Boyz Night Out

Deliver (Oak Ridge Boys album)

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting with four very old but close friends. Our ages range from seventy-two to eighty-three. We enjoy a monthly get together to drink some adult-beverage and to swap tales while sharing a meal. We met on this evening at the Ashford House on 159th Street in Tinley Park, a midway point between our homes.

We sat drinking, and explaining where they were when the tornado ripped through the area. The storm had different effects on each of us. Sherman lives in a heavily wooded area and one of his mature trees blew down and ripped through the back wall of his house. A large branch from that same tree pierced the liner in his garden pond. I laughed, only because this summer he completed repairs to the pond liner caused by a ground-hog that burrowed up from the bottom and chewed his way through the liner to get at Sherman’s collection of bog plants. His further inspection revealed that the tornado ripped the  bark off his Linden trees. Al cut in, “that’s a class-four storm when the bark gets stripped from trees.”

Lou told us his neighbor had a very large Ash tree about fifty feet tall that died from an invasion of the Emerald Ash borer. The tree was dead, and Lou worried that the tree, which leaned toward his house, would someday come crashing through his bedroom. Lou reported the neighbor had the tree removed on the day before the storm hit. He lucked out. Rod, who also lives in a wooded area saw no damage to his property, but picked up many blown down branches. Al reported losing a single butterfly bush planted just three years ago. Al lives on twenty plus acres of trees. Joe told of a roof being blown off at the Mobile Home park just south of town, and the roof of the muffler shop on route thirty raised up several feet then dropped back in place.

Four of us ordered the Thursday night special, a five dollar hamburger the size of a dinner plate, with soup, salad and fries. Sherman had lamb chops.

As we ate we began kibitzing and telling more stories. Joe began by relating a sudden desire to hear the Oak Ridge Boys in concert. They perform in Branson at this time of year, but Joe didn’t have the opportunity nor the cash to go. Just for fun he searched the I-net for the concert schedule and learned that the Boys who were at Branson on Friday would be at the Holiday Star Plaza theater in Merrillville, Indiana on Sunday.  For more fun, he checked the ticket availability; they had eight tickets left in the mezzanine at seventy dollars a piece. “Okay,” he said, “sign me up.” By the time he paid taxes, fees, and seven-fifty to download the tickets to his printer his bill came to $194.00. He did it anyway because it was cheaper than driving five hundred miles to Branson to see them. A twenty-dollar CD would have been even cheaper.

Al chimed in next. “I was talking on the telephone with my sister in Amarillo. One of her good friends wanted to borrow some money, but she didn’t have enough in her bank account. I joked with her that I had invested five dollars in a Mega Million lottery and expected to win that night. At 7:00 a.m. the next morning, I sent my sister an e-mail saying that I had won the Mega-Million lottery and a check would be in the mail to her.

At 7:20 I received an e-mail from the NSA congratulating me for winning the lottery. The e-mail claimed it was from all NSA employees.

At 8:30 a.m. I received another e-mail, this time from the IRS. It said that a normal tax amount would be deducted from my Mega Million winnings, but they knew that I had sold 2 million dollars of houses this year, so I would owe a high percentage of taxes on the gains from the property sales as well as any other income I had.They requested that I pay an extra $100,000 in taxes within ten days, and another $100,000 by January 15.

Later in the morning, I opened an e-mail from the ATF. They said they had verified that I was stocking up huge stores of food including twenty-four frozen turkeys on sale at forty-eight cents a pound at Jewel.

I answered the ATF that I purchased the food for the Frankfort Lions Club annual food distribution to the needy at Thanksgiving. The ATF responded almost immediately wanting me to give them a complete list of names and addresses of the Frankfort Lions and the recipients of the food delivery. Also, I am to include an inventory of weapons possessed by everyone on the list.

Early in the afternoon, The DEA e-mailed me that they knew I recently had $400,000 in my personal bank account, and since I had no job, this was likely drug money. They said their drone had inspected my 21.3 acres of land and found many unusual, as well as some suspicious plants growing inside my house. They said if I was innocent, I would allow them to inspect my property and home. If I didn’t allow an inspection they would get a subpoena to do so.

Later that afternoon I mailed my sister two dollars and told her it was one-half of my lottery winnings.”

A moment of stunned silence overcame the group as they digested what they just heard. Al bust out laughing and confessed that none of the above actually happened but that it could happen today in the big government world we live in.

And that folks, is how Boyz night out goes.

A View From the Kitchen Window

After the news I got today that my former employer-mentor died I have to do something positive. On Wednesday this week, I presented our garden club with a movie titled Floral Wonders. The film is really a slide show of member’s flower gardens. This morning I decided to break out my segment of the original. I call it “2012 Monet Vision, A View From the Kitchen Window.” I moved a lot of stuff around and added a few more photos from my garden then added  new music.  It took me most of the day with all the interruptions I had. While the movie processed, I went out for my walk as a reward. When I returned the first thing I did was upload the file to YouTube. I wanted to share the film on grumpajoesplace. Unfortunately, YouTube took a long time to process the upload. That is when I switched to my e-mails and the day blew up.

Right now I’m working off a wine buzz after making a fantastic dish of wheat penne pasta with caramelized onions and sautéed broccoli smothered in sour cream and topped with a Tilapia fillet.

This year’s Monet Vision promised to be outstanding after that mild winter, but the über hot June and July did everything it could to roast the plants in place. In fact, I wound up replacing many  annuals with new ones, and my Lady’s Mantle perennials died of thirst. I hope you enjoy this video.

***********************************************************

The video I mentioned in the last line, well, where is it? I wanted to post this story yesterday, but another IED went off and changed my day. It seems that we can ignore any law we want in the DSA (Divided States of America) except copyright laws. Google threatened to ban me from using their site if I persist in using copyrighted music in my videos. I featured music played by my friend Roger from Starperry Studios in Mulberry Florida with his permission. That is not good enough. The copyrights belong to dead people who actually wrote the tunes not the musicians that play it. They actually belong to companies that purchased the copyrights from the dead people’s heirs. I won’t elaborate on all the laws our government is ignoring in this piece but they are many.

I searched the net for royalty free music to download and redid the movie. I don’t like the tunes, but they are okay.  I crashed and burned before I could get it all completed for my self-imposed deadline.

One more time, please enjoy  “2012 Monet Vision, A View From the Kitchen Window.”

The Seed of Succession

Dead plant in pots

Dead plant in pots (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Seed Jean MacArthur May-01-2010

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose
a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to
do something different. He called all the young executives in his
company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have
decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were Shocked, but
the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today –
one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come
back here one year from today with   what you have grown from the seed I
have given you.
I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one
I choose will be   the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received
a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the   story. She
helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.
Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After
about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about
their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a
plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had
killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had
nothing Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept
watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company
brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot.
But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his
stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life,
but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the
other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put
his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few
felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his
youngexecutives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and
flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be
appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his
empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.
Jim was terrified.. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he
will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his
seed, Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and
then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief
Executive Officer!

His name is “Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his
seed.

“How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a
seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back
to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was
not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.
When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another
seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and
honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one
who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation

So, be careful what you plant now;
it will determine what you will reap later.

))))))))))))))))))))

Thank you Cousin Sharon from Placentia.

Brighten Your Day With a Bloom

The indoor garden occasionally brings me great joy. Today, I was graced with two new blossoms. One, is an Amaryllis, and the other is my old friend the orchid. Both flowers have stories behind them.

The Amaryllis: Grandma Peggy and I received this plant in a Christmas gift exchange. We brought it home and forgot about it. It was late January or early February when I found it and decided it was time to open the box.  I knew the box contained a bulb in some organic floss. Surprise, When I opened the box the bulb had a three-inch long very pale green  sprout sticking out of it. I planted the bulb into the pot that came with it, and watered it. Within six weeks we had a beautiful flower. At the end of winter, I planted the bulb in the garden. Every year for three years, I dug the bulb out, potted it,  and brought it in. This year, for some odd reason, it decided to flower.

The orchid: My deceased wife Barb received the orchid as a gift when she came home from her open heart surgery in 2000. It was in full bloom when I brought it home with her. The orchid blooms for six months, then, takes a nap and re-blooms. This year, it is doing the same thing. This plant has been faithful to me for ten years. When I think about it, she has blossomed continuously for five of those ten years.

Right now, the plant has only opened one blossom. In a week or two it will have a double spike  with as many as twenty flowers on it. I’ll show it again when it goes into full bloom. The poor thing needs to be repotted, but while I was thinking about it, she decided to go into labor and bloom. I can’t touch it now until the last bloom falls off sometime in June.

Hug a Cactus

The winter doldrums have certainly set in. Grandma Peggy has the flu, the days are short, the weather is questionable, and I have the blahs. I don’t chose to have the blahs, they just come. When I get this way, I look at my cactus collection. It is not a huge collection, but I’m willing to bet that it is the largest one in Frankfort.

Why do I look at the cactus? For one thing, they are beautiful plants. How can a spiny thing like a stag horn cactus be beautiful? I see all life as beautiful.  Even a blah day has a beauty about it. All I have to do is to switch my mindset to anticipation of a bright sunny day, and life is good. The cacti give me an outlet to vent my frustrations. At times, when I get upset with someone, I tell them to go hug a cactus, and if I get very upset I’ll tell them to go kiss a cactus.

Cacti grow in extremely harsh environments and they are hardy survivors. They live without water for months, sometimes years. A cactus can withstand high temperatures, and suppress predation with their spines. Like all living things, they do succumb.

My cacti are not treated to a life of high temperatures, but do get treated harshly. In the winter, I bring them indoors and place them in a low light environment. Occasionally, I sprinkle them with a few drops of water.  When the temperature outside is above freezing, I move them into the garden.  I place them strategically between the perennials to add interest, and confusion. How confusion? Have you ever walked a perennial garden in the Mid-West to spot a desert plant nestled among the traditional plant life?

During the summer, my cacti are stressed, not by the heat but by the large amount of water they get. In the desert, light, heat, and water add up to procreation by  flowering. Nature compensates the gross stems and the spiny foliage with brilliant beautiful flowers. I have only had luck with one of my plants. It flowers every year, but the others have not. Obviously, my basement and yard do not yield the correct conditions to promote flowering. That is one problem to challenge the blahs.  I look forward to learning what it takes to get them to flower as beautiful as they do in the desert.

Here are some of my critters, and some real desert cactus in bloom.

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