Close-ups Aren’t Always Kind, But…

As I’ve gotten older, so have my eyes. I need glasses to read, which is fine by me. Considering all the good-looking glasses out there, it’s fun to use them as part of my wardrobe.

I don’t generally wear my glasses when I am applying my makeup (which, over the years, has become pretty minimal; you know—less is more), but I do use my magnifying mirror. This is not always a pretty sight, especially when I am makeup-less. The magnifying mirror faithfully shows (in graphic detail) every dark spot, every tiny little hair (by the way, who knew that women could get hairy nostrils just like men?!) and every little blemish.

However, when I’m done and look in the non-magnifying mirror, I look pretty good. Close-ups at my age are rarely kind, but then, we’re talking about close-ups. At my age, close-ups are not my best friend. But who really sees the close-ups but ourselves (and maybe a professional stylist or makeup artist)?

We can’t assume that everyone sees us as we see ourselves. I am always taken by surprise when someone I think looks beautiful downplays themselves. We are always hardest on ourselves. Our faces and bodies may show all the trials and struggles we’ve lived through, but really—who cares? They are badges of honor for a life lived well.

I would rather have my smile wrinkles and age spots than try to look as I did in my fresh and tender youth. Think of it this way: we women go through lovely, unblemished girlhood, then there is strong and independent womanhood with everything that goes with it; then we are older, wiser, more forgiving and more ready to laugh at ourselves.

We may find that we are more adventurous as we get older; who knew? Embrace the journey and don’t spend too much time looking in the magnifying mirror.

Life Skills; Are They Still Being Taught?

As I was raised in the ’50’s, my parents taught me everything in the way of “life skills.” Of course, I learned a lot in school, but my best teachers were my parents and my grandparents. All the women in my family were adamant that girls should know how to manage money, how to cook, sew, clean, start a garden, bake, and everything involved in running a household successfully. In their eyes, to do less meant that you weren’t fit to be a wife.

It’s a real shame that so many schools have dropped Home Economics and Shop. I know I’ve said this before, but these two classes taught kids “life skills.” In Home Economics we learned how to make jam, plan and serve a meal, how manage a budget, how to sew, how to bake and so on. The boys who took Shop learned how to use tools safely, and how to make a chair or table or spice rack and so on.

This probably sounds pretty old-fashioned, but these were skills that made sense and were helpful. At home, my mother made sure that I knew how to do the housework, including vacuuming, dusting and polishing; how to wash a wool sweater without shrinking it, how to make simple meals, how to care for children (when I was old enough to baby-sit) and much more. When I was about to start my first job in the town gift shop, Mom sat me down and taught me how to count change. I really didn’t want to do it, but Mom insisted it was necessary (of course, she was right), so I learned.

I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts about what my dad taught me. He made it clear that I should learn how to do things myself (such as changing a tire, starting a camp fire and putting it out responsibly, how to use a jacknife without cutting myself, how to point and shoot a handgun and rifle and how to care for them, and so on). He told me that learning these things meant that I wouldn’t be helpless, but strong.

One of the biggest lessons I learned growing up was this: the world will not be kind to those who are not prepared. My parents taught me things I have never forgotten; they made it clear that you don’t always win, you won’t always be the center of attention, your lack of foresight and planning is your own fault, to treat people the way you want to be treated, and the list goes on.

And this from a woman who never raised a child (me): the modern concept of “everybody wins” is a terrible thing to do to a child. I call it the “participation award syndrome.” I and my two other wonderful co-teachers taught Tae Kwon Do for years, and when our kids went to the yearly competition, they were prepared to do their best. If they didn’t win the trophy they wanted, they understood that 1): despite all your best efforts, you don’t always win. 2) If you didn’t do your best, that’s on you. 3) If you didn’t get the trophy you wanted, work on getting better, and congratulate the one who did win.

It’s a funny old world now, and so much has changed in our lifetimes. However, I stand strong on doing all you can for yourself, learning the technology that fits your own life, and basically just being cognizant of what and who is around you. As my dad always told me, be aware. I hope that we don’t forget life skills; they are as important today as they were back when there were rotary phones and live operators. Life skills matter, and I hope that they, like so many other things, will not be left behind.

Truly a “Duh” Moment

Just the other day, the Crankee Yankee was off doing errands. I kept hearing a “beep-beep-beep” from somewhere; I heard it every ten minutes or so. The only thing I could think of was that my computer was having some kind of technical trouble. I finally contacted one of those remote experts who, for a fee, will access your system and see what’s going on. (Of course, once they are done, they log out.)

I was told first that it was my “mainboard” that was the problem, and this: “So sorry, but you will have to take your computer in and get a new mainboard. Hopefully it will be under warranty.”

HUH?!?! I looked up Mac “mainboard” and didn’t see a thing about them. I am guessing that they meant a “mother board.” But be that as it may, the expert implied that it was causing the beeping. However, our Mac seemed to be just fine; everything was working as normal.

I also received another note from the expert, who wrote this: “So sorry, but you will have to return your Kindle.” Double HUH?! What in the world did my relatively new Kindle have to do with any of this? I emailed him back with this question; he replied, “sorry, it’s the Mac.” I began to think that this kid was either on something or just making things up.

So, about the beeping: it was the Crankee Yankee that solved that mystery: turns out that my late dad’s flip-phone was on the shelf above our computer and it was nearly out of charge—hence the beeping. (insert facepalm here)

So, after all this, I am just going to go on as normal. Look, I’ll admit that I barely have a foothold in all this new technology. I think that most “experts” you call on to help you through the technical unknowns assume that you already have a basic knowledge of how things work.

NEWS FLASH: many of us older folks (who grew up with rotary phones, cars that did not drive themselves, meals you actually had to prepare by yourself, etc.) don’t have a basic knowledge of how technology works. Not only that, but I’m finding that many “experts” are not only quite young but often have a real attitude about those of us who are not so familiar with technology. Seriously, the snark is incredible.

But, all that said, I was the one who stepped in it this time. Truly a “DUH!” moment.

“*Many a Mickle Makes a Muckle”

This charming Scottish English phrase always comes to mind when I think of all the unsung good people who strive to do good things. It may be that they secretly pay for a stranger’s lunch, or they give up their seat on the bus to an elderly person, or they take the time to listen to a friend’s concerns about their children.

These little acts of kindness sweeten our world. A bit of kindness and compassion goes a long, long way. There are those times in our lives when we feel alone, scared or worried. Some may feel forgotten from time to time; that phone call or email can mean the world to them. The smallest kindness can be the beacon of light that someone desperately needs.

When I was a child living at home with my parents, I saw many acts of kindness. At the time, both my parents worked; my mother was the Editor-in-Chief of the town’s newspaper. Dad worked at the local boat yard and managed all the books and records. Money was tight, and they never bought anything “on time;” they saved until they could pay in full.

During the Christmas holidays, Mom and some of her friends would get together and fill Christmas baskets for the people they knew who were on their own and had a hard time making ends meet. She and her friends would have put aside quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies all through the year. On Christmas day, many people were happily surprised to see a be-ribboned basket on their front steps, filled with home-baked goods and candy, an envelope with $5 in it, and warm socks and scarves handmade by loving fingers.

These are all little things, but as the saying goes, “many a mickle makes a muckle.” There is a hymn I love; “Because I Have Been Given Much” that goes like this:

“Because I have been given much,
I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty Lord,
Each day I live;
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed
By thy good care;
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share;
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
my roof’s safe shelter overhead
That he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by
thy great love dear Lord;
I’ll share thy love again
According to thy word;
I shall give love to those in need,
I’ll show that love by word and deed;
Thus shall my thanks be thanks in deed.”

Music by Phillip Landgrave (1975)
Lyrics by Grace Noll Crowell (1936)

It’s funny how all those little mickles can turn into big muckles!

 

*Mickle and muckle both traditionally meant “a large amount”, hence the somewhat more logical variant “many a little makes a mickle”. In Scottish English, partly under the influence of this phrase, “mickle” has, however, also come to mean “a small amount”.

 

We Could Really Do With Some Jokes…

Considering how crazy things have gotten in our country (let’s just leave it at that), I think we all need to enjoy a few jokes. I originally posted this a few years back, and they still make me laugh (check out more onhttp://www.rd.com/jokes/animal).

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, and take my advice before reading: you might want to pee first.

****************

I think it’s about time we had a few laughs. I found these on , and am still laughing my head off. Enjoy!

Cats Are Smarter

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. —Jeff Valdez

Why Does Moisture Destroy…

Why does moisture destroy leather? When it’s raining, cows don’t go up to the farmhouse yelling, “Let us in! We’re all wearing leather! We’re going to ruin the whole outfit here!” Jerry Seinfeld

The Reader, The Writer, And The Lion

A lion comes across two 
men, one reading and the other 
writing. The beast pounces on and devours the reader but ignores the writer. Why? Because, as everyone knows, a writer cramps while a reader digests.

A Grizzly Conversion

A priest, a minister, and a rabbi want to see who’s best at his job. So they each go into the woods, find a bear, and attempt to convert it.

Later they get together. The priest begins: “When I found the bear, I read to him from the Catechism and sprinkled him with holy water. Next week is his First Communion.”

“I found a bear by the stream,” says the minister, “and preached God’s holy word. The bear was so mesmerized that he let me baptize him.”

They both look down at the rabbi, who is lying on a gurney in a body cast. “Looking back,” he says, “maybe I shouldn’t have started with the circumcision.” Submitted by Mitchell Hauser

Bear-ittos, Anyone?

People in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear world. @longwall26

Cat Appetites

They make cat food out of cow, fish, turkey, chicken & lamb meat—but not mouse meat, which is probably all cats want. @JohnFugelsang

The Impatient Flea

Tired of waiting in the back of the line to get on Noah’s Ark, a flea jumps from one animal to another as she moves closer to the front. She leaps and leaps until she lands on the back of an elephant. The pachyderm turns to its mate and says testily, “I knew it! Here they go with the pushing and shoving!” —Source: Funny in Brazil Survey

The Anxious Poodle

Poodle: “My life is a mess. My owner is mean, my girlfriend is leaving me for a German shepherd, and I’m nervous as a cat.”
Collie: “Why don’t you go see a psychiatrist?”
Poodle: “I can’t. I’m not allowed on the couch.”

 NASA Cow Launch

Did you hear that NASA has launched several cows into orbit?

It was the herd shot around the world.

Missing Dog

An old farmer is inconsolable after his dog goes missing. He takes out an ad in the newspaper, but two weeks later, there’s still no sign of the mutt. “What did you write in the ad?” his wife asks. “ ‘Here, boy,’ ” he replies.

A Penguin Walks Into…

A penguin walks into a bar, goes to the counter, and asks the bartender, “Have you seen my brother?”

The bartender says, “I don’t know. What does he look like?”

A Panda Walks Into…

A panda walks into a bar and gobbles some beer nuts. Then he pulls out a gun, fires it in the air, and heads for the door. “Hey!” shouts the bartender, but the panda yells back, “I’m a panda. Google me!” Sure enough, panda: “A tree-climbing mammal with distinct black-and-white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”

A Bear Walks Into…

A bear walks into a bar and says, “I’d like a beer ……………. and some of those peanuts.”

The bartender says, “Sure, but why the big paws?”

A Grasshopper Hops Into…

A grasshopper hops into a bar. The bartender says, “You’re quite a celebrity around here. We’ve even got a drink named after you.”

The grasshopper says, “You’ve got a drink named Steve?”

A Dog Goes Into…

A dog goes into a bar and orders a martini. The bartender says, “You don’t see a dog in here drinking a martini very often.”

The dog says, “At these prices, I’m not surprised.”

Humming Birds

Why do hummingbirds hum?

Because they can’t remember the words.

A Bird Named Moses

A burglar breaks into a house. He starts shining his light around looking for valuables. Some nice things catch his eye, and as he reaches for them, he hears, “Jesus is watching you.” Startled, the burglar looks for the speaker. Seeing no one, he keeps putting things in his bag, again, he hears, “Jesus is watching you.” This time, he sees a parrot.

“Who are you?” the burglar asks.

“Moses,” the bird replied.

“Who the heck would name a bird Moses?” the man laughed.

“I dunno,” Moses answered, “I guess the same kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus.”

A Pig Walks Into a Bar…

A pig walks into a bar, orders 15 beers, and drinks them. The bartender asks, “Would you like to know where the bathroom is?” “No,” says the pig. “I’m the little piggy that goes wee-wee-wee all the way home.”

Going to the Dogs

When our client’s dog lapped up anti-freeze, the veterinarian I work for ordered a unique treatment: an IV drip mixing fluids with vodka. “Go buy the cheapest bottle you can find,” he told me.

At the liquor store, I was uneasy buying cheap booze so early in the day, and I felt compelled to explain things to the clerk.

“Believe it or not,” I said, “this is for a sick dog.”

As I was leaving, the next customer plunked down two bottles of muscatel and announced, “These are for my cats.”

Lunch Break

When a squirrel slipped into my house, I did the logical thing: I panicked and called my father.

“How do you get a squirrel out of a basement?” I shrieked.

Dad advised me to leave a trail of peanut butter and crackers from the basement to the outside. It worked—the squirrel ate his way out of the house. Unfortunately, he passed another squirrel eating his way in.

Security System

When a neighbor’s home was burglarized, I decided to be more safety conscious. But my measly front-door lock wasn’t going to stop anyone, so I hung this sign outside: “Nancy, don’t come in. The snake is loose. Mom.”

Rockstar Life

The band Kings of Leon cut short a concert after pigeons bombarded them with poop. Bass player Jared Followill couldn’t say how many birds there were. “The last thing I was going to do was look up,” he told CNN.

Dog Halloween Costume to Avoid

I dressed up my dog as a mailman for Halloween. He bit himself.

Funny Pet Names

Does kitty dream of slinking down the catwalk? If so, give her a name that screams “I’m a star!” Like these actual pet names …

Cats
Cleocatra
Bing Clawsby
Chairman Meow
Alexander the Grey

Dogs
Mary-Louise Barker
Bettie Poops
Virginia Woof
Iggy Pup

Flying Problems

A businessman flying first class is sitting next to a parrot. The plane takes off, and the parrot orders a Glenlivet, neat. The businessman asks for a Coke. After a few minutes, the bird yells, “Where’s my scotch? Give me my scotch!” The flight attendant rushes over with their drinks.

Later, they order another round. Again, the bird gives the crew grief for being slow, and the businessman joins in: “Yeah, the service stinks!”

Just then, the flight attendant grabs the pair, opens the hatch, and throws them out of the plane. As they hurtle toward the ground, the parrot says to the terrified man, “Wow, that took a lot of guts for a guy with no wings.”

Companion

Steve, a lonely bachelor, wants some company, so he buys a centipede and a small box for it to live in. That evening, he decides to go out.

“Want to grab a drink?” he asks the centipede. But there’s no answer from the box. A few minutes later, he asks again—still no reply. Finally, he hollers, “Hey! Do you want to get a drink?”

“I heard you the first time!” says a small, irritated voice. “I’m putting on my shoes!”

Identity Crisis

A gnome is in the garden busily destroying some bushes when a house cat appears. “What are you?” asks the cat.

“A gnome,” comes the reply. “I steal food from humans, I kill their plants, I make annoying music at night to drive them crazy, and I love mischief. And what, may I ask, are you?”

The cat replies, “Um, I’m a gnome.”

Guessing Game

Once I’d finished reviewing my daughter’s homework, I gave her an impromptu quiz. “What is a group of whales called?” I asked. “I’ll give you a hint—it sounds like something you use to listen to music.”

“An iPod?” she guessed.

“Close,” I said. “But what I’m thinking of is a little smaller.”

“A Shuffle!”

Dog Owners

A couple of dog owners are arguing about whose pet is smarter.

“My dog is so smart,” says the first owner, “that every morning he waits for the paperboy to come around. He tips the kid and then brings the newspaper to me, along with my morning coffee.”

“I know,” says the second owner.

“How do you know?”

“My dog told me.”

Karate

What do you call a pig that does karate?

A pork chop.

Surprise

The week we got our puppy, I caught a stomach bug and stayed home from work one day. That afternoon, my wife called to check up on me.

“I’m okay,” I said. “But guess who pooped in the dining room.”

My wife’s response: “Who?”

A Camel’s Life

Max the little camel walks into his parents’ room at 3 a.m. and asks for a glass of water. “Another one?” says his father. “That’s the second glass this month.”

Pulling Together

A guy drives into a ditch, but luckily, a farmer is there to help. He hitches his horse, Buddy, up to the car and yells, “Pull, Nellie, pull!” Buddy doesn’t move.

“Pull, Buster, pull!” Buddy doesn’t budge.

“Pull, Coco, pull!” Nothing.

Then the farmer says, “Pull, Buddy, pull!” And the horse drags the car out of the ditch.

Curious, the motorist asks the farmer why he kept calling his horse by the wrong name. “Buddy’s blind,” said the farmer. “And if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn’t even try.”

The Clothes Make The Cat

I dressed my dog up as a cat for Halloween. Now he won’t come when I call him. —Comedian Reid Faylor (@reidfaylor )

 

“Blue Domers”

When I was very young, my mom and I always went to church together on Sundays. We also sang in the choir. Dad never went with us, and one day I asked him why he didn’t come to church with us. He said, “I’m a blue domer.” I asked him what that meant, and he said that the blue sky was his “dome,” or his church. I asked him if he believed in God, and he said he did. At the time, that was enough information for me.

For years I went to different churches, trying to feel at home. It wasn’t that all those churches were wrong; they just didn’t click with me; I never really felt comfortable. The years passed, and I began looking for a Bible group, thinking that that could be my “church.” A fellow I worked with suggested that I come to his Bible group; I did and met a lot of very nice people.

It turned out that they were Mormons, and I became quite comfortable with them over time. A few months later, I became a Mormon and was welcomed kindly into the church. I made a lot of friends there, and for a long time I felt I had finally found my spiritual home.

Nearly ten years passed, and my husband (the first one) and I divorced. For the most part, my women friends in church were kind and sympathetic. Over time I sensed a sort of disconnect from them, and I felt like an outcast. Mind you, this didn’t come from them exactly, I just felt that I was a failure.

Gradually I began to slip away from going to church. A day came when I thought, ‘this really isn’t for me,” and I left. It did not feel comfortable to me any more, and I felt it was time to go.

I discovered that I had become so used to praying morning and night that I kept up with it. My prayers were pretty simple; they started with all the people, animals and things I was grateful for. The prayers then went to all the things I was sorry for and I asked forgiveness. The last part of my prayer service was asking for all who were in trouble, sorrow, need or sickness. I also asked to find my own way.

Eventually, I did find my own way, and I discovered that I too am a “blue domer.” I no longer felt the need to go to any church; my own prayers were my connection with God. To this day I feel comfortable with my daily prayers, and I do feel a spiritual connection. My prayers make me mindful of what I’ve been given and the life I lead. I try to be a better person each day, and I am grateful to the heart for all the people in my life.

I believe that everyone finds their own way when it comes to church, prayer, belief or non-belief. I don’t force my opinions on it to anyone; we all came into this world with free will.

When we moved my dad in to live with us back in March of 2017, we often talked about the “next transition.” Dad was not afraid to die; he said he looked forward to being with Mom again, as well as his parents and relatives. I asked him what he thought Heaven was like. His answer: “I believe that it’s love, all love.”

I think so too, Dad.