Saturday, June 19, 2021

Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind

 Hey, guys.

Yeah, I know it's been a long time... nearly three months. Sorry about that, but I've been.... shall we say... occupied.

In a good way. 

Believe it or not, there's a wonderful new man in my life, and I'm so happy, I feel like a giddy teenager. We're acting like teenagers, too. We're so happy, it's nuts. I had no idea something like this was even possible. Not for me. When Mike died, I thought I was done. Kaput. Done for. I figured my raison d'etre was simply  to clean out my house and get things in such good order, it'd be easier for my kids to handle things when I kick the bucket. A personal life for me? Forget it... I expected only to live for my family and friends. I was just gonna be spinning my wheels and coping as best as I could until I stopped breathing.

Screw that.

Turns out, the universe wasn't done with me, and I'm not done living yet. Forget that whole stupid notion of merely biding time until I shuffle off from this mortal coil. No way. Thanks to Larry, I'm more alive than I've ever been, and I feel like ME again. Our plan is to squeeze as much pleasure from each day, each moment, as we possibly can... together. For the past few weeks, we've been splitting our time between our two houses, but I'm gonna be moving in with him in a month or so. My daughter Sunshine and her hubby are gonna move into my house. WooHOO! Yeah, I know... it's a lot, isn't it?

But it's absolutely right, and I'm so freaking excited about the future, it's ridiculous. (And not just because of Larry. In October, my cousin and I are going on a trip... to ITALY!) I honestly didn't know it was possible to be this happy. Please don't interpret any of this to mean I didn't love Mike. I did. But quite honestly,  between you and me, it wasn't always easy. Being a grunt in Nam changed him in ways from which he never fully recovered. I know he loved me as much as Nam would allow, but Larry loves me unconditionally and accepts everything about me. We are so much alike, loving him almost feels like loving myself. 

So THAT'S what I've been doing. Just to show ya what kind of guy Larry is, he's the one who suggested I write some kind of a post to let you guys know how I'm doing. And here I am. (He's VERY smart...)

Update on the house: last weekend, we finished taking down the last of the antennas and towers. WooHOO! The local club has removed a ton of stuff to sell at upcoming hamfests and whatever. They should make a pretty penny on all of that gear, and it'll be going to the club's education and scholarship funds... which is doubly cool, because I helped established those things when I was the club's president.

 When the weather turned warm, I jumped into gardening with both feet. Felt good to be outside, and for some reason, I didn't feel as alone outside as I did when I was within the confines of the house. One of the gardens I created is for dahlias. A couple are just now starting to bloom. Can't wait to see them in their full glory... even if it's as a visitor to my daughter's place... 

Life is good. It is truly good, people. I hope it's been treating you as well. Really. What's new with you? Dunno if I'll ever get back to blogging as I used to do it. Maybe, but who knows? I've got lots of trips to make... lots of hiking to do... lots of new things to discover. Being an old broad ain't half bad. I feel blessed beyond belief.

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

I May Be Going Bananas

Hi, guys. I know. It's been too long, so I figured I'd pop in to say hi and give y'all a brief update before another month slips through my fingers. My daughter has been working reeeeeeeally hard, both with a physical therapist and on her own at home, and her progress is absolutely astounding. I'm so proud of her determination and good attitude. She was even able to shoot some pool a couple days ago!

And me? I'm doing well. Better some days than others, but mostly, I can't complain. Thanks to some wonderful ham friends, all the antennas and towers that were at the side of the house got dismantled last weekend. Woo HOOOOOOOO!!! Still more antennas and towers to go, but this is a huge step. (I haven't seen the naked side of my house in years!) Hams are the BEST. Really. I've gotten lots of other stuff done, too, but no need to bore you with the details. One kinda neat thing... my neighbor mentioned that he was going to buy a riding lawn mower, and I told him he could just use mine... and asked him to give me a brief tutorial so I can operate it, too. Get this. He's gonna use my mower, but he's also gonna maintain it... and cut my grass! Win-win for both of us! Life is good.

I started writing the following post one year ago today. I got about half of it done, but then Mike got sicker, and I wasn't in the mood to finish. Now is its time. Might as well... I'd already done the research and taken notes. HA. No promises, but I'll try to get back to the blogosphere a little sooner next time. Y'all take care. I love you guys.


Thought for the day: The older you get, the better you get. Unless you're a banana. [Rose Nyland]

Some of you may remember this cute little guy, because I've shared his picture with y'all before. Mike (AKA Smarticus) gave him to me for Valentine's Day about a thousand years ago. Give or take. 

Anyhow, when you squeeze the monkey's belly, he gives a wolf whistle and says in a raspy dirty old man kinda voice, "I go bananas over you!"( If he had eyebrows, they would've wiggled, I'm sure.)

The monkey's voice is fading and is growing more and more muffled, but he still looks good as new. Even his banana looks pristine. Which is a lot more than I can say for the bananas I bought at the grocery store a couple days ago. I swear, if I ever get a speeding ticket on the way home from the grocery store, it'll only be because I was trying to get home before the darned bananas turned brown.

A ham radio friend emailed me the picture on the right, which he described as a giant elephant made out of bananas

First thing that came to my mind was that a heckuva lot of people must've worked on THAT project. I mean, just think about what it'd be like if anyone ever tried to pull off a feat like that single-handedly. Before the poor slob even made it to the halfway point, the first bananas he'd put in place would've already mutated into smelly oozing gobs of brown mush that he'd have to replace. Impossible, I tell ya!  It'd be like trying to fill a bottomless bucket with water. Oh, and don't forget the fruit flies. The smell of overripe and rotting bananas would attract fruit flies like... um, flies. Yeah, exactly like flies. Those annoying little boogers would magically materialize out of nowhere, and they'd establish a brand new thriving community faster than a hungry gorilla can inhale a banana . 

So, um no. Not gonna try that. I'll happily bake some banana bread or a decadent banana cream pie, but ix-nay on the banana-building with a bunch of rapidly rotting bananas... while being swarmed by fruit flies. 

But what would be fun is... a banana CAR. You know, like the famous Oscar Meyer weinermobile... only instead of a rolling hot dog, it'd be a rolling... banana. I find that idea rather... a-peel-ing. 

Evidently, a guy named Steve Braithwaite liked the idea, too. 

This self-proclaimed goofy fella decided about a decade ago to up his eccentricity credentials by creating a unique vehicle to tour around the U.S. and spread joy. He wanted something totally ridiculous and fun. Looks like he got just what he wanted, dontcha think? Built on the chassis of a 1993 Ford pick-up truck, this impressive never-rot banana mobile measures twenty-three feet long and is 9.8 feet tall. Like everything else, the pandemic has changed things for this adventurous gent, but no doubt, as conditions improve, I reckon he'll be able to resume his appearances at fairs and festivals all over the country. His license tag? SPLIT. 

Hmmm, which reminds me... do you know why the banana split? 

He had artistic differences with the rest of the bunch. 

And how about the banana smoothie?

He's the one who gets all the girls. 

Ever hear of shoes made out of bananas? 

Yep, they're called slippers... (Totally nonfriction!)

Okay, how about some fun facts about bananas?
  • The inner skin of a banana peel works well to polish leather. (I wonder what inspired someone to try this for the first time...?)
  • Bananas can float on water, because they're less dense. (Does that mean they're smart? )
  • Bananas grow on plants considered herbs, but the banana itself is classified as a... berry. ("Berry" is a botanical term, indicating the presence of seeds, pulp, and three separate layers: the exocarp is the outer skin, the mesocarp is the part we eat, and the endocarp is the part closest to the seeds... which are on the inside. Ironically, blackberries, mulberries, strawberries and raspberries aren't actually berries at all... but bananas, pumpkins, avocados, and cucumbers ARE.)
  • Bananas are low in salt and high in potassium, generously providing a natural way to help lower blood pressure. Most of you probably already knew that, but did you know banana potassium is slightly radioactive? (K-40) Not dangerous... just interesting. (If someone eats too many bananas, do you think he could go into banana-phalactic shock...?)
  • Bananas may serve as a mood enhancer. That's because they contain tryptophan and B-6, which help the body produce seratonin. (All they do for me is give me gas... which makes me giggle. So yeah... mood enhancer... never mind.)
  • In addition to polishing your leather shoes with a banana peel, you can also rub that inner peeling on your skin to alleviate itching and inflammation. (And the fruit flies will just LOVE you!)
  • Would you believe humans share about 50% of the same DNA that's in a banana??? 
  • A cluster of bananas is known as a hand, and each banana is a finger.
  • In China, it's illegal to stream videos of anyone eating a banana.
  • Despite the banana's phallic shape, alas, its sex life stinks. Cavendish, the kind of banana most of us eat, is sterile. In the wild, most bananas have very large seeds and are mostly inedible, and what we eat is a mutation, in which the seeds are underdeveloped and incapable of sexual reproduction. Farmers use cuttings to start new plants and replant cuttings to clone.
There. Now you know far more about bananas than you ever cared to know. You're welcome. 


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

P.S. The picture of the giant elephant made out of bananas that my friend sent me is actually a depiction of the Hindu god Ganish, made of green bananas. It was created in Odisha, India, in 2017, and at the conclusion of a 10-day festival, the ripened bananas were then distributed to the poor.

Monday, February 1, 2021

But I've Got an Excuse

 Thought for the day: Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer. [Dan Brown]

Hi-ya. Well, crap. What the hell happened to January? Didn't it just start? How could it be gone already?

Sorry about that. I've all but disappeared from the blogosphere over the past year, but I thought I could at least come up with something once a month. I mean, that isn't too much to ask, is it? 

Evi-damned-dently, it is. 

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that we're all trapped in a rather bizarre time warp. Maybe you've noticed it, too? Each day drags by on leaden feet, possibly an indication that there's been a shift in the time-space continuum, causing each day to surpass what used to be its usual 24-hour allotment. Yet, paradoxically, the weeks and months slip through our fingers faster than a greased pig's leg on a hot summer day. 

Or perhaps not. Maybe it's just me. Okay, fine. Sounds like the title of an article in an old True Confessions magazine, but here is it: Trapped in a Time Warp. That's my excuse. You buying it?

Oh well, that's the only excuse I've got for letting January get away from me without posting some kind of update. No promises, but I'll try to do better. So how are you guys doing?

Me? I'm doing okay. Matter of fact, I've kinda been doing the... impossible. When I look back at the number of seemingly impossible things I've tackled in the past six months, it boggles my mind. There's still a loooong way to go, (I'm afraid my dear husband was a bit of a hoarder... pack rat... junk collector... archivist.... whatever you choose to call it) but I've gotta say, dismantling Mike's main amateur radio operating position last week... clearly a daunting I can't do that endeavor... was one of my biggest victories to date. His Emergency Communications Central Extravaganza was based at a massive computer desk, and every square inch of it was covered with multiple stacks of radios, power supplies and converters, amplifiers, antenna tuners, laptops, mikes, keys, and a host of other equipment, all interconnected with a baffling maze of cables and power lines. The rear of the desk held four (Count 'em... four!) power strips, and various cords snaked all over the place, all screwed or otherwise clamped in place. Stuff plugged in here and there, cables fed through holes drilled throughout the desk, and to make things interesting, there was also some nifty homebrew stuff that he built to fit his needs. (It helps to figure out what something is before attempting to take it apart, especially when dealing with high voltage.) Anyhow, suffice it to say, it was all very complex... but I did it! Then I had to get that big-assed desk out of the house. OY. Not just BIG, but also very HEAVY. Had to dismantle some shelves and remove a door, but by golly, I got that son of a gun out the door. I still have to finish removing 25 coaxial cables that were feeding his station. They're now cut off about six inches below the ceiling, and they have to be pulled out to the exterior of the house, so I can fill the hole. (A task that'll have to be repeated at several other spots around the house. yippee) But ya know what? I've got a plan, and I think I can implement it. No, I know I can. Who knew? I had no idea I was so... capable.

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right. [Henry Ford]

My friends and kids kinda think I'm a bad-ass, too. 

(shhhh) Feels kinda good.

I don't particularly like having to do so many things by myself, but it's reassuring to know that I can. There are things I'll definitely need help with, but they can wait. Sure, it'd be nice to get our five towers and bazillion antennas down now, but they can wait. I may sometimes forget I'm such an old broad, but I don't think I'm ready to climb to the top of any towers to dismantle antennas. Not impossible... just not smart. Best wait until the pandemic is under control and invite some young hams over to lend a hand. If they take 'em down, they can have 'em. Win-win, right?

So what else has been happening? My wonderful daughter Sunshine fell at work on December 17. It was a freak accident in which she not only dislocated her right ankle, but she also fractured it in three places.  Poor thing. She was whisked away in an ambulance, and after a considerable wait... alone, of course, because of the surge in Covid cases... an orthopedic surgeon finally addressed the dislocation. Then they put her in a temporary cast and... sent her home! She had to wait two whole weeks before getting surgery. Extensive surgery, too, because there were lots of bone fragments floating around in there... and now she has more metal holding her ankle together than I ever would've  believed possible. All in all, it's been a painful ordeal for her, but she's been a real trooper. I'd say she's a bona fide bad-ass, too. We've got our fingers crossed that she gets upgraded to a boot when she goes to the doc later this week.

I used to read a lot. I mean... a LOT. Now? Not so much. Took me a while, but I figured out howcum. I used to do most of my reading in the evenings while Mike watched TV. But now, for the first time in my life, I'm in charge of the remote control. HA! It's funny how much more interesting the tube can be when you're the one doing the choosing. Plus... I've got several streaming services now, too, so I've been indulging in some binge watching. How cool! In addition to binge-watching shows like This is Us and Outlander, my other new hobby is buying stuff from Amazon. All kinds of stuff. One of my latest acquisitions is a stud finder. What a great idea!  I haven't taken it out for a test run yet, but I have high hopes for it. Using a simple handheld gadget would be soooo much easier than having to sign up on some stupid online dating site... 

I used to write, too. Not any more. My PC died shortly after Mike did, and that's where my manuscript lies. I do have it stored on a backup hard drive, so all is not lost, but I haven't made any attempts at replacing the PC yet. For now, I'm relegated to this, my old laptop. It'll do for now. Good enough for checking email and making a brief foray into Facebook from time to time. 

Ugh... Facebook. A very brief foray is more than enough.There's way too much negativity for me on there these days. 

But working on this laptop is a little rough on my old eyes. (sigh) I wish they were as young as I am... 

You wouldn't believe how many hours I've been working on this post. Ridiculous. But I'm about done. It's been kinda nice sitting on my butt this long. It gave my back a bit of a break from the heavy-lifting I did yesterday, so it's all good. I can get back at it tomorrow. Gotta stay busy. Busy, busy. busy.

I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between. [Sylvia Plath]

I choose active...

Before I go,  I'm gonna share a video. This song has been running rampant through my mind all day...  care to join me?

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