Archives for category: humor

A long time former neighbor was turning 90, so his children planned a big party. My entire family traveled from points near and far to Ohio to help with the celebration. My sister, Sue, drove from North Carolina and I made the two-hour trek.

I drove up on Friday. The day was sunny. The display in my car showed the ambient temperature as 75º. I wore a long sleeve shirt, to protect my window-side arm from the sun. My windbreaker was thrown on the passenger seat since the forecast was for a continuation of the weather roller coaster the Midwest has been experiencing this winter.

The constantly changing weather — in northwest Ohio, in south central Ohio and in central North Carolina — was a topic of conversation.

Sue mentioned her early blooming flowers. I seconded that by mentioning the shoots sprouting from the soil on the campus where I work. Cathy, the non traveler, commented that even Mr. Freeze had opened early (February?).

Mr. Freeze!

Mr. Freeze is the soft ice cream place in the suburb where I lived for 20 years, 21 years ago. Heck with the calendar, it was the opening of Mr. Freeze that designated the start of spring.

I lived less than a mile from the confectioner, so a walking-the-dog often turned into a stop for ice cream. That dog just pulled us in that direction. We never complained.

The lines, especially on a hot day, were long, stretching into the too small parking lot.

The amount of ice cream in a baby cone would satisfy a family of kids. On one occasion, I witnessed a man from Fostoria (about one-hour south) receiving his medium-sized ice cream and exclaiming, “Wow! If the place in Fostoria gave this amount of ice cream, they’d go broke!”

During the weekend, the temperature plummeted. My jacket was necessary and others commented that it would not be warm enough for the wind and snow that had developed.

Sunday morning, I decided to fill my gas tank before hopping on the expressway for the ride to my present home. Because of highway improvements, I could not get to the gas station the way I did previously. My detour took me right past Mr. Freeze.

I looked at the temperature. It was 32º. Freezing. I’d been hankering for ice cream since before “Mr. Freeze” had originally been mentioned. Why not? When would I be back again. A tin roof (vanilla ice cream topped with Spanish peanuts and chocolate syrup) would be a comforting companion for the long ride home.

Sunday morning, in February, 11 15 a.m., 32 degrees. And I still stood in line! Granted there was only one family in front of me, but there were two mini lines.

I approached the window, asked for a tin roof and was asked, “What size?”

Seeing my bafflement, she placed three styrofoam cups on the counter — small (6 oz.) regular (16 oz.) and large (I have NO idea). I chose the regular.

Ah! Memories of my grandmother making us tin roofs and the chocolate covered ice cream kept me company from Perrysburg to Cygnet — the length of Wood County.

Yep. It was worth it.

Every.

Single.

Calorie.

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A compilation of thoughts:

1.) A few hours ago, I saw a headline “Elderly couple dies after jumping from parking deck together.” Aw, I sadly thought, envisioning a sickly people in at least their eighties. I opened the link to learn where this tragedy took place. Las Vegas. 

I truly do not mean to make light of the couples situation, but I was stunned to learn the age of both people was sixty-three! Sixty-three! That’s younger than I am. Elderly?

Recently I did reflect about myself that I could not be “middle aged” because I most certainly was not going to live to be twice my “middle” or 132 years.

I know “everything is relative.” I might consider my mother to be elderly. I’m not sure she considers herself thus.

As to relativity (mine, not Einstein’s), I recall 40 years ago when I first was looked to purchase a house. I lived in a 12 foot x 65 foot mobile home with a 12′ x 15′ pull out that made the living room roughly 20′ x 20′. The real estate agent was showing me what I could afford, but all seemed to be “cracker boxes” to me. Where would I put my furniture and the “stuff” I had?

Later, after selling the mobile home and moving into an apartment with a 12′ x 15′ living room and one 9′ x 9′ bedroom, the same houses seemed to have turned into palaces.

2.) A few years ago, two friends from Urbana, where I now live, visited my birthplace, Toledo, with a friend of mine from there. I dubbed it the “seat of the pants” tour. We saw the highlights of Toledo in Ellen’s van.

Of the four of us, only the oldest, who I believe was 70, could walk for any distance or length of time. Ellen, the youngest, needed knee replacement that the surgeons would not perform because she was too young. (She needed to be 55.) Anne’s rheumatoid arthritis hindered her locomotion. And, I have used a cane since my back surgery thirteen years ago.

In October, Anne, now 70, had a knee replaced. She has progressed to walking with a cane. When I saw her last week, she with her cane, me with mine, I thought, “This is giving new definition to a three-legged race.”

3.) My parting shot is something that I’ve wondered for awhile. Since it deals with an intimate issue, I have not had the courage to express to anyone. Here goes…

I know that as I’ve aged, it takes longer to do things:  getting dressed, getting in and out of the car, going to the rest room to name a few. So…

Since it seems to take twice as long, is it now eight-play?

It has been an incredibly emotionally sad year – especially the last three months. That has kept me from sharing my writing because I usually write lighter fare.

I have been looking forward to today because I put in motion an act of kindness that should reach fruition today. That’s all I’m going to say. Christmas means a lot to me and this will be an example of it.

One of the miracles I have awed about is my marvelous son. When I went to the hospital to give birth, I took a book. Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that I had a book. When don’t I have a book? The book I took was Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides. It was 2 more years and a sprained ankle before I got that book read. The only reading I did in the hospital was the face and body of my son.

It’s been twenty-seven years and I still am amazed by this young man. I constantly wonder how he turned out so fine, giving, witty, intelligent, and hard-working.

To illustrate one of his fine qualities, I relate this conversation that took place this morning.
Son and Husband, downstairs, had a conversation while I was upstairs getting dressed.
Son came up a few minutes later and, as I passed his door, I asked, “What’s going on?”
He didn’t answer until I was in my bedroom in a far corner. There were absolutely no pauses in this exchange
Son: unintelligible
Mom: “Were you talking to me?”
Son: “Yes.”
Mom: “What did you say?”
Son: “I asked dad if the fish had been fed.”
Mom: “Why didn’t you just ask the fish?”
Son: “They lie!”
Hug those you love and tell them that you love them!
Merry Christmas.

 

For months, I planned a trip to New York City. I would leave after work on Thursday, October 20 drive 3 or 4 hours, spend the night in a hotel, finish the drive on Friday, to my cousin’s where I would bunk. On Saturday we’d go into the city, meet a group of friends and attend a book brunch.

Two years ago, I had won a ticket to the brunch and had a lot of fun. I joked that my free ticket only cost me four tanks of gas, two nights in hotels, my cousin’s ticket and meals. It was still worth it to me.

About six weeks before this trip, my supervisor asked me to plan a new event – Indie Authors Day. We couldn’t do it on the Saturday the Library Journal, the sponsor had designated for the nation to observe. We’ll do it on October 19.

Okay.

This became an all consuming event trying to round up self-published authors, sending information to attendees, press releases to the media, making and updating a Facebook post, purchasing and assembling gift bags, formulating the agenda, write up purchase orders where necessary, and anything else that might arise – such as questions from the authors including “How do I get to Urbana University?”

Then, an e-mail from the Friends of the County Library. Could I assist at the Halloween party to be held on Saturday October 22.

“Um, well, no! It’s going to be a heck of a commute.” I replied in a return e-mail.

Then the good Catholic girl’s guilt  kicked in.

I sent another e-mail stating that I could buy some candy if they needed and drop it off before I leave for my trip.

The reply, “We need three dozen cookies. Each cookie has to be individually wrapped in a zip-lock sandwich bag to keep crumbs off the library carpet.”

“Okay, I could do that.”

In my original thoughts,  I would bake cookies. That idea went the way of the eight-track tape player quickly as I realized I did not have that much time between items already on my calendar.

I can adapt.

My first un-baked idea was to find Keebler Vienna Fingers cookies and decorate them as ghosts (a little vanilla frosting and maybe mini chocolate chips as eyes). I had not been able to find Vienna Fingers (my personal favorite) in a long time, so I started on the internet. I found a site where inserting a zip code resulted in finding out where these delectable morsels could be purchased.

I put in Urbana’s zip code. No results.

I tried Springfield’s. Again, no stores selling the cookies.

How about Columbus. Nada.

Toledo? (I could meet a sibling half way between them and me) Zilch.

Back to the cutting board.

Monday, October 17 was Husband’s day off. I told him what I needed to do and suggested we go to Kroger’s to pick up what I needed to make witch’s hat treats. This would be a Keebler (again) Fudge Stripe Cookie. The bottom of this cookie is chocolate coated. By applying a thin layer of chocolate frosting, I could put a large Hershey’s kiss in the center, to make the point of the hat and embellish it with a contrasting color frosting at the base of the kiss like a crown ribbon.

At Kroger’s we found the cookies, the chocolate frosting, orange spray frosting and zip-lock bags. The only thing we needed were larger than normal chocolate kisses.

Not in the candy aisle. Not in the baking aisle. Not in the seasonal aisle.

Next we tried the local Amish cheese and meat shop since they have an array of candies. No kisses for us.

Now, we are both slamming life in a small town while trying to follow a pattern that was probably imagined in a much larger city where product diversity is better.

Our last stop is my least favorite store – Walmart.

No giant Hershey’s kisses there either. We surmise they must be a Christmas item.

We did find a Walmart brand cookie that was a smaller version of the Fudge Stripe cookie. Maybe we could make a smaller version of the witch’s hat with normal-sized kisses.

Before we leave the cookie aisle, I notice Nutter Butter cookies. I think they could be covered in white frosting to make a ghost cookie. We grab two packages of the small fudge stripe cookie and two of the Nutter Butter and head to the frosting aisle. We gathered vanilla frosting, black spray frosting, (Husband had trouble believing that existed) and regular Hershey’s kisses in our cart.

We head toward the check-outs, until I’m distracted by a large package in a center aisle. It is pumpkin cookies with faces and covered with orange sprinkles made at the in-house bakery. A package of 18 cookies was $3.99. SOLD!

We were considerate shoppers, replacing the cookies and frostings to the proper places in the proper aisles. We bought pumpkin cookies.

This took most of Monday morning. I had had enough of Halloween already.

Tuesday night I came home and found my darling Husband with the card table set up in the living room. Pumpkin cookies were laid out in front of him. Some had spray frosting tracing the face. Others had a spider added. Others I couldn’t distinguish the extra frosting’s decoration.

“Do you want to help decorate cookies?”he asked me.

“No-o! Why are you doing that?”

“Well, we had the spray frosting and I thought, we should use it.”

“Well, have fun.”

He not only decorated the cookies but put each in the required zip-lock bag.

On Thursday, after the successful Wednesday event, I took the cookies to the library before I went to work.

After my trip to New York, I stopped and asked the library staff how the Halloween Party went. They thought between 175 and 200 children attended. Wow! That must be a record.They agreed that that was a higher number than past events.

Tonight, the Friends of the Library had their monthly meeting. Among the information shared was that they had too many cookies. Some were taken home by one of the members to put in her freezer until the next event.

Maybe I’ll finally stop giving in to my Catholic guilt and not volunteer when I’m already stressed.

But, we have the soup and bread tasting coming up in January. My hand automatically shot up when the president asked for a coordinator.

Another action/reaction learned in Catholic School.

 

It wasn’t really a month and a half ago that I last wrote a post, was it? (Yes, Linda, it was.)

It’s not for a shortage of ideas that I haven’t written. It’s just once again, I’ve let summer get away from me. The older I get, the faster time (and therefore, summer) goes. This allows me to explain my hour glass explanation. When one first turns over the hour glass, all the sand is at the top. If one watches, one will see the trickle of sand seeping through the hole to the bottom of the glass, but it doesn’t seem to affect the mound of sand in the top of the glass. However, when the grains are few in the top, it is hard to dismiss how little time is left. Just like aging.

For most of the time this summer, I have holed up with the window air conditioning unit in our bedroom. I. Do. Not. Do. Heat. I’m the one who wanted to move to Alaska. I love winter. My favorite sport while I was growing up was figure skating. One can always put more on to warm up, but comes to a point that nothing more can be taken off and it is still hot. (Sorry for that visual.)

Yesterday some friends and I went to the final concert at the museum. For four Fridays at the end of summer, the Springfield Symphony sponsors music at lunch time. The performance was Good Vibes, a quartet composed of a vibraphone, drums, electronic string bass, and an electric 6-string guitar.

I checked my Fitbit for the time seconds before the music started. I held the button a tad too long and also saw that I had only about 450 steps logged.

At the end, I checked the time again and purposefully checked the number of steps accumulated. I announced to my friends, “I gained 500 steps sitting, listening to the music!” Music literally and figuratively moves me. I don’t even sit still listening to symphonies. I conduct.

As long as I’m talking movement, I am going to take credit for most of the U.S.A. Olympic swim team’s medals. I sit in my recliner in the air conditioned bedroom and move my body to help push and prod the swimmers to glory. I’m glad no one is able to see the choreography I do in my chair.

There’s one more week of Olympics. What sport shall I move on to next? Perhaps Women’s Beach Volleyball? They’re doing pretty well without me. Perhaps I should have watched more of the Women’s Soccer.

We’ve lived in this house, built in 1876, for 20 years. When we moved in, we were astounded by the number of lady bugs occupying the bedrooms. Well, we thought they were lady bugs. Turns out, they were not. They are a cousin known as Japanese lady beetles.

I didn’t mind since I realized WE were the intruders since the home had been vacant for five years prior to our possession.

That is, I didn’t mind until one crawled down the straw of my water bottle and I almost ingested it. Almost because, Boy! Those things are terrible tasting.

They don’t return every year as winter approaches, but a lot of them.

The next stranger came a few years later when I opened the door to the basement and starred at an opossum staring back at me from the landing. It hissed. I slammed the door. I have no idea how it got in (the foundation of the house is stone with gapes) but it must have found its way out. That was a one time observation.

Mice have been a problem some winters. We are a no kill household (except for flies, mosquitos and, in my case, earwigs) so we would catch them and take them close to the river to let them find a new home. We did have one for close to two years we dubbed “Elvis” because he left the… room (not the building) as I pointed him out to Husband. Last winter we found one baby that was quickly caught.

Two summers ago, I ducked as a bat flew around the living and dining rooms while waiting for Husband to get home from work and capture it. I knew he could do it since he had for a neighbor on the west side. He evicted the bat. I went up to bed and found a baby in the bedroom. For the second time that evening, I ducked. Husband caught.

The neighbor on the east side doesn’t like snakes. We’ve told him will come and get them if he finds any. Husband has rescued a few. Brownie has also left us carcasses hanging from the chain link fence separating our properties.

This week, I was proud of myself when Son came into the bedroom where I hole up once we get to air conditioning season since we only have window units. With a grin, he announced that he found a garter snake in the silverware drawer. He didn’t catch it. I slithered under the refrigerator where he couldn’t see it.

I have to admit given the choice among all the critters who have tested our hospitality, the garter snake would probably be the least objectionable to me. I guess I’d be a snake charmer.

 

So,

I have been a member of a book discussion at my local library for a number of years. We meet on the third Tuesday of the month. The discussion meeting time is 7 o’clock. I get off work at 7 o’clock. I just move out of the work library a little faster to get to the local library across town in order to miss as little discussion as possible.
I started this month’s selection, Where’d you go, Bernadette, on Saturday. Husband was working. Son was working. It should have bee a good day to make a decent dent in the number of pages (about 325). I knew it was supposed to be funny and figured parsing it over the four days would keep the book fresh in my mind for discussion.
Well, Saturday, something interrupted reading time, but I still got a little more than 50 pages read.
Sunday, another “emergency” but I still got up to about 125 pages. Almost halfway.
Errands took a chunk out of Monday but I still got up to almost page 200. Fortunately, the book is that enticing to me and I am that invested in it.
Today, Tuesday, I had a doctor’s appointment and lunch with a friend afterwards. Still I got up to page 235.
I had 45 minutes between getting home and going to work. Got to page 260.
I went to work thinking, “Maybe I’ll just read Bernadette at work.” But I couldn’t – I wouldn’t let myself and I did actual library work. I got off at 7 p.m., the same time the Book Discussion is supposed to start with still having 60 pages to read.
“I still don’t know where the book’s going, how it’s going to end. I hope there isn’t a major spoiler that comes out during the discussion.”
I drove  directly to the library where at first I thought, “Wow, lots of people here.” then I noticed half of the parking lot had been resurfaced so that helped the illusion of lots of cars.
I walked into the library, looking to my right to see who’s in the community room and whether they’ve started the discussion but the door was closed and I could not see any light coming from under the door. It was then I refigured.
Tomorrow is my sister’s birthday. The fifteenth. “Wait! That’s the earliest date the third Tuesday book discussion could be – the fifteenth. I’m a week early!”
So instead of going to a discussion having not finished the book, I’ll be able to finish the book tonight.
I love those kind of surprises.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find out where Bernadette went.