Archive for the ‘friends’ Tag

09/26/2021 Goodbye to a Friend   Leave a comment

It’s 6:15 in the morning and I’m in my man-cave preparing for my day. This is a quiet time that I have every morning and in many ways it’s the best part of my day. It’s the perfect place and time for quiet meditation and self-reflection. For some reason today I have an old friend of mine on my mind who passed away about a month ago. This will be my memorial to him.

We worked together over forty years ago for six years and when the company that we worked for went into bankruptcy we went our separate ways. At some point we reconnected and became the best of friends for the next thirty-five years. We never saw each other in person again, but e-mailed regularly. He was quite a character and anytime I’m writing a blog I think of him because over the years he must’ve written twenty-five novels worth of information and sent it to me. We talked about everything, family, friends, jobs, and anything that demanded our attention for analysis and sarcastic comments. He had one helluva a sense of humor.

All those years ago when we were still young enough to be concerned about what women thought about us, we were in a bar in Brockton, Massachusetts having a cold one or two or three. He’d been chatting up a young lady for about twenty minutes when he excused himself to make a restroom visit. I eased on down the bar next to the young lady and began to talk to her myself. I bluntly asked her, “What do you think of my friend?”, and she just started laughing and giggling. She said he’s really so damn funny and so smart, he’s kind of like an “Ugly Burt Reynolds”. That got me laughing hysterically and I used that term against him for the next thirty-five years. It just never stopped being funny and just as an aside, he never got the girl either.

We talked on the phone three or four times a year but we e-mailed at least four times a week. I know all about his family, his friends, his granddaughter, and all of those little things that friends share. I looked forward to hearing from him everyday and there’s now a real void in my life since he’s passed. We always had an agreement that if something happened to either of us we make arrangements for someone to contact the other to let them know. Neither of us ever did that. He assured me every time we communicated whether it was written or orally that he was “Still Vertical”. Almost every e-mail he sent me started with those two words and it became a “thing”.

There were so many days when he sent me funny, crazy, and interesting emails. We covered every subject you could possibly think of. Two months ago I went for three days without any contact with him at all. I knew he’d been sick and had been moved to a care center because of his age and frailty. I had no communication information for his family and had never talked to or met any of them. I was forced to go online into the Kansas City, Missouri area and run a search for recent deaths. That’s how I found out my friend was gone. My long Internet friendship was finally over. He was no longer “Vertical”.

It’s a sad commentary but a fact of life in these days of social media and Internet relationships. We all must adapt to our new circumstances. Thanks for reading this and just so you know:

I’M STILL VERTICAL

RIP PARK

09/17/2021 The Good Old Days   4 comments

Way back . . .

  • I’m talking about hide and seek at dusk, sitting on the porch. Hot bread and butter, eating a super-duper sandwich (Dagwood), Red light, Green light, 123.
  • Chocolate milk, lunch tickets, any candy in a brown paper bag. Hopscotch, butterscotch, Double-Dutch, jacks, kickball and dodgeball. Mother, May I? Hula Hoops, sunflower seeds, jawbreakers, blow pops, Mary Janes, and running through the sprinklers. The smell of the sun and licking salty lips.

Wait . . .

  • Watching lightning bugs in a jar, playing slingshot and Red Rover. When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere.
  • Bedtime, climbing trees. 1 million mosquito bites and sticky fingers. Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, sitting on the curb, jumping down the steps, jumping on the bed, and pillow fights.
  • Being tickled to death, running until you are out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Being tired from playing . . . Remember that?

I’m not finished yet . . .

  • What about the girl that had the big bubbly handwriting? Licking the beater when your mother made cake. When there were two types of sneakers for boys and girls (Keds and PF Flyers), and the only time you wore them at school was for “gym”.
  • When nobody owned a purebred dog. When the quarter was a decent allowance, and another quarter a huge bonus. When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When girls neither dated or kissed until late high school, if then. When your mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
  • When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, for free. And you didn’t pay for air, and you got trading stamps to boot! When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the boxes.
  • When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought anything of it. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.

Not done yet . . .

  • When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done, every day. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed… And did! When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot. When nearly everyone’s Mom was at home when the kids got there.
  • Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn’t because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Disapproval of our parents and grandparents was a much bigger threat!
  • Decisions were made by going “eeny-meanie-miney-mo”. Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, “do over!” Race issue meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly.
  • Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening. It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best friends”. Being old, referred to anyone over 20. The net on a tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball and rules didn’t matter. It was unbelievable that dodgeball wasn’t an Olympic event.
  • The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties. It was magic when Dad would remove his thumb. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.

And nobody was prettier than Mom.

IT’S NICE TO LOOK BACK

(And please, no wise cracks about the photo.)

12-14-2017 Pre-Christmas OMG’s   1 comment

It’s been a number of months since I last visited my blog and I’m not entirely sure why.  I suppose it’a mixture of laziness, apathy, and the holiday season that’s approaching.  I’ve been wanting to write but I don’t want it to be more of the same crap you’re hearing and seeing in other media. The “Trump is the devil.” nonsense is wearing really thin except for a few braindead liberals and diehard Democrats.

There’s a time and place for everything but the last thing we need is the steady media drumbeat of negativety during the holidays.  I’d much rather enjoy the season with my family than listening to an incredibly biased media laying hours and hours of propaganda and fake news on me.  Life is just too goddamn short.

We’ve had out first two snow falls for 2017 and the snowblower came through as expected. I’m going to try very hard not to do the normal fall-on-my-ass routine that seems to occur every year.  I’ll be staying in the house as much as possible, I’ll keep nice and warm, and have a drink or two to calm my nerves.  Before I know it Spring will be here once again.

So Merry Christmas to family and friends and anyone bored enough to read this blog.

I’ve also been giving some serious thought to my New Year’s resolutions for 2018.  I’ll do a quick review of 2017 just after Christmas and then post 2018’s early in January.

Stay healthy . . . Stay warm . . . Kiss the kids and grandkids . . . Hug your pets.

 

 

 

 

 

12-14-2015 Journal–Christmas Musings!   Leave a comment

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Ten shopping days left till the big day arrives. Time always loves playing tricks on us and even more so at this time of the year.  If we’re doing something we really enjoy the time flies by quickly but if it’s something we dislike it seems to drag on forever. That for me is Christmas in a nut shell.  The more tasks that we’re required to complete to celebrate the holiday causes time to speed up in a big way when we don’t think we can finish them all. Then time slows to a dead crawl as we wait for the final day to arrive after the tasks have been completed.

This week for me is all of that and then some. Within a few days the first of the visitors will begin arriving and that’s exciting right up until the time they actually get here. They’re excited as well but that feeling wanes in just a day or so. Then they start missing their regular life and routines and each day that passes makes those feelings grow. That’s when time begins to play it’s tricks.  None of us want the gathering to end so it feels like time is flying but all of us wish it would end to some degree making time drag on a little. It’s a real conundrum.

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‘It can’t be Christmas without a skinny Elvis picture.’

Believe me I’m not complaining, it’s just one of those weird facts of life we must deal with and appreciate at the same time.  I’m wishing right now that time would speed up so the festivities can begin. As a family grows and it’s members pursue their individual lives these holidays become more special. In most cases all of the participants make some sort of sacrifice to gather like this. We all need to acknowledge that fact and truly try to appreciate each other’s efforts. 

I’m lying here in bed, it’s 5 am, and I’m already excited to get today started but this effing waiting is brutal. My tasks are completed but the better-half is racing around the house in a swirl of wrapping paper, ribbons, and rolls of tape.  It’s actually fun to watch her but I’d better not be enjoying myself too much or there’ll be hell to pay.

MERRY CHRISTMAS – 10 MORE DAYS

11-14-15 Journal – Pre-Christmas Blues!   Leave a comment

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I’m already on my third cup of coffee this morning and that good old caffeine buzz I’ve come to rely on has yet to rev my engines.  I have a lot of errands to run today and need some serious motivation to get them all completed.  The blessing is that my better-half is working which will keep her out of my hair (what little I have left) to prepare for her birthday dinner tonight.  It’s difficult to get anything secret done around here and over the years she’s forced me to become even sneakier  than usual.

She loves being surprised and each year that goes by it get tougher and tougher to come up with fresh ideas.  I’ve purchased her a few gifts which I’m sure she’ll like because I am “The Man” when it comes to giving great gifts.  As much as she likes being surprised I like doing the surprising.  I can’t go into too many details because she reads this blog looking for clues.  I’ve learned to be very careful in keeping important information as secret as possible.

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She’s been feeling a little depressed coming into the holidays since it’s the first ones since the passing of her Mom.  She’s usually a Christmas fanatic going totally bonkers with decorations and general X-mas silliness. She needs something to get her into the holiday spirit and I’m hoping we’ll  have our first snowfall soon. That’s always been a kick-start for me and I think it will be for her as well.  She’s also a shopping machine and quite possibly a few hours out in the crowds on Black Friday will help too.

I understand how she feels because I went through the loss of both my parents in the last eight years.  My mother was a Christmas lunatic too and it’s still difficult to have Christmas and not think of her and my dad and Christmases past.

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The saving grace this year will be the grandsons.  Christmas has always been for the children and once the tree gets decorated and the kids come to visit, chattering on and on about Santa and reindeer, she’ll be just fine.  They own her completely and a few smiles from them will make all the difference in the world. Then she’ll go crazy the last week before Christmas trying to make up for lost time which is what I’m hoping for.

Truthfully I’ve been a real Grinch for many years about Christmas but having the boys in our life is changing all that. I hope we both can find the holiday spirit once again.  I’d love to have that feeling on Christmas morning like I did when I was eight years old.

It can’t get much better than that.

10-21-2015 Journal – Dreams, Both Dry and Wet!   Leave a comment

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I’m still lying in bed this morning and wondering what this day will bring. I seem to be unmotivated more than usual and I’m trying to snap out of it but it isn’t working all that well. I just poured my second cup of coffee which I hope will jolt me enough to get me moving.

It’s been a week of cold nights, semi-warm days, and some of the weirdest nightmares and dreams I can ever remember having. The dreams started in earnest about five nights ago and I remember the details rather vividly. That in itself is a little usual and the fact that they’ve been extremely sexual is just a plus I suppose.

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I’ve always loved dreaming and actually look forward to having them and remembering them. Dreams just fascinate me.  I realize that almost everything we’ve ever seen or done in our lives is stored away in our brain somewhere but how that information is accessed and displayed in a dream is awesome and mysterious.  It’s like having a time machine that makes it possible for us to drop into our past, see any number of old friends, dead family members, and some special situations with a twist of the weird thrown into the mix.  I especially like the weird dreams and can only pray that I remember all of the juicy little details.  As with everything the devil is always in the details and there seems to be plenty of devil in my dreams of late.

Dreams also make it possible to mend old relationships.  Over the years my dreams have made it possible for me to develop a better relationship with my late father and to even mentally create a better relationship with a borderline horrible ex-wife. Little does she know all of the wonderful things she’s done for me and to me in my dreams.  Some good, some really fantastic, and a few that were utterly disgusting.  Oh baby!

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In my dreams I’m always searching for something. I’ve either lost my car or can’t find the person, place, or thing I’m looking for. While I’m searching I run into people I knew or people I thought I knew and have some truly strange adventures.  In many of these adventures I have the ability to fly which is really cool. I’m also naked in many of the dreams which can be troubling but it makes flying a whole lot more fun. I’m not sure why exactly but my dreams have gotten progressively more interesting as I’ve aged. I have no idea why and believe me I’m not complaining.

My morning caffeine is  finally kicking in and this lemon poppy seed muffin is absolutely scrumptious.  I’m almost ready to leap to my feet, throw on some clothes, and go do something. I’ll wait a few more minutes before leaving this bed because I desperately want to rerun the dream I had last night.

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Where else but in a dream could I be snuggling up with a warm, naked, and exceptionally friendly, Lindsay Lohan. Up until last night I wasn’t even a fan but after that dream we shared I may have to reconsider her status. I’ve always considered her to be a somewhat sleazy character but in that dream she’s proven herself to be all that and more. 

I can’t wait for tonight.

09-09-2015 Journal–More Personal Questions!   Leave a comment

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A short time ago I posted ten questions created to assist a person in examining their own motivations and ethics when confronted with difficult problems.  I was surprised by some of  the responses and even more so by the numerous requests for additional questions.  Never let it be said I don’t respond to my readers.

Here are ten more puzzlers to get you thinking along with my own answers.

1.   Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by five years to become extremely attractive?

a.  No, I’d prefer to have the women I know become more attractive. Then I’d give up the five years without hesitation.

2.   Have you ever considered suicide? If yes, what is so important to you that without it life would not be worth living?

a. Yes, my eyesight.

3.   If your friends and acquaintances were willing to bluntly and honestly tell you what they really thought of you, would you want them to?

a. Sure why not.  For the most part I know my faults but maybe I’d find out about one I wasn’t aware of. Either way I don’t really care.

4.   Do you believe in capital punishment?  Would you be willing to execute a man sentenced to death by the courts if you were selected by lot to do so and he would go free if you refused? Assume you know no details of the trial.

a. I do believe in capital punishment and I would execute a criminal who had been properly convicted through the courts. The alternative of freeing him is not an option.

5   If you went to a beach and it turned out to be a nude beach, would you stay and go swimming? Would you swim nude?

a.  Yes and Yes.

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6.   Do you find it so hard to say “no” that you regularly do favors you do not want to do? If so, why?

a. No I find it pretty easy to say no.

7.   Would you like to know the precise date of your death?

a. No.

8.   If by getting a 2 inch by 2 inch tattoo, you could save five lives and prevent a terrorist attack, would you do so? If you were allowed to select the location and design, where would you have it placed and what would the design be?

a. Yes I‘d get the tattoo.  A red crescent on my butt.

9.   On an airplane you are talking pleasantly to a stranger of average appearance. Unexpectedly, the person offers you $10,000.00 for one night of sex. Knowing that there is no danger and that payment is certain, would you accept the offer?

a. Of course . . . If the person were really attractive I might do it for $5,000.00. LOL

10.  Would you be willing to commit perjury for a friend? For example, might you testify that he was driving carefully when he hit a pedestrian even though he had been joking around and not paying attention.

a. No, he’s on his own.

Well there you have it.  Ten more questions to make you wonder about yourself and your significant other (assuming they are answering them with you).  Enjoy.

12-27-2014 Journal – Bye Bye Christmas!   Leave a comment

Finally Christmas has come and gone.  For me it was the longest Christmas season of my life.  The retailers started their season well before Halloween and it increased in intensity every week.  It wasn’t all that bad but it truly was annoying at times.

The house is quiet for the first time in a week and while I had a great week it was also exhausting.  The visitors and family have returned to their homes safely and for that I’m grateful.  I ate too damn much, drank a little more than I should have, and helped spoil the hell out of our grandson.  It was all good until I climbed back onto my treadmill yesterday.  I thought I was gonna die.

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Christmas Day was insane as you can see from the pictures.  The grandson was sitting in the middle of the debris and I just thought I’d tell you that my cat is also in there somewhere.

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“Stuffing”

My bird turned out great and so did the better-half’s special family stuffing recipe. The day after we all had cold turkey sandwiches that we’re almost as good as eating it fresh from the oven.  I see a huge turkey pot pie in my future and after that the remains of that poor bird will make an excellent soup.  If I could figure a way to eat the bones I would.  I’m a true carnivore.  Here’s the before and after photos of that delicious bird.

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“Before”

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“After”

I suppose we’ll be keeping the decorations up until New Years has but there’s more going on there than even you can imagine.  A few days ago my step- daughter made a comment that she knew me and was sure that the Christmas tree would be down and packed away before 2015.  After some discussion my better-half and I decided to do something totally off the wall  and outside the box. It looks as if we’re going to keep the tree up for all of 2015. Each month it will be decorated for any holidays that fall during that month.  Next up will be the Valentines Tree but before that the Superbowl Tree will be killer. 

Each months pictures will be posted of the tree and copies forwarded to the all knowing step-daughter as well. I’ve accepted her challenge and it should be a hoot.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

12-15-2014 Journal – My Christmas Story!   Leave a comment

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It’s early and I’m still snuggled up in this warm bed and I never ever want to leave it.  My better-half is a person who isn’t entirely sure how to relax and just a few minutes ago she left this cozy bed to begin her endless list of chores.  She’s driven by her imaginary To-Do list that instantly becomes her number one priority as soon as her feet hit the floor.  I’m a goal oriented person myself but luckily I know when to just lay back, block out the world, and relax. Any minute now she’ll be delivering me a steaming hot cup of hazelnut coffee and then she’ll disappear into own little world of Christmas stuff and loud annoying music.

I don’t dislike Christmas as many people think but I also have no great love for it. As a kid It was much more of a religious holiday thanks mostly to my mother. As I grew older and lost my interest in organized religion I also lost most of my interest in Christmas.  I really enjoy sharing gifts with friends and family and I actually enjoy the giving more than the receiving.  My better-half is Christmas crazy and it’s gotten progressively worse since the birth of her grandson.  With another child expected in March I can only assume next Christmas will be totally out of control.

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There’s nine shopping days left until the big day and I’m actually looking forward to having the grandson under the tree and up to his neck in wrapping paper and gifts.  He doesn’t realize yet because of his young age that this will be this last Christmas as the lone grand child. Next year he’ll have a new sibling to share the limelight with and so it will be forever.  I plan on spoiling him a bit this year because I’m really sympathetic to his plight.

I’m even considering sneaking down to his house after dark disguised as Santa to look in the window and scare the crap out of him like my parents and family did to me.  It was an odd way to show their love but after a few years of being deathly afraid of Santa I was able to man up and get on with my life. It was really scary.

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I was about his age when my sister was born and things were never quite the same after that.  I wasn’t too happy with sharing the limelight and neither will he I’m sure. That rivalry will last forever.  So our little man is going to have one terrific Christmas which I hope he’ll remember and appreciate someday.  I see I’m getting the evil eye from my better-half which means she’ll start bugging me to get the hell out of bed and get busy.

I fully intend to convince her that today I have my own To-Do list to worry about. Then I’ll post the blog, grab my camera, and disappear from the premises.  I figure any time I can steal and spend driving around and taking pictures is a win/win. I could also hint that I need to buy her another gift or two and that should do the trick.

That’s my Christmas Story and I’m sticking to it.

11-27-2014 Journal – Happy Thanksgiving!   Leave a comment

It seems to me that 2014 has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  It was a busy year which probably accounts for that.  It’s Thanksgiving morning and I’m relaxing with a coffee and donut supplied by my better-half who was the early riser this morning.  It’s been quite some time since we’ve had a snow storm on Thanksgiving and I’m looking out the window at a winter wonderland.  I can’t believe she was up and out so early in this weather.  It’s one of those special holiday miracles I guess.

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I spent time yesterday as the snow was accumulating trying to keep the driveway passable.  The snowblower was unveiled and got it’s first use this season and so did my back and arms.  I’m more than a little stiff today but that’s par for the course here in Maine.

The final snow numbers indicate between ten and twelve inches with most of the area suffering from downed tree limbs and power outages.  I’m not sure how we missed out on the loss of power but for a change we made it through the storm with only a few momentary lapses.  We have our issues with this snow and as you see so do the birds.  They’re scratching their way to the food as best they can.  

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The sun is shining and is being reflected off the snow and it’s amazing.  I can’t wait to get dressed and get out with my camera.  Everywhere you look there are beautiful pictures to be taken and I’m going to get my fair share.

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I’d also like to send out a special thank you to the Saco town snowplow operator responsible for destroying my new mailbox during the first effing snow storm of the season.  I wish I knew who he was and where he lives.  I might just do a drive-by on his mailbox with a baseball bat. Freaking A-hole!!

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For the first time in a while our Thanksgiving dinner will be just for two.  All of our family and friends are scattered about the country celebrating their holiday. We’ll have our meal this afternoon and be thankful for our good health and the blessing of a quiet day to properly enjoy it.

I do love the snow and I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more before this winter is over.  I hope you and yours are enjoying this holiday and appreciate your lives together.  Now we can rush headlong into the Christmas season and then the welcoming of 2015.

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