Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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Location: United States

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Ice Cream Madness and Travel

More ice cream experimenting today. The first batch yesterday didn’t turn out, as I wanted. Oh I ate it all and I’ll tell you, I know what past scientist went through. I’ll hit on the right mixture and cooking temperature soon I hope, but until then; I’ll have to keep eating my failures. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. It’s only ice cream, but it’s not. I’m looking at it as the ice cream that will save the world. Soon everybody will be eating FM’s ice cream and all the worries of the world will melt away.

OK I know it’s a little overboard, but it’s a nice thought.

In other news, the relatives left last night. They always travel at night. Some people don’t like to do that, but when I used to do most of my long driving I would always leave at night. When my girls were small I found that was the best way to travel. The first hour or two into the trip they would sleep the rest of the way, plus not as much traffic. I went through Houston a couple of time during rush hour and that convinced me I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic when my girls were awake. You ever have a six year old tell you she has to go to the bathroom right now, right now, and you’re in a traffic jam. It’s not a pretty picture. So I made it a point to hit the big cities in the middle of the night when there was little to no traffic. I felt that fit into my slackerly mode very well. As I’ve said before, a little time in planning will produce loads of time in slacking.

Well it’s off to the ice cream laboratory (my kitchen) to try a new batch. I figure after I hit it big, that I’ll name a flavor after everyone that comes to visit. However, there are many gallons to go before that happens.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Busy Day

I’ve got a lot happening today. I’m still working on my relative’s computer. It took me about an hour to delete one program last night. I told them last night if worse comes to worse, I’d take the original disks that came with their computer and reformat their hard drive. They don’t have anything important on it and I’ve already backed up all their important stuff on disc.

I’ve also got the café to host at Booman Tribune, and today, yes today; I get to use the new ice cream maker. Yeee Haw! I decided by early evening I’d be so sated with ice cream I won’t want anymore until maybe late tonight or at the latest tomorrow.

So between computers, ice cream and the normal stuff I have to do, I anticipate a busy day.

I hope everyone else has a most slackerly day.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Ice Cream Maker

Last night when I was helping my sister and b-I-l with their computer I saw where they had been cleaning things out of their pantry. I saw a brand new soft serve ice cream maker and told her that they would have to let me use it sometimes. She said they had never used it and if I wanted to, to take it home and experiment.

Well I love ice cream. I don’t know why, but a big bowl of ice cream before bedtime always puts me right to sleep. I won’t be able to use it until tomorrow because the instructions say the freezer part has to stay in the fridge freezer for 24 hours. But after everything is prepared and done, it only takes 30 minutes to make soft serve ice cream. I know that with homemade it will cost more than the store bought stuff, but like the cooking shows say, you know what’s going into your recipes.

The instruction manual gives you 8 or 10 different recipes, but on those you have to use egg yolks and cook and so on. I was wondering if anybody has a favorite recipe that precludes cooking. I know I can google, but I’d like to hear of anyone’s favorite home made recipe. Like I said this is going to be a lot of experimenting for me.

Who knows, I might hit on a recipe that becomes world famous. I used to love a store bought one called pistachio chocolate truffle. Alas it’s no long made. However, now that I can experiment, I’m figuring on something with a southern flare. Maybe barbecue or pimento cheese ice cream.

What do ya think?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Returning to Normal

Things here are returning pretty much to normal. Well as normal as they can get with the relatives here. Everytime they come for extended periods it takes awhile for a routine to be established. Who is going to do what and who is going to clean up after whom. They’re here often enough it would seem we would just fall into a routine, but it always take time.

I just got over a bad migraine and I’m hoping to have a little time of normalcy before another one. I never know though. At least with the relatives here, I don’t have to worry about the migraine and taking care of Family Mom at the same time. One check mark on the plus side for that.

Everyone decided to go and visit my 99 year old Aunt today. So I’m going to stay home and SLACK. I won’t completely slack, because George, Cat and Tom won’t let me, but it’s nice to know that I won’t be called on for a little while.

I think I see a nap on the horizon.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Another Day

I haven’t written in a couple of days because I haven’t felt that good. Between that and relatives home, there’s been no time for the computer. We finally had some rain the other day, which means the grass is not as brown and it’ll start growing again. It’s a never-ending cycle.

This won’t be a long post today, but I hope everyone is doing fine.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Firetower Fright.

Everyone has his or her phobias and I have mine - snakes and heights. Snakes I still have to deal with, but luckily not very often. Heights aren’t that bad to me except for narrow paths on mountain sides and firetowers. This is a story about vertigo to an extreme and how close you can come to getting yourself killed from a phobia and stupidity. The time and place were the early seventies and where I live.

I have a good friend that we used to go on what we called tours. In his old beat up car we would hit all the back road we could find and tour for hours on end. On this one tour we decided to buy some strawberry wine. Don’t ask me why because I hate the stuff, but we did. We’re far back in the country on a dirt road and we stop by a fire tower. After awhile the strawberry wine isn’t that bad. All of a sudden I decided I want to climb the steps of the fire tower up to the top. My friend always being the level headed person tried to talk me out of it. He also knew of my fear of heights. I wouldn’t hear of it. My bravery was pumped up by cheap wine at the time. So I go bounding up the step to the top under the fire tower room which was locked. My friend is with me and we sit up there and marvel at how far we can see. While up there I’m thinking this is great, why was I ever afraid of heights?

We decided to leave and I have the bright idea of scaling down the side of the fire tower to get to the bottom. Now my friend is really getting worried and tries to put his foot down on doing this. To late, I’m already on the side. I’m telling him it’s no problem, but he decides to take the steps.

I get down to the second level of parallel bars and I’m straddling the bar with a hand in front of me and a hand in back of me. In less than a nanosecond I become completely sober, and I’m having one of those moments of seeing everything more clearly than ever before. If you’ve ever seen the movie Vertigo you know the guy kept seeing the distance to the ground telescoped out. It truly happens. I couldn’t move and my friend knew I was in trouble. He kept telling me not to look down. Why do people do that? That’s the first thing you’re going to do when you hear it.

The platform was about 2-3 feet from me and he kept telling me just to put my foot over. It took me five minutes to get my foot over to the platform. You might think five minutes isn’t too long. It’s an eternity when a massive quantity of adrenaline is pumping through your body. I keep slowly edging my foot over the platform, while trying to keep myself balanced. I finally got to the platform and just sat and closed my eyes for a long while. We finally decide to go on down the steps, but this time I was not going down the steps as gingerly as I was gone up. I’m sitting on my butt and taking each step one at a time. I finally get to the ground and sit for a long while. I’m looking over at where I would have been if I had fallen. My friend brings over the wine and tries to hand it to me. I tell him no more, and never again. I had learned my lesson.

I never told my family about this, because I know they would have jumped all over me. However, I think they knew, because I was never sent to do any high work around the farm again.

It’s funny, I was telling a friend of mine who is in their seventies that while growing up I never expected to make it past 20 years of age, once that milestone was hit, I thought ok, 30 years of age. All of a sudden I find myself at my present age and wonder how did I get here. There were many times through my own stupidity or through others recklessness that I came close, but I know I’ve been lucky.

Now I look back at the whole thing and laugh and blame it youthful stupidity. But I also think, “Oh how lucky I’ve been.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It Just Ain't Feasible Sometimes

I was watching a cooking show yesterday and the chef was outside in a barbecue mode, but was cooking muscles. He ended by saying that muscles are great, especially if you have a lot of people over and the main course isn’t done yet. Just throw on some muscles and you’ve got instant appetizers.

Now let me get this straight. Just throw on some muscles? Like I have a fresh supply sitting around the house all the time. That’s one thing I hate about cooking shows sometimes. You’ll have these people who will cook up a really nice meal, but it always has some ingredients that a regular small grocery store just doesn’t carry. Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano from the area of Parma in Italy is the cheese to use. There are so many of these cooks that give you recipes that use one certain thing that I just don’t find on my grocery isles.

The program I was watching shows the chef outside in beautiful surroundings, using the best ingredients with an $8,000 grill. There are a lot of people that can do that, but for a majority it’s not possible. I have to admit I’ve seen this chef do shows on regular food preparation, and I know that different areas have different food. However, a lot of cooking shows don’t take into consideration what people can afford.

I have a budget for food and most of the time I plan ahead on what I’m going to purchase and cook. We have a small grocery store in town, but honestly the prices are so high I try not to shop there. So my only alternative is a trip into the city for a day of grocery shopping and picking up other needed things. I just can’t run out and find feta cheese from an area in Southern Greece. As far as organically grown produce or meat, I know of no place around here that has it. Plus if there was a place like that, I hear organically grown food is a lot more expensive which puts it out of reach for a lot of people.

What I’m trying to say, is it’s good to be able to cook like that and use the ingredients. However, most people on budgets or subsistence that only have a local grocery store to go to are left out in the cold. They are the ones who usually have the bad diets, the ones whose health suffers from not poor choices they make, but from a poor selection to choose from.

So whenever I see a chef touting a certain food because of it’s taste and freshness and how healthy it is for you, or some famous person touting their diet book, I don’t pay much attention. You see not everyone is a chef and not everyone is famous and can afford to eat like a king. A lot of people, as with many things in life, have to take what they can get and do the best they can with that.

OK that’s my quarterly rant.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Anticipating Arrival

Not much going on today. I’m waiting for relatives to show up. They were supposed to show up yesterday, then last night and now I don’t know when. This is sort of SOP for them. They’ll give you a date and time, but over the years I’ve learned to know they’re finally here, when they’re here.

What’s going on here? My grass is turning a nice shade of brown. I went into the backyard yesterday and just had to laugh. My neighbor has one of those automatic sprinkler systems. His lawn gets watered every night. Once I get some more batteries I’ll take a picture, but it looks like a straight line drawn between our lawns. My beautiful brown lawn and his ugly green lawn. I’ve just never seen the sense in wasting water to have a green lawn. Whenever I hear of drought conditions around the country and world, it just doesn’t seem right to me to waste water to keep the lawn green. But I should say that since I hate to mow the lawn so much, this plays a big part in my decision not to water.

So today is one of anticipation. I’m waiting for the relatives to show up and George to start a bark fest. I’m sure after a couple of days I’m going to be pretty frazzled. I guess I look at this as a good thing. It will get things moving around here and shake things up a bit. Plus I worry about George. If he doesn’t use those little vocal cords of his, he might forget how to bark. Yeah, I wish.

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Comfortable Road

Is there a road that you drive every day? I’ve got one that I go over just about ever day. The reason I asked is because the other day when I was driving down that road, I almost unconsciously veered to the left where a man hole cover is, and then slowed down where a bump is. I already knew a sharp curve was up ahead and I’d have to slow down for it. It got me to thinking about how routines effect your everyday life.

I feel comfortable driving down that road. I know ever twist and turn and bump on the road and I like that. Sometimes I take an adventure and drive another way into town. I know those roads too, but just a change of scenery is always nice. Those other ways into town are nice, but they aren’t my road. I don’t know why I think of it as my road, but I do.

I used to want new adventures all the time. Seeing new things and doing new things, but I missed something I think people who never left here already knew. There’s a certain comfort in being at home. In knowing what around the curve and being prepared for the bumps you know are there.

I look at my family that way. We aren’t the Waltons or the perfect family, but I do feel comfortable around them. They make demands on me and I make demands on them, but as we’ve gotten older there are no surprise bumps or curves. We’ve come to understand each other and just basically accept each other. I can’t say that was the way it was when we were younger. We were all trying to change each other or just rebelling against anything or everything. I guess age has taken a lot of the rebellion out of us and we know we’re all so set in our ways that no change is forthcoming.

I feel comfortable driving into my town on my road and comfortable being around the ones I love. I have routines I do everyday (naps), and I don’t feel the need to venture off and find something new. Yes I feel the people who never left here know something I didn’t, and I wonder sometimes why I ever left.


I thought I would show you what really comfortable looks like.

Added again:

Remember how I said it was all nice and comfortable. It looks like one of those days. You know it's starting out bad when you take a shower and realize you forgot a towel. I'm soaking wet and put on dry clothes to go and get a towel. I thought I would get one from the load I washed, dried and folded last night. I get to the laundry basket and realized Cat had decided it would make a nice bathroom last night. Needless to say Cat is staying outside for the next day or two.

I decided I can salvage the day and put the cat soaked towels in the washer and a load of dishes in the dishwasher. I come back into the kitchen and there are suds pouring out of the dishwasher onto the floor. I grab more towels and get the suds up. Another load to go into the washer. I think the FSM saw my earlier post about being comfortable and decided to throw a wrench into the machine.

Who said you have to leave home to find adventure? I laugh at cat pee and the kitchen floor needed mopping anyway. I actually don't laugh at cat pee, Pheeeeeeew!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Can of Salmon

I have some relatives who just went on a cruise to Alaska. As with my relatives they always bring back something for everybody. They bought a nice necklace for Family Mom and when I got my gift I saw I got a can of Smoked King Salmon. Needless to say I was overjoyed. The can has on the label it’s all natural and ready to eat. Although I don’t think I would open it. I figure I’m going to get a lot of miles out of this can.

I figure this can is going to show up at every family gathering and holiday get together for the next year. I’m looking forward to Christmas when we all take down our stocking and I pull out a can of Salmon. While everyone else is opening their new presents I’ll be waving my can of Salmon aloft saying look at what I have, just look. Tiny Tim won’t have a thing on me, and if I weren’t so big I’d have a relative carry me on their shoulder. I’ll be scrooge bringing the Xmas goose and Tim marveling at it all rolled up into one.

Now you may think this is being mean, but it’s not really. Every family has its eccentric and in my family I guess I’m the one. I can say something and my family will laugh. I didn’t mean it to be funny, but they laugh just the same. Even though I’m near my mid fifties they still treat me as a kid sometimes. Do I mind? Nope. Plus I figure that can of Salmon will let my relatives know they had better have a little more imagination the next time they go on a trip. I mean they went to Alaska. A little gold nugget or a baby seal would have done, but a can of fish. I’m thinking of going to the grocery store and buying another can of smoked salmon and tell em it's multiplying.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate them thinking of me, but I’ve never been a big canned fish fan. I decided it’s one of those after thought presents. They were probably thinking, “Oh FM, we’ve got to get him something too.” “Why look here, we’re right in front of cans of salmon.” “A can of salmon, that’s the ticket.” Thank goodness they weren’t in front of the feminine hygiene products.

So I’ll keep my can of salmon and bring it out every now and then. Anytime my relatives say something that needs a retort, I’ll just hold up the salmon. The next time my relatives ask me to do something, I’ll hold up the can of salmon. I’ll never open that can of salmon and might even have a special pocket to carry it. That way if I hear, Oh FM, zip the salmon is right at hand.

So you see there are some advantages to having your family thinking you’re eccentric.

Friday, June 16, 2006

An Interlude

This morning I heard a loud pop and then the lights went out. I decided it must be another transformer that had blown. Either that or the revenuers have come to close to the still again. Just kidding. I’m wondering how long this time it will take the power company to replace the transformer and how long it will be before I reset all the clocks and timers in the house. The last time I finally got around to the last timer it was a week later. I wasn’t using it for anything and it was on the list, but not a big hurry.

I find the older that I get, the stuff that just had to be done at that moment can wait for awhile. When I was younger I would rush around when the power would come back on and reset everything. As usually happened, the power would go out again in five minutes. The whole cycle would continue two or three more times. Everything had to be in its place and everything had to be running right.

I’ve said before I always looked forward to being my age now. There’s not the constant urge to get up and be doing something. What I used to think of as boredom, which would drive me out of the house looking for anything to do, is now content. I’m content to sit here looking out my window at the yard, the birds and cars passing by. Everyone pretty much knows how I feel about the yard and I could sit and watch it grow, with the weeds sprouting higher than the grass. I don’t feel any urge to go and level everything out. To see the birds flying after each other in an aerial ballet while the squirrels chase each other over branches and the ground is a joy to watch.

What’s funny to me is it hasn’t even been thirty minutes and I’ve seen a mass exodus of my neighbors leaving their darken-quiet houses. A couple have started working on their lawns (I know, don’t say it), but most have gotten in their cars and driven off. Whether it’s to do something they were going to do, or just to get away from their non-functioning home, I don’t know. But I haven’t seen a one go to their porches and just sit and enjoy.

It’s usually not quiet here because there’s always something running. A television, the air conditioning, or a dishwasher, something always is making some kind of noise. But I myself enjoy these little interludes from daily life. It gives me time to watch the birds and squirrels, and to watch my grass grow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Sliding Tree

I told a friend when you have writer’s block to write something nonsensical. I decided what better advice could I give myself. So begins the Tale of Sliding Tree.

It was a tree just like any other, but it was the boy’s tree. It was outside his mother’s kitchen window and she would watch him for hours climbing up and down the tree, hanging upside down with his bent knees keeping him in place. When his mother wasn’t looking he would start to swing back and forth trying to pick up speed so he could do that one flip to the ground that always he seemed to miss. This was his place and he knew every branch and every leaf.

During days when he was at school he would dream of being up in his tree. Towering over the roofs and seeing people walking under him, not knowing he was there. He was up in the tree as he was every morning and said hello to Mr. Smith as he was walking by. Mr. Smith stopped and looked around. Seeing no one he begins to walk away. Now the boy says in a louder voice, hello. Mr. Smith stops again and looks from side to side, and just once he looks straight up also. Not seeing anything again Mr. Smith sets off, but this time the boy doesn’t yell, he says softly, but loud enough for Mr. Smith to hear the whisper, be good, be good.

Mr. Smith leaves with a smile on his face and says to himself "little monkey." The boy doesn’t have to see the smile because he knows it's there. The boy finally scrambles down and goes into his house for breakfast. His mother is running around the kitchen cleaning the table from people who have already eaten and putting fresh plates on the table. His brothers and sisters are grabbing things from the table as they are getting ready for school. The boy eats slowly while looking out the window at his tree. His mother comes up behind him and places her hands on his shoulders and ask, “Did you say good by to your father this morning.” The boy says, “Yes Mam, and he was smiling.”

The boy has grown up and the tree and house are gone, but his memory of a daily good by between his father and him lives on. He’ll say to himself, “be good, be good little monkey” and it always brings a smile to his face.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Innocence Lost or Maybe Banana Psychology?

Holland, oh beautiful Holland with your windmills and canals.

Well this ain't about that.

Long ago on a continent far away, in the country of Holland, and the city of Amsterdam an innocent young man was shown the wonders of the world in all of its unbridled glory. The place, the time and the setting.

August 1988 some friends and I went for a trip to Amsterdam. We all were living in Europe and one of my friends had just purchased a brand spanking new Saab turbo. We decided to drive up to Amsterdam and camp at one of the numerous parks around the city. Being the naïve sheltered person I am, I thought we were going to look at the museums and art. Little did I know that my friends had complete different plans, which would forever sweep away my innocence and lay bare the wild-eyed excitement only the pure of heart can have. Are you buying any of this so far?

Ok, ok, ok (Joe Pesci) so I didn’t go into Amsterdam the complete bumpkin. I knew they had a red light district and most soft drugs could be purchased at a bar. But I didn’t expect to see 90% of what I did see.

So from where I lived it was about an eight - hour drive to Amsterdam. We drive all day and finally get there in the late evening. By the time we found a place to camp, it was already dark. We ended up putting up our tent with only car lights to aid in the assembling of the tent. Once all that was set we caught a bus and headed straight to the red light district. Now for some Americans it hard to understand that in a lot of European nations prostitution is legal, no more so than in the city of Amsterdam. I had heard the term window shopping before, but not as it was used there. There are large plate glass windows through out the district and as you walked by, there would be women sitting in a room behind the plate glass window. Some would be doing their nail, others reading or watching TV, and still others actively trying to bring in the customers. Trust me window shopping were all my buddies and I did. This was during the full-blown AIDS epidemic nightmare. Not saying it isn’t a nightmare now, but back then there was so much that wasn’t known. Toilet seats, kissing and even shaking hands were considered possible ways of catching AIDS. There was never any doubt in my mind and I’m sure it was the same for my friends that window browsing was the most I would ever do. Now before all the women get in an uproar, there were plenty of places for you also. Sort of an equal opportunity red light district.

We started hitting bars and went into one that had two big blackboards behind the bar. The one the left was the price of beer and drinks. On the right was the price of soft drugs being sold out of the bar. This is perfectly legal in Amsterdam. A friend and I order a beer and while consuming liquid libation a guy comes in and sits at the bar. He orders something and lights up. My friend is punching me in the ribs saying, “Can you believe he’s doing that in here.” We finish our beers and leave. My friend is going on most of the night about that.

There are so many other things I saw in that red-light district and I won’t go into those. It’s enough to say I was glad there were four of us together that night. I used to think the wildest town I had ever been to was New Orleans, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Amsterdam. Even though Amsterdam is an old established European city, I felt like I was in an old west town where anything goes and you could get anything you wanted.

The next morning we go back to the district because one of my friends wanted to get a tee shirt from a certain bar. What really bought home to me the wildness of the district was while walking down through an alley, seeing used syringes. I shudder now as then thinking of accidentally stepping on one and of who was using it and what they might have been willing to do for money.

We finally leave Amsterdam and head home. I never got to go to the museums and other spots of interest. It’s kind of sad too because the red light district is only a very small part of Amsterdam. I could have spent two or three weeks just wondering around the city and gawking at all there is to see. But my memories of Amsterdam are of the district. It was exciting, funny, and scary and an experience I’ll never forget.

As with many things I remember, not all is clear, but I remember that weekend with clarity because when I got back home my telephone was ringing off the hook. My family had been calling for hours and they were worried sick. They wanted to know if I was all right and where I had been. I told them and asked what was going on. They told me they had seen on the news about the Ramstein Air Show disaster. For those that don’t remember here is a wiki link, Ramstein Airshow. I assured them I was OK, but I got to thinking I probably would have been at the Air Show if I hadn’t gone to Amsterdam. My landlady and her family had gone and luckily came out unscathed. They told me about how horrible it was. I wonder sometimes if it was luck or fate that I wasn’t there.

So ends the tale of Amsterdam and luck or fate. So you’re wondering about the Banana Psychology in the title. I’ll let you imagination figure that one out.

Monday, June 12, 2006

George Gets A Haircut and Bath

Today I got sick of hair floating by so George got a haircut and a bath.

This is George before his haircut and bath.

This is George after his haircut and bath.

Finally George after he's dry. He's a little bit ANGRY

But he forgives me as usual

Invasion of the Honey Ants

Yesterday morning when I got up and went into the kitchen I beheld a sight I haven’t seen in a long time. Ants and I mean ants everywhere. They were the little tiny one that don’t bite, but make long lines to any source of food they find.

Now we have the pest controllers come around and spray and plant stuff outside, but I refuse to spray insecticide in the kitchen. I usually use the Clorox Clean Up spray and that get rid of them, for a while. This is the first time this year that I’ve seen them and I’ll be making a call to the pest controllers.

The thing about this time is, it looked like they were more organized. I don’t mean just one line of ants going back and forth from one place. There was a big group of ants in a circle and from there emanated three different lines going out to opposite ends of the counter. It reminded me of a well thought out attack plant with ant generals in the circle sending out the troops.

As I was watching them I could picture a couple of ants carrying banners and others signaling by tooting little horns. I know cartoon movies have already been made about ants, but this just brought it to me with more realism. If I could have picked them up and put them outside, I would have, but I had to break out the Clorox Cleaner.

I’ll call the pest man today, but I know I’ll have them for awhile. This is a yearly occurrence, and this is the first time I’ve seen them this year. But as I said, they appear more organized this time. Am I putting too much into this? Will I wake up like Gulliver tomorrow and find that the lilliputians have taken me captive. All I know is if I see George asleep and he starts to mysteriously move across the floor, I’m leaving the house.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


I lived in Germany for a good while. I can’t really remember any bad times there. There were some people I worked with that I could have done without, but on the whole it was, I feel, one of the high points of my life.

I was there in the 80’s and worked in a huge medical center in the middle of a city the first time. That was a great time of what I can remember. It seemed to me in Germany there was always something to do. Whether it was beer or wine festival, volksmarches, sightseeing or just going out to restaurants there was activity everywhere.

I learned to ski my first time in Germany. This will be unbelievable but for a week of ski instruction, ski passes, hotel, one meal a day, and ski suit and accessories it cost me $120.00. I had to pay for transportation, but it wasn’t expensive and I liked riding on German trains. As with anything that includes standing and not tripping I was a complete bust my first two days of skiing. I was ready to give it up, but friends with me talked me into staying with it. Finally the instructor told me to go off by myself and learn to stand on the skies. The best thing he could have done.

By mid morning the third day, I was standing, turning and coming to a parallel stop. I still didn’t have control, and grace on the skies was not one of my strong point. It became obvious when our instructor took us down a path, which to me was pretty narrow. I got out of control and couldn’t stop. While I’m barreling down the path I see a big opening and I’m thinking great. Once I hit the opening I see I’m going to run into a line of people on a T-bar. I started screaming for them to watch out. I didn’t notice the T-bar path was about two feet deep into the snow. Luckily I didn’t hit anyone, but my skies dropped into the T-bar path which sent me about ten feet into the air and ended up sliding me a couple of feet into the snow. My skies were behind me, I was under the snow and I can remember people in my class digging me out. It took me about fifteen minutes after that just to find my glasses. My instructor told me that was the best crash he’s ever seen. For some reason I was pleased to hear that, at least I was doing something good on the skies.

The fifth day they turned us loose and I still had some pretty good falls, but mostly it was fun. I was hooked on skiing after that.
I remember the skiing the most, but I also remember being with good friend and every night we would go to a different Gausthauses and have excellent food and always, excellent beer. It was one of those times in my life where everything seemed to be going very well. I didn’t have a lot of money, but there always seemed to be enough to go and do what we wanted.

Looking back at those times always brings me a good feeling. To know no one wanted anything from you except friendship. To know you were going to have a good time no matter where you went, because your friends were there. I lost contact with most of my friends from back then. I just found one after 16 years of no contact. It has actually been quite wonderful. We started off talking like we’d had just seen each other yesterday. He stopped by my here for a couple of day on his way home and it was a great visit. He was always the one taking pictures and movies. We sat back and watched old movies of us during our skiing and volksmarching. It bought back very good memories. I’m still trying to find old friends and have only been lucky with that one so far, but there are always new friends.

As I’ve said before, I think I’ve found some friends and some really good people as of late. I guess I continue to be lucky.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Yesterday Was A Bust

I had such great plans. I was going to move the world. Actually I was going to mow the lawn, clean the house and give George a haircut. Now none of this is really hard to do, but I didn’t do it.

I mean with mowing the lawn. I find that turning the key on the riding lawn mower is pretty strenuous. Plus you’ve got to hook up the lawn sweeper. After all this I have to put my attention to making straight lines and not running into the house. This is exhausting. I won’t even go into weed eating which can go from very strenuous to a nightmare.

Cleaning the house, I do that throughout the day, so that’s never a big one.

Now giving George a haircut. That can be a big one, but not as bad as a bath. George usually will stand there until I start to clip his right side. When I start on the right side he’ll always start moving around or just sit. I’m constantly moving him around and he’s constantly moving. So needless to say, the haircut I give him is never a good one. He’s always looks very scraggly. To say George is not a handsome dog would be an understatement, but once I get through with him, he’s down right ugly. I just console myself with the fact that it’s no more dog hair floating around and it will grow back.

So today, I’m going to do the lawn. Yep, I’m going to get up in a minute and start on it. I’ve already gotten my shower and I’m dress and if I can just make past the couch, I’ll be rounding third, heading for home plate. It’s not that hard to walk past the couch and I’ll just divert my eyes from it.

Oh heck, I feel a nap calling.


I did it, I did it, I did it, I did it! I got the lawn mowed. You know that thing about it that gets me, is the grass wasn't that tall. A couple of times I had to stop to make sure I wasn't mowing where I already had. Other than limbs, pine cones and a tree that shedding, it was OK. But there were a few weeds growing, so it was mower time. It's gotten to hot to weed eat, so I'm hoping tomorrow I'll have the drive to do that in the morning.

George, I might get to him later this afternoon.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Another Trip Into the Past

Yesterday I went to the dentist and I dropped of my Mom to see my 99 year old Great Aunt. My Great Aunt still gets around with a walker now, but her mind is still as sharp as it ever was. I dropped my Mom off and they talk for about two hours while I’m at the dentist. I’ve been through their talkfest before and it’s always about old times and family. Usually it’s about people who have passed and the town, which is now a sign on the highway, where all the past was lived.

I go back to pick up my Mom and talk to my Aunt for a minute, but the past and history lesson is just beginning when we leave. My Mom fills me in on everything, but she wants to go by the town that she grew up in. On the way there we go by the city she was born in. It’s nothing more than signs now too. She told me it had houses and avenues, a hospital, movie theatre, grocery stores, schools and everything that makes up a small city. Today it’s nothing but a sign on the highway. We kept going on to the place where my Great Uncle has a gas station and another Uncle had a cafe. I remember when I was a child my Aunt at the gas station would let us kids go through the candy displays and pick what we wanted, and my aunt at the café would make us anything we wanted. That little oasis on the highway was always so full of life. We went past there and the Aunts and Uncles have been gone for a long time. The people who have it now have let all the building go down and it’s nothing more than memories for us.

We drive on to my Mom’s little town and it still has a few houses, but pretty much everything else is gone. The old school has been torn down, the old store is closed, but at least it still has a small post office. My Mom told me stories about when she was a child and how the town had so much life in it. How she and friends would go to the store and split a soft drink and play cards on that porch right there. The exact porch. She told me of all the people that had lived there and who they were and if so, how they were related to me. She showed me the exact spot where a Great Uncle of mine after coming home from WWI has cut his finger unloading a box car and how he had died of tetanus. I never knew this Great Uncle, but I have a picture of him in WWI military uniform. So much life in such a little place, but now it has changed. Other people live there and their lives dictate how the place will be.

It’s always a melancholy experience for me to take her there. I can see the sadness in her eyes when she talks about childhood and family and all that is gone now. The only thing I can ever say is, “Yes Mam, things do change.”

A lot of times I think of her little town and long gone relatives and wonder about the rest of the people who made up this place. The ones that moved away and started over in other places. Their children will never know this little hamlet. Not that there’s really that much to know. But I know there was a lot of life and love in this little area. A place I wouldn’t have known as well unless I had taken the time to listen and see it through my Mom’s eyes.

It’s a place that doesn’t mean much to anyone else, but it does to me.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Back on Track

Thanks everybody for the well wishes and advice yesterday. I’m feeling better today, but just a little. I’ll be hosting the café today. So I’ll see ya’ll later.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gotta a Cold and Grumpy

Why do people get grumpy when they feel bad? I’ve got a cold and I’m feeling grumpy and blah at the same time. I’ve been taking all the medicines and nostrums. None of them do what they promise, none make you feel better. I’m beginning to believe just taking nothing would work just as well.

I usually get two bad colds a year. At the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter, I know I’ll have one. Used to be, I would have to go into work with colds. I’ve never understood that. Why make someone go into work, when they feel really bad and also when they’ll spread the cold around. Why not just say; take a couple of days off. I know some people would abuse this, but I think the majority would be grateful.

But things have changed and I can stay at home, take my medicines and stay in bed. The only thing about that is there are still things that have to be done around the house. So if you’re sick at home or sick at work you still have things to do. The only thing you can do is trudge ahead.

I guess I’m grumpy because I have to trudge ahead, whether at work or at home, you still have things to do. Whenever some one else gets a cold I’ll try to be understanding, but today, I’m grumpy and don’t care.

Monday, June 05, 2006


My Mom told me a story the other day. She didn’t mean it to be, but it was one of a lesson.

It begins with my Nephew who just got married, they had the farmhouse all repainted and a big tent in a field besides the house for the reception. My Mom told me while in the tent, she thought to herself, God did I ever think I would be here?

She went on to tell me of the day my father left for WWII. My grandparents, aunts and her had taken him to the train station. They had all come home and my Mom was on the way upstairs. My grandmother, ever the wise one, had called to her and said we’ve got to keep busy. So my Mom goes with her out to the garden to work beside my Grandmother digging up potatoes. The tent was on the exact same spot where my grandmother’s garden used to be. My Mom said while at the reception they were playing some old music, music from when she was young, and she said she thought to herself, God did I ever think I would be here?

My Mom lived with my grandparents and aunts during the time my father was gone. They worried about my father and never stopped. She went on to tell me that on the day they got the telegram he was coming home, she ran out onto the field where my grandparents were picking up pecans. She showed them the telegram and all were very emotional. She said my grandfather said he had thought he would never see his only son again.

The old house is still there and the field with my grandmother’s garden and pecan trees is still there. One generation has gone, still another has come through and are leaving, and yet there are still others of this generation that will see that field and not know what that field has meant in the life of a few people and the memories of an old woman. To me it has bought me closer to my Mother, my Father and my Grandparents.

My Mom now has me drive her out from time to time to look at the old farmhouse and to the family cemetery. She gets out of the car occasionally, but mostly it’s sitting outside the gate and remembering. I know she thinks one day she’ll join my Father, Grandparents and Great grandparents. All the way back to my first ancestor that came here. It’s always a bittersweet experience to take her there, because one day I know she’ll be there, just as I will too. It does give me a feeling of peace though. To know that amongst this land and place of rest so many of my ancestors have come and gone. To know, both good and bad, that they had lived their lives here and what it meant to them. I’m within a continual cycle that my family has kept going, and it brings me peace. It brings me that continually that only a family can give you. My cycle is over half way done and my Mom’s is nearing the end. My brothers, sister, nephew and nieces I hope will continue that cycle. It’s one that has made me happy and at peace. I can only hope future generations will feel the same.

Did I ever think I would be here? No I didn’t, but I’m glad I am.

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