Trolling for Bolivia, Argentina and Nicaragua

Gentle readers,

Jim, my darling husband, tells me if readers in Bolivia, Argentina, Nicaragua respond to this post he will take me out and pay for dinner.  If those countries don’t respond, I pay. Which stinks since I have zero income.  Please, kind readers, respond.  I am bored with daily cooking.  New meal ideas are elusive.  And if I find them they require work.  Work is not fun.  Work is work.

Those of you in Bolivia, Argentina, and Nicaragua, please comment.  Manifest a night out.   Dinner cooked by someone else.  Served by someone else. Dishes cleaned by someone else.  Other readers, if you have friends in Bolivia, Argentina or Nicaragua please have them respond.

Okay….Here we go. Manifesting going out to dinner!  Yay us.  You and me, readers, we are powerful.

UPDATE!!  Since posting this I’ve had three “views” from Nicaragua!  Yay!

 

Asleep at the Wheel

Today I slept until noon.  NOON?!  I was panic-stricken when I woke.  I have THINGS to do. Important things. World changing things.  Life altering amazing dazzling stuff to tackle.

They are as follows:

#1 Meditate

#2  Pen three pages in my composition book

#3  Write a blog post

#4  Take Bronson to the vet for flu shot

#5  Clean out the refrigerator.

I shared my angst with Jim. My gentle could-be-a-labrador-retriever laid back husband suggested maybe I’m sleeping late because I am relaxed.  Relaxed?  I never relax. Hammy, the hamster in my brain, won’t allow it.  She scurries on her wheel relentlessly all day and night.

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Is it possible Hammy was asleep at the wheel?  That’s twice now she has fallen asleep.  Yesterday I slept until eleven.  If this trend continues entire days will be lost, me nestled in the feathers until dinner time.

Okay, gotta’ triage. Which important thing to do first?  I am doing thing #1, blog post.  Thing #2 should be meditation.  I missed it yesterday due to Hammy sleeping at the wheel and a fun birthday party.  Item  #3 ought to be writing in my composition book.  #4 cannot be shunned.  Bdog needs the flu shot.  He’s going to school again.  The shot is mandated.

Oh Well….looks like I’m not gonna’ have time to clean the frig!  Yay for Hammy falling asleep at the wheel.  I don’t have to do that detested chore.

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Wait a  minute.  Who is that other hamster with Hammy?  Is it possible she has found love?  Oh No! Hamsters reproduce even more thoroughly than rabbits.  In weeks there may well be a whole litter of the little critters romping night and day on their wheels in my head.  I’d better enjoy Hammy’s sleepiness while it lasts.

 

Talking about the agonizing parts of life’s travels. Is it okay make this stuff public?

Yesterday I got an email from a beloved friend.  She shared her confusion regarding my blogging about the private, personal, painful, parts of my life’s journey.  I appreciate her candor.  Her email was good because I began reflecting on why I’ve been so open.

My mother and father would be horrified to know I’ve told the stories of my depression and Daddy’s death.  They were very private people.

Here’s what I’ve sorted out—I began this blog for two reasons:  I wanted to write and I wanted my kids to know me as a humanoid beyond being their mom.

My humanoid truths, my personal journey, isn’t all giggles, rainbows, and puppies.  I’ve lived some tough stuff.  We’ve ALL lived some tough stuff.

When the cleaning ladies come they turn back the corners of our area rugs and wipe up the cooties living under there.  The first time they came I bet there were loads of cooties.

Life delivers cooties.  Some people prefer to keep life’s cooties under cover. That’s fine for them.  My experience of keeping cooties buried created illness.  I became clinically depressed when I tried to shove my dirty secrets down.  I bet other people have too.  It took years of honest therapy, exploring those secrets before I became healthy and felt safe in my own skin, voicing my own opinions.

It could be argued I should have written my truths to my kids privately– it wasn’t necessary to put them on view to the entire planet.

Here on my blog I can look at my “statistics”.  Those stats reveal how many views per day,  where those views came from.  I’ve observed the painful blog posts–daddy’s death, my depression–have gotten more “clicks” than the other posts, as well as the most positive feedback.  Those stories have touched people all over the planet, from places as far-ranging as India, China, Pakistan, Ireland, Philippines, Australia, Germany, UK, and Israel.

Why are those posts the most viewed?  I asked my insightful step-daughter, Amy, exactly that.  Why do so many people want to read the sad stuff?  She thought perhaps because we all live sad stuff, but few of us talk about our difficult life affairs.  People need to know they aren’t alone.  Maybe it helps to hear there is a light at the end of even the longest, darkest tunnel.  Hopefully, eventually, they will step into the light.

I want my children to know they can survive the tough stuff.  In my experience surviving the painful, horrifying life events meant pulling them out from under the carpet.  It meant examining those dreadful moments, reliving them and then purging.  A garage sale of the heart.

This blog is about my life’s travels.  Most of my life’s excursions have been mundane.  Some have been delightful.  Yay for that.  And a few have brought me to my knees with heartbreak and despair.  My kids will live through their own on-their-knees moments.  I want them to trust that suffering needn’t only be survived, but through suffering, they will ultimately thrive.  Perhaps they can choose to use the pain, examine it, grow from it, and possibly even share it.  With sharing they can help someone else weather a personal storm.

So….Thank you, good friend, for your honest email.  I know being this candid makes some people in my world uncomfortable.  That’s okay.  This is my venture.  Warts and all it’s what I’ve lived.  I’m simply blowing the cooties out.  And, with a bit of luck,  I’m helping someone else know they can flourish in spite of having endured despair.

 

Bats in my belfry and Cows in our kitchen

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Meet the girls.  Left to right are Daisy, Bossy, and Maisie.  Daisy and Maisie are sisters, Bossy is their mother.  Do you see a family resemblance?  

I finally finished my enormous cow painting.  The canvas is five feet wide by four feet high.  These are some gargantuan animals.

I’ve been wrestling with these three beasts since before Thanksgiving.  Bossy and Maisie came together quickly.  But Daisy, on the left, eluded me. (For more about that see my April 5 post Bovine Belly Aching)

I got so frustrated with Daisy I hung up my brushes and moved on to other things.  However, last weekend was a community garage sale.  I paint in the garage so the herd needed to relocate.

The problem was Maisie.  She was greedily taking up way too much space. I refused to start over–I just wanted the damn critters DONE.

Jim had witnessed my dissatisfaction and made a suggestion.   “Why don’t you print out several copies and sketch the third cow. Maybe you can get the composition right.”

I should have thought of that. I was so busy slashing and burning, painting over the stupid creature, my brain was fried. I took his advice and did it one better.  I opened a  photo of the canvas in Photoshop and dropped a third cow into image, thereby making a useful reference.

At the end of the day I chose to have Daisy entering the scene stage left.  I then created the illusion of a bit more Maisie.  At long last Daisy, Bossy and Maisie live on our kitchen wall.   A neighbor asked what kind of cows they are.  I replied, “Pink Nosed Brown Cows.”

The little I know about cows I learned from friend JR Robertson.   He has a herd of White Park cows on his Missouri farm.  When we visited JR he put me on his ATV and took me to meet cattle.  JR wasn’t wearing shoes.  He hadn’t intended to climb off.  As we approached the cows he asked if I’d like to feed one.

You bet I wanted to feed cows!   In his stocking feet JR traipsed through cow patties to get food pellets.

This cow is named Panda.  Panda has a long slimy black tongue.  I’d hold a pellet out  and she’d shove her face into mine and glop my fingers.  It was kind of disgusting in a marvelous giggly way.

JR will be visiting us on Memorial Day.  I’ll introduce him to our brood.  Perhaps he’ll decide to add a few pink nosed brown cows to his herd!

 

Coffee makes life good

It wasn’t until age who-the-heck knows–somewhere after twenty-five and before sixty–that I embraced coffee.  Now I adore it!

But only iced with (shame on me) full-fat milk and stevia.  I pretend the stevia un-does the whole-milk damage.

Todays breakfast is in a wee teeny glass Jim stole from a bar in Hong Kong while on leave from Viet Nam.

I LOVE this little glass.  Jim maintains he swiped it just for me.  Since I am embracing the “manifest-your-future” thinking I pretend he knew I was–eventually–a part of his life.

It’s cute, right?  For a long time it lived in the garage holding pencils.  I only recently promoted it to kitchen favorite.

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Only about five inches tall.  I wonder if the Imperial Hotel still exists  Project for today:  Figure out if that Hotel is still in business.                                                              Note to self: DO NOT MAKE A RESERVATION.  I’ve had enough visits to China to last a lifetime.  Visiting China was a wonderful life experience.  Happy to have done it. Happy to have it in my rear-view mirror.

I have to amend the “no go to China” thing.  I would LOVE seeing Jim Peng, Maple and Miss Gao again.  They were an enormous gift in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m deaf, and this is good because…..

Jen Sincero writes that we need to think positive thoughts in order to manifest all great things in our world. If there is something negative in your life, you tack on the words, “….and this is good because.”

Tried it with my husband, Jim. His was, “I’m bald. And this is good because I don’t have to comb my hair.”

I’m deaf. I’ve been deaf for about 15 years. Lost my hearing when I had pneumonia.

Being deaf is good because…..

Loud noises don’t wake me up at night.
When I read I simply take out my hearing aids and instant quiet.
I get attention by saying, “I’m hearing impaired.”
I’m learning to lip read.

Try this little exercise! Last night I talked to a great friend who has very little money. She tried it. She said, “Being poor is good because I don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the stock market.”

Keeping the positive vibrations flowing. So, all of you, go forth and prosper. Have a beautiful positive day. Hooray for today. Is anyone reading this? Maybe not many, but eventually the multitudes will discover my blog and yay yay hip hip hooray I’ll be rich and famous and tall with long legs.

jen sincero    Go buy her book!  So great!

High School Reunions

I recently got this letter in the mail from a fellow Newark High School graduate Chuck Cover.  Seems I sent it to him about fifteen years ago, prior to a reunion.  I tried to trick him into thinking me fit and fancy.

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I’ve been to several NHS reunions, but two  stand out clearly in my mind.

My favorite reunion prank was played with a writer friend, Jane Guill, author of Simon and Schuster’s Nectar From a Stone.   Jane and I made up a fancy classmate, named her “Deweybrat” and spun an exotic world trotting lifestyle for her. Weekly we would meet for breakfast. Jane would dictate tales about  beautiful Deweybrat, owner of a lingerie factory.  Dewey traveled the world marketing her products.  She also had a gorgeous hunk handsome man in her life.  Jane based him on her hunk handsome Welsh husband, Andy.

I  asked family members and friends if they had any exotic trips coming up.  Jane wove the locations into our letters. My friends then posted mail from all over the world!   I have no idea how many we sent, but the prank went on for the better part of a year.  I even paid for a ticket for me,  as Alice, and for Dewey, anonymously.

It was a gas, and we had the reunion committee racking their collective heads to figure out who Deweybrat was.  There was some finger-pointing, but I denied any knowledge.

Deweybrat, being fictional, was unable to attend.  Jane invented a fire in Dewey’s garter belt factory.   Emergency!  Deweybrat couldn’t attend!  I then sent the committee a last-minute Western Union telegram voicing Dewey’s regrets.  Boo Hoo.

I specifically asked Western Union if point of origin would show  up on the telegram.  I was assured not.   WRONG.  My cover got blown on the afternoon of the reunion.   That evening the committee presented me, aka Deweybrat,  a white feather boa.  It was very Deweybrat-ish,  but a  disappointment after nearly a year of crafting letters and sending them from afar.

My second favorite reunion was my ex-husbands.  I wore the name tag of some woman who failed to show up.  All evening people were talking to me about how I’d changed,  Pretty funny.  There were amazing and amusing stories I learned about my fake me.  Fibbing has its advantages.

 Nectar From a Stone by Jane Guill

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Ah! First crushes were enormous, weren’t they?

Recently I found my meditating mind circling back to my youth. It occurred to me that another great thing about being sixty-five is the angst of my younger years is behind me.

When I didn’t have much time booked on this planet everything seemed enormous! Now, not so much.

For a time being my big anxiety centered around Carl Jacobson. I clearly remember the hours/weeks/months fretting over him. He was the dreamboat I “loved” in Junior High. He was gorgeous in a Paul McCartney floppy hair way.

Carl played alto saxophone, so I took up sax. I planned to sit next to him in band practice. Little did I know he was lead chair, I was last chair. Our paths didn’t cross. Plus I learned playing sax was a pain–you had to put the dry reed into your mouth and hold it until it became flexible. That made me gag. Furthermore being in band involved wearing ugly black and gold wool uniforms with ridiculous tall feather adorned hats.

Another “nab Carl Jacobson” plan involved basic stalking. Walking by his house. Going wherever he might go. Once I went to a MYF dance (Methodist Youth Fellowship) because rumor had it he’d be there. The passing clothing fad was denim pants that rolled up to just above the knees and wide horizontal stripe t-shirts. Mine was navy and white, purchased at National 5 and 10 on Main Street, Newark, Delaware.

The afternoon of the dance I worked for hours on my “look”. Set hair in big rollers and sat under the dryer. The dryers in the 60’s were plastic boxes with flexible tubing attached. The other end of the tube was hooked into a bubble cap that blew up like a balloon when the dryer was running. My dryer had a fancy feature whereby you could put perfume into a certain spot and your hair would come out smelling amazing. I used Jean Nate.

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Then I put on my jean shorts and tee-shirt. Standing in front of my mom’s full length mirror I saw I had very big, very obvious thigh saddle-bags. I reasoned that I could reduce the look of those fat wads by stuffing Kleenex into my pants just above the widest leg lump. Not the best plan. I didn’t consider the fact the tissue balls would shift. By the time I ran into Carl Jacobson my backside appeared to have tumors.

Goodness, I spent a lot of my youth sweating the very small stuff. Being old is good because it’s given me perspective. Yay for being sixty-five.

Yay! Marriage survived the birthday surprise!

My husband turned seventy on March 29th. Which, weirdly enough, is also my ex-husbands birthday.

Jim’s son, Jason, made the decision to fly in for the day and surprise his dad. I wanted to save the “kid” (in his 40’s) cab fare so offered to pick him up at the airport. Needed to keep his visit a secret therefore told Jim we were picking up a friend.

“Who?” he asked.

“Charki. And she’s flying in on Southwest, landing in Tampa.” That was the first friend who popped into my brain. Charki lives 45 minutes south of us in St. Petersburg. Charki is a retired United Airlines employee. Naturally she always flies United because it’s free for her.

Happily, Jim didn’t pick up on that odd bit. Truly lovely to be married to a vaguely obtuse man.

We boogied to airport at about 3 p.m. “Charki” was to land at 3:50. Parked in the cell phone lot and began watching the giant light up board for arriving flights. The plane departed from Midway, Chicago. YIPES…there were NO Chicago flights are on the electronic sign.

Jim began to grill me, “Are you SURE it’s coming into Tampa? And you SURE it’s not St. Pete.”
“Yup, I’m certain.”

Five minutes rolled by and again he said, “Are you certain? There are no Chicago flights on the board. I think you should call Doug!” (her husband)
“Don’t have his number” Lie lie lie
“Then call (mutual friends) Brookie and Earl. Get Doug’s number. And
what’s the flight number? You should always get the flight number!”

I couldn’t call from my phone. The call would have been broadcast loudly from my bluetooth, which I have no idea how to disable because that would require reading the manual. I don’t do manuals, I just pound on buttons and turn knobs until (maybe) something works out.

Texted B and E saying, “I’ll be calling, please play along.” Then I called. Hooray, neither picked up.

Emailed Jason, “DO NOT TEXT OR CALL ME WHEN YOU LAND. (damn Bluetooth again)
” JUST EMAIL. And, oh by the way, are you landing in Tampa?” (Please please please be landing in Tampa or I’m toast.)

By now my normally rarely-wants-to-murder-me husband was fuming. No Chicago flights on Big Board. No way to reach Charki. And furthermore, why did Charki not fly directly to St. Pete where she lives?

At long last Jason emailed, “On the ground. Will be standing at Southwest arrival wearing plaid shirt and red back pack.”

“Hooray Jimmy, Charki landed. She will be wearing plaid. And a red back pack.”
That bit caught Jim’s ear….Charki, in plaid? Charki is known for crisp white shirts, flowy scarves, hip jewelry, cute color coordinated cross body bags. When he pointed out the curiousness of this I simply said, “She likes plaid for flying.” Seems I’ve easily grown into being a big fat liar.

We cruised along arrival area until I spotted Jason. Jim, looking keenly for Charki in her unique new ensemble, never noticed Jason until Jason pounded on the driver side window. The look on Jim’s face was worth all the lying, sweating, fretting and enormous anxiety attack.

Secret kept! Cloak and dagger stuff accomplished. Marriage survived! Yay. Altogether great day.

Plus neighbor Lynda baked him an awesome Girl Scout Thin Mints birthday cake. That’s it in the photo. 5 candles, one for every fourteen years. Needed a calculator to figure it out. 🙂 Just to be sure I counted it out with my hoof.

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At sixty-five I forgot how to make my formerly fantastic Toll House Cookies. What’s happening to me?

I really messed up my last batch of chocolate chip cookies. This was SO wrong. Once upon a time I had amazing cookie baking tricks and a reputation to maintain. After a while baking chocolate chippers was like riding a bike. I knew how to do it and they were always awesome…

Until they weren’t.

On March first I made our neighbor, Brian, a batch of my Toll House cookies for his twentieth birthday. I’ve made them for him regularly and successfully in the nearly four years we’ve lived here.

But on March first something went horribly wrong. The cookies ran together in a big mushy mess. I managed to scrape them onto cooling racks, whereupon the middles dripped through the wires to the counter below. They were a dismal embarrassing failure.

I blamed it on humidity. I blamed it on the oven, the ingredients, the alignment of the stars. I blamed it on everything but human error. (ie myself)

I should have started over. Instead I chose to go with, “Well, it’s the thought that counts!” When I was able to kinda’ sorta’ move from racks to platter I displayed the least unfortunate ones on top. Brian ate them without complaint but Brian is twenty. Twenty year old boys eat everything without complaint.

Meanwhile my daughter Mo–the cookie baking hot-shot show off–keeps posting Instagram photos of her baking products. Snickerdoodles, Toll House, Oatmeal Raisin, chocolate ones with sinfully delicious looking chunks. This pictures shows perfectly browned, uniform French-bakery-shop-worthy beauties.

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Her latest miraculous cookies.  She likes to taunt me by sending these pictures.  It’s a good thing I love her.

How is this possible? I’m the cookie person in this family, dammit.

Finally I broke down and confessed I had lost the touch. I asked Mo for advice.

“Are you using a cookie scoop, Mom?” …..huh?

“What about silpat matts?”….and those are? My deaf ears translated that as “thilfad”, then “willgab”. She finally spelled it out “Stephen, Igloo, Lady, Patio, Alice, Too bad/so sad/can’t hear.”

“Do you have half sheets?”  This one I actually knew about from Ina Garten.

“Furthermore it’s best to weigh ingredients rather than measure by cups–flour settles. A cup isn’t always a cup. Oh by the way the best temperature is generally 350 degrees other than for chocolate chip, which I bake at 360.” ….again, huh?  I thought 375 degrees for chocolate chip cookies was a hard and fast rule.

All in all I figured out I really don’t know squat about cookie baking.
Immediately went to Amazon–bought the aforementioned scoop and silpat mats.

Today I decided to dive back into the cookie dough. I didn’t have ingredients for chocolate chips, plus I was still too cowed by my recent failure.

I made peanut butter cookies instead. I even snuck in some of Jim’s closely guarded Dove Dark Chocolate mini candies. The results? Not bad. Not as gorgeous as Mo’s though. Guess my next purchase is a scale for weighing the flour I can’t eat. Celiac Sprue, no gluten allowed….which is a good thing because I shouldn’t be eating cookies anyhow.

Check out these yummy confections. Yay me! No they aren’t as uniform as Mo’s, but I’m just a beginner.

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