Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Today I am grateful for phonetics.  Why on earth did anyone ever go away from this when they created the English Language?  Or probably any language.


I don’t have a natural gift for learning languages, like some people do.  I can say the words pretty well and sing the music of them, but I I guess you need to understand the structure of your own language before you can understand a foreign one.  Since I still can’t diagram a sentence in English and have long stopped caring whether I can or cannot, I’m doomed.


Unless everything was phonetic.  “Wie gehts,” (how are you in German) would be spelled, “vee gates.”  We could drop a whole bunch of silent “h’s” from the Indonesian language and wouldn’t need the squiggly lines over the “n’s” in Spanish.  See how technical I am?


No wonder I’m a mess when I have to spell or try and think of a word that is lost in the bowels of my brain.  It’s usually in there, but I’m too fast at the keyboard to go searching so I make up my own.  What a treat for you.  I’m going to diphthong you into madness right along with me.   Both diphthong and madness came up on my spell check.  I knew nothing about the “h” after the p and I swear I put two “d’s” in the other every time.


Why do we have words that sound exactly the same, yet are different?  I don’t get it.  Were the people who created the language as lazy as me?  Why not just pick another new word?  Who needs there, their, they’re?  I don’t know why they have to exist, but I use them correctly. . .most of the time.  It makes me crazy when others don’t, but I get it.  It’s too much.


Then there is than.  How’s that for a segue which the grammar check hates?  In Pennsylvania a lot of people use “than” when they mean “then”.  But why are there two m’s in grammar?  I’m sure someone knows, it’s just not me.


Today I was talking to my sister on the phone.  It has been suggested to her that she use her vast brain and join a class, so she’s been searching for the right thing.  See there, I almost used “write” instead of “right” but I caught myself.


“Someone suggested that I take a writing class,” she says.  “There’s one connected to the play doh group where my husband participates.”  I didn’t know he was into that sort of thing, but good for him.  It’s creative and gushy and colorful.


“That sounds great,” I say, always wanting to encourage anything anyone wants to try, especially writing because I need all the help I can muster.  Besides, I really like play doh and have been caught playing with it when there is no child present.  “Will they provide it or do you have to bring your own,” I ask.


“Provide what?” she asks right back at me, which is not unusual since we’ve been doing this for the 69 years I’ve been on earth annoying her.


“The play doh.”  She’s older so I figure her hearing is going.  Ha-ha.


“It’s not called a play doh club!”  Now she is laughing like we were in a fitting room together when I was trying on dresses.  “It’s the Plato Club!”  The smart guy!  Aka/not me!  Swell.


FYI-When I went searching for pictures to use, I realized I had been spelling it play “dough” so I had to go back and change them all!


Phoenetics!  Jist wen I think I have it al figerd out, I git in a restling match wit Plato over Play doh!  It’s madddddennnninnnngggg.

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New Family Member, a Dragon

NeIMG_8773 (2)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Today I am grateful for a new family member, this dragon that Himself bought while I was making the scarf.  I have been in a state of confusion (what’s new) because I simply couldn’t figure out where my pictures were landing in the “cloud”.  That meant I couldn’t retrieve them and it stifled my blogging fun.


It turns out they were there all the time!  Geeze.  You see, I deleted a billion pictures on the old computer and when my angel put things into this one, they were on the external hard drive.  That means that there are tons of pics I haven’t been dealing with or having to look through.  That’s a good thing. . .unless you’re me.


I’m a bit technologically challenged all the way around.  I needed to print theater tickets and realized that I had never tried to print with the new computer.  Yikes.  I went it to the print thingy and nothing.  “We can’t hook anything up, you dummy” it said, or words to that effect.


Maybe I have to plug it into the printer, I thought.  Seriously.  I had that actual thought, which is scary in its own right.  Duh!  So I plugged it in and got, “What is wrong with you?  We’re not hooking these two things together!  Try again!”


So there is me, scratching my head and swearing and wondering if I’ll ever be able to print from this computer and I look at the printer again, pushing all of the plugs in and swearing like a rap star.


Maybe I have to turn it on.  Yeah.  I know.  Double-DUH-DUH!  Things started shifting and moving and screens came up and bells went off and whistles spewed out joy and voila, I was connected.


It was sort of the same with those pictures.  They used to land at the end of the cloud pics.  Tonight I went poking around the thousands in the middle and again. . .voila (see how good I am at foreign languages). . .again!  There they were!  ALL of them!  I’ve tried labeling some to see if I can now find them.  Haha!  Good luck with that.


It’s sad, so sad to be reminded daily of my incompetence regarding technology.  Turn it on and look deeper are going to be my new mantras.  If the pic of the white dragon Himself bought is here, I have conquered once again!  Another victory snatched out of the jaws of defeat!

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37 Years Married to Himself


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today I am grateful for 37 years married to Himself.  I searched through my pictures trying to find one where neither of us had spinach in our teeth, schmootz on our face or a booger dangling in a three-foot nose hair, and these are the best I could come up with.


Someone I love was struggling in her young life and asked how she could possibly get through it.  I had absolutely no advice for her except to say that in our 37 years we have been in some pretty rocky situations.  Not every minute of every year could be considered “happy” by any definition, yet somehow we have endured.  And now we can’t remember what those things that devastated us at the time were.  I wish that for everyone.


We’ve had our almost-splitting-up moments and talked about this yesterday when we were driving home from our son’s house.  He could have (and I was such a mess, I encouraged him to) left when I was going through intensive therapy and the discoveries that involved.  I remember sitting on our bed with him, telling him that I could not stop the process now because it was too important, but that if I just got to the other side all would be better, but if he left now I’d understand.  He stayed.


Our first Christmas in Indonesia was dreadful.  He had made a very bad choice the day before we were to go on a train to spend the holiday with friends we barely knew.  I was so pissed I couldn’t speak. . .until we got to the room, where I told him that I was ready to get on a plane and go home the very next day unless he got a clue.  He got a clue.  I stayed.  That was over 20 years ago.


So what keeps us together now?  It’s very simple.  He does the dishes at night and I empty the dishwasher in the morning.  He pulls the bedding back when he gets up and I make the bed before I leave for the Y.


He handles his own medication orders, doctor appointments and schedule and I handle mine.  We usually eat together, but rarely the same thing.   I know exactly what he’ll order at his favorite restaurant and he knows what I’ll order. . .so does the waitress.


If he wants to buy something on line, he checks with me to be sure it’s in the budget, which I handle.  He hasn’t balanced the checkbook ever in his life.  Not once.  I do it every month.


When he sees my living room water bottle is empty, he fills it.  When I notice his hoodie needs mending or a button needs sewing on, I do it.  When he keeps hanging clothes up that really need laundering I throw them in the wash and he gets them back the same day.

He can do laundry and usually strips the bed, washes and dries the sheets so I can put them back on.  I refuse to watch him put pillows in the cases ever again.  It’s too painful for me and I’m fussy about my bedding.  Sometimes he helps with the blankets and we usually argue even though we’ve done it hundreds of times.


I know he likes to get his tea and breakfast in the kitchen by himself so sometimes I go in there at the exact time he is in there.  I open the fridge, turn on the water, open the dishwasher which means you can’t get in the fridge, go in the cabinet where he’s standing and generally bug the crap out of him until he realizes I’m doing it on purpose just to keep him on his toes.  Then he laughs and we hug.  He tells me to get the hell out of the way. . .and I do. . .sometimes.


I try not to roll my eyes when he tells me the same story for the millionth time, yet when we meet someone new I remind him of the same story that drives me nuts, because he’s a brilliant story teller and I want him to share with our new friends.


He reads lips.  I read people.


His back is tight so when he drops something on the floor, I pick it up.  My knees and legs hurt when I do too many stairs so he runs to the basement for me.  He vacuums, I dust.  I wash all of the mirrors except the bathroom because I can’t reach.  He does that one.  Not always perfectly, but I let it go, because “letting it go” is a key to a good marriage.


He wishes he had a shotgun to shoot the smoke detectors when they beep because he hates changing the batteries on the high ladder and he can barely hear the beep, but he can easily hear me bitching about how much it’s driving me crazy.


I will take one for the team and endure the necessary phone calls to insurance companies, the Inquirer for our third undelivered newspaper of the week, to cancel credit cards and the dreaded tech support for anything.  If he is on the phone with someone and can’t understand them, I will either help by speaking with the person or I’ll write a cheat sheet for him.


If he’s ever grumpy or curmudgeony, I can pull him out of it by making him an apple pie.  I make good pie!   We buy our outside plants together and he waters them, but I deadhead.  We both get a kick out of our visiting hummingbird and both want to beat the crap out of squirrel who chews our outdoor sculpture and the hanging basket hook until the plant falls on the ground.


He likes to watch Animal Planet no matter what beast is devouring what and it grosses me out.  I pretty much hate violence on TV but can watch a graphic doctor show and he is the opposite and will leave the room.


I realize that this is probably way more information than you need or want on us, but to me it’s important that the young people out there, who are growing up with TV shows where violent sex and screaming are the norm, realize that at the end of the day. . .or your lives. . .the things that mattered once, no longer matter.


He makes me laugh.  I make him laugh.


What matters is the balance, the give-and-take, the monitor-and-adjust, the listen-and-hear of a long-term relationship.  I guess after 37 years, ours is considered one of those.  And yes, I made him read this before posting.  I am grateful for every confusing, frustrating and funny minute.  BING!  Heartprint!


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Doylestown Art Festival

a dyed scarf

Monday, September 9, 2019

Today I am grateful for the Doylestown Arts Festival, which we attended yesterday.  Now I feel like I have to get out the paints!  I suppose that wasn’t the intention of the planners, but there you have it.


It’s not like I paint as well as most of the art I saw displayed, but in some cases I can get fairly close.   Besides, since I no longer “judge” my work brutally, I like it better.  I like everything better without my own self-flagellating judgement.


I don’t have a kiln, but I could do a fairly decent job sculpting clay, too.  I have some pretty nice air-dry pieces in the house right now, but if I do more where would I put everything?  That’s my dilemma/explanation/excuse. . .pick one or leave them all.


When I walked past a booth that was a hub of activity, I had to push in to see what was going on.  Volunteers from the Michener Art Museum had tables set up in a U-shape, with colorful jars of silk pigment dyes, each with their own brush sticking out.  Little girls, in paint speckled aprons, were painstakingly dabbing long, white silk scarves in “little girl” patterns.


“Boy, that looks like fun,” I said to Himself.  “For five bucks those kids make their own scarves.”  He nodded and went off to the Geek Store to lust after dragons and buy orcs.  One persons art show is another person’s chance to go piss away money on medieval creatures.  You can never have enough.  Apparently.



We hooked up later at a booth where a friend was displaying his work through the Bucks County Artists.  While talking with others in that booth, I mentioned that I saw the Michener booth designing silk scarves.  “If I had seen even one big person apron, I’d have been all over that project,” I joked.


“They have adult aprons!  I know they do!  Just ask them.  You should do it.” she encouraged me to go back.  So I did.

Because all of the other stations were taken, I had to stand right in the front near the crowd.  I’m pretty happy with center stage, so it worked for me!  I got myself into the apron, listened to a few instructions, then went at it.


Did I know what design I wanted to do, like the little children, who were putting down meticulous stripes, big blue dots or pink hearts?  Nope.  Not a chance! I like to be loose when I do something like this and if it doesn’t turn out exactly as I want, then I’ll adjust what I wanted in the first place.  Keeps me happy.  No stress.


I grabbed a purple brush and made a squiggly line down the center of the scarf.  Then I blobbed another color in spots, drizzling it and lifting the scarf to make it run.  I did this with various colors until I felt I was nearly done, leaving a little white space.  I had heard one of the volunteers say “Be careful!  A little black goes a long way,” as a warning to the children.  But I heeded it, too.  I wanted to use a little black for contrast.  So I splattered it, tapping the brush on my other hand, speckling the scarf.  What a blast!!!


The whole thing took me less than ten minutes.  I was completely focused and felt totally free.  It was wonderful!  Once you stop thinking that you’re doing it wrong, or that you can’t do it at all, it’s amazing how much fun you can have with something like this!


The crazy big lady in the hat drew a crowd in her orange apron and I heard people behind me, who were watching my messy fun, saying, “Could I do one, too?  I like the way she’s doing that one!”  Free!  I paid a measly five bucks to feel completely free.  And I inspired others to do the same, telling them to not do one like mine, but one like theirs.


Guess what?  The Michener has a “Sensational Scarves” event scheduled for Friday, November 8, from 6:30 – 9:30 pm.  I believe they also offer them for groups, too, but you’d have to call and ask.  They’d be much like those Ladies Night Out parties where you swill wine while doing a canvass painting.  They provide snacks and wine and the materials and voila, you go home with a scarf.


I had a great time people watching and perusing the art at the Doylestown Art Festival, but nothing was more fun than making the silly little silk scarf!  Call the Michener Art Museum at 215-340-9800         for details.

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Green Back Brush

a backbrush in locker

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Today I am grateful for my green back brush.  The kid is stretching it with this one, but apparently this little brush decided to go on a little holiday and I have no idea where she’s been.


She disappeared a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t know if she was stolen, or if she dropped out of my bag and decided to run away because I didn’t bother to notice until days later.


“My back brush is missing,” I said one day as I was hauling my crap out of my pool bag getting ready for water aerobics.  My peeps are used to seeing my brush because I use it every time I’m there.  They offered advice on where it might be. . .but just like their directions to restaurants, most of it was confusing and virtually useless, albeit humorous.

Hmpf, I thought, when I was looking in my car later and back tracking my steps.  Nope.  I searched my laundry room where I hang my bag, but no, not there either.  I even checked the garage, although I rarely park in there.


“My back brush is lost,” I said to Himself one day after yet another search.  He looked at me like I was nuts, which is pretty much his normal look in our house.


“Didn’t you get it at the dollar store?” he asked.  Yes, I did, but that’s not the point.  Like shoes or bras or underpants, I just about had the thing broken in!  And now she’s gone!  Abandoned me without a second thought.  Bitch!


I grabbed another brush from the “extra back brushes” pile and have been using that since she left.  It’s a little too bristly, not broken in at all, but okay in a pinch.


With the pool being closed for a week and me babysitting, I didn’t get back there until yesterday.  I opened my usual locker and voila, there she was, sitting on t he top shelf all green and shiny, with remnants of our last shower excursion evident by the soap still clinging to her grooves.  Groovy!


I used her that day.  We had a little one-sided discussion in the shower about how I hope she wasn’t off cleaning toilets or something otherwise disgusting because I had no desire to pitch her in the trash for the error of her ways.  Maybe someone will come forth to solve the mystery, but if it’s that she was in the lost n’ found, I don’t want to know.  I never thought to check there.  Come up with a better story and I’ll listen!


Some days you just have to count your blessings for the little things.  My runaway, green back brush is back and I am grateful.  Where was she?  Be creative.  Go!

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People who Impact our Lives

West Point - cruise - Alicia.jpg

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Today I am grateful for those who impact our lives.  One person in particular.  And yes, I’m back, typing away on the new laptop!  Aside from a few hiccups surrounding how to find my pictures, we have not yet entered therapy together.  Back to my topic.


I rarely use names in my blog stories, but I am using my favorite picture of her, on a boat on the Hudson River during our visit to West Point.  I confess that I did not ask permission to write about this amazing woman.  Why?  Because she’d say, “What is there to write about?”  Hah!  I think that humility might be the one common factor in people who influence, support and encourage others.  There is plenty to write about.


I confess that when I received the private message from her that she was leaving my YMCA to work in the private sector where she will get not only full-time hours, but also full benefits, I was a bit gob smacked.  And selfish.  I didn’t want her to go because I will miss her so much.  But I want her to go because it’s what’s best for her.  Crap.


She’s not going to the other ends of the earth and even if she was, I still keep in touch with my friends on the other ends of the earth anyway.  She’s just sliding over a little. . .moving forward. . .doing what’s best for her.  Probably for the first time, as I see it.


It’s a gift, a curse and a responsibility to be the kind of people watcher I am.  And I’ve watched her for years.  I’ve watched the way she gently, yet firmly encourages those with physical and mental challenges to become their best selves.  I’ve watched her listen to cancer survivors in her “Live Strong” class.  I’ve heckled her from the back row in the chair exercise class, where her words ring in my head even when I’m not anywhere near the Y.  “If you fall down.  Stay down,” she says, because some injuries are made worse when you try to jump up.  As if any of us could “jump up”.  Haha!  But I used those words when I helped someone in a parking lot one day.  I saw her fall, hopped out of my car and said, “STAY DOWN,” as she tried to instantly get up.  We assessed before I helped her. (she was rattled but fine)


I’ve watched her from afar and I’ve shared many feelings and concerns with her up close.  What you see is what you get.  Honesty, laced with a wicked sense of humor.  You can’t fake that kind of caring and compassion.  The residents who live in the facility to where she is going have no idea what a treat they are in for, even the irascible rascals, who can push some of us to the brink.  Maybe especially them.  Because she knows just how to approach them!


When we celebrated with a party to send this crazy, wonderful, remarkable, kind supporter off on her new adventure, I was put on the spot and asked to speak.  I bumbled my words and said something about gathering up a group to “crash” her classes at the new place, which in retrospect does actually seem like a good idea.  For us anyway.  Maybe not so much for them.


What I really want to do is go over to that new place, sit across the table from every single person and tell them what kind of treat they are in for when she joins them.  I want them to know that she is not just yammering about health and exercise because she has knowledge, which she does!  It’s because she cares.  She really cares.  And she will make them care, too.  And that is probably the biggest gift of all.  She made me care about exercising.  Who ever thought that was possible?  Certainly not me!


I better quit before you all start getting cavities, because by now you’re probably thinking no one can possible be all of these things.

And you’d be wrong.  To her I’ll say, “Watch over your shoulder, sistah!  I’ll be right there with you. . .all the way!  If you ever need anything. . .anything. . .you know where to find me.”


Except I’m not plunking my sweating butt down in the blazing sun, on a hot beach.  I’ll be in the air conditioning chilling the drinks, so you’re on your own with that one!  I have my limits!  But you don’t!  You were made for this new chapter!  Think of all of the new lives you’ll impact!

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New Computer

a new computer pic.JPG

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Today I am grateful for my new computer.  I am so happy to finally have a computer that moves faster and I swear makes me think faster.  Oh no!  What now?


No more excuses over frustration.  No more whining about how the computer lost it.  Now it will all be on me.  I found the program where I save my blog, but that’s about all.


I’ve not only updated the computer, but was forced to leap-frog, kicking and screaming into the world of Windows 10.  I was still operating on Windows 7 and office dinosaur.  The new office program isn’t that much different, but I’m going to be bumbling around for a little bit.


The amazing man who put all of my old crap into the new computer so it could become my new crap, is my hero.  Lest he be too flattered, I have a lot of hero’s, but I confess that anyone who understands the technology that allows me to communicate with you good folks out there and save my bacon even when I don’t know it needs saving, rates right up at the top.


Okay, so now I’ve taken a picture of her.  I’m assuming that pic is someplace inside this new beauty and if I can find it, I’ll actually post this today.  Otherwise I’ll have to strike-out dates until I’ve figured it out.


(Zippity-doo-dah. . .I couldn’t find that pic in the cloud but sent it from my phone to my email, saved it and I think found it again.  We’ll see.  I wonder if I’ll become even more blabbity now that I can go faster? Bet you can’t wait!) Hahahaha! I saved it but absolutely could not find it so I dragged and dropped it. I have never dragged and dropped anything in my life. . .except my ass!)

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