Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100. Only seven people stopped to listen and just one of them recognized the performer.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made....
How many other things are we missing?
The Washington Post won a Pulitzer in the feature writing category for Gene Weingarten’s April 2007 story about this experiment.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
And They Ask Why I Like Retirement!
Question: How many days in a week?
Answer: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday
Question: When is a retiree's bedtime?
Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.
Question: How many retirees to change a light bulb?
Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.
Question: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
Answer: There is not enough time to get everything done.
Question: Why don't retirees mind being called Seniors?
Answer: The term comes with a 10% percent discount.
Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?
Answer: Tied shoes.
Question: Why do retirees count pennies?
Answer: They are the only ones who have the time.
Question: What is the common term for someone who enjoys
Work and refuses to retire?
Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement,
Attic or garage?
Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult
Kids will want to store stuff there.
Question: What do retirees call a long lunch?
Answer: Normal .
Question: What is the best way to describe retirement?
Answer: The never ending Coffee Break.
Question: What's the biggest advantage of going back to
School as a retiree?
Answer: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.
Question: Why does a retiree often say he doesn't miss work,
But misses the people he used to work with?
Answer: He is too polite to tell the whole truth.
QUESTION: What do you do all week?
Answer: Mon to Fri. Nothing, Sat & Sun I rest.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Three months ago his quarterly blood work showed that his cholesterol was too low. He was told to cut his tablets in half, so for three months he's take 20 mg daily.
This morning he received a call about his latest blood work. His cholesterol is still too low, and since you can hardly cut a pill into quarters, we got a new prescription. He'll now be taking only 10 mg of Lipitor daily.
I've been making sure we have oatmeal for breakfast at least four times a week lately; I wonder if that's what suddenly made his cholesterol take a nose-dive.
He and I are happy that he's putting less medicine in his body, and our budget is happy too; Lipitor isn't cheap!
We'll see how things look ninety days from now. Wouldn't it be great if he could totally stop taking Lipitor?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
In June of 2007, Cliff and I were strolling through a tractor show when we saw an older John Deere garden tractor for sale. At first the price seemed steep, as I recall. Then Cliff called our son, a John Deere aficionado, and asked him some questions about various models: which ones were more durable, which ones were worth the most, and so on.
We came upon this fellow riding around the grounds who loved the John Deere 322 model so much that he owned three of them. He sang the praises of his tractors.
We were in need of some sort of riding mower, and when you consider the price of the new “disposable” models at Walmart, one of these older John Deeres seemed like a better buy; these babies were built to last!
Just a day or so after the tractor show, we saw a 322 for sale in Buckner, just a fifteen-minute drive from home. Cliff looked it over and called our son.
We bought it, and Cliff was ecstatic to have a two-in-one package: Something with which to mow the lawn plus a classic little collectable that he could take to tractor shows if he wanted to. We named the tractor “Little Johnny”.
It came with a blade and wheel weights, which Cliff soon sold on Craigslist because we didn’t need them.
Fast-forward a year: Cliff’s sister and her husband left their farm nearby and moved to St. Louis because that’s where the jobs were. Brother-in-law Pat had a newer John Deere riding mower that he wouldn’t be using, so he brought it here for safe-keeping and Cliff began mowing with it instead of Little Johnny.
Yesterday we put Little Johnny on Craigslist for the same price we paid for it, and I swear to you, two guys would have duked it out over that little tractor if they had shown up at the same time. They wanted it badly! The first guy to show up with cash in hand got the tractor. (This is where you say to yourself, "We should have asked more for it.)
So now Cliff has $2,000 in his tractor fund. By the way, I’m not at all sentimental about Little Johnny. It was a recent addition that held no ties to the past for me. I’m just glad Cliff replenished his tractor fund… he was almost at the point of having to use my weekly grocery allowance to work on "Big Ollie", his 1855 Oliver. Everybody’s happy.
Especially the guy who loaded up the tractor and took it home.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I truly do not understand why all people aren't using Swagbucks as their search engine. You can see, above, the list of Freebies I've received so far (click on the picture to make it larger), and all I did to get them was surf the web. I think the deal I got today, the top one on the list, is the best yet. Twenty-five dollars off a meal! We'll probably use it at V's, next time we're in Independence.
The Oregon guy blogged today about a local TV show he watched as a kid growing up in New Jersey. This took me down memory lane to a magical place called "Whizzoland".
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
It’s so funny how it works on Facebook: You “friend” someone from your past and happen to notice one of their friends is someone else from the past, one of those “I wonder what happened to her” people.
Looking at a former co-worker’s profile yesterday, I saw she had recently added a Jessica to her friend list, and I recognized the name: she was one of the most interesting, fun people I worked with at Kohl’s distribution center... a woman about the age of my daughter who loved to tell stories about her past; and you know how I love stories. I told her a few of my own. We were both pretty hard workers, but not so much when we were working side-by-side; we were too busy telling stories to one another!
Back then, I was trying to write a poem every day, sort of an exercise to keep me creative, I guess. Sometimes I’d rhyme about people or events at work, and one day Jessica informed me she wanted me to write a poem about her. I ended up making it a song. If you read it as a poem, it’s hard to get the rhythm right, but take my word for it: it works fine as a mediocre song. Here are the words.
Hers was the friendliest face in the crowd when I began working at Kohl’s.
I was so scared about starting that job, and her smile was a balm to my soul.
She spoke with a delicate Arkansas drawl, with a voice like a ten-year-old girl.
We ended up in the same department, and Jessica brightened my world.
This is Jessica’s poem; this is Jessica’s song.
She’s living proof that you can recover after a man does you wrong.
She asked me to write her a poem, but somehow I knew all along
That there had to be
So now, this is Jessica’s song.
She was born to a couple of hippies one June, In the rock-covered Arkansas hills.
All they possessed were the basics of life, ‘cause they didn’t believe in the frills.
Jessica learned in her growing-up years that life’s best things are not always free,
But these days, the many hard times that beset her are only a grim memory.
I sat down to write her a poem, and somehow my heart heard a song.
So I only had to put pencil to paper; the tune was right there, all along.
If heaven’s a place for the child-like, that’s certainly where she’ll belong.
It was worth my while
To have seen her smile.
That’s why I wrote Jessica’s song.
This is Jessica as I remember her.
There’s one other thing that makes her really special: She’s the person who told me where to find a horse like I wanted, a horse gentle enough for an older lady, one my grandchildren could ride: that horse was Blue.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
We’ve had days and days of clouds and cold weather. It’s no heat wave today… in fact, we got our second frost of the year. It’s supposed to be 50 degrees by 11 o’clock, and we intend to leave then. I have our picnic lunch ready to go.
Sardines and crackers make up our main course. Sometimes we follow that with a couple of crackers with peanut butter. Because I still have sweet peppers coming on (frost didn’t kill the plants), I threw in some pepper strips. And because of the cold temperatures, we’re taking a thermos of coffee. Plastic utensils and napkins are zipped inside the lunch box lid.
Most people, when I mention sardines, wrinkle up their noses and say, “Ewww”. I wouldn’t think of eating them at home, but we enjoy them on our rides. We started packing them after I read that sardines are heart-healthy; and since they’re at the bottom of the food chain, they don’t have as much toxic junk in them as larger fish.
I intend to wear my winter gear, because even at 50, it’s pretty cool riding.
I just have to share this next picture; Cliff hollered for his coffee when he woke up this morning and said, “I’ve been cold all night; the covers on this bed are all tangled up.”
He had a whole quilt wadded up on his chest, and he’s the one that got cold? As you can see, we have our flannel sheets on the bed already. I usually don’t drag them out until November.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Several years ago, Cliff and I found ourselves with three grandchildren… all of them out of reach. Our son’s two children were with him and his wife, stationed in Germany. Our daughter had moved 150 miles or so away and was living in south Missouri.
One baby boy saved our sanity. His name was Dakota, but everybody called him Kody.
He was six months old when I started babysitting him. I believe he was around two years old when he left us.
He was so cute, and so much fun. He bore on his little shoulders all the weight of how much we missed our grandchildren.
I sang “Eansey-weensie spider” to him, and he did motions with his hands trying to imitate what I was doing, saying, “Pie-dee, Pie-dee”.
He was an active baby. He took short naps, and wasn’t one to sit quietly and watch TV.
He’s sixteen now, and we haven’t really kept in touch with him. I was grocery-shopping recently and the bag-boy spoke to me, calling me by name. It was Kody. My heart melted.
I will always love that boy.
I “friended” his mom on Facebook last week and saw a picture of the baby boy who filled the void when my grandchildren weren’t available. He will never know how much he means to me, even today.
God bless you, Kody. I hope life is kind to you.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Two little red wagons and two boxes full. Oh yes, and ten that are still stored in the house.
Squash, anyone? It's hard to find somebody who likes butternut squash, which really puzzles me.
Cliff went to the dentist today and let them check his mouth. They agree with my assessment: the rash is gone.
He suggested this morning that since I could see the spots were gone, maybe he didn’t need to go to the dentist. I reminded him that I’m the one who told him for two months that he was having heartburn, when he was actually having angina.
Monday, October 12, 2009
I've been missing the hummingbirds and goldfinches something awful; most of the time these days, the yard outside my computer room window is as still as a cemetery. Lately, though, around sunup and sundown, bluebirds have gathered out there. They perch on the fence. and fly over to drink from the birdbath. Today I actually saw several of them at the birdbath together, and this time they were bathing! This gives me hope that perhaps I might have some luck getting bluebirds to nest in my yard next year.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
One of my faithful readers left this comment recently: "Have you found the blog homesick Texan on blogspot? Her most recent entry is for homemade cheese with raw milk. It looks so easy! I want to make it but don't know where to get a gallon of milk! Will you find it and make it?"
Indeed I do read that blog; in fact, I link to it; you probably discovered her here on my blog. For those who are interested in the entry about the cheese, click HERE.
Now in my growing-up years, we didn't use lime juice or vinegar to curdle the cheese. My mom, and my grandma, just set the milk on the counter, kept it covered, and waited for it to curdle all by itself. And that's how I did it after I grew up and had my own cow. For those of you who are horrified at the thought of actually drinking raw milk obtained from a family cow, as we do here, I imagine you are now gagging at the thought of consuming curdled, four-day-old, raw milk. I'm sixty-five years old, and I survived it!
I recall my late father-in-law saying, "I love clabber." Yeah, that's curdled milk he was talking about. Now even I wouldn't go so far as to eat clabbered milk as is. Not that I'd be scared to, but it just doesn't sound good.
Actually, what the Homesick Texan calls cheese was "cottage cheese" to us. We drained it by putting it in cheesecloth and hanging it on the clothesline, left it crumbly, added cream to it, and that was that. The whey was given to the pigs or chickens.
I've heard the Kansas City Russian talk about making something similar back in Russia. Meesha, if you ever want to make that for old times' sake, let me know and I'll have a gallon or two of raw milk waiting for you next time you pass by. Lindie, that goes for you too, if you want to try making this cheese. Just don't both of you come on the same day; I only milk two or three times a week, and I'm sharing with her calf, you know.
I do hope I haven't ruined anybody's breakfast with this entry.