Shy Cat Haiku

Shy cat waits for me

To put out food and water

Cats have routines too.

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Bird Wisdom

Ever notice how some birds fly in a sort of formation? They wheel and dip and soar together, and when they are tired of that, they all roost on telephone poles and wires. They also like to cluster in trees together, gossiping and scolding each other. They remind me of old women who love to cluck and complain about the youth of each generation.

When I lived in Texas, I became very fond of the birds who liked to perch in the trees next to my apartment. It would be just about the time when the sun started descending into the hills, and the moon would show her shining face to us. It was just as if the birds knew that it was time to settle in for the night, and have their last bit of chatter before sleep.

There was a sweet story I heard long ago about birds in the winter. When the days grew cold and there was little shelter for the birds, the little birds would ask the larger birds if they could cuddle up under one of their wings. The body heat of the big bird would keep a little bird warm and safe during a cold night.

While many of the big birds allowed this, some did not. When an extremely cold night came, the birds sheltered up together to stay warm. However, there were a few of the big birds who refused to shelter the little ones.

When morning came, the sun came out and the air began to warm a bit. All the big birds and the little birds that they sheltered made it through the cold night. But all the big birds who refused to shelter the little ones died of the cold.

Even as little as the birds were who sheltered under the wings of larger birds, their tiny warmth kept the big birds alive. And of course, the warmth of the big birds kept the little ones alive. But those who wouldn’t share died cold and alone.

This little story always reminds me how of important it is to reach out to others, to share what warmth we have to give, and to cherish the warmth of others. We need each other, not just to weather a hard time, but to remember that we are all in this life together.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Of course the day means more than chocolates and a card, but it’s a great day to try something new for a Valentine’s Day lunch.

If any of you have seen that walnut commercial (walnuts are heart-heathly, BTW), the woman in the commercial is throwing together what looks like a really good salad; with walnuts, of course. It looked so good and so easy that I decided to make it myself. Best of all, not only does it taste good, but it is full of all kinds of healthy stuff as well.

It’s easy-peasy to make:

Ingredients:

fresh spinach leaves

red raspberries

walnuts

sliced sweet onion

crumbled feta cheese (I added that myself; it gives a nice bite to the sweetness)

For the salad dressing, it couldn’t be easier: just whisk strawberry jam and balsamic vinegar together (test the flavor to your liking), then drizzle it over the salad. Mix it up and serve with any kind of protein you like; sliced chicken, steak, ham, etc. Honestly, it’s so good you may want to eat it several times a week. In fact, the Crankee Yankee and I had it twice this week.

He mentioned that, instead of raspberries, you could also add pickled beets to it as well; not a bad idea. Recipes like this are genius; it’s delicious and show-offy at the same time. It looks quite fancy, but honestly, it takes about two minutes to put together.

Having said all that about the salad, I hope that everyone not only enjoys the day but also knows that they are loved. You may be on your own or with family, but whether or not we celebrate with family or friends or by yourself, know this: there are always those who love you.

 

Whatever Happened to “Stop, Look and Listen?”

Remember the “Stop, Look and Listen” signs near railroad tracks? They were and are there for a purpose, which is to make us aware that there is a train crossing. If you stop, look and listen, odds are that you won’t get killed. However, it’s a sad fact these days that people just are not stopping, looking, or listening—at all. It’s as though everyone has decided that no one has to pay attention to anything anymore.

Here’s some examples of high-risk, dead brain behavior I’ve noticed that will really make your liver quiver:

  • Why stop at a red light? Just plow right on through; everyone else will get out of the way.
  • Turn signals? Nope—just go right or left; the people behind you don’t need to be all up in your business.
  • Who looks behind them anymore while backing up? Hey, if there’s anyone back there, they’ll move.
  • I just love rap music turned up loud with the windows down! Doesn’t everyone?
  • What’s wrong with texting while driving? I’m paying attention; it’s all good!
  • Stop signs? Who needs to stop if no one’s around? Just drive right on through.
  • It’s nobody’s business if I drive 30 miles over the speed limit in a school zone. I mean, the kids are all in school anyway, right?
  • Oooh, a service dog! Can I pat him?

Sadly, there are so many more dumb things going on these days. And how many times have I ranted through writing about people walking or running with earbuds or headphones on? If you are not paying attention to who and what is around you, anything can happen to you.

So then back to basics: wherever you are and whatever you are doing, PLEASE remember to always STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN!

 

Old Friends/New Friends

Way back in junior high school, we put on a play, the name of which I can’t remember. But I do remember one of the songs from it. Part of the lyrics were:

“Old friends are better than new friends

‘Cause they know you and you know them.

Old friends are really the gold friends

For when trouble comes they see you through.”

I can’t remember the rest, but those four lines have stuck with me. Our old friends are precious to us for many reasons; we stuck together throughout everything. We had much in common, and we trusted each other. It’s a gift to grow old with the friends from our youth.

However, the new friends we find throughout our lives bring a special joy to our lives. We always know when we meet someone with whom we share an affinity; it’s almost like we have known each other before and are re-connecting. We can actually feel a soul-to-soul connection.

When you think about it, the blend of old and new friends are beautiful gifts. Ever notice that, when you meet someone new, you can feel an instant pull to them? I really don’t think that this is any sort of coincidence, either. I feel as though we recognize each other at a spiritual level.

Our friends, whether old or new, are precious gifts. We may not always agree on everything, but what we do know is that these wonderful friends bring joy and abundance to our lives. Speaking just for myself, I am grateful to the heart for the old and new friends in my life.

Men Are Still Boys

The Crankee Yankee can be serious, down-to-earth, funny, affectionate, compassionate; and downright disgusting. I don’t care how old a man is, they still think it’s hilarious to revert to boyhood at any given moment.

For example, the Crankee Yankee thinks it’s the funniest thing ever to peel off the stringy rubbery goo (seriously, it looks like snot) off the back of a card and put it on the keyboard, the bathroom mirror, and once, on my pillow—just to gross me out. Yuck!

Then there are worse things. Men don’t seem to care about “out in public” etiquette, such as absent-minded nose-picking, adjusting their pants (you know what I mean), telling loud and tasteless jokes while in a crowd, and, my personal favorite; burping or farting loudly just for the hell of it.

All that said, I love and adore the Crankee Yankee, and he does make me laugh. But there are many times when I just look at him and say “really?” If there is even a slight chance that something can be made into a joke, he will do it every time. And since I have such a low humor threshold, I usually just laugh my head off.

I just think that men have a different outlook on life than we women do; if there is something that can be made either funny or just gross, men will go for it. They revert to boyish behavior because they can. 

For example, take those annoying-right-in-the-middle-of-dinner phone calls from someone trying to sell you something, donate something or tell you that something is “bad wrong” with your computer. I pretty much let the Crankee Yankee handle those; he can do it without cracking up (like I would).

Someone recently called and the Crankee Yankee smelled a rat right away. He phone-tortured the person by telling him that he (the Crankee Yankee, that is) was too sick to talk on the telephone. Then, before the other person could get a word in, he went on to graphically tell the caller about his sickness, with a heavy emphasis on vomiting and explosive diarrhea. By then I was weeping with laughter, and the caller just hung up.

I think that, the older a man gets, the more latitude he has to be an obnoxious boy again. They may have gray hair and too many candles on their birthday cake, but they never seem to leave their boyishness behind. Or make a joke about behinds. You know how it is…

 

Anticipation

I am getting more and more excited about my upcoming trip to Hawaii. I will be spending two glorious weeks in Oahu, and, thanks to my wizard of a AAA travel agent, I have great tours every other day. I believe I have everything done to the current TSA standards, and I have a fairly good idea of what clothing to bring (i.e., most of the things I wore last summer).

As my plane is scheduled to leave at 8:00am, that means that I really need to be there around 6am. Just the thought of the Crankee Yankee and I trying to make that deadline gave me the heebie-jeebies. Then a good friend of mine suggested that I take a room in one of the hotels near the airport the night before; genius!

So I made a reservation, and will take the shuttle in to Logan and I should be right on time. Because of the time I need to be in line to check in, I will miss the lovely free breakfast at the hotel, but I’m sure I can survive on granola bars until I’m checked in and can actually buy a meal at the airport, post-TSA.

In thinking about all this, I remember that in years past I traveled all the time. When I lived in Texas, I would take two vacations per year to fly up to be with my parents. I also had to occasionally fly for business, and it just became routine. Of course, this was all way before 9/11.

So, as I haven’t flown anywhere from 2001, this is going to be a great adventure. I have sifted through my old fears about flying, about missing my check-in time, losing my luggage, getting a yappy seatmate, etc. But talking to friends of mine who travel quite a lot, I feel much better. And let’s face it; the odds of a plane crash is pretty damn slim. Besides, I’ve been telling myself for weeks now that everything is going to go well.

There’s something to be said for keeping positive; I believe that my flight to California will be easy and comfortable with a generous layover (about two hours; plenty of time to have a nice dinner), and that my final flight to Honolulu will be just as easy and comfortable.

By now just about all of my questions have been answered, and I feel ready to go and have this amazing adventure. Plus the Crankee Yankee cannot wait to get started on renovating our kitchen. We have lived with the bright orange formica counter tops and the Williamsbury pineapple wallpaper since we moved in at 2007. The cupboards are without doors and collect dust like you wouldn’t believe. I am looking forward to the new gray and lemon yellow kitchen we designed together, and with new flooring.

Honestly, how lucky can a gal get?