has stopped for almost 24 hours and I am doing OK


Saturday,  hubby, granddaughter Ruby, and I went on our postponed trip to Baltimore Harbor.  Hurricane Irene cancelled the first one and it looked like Friday night's downpour might do the same.  However, the rain stopped sometime in the early hours, and we were on our way at 6 A.M.  Rather than driving and fighting the traffic, we took a chartered bus tour which left us off at the front of the Aquarium at 10 am and would pick us up at 5 pm.  So began Ruby Day!

Ruby is eight years old and is a combination of Lucille Ball,  Pee Wee Herman, Sponge Bob, with a dose of the Keystone Cops thrown in.  She is a ball of energy, loves being a comedian, and has me smiling all the time,  She looks  like her mother when she was young, and that warms my heart.  So much about her personality though, reminds me of myself as a child. 

I'd like to say the trip down was uneventful, but unfortunately right before we were to stop for breakfast, Ruby decided to brush her very long blond hair; then she rolled it up into the plastic brush right to her scalp.  Suffice it to say that a half hour later,  my frenzied hubby with a nail clipper freed her.  She never cried or even whimpered, and I was so proud of her.   However, she did lose a good size ball of hair in that debacle. " Not to worry", she said, "it will be OK."

We got to the aquarium before the crowds and were able to view a 4D film about the animal kingdom without waiting on line. I had never experienced 4D and it was quite something. The movie was only about 10 minutes long, but during it we were snowed upon, rained upon, blown upon, and then kicked in the back of the chair when the screen showed a killer whale jump out of the water and grab a dolphin.   It was great fun. 

There is so much to see and experience at this marvelous place and I tried to share some of my limited knowledge about sea life to Ruby.  She accepted it in the beginning but later on said, "Mamama, this is the weekend, and I don't want to learn anything on the weekend."  Maybe she has something there.  It is good to have time to free your mind.

The rest of the afternoon was spent roaming around the harbor and seeing the historic ships and sights, listening to the bands, and trying to pick out a restaurant to have our dinner.  We chose an Irish eatery that was two floors above ground and where we could look out into the harbor.  This was the most crowded, so we figured it must be good.  I usually think of Irish Cuisine to be an oxymoron, but the food was delicious and we all enjoyed our meal.  Ruby wanted desert and chose the triple chocolate cake which was oozing with sauce.  Her face and hands were covered with chocolate and she said to me that if she was at home she would just stick her whole face into it.  I am so glad she was able to repress that thought.

The day ended at 9 pm when we pulled into our driveway.  We went in the house and Ruby hugged me and told me that it was the best day ever and looked into my eyes and said, "I love you so much".

So ended Ruby Day, one of my best days also.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Feeling nostalgic, but I'm doing OK.

Memories of

My youngest daughter stopped by for dinner the other night and while we were munching on appetizers, hubby brought out this large suitcase filled to the brim with pictures.  He had just found them recently while looking for something else in the basement.   We opened it up and there were envelopes upon envelopes filled with memories of our lives.

These pictures range from the 1960's to the late 90's.  Now that is a big chunk of history right there.  What I could not help noticing, was my change of hair styles.  It told a story in itself.  The early 60's was the" bubble or bouffant (preferred by many white-haired women of today), to the Sassoon cut at about '64 (Beatles), to the Afro in the 70's (anarchy) . I can say this last one was not the most natural look for a blue eyed, red haired Irish-American, but I thought I looked really cool. As the years progressed my hair seemed to get bigger and bigger, with it  reaching it's pinnacle in the 80's.  I don't think Marie Antoinette had hair so large.  The big do's of the day and the need for hair spray might alone have done more damage to the Ozone Layer than anything else.  The 90's brought it down, and I think it might have to do with getting comfortable with myself.  I have kind of kept close to that style since, only there is less, shall I say, body to it now. 

We had a great time looking at those old pictures.  There were those that I took when I met my hubby on a vacation to Michigan to visit my sister in the late 60's.   Three days after our first hello, I knew he was the one.  He proposed on our 12th date and our 30th date was our wedding ceremony.  Looking at the pictures, I remember what a cutie he was, blond hair, all-American, Robert Redford type boy - he was what we called in my youth - a hunk!  Over the years his hair turned dark, then gray, and today he remains with  a full head of hair, and is still quite a handsome man.   Nothing  has been easy, like most marriages, but we have weathered it through and will be celebrating our 45th anniversary next year.   It is mind-boggling when I think about it. When we started out, we were not unlike the characters from the movie, he a mid-western conservative and I, well, a strong willed, left leaning liberal who was all for protesting the war.   We felt like strangling each other many a time, but after an argument, he realized that I was always right -  not. 
I am happy to say though that I have brought him to my political thought of mind, albeit it, a little more moderate.

Have you seen a picture of Robert Redford lately.  His face has aged (he is 75), but his hair hasn't.  However,  he will always be Hubble to me.  Be still my heart!

So, it's the laughter, we will remember, when we remember The Way We Were.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thoughts on Aging from a 10 Year Old

Coming out of the doldrums and doing OK

Lovin' Those Kids

"I'm usually more polite than this, but my mom says there’s no pleasing you."

My granddaughter Emma, age 10, was complaining about a substitute teacher to me. 

"She was grouchy, Mamama (yours truly), and really old.  The teacher just kept saying, move away from there, get over here, and things like that." 

 As she was telling me this story, Emma changed the sound of her voice to this shrill, squeaky tone to mimic this poor lady.    I shook my head and sat down with my always sweet grandchild and explained to her that just because the woman was older, did not mean she wasn't a good teacher, and probably with all the experience she had, she was better than most.   I pointed to myself and said,

"I'm old and do you think that I can't do things well anymore." 

 "Oh no, Mamama, you are not old and she was a lot older than you." 

I knew she was wrong about that, but I did not interrupt that statement.  I should not have paused though, because Emma continued.

 " You know, if you got some wrinkle cream like they show on TV, and did something different with your hair, you would look way younger." 

Conversation over.

Age discrimination starts young.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Speak of the Devil

Being nice around difficult people

Things I said                                        What I was thinking

1) Oh sure---------------------------------------- No way.
2) Beautiful baby----------------------------- Looks like your father-in-law.
3) We have to do lunch ------------------  On a Sunday, in the middle of the week.
4) I'd love to help, call me -------------- Thank God, I have caller ID.
5) Wow, that's some colorful outfit.--- Wow, that's some colorful outfit!
6) Whatever you want --------------------- You always get  your way anyhow.
7) I respect your opinion ------------------ Idiot.
8) You haven't changed a bit ---------- Some people never grow up.
9)  I'm happy for you ----------------------- You braggart
10) No --------------------------------------------- I wonder if it included dinner

I was taught to be a kind person and I hope that I have been that.   There are times though, when I am in a conversation with someone that I have considered mean and spiteful, that I have held my tongue for the want of not lowering myself to their standards.  Sometimes, after I leave the situation, I mutter to myself for hours about how I should have spoken up or just slammed them with a biting remark.   Nah, that wouldn't work for me, I am too guilt ridden, and besides, what I think doesn't  matter to them anyway.

I am already feeling bad about writing this, but you won't tell anyone about my dark side, will you?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From My Window

Water, water, everywhere, but I am doing OK

The Gods are not being kind.
This year has been an extreme, extreme.    It seemed like it rained most of  the spring, early and mid-summer were like the Sahara desert with record breaking heat and sun, and August brought us back to constant humidity and storms.  I think I spent more time in my house trying to avoid the adverse conditions rather than being outside enjoying, what used to be, the best part of the year.  I know we in the mid-Atlantic states have not been the only ones being affected by these awful weather patterns.  I have heard the word "disaster"  used on an almost daily basis on the world news these past few months.

I am sitting on my comfy chair looking outside as sheets of rain explode on the road.   Flash flooding is happening all around us, and most rivers and streams have overflowed.  More percipitation is expected in the next week. The ground is so saturated with the rainfall from Irene and the these last storms, that the water has no place to go.  Possible tornadoes were reported in the states south of us, so I would imagine that we will hear some word of these happening here also.  I don't want to think about it; I am already exhausted from it all. 

So, like my cat, I go from window to window looking out as life is going on.  My trees are still standing, the flowers are colorful and, my oh my, the grass is so green.  They are telling us there are new storms in the Atlantic and hurricane season has another month to go - just what I wanted to hear.

I am wondering what the weather is like on the moon these days.  I really ned to get out of here!

My Retirement - Peck of Peppers

Not up to par today, but doing OK

Look before you leap.

Scotch-bonnet.jpgI have always loved hot, spicy food.  Instead of "have", I should say "had".  Over the years, when dining out, I always chose the menu items that had a one or two peppers listed beside them.  Trips to the hospital after eating some of these meals convinced me that my stomach was no longer cast iron, so I have amended my diet.  It was hard to give up, as I like food that has taste and is not boring.  However, time has marched on and what I could once easily consume, can now spell terminal heartburn.

My son always plants hot peppers.  Those little suckers grow like no other veggie, and each produce a very heavy crop of torture.  He is always so proud of his garden, but especially his chilies.  On Saturday, during our family and friends outing to a Wine Festival, Andy brought along his prized crop for people to taste.  A couple of people who have come along with us to this event before, volunteered to try them.  We also had a newbie and he, showing no hesitancy, opted to take the chance.  I have to say, he did very well, and seemed no worse for the effort.  Not sure he was putting on a brave face, and wonder how he felt a little later.  Nothing like meeting new people and then being given a pepper bomb.  Boy, we sure know how to welcome people.

Bowl of pasta with peppersOn Monday, I had family over for a Labor Day celebration.  One of my menu items was small, sweet stuffed peppers.  I had bought them from a container that I thought were labeled "mild".  That morning I made my Italian sausage stuffing and started to clean and prepare the peppers.  I cut the tops off and felt a tickle in my throat.  The more I cut and cleaned, the worse my cough became.  I did not think much of it in the beginning, as I have been having a cough from my allergies and thought this was the cause of my distress.  By pepper #5, I realized I had a problem.  I checked on-line and saw that sweet peppers were mostly light green or yellow, and most of the hot ones were red, like I had. My hands started tingling and then got warm, followed by burning pain.  I washed and washed them in cold water, applied ice, put my hands in milk, all good antidotes, but they only relieved the pain for a few minutes.  My daughter came over a few hours later and suggested a baking soda paste and that seemed to work the best.  However, by this time, my chest hurt and I was not feeling too well.  It is two days later and I still cannot completely bend my hand into a fist and my throat is still sore.  It is getting better though.  It was determined that what I was preparing for my family was not a mild, tasty treat, but rather, depending upon which expert in my family you want to believe, was a Scotch bonnet or habanero, both quite potent.  My days of cooking "gourmet food recipes" is now over.  I may be back to Pablum and white rice.