There’s NOTHING Wrong with Re-Reading or Re-Watching

I’m sure that many people feel the way I do; you love a particular book or movie and you could love reading it/watching it over and over again. I’ve always been that way, and even though I may know the book and movie inside and out, I still enjoy it. When I was living at home with my parents, I would walk to our library and load up with books for the week. Many times I took books I’d read several times. Those I would hide from my mother; she always thought it was a waste of time re-read a book she had already read.

Personally, I like some books and movies so much that I will gladly read and watch over and over again. I see no reason to stop either. After all, who cares? Besides, to my knowledge there are no book or movie police. Re-reading and re-watching are things some of us appreciate, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

Sometimes I will be re-reading a book and see something in it that I missed before.  So there’s a reason right there to re-read. There are some movies I just love, and even though I can practically say all the lines as I know it so well.

So actually, what’s the harm in re-reading books and re-watching movies? Absolutely NOTHING. That’s why you often hear the phrase “to each his own.”

Television Manners

Why oh why is it that men feel that they can just pick up the TV remote and change the channel we were looking at? Is it really that hard to say, “do you mind if I change the channel?” At least we would have a moment to say, ‘actually, I was watching that; do you mind?’

I am a person who enjoys movies that I have seen before. I don’t see a thing wrong with that, either. Some of us like to revisit movies, some just think it’s a waste of time. Same with books; I have often re-read many books. And by the way, how is it anyone’s business about watching a movie you’ve seen before and/or re-reading a book? How does that bother the other person in any way?

But changing the channel without so much as a ‘by your leave’ is just plain rude. Just saying. A little common sense, i.e.: “oh, I see that <insert other person’s name here> is watching something on TV. Personally I’m not interested in it, but perhaps he/she wouldn’t mind if I changed the channel. I’ll just ask.” How hard is that?

Changing the channel without asking is just as rude as walking by someone’s table in a restaurant and picking up something from the person’s plate and eating it. Perhaps we should wear a sign (and a big one, too!) that says “I’m watching this, and yes, I DO mind if you switch the channel.”

Word to the wise; speak before you change channels. Just saying…

My Last and Best Uncle

Yesterday morning, my cousin Marie called to tell me that my uncle (whom we always called “Unkie”) passed away. He had been living with Marie and her husband Joe for several months, and was happy to be there. His wife, Dottie, had passed away years ago, and I feel pretty certain that she was waiting for him, arms open wide and with a big smile on her face.

Unkie was my mom’s favorite brother. He was there when I was born, and while my mother was recouperating, he helped care for me. As I grew up, he often came to visit us in Wolfeboro NH. Having him visit was always fun; he was loving and kind, and told the funniest jokes.

He was a single man for years, and then he met Dottie, who became the love of his life. When my mother quizzed him about her, he said in his sweet and humble way: “I don’t see anything wrong with her.” They married and had a wonderful life together. They lived in Florida, and were wonderful square dancers. When they came to visit us, if Unkie said something out of line or teased her, she would say, “Oh, Raymond!” But she still smiled. When she died, he of course missed her.

Long story short, he moved up to Maine and Marie and her husband Joe helped him move into assisted living. They were close by, and they often took Unkie out for lunch. One of his favorites were lobster rolls in the summer time, and they made sure that he had plenty of them.

As time went on, it became evident that he needed more that assisted living. Marie and Joe kindly took him into their home and Unkie was happy to be there. He was surrounded by kindness and love, and he lived there for a long time. When the time came that he needed Hospice, Joe and Marie helped him with that as well.

When he was slowly but comfortably dying, he could even make jokes then. Once when one of the Hospice workers came in to his room with Marie, he was lying in bed with his eyes closed. The Hospice worker tried to feel his pulse, and Unkie with his eyes still shut, said, “I’m dead.” Everyone laughed their heads off.

He had a wonderful life and was deeply loved by many. He was my favorite uncle, and I loved with all my heart. I will miss him dearly; my last and best uncle.

 

 

 

When Stuff is Just Stuff

Yesterday the Crankee Yankee and I went to our storage facility in Wolfeboro. Our goal was to finish picking out the stuff we can get rid of, and make way for the stuff we would like to keep. Even now after the passings of my parents and selling their house, I still get a twinge of sadness seeing the things my parents loved. Mom and I didn’t always like the same things, so a lot of stuff went to auction. I’d like to think that the people who ended up with them enjoy them.

The things I have loved from Mom’s and Dad’s house have found their place in our house, and years down the road, I hope that our granddaughters will enjoy our furniture and even some of Mom’s and Dad’s.

However, that said—things are just that; stuff is just stuff. I’ve gotten over thinking of how Mom would feel about us not wanting this, that or the other thing. In fact, I swear I can hear her say, “oh, for heaven’s sake, if you don’t like it, don’t take it home!” So some of her things will be sold or just given away.

Mom used to say things about having things that you don’t really want but feel you should use. In fact, she often said, “stop shoulding on yourself!” Good advice, that, and I’ve learned over time that it works.

After all, stuff is just that: stuff.

The First Cucumber

Our garden is literally bursting with produce; this morning we found the first good-sized cucumber. Also the tomatoes (green, for right now) are coming along like crazy. So too are the green peppers. We also planted corn, and so far the stalks are already taller than we are. I never thought I would enjoy gardening, but the Crankee Yankee makes it fun. Of course, we have the occasional skunk showing up now and then, but he doesn’t bother us if we don’t bother him.

The Crankee Yankee’s mom used to have an incredible garden in the back yard, just like my grandmother and her garden. It always amazes me that you can plant a tiny seed, cover it up with dirt and, in what seems like no time, you have honest to goodness eatable produce!

A lot of people go by our house, and many of them stop to chat about the garden. A few years back there was a gal who was so taken with the garden that she planted her own. To this day she is still enjoying her own garden.

When the time comes that everything is ready to pick, it’s a pure joy to fill up a basket with produce. Sometimes we have so much that we put out a big bowl of produce with a couple of plastic bags underneath, and a sign saying “help yourself!”

Quite frankly, I never knew that having a garden could be so much fun. Especially during these times, it’s wonderful to have our own produce. Now if only we could plant avocadoes!

 

Finding Peace in the Middle of It All

Unless you don’t own a TV, a computer, a phone, and have no neighbors or family, you are painfully aware of the corona virus and how it has affected the entire planet. Although folks are hard at work developing an antidote, it is still being a gynormous pain in the hinder.

Along with that, so many people have lost their jobs, can’t pay the rent, and so on. Many companies, restaurants and so on are shut down until further notice. It’s a nightmare, and we are right in the middle of it. Way too many lives have been lost, and saddest of all, too many have died without the comfort of a hand to hold.

All that said, there are still some good things in the middle of all this. Families have become closer, home has become a haven to be cherished, moms and dads have taught their kids how to make meals, play games and most of all; listen to each other. Before the pandemic, every one was in “hurry-hurry, go-go-GO!” mode. Now we don’t need to be that way. Now we have the time to enjoy each other.

Finding peace in the middle of what we are all going through isn’t easy, but it can be done. Those of us who still have and cherish photo albums (long before cell phones and so on), get them out and go through them again. Many loving memories are in those albums, and now there is the time to enjoy them all over again.

I have no doubt that we will be seeing the right antidote for this virus sooner than later. But what I hope for most of all is that we enjoy the time we have with family and friends. When this is all over, we will be saying to our grandchildren how we got through it all, and how much closer we became together.

There IS peace to be found in the middle of it all.

 

We Are the Crazy Cat People

If you’ve read my blog (and many thanks if you do), you know that the Crankee Yankee and I are owned by five indoor cats; Nala, Plumpy, Bailey, Scooter and Jules. They have all come to us in different ways, and on the whole, they get along fairly well. They each have their own food bowls, and fresh water all day long. During the day, they get snacks too. And they all enjoy the two big baskets of toys in the living room. They are absolutely spoiled rotten.

And then there are the “outdoorsies,” the strays who come by for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We have two outdoor semi-shelters where we leave food and water for them all. Some may belong to neighbors, but we feed them all just the same.

Of course, we often get squirrels, birds and the occasional raccoon or two who enjoy the cats’ food as well. But hey; we don’t discriminate—our motto is “come one, come all; we feed ’em all!” Of course it’s easy in this warm weather to leave food and water out; during the cold weather it’s another story. That’s when we fill cardboard boxes with thick blankets in the garage as well as food and water. We even have “barn bowls” for cold weather; they have long cords you can plug into a socket to keep the water from freezing.

Call us crazy, but this is something we love to do. I like to think that some of our “frequent eaters” may be strays who now know that they can depend on food, water and shelter. We’ve even adopted a few of those over the years as well. Well, our cats are family, and don’t they know it. And we certainly are the crazy cat people.

 

ALL Lives Matter

If you are listening and watching what is going on in several cities, then you will hear that black lives matter. Of course they do, and so do white lives, and every other life under the sun. ALL lives matter. Does it really matter if people are black, white, pink or purple? LIVES matter. Having been born white, I have no idea how it feels to be a black person. But what I do know is that all lives matter, no matter the color of our skin.

When I was a teenager, I worked in a restaurant in Maine. My day started very early as truckers and other folks wanted breakfast, and fast. It was actually a fun job, and I enjoyed the people I worked with as well as the customers.

We had an older lady on the staff who greeted folks and directed them to their tables. She was probably in her 70s, and was very elegant and charming. One day a couple walked into the restaurant; a black man and a white woman. She gave them a double-take, and frowned. She abruptly showed them to a table, and walked away. She came up where I and two other waitresses were waiting for our orders to come up. She shook her head and said, “just look at that couple; disgusting!

I was flabbergasted. At my age, I never thought anything was wrong with black people. Looking back on it now, I realize that that lady was a simply product of her generation. She grew up in a time where black people were nothing more than servants. Where as I grew up in a time where everybody was the same and were treated fairly.

It was a shock to hear and see her attitude about black people. Many years later, I got to know my mother’s friends in her coffee group downtown. A lot of them grew up in the south, and were used to having black people mow their lawns, clean their houses, and so on. But I was flabbergasted to hear them say that the black people were not allowed to use the bathroom! Even as young as I was at the time, I couldn’t understand what the problem was. Actually, I still don’t get it.

It saddens me to see so much anger and destruction these days. Of course black lives matter. White lives matter; everyones’ lives matter, no matter the color of their skin. I hope with all my heart that we can put differences aside and learn all over again to live peaceably with each other. Call me a latter day old hippie, but that’s what I hope for.

 

What a REAL Friend Is

I am lucky to have the friends I have; they are my guiding lights. I don’t think that I thank them enough for all the goodness and joy they bring to me. We have known each other since grammer school, and all these years later, we are still friends. During our lives we have moved out of state, but kept in touch. We may have husbands and children, but we still keep in touch. We can laugh together about going to school, graduating and moving to different states.

When one of us lost a parent, a sister, a brother, a pet; we grieved for them. When something wonderful came into their lives, we celebrated. When we moved into new houses, we congratulated each other. When one of us became sick or had a medical crisis, we prayed for them and held our breath until they were better.

We still laugh at the same corny jokes and sayings we said from the time we told them first in grade school. We still roll our eyes remembering our own goofy mistakes. We still love playing the “remember when?” of it all.

Don’t get me wrong; I love and adore my husband, the Crankee Yankee; he is my rock. But there is something more precious than gold to have the good friends we grew up with. We have seen each other through good times and bad. We have comforted each other during the crises in our lives. We have laughed uncontrollably together; we have cried uncontrollably together.

As we get older, we understand better how our friends tick. We have stopped worrying about being right (I am still ashamed of all the times I just HAD to be right about everything) all the time; we have finally learned to listen and comfort each other. Our friends have taught us to be the most authentic people we can be.

Real friends are those who can forgive us when we are being real jerks (I have been a real jerk many times) and still keep on being friends. The older we get, the more we treasure our friends.

I can’t imagine my life without the wonderful friends I have today. And if you are reading this, please know that love and appreciate you more than I can say. Thank you for putting up with me.