Headed for Warm Weather

Just a note to say that I will be on my way to Oahu tomorrow; I will be there for two wonderful weeks. Hopefully I can remember how to post via my tablet once I get there, thanks to the help from my wonderful sister-in-law. As best I can, I will share the experiences with you. I am looking forward to visiting the land of my dreams.

Despite all we hear about plane crashes, it is still the most safe way to travel. In fact, I read somewhere that we are in more danger of dying in a car crash than traveling by air. Besides, I have made up my mind that all will be well, and have sent out good intentions for safety, enjoyment and comfort. I do believe that when we put out good vibes, good vibes come back to us.

It’s a pretty long flight to San Francisco, but that too is a place I’ve always wanted to see, so that’s another win for me. By the time I get to the Honolulu airport, it will be five hours earlier than here in New Hampshire; imagine that!




Faith in Flight

Do you remember the show way back in the ’50s that started with the beautiful poem, “High Flight,” by John Gillespie Magee? It has always inspired me:

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds,—and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air …
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

In looking forward to my trip to Oahu this week, this poem will be on my mind. I will put out good intentions that the weather will be fine, that my flight will be easy, safe and comfortable, and that I will return home in two weeks, filled to the brim with Hawaiian aloha and memories I will never forget.

It’s been so long since I flew that I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Some good friends of mine who fly often have helped immensely. On their good suggestions, I bought compression socks, I learned a few simple exercises (while sitting) while seated, I also got one of those cozy neck pillows. Also, I will be in a window seat near the wing (which I’ve always liked).

I have been putting out good intentions before I drift off to sleep; that I will get to the airport in plenty of time, that the TSA folks will be kind, that the pilot will have had a good night’s sleep, and most of all—that I will once again enjoy the fun of travel. Who knows, maybe in another year or so I’ll go to Lanai and Molokai as well.

But for now, I am thrilled to be going to Oahu, which I recently found out means “the gathering place.” I realize that it is very tourist-y, with a lot of traffic. But I don’t care—I will be in the land of my dreams.


The Owl and the Pussy-cat

The following poem, written by *Edward Lear, was one of the first poems I ever heard. My mother used to read it to me before I went to sleep, and the sing-song-y rhythmn of it always delighted me.

If you have not read it, please enjoy the following. If you are familiar with it, I hope that it brings you the joy that it brings back to me:

“The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’

They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a **runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

*The Owl and the Pussycat’ was published in Lear’s 1871 collection Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets.

**Runcible” is a nonsense word invented by Edward Lear. The word appears (as an adjective) several times in his works, most famously as the “runcible spoon” used by the Owl and the Pussycat. The word “runcible” was apparently one of Lear’s favourite inventions, appearing in several of his works in reference to a number of different objects. In his verse self-portrait, The Self-Portrait of the Laureate of Nonsense, it is noted that “he weareth a runcible hat.” Other poems include mention of a “runcible cat,” a “runcible goose” (in the sense of “silly person”), and a “runcible wall.

“Yes, As a Matter of Fact, I DO Own the Whole World!”

A while ago I posted about feeling confident about ourselves. For a long time, I was sort of cringing my way through the world; kind of doing a ‘please don’t take notice of me’ attitude. I even found that I was keeping my head down, trying to be invisible.

It took me years to realize that I have nothing to hide and not everything that happens is my fault, and most of all, I hold my head up high and I walk as if I actually do own the whole world. It’s done wonders for me. I used to be in plays and musicals, first in high school and then in summer stock. I was taught to “act as if,” and by golly, it works!

When we are in our 60s we of course are not the lissome young things we were in our 20s and 30s. Our bodies change, our sight and hearing change; we may have to take meds for certain things, and sometimes our once-heroic strong body needs help; say, a knee or shoulder replacement.

I have a 50th year class reunion coming up in June, and I’m looking forward to it. All of us are about the same age, we are probably all grandmothers and grandfathers by now, and of course we will have changed with age. However, I think that there is a certain beauty about all the changes.

Taking that newly-found beauty has made me confident. When I am out by myself, I hold my head up, put my shoulders back, and I walk an imaginary runway. I feel more authentic than I used to; I guess I am just settling into my own skin. I’ve finally learned the fine art of ‘fake it ’til you make it.’

And yes, I DO walk as though I own the whole world! Besides, these days I am impressing no one but myself, and that’s enough.

Getting the *Collywobbles

As the time grows closer to my trip to Oahu this month, I find myself getting a little bit apprehensive. It’s been quite a while since I flew (2001, to be specific), and of course there have been many changes since then. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for security and the TSA; that alone makes me feel a lot more safe.

I’ve done my research and bugged my friends who travel often and I feel as though I know what to expect; sort of. I have filled seventeen (count ’em; seventeen!) travel bottles (all under the 3 oz. rule) for all my lotions and makeup and such. I have picked out outfits that I wore last summer (as Hawaii’s temps this time of year is about 75 to 80 degrees). I bought a great straw hat to keep my brains from boiling in the sun, and will be bringing my devices; Kindle (all filled up with good reads), my smart phone, my tablet and keyboard (big thanks to my brilliant sister-in-law for helping me get that set up), and even my good old reliable (and very simple) flip-phone as well.

I have a wonderful travel agent at AAA who gave me an easy-to-read itinerary, along with vouchers and other nice freebies. On the day before I leave I’ll be staying at a nice hotel with a shuttle to the airport. I’ll get a wake-up call, and I’ll be at the airport in plenty of time to check in.

So, all that said and done, why do I have butterflies in my stomach? I’m going on a dream destination, I have wonderful tours all lined up and nice condo to stay in. It’s everything I could possibly want, so I started thinking about why the nerves are kicking on. 1) I haven’t flown in years. 2) Once I’m on my way, I’m on my own. 3) what if my flight get delayed or cancelled?

Well, we can’t plan for every little thing, and the closer I get to the day I leave I will just go with the flow and hope for the best. Or as has been said before many times: never trouble trouble ’til trouble troubles you.

*From https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/collywobbles:

The collywobbles meaning: an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach caused by feelings of nervousness or slight fear.

Doing the Best That We Can

Ever wonder what your life would be like if you were lucky enough to win an astounding amount of money? Seriously, more money than you could possibly spend in a lifetime? How would your world view change? Would you buy several houses, new cars, pay for your children’s college, go nuts at Tiffany’s, etc.?

The Crankee Yankee and I often talk about this. We talk about how great it would be if our wonderful veterinarian could call on us should someone need expensive and life-saving surgery for their pet. Wouldn’t it just mean the world to that person if he or she was told “please don’t worry about it; it’s covered.” This would be done anonymously of course; the real fun would be helping a person who loves their pet dearly.

Of course, odds are slim that we would ever have a windfall like that. However, it’s still a pure pleasure to share what we can. Most of us have, at one time or other, scrimped and saved to make ends meet. Like everyone else, we have had our penny-pinching days and our “bonanza” days. Part of the fun of those bonanza days is being able to help out a friend or relative. It is a gift both for giver and receiver, and it tickles us to no end when we can help.

The great gift of scrimping and saving never quite leaves us. To this day we can’t toss out perfectly good leftovers; we eat them for lunch (or breakfast). We can’t help ourselves when we find a penny on the ground; we pick it up. We are also very casual about mold on cheese; if there is a spot or two of mold on a block of cheese, we simply scrape it off and help ourselves to the un-moldy parts. Throwing out a perfectly good hunk of cheese, even with a spot or two of mold just goes against our grain.

Now here’s a touchy subject: the folks who hold up signs declaring a lost job, hungry children, no home, and so on. I know we hear that it’s not a good thing to give them money; it could be a scam, it could be that they are only preying on our sympathy and so on.

Well, here’s the thing: I have to wonder how low you can fall to stand there in any kind of weather, holding up a handmade sign saying that you are homeless, jobless, and hungry. It always hurts my heart. Here is how I deal with it: when I feel my heart reach out, I stop and talk with the person, and I give them what money I can spare. If they are preying on my sympathy, that’s on them, not me. I would much rather lose a few bucks than miss out on helping someone who really needs help.

I am lucky that I have money to give. I am lucky to have a roof over my head. I am lucky to have friends and family who love me. I am lucky to live in this free country, and I am very, very lucky to be able to give when I can. Quite frankly, I don’t give the fuzzy crack of a rat’s rear end about what people make of this. In short, I am doing the best I can. That’s all that any of us can do.



Bohemian Rhapsody

The other night the Crankee Yankee and I watched the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody,” starring Rami Malek (who plays “Mr. Robot”) as the amazing and tragic Freddy Mercury in the band Queen.

Both of us were absolutely glued to the movie; it was incredible. While we have loved Queen’s amazing music for years, we had no idea of the depth and talent and tragedy of Freddy Mercury. The movie showed him at his best and at his worst.

Freddy Mercury had a vocal range (four octaves!) which was not only extremely rare, but powerful as well. He also had a severe overbite for which he never had surgery; he was afraid that it might compromise his singing.

He was often conflicted about his sexuality; he loved women and men equally. Also (and I didn’t know about this until I saw the movie), Freddy Mercury was devoted to his cats. Throughout his 45 years, he owned (or was owned by) his cats: Dorothy, Tiffany, Tom, Jerry, Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo. He rescued them all from shelters, and gave them lavish lives in his beautiful home.

Freddy Mercury was a force of nature. He loved opera and classical music as well as pop music. I remember the first time I heard “Bohemian Rhapsody;” it stopped me dead in my tracks. It was so powerful and so different from any music I had heard before. To this day it is my absolute favorite rock opera.

Freddy died of AIDS, and thinking of him reminds me of so many loved ones I knew who died of it as well. Just listening to all those amazing songs he sang in his career are anthems to me. There isn’t a Queen’s song I haven’t loved.

If you have not had the pleasure of seeing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” do take the time to see it. Rami Malek put his heart and soul into his role as Freddy Mercury, and he was amazing.

There are a precious few of us humans who come into this world with amazing and unique gifts. These gifts make our world a sweeter place; a better place. I like to think that all the amazing souls who share their talents and gifts with us, and then leave in an unforgettable blaze of light, know how much they have touched our lives.

Dear Freddy Mercury, I hope that you know how loved you still are.

Why Children’s Books Matter

When I was old enough to read, my mother got me started on Walter Brooks’ excellent series of the Freddy Books. Freddy the pig and all his barnyard friends lived on the Bean farm in Centerboro. He and his friends had wonderful adventures together. If you have never had the pleasure of reading these excellent books (which, by the way, are enjoyed by adults as much as children), pop one or more of them on your Kindle, and enjoy the experience.

Each birthday and Christmas I received another Freddy book. Just as soon as I had my new Freddy book in my grubby little hands, I read it non-stop to the last page. They were and are wonderful stories filled with life lessons, laughter and my own *willful suspension of disbelief.

Then there are the Mother West Wind’s Animal stories, written by Thorton W. Burgess. My grandmother introduced me to this amazing series, and I loved each and every one of them. She had read these same books to my dad when he was a little boy, and before she died, she bequeathed all of the books to me. To this very day, I still read and love them.

One of the best children’s books in my opinion is Grimms’ Fairy Tales. How I loved all those stories! And, unlike some of the politically correct and sanitized children’s books of today, they went into glorious gory details. Remember little Red Riding Hood? When the big bad wolf snuck into her grandmother’s house and gobbled up the grandmother, the heroic woodsman showed up in time to slice open the wolf’s belly and save the grandmother.

Speaking only for myself, I think that it’s a wonderful thing to have imagination and to enjoy books about people and things and places that are only real in our minds and imagination. Even as a child that I knew that the wonderful books I loved weren’t exactly real—but while reading I would feel myself slip away from the world I knew and into a fabulous new world where anything could happen.

While reading the Freddy books, in my mind I walked and talked with Freddy the pig and his friend Jinx the cat. While reading the Mother West Wind’s Animal stories, I talked and laughed with all the forest folk. And while these books were entertaining to me, they also taught me a lot about friendship, kindness, generosity and fellowship.

After I put down one of these marvelous books, the world always seemed smaller and more confined. I would always feel as if I had emerged from a land of wonder to the flat colors of the world I lived in. Of course, I would snap out of it and enjoy each season, every event and everything else I liked. But at night, just before sleep, I would go back in my mind to the Bean farm and the forest where all my friends lived.

*From good old Wikipedia: The term suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief has been defined as a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe something surreal; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment. The term was coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative.

Suspension of disbelief often applies to fictional works of the action, comedy, fantasy, and horror genres. Cognitive estrangement in fiction involves using a person’s ignorance to promote suspension of disbelief.