Afternoon Drowsies

What is it about afternoons? There seems to be a switch in my brain that pops on everyday about this time. When it does, my eye lids get very very heavy, and my head tends to jerk back. What it takes to get through this period is mental activity or at least a short nap. If you happen to notice a long series of z’s in the middle of a sentence you will know what happened.

We spent a lovely afternoon with my youngest grand son on Saturday and then with my brother after ward. The grand son is 15 my brother will turn ninety in a couple of weeks. Lucky for me they were in the same state only fifteen minutes apart. All I can say for Michigan is that they are plagued with insects. My son runs a fly factory (he owns horses) and flies abound. My brother was on his summer estate which was the family farm long ago. Now, it is mostly trees, and wilderness. The mosquitoes fly around your head looking for a choice speckle of bare flesh to land on and drill for blood. They all wear a red cross on their backs. The backs of my ears are a mine field of tiny bore holes where they succeeded in sucking some of my delicious red stuff into their tanks.

I was happy to get home to Illinois to escape the high pitched buzzing pests only to learn that they had sent a message from Michigan that I was coming. Every mosquito in Illinois was waiting for me, and anxious to take their due.

I was prepared, however. Before I left int he morning, I snuck out to Home Depot and bought a mosquito fogger. Boy does that thing work. I dressed in long pants, and long sleeves donned a hat, gloves, and used my trusty dust mask from the shop. It was overkill, I’m sure, but I was going to battle and wanted all the battle gear I could muster.

After attaching the propane bottle, and filling the tank with poison, the smoke bomb fired up easily, and before I knew it I was walking around the yard in a white cloud of smoke. My wife came out of the house screaming at me to stay away from her garden. The instructions said to not spray if the wind was over 5 mph. When I began the air was dead still, but after this puppy began spewing smoke there came a breeze that sent smoke everywhere including her garden. I had visions of sleeping with the mosquitoes that night. Normally, the wind comes from the southeast across the yard into the wet-land behind us. For some unknown reason this time the breeze blew from the northwest and headed right for I.’s pickle factory. I. hates anything chemical getting into onto, or near her food and water supply. Shopping with her is a joy, because she has a hard time with English and prefers Lithuanian, Polish or Russian which she speaks, reads, and writes fluently. The trick is to find food stores or deli’s that handle foods from those countries. She reads the labels and trusts all European foods over anything American. Her most favorite vendor is an Amish farmer. It doesn’t matter what state he is from if he is Amish he is an organic farmer.

What is more amazing is how many food stores have popped up that are loaded with goods from Europe, Mid-East, South America, and Central America. We must have had a huge influx of immigrants from those places over the past twenty years and these stores cater to them. The last place we visited had several meat cases stocked with pig parts like, feet, snouts, ears, hocks, and even a whole half baby pig. Next to the pig was a half lamb, and next to that were a pile of skinned rabbits, and a rather large octopus. This place had many foods from Mediterranean countries. The bread aisle is amazing as you will not find brands like Wonder Bread or Silver Cup, but you will find various dark breads from the East European countries. There are also several units of shelves dedicated to honey. I guess bees from the homeland produce honey that has specific curative power for people from those orchards. The coffee aisle is also stocked with very dark coffees from everywhere but here. Next to that is the tea shelf and that one is complicated. Tea cures everything. Just ask a Chinese herbalist.

Another thing I have learned is that many drugs that we need prescriptions for are on the shelf at a European deli. A box of low grade blood pressure medication from Russia sits on a shelf next to Tylenol. Twenty pills from Russia costs about ten dollars, from a pharmacist the same twenty pills is a hundred dollars. No wonder I. avoids American medicine.

I can see that the years we spend together will enlighten me more than it will her. I only hope I am not converted to a new religion or cult.

The Movie Will Be Even Better

Wow! I just finished reading a lovely story based in Venice, Italy.The author Rhys Bowen held me spell bound throughout. Her story titled, The Venice Sketchbook spans several generations of family in England and Italy and begins just before World War Two. Lately I have been enamored by tales that involve the Big One. Ms Bowen’s characters are real and believable. The heroine is someone I wouldn’t mind dating myself. The theme of using artists, art, and Venice together kept my interest in this page turner. The plot of young love between a middle class English girl and a very rich and titled Italian boy stretches into middle age love. Life in Venice seemingly was untouched by war, that is until the Germans invaded Poland, France, Belgium, and began bombing England. That is when the real story begins, life suddenly became different.

I am an amateur artist and I studied art appreciation in my early college years. I still have a bent for the medium and more than ever frequent showings, and galleries and appreciate good artistic ability. To me this plot to put the central character into an art school in Venice filled a void in my mind.

I also love knowing about Italy. Another favorite story of mine is Under the Tuscan Sun by author Frances Mayes. The bucolic scenes painted of the in Tuscan countryside make me want to live there or at least visit. When combined with my recollections of twenty-four hours in Italy back in the nineties these stories are fueling my desire to travel and roam the countryside on a bicycle, or at least a Maserati, Ferrari, or Fiat.

The Venice Sketchbook is filled with complex plots told using a time traveler theme. An modern day English niece inherits her great aunt’s estate, and begins a quest to learn of her aunt’s mysterious past as a covert intelligence agent in WWII while trapped in Venice. Intertwined in both the past and present stories are love interests keeping the aunt’s and her niece’s lives interesting and alive.

I give this story five stars. * * * * *

I can’t wait to see the movie version.

Learn To Live With It!

For the fourth time this year I left the house without my wallet. On previous occasions I left my car keys home too. As luck would have it, my wife was with me and the extra key is in her purse. Since the Death Star is a push button start it was her key that started the car.

This time, I was on my way to the post office to buy stamps and to mail some letters. I grabbed my ass pocket as I left the car for the PO door and felt ass, no wallet. I turned around and red-facedly admitted my error.

Is this the way Alzheimer’s begins with little things like forgetting car keys? I recall some of the early incidents with Peggy and they were similar in nature. She began to forget little things. Once I found her staring at the controls of the washing machine, she was afraid to touch the buttons for fear of breaking the machine. This came from a woman who used a washing machine every day for over fifty years. When we stopped at a rest stop while traveling, she always asked me to wait for her right outside the lady’s room door, or a few feet away. She was afraid she would lose her way back to the car, little things.

On the face of my forgetfulness, I laugh at myself, but internally I fear for my life. I can’t imagine what I will do if I ever learn I have Alzheimer’s disease. My mother went through that process as well, and at first, we thought it was somewhat comical, but later came to realize that forgetting the little things can mean a lot. There isn’t much I can do about it if it does happen. I learned from Peggy’s experience that taking the miracle drugs recommended will only make me another kind of vegetable. In her case I chose to take her off the anti-seizure medicine and take my chances with the predicted outcomes. Her doctors kept preaching to me that if she has another seizure she may fall and injure her head and have a stroke. After living with her on the drugs for a month I decided for her best interest she will be happier without the stupid drug. By the time I made that decision she was not able to walk anymore and was living in a wheelchair. How does one fall out of a wheelchair? I learned it is possible but probably unlikely to happen. One day I found her leaning over the armrest of her chair, her head nearly touching the floor. I quickly got her a chair with devices that would restrain her from leaning out of the chair.

Miracle drugs are great when they work. They are not unlike computers that are great when they work, but when they fail all hell breaks loose. Currently, the world is speaking out against miracle drug makers because they rape us with charges for the drugs. All we see and understand is the money leaving our pockets and we don’t really care about the drug makers profit and loss statement. This, I believe is very communist thinking.

I sound like a broken record when I keep telling my story about polio, also a virus. It was over twenty years before a vaccine was available. and we all relaxed when it became available. We didn’t argue that we didn’t want our kids to get it because it was against their first amendment rights. I remember getting vaccinated for measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox and other terrible killing diseases. My parents were happy that we were vaccinated. Another thing, I don’t recall anyone asking my parents if we wanted to be vaccinated, we were lined up at school and the health department nurse did the job. I thank them for taking the initiative to do what was best for me.

My wife and I are at odds with the COVID-19 vaccine. I have it and I am grateful, she won’t get it, and believes it to be another conspiracy to reduce world population. She watches a lot of European TV and reads a lot of European articles on the vaccine. If one person dies within a week or two of being vaccinated the whole world knows about it, but, there is not a whimper of news lauding the millions who have been saved. She tells me that women who have been vaccinated have been found to be unable to conceive. I see that as a benefit and a cost savings not having to buy birth control pills. Not to mention the fact why would a woman in her seventies be worried about conceiving?

In my time, I was vaccinated for measles, mumps, scarlet fever, diphtheria, chicken pox, and any number of killing viruses. I don’t remember my parents protesting that their first amendment rights were being violated. They were happy, that their kids were saved from a horrible death. I also don’t remember anyone asking them to allow the Health Department Nurse from coming into the school to give the vaccinations. I thank them for doing what was best for me.

Today, we have kindergarteners deciding they want to change gender. That one really blows my mind. There is nothing in the science to indicate that gender is changeable. You become what you are at the moment of conception. No amount of brainwashing will change that, nor will chemical inducement. Can you imagine a person taking drugs all his life to maintain his gender? It doesn’t make any sense to me. If you were born with a penis and testicles you are a male, if you were born with a vagina and clitoris, you are a female. That is nature. If you were born with a penis, testicles, and a clitoris, or with a vagina and a clitoris the size of a penis that is nature doing its thing, learn to deal with it. Don’t expect me to make laws that define you as a special gender with special inalienable rights that are different than the original inalienable rights you were deemed to have in 1776.

The bottom line is that in nature there are many anomalies, but those anomalies do not change the genus and species that they are found in. They are anomalies, just that. The Constitution reads “all men are created equal” which includes all the anomalies. There is no need for special laws or lobby groups for them all.

So, what does all this have to do with my forgetting my key? When a person gets Alzheimer’s disease they do not need special rights beyond those already on place. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t deny that person special treatment for his malady, his rights remain the same.

This whole gender issue reminds me of the movie Star Trek. In one scene Hans Solo is in a bar with creatures from all over the universe. Did he consider them to be different? He spoke to them as if they were human, even though they had weird noses, and ears, and appendages hanging from their bodies. Let us learn to live with it!

210711-Believe it or Not!

“Florida Woman Stops 12 foot Alligator Attack Using a small .22 caliber Ruger Pistol.” 

Another good reason to have a concealed weapons permit.  This is a story of self-control and marksmanship by a brave, cool-headed woman with a small pistol against a fierce predator.

Here’s her story in her own words:  “While walking along the edge of a pond just outside my house in  T he Villages, Florida, discussing a property settlement with my soon-to-be ex-husband, and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft alligator which suddenly emerged from the murky water.    It began charging us with its large jaws wide open.   She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive.  

“If I had not had my little Ruger 22 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today.  Just one shot to my estranged husband’s knee cap was all it took.  The alligator got him easily, and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.  The amount I saved in lawyer’s fees was truly incredible and his life insurance was also a big bonus.”

Immersed in Van Gogh

Today, I spent with my youngest grand daughter Jenna. A few months ago we agreed to take a day to visit the Art Institute to see the Van Gogh exhibit. We had missed the Monet show because of the COVID shutdown, and vowed to see the next one. In my mind we would go to the famous Chicago Art Institute, find the room with the Van Gogh exhibit, ogle the paintings for a while and come home. Life treated me to a giant surprise when I visited the A.I website without finding the show. Instead my trusty computer led to something called “Immersive Van Gogh.” I popped the $131.98 for two Premium tickets and printed them out. I had no clue as what was meant by Immersive except that it is something like jumping into a pool and are covered with water. That is exactly what it was. We were completely covered head to toe in Van Gogh artwork.

The Germania Building competed in 1889 is a Chicago landmark located at the south edge of Lincoln Park. I never knew it existed, nor have I ever want to know it existed. Evidently it was built by German immigrants as a place to hang out. There were so many of them they could afford to pay for this elaborate building. Based on the entry fee charged of people like me going there to visit Immersive Van Gogh, I’d say the owner recovered his cost for the building.

The most adventurous part of our trip to the Germania was finding parking. That part of town consists of streets that never see the sun because they are in the shadow of high rise apartment and condo buildings. Street parking is almost non-existent but there are cars parked all along the streets. We finally found an obscure hotel at 1325 North Astor Street with parking on the third loop around the neighborhood. It was a beautiful morning to take a walk.

We arrived at the entrance to the Germania, now renamed the Lighthouse ArtSpace, at 10:00 a.m. sharp. It took another ten minutes to negotiate the lobby, gift shop and the ticket taker to get into the immersion. The show was in progress. The grand ballroom of the Germania was painted solid white, walls, floor, ceiling. Somewhere hidden in the woodwork there were a myriad of projectors pointed such that we sat in a 360 degree orabal screen. As far as sitting went, there was seating for about a couple dozen people in a room that held several hundred. At the ticket desk we were handed a cushion which came with the premium ticket. We sat of the floor atop the cushion. Aside from hearing my joints crackle when getting into a yoga position the pictures were accompanied by a musical score.

I have to admit that even though I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see Van Gogh’s original works, but what I saw was something magical. His works in their full glory magnified beyond a wild imagination were also animated. The seeds cores for the Sun Flowers were rotating spirally, as were the stars in Starry Night. The gulls in a shore scene were flapping their wings as they flew out over the water. The reflection of shore lights on the bay next to a village twinkled as did the stars above. In the few of his works that I have seen I never realized the amount of detail that he put into the humans that worked the fields, but magnified to several times life size it was clear that the man had a talent for human form.

I thought to myself that we were seeing not just the works of a great Dutch Impressionist but of a great digitalizer. The work that went into creating the animation, the fades in and out, the transitions from one painting to the next all took a huge amount of creative energy as well as technical ability. We were truly immersed, and then suddenly the credits appeared and the showing was over. I looked at my watch it was ten-thirty. We got up from the floor, waited until a seat was free and sat to we watch the whole thing again. The engineer in me calculated that the $0.0366 per second that we were entertained was worth it.

The walk back to our car was taken at a leisurely stroll but seemed to be much shorter than the hurried one at the beginning. We people watched the residents walking their dogs, running, bicycling, carrying plastic shopping bags with food purchased from God knows where, and some just sitting on a stoop enjoying the morning sun.

I took a scenic way to the interstate and gave Jenna a quick tour of the Gold Coast neighborhood, Rush Street, the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, the real Art Institute, the Museum Campus, a very brief stint on the Outer Drive, and finally onto I-57 where we literally flew home.

We pulled into Frankfort to find the town loaded with people and cars. Luckily, I parked within a block of Fat Rosies Taco and Tequila Bar. The hostess seated us immediately on the rear patio. Together we polished off three tacos apiece along with a generous scoop of refried beans and fried rice. KETO be damned, I don’t lunch with my baby girl often.

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