No More Trampolines for Me

Our granddaughters love those trampoline party spots where kids can have their birthday parties which includes, of course, jumping on trampolines. When our oldest granddaughter had her 6th birthday last year, we were invited. The Crankee Yankee had a wonderful time on the trampolines with the kids, but I couldn’t because of a recent knee revision.

I thought, ‘that’s ok; once this is healed I’ll be jumping with them all!’ However, in getting my one year knee checkup I asked the doc if I could jump on trampolines, thinking that he would say, “sure! You’re good to go!”

But no, I was not and never will be good to go on a trampoline again. Evidently people can seriously injure the bones above and below the knee replacement or, in my case, the knee revision. It’s just too risky, so I’ve crossed that pleasure out of my life.

Which made me think: what things did I used to do that I can’t (or shouldn’t do) do now? Well, there’s bike riding, but years of karate and two torn rotator cuffs put that out of the picture. There is climbing trees, which I loved to do when I was a child. I don’t remember when I stopped climbing them, but know I won’t be climbing another one.

Then I began thinking of all the things I can do that I couldn’t when I was younger:

  • I can read several books at a time.
  • I can write every day.
  • I can now cook nearly as well as my mom did.
  • I can sing without judging myself.
  • I can now play the ukulele.
  • I can finally make that haunting deep growling sound on my digeridoo.
  • I can still dance hula (carefully, though).
  • I can listen to another person’s perspective on things without interrupting, even if I disagree.
  • I can have compassion now where I used to have impatience and ignorance.
  • I can play with my granddaughters.
  • I can laugh with the Crankee Yankee every day.
  • I can still walk the path around our pond and enjoy every step.
  • I survived breast cancer (DCIS) twice and no longer fear it.
  • I can be the master of my moods.
  • I can still feel young inside.

And the list goes on and on. I no longer mope about things I can no longer do. I celebrate all those things that I can do. I have come to accept my looks, my attitudes, my failings and my successes by now. They are all learning experiences. Isn’t that what we are here for?

I have learned to look forward, not backward. Certainly we learn from the past, but dwelling on things we cannot change serves no purpose. When there are hurtful things in our past, we can either choose to let them go on infecting us, or we can choose to dig them up, expose them to the light of day and let them go as the learning experiences that they are.

Besides, it is TODAY that matters. TODAY is where we are, and all we have lived through is the defining fire that forged who we are right now. And besides, if I still could jump on  a trampoline, I would miss watching my granddaughters jump on theirs. And I wouldn’t miss that for anything.


Feeding Fatso Fogarty

As you may know from some of my posts, the Crankee Yankee and I not only have five cats (all indoor), but we also feed and shelter the “outdoorsies.” This group consists of a few stray cats (or very clever indoor/outdoor cats who know how to game the system), the skunk family who live under the shed across from our backyard, and the local birds, chipmunks and squirrels.

If you look outside at our three-tiered feeder in the back yard, there are usually birds and squirrels on the top shelf, and a cat or two basking in the sun (on a special mat that stays warm when the cat reclines on it), and at night some renegade raccoons. When I go out in the morning and early evening to change the water and put more food out, it’s usually the squirrels that stay nearby.

One in particular I call “Fatso Fogarty.” For a squirrel, he is pretty large, and he has a sort of mayoral presence. When I come out with food, he jumps off the feeder and climbs halfway up a nearby tree to watch me. I always throw a handful of birdseed down beside the tree for him, and he runs right down to fill his face.

When he’s eaten his fill, he sits back on his haunches with his paws placed over his stomach like a man who has just done justice to a Thanksgiving dinner. He has an attitude of entitlement that tickles me; as soon as he finishes the birdseed on the ground, he looks up at me as if to say, “well? Where’s the rest? Do I LOOK like I’m done eating?”

Seriously, this squirrel has some issues, but is way too funny for me to be offended by his attitude. Good old Fatso Fogarty is one of our regulars.

A few years back, one of our neighbors kindly made us a real English Christmas pudding. The wife told me to steam it, then let it cool down for a bit, when it would be ready to eat.

It was delicious, but very rich. I hated to let it go to waste, so one morning I took the remaining part out to the feeder, broke it up and left it for the squirrels. I do believe that this was the beginning of Fatso Fogarty’s “fatitude.”

Those squirrels went after that Christmas pudding like ants on a wedding cake. They devoured every morsel, and, it being winter, it probably kept them pretty rotund in the cold weather.

From the dirty looks that Fatso gives me each morning, I think he hasn’t forgotten that Christmas pudding and is expecting another one soon.


Supermarket Etiquette, or How NOT to Act in One

A few years back, I published a similar post about strange and weird (and sometimes disgusting) things some people do in supermarkets. As I’ve been seeing more and more of this lately, I resurrected this post.

I think that we should establish some rules of etiquette about supermarket behavior. There are definitely some folks out there who don’t seem to understand that they actually have to share space with the rest of us. That isn’t so bad if you are someplace where you can get away from them, but difficult if you are navigating the supermarket aisles.

Here are a few reminders I would love to see posted in huge letters in every aisle:

  • Do not park your cart sideways right in the dang middle of the aisle.
  • Do not stand like a lox in front of the grapes, staring into space and dreamily pawing over the produce––other people would like to buy some grapes, too.
  • The supermarket is a lot like the highway––stay in your own lane, and watch out for other drivers.
  • If you feel you must scratch your privates in public, please don’t continue touching things. Go home. NOW.
  • When you put your purchases on the conveyor belt, do NOT line them up one at a time in a straight line that goes from where you’re standing to East Omaha (seriously––I was behind a man who did just that––one item at a time in a line that went on for several feet).
  • If you cause a potato avalanche, pick them up––don’t just walk away as if you didn’t do it––we all saw you.
  • If you see me pick up an eggplant and put it in my cart, don’t say “Ewwww! I hate those!” Because 1) I didn’t ask your opinion, 2) you’re not going to eat it, and 3) I don’t care what you think, and finally 4) shut up.
  • Please, PLEASE keep your children in check. If they don’t fit in the cart, don’t let them wander around like grazing sheep. The rest of us are shopping and are not responsible for watching where your kids are or what they are getting into.

This isn’t strictly an etiquette issue, but just an observation: if you feel you must walk around the supermarket with earbuds in, talking seemingly to NO ONE, you look crazy. Just sayin’.

Shopping in a supermarket, especially right before a major holiday or right before a storm is a lot like planning a battle. You plan your strategy so that you get to your objective (i.e., leaving the store with everything you wanted to get with no bloodshed or loss of troops) quickly and efficiently.

Once home with all groceries put away, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you won the supermarket battle—this time. Victory is yours!

Funny Sayings Heard Here and There…

Just recently I watched an old episode of “Mike and Molly.” One of the characters, Mike’s police partner’s grandmother, referred to a tiff her grandson and Mike were having as “two monkeys having a poop-flinging fight.” Once I stopped laughing, I started thinking of funny sayings in general.

From a website called the 25 (give or take) funniest expressions in Maine, there are these:

  • Mainers don’t put things “in the basement”…they go “down cellar.”
  • Mainers don’t put things “in the basement”…they go “down cellar.”
  • Mainers don’t take out the “trash”…they deal with the “culch.”
  • Mainers don’t say “that was good”…they say it was the “finest kind.”
  • Mainers don’t move things in small amounts…they move them “just a dite.”
  • Mainers don’t say “I lost it”…they say “it’s down cellar behind the axe.”
  • Mainers don’t get “get drunk”…they “catch a buzz on.”
  • Mainers don’t get “sick”…they get “peekid.”
  • Mainers don’t “steal”…they “kife.”
  • Mainers don’t say something’s “awesome”…they say it’s “savage.”
  • Mainers don’t take out the “trash”…they deal with the “culch.”
  • Mainers don’t say “that was good”…they say it was the “finest kind.”
  • Mainers don’t move things in small amounts…they move them “just a dite.”
  • Mainers don’t say “I lost it”…they say “it’s down cellar behind the axe.”
  • Mainers don’t get “get drunk”…they “catch a buzz on.”
  • Mainers don’t get “sick”…they get “peekid.”
  • Mainers don’t “steal”…they “kife.”

And my personal favorite that I heard all my life was this one: “madder than a boiled owl.”

From Texas Monthly, here are some I actually heard while living in Texas:


  • It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
  • That’s close enough for government work.
  • Might as well. Can’t dance, never could sing, and it’s too wet to plow.
  • I could sit still for that.
  • You can’t beat that with a stick.
  • He’s all hat and no cattle.
  • She’s all gurgle and no guts.
  • He chamber-of-commerced it.
  • So crooked he has to unscrew his britches at night.
  • She’s more slippery than a pocketful of pudding.
  • He’s slicker than a boiled onion.
  • She could start a fight in an empty house.
  • He’s the only hell his mama ever raised.
  • She’s in a horn-tossing mood.
  • She’s so contrary she floats up-stream.
  • So dry the catfish are carrying canteens.
  • So dry the trees are bribing the dogs.
  • Drier than a popcorn fart.

Also from living for a few years in Texas, I found myself answering a question to go out for drinks after work: “well, I might could.” I remember the first time I had to call in to work to let them know that I would be there in a few hours because my car sh*t the bed. This is a common saying up here in the Northeast, but down Texas way, they look at you, perplexed and say “do whut?” (Which means “come again?”)

From Movoto about Massachusetts’ funnies:


What is means everywhere else: Evil. What is means in Massachusetts: used as a modifier, “wicked” means “really” or “extremely,” or as in, “it’s WICKED cold out there!”


What it means everywhere else: Ordinary.
What it means in Massachusetts: The only way to take your coffee: with cream and sugar, of course.


What it means everywhere else: Where you go to get wine.
What it means in Massachusetts: Martha’s Vineyard AKA an island with beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and dry towns. Strangely enough, not a place where wine is commonly made.


What it means everywhere else: A short way to refer to your mother.
What it means in Massachusetts: THE only word you use to refer to your mother.


What it means everywhere else: Slams a basketball into a basket.
What it means in Massachusetts: Dunkin’ Donuts AKA a holy place for all people in Massachusetts and the ONLY place anyone should ever buy their coffee


What it means everywhere else: A crustacean. And it’s pronounced “lobstah.”
What it means in Massachusetts: The most delicious food EVER that should only be eaten on a roll.


What it means everywhere else: Like, the bubbles you blow?
What it means in Massachusetts: A drinking fountain.

The Cape

What it means everywhere else: What Batman wears.
What it means in Massachusetts: Cape Cod, but we never call it that. It’s just “The Cape.” Here you can find the most beautiful beaches in the world even if they are, unfortunately, overrun with tourists.


What it means everywhere else: an iced drink
What it means in Massachusetts: a milkshake. Note: If you order a “milkshake” in Massachusetts, you’ll just get flavored milk. If you actually want some ice cream in there, you’ve gotta order a frappe.


What it means everywhere else: A type of soup
What it means in Massachusetts: CLAM chowdah. And it’s gotta be creamy. None of that Manhattan crap.

There are funny sayings in every state, and probably are around the world as well. Since I’ve lived in New Hampshire, Maine, Texas and Massachusetts, these are some beauts. Enjoy!

The Booklist

For years my mother and I kept book lists. We had special journals in which we wrote the titles and authors of all the books we read; month by month, year by year. My mother went a step further in hers; she also wrote reviews on each book and assigned a number value. For instance, a really good book rated 9 or 10. Any book below 6 or 7 was usually in her view not worth reading.

For years we kept this up and went neck and neck up to the finish line; the last day of the year. The one who ended the year with the most books read had bragging rights for the coming new year.

One year in December we called each other nearly every night, crowing about the number of  books we’d read. On the evening of December 31 we laughed our heads off because we had both read 140 books that year. That night, I made it my business to read one more book before midnight.

The next day when I called to wish Mom and Dad a happy New Year, I told mom about Number 141. Before she could start a diatribe about oneupmanship and downright sneakiness, I stopped her by saying “oh, please—you’re just mad because YOU didn’t think to do it yourself.”

She laughed and so did I. That year all was fair in love and reading. Since her death at 2015, I stopped keeping a booklist. At first I worried that I was being lazy. Then I realized that, without her competition it wasn’t really fun anymore.

I realized only the other day that I haven’t stepped into our local library for over two years. Instead, I find myself re-reading old favorites from my own book collection, and I often buy new books by authors I like. As with many other things, this has become my new normal.

It’s just part of change, and change is actually pretty good. There is nothing so comforting and calming as a good book. Does anyone remember the song that had this lyric in it: “I’d like to find a good book to live in”? There are many books I would like to live in myself.

Oh yes, and happy St. Patrick’s Day. I am Irish by adoption, so I always think of my grandmother on this day (and many others), whose people came from Galway. I now own one of my grandmother’s most cherished possessions, a tall and weighty crystal goblet from the Kelley side of my grandmother’s people. Each Christmas season, she would put that goblet in pride of place on the mantle in the living room, filled with striped mints. The sound of them being poured into the goblet always sounded like bells.

How I wish I had asked her more about th her Galway connections; now that would indeed be a good book to live in!


What exactly is a talisman? Webster’s dictionary defines it as “an object believed to give supernatural powers or protection to its bearer.” So that being the case, a talisman can be whatever it is that makes us feel protected and safe.

A talisman or “lucky piece” can make us feel safe in a world where we have limited power over the “slings and arrows of outragous fortune.” Talismans can be anything from a lucky coin, a smooth stone found on the beach, a special ring, a rabbit’s foot, a four-leaf clover, a polished gem; it can be anything that strikes us our own personal lucky piece.

For myself, I always have one or two moonstones on me at all times. This is my own talisman; having one in a ring or just having a polished one in a pocket makes me feel both safe and lucky. But that’s just me.

I also feel that my wedding ring is a special talisman. I had mine and the Crankee Yankee’s made from the same bar of sterling silver way back in 2002 when we got married. I have not taken it off since our wedding day. During the times I have had to have surgery and of course could not wear my moonstone ring or earrings into the OR, I begged to keep my wedding band on. The nurses would always roll their eyes, but would cover it in a bandage.

My mother never took off her own wedding band. She also had hers and my dad’s made with her specifications (and in fact I liked the look of them so much that I modeled ours after theirs). Right before she died, she told me to take her diamond engagement ring, but that she wanted to keep her ring, her talisman, with her. Of course I made sure that happened; the same with my dad.

Some folks are shy about admitting that they keep a special talisman on them at all times. Some feel a bit foolish for feeling that their luck or safety depends on what they keep as a talisman; others have no such reservations and will gladly show you what their special one is.

Whatever your personal talisman is, and your personal belief about it, don’t feel silly about it. If it works for you, good deal. A talisman can be a powerful companion that brings both comfort and peace.

Yesterday I went in for another procedure on my left breast; removing two tiny areas that were missed during my original surgery. The procedure was done in the office with a local anesthetic and, although I knew that I wouldn’t feel much of anything, I was still a little apprehensive. So you can bet that I went in there with moonstone earrings, a moonstone bracelet and a moonstone ring! Additionally, I told myself that everything was going to go perfectly well, and that any pain would be minimal.

Well, behold and lo, it was minimal. While I believe that the local did make a difference, I just felt better having those talismans with me. Who knows; it may all just be in my head, but I felt good enough to tell my doctor a few jokes. Before I knew it, it was over. Once I’m healed, the next step is radiation and Tamoxifan.

Call me crazy, but I will be bringing at least one moonstone in there with me.