Friday, December 30, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Promises, Promises

It is that time of year again. People are deciding what resolutions to make for the new year.

Resolutions are supposed to be the promises we make to ourselves to try to enrich our lives. We mean to begin the improvements as the new year begins.

A New Years resolution can be as simple as promising to say "I love you" more often. It can be as difficult as swearing not to kill your spouse this year. There is a lot of room in between as well.

The problem with deciding to make this year the year you will stop smoking is that it could be a hard promise to keep. Most smokers have done so for a long time. Sometimes it takes a long time to quit. And as we all know if something is difficult we do not necessarily put in the effort needed to accomplish our goals.

Most New Years Resolutions are abandoned within a few days. We make them with good intentions but our flesh is weak. So we think maybe we will resume dieting next week when the holiday goodies are all gone and the temptation is less. Somehow next week never comes.

So with the above in mind and with personal experience I resolved many years ago to make no resolutions. It has worked quite well. I do not disappoint myself. I feel no sense of failure.

What I do is if I see a problem that needs fixing I try to fi it. This might happen in May or September. Deal with it when it happens. It seems to work better for me.

To those who do make resolutions I wish you the utmost luck. And I hope you are able to accomplish what you wish to do.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Must Be Santa

Merry Christmas

"Must Be Santa"

Who's got a beard that's long and white
Santa's got a beard that's long and white

Who comes around on a special night
Santa comes around on a special night

Special Night, beard that's white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Clause

Who wears boots and a suit of red
Santa wears boots and a suit of red

Who wears a long cap on his head
Santa wears a long cap on his head

Cap on head, suit that's red
Special night, beard that's white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Clause

Who's got a big red cherry nose
Santa's got a big red cherry nose

Who laughs this way HO HO HO
Santa laughs this way HO HO HO

HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that's red
Special night, beard that's white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Clause

Who very soon will come our way
Santa very soon will come our way

Eight little reindeer pull his sleigh
Santa's little reindeer pull his sleigh

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that's red
Special night, beard that's white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Clause

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen

Reindeer sleigh, come our way
HO HO HO, cherry nose
Cap on head, suit that's red
Special night, beard that's white

Must be Santa
Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Clause 


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake

Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake Lyrics

As I sat in my window last evening, the letterman
brought it to me
A little gilt-edged invitation sayin' "Gilhooley come
over to tea"
I knew that the Fogarty's sent it. So I went just for
old friendships sake.
The first think they gave me to tackle was a slice of
Miss Fogarty's cake.

There were plums and prunes and cherries,
There were citrons and raisins and cinnamon, too
There was nutmeg, cloves and berries
And a crust that was nailed on with glue
There were caraway seeds in abundance
Such that work up a fine stomach ache
That could kill a man twice after eating a slice
Of Miss Fogarty's Christmas cake.

Miss Mulligan wanted to try it, but really it wasn't no
For we worked in it over an hour and we couldn't get
none of it loose
Till Murphy came in with a hatchet And Kelly came in
with a saw
That cake was enough be the powers above for to
paralyze any man's jaws

Miss Fogarty proud as a peacock, kept smiling and
blinking away
Till she flipped over Flanagan's brogans and she spilt
the homebrew in her tea
Aye Gilhooley she says you're not eatin, Try a little
bit more for me sake
And no Miss Fogarty says I, for I've had quite enough
of your cake

Maloney was took with the colic, O'Donnell's a pain in
his head
McNaughton lay down on the sofa, and he swore that he
wished he was dead
Miss Bailey went into hysterics and there she did
wriggle and shake
And everyone swore they were poisoned just from eating
Miss Fogarty's cake

Friday, December 16, 2016

Merry Bloody Xmas

"Merry Bloody Xmas"

I had a big night last night
Drinking Molson X
And on the way home
I got in three wreX
I woke up this morning
Took 2 Somin-x
That wife of mine
She's now my "x"
Well, I got myself evicted
From my duplex
Moved into a half-ton van, with an "X" (annex)
Fridge full of beer
My ole' dog ReX
At least I got another wife
She's now my "X"


Merry Xmas, to me
The dog threw up all over the Xmas tree
They re-posessed
My color TV
Merry Bloody Xmas, to me

My car's off the road
For having D-feX
I said to myself, "Geesh what next"
My wife dropped in
For "Alimony Checks"
So I threw her in the lake
Now she's my wet X


So I sat there drinking
All my Molson X
Chuckin the empties
To my ole' dog Rex
Stupid bloody mutt
Stuck his head in the Moulin-X
You guessed it
He's now my X- Rex


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Getting Married

My parents raised me to be an independent thinker. I am also not afraid of hard work although I would rather sit back with a good book and a cup of tea. I never developed a taste for coffee so tea it is.

When my husband and I decided to marry I did not tell my family. There were several reasons. One was that independence. I was used to doing things my own way... within the limits of house rules of course. Also my family had very little money and could not afford a wedding.

The main reason was that my parents did not approve of my boyfriend. Now that I am a mother I understand that no one would have been good enough for me but at the time my rebellious nature took hold. I have to tell you now that my parents came to love him very much and he loved them as much.

I met my husband on a Saturday night. That was the night all the kids "hung out" downtown. He was driving around with a couple of his friends and I was with my sister and a couple of my friends. It was shortly after Christmas. We made a date for New Years Eve. The guys would pick us up at my house.

In the meantime my sister and I were out past curfew and my parents grounded us. When the guys came to pick us up we had to go down and tell them that we could not go with them. They wanted us to just get in the car and go. My girlfriend said she was not grounded and she was going. My sister and I decided to go too. So we jumped in the car and took off. I saw my father running after the car and yelling.

We rode around for a while. That was what kids did then unless the drive-in theater was open. We had a good time. Except for wondering what was going to happen when we got home that is.

My parents were furious. My father actually spanked us. With a belt! He did not hurt us. It was one of those times that he needed to do something and a spanking seemed to be in order. We were re-grounded with a much longer sentence.

Eventually my soon-to-be boyfriend got brave enough to come around again. My parents gave us permission to go out but it was not happily.

So we dated and eventually decided to get married. I was out of high school and working at the hospital. He worked for a farmer that lived less than a mile from the farm my family had moved to.

But we still wanted to pay for the wedding ourselves so we made arrangements to stack bales of hay for a neighbor of his parents. That was when I learned to drive a truck.

To gather the bales of hay for stacking we had an old farm truck with a flatbed trailer behind it. Attached to the truck was a machine that, if correctly positioned while the truck was moving, would act as an elevator and deposit the bales on the flatbed. The person on the flatbed had to retrieve them and place them in order on the trailer.

Bales of hay are deceptive. One might weigh 50 pounds while the next might be 75 pounds. You never knew what you were going to get until you tried to lift it. So my husband decided that I should drive the truck and he would arrange the bales on the truck.

When the trailer was full we would drive to the spot to stack the bales. Then the bales were lifted from the flatbed to the stack and put in place so they would be secure.

I was doing quite well at centering the bales so the elevator would pick them up. I was driving right along until there was a knock on the door of the truck. I had turned too fast on a little hill and dumped my boyfriend and several bales off the truck. I was a bit more careful after that and we had no more accidents.

My boyfriend's father came to see how we were doing. I was up on the stack of bales arranging them and my boyfriend went over to talk to his father. His father was furious. He told his son to get up there and not let me do all that hard work.

His father and I both worked at the hospital. Soon after that he was going around telling anybody who would listen that I was going to be his daughter-in-law. I guess he liked my gumption.

So we had the money for everything. The problem was that in our state he was too young to marry without parental consent. He went to his mother to get her to sign the paper. I went with him.

She refused at first. Finally she relented and signed. She told us not to "tell Dad" that she had signed. She had no idea that he approved.

So we went to get the license.We had the blood test results and the permission slip. Unfortunately we had not known that the state laws were slightly stricter than we thought.

At the desk the woman told us that even with parental consent he could not marry unless I was pregnant. Was that the case? He quickly nodded and said, "Yes." I turned many shades of red. Of course I was not pregnant. And she required proof from a doctor. No license that day.

We finally found that across the border the state would marry us if he was as old as I was. He made a slight change on the consent form and we got our license there.

We were married by a retired clergyman there. He and his wife were so nice. The ceremony was conducted in their home.

We were going to live in a farm house owned by the farmer my husband worked for. It was common for farmers to buy other farms and rent out the houses on them. Sometimes they became part of the wage package. We spent our first night there.

The plan was to get up first thing in the morning and go tell my parents. Instead we woke up to my father standing over our bed. He told me to get dressed and he took me home.

My brother was there too. He was letting the air out of my husband's car tires.I have no idea how he finally managed to reach someone to help him air them.

I spent my first full married day at my parent's house crying my eyes out. My mother insisted the marriage would be annulled. My husband would drive by or stop in the middle of the road and try to get me to go with him.

The problem was that I had been their daughter a lot longer than I had been his wife. I could not go.

That night Daddy began to soften. He could see how miserable I was. That night he told me he would see if he could get Mom to bend a little too.

The next morning when I got up my mother-in-law was there with my husband. She sensibly explained that we were married. Maybe they should let us be married.  I went home with my husband.

When I tell my children this story they are amazed. It is very hard to explain how we were raised to obey our parents. Even though I was grown (and now married) I was still their daughter.

It took very little time for everyone to make up. Soon we were a big happy family again.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Big Move

It is the middle of the night and I am feeling blue. This does not happen to me often but I thought if I share it perhaps it will help.

My brother-in-law called me late this afternoon. My sister has been in the hospital for about a week. As you might remember she had a stroke a few years ago. She is still unable to move her left side. She is able to speak clearly and her mind is working the way it should.

She is in the hospital because of breathing problems. Because she cannot move by herself her lungs tend to fill with fluid. Even with the hospital bed and raising the top of the bed she cannot sit up. That is a common thing with bed-ridden people. Fluid in the lungs.

My brother-in-law has been taking care of her and their house for all this time. Occasionally a therapist comes in to keep her muscles moving because she can not do it herself. That is when my brother-in-law tried to run to the store or do other quick errands. That way she would not be alone.

So my brother-in-law told me that my sister is being released from the hospital late tomorrow morning. She is being transported to a nursing home or as they call it a long-term care facility to make it sound nicer. He said she was feeling nervous about the move and wanted me to give a call.

Of course I called her right away. That was when I found out he was actually in the room with her. She needed me to call her instead of him handing her his phone.

She told me she was a little nervous about going to the home. I told her I understood that it was an unknown and a little worrisome.

I let her talk at first while I just made those "I'm listening" noises. Then I started asking questions and making statements.

They have been talking for a while about her going to a place like this. Her husband saw the facility and told me it was very nice. She knew it was coming but she was a little afraid. That was when he promised her that he would visit her every day. Her son also lives nearby and I know he will also visit every day. I need to call him tomorrow because I know he will be upset too.

I told her I knew that she was isolated and bored at home. Her husband was trying to do everything. That meant there was not a lot of time for him to simply sit and visit for long periods of time.

I pointed out that she would make friends with the nurses who would be in and out of her room all day. There would be therapists doing the same. And knowing my sister I am sure she will make friends with some of the ambulatory patients and they could visit with her.

She told me she would have a roommate and I told her she would have a captive audience.

I am hoping they will be able to take her out in the sun once in a while. I told her that they will have crafts and other activities to keep her mind busy. If they have wheel chairs that she can sit in she could maybe go to a community room to socialize. Maybe she could play checkers or something.

She told me about a feature they had that she thought might be fun. Unfortunately I cannot remember what it was.

She mentioned that they would have to get her a television for her room. I suggested checking on EBay. I got my son a laptop for Christmas there. I have already given it to him because he too is bored out of his mind. But I digress. Maybe they can find a good deal there.

Then I told her, "If they do not take care of you call me. I will fix it. If they leave wrinkles in the sheets call me. If they try to make you eat something you do not like call me. I will fix it." I also told her she can call just to complain if she wants to. (She used to be a pro at that.)

She told me that her husband told her that if she does not like it there he will take her back home. That is a good thing. But I told her to give it a few days. She will probably hate it for at least a couple of days and she will need time to get over that.

I did not say that she will probably never be completely happy there. Who would be? But I think the extra people there will be good for her.

As we wound down the conversation I promised to call after she has time to settle in tomorrow. Late afternoon or early evening should give her time.

She sounded so little and forlorn. I think she probably cried when we hung up our phones. I heard the quiver in her voice.

I think more than anything she is afraid of being forgotten. I can certainly understand that. I hope it works out for her. She is so frustrated with not being able to take care of herself. It has to be scary.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Use That Snow For Cooking

It is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Many places have had a lot of snow. Some of those places are not used to having all that white stuff. I have a few ways to use snow that are tasty and will make a dent in the amount of snow in your yard.

The most obvious use of snow is to make it into a liquid. If nice clean snow is heated it can make tea, coffee, and hot cocoa. All of these go well with toast or cookies. The best part is that it takes no more work than using water.

Snow is great for the liquid in soup. And you can use whatever ingredients you like to go into the luscious liquid. I always say there is no way you can hurt a soup.

My father used to take his boy scouts camping. Each boy brought one 15 ounce can of food from home. The labels were removed by Mom or Dad before the boys left home. My father and the other men who were involved would pitch in and supply the meat.

On the day of the soup a huge pot was brought forth and put on the campfire. The meat was browned and then each can was opened and dumped into the pot. For additional liquid snow was used. The soup was always good even when spinach and pork and beans were some of the ingredients.

Now you know I like to keep the children busy and active. Give them each a large plastic container or bucket. Make sure to tell them to get only clean snow then turn them loose in the yard. This will give you time to get your materials together.

Snow cones are fun. You can make a syrup from Kool-Aid and sweetener or buy flavored syrups. A variety of flavors is a good idea because if there are more than two children, someone will not like one that the others like. Mixing flavors is fun too. A small plastic cup or glass will be needed for each child. When they bring their snow use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to fill the container with snugly packed snow. Have the children pour enough syrup over the snow to give a robust color but not melt the snow. Straws and spoons complete what you must have to let the children enjoy.

Sugar on snow is another fun treat. It is traditionally made when the maple sap is harvested. Heat the syrup to soft boil (about 234 degrees Fahrenheit). I use a candy thermometer because it takes out the guess work. The children can tightly pack the snow into small bowls. Pour the hot syrup over the packed snow without stirring. The syrup will harden into a taffy-like candy as soon as it hits the cold snow. The children can twirl it around forks or popsicle sticks and eat. This treat is often served with sour pickles to cut the sweetness of the candy.

Who likes ice cream? It is super easy to make with snow. You will need a large bowl and a large spoon. Put 8 cups of snow into the bowl. Add one can of sweetened condensed milk and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir well. Serve in cones or dishes immediately.

Baobing is a dessert made in many Asian countries. From simple beginnings it has evolved into something a little more elaborate. Use a soup bowl and create a large mound of firmly packed snow. Pour fruit with its own syrup over the top. You can cheat and use canned pie filling. Then pour sweetened condensed milk over that or top it with whipped cream.

Perhaps we should make something that will stick to the ribs. Snow pancakes have been made in Great Britain for centuries. They gained popularity during World War II when sugar and baking soda were in short supply. Mix 1 cup of firmly packed snow, 1 cup of flour, 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of milk, and a pinch of salt together to make the batter. Heat butter or oil in a skillet and drop spoonfuls of the batter into the skillet. When the top bubbles, flip and cook until golden. Serve with whatever topping you enjoy. I have read that adding even 1 tablespoon of snow to your regular pancake batter with make the pancakes fluffier.

So let it snow. We will follow the adage that says, "When life gives you snow, use it for cooking!"

Friday, December 2, 2016

Hold Please

My son wanted a smart phone. Understandable. This is a technological age after all.

He waited anxiously for Black Friday sales. He knew what he wanted and knew it would be available and affordable that day.

When the day came he went to the site online. There was the phone he wanted. He placed the order. Almost.

There was a problem with the order.  He did not receive the email confirmation of the order as the web site said he would.

Did they notify him that there was a problem? Of course    not.

He found a contact number so he could call them. He asked them why he did not receive notification. Oh they could not fill the order because there was a mix-up on the order itself. They were "so sorry".

Could they help him make the necessary corrections so the order would go through? No. They were "so sorry".

What they could do is cancel the order so he could reorder. Unfortunately the charge for the original order would not be corrected for up to 5 business days. He reluctantly agreed.

My son went back online. He reordered the phone. I helped with some of it. Everything went as it should. He received his notification by email. Yay!

The phone would arrive the following Tuesday. It did. Yay!

After thoroughly reading all the paperwork that came with the phone my son went online to activate his new phone.  Things were progressing swimmingly.

Then he entered the zip code for our address. Error. He realized he was supposed to enter the zip code his old phone was registered to. He entered that. Error.

He called again to find out what was wrong. Gee golly. They were "so sorry" he was having a problem. They did not know what was wrong. Did he try typing in his zip code? Perhaps he should use the zip code of the store for his old carrier and see if that would work. Guess what. Error.

My son was getting frustrated. I said I would call the new company. I spoke to a very nice young man who was almost understandable. His accent was that of someone who had not been speaking English long.

He was "so sorry" we were having a problem. He would try to see if he could help. He spent a long time but no help was forthcoming. He transferred me to someone else.

Now we were getting somewhere. This young man was easier to understand. He was "so sorry" but he would see how he could help.

I was becoming extremely exasperated. When he hemmed and hawed about not being able to do anything I began asking questions. He tried to give technical nonsense answers that meant nothing. I kept asking questions.

Then he said to give it some time and it might clear itself up. I asked him if he was just saying that to get rid of me. He answered yes. I hung up.

After composing myself I called again. A nice woman answered. I could not understand her at all. It was not an accent problem. She talked so fast my ears could not keep up with her mouth. I asked her to slow down. She was "so sorry". She would see what she could do to solve the problem.

I repeatedly had to remind her to speak more slowly.but she worked to try to find a solution. After a long time she discovered that I had transposed two digits of the zip code from the original phone's address.

Could she alter the order to reflect the correct zip code? She did not have the authority to do that. Did she have a supervisor I could speak with? She did. Now we were getting somewhere.

A nice man greeted me on the phone. He was "so sorry" we were having a problem. He could not alter the order because the process of activation was so far along. Perhaps they could help at the store in the nearest town.

I drove 30 miles in a mix of rain and snow to the phone store. The man there was so nice and he exuded a confidence I had not felt from anyone on the phone.

He informed me that even though they sold the phones there some things that could not be done. He would do his best however.

He went into his computer and tried to change the zip code. He said that sometimes he could make the changes and sometimes not. He could not. It would have to be done at a corporate store.

Where is the corporate store? The nearest one is in Omaha, Nebraska!

He did suggest calling the carrier for the old phone to see if they could change the zip code for the original phone. That might work.

I drove 30 miles in a mix of rain and snow to go home. I picked up some fast food on the way. I was in no mood or condition to cook.

After we ate I calle dthe original carrier and asked if they could change the zip code. Of course I did not mention that I needed it so my son could drop them because he was trying to activate a phone with a new carrier.

They needed to speak with my son since the phone was in his name. No problem.

They told my son to wait about 20 minutes to make sure it was complete in the system. No problem.

In the meantime I called the new carrier. I asked to speak to the manager who said I should call back if anything changed. Once again I was on an interminable hold.

While I was on hold I began to type in the information leading up to the request for zip code information just to be ready when I did receive assistance.


Did they even ask for the zip code? NO!

After approximately 6 HOURS his new phone is activated. I will not wait on hold for anybody for a while. I will hang up first.