Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas: Thoughts on Trying Something New

Oh my goodness...this is really hard for me. I have actually been offered the gift of a simpler Christmas and I just cannot wrap that gift up in my mind. It is very hard.

See, my family decided that the only people that will receive gifts are the children and that number is shrinking by the minute. The oldest of the youngest will be 21 on his next birthday. I suppose that he should be put at the grownup table soon don't you think? He is in his third year of college and I still want to cut his food when he comes to visit!

So I keep thinking of excuses for buying a "little" gift for some of the family...they helped us out a lot or they need a little boost. It is very hard. So I am trying to devise a plan where I can do that for them opening without worrying about breaking the rules and still have it be a Christmas Gift.

Anyone have any ideas? Please.

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Thoughts on "Cabin Fever"

Cabin the Woods
A post just in time for snow and cold and being inside all of the time...when you are retired and trapped in your house with your spouse, things can get a little ugly. The beauty of the whole thing is that even the caveman was troubled by too much cavewoman. Being trapped in a cave must have been torture.

My parents were perfectly matched and adored each other. I remember them hugging each other in the kitchen. But when the weather got bad, my mother did something I had really never heard her do before...she complained about my dad.

I was a grown woman with children of my own when she called in mid-January. She was very upset and I could hear it in her voice. I never did know what was wrong but I did ask her if they were suffering from "cabin fever". I remember laughing with her as she admitted that being cooped up even with the man of your dreams can make one really cranky.

My husband and I are back in Oregon, the skies are gray and it rains a lot. Hopefully we will make it through the month of December and the first week of January without things getting ugly. Wish me well. "Cabin fever" can be hard on the mind and soul.

Do you have "cabin fever"?

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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Humor: How to Buy a Wine Refrigerator

I am so gullible and literal...really. I will fall for your line in a nanosecond. Just tell me the moon is made of green cheese and I will believe you. I can prove it!

My husband and I have been married for a gagzillion years so the husband knows me. (period)

Last week he mentioned that the Rehab Store had wine refrigerators for sale for only $80...almost free considering how much a wine fridge would normally cost. I was so excited...of course, I said, we should go and take a look.

Time passed.

Day before yesterday he called to me and ask me if I was ready to go...go where? I asked.

We need to to return the stuff to the Lobby Polly (Hobby Lobby) Store he said.

It was a beautiful day and I do like the Hobby Lobby a lot. I visualized looking around a little you know! He followed me into the store and stood by the front entrance waiting being careful to to appear in a hurry to leave.

We left!

Would you like to have lunch? he asked. 

Well I never turn down lunch. Downtown? Oh my goodness. I love going downtown. I was so pleased. Lunch for no reason. WOW! And I love to wander around and see what new. That sounded so delicious to me.

He was in such a good mood I should have been suspicious.

We ate and walked directly to the car...he might have sorta had his hand on my elbow. Yes I think he did. There was to be no wandering or looking today. Sigh. But still I really didn't mind.

Then a Mystery Drive north of downtown began to made me feel insecure. We live on the other side of the city.

What was going on and where were we going? My husband is not a good listener nor can he hear above the car noise. His life is perfect and this is not the first Mystery Ride I have been on. You would think I would figure it out.

As we turned into the Rehab Store my husband took some blinds out of the back to donate and asked if I wanted to go inside...oh, I thought, we are donating stuff and that is why we are here.

Of course, I bit!

In I went and he donated the blinds. We walked around the store together and I was having fun.  As we were ready to leave he took a abrupt left turn and I found us standing in front of those little "wine" fridges.

I bit...they really were cheap. I scanned inside the little black box and still was fooled. I suppose some wine coolers don't have a window...or even any room for some wine. Why didn't I see that there was no place for wine nor would it ever hold a single bottle at the perfect temperature....never?

I am such a sucker...honestly people, I am a nice person and I would have wanted my husband to have a non-wine fridge. What ticks me off is he gets so much joy out of fooling me. *$^&

He is very happy...oh, and I will have my wine refrigerator you know...I will just be more direct about it! For me it is more fun to get my way than to fool  my husband.

Does your spouse play games with you?

Have a wonderful day.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Norman Leyden: I've Got a Crush on You Sweetie Pie...

This is an old post from 2008...Norman Leyden passed away in 2014 but he is still alive in my heart. He was a truly remarkable man.


I've got a crush on you, sweetie pie
All the day and nighttime, hear me sigh
I never had the least notion
That I could fall with such emotion
Could you coo, could you care

For a cunning cottage we could share

The world will pardon my mush
Cause I've got a crush, my baby, on you....
(Sung originally by Ella Fitzgerald)
Norman Leyden
His name is Norman Leyden. That's right. I have a crush on the former conductor of the Oregon Symphony Pops. I have to admit it (even to my husband). This man worked his magic on me! He plays a clarinet like no one I have ever heard

It only took the sound of that clarinet filling a concert hall to win my heart. Sweet memories are part of every crush I suppose, at least that was true for me.

It all happened on as the result of a very special New Year's Eve in 2008. My husband I were given tickets to a Pink Martini concert at the Schnitzer Theatre in downtown Portland, Oregon. Mr. Leyden was part of the Pink Martini big band that night and had a solo part. Anyone that was there that night can understand why his performance made me cry! It was pure Norman Leyden magic.

Norman Leyden on clarinet with Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini band leader.
I walked around the corner to a
side street when the back stage door
is located.

I don't know if you swoon at the sweet sound of beautiful music but for me it is a bit of heaven and that is what Mr. Leyden's clarinet solo sounded like. I didn't want the evening to be over so. I don't want to sound mushy but I felt alive and newly in love. So after the concert, on a whim, I decided that I needed to tell Mr. Leyden how much I appreciated his part in the show...in person.

I pleaded with the ushers in the auditorium to let me see him but of course that privilege was reserved for people that held backstage passes. I was very disappointed but understood

Then the magic happened...again.  As I left, one of the young ushers came and whispered in my ear. "Go around to the back street stage door and wait. He will probably come out to talk with special guests that gather there." she said.  At my daughters urging I did just that.

I stood on the street next to Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini's leader, as he visited with his former music teacher. The crowd was not large but it still was a heady experience. Even though I wasn't, I felt like I was doing something illegal.

When I was about to leave, I found myself standing face to face with the then mayor of Portland, Tom Potter. Not even a man with that much power could help.  It turned out Mayor Potter hadn't seen Leyden either. Wow!

That was when I asked a back stage employee standing on the loading dock down the street to hand a note written on a Pink Martini Playbill to Mr. Leyden.  It said simply "Thank you" and I signed it Barbara. I included my phone number. See, I was hoping he would call so I could express my gratitude in person. I knew it was probably a dream that the note would even find Mr. Leyden let alone that he would call me but still....

I knew when the phone rang it was him...I don't know how that happened but it is true. We visited that winter morning and I told him how much I had loved his performance. I said that I truly hoped I would be giving the privilege of hearing him play again one day. He must have known I was sincere because his parting words were, "I'll see you next New Year's Eve."

How sweet it is. I have a crush on you sweetie pie.....

Happy Valentine's Day

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My husband and I have tickets for a Pink Martini concert here in Tucson in March! Life is good!
Note: Norman Leyden was born in 1917 and I he is still living in Portland. He performed with Pink Martini again just this last summer. He is 95.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

ON Paying for the Internet

Is there any point to fighting with your internet service company over a bill? I know that you all have had the same experience. Truly, I don't want them to get really mad at us and disconnect our service. They are the only game in town.

My husband is negotiating fees and at one time in that conversation he acted like he was going to tell them to take that service and......  I am telling you having it disconnected is very frightening.

At one time my husband I were the only ones on the block that could operate a computer. In the RV resort we lived in for many years I was the go to expert on all things that had to do with technology. People owned computers but they were simply afraid to actually use them. Even email confounded them totally.

One of my neighbors lost his wife and all he really wanted was for the email to go away! Seriously, the web was very big and people just could not wrap their minds around stepping out into that world.

As our world became and more flat (is that the word I want to use) people began to go into the world more and more. The internet was their link to places like China and Australia. News from families came instantly and a far away place was not so far away anymore.

Now, my friends are so adept at using the web that they are telling me what to do. I like that a lot.

But, our Xfinity internet works fine but is very expensive. Eking every penny out of the service is our goal. Will arguing with them help? I seriously doubt it. My husband is still on the phone and he is willing to stay there until his phone charge is gone or he just falls over.

Have you had that problem and need to get it off your chest? A good rant is healthy sometimes!

Have a great day.

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Sunday, December 1, 2019

When My Pants Fell Down

I know, how does that happen?
You know that if life is not messing with you, you are not alive. Honestly, humiliation and embarrassment is the stuff of which life is made...it is sandwiched in between all that happiness, joy and love that you are experiencing the rest of the time.

So having your pants fall down is not bad, it is just life messing with you...not that I have ever actually have had my pants fall down very often.

I read No Ordinary Time by Joyce Kearns Goodwin several years ago. It was one of those books that left you feeling like someone had moved out of your house when you finished. Kearns led me day by day, hour by hour through the WWII era in the White House that the Roosevelt's occupied. Some parts of that book will never go away...neither will the good laughs I had along the way.

For example, as I recall the story, rationing of gasoline did not have so much to do with a shortage as it did for women needing girdles. (I know that is an exaggeration but still the fact that it was a factor made me laugh). See, when a car drives the tires wear out. When tires wear out, rubber was needed to replace them. The problem was that if you rationed rubber, women would need to go without girdles because rubber was needed to make the girdle be "girdley". It seems that it was a commonly held truth that a woman's good health depended on her girdle! So war effort or no war effort, a woman needed stretchy girdles to keep them alive.

That is where my pants falling down comes in. See, I was shopping with my aunt, my mom's older sister, and my panties fell down as we walked down the main street of Huntington Oregon. The world stood still as my aunt grabbed me up and hurried went home. I think I was 3. I know that my mom got a royal chewing out because she never quit talking about it for the rest of her life. I don't honestly remember it but mom made sure I knew. The lesson was, of course, never go out with dirty or worn out underwear.

Having a wardrobe failure is not a good thing ever. Unzipped pants, top button coming loose and of course having ones pants fall down in the parking lot of Albertsons can ruin a person's day...unless you have a very good sense of humor. This might have happened to me....maybe.

There will be a pair of very good black golfing pants with a faulty zipper and snap at the waist
at goodwill soon I am told. And, because I am smart, I realize that if that ever did happen to me, any day that it did not happen to me would be a very good day.

Have fun and happy Sunday.

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