Outdoor Concerts

Monday, July 16, 2018

Today I am grateful for outdoor concerts.  It was hot and humid yesterday with violent storms until about one, so we were going to opt out of the Concert Sundaes we usually go to on Sunday nights. . .me for the music and people watching, Himself for the two-buck ice cream.


Then the heaven’s parted, the sun came out and I got a message that the “Philadelphia Funk Authority” would perform outside as scheduled.  So we went.  Driving into the parking lot I saw a gorgeous black woman in white capris, with braids piled a foot high on the very top of her head.  “I hope she’s in the band,” I said to Himself.  She was.  And boy did she have pipes!


Just like any crowd there are wide varieties of people. Since I like so many forms of music, as long as the singers are in tune, I’m happy.  Not so for the two geezers (picture the old guys in the balcony on The Muppet Show) sitting behind me.  The band started with “Virtual Insanity”, a song they first performed twenty years ago.  It was full of rhythm and brass and sass.


“Sounds like insanity to me!” Geezer-one says and the other grunts in agreement.  When it was over they were rocking in their plastic mesh lawn chairs, leaning on their canes and I’m sure turning their hearing aids off.  The band played another song.


“If I heard that on the radio I’d turn it off!” Geezer-Two says.  “Me, too, especially if I was in my car.  I can’t stand that screeching.  What is that?” Geezer-One asks.


It was difficult to concentrate on the music and the comments, so I borrowed a pen from the lady sitting next to me so I could take notes.  On the Geezers, not the band.  An inquiring mind, like mine, doesn’t want to miss anything.  The band was just great.  Was it Tommy Dorsey or John Phillip Sousa?  Nope.  Not even close.  But the jazz was great, the rifs in pitch and the funk fantastic.  I’ve never seen so many people dancing at one of these events.


“Do-dah-do-dah-dat-da-do-dah-dododod-dat-dah-do-do. . .what in the hell was that?” Geezer-One is mimicking the current singer.  Geezer-Two is shaking his head and laughing so hard I’m afraid his teeth will fall out.  “They sure aren’t lyrics!” he says.


When my new BFF with the mile-high-hair grabbed the mic and sang I was in awe.  How does someone hit every note so perfectly when singing soft or bold?  It’s a gift.  When she was done I leaned back so that I wouldn’t miss the Peanut Gallery comment, because I was sure there would be at least one.  The Geezers didn’t let me down.


“That band is pretty good, but the singing is TERRIBLE!”  Geezer-Two, says to Geezer-One’s nods and shouts of, “Horrible, just horrible” over the applause.


At intermission I looked back to see if the curmudgeons were heading for ice cream to placate their bad attitudes, but they were folding up their chairs and leaving.  When the music started back up again I felt the void.  Outdoor concerts are great.  And sometimes so is the music.


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a oreo

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Today I am grateful for contraband.  Himself is an all-day-snacker.  That’s with an “n” not an “l”.  And now the doctor wants him to lower his blood sugar a little bit or he’ll have to give himself shots.


So he’s given himself until Monday to get all of the Oreos, Devil Dogs, crumb cake, donuts, pound cake, chocolate cake, cookies, candy, and I could go on and on and on, out of his system.   Try being on Weight Watchers in this house!


Except we have a two-year-old staying with us for the next few days.  And anyone with a brain knows that an 82 year old who should monitor his sugar is not nearly as dangerous as a two-year-old when no one is monitoring her sugar intake.  She is allowed very little for good reason.

But she adores her grandpa and wants everything he has.  So tonight he gave her a bite of his liverwurst on white bread.  With just the right amount of drama, she acted like it was good, then sucked the bread off the liverwurst and spit the wad of pink meat out in his hand


Grandpa-Himself has to scramble to get the Devil Dogs in his pockets and Oreos hidden under dish towels, when she runs into the room saying, “What Grandpa doing?”


He had to wait until her dad was taking her to bed before back tracking like a squirrel hunting for buried-booty.  I wonder if he collected all of his sugary contraband or will it keep turning up like the Easter Eggs he hid last spring do?

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Owl Update

a owl on popcorn

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Today I am grateful to give an owl update.  I hid him good the last time.  Himself has been walking around the house for over a month asking if I threw him out?  Nope.  And I even remembered where I put him last, which is beyond amazing since I can’t remember where my glasses are and I have a hundred pairs.


“Do you want to play Scrabble?” I’d ask every week or so.  He’d shake his head, shrug his shoulders and say he’d rather watch sporting events on the TV in the bedroom.  That man would watch nose picking if there were teams on sides.


Then the power went out.


“Maybe we should play Scrabble,” he suggested.  Brilliant idea.  Why didn’t I think of that?  “The kitchen is the only place bright enough to see and who knows how long we’ll be sweltering.  You set up the game while I throw some water on the outside plants.”  By the time he got back in the power was on.


“I thought you were going to set the game up,” he said.  I could tell he was a little miffed.  But I didn’t set the game up, because he had to open it or he wouldn’t have found the owl.  So the game is afoot once again.  Aren’t we so wily?  And silly?


Next he hid it in my coffee cup. . .the one I don’t use every day.  But then!  Then he broke the cardinal rule of hiding.  He hid it again!  On the bag of popcorn where he knew for sure I’d find it soon.  But two turns in a row?  That’s a foul for sure.  Back off, pal!  It’s my turn!  He better watch his back. . .and his underwear.  You never know where that owl will turn up.

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Sidewalk Chalk

a chalk art on driveway

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Today I am grateful for sidewalk chalk.  Nothing blows the world’s problems out of your brain like spending time with a two-year-old.  As she sleeps I’m feeling a clarity I haven’t felt in weeks.  Or is that exhaustion?  Doesn’t matter, it’s all good.


After a sketchy nap and a snack the project du jour was to be chalk on the sidewalk.  My meaning was that I would sit in a chair because my sciatica is acting up again, shooting lightening down my leg, and little miss would write all over the driveway.  I would cheerlead and applaud as needed.  Um.  Not quite.


“Here, Grandma!” she demands, handing me four large sticks of chalk.  Miss Bossy Pants then proceeds to point to all of the spots on the driveway she wants written on, drawn on, Michaelangeloed.  This kid is already preparing for upper management!


“Okay,” I said when I was done, dragging my aching self to the chair and almost standing up straight.  “Now it’s your turn to draw.”


“No!  You draw!  You draw!  Draw!  Draw!  Here!”  The nap was definitely a little short today.  Thank you lawn crew who weed whacked right under her window for twenty minutes, jarring her awake an hour early.


Pain or not, a grandma’s gotta do what a grandma’s gotta do.  So I drew.  And drew.  And wrote.  And drew.  I’m sure I will think that our escapade with sidewalk chalk was a lot of fun. . .just as soon as I’m out of traction!

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Where We’re From

a we the people slogan

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Today I am grateful for where we’re from.  When an idea for a story shoots into my brain like yesterday’s lightening, I write it down.  If I’m at the computer, I write a buzz-line at the bottom of the blog file.  If I’m in the car I write it on a tablet I keep there.  If I’m in a restaurant a napkin or corner of a placemat works for me.  All of those tiny pieces of paper create the confetti of my brain.


Usually just a word or two reminds me of what direction I want a story to go.  Usually.  Except I wrote this down the other day and after re-visiting it a dozen times, I still had no clue why I wrote it. “Place of birth, where you’re from.”  What?  Did I mean to write about my hometown?  I channeled that idea for a while and nothing specific came to mind so that wasn’t it.  What about where I’m from?  Isn’t that the same thing, sort of?  Still nothing.


So I put it aside, let it simmer in my subconscious mind to see if anything bubbled up.  Sometimes the best mental exercise is simply being silent and waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  Until today.


It’s not where I’M from, it’s where we’re from.  Us.  People.  And on this Fourth of July, the anniversary of when men sat in brutal heat, much like we have had the last week, in a room that had no fans or air conditioning and was barely lit, with windows shut tight to keep out the black flies that swarmed, fed by the sweltering stench of manure and rotting summer garbage, it came to me.


Where we’re from.  We the People!  Where are we from?  Everywhere.  Literally everywhere.  And when I get discouraged about what is happening in this democracy that others struggled with treason to etch out, I force myself to remember that.  We are from everywhere.


When the yearly dates of times of great distress in our world roll around, we are deluged with “Never Forget” slogans, as if we could forget D-Day and 911, not to mention all of the disastrous shootings that left children and others lost to us forever.  Anyone with a working heart won’t forget those events.  Anyone with a soul will never forget.


And neither should we forget where we come from. . .our heritage which includes our families countries of origin.  They blend us into the nation in which we are still blessed to live, even if many of us feel wounded and exhausted from battling against what we believe is the collapse of our lost ideals.


We need to remember what it took our founding fathers to get us here. . .today. . .July 4, 2018. . .and what it takes to keep us here.  But we especially need to remember that “we, the people,” are from everywhere.  Everywhere.


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These Two

a Betty & Jim pic

Monday, July 02, 2018

Today I am grateful for these two.  I love my sister-in-law (the sister of Himself) like she was my own sister.  I love her man, like he was my brother.  It is just the best when family become friends and friends become family and it’s hard to tell who started out where.

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City Cat – Ruby

a Ruby with attitude

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Today I am grateful to be a city cat.  Ruby here, the grandcat, taking over for the old one today.


Before I knew what hit me my mom was loading up my food and litter box and I was unceremoniously dumped at my grandma’s house.  The kid I have to watch was here for a while, too, but now she’s abandoned me.


Mom should know that meals here are not regular.  I hope there is an “opinion survey” at the end of this stay!  Sometimes I have to wait as much as an hour for them to get up and I bet if I wasn’t sitting outside their CLOSED bedroom door, boring holes into it with my piercing eyes, they’d never get up.  Geeze.  How am I supposed to jump on their heads and remind them it’s time for me to eat if they close that door?


I will say that the grandma person does get on the task as soon as she gets up, but it’s only because I verbally remind her the minute she opens that evil door.  She meow’s back at me, but I’m sure it’s a form of country-cat-cursing.  I finally got her trained to feed me before she tends to the litter dish!  Priorities, baby!


This morning she asked me if I was losing my mind?  Why?  Because after my belly was full I started attacking one of my toy mice, throwing it up in the air and sideways jumping and chasing it until I had the rug in the hall pushed half way up the wall?  What’s a loose rug for if not to go surfer-cat on it?


I also sat at the patio door, where they put my cat tree and watched the birds.  Dozens of birds.  And small ones, too, not just those big pigeon things a city cat like me is used to.  I wonder if they like to play?  Or if they taste like chicken?


So I’ve been fed, used that dish thing, played like a lunatic for 10 minutes and now I’m hiding so I can have some privacy and write this hostage letter.


Don’t worry, when the grandpa guy comes out so will I.  I’ll yammer at him for a good brushing and belly rub, then go back underground again until it’s time to remind them to give me dinner!  It’s kinda fun.  Don’t tell them!  After all I am a city cat and have a reputation to uphold!

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