Let Him Dig

Why is it that men, myself included, have so much trouble asking for assistance, or directions. For some reason, we seem to be missing a gene that precludes us from ever seeking advice. This is not to say we won’t accept it, even if begrudgingly, but we somehow cannot bring ourselves to ask for it.
I was in the hardware store the other day and saw another guy wandering around. It was obvious he was looking for something without success and it wasn’t until an employee finally asked him if he needed some help that he said “Yes” and allowed the employee to show him where it was. The lesson here is “the length of time it takes to find something is in direct proportion to how long it takes someone to offer you assistance.” Another Quigley law.
I’m afraid, in this respect, that I am also guilty as charged. My wife and I were shopping last week, and there was an item on the list we could not find. So my wife said “While I keep shopping, why don’t you go and ask someone. I thought “What??? Ask someone??? Are you kidding?? I’m not going to do that and admit I’m not as smart as the other shoppers. It’s got to be here somewhere, and invisibly, I slipped into my Inspector Clouseau mode. However, after aimlessly wandering the aisles for a while, I began to worry that my wife would become concerned by my absence, and have me paged. “Attention shoppers. If anyone has seen a gray haired man in levi’s and a brown jacket with a determined but puzzled look on his face, he is lost. Please have him returned to his wife at the checkout counter. Thank you.” I don’t think so. Maybe just this once, I would ask someone. This is the point where I start discrediting the options. “There’s a guy, but he works in produce. He wouldn’t know. Perhaps the checkout lady. No, she’s too busy. Can’t ask her.” I start to panic. I’m running out of time. I must ask. I cannot bear the humiliation of going back to my wife and admitting that I failed. So, reluctantly, I ask someone who takes me right to it. Upon returning to the cart, my wife says “where have you been. You’ve been gone forever.” To which I reply, in an effort to save face, “I had trouble finding someone to ask and even they had trouble finding it.”
It’s the same way with directions. I will drive an hour while pursuing a ‘shortcut’. Drives my wife crazy. We have gone on so many expeditions with marginal results that she just doesn’t even argue any more beyond saying “if you won’t ask for directions, then use the GPS.” Come on, The GPS? The “Girls Pointing System?” I don’t think so. And so we embark on another ‘adventure’.
This reminds me of the story of the old guy that, when arguing with his wife would loudly proclaim “when I die, I am going to dig myself out and haunt you for the rest of your life.” When he did finally die, a neighbor asked his wife if she worried about him making good on his threat. She said “No, I had him buried face down, so let him dig. I know he will never ask for directions.”

From the archives  Mar 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Aging, Humor, Insight, Life, Marriage, Perspective, Random Thoughts, Vanity | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Wisdom Of The French

This notice can now be found in French churches:

En entrant dans cette église, il est possible que vous entendiez l’appel de Dieu. Par contre, il n’est pas susceptible de vous contacter par téléphone. Merci d’avoir éteint votre téléphone. Si vous souhaitez parler à Dieu, entrez, choisissez un endroit tranquille et parle lui. Si vous souhaitez le voir, envoyez-lui un SMS en conduisant.

Translation: It is possible that on entering this church, you may hear the Call of God. On the other hand, it is not likely that he will contact you by phone. Thank you for turning off your phone. If you would like to talk to God, come in, choose a quiet place, and talk to him. If you would like to see him, send him a text while driving.

Posted in Generations, Humerous, Insight, Life, Perspective, Reflection, Wisdom | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Let’s Get Cookin’

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and in my case, I think it is true.  I started trying my hand at preparing hot meals a few months ago.  At the time, I was only preparing one evening meal each week.  My wife was a great cook and, when I would complement her on a particular recipe, she would always say “that’s why I have the big kitchen”.  Well, she is gone now and suddenly the “big kitchen” is mine and I find it a little intimidating.  Fortunately, I had participated in the prep of meals for a long time so I at least possessed some skills and knowledge about what went into whatever it was we were fixing.  And, I thought I knew where most everything was kept, even though that had always been a moving target.

After the initial realization that I was in a ‘cook or die’ situation, I started to take stock of what I was going to do.  I first resolved not to descend into a diet of burgers, pizza, and cheese doodles.  There was no reason that I could not provide wholesome meals for myself.  And, with that as my mantra, I set out to prove myself.  

The first thing I decided to confront was the freezer full of food.  Meat, fish, and chicken had been carefully packaged and labeled.  Fortunately, we have long kept an inventory of what was in the freezer to include name, date frozen, weight, and quantity.  This gave us an easy way to always retrieve the oldest items first and design our meals around them.  However, it becomes a little more difficult to eat out of the freezer when you have things like large roasts and meals packaged in larger quantities.  It quickly became apparent that learning to cook was only half the problem.  The other was, learning to manage leftovers.

One of the things I learned while watching my wife cook was that organization was paramount.  Everything necessary for the recipe was arranged and/or readily available before the oven or burner was turned on.  That is fine with me as I can be a little obsessive about things like that.  I like to clean up as I cook.  If you are not going to need it again, deal with it.  I can’t say we always agreed on that.  Frequently she would ask “what happened to the (fill in the blank) and I would say ” I washed it and put it away” to which she would say “sometimes, I wish you wouldn’t try so hard to help me”.

So where am I today?  Well, I would give myself a B+.  I have successfully made a meatloaf, fried chicken, barbecued ribs, a creamy mac and cheese, pan fried steak, and a couple of skillet dishes.  If the recipe makes enough for two meals, I will refrigerate the leftover and have it later in the week.  If the leftovers are greater then that, I drag out the seal a meal and freeze a portion or two.  This is all done with the aid of my air fryer which I am coming to love and a mini pot pressure cooker.  I have also baked bread using our bread machine.  However, I don’t like the hole the beater leaves in the bottom of the loaf.  So I use the dough cycle to do the grunge work and then give it another rise in a bread pan before baking it in the oven.

Yesterday, during a senior moment, I decided to do something with that bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer.  So I set out to make blueberry muffins, from scratch no less.  We had a couple of ‘issues’ along the way which I will call ‘learning experiences’.  One was that you do not turn on the hand mixer before plunging it into a bowl of flour.  I mean you can, but you may have to do a little extra cleanup, including the dog that was standing beside you looking for a handout.  Anyway, the muffins came out good enough to share with some friends and, it gave me the encouragement I needed to pursue new horizons.  Right now, I am eyeing a recipe called Butter Brickle Frozen Delight which involves ingredients like brown sugar, caramel sauce, cream cheese, pecans, and whipped topping, among other yummy things.  Like I said.  There is no reason I can’t fix wholesome food. Right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, Home, Insight, Laugh, Life, Random Thoughts | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Stones

Stones

Granite blocks of stone
Stand vigil all alone
Lean as if in prayer
Forever

Where seldom footsteps tread
Here among the dead
Memories interred
Forgotten

Faithful through the years
Where long bereft of tears
Remnants of a past
Lay silent

A lifetime etched in stone
Name and date alone
In loving memory of
Whomever

From the archives October 2013

Posted in Death, Free Verse, Generations, History, Life, Loss, Love, Memories, Perspective, Poetry, Reflection, Tribute | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Life’s Voyage

As a young man I cast off my line and sailed into life’s sea
My destination was unknown, just happy to be free

I oft sailed troubled waters, furling sails til the time when
I’d ridden out the turbulence and my seas were calm again

Each storm I met would leave it’s mark, but it also helped me see
It’s all part of the voyage, it made a stronger me

My trips took me to many shores, each offered something new
I would fill my hold with knowledge, then my anchor weigh anew

My moral compass set my course, truth kept my vessel straight
Integrity filled out my sails, friendship was my mate

But alas, this weary sailor knew when he should sail no more
Since time and tide had run their course, I set a course for shore

I sailed into life’s harbor where my anchor came to rest
Threw my sea bag on my shoulder full of memories from my quest.

I often open up the bag and relive the years inside
Back when I was a young man and I rode life’s rising tide

Originally published Feb 2012

Posted in Aging, Insight, Life, Memories, Ocean, Perspective, Poetry, Reflection, Rhyme, Vision | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Days Of Wine And Noses

I don’t remember when I had my first sip of wine, but I do remember that it was not favorable. It was dry and tart. Not at all what I would expect from a respectable grape. But, as young men are so want to do, I persevered and continued to sample several varieties until I had a full understanding of the difference between them.
Specifically, dry wines come with a cork and sweet wines have a twist off top. I also learned that wine, unlike beer, is better when aged, and preferably for longer then a couple of weeks. It seems that there is a direct correlation between age and price. The older the wine, the higher the price. Too bad we couldn’t adopt the same standards for people, but that is another story.
Today, I have developed a taste for wine, or have at least sampled (a term I use loosely) enough different types to know what I like. They have to meet specific criteria. First, they must cost less then ten dollars a bottle. They can also be purchased in larger quantities in a box. And finally, they must be readily available, i.e. Kroger or Walmart.
Wine is a rather refined drink. For instance, you never see it served with cheez whiz and crackers. And, unlike beer, it doesn’t make me burp and I don’t have to pee as much, two definite advantages. Further, a bottle of wine makes a nice gift, unlike a six pack of Bud Light. I gave my wife a bottle on our last anniversary. After all, I am the reason she drinks. Another advantage is it doesn’t take as long to chill as it does beer. You don’t want it ice cold. I mean, if you want to stick it in the freezer for just a little while before company comes, that’s OK. But don’t leave it in there too long because the alcohol content is not great enough to keep it from freezing and exploding. How do I know that you ask? Well, we won’t go there. Just trust me.
I attended a wine tasting once, but I wasn’t too impressed. They were talking about the nose and letting it breath. I couldn’t tell if mine was breathing or not, so I applied some mouth to mouth resuscitation. They were holding the glasses by the stem and swirling it around, smelling it, swishing it around in their mouth and finally swallowing it, while making comments about the bouquet and notes of cherry etc.
Needless to say, I felt a little out of place. I had no idea what they were talking about for the most part and, until my wife found me, I was the only one drinking out of a bottle. I began to wander around a little bit, listening to conversations in the hopes of learning something more. After a while, I thought I would try out some of my new found knowledge and joined a small group. To break the ice, I inquired of one man “what is that you are drinking”? He replied “It’s a Chateau Dominique Chablis, 1977. It possesses a slight floral bouquet and sits lightly on the palate. What do you have there?” Now, properly holding my glass by the stem, I swirled the liquid around, sniffed it, and held it up to the light. Then, in an authoritative voice said “judging strictly from the color, I’d say it’s a red.

From the archives 2014

Posted in Fiction, Humor, Laugh, Life, Perspective, Random Thoughts, Wine, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Witness

I watched you when you did it
I saw what you had done
But too scared to admit it
My decision was to run

Pretend it never happened
Push it from my conscious mind
Your motive never questioned
Leave the ugly deed behind

But it seems it’s not that simple
That my conscience will not rest
I’m destined to be burdened
By the values I’ve suppressed

Why was this thrust upon me
Why was I the only one
To stand there and bear witness
While the vicious deed was done

Will I ever find the courage
To confess to what I saw
Instead of staying silent
And into myself withdraw

The pain is much to heavy
For deep inside I know
I cannot forgive myself
This cancer will just grow

For even though you are the one
Whose crime I could undo
If I choose to stay silent
Then I am guilty too

I am guilty too

Posted in Life, Perspective, Poetry, Reflection, Rhyme, Self Esteem | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments