Together is the only way that us old married farts can function anymore!

Daily Post prompt – Together

Especially since retirement, Spouse and I have come to appreciate the fact that, since each of us is left with only half a brain at this point in life, the only way we can function is to put those two halves together!

Who will buy…a clock or two? Etsy anyone?

Daily Prompt – Clock

These clocks, and many others, along with candle holders, signs, weather stations, desk sets and now tables, are overrunning all the spaces on the lower level of our split level home.  Spouse  has been creating these works of art at least since I retired two and a half years ago.  Actually he has made more beautiful things and has been making them longer than that.

He made the clock with the San Francisco skyline before we met.  This, along with a beautiful large and heavy clock made from burl wood and a game table made from a large spool which previously had carried electric cables wrapped around it, were part of the decor of his Long Beach bachelor pad.  Making things like this out of wood was a hobby he had developed when he had first struck out on his own, and he’d made a little money off it by selling them at the swap meet.  He had been salivating to get back to it in retirement, and went at it with an enthusiastic vengeance as soon as we were permanently settled in our retirement home.

He still gets a lot of enjoyment out of making this stuff, but that has been unfortunately tempered by our inability to sell any of it.  We didn’t really try to sell them for the first year.  During that time he was having more fun getting wood from our new neighbors, two or three other retired gentlemen, working to return the raw material to them as finished products.  We tried to place them for consignment sale in some local craft shops, but the reception of the owners there was tepid at best.  Finally, at the end of last year, we made a sale at an annual holiday arts show.  We learned from other craftspeople at that show that the place to move this sort of locally produced natural product was in the Great Smoky Mountains town of Gatlinburg, which, like its neighboring cities of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville, is kind of a rustic yet sophisticated, woodsy yet modern, eclectic and airy “mountain resort” in a beautiful natural area that is now, more often than not, crowded with vehicles and amusements  of all types.   This gateway to America’s most popular (probably since entry is free) national park boasts an aquarium, an indoor ice rink and a distillery, as well as a “historic beautiful and peaceful craft crawl” on an 8-mile loop of local roads which has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail.

It was there, as we walked in and out of half a dozen or so stores that included wood products in their guidebook descriptions, that we were joltingly reminded that nobody uses clocks any more to tell the time; we all do that on our cell phones now.  Still, the clocks that Spouse has made in the past remain beautiful works of art, and I think the tables he is slaving over and investing in now, are even more beautiful and, perhaps now that our eyes have been opened to the facts of modern life, possibly even more functional and salable.  That, at least, is our hope, as we prepare to bring our wares to the local holiday craft show again later this year, and to really and finally join the 21st century sales force, by taking a class together at the local library so we can learn how to etsy, which I think could probably be a verb like google and facebook.

 

 

Depth – Do I have any?

The first thought that came to my mind when the Daily Prompt – Depth showed up in my email (and is now two days old) was related to a story I saw just last night on this month old episode of Botched.  The titleSeeing Double, actually refers to ” the world’s most identical twins”, who clearly have no depth, like many of the “eccentric” i.e. crazy people who appear on these “reality” shows.  Personally, I think they all have way too much money and not a care about how they throw it away on stuff, like plastic surgery, that all of us sane people would consider to be more than wasteful, especially when there are so many unemployed, homeless, bankrupted because they couldn’t pay their medical bills people among us.  See my other post today Happiness is being a carefree Old Fart to see why I don’t care about not keeping up with this and other time filling activities.

No, the part of this episode where the word “depth” really  meant something for me was the story about the fitness enthusiast and nasal spray addict, who needed to have her nose fixed for the past 36 years, since she had broken it diving into a pool at a depth of only four feet as a stupidly carefree seventeen year old.  Even at that age, and probably younger, I at least had the sense not to do something dangerous and risky like that.  What was she thinking?!

Happiness is being a carefree Old Fart

As I was catching up on emails today, I came across this prompt from yesterday.  In the bad old days, when I was working on my last job, being this far behind on emails would have caused a great deal of stress, both internal and probably also coming from Twit and Princess Fairy Dust.  I am so fortunate to be out of that situation and to not feel like I’m required to stay consistently current with friends and family,  because they are all generally healthy, happy and content as possible given the possibility of a Republican takeover of the federal government.  I can say this knowing that most of them are Democrats like me, and if they’re not we’ve already forgiven each other for mutual political lapses, and the RNC ended just last night.

Spouse and I live under the same roof and are generally carefree, content and happy in our retirement home.  One reason for this current state of bliss is that, although we keep different schedules and pursue different activities as individuals, we both seem to feel that it’s part of our “marriage contract” to monitor each others’ well being on a daily basis, and to act accordingly.   Our daily interactions start when he joins me in my “woman cave”, usually bringing his morning wake-up beverage with him.  He’ll come through the door and ask, every day, “Whatcha doin’ dear?” knowing full well that I will be either sitting in front of my computer or reading in my grandma’s pink upholstered rocking chair.  He’ll then sit down on the my other grandma’s pink flower covered couch and we’ll begin our mutual morning status checks on sleep pattern and quality of the previous night and the expected aches and pains of old age.

The pattern this morning, however, was very different.  I got up and initiated my usual morning routine but, after plowing through the second fifty pages of The Big Sleep, I started to feel a little sleepy myself, and realized that I had hauled my buns out of bed an hour or so earlier than usual.  So, I decided to mix things up a bit and go back to bed where, if I was able to catch a few more Z’s, I would probably be a little more energized for all the additional reading and computing I expected to do today.  I did fall back to sleep, and when I woke up I simply restarted my morning routine where I had left off, back in the woman cave.

In the interim, unbeknownst to me, my poor caring Spouse had come up to join me and became a bit concerned to find me not upright in a chair but quietly prone back in my bed.  When he returned to restart his usual morning routine he made a point to tell me that he really to make sure that I was OK since it was so unlike me to sleep during the day, unlike him and most other husbands I know who, for some reason, as a group, feel that a midday nap is a right and requirement to keep their grizzly bear grumpiness in check, especially if if they have been cooped up in the house with their wives all day i.e. every weekend while they were working.

Daily Prompt – Carefree

 

You can’t choose your family

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Delayed Contact.”

Another of my favorite sayings, which may also be a cliché, is:

“You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.”

I have spoken this line to my spouse many times over the nearly 25 year span of our marriage, along with the corollary I learned from my first high school friend who married at a very young age and has never gotten along very well with most of her in-laws.

“Be careful who you marry. Make sure you get along with them because you’ll be stuck with them, too.”

While I didn’t always get along with his parents and the two brothers who were living when I met him, I have always, or at least as far back as I can remember, gotten along with his sisters-in- law. His parents have passed, along with one of the two brothers, and now I think the three of us girls get along better than ever. I’m sure there’s a deep psychological and/or emotional reason for this otherwise unexplainable fact. If anyone has any possible explanations, I’d love to hear them!

Holiday Traditions of A Blended Faith Family

Traditions: we’ve all got ‘em, especially around the holidays.  What is it about my family’s traditions that keep them going strong for my children in our blended faith family?

I was raised by two liberal Jewish parents.  The Hanukkah tradition in our home included lighting the menorah each night, then opening one of the presents that had been arranged around a three foot tall foil covered Star of David my dad made as a substitute Xmas tree.  The presents grew in size (and probably in value) over the eight nights of the holiday.  I think one year we might have broken Mom down and got a tree, which we euphemistically called a Hanukkah bush.  Every year Dad put the blue and white “Xmas” lights in the window.

My spouse was raised as a Mormon and was married a couple of times to at least semi-Mormon women.  He brought a lot of leftover ornaments to our marriage.  I was pregnant when we celebrated our first Xmas together.  He was so excited and told me that our baby had to have a Xmas tree, even if she wasn’t here to see it yet.   I went along with it when he went out and purchased a new fake tree and put it up in front of the window in his house.   He pulled out the recycled ornaments and lights and we decorated it together.

Fast forward about 3 or 4 years.  We now have two daughters who are well acquainted with both their Jewish and Mormon grandparents and know that the beliefs of each are nowhere near the same.  In the interim, every year, we put up the new fake tree with the recycled ornaments.  By this age, the kids are in pre-school and other places where making Xmas ornaments is standard practice.

So we expanded the tradition by adding a menorah, and then two menorahs so there would not be fights over who would light the candles.  I continued my family’s Hanukkah gift-giving practice starting on the first night with equal or equivalent dollar store items for each of my girls and ending eight nights later with equal or equivalent department or book or electronics store items.  The kids made new ornaments and decorations at school and scouts every year.  We also started to buy ornaments as souvenirs on family trips so over the years the new ornaments replaced the recycled ones, which were falling apart or breaking anyway, and the fake tree became a very real part of our holiday traditions.

Later, decorating and undecorating the tree were added as family activities.  Our family, being non-traditional in many ways at this time of year, did it a little different than most I knew.  Dad and Mom would take the tree out of the box and build it.  Then Dad and kids would string the lights, followed by Mom and kids unpacking boxes of ornaments and decorations, trimming the tree and the house. The whole process, including participants, happened in reverse at the end of the season.

Roomba is not enough!

My Chore Robot — FINALLY!.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/you-robot/

As the first robot that I know of that does one of those onerous regular household chores, Roomba was a good start.
It’s just not enough, though, since there are so many other regular household chores that are equally onerous and are too numerous to mention. Like Tim Pepper (link to His Chore Robot above, I hope), it would be great if we could program our young adult children who live at home to at least empty things. On the other hand, if there was an MT, we’d have to program it to act like an affectionate and grateful adult child!

Lazy Girl’s Milkshake

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pick-your-potion/

Thought I’d invented it while I was pregnant 20+ years ago but found out that I had not.

Anyway, you concoct it by dumping a bunch of ice cream in a glass, pouring milk over it, then stirring to desired consistency. I of course use low-fat ice cream and non-fat milk.

That is all. Enjoy!

Couldn’t Watch all the blood in “Old Boy”

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-watch-this/Can’t Watch This

When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?

Above is 7/21 daily prompt and, coincidentally as I was catching up on stuff, I came across it today, 7/24, after having viewed Spike Lee’s film “Old Boy” on DVD last night.  Now, most of Spike’s films, based on what I’ve read about them and the few that I’ve seen, tend to have some redeeming social value.  This one was no exception but…

I had read a review or something about “Old Boy” and knew it had a pretty good case, which was why I was interested in seeing it in the 1st place, along with aforementioned and anticipated redeeming social value.  What I hadn’t expected were a lot of bloody scenes, and I do mean bloody.  Samuel L. Jackson was uncredited but played a pretty pivotal role in all the action, and I do mean action.

I understand that “Old Boy” may have been based on a Bruce Lee type film previously made in the Orient and fight scenes in those don’t bother me because the ones I’ve seen didn’t show a lot of blood or closeups where you would expect to see blood or broken bones.  It was just  entertaining to watch Bruce’s choreographed moves and follow the flying bodies.

Now, for “Old Boy” put Josh Brolin in the Bruce Lee role and insert gruesome close-up images of blood and broken bones in the fight scenes.  Add to that images where Brolin tortures Jackson by removing pieces of skin from around his neck, like a dotted line, and Brolin say by the time he was finished he’d be able to remove Jackson’s head simply by pulling it off and you get the picture.  This was actually the point where I had to start covering my eyes, though I did spy a long needle coming out of Jackson’s neck later in the same scene.  This bloodletting occurred after Brolin had broken into Jackson’s torture chamber for hire by bashing the head of the guard, who had just been sitting at his desk minding his own business, with a sledge hammer.