An Honest To Goodness Haircut!

Yesterday I was able to go to my fabulous hair stylist to get a much-need haircut. Not only was I thrilled to pieces to finally get my hair done, but it was wonderful to catch up. You just never realize how much a good haircut can do to make you feel great. Oh, of course I was able to trim my hair a bit, but it’s no comparison to having an expert doing it. Both of us wore masks, but it certainly didn’t keep us from catching up with each other!

Isn’t it funny how all the things we take for granted become so important when we can’t have them. We have always had everything we wanted and needed, and we thought nothing about getting our hair styled, our nails done, picking up our clothes at the dry cleaner, and so on.

Certainly we are in a different world these days, and things we took for granted can be hard to find for a while. This “new normal” is a lesson in patience, kindness and forgiveness. While this is changing lives and upsetting everyone’s apple carts, it is a learning experience.

It may be a time when parents decide to teach their children how to cook simple meals, or do the laundry, or help with the house and yard work. The kids may whine about it, but they will be learning skills that will make life easier for them when they are on their own. They may even find that they actually like to cook and bake. They may be helping their parents in cleaning the house; again, another life skill for when they are older.

I think that most of us can live for the time being without getting their hair done or their nails spruced up and so on. But when my hair stylist called me a few weeks ago and told me that I could come in for a haircut, I was over the moon! Not only that, but my stylist gave me a date for next month for another trim. This to me is positive proof that life as we know it is finally coming back. Sure, it’s just a haircut, but I walked out of there feeling like a million dollars. It’s absolutely amazing what a haircut (with all the residual laughter and jokes) does to raise your spirits.

Perhaps this whole situation we are now in is a lesson to us all to be grateful, to be in the moment, to be kind, to be patient, but most of all to see that we can go on and learn from our current situation.

Sure, it’s just a haircut. But what a difference it makes!

 

More Smiling, More Waving

Maybe it’s only me noticing this, but lots of people drive by our house and wave and smile. We are seeing not just our neighbors, but people we haven’t seen before. I think that a lot of folks just get tired of hanging around their homes and go for short rides to break up the monotony. Which is fine by me—it’s as though we all need to remember that we are not alone and that we are all going through the same things.

As the Crankee Yankee is working on our front porch (nearly complete, by the way) and getting our gardens ready to plant, he has become the “answer man” when people walk by. Not only is this fun for him, but I think that we all need to reach out to each other as neighbors and friends. Sadly, according to police, there is much more domestic violence these days; kids are home, adults are working from home and everyone is anxious and more than a little cranky.

So good on those who smile and wave as they drive by. Good on those who stop and talk and get to know each other better. Good on those who walk their dogs and put their little ones in strollers. Good on those who ask what we plan to plant in our gardens this year. Good on those who honk their horns and smile and wave as they drive by.

The current situation isn’t easy, but there are ways to still have fun and still be good neighbors and friends. It’s actually nice to smile and wave. It’s nice to get to know people who live in or near our area. It’s good to know that, even in the midst of the current crisis, we are still neighbors and friends.

Smile on, wave on!

Mom’s Magic Bowl

Yesterday I had a yen to make chocolate chip cookies with butter brickle. I have always made plain old chocolate chip cookies for years for the Crankee Yankee, and adding in the butter brickle (which you can find right next to the chocolate chips in the store) makes them extra delicious. Whenever I make cookies, I always use mom’s “magic bowl.”

I call it that because it was the bowl she first made brownies in as a child. So when I pull it out I smile and say to any of our cats who might be in the kitchen with me: “I’m making cookies in Mom’s magic bowl.” Since there was no mention of adding cat food to the recipe, the cats completely lost interest.

If you are at all interested in making chocolate butter brickle cookies, just follow the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip package, and add in as much butter brickle as you like. I call them magic cookies, because even when the Crankee Yankee is outside working on the front porch (which, by the way, is looking better every day), his nose knows when the cookies are just off the hot cookie sheets.

I have used Mom’s magic bowl for salads, meatloaf, and many other eatables. I always feel that there actually is magic in that bowl; I can almost hear Mom saying things such as “go easy on the salt,” or “that’s enough stirring; stop right there,” and so on.

Isn’t it both funny and sad when you end up with your mother’s things? As Mom has been gone since 2015, I still feel her presence. Often her humor comes to me and I laugh out loud, or if I make a mistake while cooking I’ll mutter to myself, “yes, yes, I know I screwed up; shut up already!”

I truly do think that our loved ones who have moved on do check in on us and wish us well. I always feel Mom’s presence when I’m cooking. As a teenager I hated to cook, but Mom would always say things like “you’ll need to know how to cook for yourself; you can’t just go out to restaurants all the time!” And wouldn’t you know it; she was absolutely right.

Thanks to my mom, I am a pretty fair cook and baker, I know how to clean just about anything, I know how to keep my clothes in good repair and at least once a year I give away the clothes that I haven’t even looked at for months. But best of all, I know that when I use Mom’s magic bowl, anything I make in it will be not only perfect, but delicious. Thanks to Mom, the magic goes on.

 

More Jokes…

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Life and Success

Charles Schulz

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

J. P. Getty

“My formula for success is rise early, work late, and strike oil.”

Reba McEntire

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”

James A. Garfield

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”

 

Lies and Self-Deprecation

Thomas Sowell

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

“I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

Mel Brooks

“I have always been a huge admirer of my own work. I’m one of the funniest and most entertaining writers I know.”

S.E. Hinton

“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.”

Abraham Lincoln

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”

 

Insults

“I never forget a face, but in your case, I’ll be glad to make an exception.”

W. C. Fields

“I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.”

George Bernard Shaw

“He who can does—he who cannot, teaches.”

 

Love and Attraction

Jay Leno

[Putting his arms around British personality and food journalist Nigella Lawson] “My wife is going to kill me. But you look like my wife, so that’s OK!”

Jerry Seinfeld

“Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God’s final word on where your lips end.”

George Bernard Shaw

“Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.”

Ambrose Bierce

“Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.

“She’s a wonderful, wonderful person, and we’re looking to a happy and wonderful night—ah, life.”

 

Insanity

“Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”

Oscar Levant

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.”

 

Aging, Happiness, and Health

Luis Bunuel

“Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese.”

George Burns

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

Mark Twain

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.”

 

Money

Pablo Picasso

“I’d like to live like a poor man—only with lots of money.”

 

Politics

Mark Twain

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Sen. Bob Dole

“Our intent will not be to create gridlock. Oh, except maybe from time to time.”

 

Television

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

 

Miscellaneous

Jim Carrey

“Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.”

Henny Youngman

“If you’re going to do something tonight that you’ll be sorry for tomorrow morning, sleep late.”

Steve Martin

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”

Josh Billings

“Every man has his follies—and often they are the most interesting thing he has got.”

Anthony Burgess

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

W. H. Auden

“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”

 

Ignoring the Snark

In these “interesting” days, we are bombarded with opinions and fear and doubt and worry. It isn’t easy living in a time where we are wearing masks, keeping our distance from people, washing our hands frequently, not to mention sheltering in place and so on. It seems that every day we hear things on the news or on social media where we are blasted with bad news and snarkiness. There is also a lot of snark on Facebook about people in power and so on. I am always amazed at the sheer amount of invective toward these folks as well.

But it’s a free country; we all are welcome to voice our opinions. Those of us who are startled or dismayed by this will just have to remember that everyone is entitled to their opinions. We may disagree, but thankfully, our country is all about freedom. We may not like to read or hear what people say, but everyone has opinions.

While a lot of snarkiness abounds in social media and so on, there are lots of people who go the other way and praise people for all the good that they do. I could waste a great deal of time being angry about other peoples’ opinions, but that truly is a waste of time. We may agree to disagree, and that’s fine. If it makes people feel better to lambaste political figures, that’s fine too. If it makes people feel better to start a virtual argument on line, that’s their business.

I think of it this way: when I read something online that disturbs me I just remember how lucky I am to be living in a free country where we can speak or write our opinions without fear of reprisal. Think of the people who live in countries where you could go to jail for just speaking out against their leaders.

When I lived in Texas, I met some wonderful women who had their own sweet way of breaking up verbal wars. When someone would go on a rant about this, that or the other thing, they would hug the talker, smile and say, “well, bless your heart!” Now that phrase could be absolutely sincere, or it could also be a polite way of saying”you are a massive idiot!” In any case, it stopped the red-hot flow of snarkiness for the time being.

People do have the right to say or do as they please, and thank God for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. These days I am making a point of just ignoring the snark and going peacefully on with my day. All that said, do enjoy the day and feel free to be snarky if you like; it’s a free country!

 

 

 

When the World is Too Much with Us Again

I wrote this quite a while ago, but it especially stands today during our current crisis.

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Does anyone remember William Wordsworth’s famous poem, “The World is Too Much With Us?” Here it is:

“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.”
So what exactly does this mean? Given today’s events and the general disharmony nearly everywhere on the planet, the world really does feel too much for us all. No one seems to be happy, there is doom and gloom in too many places, people are fighting over ridiculous things, people who should know better are lying, cheating and stealing, and the list goes on.
What is happening to us all? When you think of the sheer vastness of the universe (and who’s to say that there is only one? Personally, I think that there are billions of universes we know nothing of; all teaming with life), isn’t it possible that there are planets with sentient life just like ours?
Of course, all this is not the meaning of this famous and thought-provoking poem. To me anyway, this poem speaks of precious time lost by worrying, trying to out-do each other, complaining about useless things, and ignoring all the gifts we have been given. So how can we move softly and safely out of all the sturm and drang that is in our lives each day?
My guess would be to make an effort to see what is still good, what is still positive and what is still happiness in our lives. The bad things that are happening now are scary and terrible, which makes it more important to be a source of light, of joy, of faith and of the power of kindness. It isn’t that hard to do, either. We can choose to look at the good things in our lives, the people we love; even the ones that have gone on but have left a gracious legacy of kindness and hope for us.
We must not let the angst, fear, hatred and doubt cloud our minds. As bad as things may be, there is always something to be thankful for; it can be the smallest thing. But if that small thing is positive and kind, it will help dissipate the anger, fear, doubt and worry. One of my uncles (now gone) used to always say, “it could be worse.”
I used to roll my eyes at that one, but now that I am nearly as old as he was then, I get it.

For All Mothers

As today is the day to celebrate all moms, I don’t feel a bit guilty for posting a haiku and this as well.

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Happy Mothers Day to all mothers everywhere! Whether they are still with us or have passed on, our mother’s love never leaves us. We are who we are because of our mothers. We learn so much from them; they truly are our own personal north star. They teach us right from wrong, how to be a good person, how to manage a household, how to behave, how to be kind, how to be grateful, how to love and be loved, and so much more.

Mothers help us to become the grown-ups we will eventually be. Mothers know us better than we know ourselves. They are not fooled by lies or coverups, and when we do something wrong, they make sure that we won’t ever do it again. They are examples of what we may grow up to be; they teach us daily with their own examples.

I never could get away with anything from my mother; she knew me too well. She could catch me in a lie in a hot minute, and she didn’t stand for back talk. I remember vividly the times my cousin Cindy and her mother would come up from the south to visit with my grandmother. As Cindy was my own age, we played together during their visit.

Playing with Cindy was like lighting a fire cracker; we would be playing a game and all of a sudden she would jump up, kick the game board and yell “I’ma gonna git jist as far away from you as ah kin git!” And she would run off. I would be sitting there, picking up the pieces of the game and wondering what in the hell that was all about. She always sassed her mother, too, and it made my blood run cold to just imagine what would happen if I did the same to my mother. That sort of “Cindy behavior” was just not allowed.

My mother taught me by her example to be a good and decent person. I owe her the world for her goodness, her kindness, her love and her unfailing devotion to the truth. She taught me everything that makes a person good, and although she was strict with me, she was a loving and kind mother. I always knew that was I loved and cherished.

Our moms, even if they have passed on, are with us always. The lessons they taught us helped to make us who we are today. Even though my mom has been gone for five years I still feel her love and laughter. I have no doubt that our loved ones, most especially our moms who have moved on, keep in touch with us in their own loving ways.

Happy mothers day to moms everywhere!