Friday, May 22, 2015

Fifty Years Ain't as Long as it Used to Be

Thought for the day:  If time only flies when you're having fun, I must be having a fantastic time.

Hi-ya. We had a fantabulous time with our friends in Tennessee. Um, no I'm not calling you a smart ass... that's just a picture of the lid from one of the games we sometimes play while enjoying life at Cliff's and Kati's. One of many many games. Seemed like an appropriate picture to use with this post, because if the shoe fits... and it definitely fits Smarticus and me. We're both smart asses. Come to think of it, so are Cliff and Kati. I guess that's part of the reason we get along so well. [The picture in the header was taken out back of their house.]

Now that we're home, it's time for another adventure. This time, it's for our anniversary. Our forty-sixth. YIPES! I used to think people who were married for fifty years were married like for-ev-er, and were like... ancient. You know... beyond old. Man, was I ever wrong. Fifty years is right around the corner for us, and though the mirror and calendar may tell us otherwise, on the inside, we're still young newlyweds. (Granted, newlyweds whose young bodies make more snap-crackle-and-pop noises than a bowl of Rice Krispies on steroids.)

With a couple updates, here is a re-run from a couple years ago. It was originally titled, Still Celebrating. (And we are!)


Thought for the day:  Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day. [Gene Perret]

Yeah, our wedding was a few years ago... forty-six years ago this coming Sunday.

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.  [Rita Rudner]

Lucky me, I found that one special person at a very young age, and have been annoying the crap out of him ever since. Met him at the scabby-kneed age of twelve. (And married him anyway!) Okay, so we looked a little different when we got married in '69. Yeah, yeah, yeah...  he had hair... I had a waist. Lots of ups and downs since then, too, but one thing that hasn't changed? Our sense of humor. We're still laughing. Still working hard to pull the proverbial applecart in the same direction.

Still loving.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.  [Mignon McLaughlin]

Of course, if you ask Smarticus how to make a marriage last, he'd probably say what he always says. He says the secret lies in him saying two simple words, whether he means 'em or not: Yes, dear. (He's kind of a smart ass.)

I say a successful marriage requires hardhats, because it's an ongoing project, and never really doneA successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.  [Andre Maurois]

Doggone it, there's no such thing as resting on your laurels when it comes to marriage, is there? Or as Smarticus says, "It only takes one aw sh*t to wipe out two attaboys." (Told ya he's a smart ass.)  Lily Tomlin expressed it a bit more delicately. She said, The road to success is always under construction.  

So maybe a successful marriage isn't something we ever achieve, but if you think about it, that's a good thing, because if we think we've already arrived, we may no longer strive.  Best to keep wearing those hardhats, to keep building that road to success, and to savor every bit of joy and humor we find along the way. Gotta have fun. Gotta laugh.

Talking about fun and laughter, remember Red Skelton? He was a very sweet, very mild-mannered PG-rated comedian. Anyway, he and his wife were married for many, many years, and here's his Recipe for the Perfect Marriage:

  • Two times a week, we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and companionship. She goes on Tuesdays, and I go on Fridays.
  • We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California, and mine is in Texas.
  • I take my wife everywhere ... but she keeps finding her way back.
  • I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. "Somewhere I haven't been in a long time!" she said. So I suggested the kitchen.
  • We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.
  • She has an electric blender, electric toaster, and electric bread maker. She said, "There are too many gadgets and no place to sit down!" So I bought her an electric chair.
  • My wife told me the car wasn't running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was, and she told me, "In the lake."
  • She got a mud pack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.
  • She ran after the garbage truck, yelling, "Am I too late for the garbage?" The driver said, "No, jump in!"
  • Remember. Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.
  • I married Miss Right. I just didn't know her first name was Always.
  • I haven't spoken to my wife in eighteen months. I don't like to interrupt.
  • The last fight was my fault, though. My wife asked, "What's on TV?" and I said, "Dust!

No telling what we're gonna do this weekend, but I know it'll be an adventure. When you're married to a smart ass, every day is an adventure. Y'all have a super weekend.

A long marriage is two people trying to dance a duet and two solos at the same time.  [Anne Taylor Fleming]

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

May I never be so blind that all I see is my own small world, nor so self-satisfied that all I am is all I ever hope to be.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Thought for the day:  Friendship is not a big thing... it's a million little things. 

Okay, so maybe friendship doesn't need words. I guess it's perfectly possible to maintain a comfortable silence when hanging out with good friends, and it wouldn't kill us to keep our mouths shut once in a while. Not that Smarticus and I are ever likely to know, mind you, because for the most part, when we're hanging out with any of our friends, we're with a group of talkers, story-swappers, and laugh-until-our-sides-hurt kinda people.

Laughter is the shortest distance between friends. 

We'll be hanging out with our besties for the next four or five days, (Woo-HOO! which means I won't be online for a while.) and in anticipation of all the fun we're gonna have, it got me to thinking about friendship. What does it mean to be a friend? What does friendship mean to you? And do our expectations and criteria change over the years? (What a stupid question. Of course they do! When I was a kid, everybody was my best friend.)

Friends are the bacon bits in the salad bowl of life. 

That's a good way to put it, isn't it? Delightfully savory bacon bits. Friends are also the decadent frosting on our cake, the people we can depend on, and who can depend on us. Together, we double all our joys and halve all our sorrows. We get each other.

Good friends don't let you do stupid things... alone.

 Remember the pinkie swears of youth, the shared secrets, and the oh-so-serious ritual of becoming blood sisters and brothers?  I must confess, my girlfriend Caryl and I weren't all that keen about cutting ourselves, though. We were practically joined at the hip since we met in first grade, loved to sing together, and got into all kinds of fun mischief together for many years. So, by golly, we wanted to be blood sisters! But cut ourselves? Uh... no thanks. The guys could play mumblety-peg (Anybody remember that?) and slice themselves in the name of friendship with their ever-present pocket knives all they wanted, but us? Nuh-uh. We simply picked at our scabs until we got enough of a trickle to mix. (Hush! Same principle, right?)

No more pinkie swears as adults, but we do still share confidences and keep secrets. No more blood brothers and sisters, either. (I still have an aversion to cutting myself, and it's been decades years months days since I've had a ready supply of scabs on my knees.) But after all these years, my childhood blood sister and I still keep in touch, especially since she had some experimental (and successful!) chemotherapy a few years ago. As a side effect, she lost many of her childhood memories, so she asked me to help her fill in the blanks with her, an undertaking that's brought us both a lot of pleasure.

Friends are people who know the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you forget the words.

When I was eleven years old or so, I learned a little something about friendship. It happened on a beautiful warm evening in late spring, when the scent of lilacs filled the air. My neighbor friend Diane and I were chatting, giggling, and strolling to the elementary school so we could attend a pre-teen dance there, and as was fairly common in our neighborhood, seagulls were providing background music by soaring majestically above us, and squawking their familiar cries.

BOMBS AWAY! [morguefile]
And then one of the seagulls zeroed in on us. Or to be more precise, it zeroed in on Diane. Like a miniature dive bomber, that squawking bird swooped down, and FWOP! splatted a big ol' load of multi-colored poop all over her. Unless you've experienced it, you have no idea how much poop a seagull can fwop. Or how colorful it can be. Trust me, it was a lot. And colorful. On her. On the shoulder of her shirt, and all down the front of her. I'm telling you, the expression on her face was priceless, and I, her dear sweet friend, wiped most of that nasty stuff off with my bare hands, and then oh-so-gently wrapped my lightweight jacket around her shoulders. "There, there," I crooned. "It'll be all right."

Yeah, right. You guys don't know me at all, do ya?

So sue me. I laughed. I laughed my silly arse off. And then I laughed some more. Diane, alas, failed to see the humor in the situation, and insisted on going back home. So, no dance. We went back home and watched TV. I learned right there and then how important it is for friends to laugh... together.

Now, before you judge me too harshly for laughing, this is the same Diane who helped break my parents' bed, and then took off like a scared rabbit and left me to deal with the mess by myself. Besides, if the seagull had pooped on me? I would have laughed just as hard. (Come on... it was funny!)

We are best friends. Always remember that if you fall, I will pick you up... after I finish laughing.

Whether you have one or two good friends, or so many you can't keep count, nothing's more wonderful than spending time with people who get you, no matter how weird you can be. If you're very very lucky, you might even be married to one of them. (Yes, I am very very lucky.)

Best friends know how weird you are, but still choose to be seen with you in public.


No matter how old we are, whether we're very young and fervently declaring our status as best friends forever five minutes after we meet...


or teenagers filled with insecurities, and learning more about ourselves and the world, bonding over common interests and shared secrets...


or old codgers who've shared a lifetime of memories, and a lifetime of priceless friendship...

friendship is a vital part of our lives. As tasty as they may be, we don't need bacon bits on our salads, but we do need friends.

The friends we're gonna be with for the next four or five days? The bestest. We all get along; we all get each other. We'll play a lot of games, swap a lot of lies, and boyohboy, will we ever laugh. Forget sleep, though. We aren't likely to get a lot of that, because we always squeeze as much as we can out of our time together. Like the Mertzes and the Ricardos... (Guess I'm Ethel!)

Oh, and in case you're wondering, if a bird happens to poop on any of us, you can count on me. I'm gonna laugh. And even better? So will the other three...

How about you? When you hear the word friend, is there anyone in particular who immediately comes to mind? A childhood friend... a current friend...  a blogging pal... a writing partner... or best of all... someone who's been your friend forever? Wanta tell us a little bit about that person?

               Good friends are hard to find, harder to keep, and impossible to forget.

                   I'll be back to respond to you comments next week. (If I can stay awake...)

                                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Magical World of Museums

Thought for the day:  Too much of a good thing can be wonderful. [Mae West]

From April 26 until May 1, Atlanta held its first Museum Week, in which entrance to a whole bunch of museums was buy one, get one free... or simply free. Doesn't get much better than that, right? What can I say? As far as this space cadet is concerned, our week was... outta this world! (The astronaut suit in that picture is located at Tellus Science Museum.)

How's about a few highlights of some of the museums we visited? Just some stuff you might find interesting. I will acknowledge, even though we visited some terrific museums, the Smithsonian in D.C. is still top dog for me. Never been there? How'd you like to take a virtual tour ? Woo HOO! (Almost as good as being there!) HEY! Wait! What ya doing? Don't go NOW... read my post first. Sheesh. (I knew I shoulda put the link at the END of the post...)

Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space.  [Orthan Pamuk]

This is an unusual piece of pottery found in the Atlanta Historical Society's museum. (The Swan House, pictured in the header, is also located on the Society's grounds.) Anyhow, back to the pottery. As you can see, it has candle holders, making it a candelabra of sorts, but that isn't why this piece made me smile... it's the common name for this piece. See the face? Well, there's another face on the other side, too. Ergo, it has two faces, so it was commonly know as... (ready?) a politician jug.

Talking about politicians, check this out. Would you believe that wooden box is a ballot box used by soldiers during the Civil War? It's hard to tell in this picture, but that pulled-out drawer contains two different colors of balls... one for each of the two presidential candidates. The soldier/voter would drop his preferred color of ball through the hole in the top of the box to cast his vote. Neat, huh?

It's one thing to read in the pages of a history book about the systematic destruction of Atlanta's railroads and factories during the Civil War, but seeing this railroad tie brings it home. Ties like these became so hot in the fires, they were purposely bent out of shape around huge tree trunks so they couldn't be re-used.

One more thing from the Civil War. It's a little boy's set of clothing. The tag hanging down on it reads, My father was a soldier. 

Sad, isn't it? A hundred and fifty years old, and it's still sad...

No more sad.

Yeah, I know this cut-out at Fernbank Natural History Museum is for kids... but hey! I'm just a big kid at heart.

One of my favorite things about Fernbank is its IMAX theater. When we visited the museum about five years ago, we took a realistic trip through the Amazon rain forest on our anniversary, courtesy of the magic of IMAX. This time, Smarticus treated me to two different movies: one about humpback whales, and the other, called Mysteries of the Unseen World. All about stuff normally invisible to the human eye, whether because it exists outside of our visible light spectrum, or because it moves too fast, moves too slowly, or is just itty bitty. Through time-lapse photography, high-speed photography, an electron microscope, etc, we got to see some really cool stuff. The whales movie was terrific, too, but I reeeeally enjoyed seeing some of the usually unseen things of our world.

Luckily, we caught a temporary exhibit at Fernbank about poisons before it closed down a couple days later. Lots of interesting stuff. I wonder how many people were compelled to say,  Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble when they saw these three witches. (I was!)

One interesting tidbit from the poison exhibit: It seems there was an actual basis in fact for Lewis Carroll's nutty Mad Hatter character. Denton, England, where Carroll was born, was a prime center for hat-making in the 1800s, and the consensus of opinion was that the hatters were generally irritable and peculiar. And for good reason, too. Although I'm not clear exactly how or why it was used, mercury was used extensively during the hat-making process, so most hatters acquired their peculiarities courtesy of mercury poisoning.

Just one more pic from Tellus Science Museum, since I covered this museum at length in an earlier post. (Wherein this old poop touched fossilized dinosaur poop!) Anyhow, this is a 1912 Shaw motorcycle. One of the things I found interesting about it is the chain... it's made of leather!

Okay, only one more museum, and it's one of my favorites. Booth Western Museum. It's part of the Smithsonian, and much to my surprise, is the largest Western Museum in the country, which is especially surprising, considering its off-the-beaten-path location  in a small city. (Cartersville.)

There's tons (literally!) of bronze sculptures, both inside and out, and amazing paintings and relics from the western U.S. Although they were all terrific, that wasn't my favorite thing about this museum. My favorite thing wasn't even about the West. It was about...

presidents! (Um, no I wasn't grabbing JFK's butt in this photo... it just LOOKS like I was...)

Actually, there are two exhibits about presidents at Booth. One, a permanent collection, includes an original signed document from every single president... along with some little-known facts about each one. Some really interesting stuff!

And the other, a temporary one, showcases photographs taken by numerous presidential photographers. Some GREAT photos! Some candid, some marking important events, some posed... but all great.

This is the only picture I took of one of the photographs. In general, I chose not to do so, in spite of the fact that other people were taking pictures left and right. But this one, I couldn't resist.

It shows a photographer named Mike tying then-VP Bush's shoe. Reagan and Bush later signed the picture, in which Reagan wrote: Mike! A simple curtsy would have been enough. And Bush added: P.S. There's a 25¢ tip in this for you if they really shine.

So there ya have some of the highlights from our week. I'm only including this one last picture of a wax figure (He looked like a live person... even close up!) just so I have an excuse to use this terrific quote from Dean Martin: There's a statue of Jimmy Stewart in the Hollywood Wax Museum, and the statue talks better than he does.

Before I forget, I'd like to wish all of you moms out there a very happy Mother's Day. (Hmm, I wonder if the Atlanta zoo is offering free entrance to moms again this year.We haven't seen their new state-of-the-art reptile house yet...)

                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

One time I went to a museum where all the work in the museum had been done by children; they had all the paintings up on refrigerators.  [Stephen Wright]