Movie Review: “Christopher Robin”… When Did You Last Play? …..

How important do you feel it is to fully engage your imagination, release your inner child and just PLAY, no matter your age?  According to Winnie the Pooh, the world’s most famous honey-loving little bear, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.”  His best friend, Christopher Robin proved this to be true in today’s showing of Disney’s “Christopher Robin” at the beautifully restored circa 1909 Loudonville Ohio Theater.

There are many “children’s movies” that smuggle in adult themes amongst the adorable characters, special effects and award-winning sound tracks. The Lion King comes to mind with its’ vivid messages of the dangers of being power hungry, dealing with great loss and letting go of your past.  You may also recall Beauty and the Beast which taught us the importance of inner beauty as well as ignoring other people’s opinions of you.  Well, Christopher Robin’s never-ending adult theme is no less important or poignant. —  we must never forget how to simply ‘play’ and do nothing and we must never put the people and things we hold closest to our heart at the mercy of those things that matter the least, in the long run.  Life is oh so short and we all grow up so very quickly, but that doesn’t mean we should spit out our imagination into an old gum wrapper, wad it up and throw it out when we march off into adulthood.  This is basically what Christopher Robin had done, only to discover how miserable he and everyone around him was as a result.  When he finally allowed himself to relax and go back to the “Hundred Acre Wood” to re-connect with his childhood friends, his vivid imagination and his happiness came bursting back to life and he solved his employer’s biggest problem and healed the gaping wounds in his own life.

I loved this movie despite what I would say is a pretty heavy dose of those adult themes.  Being the rather sensitive, tender-hearted soul that I am, I even shed a few tears at some of the parts that hit home a little too closely.  But, oh my …what a good job the creators did with all of those lovable characters from our childhood.  I don’t know how they did it but they all looked so REAL!  From Piglet’s sweet little pink self to Roo’s adorable innocence to Rabbit’s very life-like tall ears to Eeyore’s predictable negativity and Pooh’s amazing personality and facial expressions.  It was so well-done and so well-thought out. I have no doubt that Mr. Milne himself would be so utterly fascinated and proud of the way in which his beloved story was portrayed on the big screen .

So ….. I’ll ask again …. when did you last relax and do absolutely nothing?  When did you last say hello to your own imagination ?  Are the family and friends closest to your heart at the top of your list when you’re doling out your precious and fleeting time …. or are they farther down on that list?’

When did you last play?

Mid-Life Dating …

So, you say you love the edgy, nail-biting risk-taking of tossing your whole paycheck at the roulette wheel at Vegas?  Or perhaps you just can’t get enough of the heart-pounding, scream-inducing roller coasters at Cedar Point.  Boy, do I have just the ticket for you:  mid-life dating.

Once again I found myself on this particular emotional roller coaster for the last two weeks.  I’m one of those hopeless romantics who tend to jump into this rather hypnotic pool with both feet and my whole silly, crepe paper heart.  My oh my … there is not much that can compare to that wonderful euphoric feeling that “somebody likes me … somebody wants me … somebody cares about me” …. for me it’s, hands-down one of the BEST feelings you can experience on this journey we call life.  I like to think of this initial stage as the “rainbow and unicorn” stage. You know, the first few weeks, or, if you’re real lucky – months, when you’re just so over-the-top for each other that you can barely stand to be apart.  All of your waking thoughts are peppered with re-run after re-run of your first kisses, how you hold hands at the store, in the car … the sweet pet names you give each other. You can see your friend’s eyes start to glaze over and their gag reflexes being activated as you share your sickeningly sweet tales with them for the millionth time. You see your ‘beloved’s’ face everywhere you look …. on your computer screen at work, in the clouds in the sky, staring up at you from your bowl of Cheerios. In this most glorious of time periods, your hormones … yes Ethel, I did say hormones …. because yes, Kiddies, we still have them in our 50’s, believe it or not …. are raging and, if you’re not careful they could goad you into throwing caution to the wind. Does this all sound very familiar? Think hard … for some it may be harder, depending on how much water has gone under YOUR bridge since you were a teenager. Ah yes! So THAT’S why you suddenly feel 20 years younger and everything in your world lights up in vivid technicolor! Snap!  Oh beware, beware my fellow travelers on this most confusing journey…..it is sometimes merely a disappointing mirage in the desert.  It may SEEM like an exciting second chance at the dating from our teen years, but, alas, it is not!  For the mid-life daters, there are now so many obstacles and road blocks to have to navigate.  And, unlike the innocence of the teen years, we now have “baggage” in our hearts and minds … experiences from former relationships that make certain issues more sensitive.  Don’t kid yourself, EVERYONE on this ‘hamster wheel’ has them, no matter how long it’s been or how well you dealt with it when your last ‘gig’ ended.  They are there, in the dark recesses just waiting to pop out.

It doesn’t matter if your issues were about money, fidelity, trust, sex, respect or any of a million others; you mix those up in a bowl with the mid-lifer’s acquisitions of adult children, grand kids, elderly parents in failing health, ex-spouses, life-long hobbies, bad habits and a few others and you have the makings of a potentially rocky mix.  For some, it’s not that difficult to work through and they skip on around their particular stones on the road to Shangri-la.  For many, though, those ‘stones’ are boulders that seemingly completely block the path.  In our youth, we may have had the unquenchable drive, energy, desire and feverish passion to climb over or trek around that boulder, despite the difficulties.  As mid-lifers, though, our life-acquired wisdom now often tells us ….for a multitude of reasons… to just let it go……even if it had a lot of good times between two good people. Some things are better left alone.  Some stories are better left unwritten.

So, if you’re a thrill-seeking, risk-taking gambler, this may be the ride for you.  My current turn on this ride is over and I see a few coins in the coin-return. Think I’ll use them to go buy some feed for the ducks at the duck pond.  Someplace calm and serene……time to ponder what I’ve learned this time around.

What Do You Mean You “Can’t Find It?!!”

I generally believe that most of the technology we use nowadays is a GOOD thing. Please note the words “generally” and “most”.  Today is NOT that day! Today is one of those “I’m-so-frustrated-with-my-printer-and-computer-that-either-my-head -is-going-to-explode-or-I-may-be-throwing-my-perfectly-fine-printer-out-the-window” kind of days. Instead of my printer taking the well-deserved hit, though, I’m quite certain my blood pressure is the real victim in this obvious threat to my health and sanity.

I take a small measure of pride in the fact that I have, by and large, taught myself everything I know about using a computer and printer over the course of many years and several businesses that I owned, all with websites that I had to learn how to work with. My point being that I’m not a total idiot or complete newbie in this realm, but I definitely concede that I am by no means an expert either….. not even remotely so.

My current dilemma started about a week or so ago. Actually I’m not certain precisely when because I don’t always use my printer every single day. That, however, is about when I first noticed that my printer would not print anything from my iMAC computer. Oh it will still make a “copy” of something you lay on the screen but that’s all.  Upon further investigation, my computer has, for some reason, decided to completely shun the existence of my printer. One day they’re communicating and playing nicely together and the next, His Majesty, Sir MAC has completely snubbed Ms. Canon and declares repeatedly that he most definitely cannot even find her at all!  How can that possibly be?!!  I assure you, she has not moved from her permanent residence, a mere 6 feet or so from His Highness.  All her proper lights are on and everything seems to be in working order.  Sir MAC, too, remains unchanged as far as I can tell.  In fact, I wasted the entire first half of this precious holiday away from work trying desperately to facilitate their detente.  My dear son-in-law also made a very valiant attempt to help over the phone.  They’re still not speaking to each other.

I have two possible theories as to the cause of this stonewalling. Theory #1 – my cats have recently decided they’re  in love with a spot on my sewing table where they can look out a back window while reclining fully….apparently prime real estate in the cat world.  This spot is very close to Ms. Canon and I have witnessed them, on several occasions, being very curious and getting real up close and personal while she is actively printing something out.  So, theory #1 is that perhaps they stepped on her and pressed something they shouldn’t have.

Theory #2 is the more viable choice, in my opinion.  About 2 weeks ago I decided to upgrade my Spectrum/Time Warner TV services just a tad.  This unexpectedly involved a new modem and wireless router and a new password as well.  I followed the scanty instructions for connecting my computer and never thought twice about this possibly affecting anything else. In all of the combined efforts, today, however, there was never an opportunity to even input the new password anywhere…..a puzzle for sure.  We feel the key is in the IP address but that magic number has remained ‘unlisted’ and does not appear on the network configuration page we printed out.  Oy vey!!!

I have exhausted my limited knowledge on this topic and am reluctantly throwing up the white flag of surrender.  Being the devout “time conservationist” that I am, I can’t stand wasting so much valuable time and burning up so many gray cells on this anymore.  Machines – 1 (as in won!) vs. Humans – none and done! I figure the cost of having someone from Geek Squad come to investigate would probably be as much as buying a new printer. I will most likely find myself at a nearby Staples in the coming days.

Harry Houdini couldn’t have done it any better ….. hidden a printer in plain sight …. no smoke, no mirrors!

Restaurant Review: Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant

I had the great pleasure and rare privilege of spending one of my vacation days this past week with my dear daughter.  For us, a critically important landing spot during our trek through Easton Town Center in Columbus was trying a new place to eat.  The choices were many and the decision difficult but we ended up in the rather upscale Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant.  It turned out to be a very good choice.

When we entered into the darkened coolness from the scorching concrete jungle outside, I took note of the rather modern, sophisticated vibe.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve been feeling my age more lately, but, it seems like everyone I encounter these days in restaurants and retail stores alike is young … very young.  This was no exception.  Our waitress was very friendly as well as helpful in fielding our questions about the menu and efficient in bringing our food without much waiting.

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I sometimes have a tendency to stick with the same few menu items or variations on the same theme. Today, however, I ventured a little further off the familiar path.  For whatever reason, neither of us was in the mood for wine, despite being in a winery. Instead, we were intrigued by the cocktails to start off our relaxing lunch.  My daughter chose an American Mule, consisting of Tito’s handmade vodka, ginger beer & lime, their version, I believe, of the popular Moscow Mule.  She liked it very much.  I am not a particular fan of ginger, so, unfortunately my ‘sampling sip’ was a little too reminiscent of a popular ‘piney’ bathroom cleaner. Guess I’ll be letting Moscow keep their Mules.  I ordered an Original Mai Tai, containing a heavenly fusion of Bacardi Rum, Amaretto, citrus juices including a lovely hit of pineapple and Myer’s Rum.  It was fantastic!  Very fruity and smooth.  We also ordered an appetizer – Asian Pork Belly Tostadas. They were truly a visual work of art.

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When it came time for the entree’, I did leave my usual comfort zone to a point, but still stayed within my favorite type of food to eat when dining out – seafood.  I chose the Shrimp & Scallop Risotto. This consisted of a lovely creamy rice risotto infused with sweet corn, asparagus, peas, spinach, parmesan, white truffle oil and of course several lucious scallops and shrimp. It was heavenly.

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For her entree’, my daughter chose Dana’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken, served with Betty’s Potatoes and garlic green beans. She too enjoyed her meal very much.

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At $90, including the 20% tip, we found it pricey and not a place we would frequent often. But, for a vacation splurge it was just the ticket!  I would highly recommend Cooper’s Hawk and hope to make it back someday to sample their wines as well as some of their other unique entree’s.

The Payoff Is Worth It

Are you a nature-loving, bird watcher? Yes?  Me too!!  While I’m home on my ‘staycation’ all this week, I’ve been filling my feeders with peanuts, sunflower seeds, ear corn and suet pellets more frequently than normal. So far the results are outstanding and providing lots of free entertainment for me, although “free” would be a relative term here, as all those “fixins” are FAR from free.

At one point on Day #1 of this feeding frenzy, I looked out both kitchen windows and was thrilled to see 5 squirrels, 2 or 3 blue jays, an oriole, a couple cardinals, my first ever grosbeak and about a gazillion of those annoying grackles.  Thus far today, I have seen 2 downy woodpeckers, a pair of doves, a red-bellied woodpecker, several jays, cardinals, the pesky grackles and as I sit here on my front porch writing this, an adorable little chipmunk with his cheeks packed full of treats just ran up onto the porch and under the chair I have my feet propped on.  I was amazed and thrilled.

Yesterday, in addition to all my feathered guests, I was tickled pink to witness, for the first time in my life, a rabbit wallowing around repeatedly in a shallow, dried up puddle at the end of my drive right next to the street.  I have never seen anything like it in my life.  He just totally stretched out on his furry belly with his legs behind him and flopped around from side to side, much like a dog rolling in a pile of something stinky. It was the cutest thing.

Many people do most of their worshipping of our Heavenly Father when they’re at church on Sundays.  That’s meaningful to me too, but, I feel more in touch with Him as I sit and marvel at His magnificent artistry and creativity in the form of all the many kinds of wildlife he has blessed us with.  It’s mind-blowing when you think of the multitude of species and all of their minute, exquisite details down to the last whisker or tail feather.

Sometimes when I’m feeling blue, I’ll look out the window and notice the tiny sparrows flitting about, which often then reminds me of Matthew 10:29, “……not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it …. so don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”  This comforts me and reassures me that no matter what it is I might be going through, the Lord knows all about it and has total control of it … I can and should let go and quit worrying or quit letting it bring me down.

I’m finding that I could really get used to this daily porch-sitting, critter-watching, and time to put my thoughts on paper.  I guess I don’t need to travel the world when I can merely share more of my own blessings with my furry and feathered friends then sit back and watch the world come to me.  The payoff is definitely worth it.

 

Encounters With The Mighty Greyhound

Did you know that Greyhound is still the largest intercity bus service  and has 3800 stops across the US of A? Having grown up with a dad who spent his entire career working at a local bus manufacturing company, I find these little “factoids” interesting. Even more interesting, however, were my own experiences riding on these behemoths of the highways.

I didn’t become a car owner until I graduated from college and accepted my first job offer as an RN.  I didn’t even have regular access to one, as we were a one-car family when I was growing up at home.  So, given that college was an hour and a half away from home and I didn’t really have any close friends at school with a car either, I had the rather unique experience , over a 4 year period, of occasionally riding the Greyhound bus from Columbus, Ohio to Loudonville.

The journey always began at the big, rather intimidating bus station in downtown Columbus … a unique destination all on it’s own.  You could see all manner of humanity there, at any given time.  Of course, to even get here, I first had to hop on a COTA city bus up on the OSU campus.  You just never knew what interesting characters you might encounter here …. anything from sweet little old ladies to belligerent drunks with roving eyes.  Being the small-town-gal-in-the-big-city that I was, I was always extremely cautious and observant of my fellow passengers and surroundings.  One must bear in mind, this was right at the “birth” of the 80’s … not exactly a time when environmentally conscious, peace-loving hippies were purposely taking public transit to ‘save the world’.   No…these riders were mostly there by circumstance….not choice. Myself included.

When I arrived at the station, thankfully unscathed by any of the nefarious-looking characters on the city bus, I had to ‘schlepp’ my luggage to the ticket office; not an easy task, as most of us women do not travel light.  I’m pretty sure I just heard a collective male “Amen”!

A sidenote for you young whippersnappers in the house: this was way before cell phones and computers, so there was no such thing as booking a reservation ahead of time online.  You walked up to the man at the ticket counter and actually engaged in a conversation that resulted in you handing him money and he handed you a paper ticket with which to board your bus.  Shocking, I know.  We actually made eye contact and everything! Hard to fathom such unobstructed communication.  Then I would again schlepp my suitcase over to a row of seats where I would wait until my designated bus arrived from who knows where.  During this waiting, there was no phone or iPad to look at. I had to either read a real PAPER book that I brought along in my purse or just sit and look around or……..Heaven forbid….talk to someone else sitting around waiting too. During the entire procedure up to this point, the butterflies in my ‘nervous nellie’ stomach were all very busy filing their own little flight plans, but, Good Golly, when those massive engines pulled into the loading area, they all stopped their frenzied flying and stood at attention.  Maybe it comes from growing up watching the huge building down the street from my house give birth to whole fleets of buses with engines that vibrated the streets. I don’t know, but I have an appreciation for the loud, heart-thumping growl of a big engine of any kind; so exciting and powerful!

At this point, you could start to see your future travel partners gradually coming forward from all their various waiting spots throughout the station. An announcement came over the PA system advising you could now board the bus and we all lined up.  The driver was usually friendly as he greeted each of us as we got on, which made my next critical task a little easier.  Since Loudonville was not an official stop, I had to have a conversation with the driver wherein I told him that I needed to get off there and then sit back and hope and pray that he remembered and that I didn’t fall asleep … lest I end up in the wilds of Cleveland!

One of these trips in particular stands out in my mind because of an unexpected and exciting encounter with a handsome and sweet young guy in the seat next to me. I rarely ran across anyone my own age on these treks so this was an extra special treat. I chuckle every time I think back on that day.  As a young 20 year old, I was very fashion-conscious. I was especially fussy about all components of my outfit coordinating properly.  On that particular day, I was dressed to the “nines” in my matching trench coat, hat, umbrella and a pair of cute pumps…looking perhaps very much like Diana Rigg who played Emma Peel in the original version of The Avengers from the 60’s…..or so I must have thought.  I often wondered later what this cute guy thought of me in that get-up; even though I was told I carried it off quite well. Not exactly typical garb for riding a bus and having to manhandle a big suitcase by yourself. The folly and vanity of youth.  I only remember quite fondly how he happened to have a bag of Hershey kisses and every little while during a break in our conversation, he would turn to me and say, in a very pointed way, “would you like a kiss?”  Of course back then my young hormone-filled self was not really thinking at all about chocolate during those moments … anymore than I suspect he was.  Insert chuckling here.  I’ve always considered that my best Greyhound trip ever …. for obvious reasons.

The return trip was always an even more nerve racking procedure.  My parents and I would drive down to our Central Park a little before the time the bus was predicted to come through town.  The driver had no idea I was getting on.  As he approached, my dad, who HATED any kind of ‘public scene’ would very discreetly step to the curb with my suitcase and raise his hand and motion for the driver to stop.  I was at that age where I was highly mortified by all of this, but, it’s the only way I could get home many times and believe me, I was so extremely homesick my freshman year, it was a miracle I stayed in school.

Fast forward 37 years.  Sadly, buses are no longer ‘minted’ in Loudonville and haven’t been for many years.  I personally haven’t even been on a bus since those long-ago Greyhound days.  But those sweet memories of a simpler time when I had far less and yet so very much more, will live on in my mind forever.

It All Started With A Rabbit

Generally speaking, I only write about things that really impact me or speak to me deeply; things I greatly enjoy or less often, things I abhor.  I just finished watching the new Peter Rabbit movie and, oh my what a movie it is!  I could probably count on one hand the number of movies I like well enough to watch more than once.  This one is a definite addition to that list.

I have very fond memories of my mother reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit, as well as many of Beatrix Potter’s other charming critter-filled stories to my sister and I as small children.  My mother LOVED to read out loud and was a ‘rock star’ at breathing life into the characters and making the story come alive.  Even at my ripe old age of 57, I can still conjure up the precise feelings of fear I felt for poor Peter as that nasty Mr. McGregor chased him around the garden when all he was trying to do was put some food in his little bunny belly.  My perpetually tender heart always felt so sorry for him and worried about him hopping around innocently in his cute little blue jacket, blissfully unaware of the peril awaiting him in McGregor’s garden.  I’m not quite sure why I didn’t question how it is that rabbits would be wearing jackets.  Perhaps my intensely fertile imagination enables me to grab ahold of the concept of most anything being possible … in the right context of course.

The “new” Peter and his siblings and cousin are not quite so innocent as the “original” Peter and manage to kick up a firestorm of chaos along with both of the McGregor’s in the film.  Of course, if you’re paying attention there are lessons to be learned and “morals to the story”, so to speak.  What I loved more than anything else in this movie was the Academy Award-worthy job Hollywood did in making these adorable woodland creatures so very realistic and lovable. Much as I recall my mother being fascinated with all of Potter’s charming little creatures, I, too, simply couldn’t get enough of them. I sat and marveled over the way their tall bunny ears moved and changed with their expressions. And speaking of those, their sweet little eyes, classic bunny noses and their oh-so-soft-looking bunny bodies just made me want to hug them all, much like Bea did in the movie. Ok……hang onto your seats…….it just hit me like a brick this very moment that they named the sweet, critter-loving gal in the movie “Bea” after the very author herself!!!!!!!!  Eureka!!!  How fantastically clever is that!!!  You can’t see me of course but right now I am giving myself a great big ‘ol pat on the back for figuring out that tricky Mensa puzzle all on my own!!

I can totally see myself as Bea … a modern-day Snow White of sorts, talking to all the animals and keeping them safe and well-fed.  Of course that will be pretty hard to do from the inside of a ‘padded cell’ while wrapped up in a ‘straight jacket’, which is where I’ll likely end up after this is published.  Why …. just today a friend of mine … a new and apparently very insightful friend said to me, “you think too much .. but it’s very entertaining.”  To which I replied, “Glad I could be of service.”  What I was thinking, but didn’t say to him was, “maybe someday my ‘overthinking’ will win me a Pulitzer or The National Book Award or some such grandiose achievement.  Yeah, right …. that’s about as likely as rabbits running around in little blue jackets.

Anyway, with all of its’ amazing technology that finally brought Beatrix Potter’s beloved creatures to life, I absolutely LOVED this movie and highly recommend it to anyone … young and not-so-young alike.

Dear Cookie

Dear Cookie,

I am writing to you today, to once and for all reveal my lifelong, undying devotion to you, my Sweet.  It’s difficult to put into words just exactly what you mean to me. Why …I can’t even remember a time when you haven’t always been there for me … through thick and thin…(mostly thick) …waiting ever so patiently for me to come rescue you from your ‘imprisonment’.  Oh I admit, there were some periods of time … very short periods … where I selfishly ignored you in favor of your daunting competitors, Mr. Krunch E. Carrot, Ms. Q. Cumber, and that punk Chaireetoe Matoe.  But you have to agree, I never strayed for very long, as your irresistible charms have always been a siren song calling me back to you from far and away.  Our relationship is so deep, my little bisquit, that we no longer need mere words anymore do we.  Why…as soon as I enter a room and behold you from afar in all of your sweet splendor, my heart skips a beat. Mere practice, perhaps, for that moment when I finally succumb to your charms.  But I can’t seem to break away from the spell you’ve cast on me, you tantalizing vixen you.  As soon as my fingers caress your lucious self and your heady aroma fills my senses, my resistance is weakened beyond repair.  I MUST have you Cookie … now.  There will be no coquettish nibbling my Dear, oh no! It’s all or nothing.  You are mine and mine alone to devour wolfishly and with abandon.  Ahhhhhh….such sweet sweet surrender…..

Alas, my Dear, if only we could keep our affair secret from the eyes of judgmental onlookers.  But that, my Love, is apparently not to be, as you have left your ‘mark’ all about me.  My curves betray our clandestine unions.

So there you have it my Dear Sweet Cookie … I am yours and you are mine.

I love you Cookie.

. . . Not Even With A 10 Foot Pole!

Well, I’m back at it with another one of those 642 “writing prompts”. This one directs you to write a list of “things you wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole”, as the saying goes.  I must say, I’m thinking this book was a pretty good investment, as I’m having a lot of fun with these crazy prompts. So, without further adieu, I bring you my list:

  1.  Snakes – I do not like them here … I do not like them there… I do not like them anywhere!
  2. Other people’s bodily fluids – Come on now, that’s a “Given”; I’m a nurse!  If it’s wet and it’s not mine, I’m not touching it without gloves….and maybe not even then!                       * family & very close friends not included …..usually
  3. Raw fish ( sushi/sashimi) – I have enough problems without the addition of parasites taking up residence in my ‘nether regions’…
  4. Psychics/Palm readers/”Mediums”/Fortune Tellers – as written in the Bible, Christians are cautioned to stay away from such, as they are foolishly ‘dabbling’ with dangerous things in the all-too-real world of the occult
  5. Cruise ships – I saw the original black & white version of ‘The Titanic” as a very young child — it made a lifelong impression on me. I will not go on a cruise ship on the ocean for all the tea in China!  And yet I LOVE taking the Jet Express over to Put-in-Bay … as long as I don’t think about the “what-if’s” too much.
  6. My root cellar! No way Jose’!!  That dirt-floored haven for what I imagine to be hundreds of spiders and maybe even a snake or two…..or three!!  I won’t set foot in that room off of my basement. Actually, it wouldn’t bother me one bit to have that creepy room filled to the brim with concrete and call it a day!!
  7. Bungee jumping/sky-diving – if I want to feel my heart pounding in my chest like a bass drum and see my life flash before my eyes, all I need to do is ride in the car with a few select people in my life when the roads are ice and snow-covered!
  8. Braunschweiger/liverwurst – that flesh-colored, finely ground liver-ish stuff my dad would get once in awhile when I was a kid, probably because it reminded him of the 17 months he spent in Germany in the Army.  I find it putrid and disgusting!
  9. TV shows, movies, books & anything else having to do with vampires, ghouls, ghosts or zombies.  Not only do I personally find that subject matter incredibly stupid but, in my humble opinion, it also skirts a little too close to the essence of #4 as well. Not something I care to dwell on very much.
  10. Any type of “blood sausage“.  Seriously … I do consider myself a ‘foodie’ of sorts and I LOVE to try new and interesting things in the culinary world …. but Holy Heck, Batman, that doesn’t even sound remotely appetizing to me!!  I can’t even imagine how on earth that could have come about…………..”Hey Gus…what are we gonna do with this big ‘ol bucket of blood we drained outa’ that deer we just butchered?”   “Uh, gee Clyde, I dunno……we got all them thar innards laying’ there too …whatcha say we throw in a few a them spices, maybe some ‘o that leftover bacon that’s been sittin’ around all day, an’ that there pork rind….stir it all up and see what we got.”    But Gus …. we still got them innards to deal with.”  “Well Clyde, what if we stir up this here blood ‘porridge’ and carry it home in those innards then we’ll try to figure out what we’re gonna do with it.”

On the long journey home from their day of hunting out in the wilderness, Gus and               Clyde were hittin’ the ‘mead bag’ a little too frequently.  When they stopped to make camp for the night, they stumbled about starting their campfire and in their drunken stupor, accidentally plopped their animal skin bag full of the blood-stuffed innards too close to the fire before passing out.  When they awoke the next morning, they found the ‘innards’ totally baked in their ‘skin bag’.  Being still “under the influence” but starving, they decided to give the stuff a try……the rest is history ……and explains why you have to be “3 sheets to the wind” to even try “blood sausage”!

So, there you have it folks … 10 things I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole …..or with any pole for that matter.

More Than Just A Dove …

There’s something about the soft gentle cooing of a mourning dove that calms me and brings back a flood of wonderful memories from my childhood.

I was so very fortunate to have grown up in the same little village that both of my grandparents lived in as well.  Once in a great while, I would get to spend the night with my mom’s mom, who lived alone since my grandpa had died when my mom was only 13.   I loved staying at Grandma’s. I remember sitting at her big round lace-covered oak table to do my homework or to draw my little ‘masterpieces’.  When I wasn’t at the table I could likely be found over in her easy chair by the front door. This spot was by a window and always cooler than the rest of the room. I loved to curl up in that chair and look at the National Geographic magazines and marvel at all the fascinating images of exotic places …and naked bodies.

Grandma’s bathroom had no heat except for a small gas heater that she was always fussing over for some reason.  Her bathroom sink had 2 faucets – one for cold water and one for hot …strange to think back on that now …no such thing as “warm” water at that sink!  And you would only find a green bar of Palmolive soap there as well.  To this day, if I run across a rare bar of that, it immediately transports me back in time.

Grandma didn’t have much income so she saved anything and everything.  Pantyhose were not much on the scene yet for her age group and she wore “stockings” that came in a flat cellophane package with a piece of white stiff paper supporting them.  She saved each and every one of those for my sister and I to draw and color on.  She had an old tin box of vintage Crayola crayons … ones with names like “maize” and “cornflower blue”. And so began my love affair with “art” and all its’ accoutrements .

On the north wall of her living room, Grandma had an old, old upright piano that had survived something like 10 moves over the course of being in her family.  It was so old and worn out that it had a very ‘twangy’, old-timey-TV western-saloon-type sound to it.  But it was still loved and played daily.  During the course of the 5 years I took piano lessons just down the street from her house, I fondly recall Grandma helping me practice my lessons and then sometimes we would sit side by side on the bench and play duets together…ultimately ending up in giggles over our boo boos……..just like when my mom and I played duets. Such sweet sweet memories.

The highlight, though, of staying overnight at Grandma’s was getting to sleep in my mother’s old bed.  If I close my eyes I can see the whole room just as it was all those many years ago.  A simple dresser on one wall with an old antique hairbrush and mirror set and a little matching glass container that held my mother’s hairpins.

The cotton sheets were always cool and smelled like a sunny summer day, as Grandma always hung her sheets outside on the clothesline to dry.  In the summer, the window next to the bed would be open and I would always wake to the sound of mourning doves cooing ….always.  What a sweet sound that I grew to cherish.

Amazing isn’t it how something so simple can trigger a waterfall of precious old memories.

I slid between the sheets so cool

where Mother once laid too,

And dreamed the dreams that come with youth

and woke to your soft coo.”