Sunday, May 21, 2017

In my retirement, I find that most days are like all others.  I have my little routine and I go through it and find much enjoyment and satisfaction.  However, on occasion, I find an adventure coming up and I get so excited.  Tonight, for instance, we are meeting quite a few friends for dinner.  The special occasion is the hubster’s birthday, my friend, Nancy’s, birthday, and our good friends Suzie and Greg Watson are in town from Arizona.  There are sixteen of us meeting for dinner and drinks.

I am just so excited.  Not only do I get to see my old friends whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years, but I get to visit with my close friends with them.  I have an hour to blow before I start to get ready and so I thought I would start a blog.

Friends have been so important in my life.  I wasn’t very close to my family. I consider myself a displaced zygote.  Which means the stork dropped me in the wrong family?  I loved my family, it is just that I didn’t have much in common with them.

And so, friends became important to my life.  My very first close friend was Emma.  She and I were in Kindergarten together and we were in the same class throughout elementary and junior high school.   We drifted apart in junior high and I became close friends with a bunch of the kids from the class ahead of mine.

In high school, I became close to Jeanie who I had known since childhood.  Her family lived across the street from me when I was four.  She lived down the street from me and since we cheered together, we became best friends.

In college, I met Pat, and she was my best friend for two years.  We just met up in Springfield a couple of weeks ago and it was like we had never been apart.

In my adulthood, the hubster was my best friend for years.  We adopted a few friends (Dave, Dave and Fuzzer) and we hung out for many years.  I didn’t really have any girlfriends during this period of my life.  I had girlfriends who were the girlfriends of boyfriends but I never got close to them.

When we moved to Illinois, I met Ellie.   Her husband and mine got along, and her son was about the same age as my girls.  She was such a dear and often loaned me her son. We were both social butterflies and organized various groups of people to go out to dinner, to parties or to plays.  We grew very close to each other.  We walked together, talked together and shared many memories and feelings.  I just about died when she moved to Arizona.

Across the street was Nancy.  Her son introduced himself to me as Joshua Fairchild Heath.  I asked about the Fairchild as I have two ancestors whose names were Fairchild.  He told me his grandparents’ names were Fairchild.  After that he told everyone that my girls were his cousins.  Nancy and I became very close also and still are to this day. We often get together to bake or to can. We call ourselves, “Women who drink and can,” or “bake”.

Beyond Nancy lived Garnet.  I lived here three or four years before I met Garnet.  I don’t’ even remember meeting her for the first time.  We ran into each other off and on and she and I started riding our bikes around the lake.  She got me a job at the mental health facility where she worked and we worked together for half a year. Garnet and I drifted apart as she likes to be a loner quite often. In recent years, she has been going through chemo and radiation, and damn her, but she is going to put up with my presence, whether she likes it or not.  (I think she does like it.)

Suzie moved into the house across the street when Nancy moved away.  (Five doors down.)  Suzie was determined that she was going to become a reflexologist and write a book.  Darn if she didn’t do it. She and I became very close.  We made several trips together and did quite a bit of walking and hiking. When she moved to Arizona, it broke my heart.

When Suzie moved away I became closer to her sister-in-law, Lorraine.  Lorraine is like my spiritual sister.  She is also a reflexologist and is going to instruct me in reiki.

Lauri was the wife of the man who sold us the lot on which we built our house.  Her daughter babysat for us once when we were hard up not knowing anyone in the area because we were new.  Lauri painted and wall papered for a living in those days and she asked me if I wanted to join in with her.  I did the trim and she did the rolling. We worked well together.  She married and moved quite a distance from me. She went on to become a CNC operator and we saw each other frequently but not enough.

Naomi was another friend who meant so much in my life. She played guitar and sang like an angel.  Or a demon when she wanted to.  I sang harmony, and soon, there was a whole group of people gathering on my deck with guitars and percussion entertaining the neighborhood.  We never did have one complaint in all those years.

These women are my sisters. They know me, my good, bad and ugly self.  I know theirs.  Tonight, I get to see some of them and catch up.  I am so excited.  As we get older these times are far and fewer in between.  I shall cherish tonight and hopefully, have a couple of photos to share with you. Photos to remind me of the memory of being with my close friends.

It was truly a night to remember.  We shared lots of hugs and kisses, laughter, joy and so much more.  And the food wasn’t bad either.

A few folks I expected didn’t show but the group that came had a wonderful time.  Our waitress and staff took lots of picture of the group of us.  I enclose a couple of my favorites.

This will be a memory for always.  Peace be with you.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hi.  Remember me?  I am Emily.  I am a rescue and I live with Wilma and her hubster.  I am very happy here and have such a good time playing with my squeaky toys, taking walks, playing frisbee, but something here is baffling me.

I go get a squeaky.  I shake it and chew it and finally get the plastic thing out and break it apart.  Then the next day there it is again.  It looks a little mangled but the squeak is back. and I am so perplexed.

I’m thinking Mommy is magical.  She sits with the squeaky toys at the counter sometimes, fooling with them, and won’t let me have them. Then out of the blue, she will throw that darn squeaky toy that I had destroyed not two or three hours ago.

I feel like I am living in a Steven King novel.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I had a new adventure over the weekend.  I met my college roommate in Springfield, Illinois and we did the tour thing. We had wanted to do this last fall but with the new dog I was afraid to leave her for two days.  She did not do well.  The hubster said she ate very little and stayed upstairs most of the time.  Oh well, she has to learn to get along.

My trip down was pretty uneventful until I reached Springfield.  I drove the hubster’s Acura and used the GPS to navigate.  I really knew the drive to Bloomington since I’ve done that one a million times heading back to Ohio.  I drove by the World’s Largest Grill.  It had Johnsonville on the side of it.  I gave the driver the peace sign as I went by.  He waved back.

I got close to Springfield and my GPS told me I was three minutes from my destination.  I kept driving and driving.  Three minutes turned into about ten.  Finally, the nice lady told me to take the next right off the highway and as I was doing such she told me to take the next left.  I veered left as I knew there were no lefts off the highway.  I realized that I had done a very bad thing.  The nice lady advised me to take the next left and I did and got back on the highway going the other way.  Then she turned me back around and I knew where I was. I kept expecting to turn right and then left but she didn’t take me the same route.

I called Pat and let her know I was lost and would be a little bit late. By this time I could hardly wait to be there and out of this car.

This is the thing with computers and technology stuff and me.  I have this magnetic body thing going and I mess these things up.  My new I-phone doesn’t recognize me half the time.  My computer goes kerflooey at a glance. I could never wear a watch because they quit on me.

And so, my friends, the GPS screwed with me.  I came in and found Adams Street but I was at the wrong end.  And two blocks down there was no street at all.  I called Pat and she told me she had come in on Second and it was at the corner of Adams and Second.  I had seen Eighth Street a while back and so I backtracked to Eighth and sauntered over to Second.  Sure enough, the hotel was right there.

Pat called and told me to let her know when I got there and she would come down and help me with my stuff.  My impatient self had to hurry without her.  I grabbed my suitcase, pillow, cooler, purse and a bottle of water and headed to the front door.

I got inside and the lady at the desk hurried over to help me.  My knees were shaking I was so nervous.  It seems as though I get lost everywhere I go.  I dumped the stuff and asked about Pat.  Desk lady said she would call her as she couldn’t give out her room number.  About this time Pat comes in the door and says, “Look what I found in the parking lot?”  She had  my phone in her hand.

We hugged and laughed and I about cried.  I told her I just wanted to go sit down, I was so shaky. We made it to our room and I collapsed onto the bed.  (We have this friend, Joe Clark, who used to travel with us and he always jumped on the bed when we arrived.)
I had brought my cooler and I had made myself a stiff drink, just in case, and I drank it. Half an hour later I felt much better.

We decided to go have dinner as we had two $10.00 off your meal tickets for Arlington’s which was just around the corner.

Pat got this wonderful package from Travel something.  It was two nights’ stay, two tickets to the Lincoln Museum, two $10.00 off your dinner coupons and two free drinks downstairs at the No Name Bar.

Arlington’s turned out to be a very festive place.  It had a very interesting horse statue and people hanging on the wall.   The menu wasn’t much but a bunch of sandwiches.  I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on a Waffle.  It came with Buffalo and bleu cheese dipping sauces and I must say it was great.  I’d order it again. With our coupon, our dinner came to a rousing $12.00.

We had a terrible night’s sleep. The couple next door decided to get romantic around 2:00.  At 2:30 I thought the wall would collapse from their banging.  They finally shut up around 4 but I couldn’t get back to sleep.  We also had a train about two blocks away and it kept it up all night.

We drove to Lincoln’s neighborhood at 7:45 to get there when it opened at 8.  The was a massive group of Girl Scouts and we tried very hard not to get into their group but it couldn’t be avoided. They turned out to be very nice young ladies. The Girl Scouts were having a huge jamboree. We got to see their parade.

Not only was the town packed with Girl Scouts, the Gay folks were having a big convention also.  There was also a large number of bikers (Harley) in town for a Viet Nam dedication of some sort.  Everyone we met were just so friendly.  Springfield is a nice little burg.

We toured Lincoln’s home and it was lovely.  I took a picture of his bed.  He and his lovely wife, Mary, had separate bedrooms but that was a sign of importance in those days.  I became very fond of old Mary on our trip.  She was really given a bad reputation by the press and everyone around her.

Pat is reading the bio of Mary Todd Lincoln and is passing it on to me when she finishes.

We toured a couple of other homes in the neighborhood but decided we would rather go tour the Frank Lloyd Wright home in Springfield.  It is the Dana-Thomas house.  It has like 36 rooms.  The tour guide was so knowledgeable and had a good sense of humor. Of course, we toured with the Girl Scouts. I’d highly recommend this tour if you are ever in Springfield.

The next day we hit the Lincoln Museum.  What at joy!  The figures are so realistic.  The display of ladies’ dresses in the White House was very impressive.  The movie they showed had lots of sound effects and I was jumping out of my skin. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as I feared it would be and I really enjoyed myself.

We had lunch at a very cute restaurant in town and I had French Onion Soup and a salad with walnuts and bleu cheese.  I suggested the waiter serve the soup with a pair of scissors. It was so wonderful but I fought a hard battle against that cheese.

We had dinner again at Arlington’s and for the life of me, I cannot remember what I ate.  I believe I had onion rings.  Old age!

Our breakfast the next day was an adventure.  The room was full of Girls Scouts, bikers, gay people and Pat and me.  The poor lady who was working the room, clearing plates and garbage and stuff, was in a frenzy.  She had been so kind the day before and even called me “baby”.  When I left, I handed her a ten because I really felt sorry for her.  I think her co-worker had copped out on her that day.

We drove out to the monument area.  I wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial and rub old Abe’s nose for good luck.  It is so shiny from people rubbing it.  We then ventured to see the Viet Nam Memorial before all the bikers arrived.  I cried just walking up to it.  Very heavy moment for me.

And so, Pat and I said our “goodbyes”.  I climbed back into the Acura to head home.  I did type in my address just to see how the nice lady would mess with me.  She did when we got to Lake Summerset because it is a private residential area and the GPS people do not have the correct information about us.  So there!

Peace be with you.

I got this horrible brain worm the other day.  I was singing “What’s your name” by Don and Juan.  I thought it was by Sam and Dave but I was wrong.  Anyhow, the song is about this lunatic teenage boy who is stalking some chick that has large breasts.

I’m am obsessively singing this song and thinking that this is the dumbest song ever written.  First of all, the guy wants to know her name and can only believe it is Mary or Sue.  Granted the song is from the sixties and that was before people started making up names like Shegundala and Lemonjello.  Then he says she has “charms” and obviously, she has large breasts, since he doesn’t know her.

The line is “it’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me, ohh, eee, ohh, eee, ohh, eee.”  Man, they just don’t write them like that anymore.

The next verse goes something like,” What’s your name, have I seen you before?  What’s your name, can I walk you to your door.”  I rewrote it to say, “Can I hump you on the floor?”
Next he is standing on a corner waiting for her to come along so his heart (crotch) can be satisfied.  He then wants to be her number one, when in actuality he is a number two, under the moon, under the start and under the sun (him).

So, whatever happened to Don and Juan?  They died in 82 and 02 and were mentioned in a movie once.

After I had torn apart “What’s your name?” I started thinking about other songs that were ridiculous.  The first that came to mind was Elton John’s “Your Song.”  I loved that song but when you think about the lyrics you know Bernie Taupin was on drugs when he wrote it and needed to do more.

The first verse is very sweet but it goes from sweet to inane. “Sat on the roof and kicked off some moss.  A few of the verses have got me quite cross.”  Then do another hit and rethink the strategy.  Bernie, you should be ashamed!  And then, “Excuse me forgetting but these things I do.  You see I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue.”  What things?

I do love this song but it is moronic.  Bernie, rewrite this song, please.

The other song that came to mind is one that I love singing.  It is “Words” by Neil Young.  Now in my opinion, Neil Young is one of the greatest song writers every.  But “Words” is so inane.

“Someone and someone were down by the pond” he doesn’t even know who he is writing about. Maybe, “Mary and Sue were down by the pond?”  And they are looking for something to plant in the lawn.  I think Mary and Sue are starting to grow marijuana.  And he is sitting and hoping that the water will boil?  What is that all about?  I changed the lyrics to “sitting here hoping I don’t get a boil.”

I’m not sure about the line “Words between the lines of age.”  I always thought it was too heavy for me to understand.

Now Neil goes way beyond my imagination with “If I was a junkman, selling you cars, washing your windows and shining your stars”.  Oh Neil please shine my star!

“Thinking your mind was my own in a dream, what would you wonder and how would it seem.”  Sorry Neil but my mind is so far removed, you could never own it.  But then I could never come up with a king and a castle after all the above aforementioned idiocy.  “The king started laughing and talking in rhyme.”  Did this come from Alice’s rabbit hole?

So many wonderful songs by Neil Young but this one is just too far gone.

Let me know what songs you think are the stupidest lyrics ever.  I could rewrite them too.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

This rainy weather has really been getting to me.  I can’t go outside and play in the dirt, I can’t take the dog for a walk, nor can I just look outside and dream of the time when I will be out there, warm and sweaty from the exhaustion of gardening, with a smile on my face.

Yesterday I decided to look into my jar of “things to do on a rainy day”.  I pulled out “pedicure” and decided that was exactly what I needed to do.  It is almost spring and that means sandal time. I do not do flipflops because I detest them. I do have a spare pair that I take with me if I go do a professional pedicure. Don’t you hate it when you get a fresh pedicure and have to put your socks back on and the pedicure is then corduroy?

I got out my old hospital sponge bath basin and ran the hot water.  I sat on the counter and dipped my feet into the warm water.  I scrubbed down with this wonderful sugar scrub that I made which has sage and coconut oil in it.   My feet were “oohing and aahing”.  I had to wash them with soapy water to get all the oil off my feet. I scrubbed them down with a rough towel and they felt like velvet.

What is it with feet?  We travel miles and miles on them in our lives but hardly ever give them the queen for a day treatment.  I remember back when I was about thirty something and I realized that I would never have nice fingernails and so I decided to start dressing up my toes.

Once when we were at the beach a little girl said to me, “Oh, you have makeup on your toes.” That was so precious.  We all should put makeup on our toes.  Even guys.  Feet are just the most wonderful appendages.  We use them every day and do so take them for granted.

I have had two surgeries on my right foot.  The first was a neuroma between my second and third toe.  It took some time for that puppy to heal but it was nothing compared to the second operation on that foot. I had to have the neuroma removed again and then I had bunions on the inside and outside of my foot taken care of. (I have the prettiest right foot which I refer to as Frankenfoot.)  It took over six months just to get over the swelling of the darn foot. I had to wear these socks that I could barely get on, they were so tight.  My hands hurt so badly just getting them scrunched up to put on my foot.  And then I had to smush my poor scarred foot into the vise sock.

People ask me if I am going to get my other foot done and I can tell them plainly, “Only if I get shot in that foot with a shotgun.”  Or jackhammered.

The point I am trying to make is that we should have an “Appreciate your feet day”.  We all get foot massages, pedicures and do “legs up the wall” for ten minutes.  Maybe even just go swimming and get off of them for a while.  We could wear outrageous socks.  Get flags painted on our toenails.  Fly foot flags outside.

When I was in my younger days and did really stupid things (yes, I did) I could light a Zippo lighter with my toes.  I could also pinch someone really hard with my toes.  My feet must have taken revenge on me for doing stupid things with my toes.

I have three dear friends who are reflexologists.  These people are martyrs.  They tend to the most disgusting part of a person’s body to help make them well.  If you aren’t familiar with reflexology it is a science based on the theory that there are reflex points in the feet relative to areas of the body.  It can be painful but it is also quite effective.  There is something quite sensual about having your feet attended to.

And so, dear reader, I attended to my own feet yesterday and gave myself a pedicure.  I couldn’t decide on the color.  I went with teal first but when I opened the jar it was a little dry.  I dumped that and decided on a very pretty orange.  I once got a pedicure in Arizona and they did a Cincinnati Bengal theme on my toes.

I did a base coat, two coats of color and two top coats.  That should last me for about four weeks.  When I will give it up and go have them done professionally.

Life is good.  I have feet that work, even if they are very ugly.  I appreciate my feet.  Please appreciate yours.

Peace be with you.

Photo is of my Bengal  pedicure because I still can't find my photos from my intelligent smart phone.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

On Friday I met with friends and we went to the Goodwill store in Delavan.  I got a new purse, some ribbon and a queen-sized sheet which I hope will become the back of my newest quilt. We have been going to this Goodwill for years.  It is a huge store and has a ton of really good stuff. I have purchased items of clothing with the tags still on them.  The queen-sized sheet was still in its original package.  ($2.99 can beat it.?)

We had some excellent laughs as we found so many interesting things.  I found a very cute wooden sun mirror and picked it up for Nancy. She is making fairy gardens around her yard and I thought it would be a good choice of items. She got it.

I rummaged through a bunch of puzzles, toys and games and found the most hilarious game called Exploding Kittens.  It brought back memories of one of my best friend’s son.  He isn’t my FB friend so I am not spoiling the surprise.  I bought the game and sent it to him.  Years ago, we used to go out in our boats on the lake and tie up together.  We called it flotilla.  The kids would swim in the lake and the adults would indulge in refreshing beverages.  We sometimes brought and shared dinner out there.  If the kids got bored we played games.  One game was called, “101 things to do with a dead cat.”

Friend, Ellie, is a cat lover and hated when we played this.  I think she managed a few laughs though.

The Exploding Kittens game reminded me of this and Ellie’s son, Jay.  It brought back many memories of Jay and all the outrageous things he and my girls used to do.

Back to the Goodwill story.  I looked through all the t-shirts but didn’t find any good ones.  They do have a bunch of ladies World Series Cubs t-shirts if you are looking for one.  Several years ago, I got my husband a t-shirt at this store that read, “Armed and Hammered.”  He wore it until it was tatters.  I sewed it back together because it is such a great shirt.

I managed to get away from the Goodwill store spending only $40.  I’m trying to get rid of stuff at my age.  I got a package of good pencils for only a quarter.  (I do the quiptogram in the newspaper and you have got to have a good eraser for this, and no, I don’t do it in ink but I do the crossword in ink.)  I also got four in-the-package glue sticks for only $2.00.  The ribbons I got were 50 cents each and one package had about 8 rolls for $1.99.

We ventured on down the highway to one of my favorite restaurants, Daddy Maxwell’s.  It looks like an igloo and is decorated with the inanest stuff.  They have Christmas lights over the windows with fluffy clouds of garland.  On this they put stuffed animals, Dr. Seuss creatures and really kitschy stuff like that. I love the place.  Look it up on line as I couldn’t snarf a photo.

The best part about Daddy’s is that you can get a beer.  We all got Spotted Cows.  Nancy and I got the fish tacos and Garnet got a grill tomato and cheese sandwich.  We shared deep fried cheese curds.

Somewhere during this luncheon Nancy told us the sillies joke about someone going to see a shrink.    This reminded me of a great old joke.  A man goes to see a psychiatrist wrapped in Saran wrap and the shrink says, “I can clearly see your nuts.”  We were laughing so hard Nancy got a stitch pain. I was almost crying at my own silly joke.  So then Garnet pops up with this one.  She is standing next to two guys at the Goodwill and overhears one of them ask the other, “have you smelled moth balls?” He answers, “yes,” so Garnet chimes in, “how did you get their little legs apart?”  I almost peed my pants.

Luckily, we were the only customers in that room at the time because we were laughing so loud and with such gusto.  I noticed that when new customers came in they put them in the other dining room.

Daddy Maxwell’s is known for its homemade pies and cakes.  They had carrot cake and cherry pie that day.  Decisions, decisions…  I opted for the carrot cake and Nancy and I shared it. It was not nearly as wonderful as my carrot but it was a good second. They made it with cream cheese frosting.  I make mine with Caramel.

Since Nancy drove (we call her van the Septran bus because it is huge and can carry seven people.) Garnet and I paid her lunch bill.  It came to eight dollars each.  Garnet gave me the eight bucks and I went and paid my bill and half of Nancy’s. I was still braindead from all the laughter. So Garnet pays her bill and the confused waitress asks who pays the other half of Nancy’s bill.  Garnet calls me over and says, “I gave you the eight dollars.”  I felt like an idiot!  We gave the waitress a very good tip.

On the way home, we stopped for beer and to use the restroom.  I had the most fun day I have had in a very long time.  I hope the other girlfriends who backed out on this trip will make it for the next one.

Photo above is not at Daddy Maxwell's but is a bunch of my favorite girlfriends in the world.

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Image result for chicken and dumplings

I am so very tired of my own cooking that yesterday I decided to cook something my mom and aunts used to make but I had only made once and wasn't very impressed with the results.  I made Chicken and Dumplings.  I opted to not go with the Bisquick method of making dumplings as that was the recipe I used years ago.

I got out my grandma's old cookbook, and sure enough, there was a recipe. The only herb or spice called for besides salt and pepper was parsley.  Being the herb freak that I am I had to do something about this.

We save all our chicken bones, wing tips and skin and made chicken broth when we run out.  I cook it all day, cool it down and make it into ice cubes and freeze it for use. When I made this stuff I put in onions, garlic, celery, carrots and lots of herbs.  It is delicious.

I decided to go with this method of herb madness for my recipe.  The hubster was taking a nap while I did this and when he got up he asked, "what are you cooking?  It smells great!."

I had told him that morning that I was making C & Ds.  I reiterated.

I posted on FB that I had done this and got several replies of "yum, yum", and one request for the recipe.  I have typed that up as best as I could.  I will tell you this. I added two cubes of my homemade chicken broth and some dried onion flakes and garlic flakes. That is the only difference.

Chicken and Dumplings    

One whole chicken cut up or your favorite pieces

1/3 cup chopped onion       1/3 cup chopped celery       1/3 cup chopped carrots
1 garlic clove minced          Saute all this stuff in a large cooking vessel.  Take off heat.

Add the chicken.  Cover the chicken with water.
Add some crushed sage, thyme, parsley and salt and pepper.

Cook on low heat for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on how you like your chicken.
12 minutes before serving…

1 ½ cups flour, 3 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt.  Sift this three times. Add ¾ cup milk and a tsp minced parsley.

Open up the pot and be sure it is close to boiling.  Dip spoon into the broth and then lift a spoonful of the dumpling mixture into the pot.  Dipping the spoon insures that the dumpling comes off the spoon.  Repeat until all the dumplings are in the pot.  Turn the heat down, cover and cook for 12 minutes.  You can thicken the gravy leftover if you wish but I like mine thin.

I have to say that I will probably make this again.  I don't anticipate changes because it was quite delicious if I say so myself.

Photo was not taken but supplied through Google Images.

Peace be with you.