Day 45-Quarantine-May Day

It is the first day of May already, and it seems like New Year Day was just yesterday, and then again it seems like it was two years ago. Time is passing quickly. For an old timer that is a good thing. It is when time begins to creep that we are in trouble.

There was a time when the first of May signaled the communist world to celebrate. It became their day to waltz around the Maypole and to show off their mighty weapons. Every year I remember seeing photos on the first page of newspapers heralding the big parade of military rockets, tanks, and duck stepping troops through Moscow. I’m sure they still do it, but I don’t pay attention anymore.

The current big mystery is where is Rocket Man also known as Kim Jung Un? There are several theories floating around the net. One is that he is dead, two is that he is hiding from COVID-19, three is he is sick. No one knows for certain what the truth is. Frankly, I don’t give a damn.

I broke my quarantine yesterday by shopping for food. I am surprised to learn that there are shortages in the meat department. Normally, one can find an abundance of any or all cuts of meat, but yesterday the pickings were slim. I’ll survive.

It is a bright sunny day and my demeanor is much brighter today. They always said April showers bring May flowers. This may be the year we find out if that is true. I took my bike down from the rafters and loe and behold I have two flat tires and no way to pump them up. Alas, Amazon to the rescue. A new pump is arriving within the week. I’ll be back in the saddle again soon. I just hope my sciatic nerve stays undisturbed.

I had to take a window-shade to the shade shop today. Lucky I called ahead yesterday to find out if they were open. The lady made an appointment with me for this morning. It was as close to drive up as is possible with a shade. She stuck her head out the door and hailed me in. I gave her the shade told her what the problem was and left. We were both masked, and six feet apart for the entire five minutes. On the way home I decided to get my car emissions tested. The State police had a road block set up and there was a large sign stating “COVID-!9 testing.” I rolled down my window and asked if the emission test facility was open, “no, not until the end of May” I kept driving.

Because the appointment for the shade was early, I got up an hour early, and now my head is bouncing off the key board from sleepiness. I can’t believe that an hour less sleep has such a huge effect on me. Once I post, I’ll quit fighting drowsiness and take a mid-morning nap. Then I’ll head out into the garden for some pond maintenance.

Day 39-Quarantine-Random Thoughts

It is eight-thirty p.m. and I just ventured out of the house to pick up my mail. It is the only time I have been out of the house since yesterday. The phone hasn’t rung, and I have spoken to no one. I am in complete isolation, but I am determined to beat the Chinese scourge.

The day has been dark, grey, cold and rainy. It is like November except it is late April. The difference is that in November the landscape is brown and grey in April it is bright green and white with blossoms.

This evening I made myself a hamburger without a bun. Instead I used a couple of lettuce leaves. It is not the same as a Big Mac or a Whopper. It sufficed. A couple of glasses of red wine made it go down easier.

My weight has not dropped for three weeks now and I am worried that with all the KETO I am scarfing down that I am doing something wrong. By now I should be at my target weight. It is not because I am out of ketosis, but I may be eating too many calories. If the weather was warmer, I would try riding my bike to use more calories, walking isn’t doing it.

I did finish an ebook today titled Ivanhoe. Written in the early eighteen hundreds it is a great tale but hard to read because they spoke a different style of English. I found myself stopping to look up too many words, like “palfrey.” In case you are wondering a palfrey is a docile horse. One thing I learned in reading this story is that they had many different words to define the types of horses they rode. Any way, the story included a rescue by a character named Robin Hood.

Thank God, President Trump didn’t have a press conference today. I’m convinced he has finally come to his senses and decided not to take any more abuse from the press. Up until last week these daily updates were great, but as more and more is learned about COVID-19, there has been less interest in solving the virus problem and more in unseating the president. Politics have returned which tells me the country has, or at least the press has, changed back to dirty reporting.

I thought a lot about the Chinese and how they are using the virus to destroy America and the rest of the world for that matter. It seems that everything they did to hide the disease from us was also aimed at spreading it out of their country. Of course, if I were Chinese and in the middle of a epidemic, I’d get the hell out of there anyway I could, and they did. They went all over the world. Maybe China believes they will dominate the world when this is over. I have news for them. I for one, will not let that happen without taking out a few of them in the process (not a threat, a promise).

Hopefully, Americans will wake up and quit buying Chinese made goods because it is cheap. We can afford to buy good stuff made in America.

Bear With Me

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Life is like a road trip. Often, we spend time on a super highway with a very definite destination. At other times we are on a side road through a very dark and dense forest with lots of curves, and the destination is unknown. My life is now on one of those twisty paths where the next mile is unknown, and the destination is unclear, yet the journey consumes life.

My writing has been sparse of late because of the twists and turns of daily living. Many unforeseen incidents have arisen which have taken precedence over the joy of transferring thoughts to paper. A friend with dementia, a child with cancer, a second house that needs preparation for sale, all of these twists have cut me off from the interstate headed for enjoyment.

Perhaps, when this curvy road straightens out, and I return to the super highway, then, Grumpa Joe’s Place will again become a priority. Until that happens, please bear with me.

Girl Number One

Today is a day of recollection. After posting this morning I reread an older post titled From Proms to Dear Johns.That little piece of history concerned my high school love affair. At the end of it I promised to write about Steve Star at some point in the future. Today is the future.

Version 4

Steve Star

My Grandpa Jim lived a solitary life on his little farm. To kill his loneliness and to make some extra beer money he took in a border named Steve Star, except his real name was Csillag Pista. Translated from Hungarian to English Csillag Pista becomes Steve Star. Steve worked doing labor in the pickle canning factory in Coloma near my Grand Father’s farm. Needless to say this is very seasonal work. Steve drove a very old Plymouth coupé, and drank cheap St Julian wine. He was a classic wino. I used his empty bottles piled high in the sand behind the barn for target practice with my 22 ca. rifle. He put them behind the barn to hide them from my mother who was anti-drinking on her watch. Steve was a drunk, stayed a drunk, and died a drunk. My mother had little effect on changing his habits.

After I got my Dear Joe letter in college I wallowed in a rut, and it showed. My friends began doing me favors by fixing me up with every girl that they could find. I resisted at first, but finally succumbed to my roommates tender of a string of dates from his fiance’s nursing school. It all began harmlessly as a series of letters to the girls suggested by friends that Steve Star take on a date. As a huge joke to myself I took the nom de guerre of Steve Star a hopeless cause. The letters became fodder for the school bulletin board, and unbeknownst to me, Steve Star became a mystery man who wrote stupid funny letters to the girls at Saint Anne’s. Eventually, Steve Star’s identity became known when I made a blind date with one of the girls during Christmas break.

It amused me when I sat in the parlor of Saint Anne’s waiting for my date to come down, and a nonchalant string of young nurses paraded through the room to look over Steve Star. The date went well, we had fun, and I got her back before curfew. I dated several more nursing students after that but not one rang Steve Star’s bell.

Later that year in July I had another blind date with a nurse who wanted to experience Steve Star. She was good-looking but not of model beauty. She stood about five-foot-four inches tall with short dark brown hair, and her waist was slightly thicker than the highly sought after women of the time. Her face was average, but she possessed uniquely sparkling dark brown eyes and a captivating smile. Her shapely ankles blended into calves formed like those of an athlete. She was off for the weekend so I picked her up at her home, and met her parents before she demurely descended the stairs.

Steve Star was a cheap skate and went on inexpensive dates, this time he enjoyed a Grant Park Concert on the lawn. The night was balmy, and the sounds of the cars passing by on the Outer Drive muted the precise sounds of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. We spent the night sitting on that blanket listening but mostly talking about school, and our families. Her father was dying of colon cancer, and she and her mother provided his care. She was the one who finally told me about the scene the Steve Star letters had on the nurses at Saint Anne’s. She had read all of them, as had most of the other girls in her class. A cool breeze drifted in from Lake Michigan as we folded our blanket to leave. I dropped her off and promised to call her at school.

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My luck held out, and I dated another girl named Sabrina. Sabrina had the model beauty men sought after. Slightly taller at five six she had long jet black hair, and big black eyes with heavy mascara and eyeliner above and below the lids. Wow! We went to the movies and a snack.  She confessed to reading Steve Star’s letters, and we kidded about his antics. I dropped her off on the front porch. I said goodnight and turned to leave, but she grabbed my arm and pulled me into the dark foyer for a goodnight kiss. The house was entirely dark and quiet. Steve’s mind shifted to more kissing, but she gently pushed him away and whispered “my parents and six brothers are asleep we don’t want to wake them.” I very quietly got the hell out of there.

Adult-Barb0024

Girl number one

In the meantime, Steve had called his first blind date (Girl number one) and was becoming very comfortable talking with her. She with him as well. We dated again, and the subject of Steve Star dating Sabrina came up. Steve sensed danger and dropped the subject quickly; he got the message.

Steve Star dated Barbara exclusively for the next two years until he married her. He remained faithful “until death do us part.”

Barb0027

October 14, 1961

Barb0036

circa August 17, 2003

Cars, Cars, Cars, and More Cars

This has been an awful summer for me. The 2013 Monet Vision escaped being photographed, Peggy and I did not leave home for anything,, and I failed to visit a single Cruise Night in Frankfort. Maybe it was latent grief creeping out on the tenth anniversary of Barb’s death, or maybe it was a lower back pain that wouldn’t quit, or maybe learning that I suffer from Low T, or maybe it is simply because I reached middle age, whatever, the summer blues took over my mind and body.

Today, a good friend sent me a video link, that cheered me and picked me up beyond my expectations. I only wish he could have done it earlier, like in June. The video features a very large car show in Minnesota, touted as the largest in the world. The cars are amazing and beautiful. If you grew up in the fifties like I did, this video was like traveling back in time. Take a peek and enjoy these mobile works of art.

I Love Learning New Words

An increase in energy level from E 1 to E 2 re...

An increase in energy level from E 1 to E 2 resulting from absorption of a photon represented by the red squiggly arrow, and whose energy = h (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Low energy is one of the symptoms of low-T. My T must be very low because my energy level is near zero. Sometimes, when I get this way I take a walk to get the blood moving. Three miles is what I stepped off this afternoon, but it drained me further. I’ll rehydrate to see if that works. Even typing drains me. I came across a new word in an e-mail from a friend. It says it all.

Word of the Day

Truly, A Shovel Ready Job

President Barack Obama pauses after laying a w...

Image via Wikipedia

Today, I experienced  what most people do not want, another funeral. In my last report, I posted a poem written by Anon Ymous which I read at a friend’s funeral a week ago. Today, I sat as a distant relative-friend, a lady of many years (96), went to her final resting place. I knew little about this fine lady until recently. We often invited her to our parties, and when we met at Peggy ‘s daughter’s house. I knew she raised five kids, four boys and one daughter. She outlived two of her sons. She drank a Vodga martini every day.  Until a few weeks ago, she drove to get around, her husband’s eyesight is too poor for driving. She loved her husband, her kids, her grandkids, and her great grandkids. What else should a mother be remembered for? She died from a complication of having her appendix removed at age twenty-two.

The funeral mass reminded me of my origins and how I will eventually return to the same dust God used to create me. Ever since my Barbara died, funerals have affected me in a pronounced way. The music especially brings home the message. I am overcome by a sadness for the family. In this case the husband of seventy plus years who now goes home to an empty house, his mate left so coldly in the ground.

The funeral ended at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery near Elwood, Illinois. The widower being a vet has the right to bury his widow in his gravesite. Her name engraved on the backside of the gravestone. The  front side awaits his arrival sometime in the future.

My sick sense of humor began to consume my thoughts as the Federal employee consoled the Christian family without any mention of God in her scripted message. I looked around at the thousands of  precisely placed gravestones marking those who sacrificed to preserve “one nation under God” and thought, this and all the other National cemeteries in America are the only places that truly have “shovel ready jobs.”

Peggy and I finished the day with a visit to her husband Ron’s grave.

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