All Hallows Eve = Halloween

This year Halloween was truly different from all of my halloween’s (81), it snowed. It was our very first killing frost, and the snow measured a couple of inches. The temperature registered at twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit. Our weather man cited that the last time we had snow and cold of this magnitude was ninety-five years ago. No wonder I can’t remember it being this cold!

I was prepared for the kids, but they didn’t come. Well, a few hearty souls did show up. They looked funny wearing super hero costumes covered by their snow suits. The door bell rang just five times between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m. Now what do I do with all the left over candy? I am on a Keto diet, and candy in the same house is forbidden. Rats!

Halloween kicks off a three day celebration at my church. The next day is November first and is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation. November second is All Souls Day, and November third is for all the still living souls.

This morning I attended a special mass commemorating all the people from our parish that died during the last twelve months. There are 83 people listed, my wife Peggy is one of them. Right after this mass were two funerals that didn’t make it in time to be on this year’s program, and another one next Monday. Death doesn’t seem to care about holidays or scheduled events it just happens.

Sinfully, I scanned the congregation to see if there were any notable widows that I would want to hit on. I didn’t see anyone worth developing a relationship with. I’m really bad aren’t I? Here I sit, my wife not yet cold in her grave, and I’m looking over the field. I loved both of my wives, and still do, but both of them broke the contract (til death do us part) when they took their last breath. Life is for living, and I do grieve, but I also want to move forward without wasting a single second of my God given gift. I also don’t want to be judged at the pearly gates for wasting the life I was granted. I would rather be criticized for doing something even if it is wrong rather than not doing anything.

After wife-one died I attended a support group dealing in grief. That is where I first laid eyes on Peggy and it was an instant connection. We married two years later. We enjoyed ten great years together before she was beset with Alzheimer’s dementia. The next four years were not so great, but God gave her to me to care for in sickness and in health, and that is what I did. I miss her terribly, but at the end I prayed that God take her to stop her misery, He did.

The aloneness I experience now that she is gone is unbearable at times, and I have to do something physical to get my mind off of being by my miserable self. Sometimes, I will wash my dirty clothes, other times I will call someone just to hear a voice. Lately, I have taken to watching movies. On Demand has become my most viewed channel on television. I find that becoming engrossed in a good story puts me into a better frame of mind. By the time I cook my supper, eat, and wash the dishes, there is just enough time for one or two movies before nodding off to sleep. If Its too late to start another movie I’ll get ready for bed and read a book until it is time for sleep.

Last evening’s diversion was to use my jacuzzi tub, a pleasure I haven’t experienced for many years. I went out earlier in the day to buy some bath salts and bought a bottle of Dr. Teal’s Foaming Pink Himalayan Bath Salts and Oil. The idea of soaking in something like that was intriguing. The instructions said to use a generous amount. I didn’t measure but I poured at least a cup full of the stuff into the water. I didn’t just want some therapy, I wanted deep deep therapeutic benefits.  By the time the water level in the tub reached the jets the foam was at the rim of the tub. I stepped into the water and my foot slipped on the bottom. It took some effort to haul my thirty pound over weight hulk into the tub without injuring my self. I hadn’t counted on Dr. Teal’s oil component to be so slippery. I could barely sit up without sliding on my back. I finally braced myself across the width of the tub with my back against one side and my feet against the other. I gingerly reached over to the side and pressed the “on” button to energize the water jets. All holy hell broke loose as the massaging water whipped up a frenzy of bubbles which now bloomed over the rim and reached the window sill. My head was barely out of the bubbly cloud. The only way I knew how to keep the bubbles from filling the entire room was to keep pushing them into the water.

Before I turned on the water I set my phone to alarm me after a half hour passed. By the time it rang, I had enough therapeutic relief and was ready to exit the tub. That is when the therapeutic workout began. Trying to maneuver the mass of my body on oil slick smooth plastic became a nightmare. One false move and I would slip below the bubble line and sink under the water, and I don’t breathe too well under water. My legs were impossible to move out of the wedge I had myself in, and twisting my upper body only seemed to make the wedge work better. In the mean time, my phone kept on alarming. In my mind I was deciding how many handholds I will have to install all around the tub to make it senior friendly. I used the faucet spout as a handle and finally maneuvered my way out of the wedge position. Finally I reached the switch to shut the water jets off, and to stop the bubble machine. These were not Lawrence Welk cutesy bubbles bu rather more like a volcanic eruption.  On my knees now, I inched my way to the edge of the tub. God it was slippery. I made it, and threw my body onto the rim with both arms over the edge. Somehow I rolled onto my back against the rim with my  arms still hanging on for dear life. Slippery foam covered me from head to toe. I reached for a towel on the floor and was able to wipe off some of the oil from the edge of the tub, and this gave me enough friction to hike my ass up into a sitting position. The next therapeutic exercise involved Yoga. I lifted one leg high enough to make the edge of the tub, and with some exertion I managed to straddle the tub. My leg was covered in oily foam and I maneuvered the towel with my toe to bring it where I could step on it. I pictured myself standing on a slippery tile floor with one leg, and the other in the slippery tub, and me doing a split landing on my most sensitive body part.

I made it out and shut off the alarm. The exit took a full fifteen minutes. On my next therapeutic adventure I will begin by dispensing Dr. Teal’s Foaming Pink Himalayan Bath Salts and Oil in quarter teaspoon increments, or maybe an eyedropper would be smarter. I jumped into the shower to rinse the foam and oil off. When I was dry I reached into the tub and pulled the drain plug. This morning there was still some foam left in the tub.

You know what? The therapeutic jacuzzi soak took my mind off missing Peg.

 

 

All Hallowed Eve Greeting

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Look at these two little tushes, aren’t they cute?

and then they grew up.

 

 

Trick or treat

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My Blood Pressure Spiked!

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Wow! It is already the second day of 2014 and I have not done a thing. On New Year’s Day, Peg and I crashed. The party the day before wore us out. Ever since we married eight years ago we have traditionally celebrated New Year’s Eve. The first few years we attended the Prestwick Country Club party by hosting a table of friends. More recently, Peg decided she wanted a smaller more intimate group of friends to spend time with.

The party gives me a chance to practice my culinary skill, which is very limited, combined with Peg’s hosting skill which is considerable.  We invited three couples for dinner at five. The day began in a relaxed manner, but the stress level increased exponentially as the minutes marched forward. Peg began by monopolizing the kitchen with her hors d’oeuvres, patience Joe.  The weather saved me. It snowed that morning so I disappeared to shovel the drive and the walks. I returned to begin the main dish by  assembling the components for the veal paprikas I planned to make. We are lucky enough to have a fifteen foot countertop for cooking, but I had only one square foot of it. My blood pressured spiked, and my patience wore thin, I forgot two ingredients which I made a special trip to shop for days earlier. Another escape, this time to the Jewel Food Store for two items, a green pepper, and a 14.7 ounce can of diced tomatoes. There must have been more people like me because the parking lot was at capacity. Shoppers in cars jammed the lanes waiting for people  to come out and make a space. I backed out and found a space at the far corner. An inconsiderate jerk of a shopper had abandoned his cart in the space I parked in, so I pushed it back to the store while walking at record pace through the snow. I beat the cars still waiting in the lane for a space, patience Joe.

Inside the store was worse than the parking lot. Outside it was only parked cars and jerks waiting to find premium parking spaces. Inside it was different. Nervous ladies all rushing through the aisles filling baskets with party goodies. I encountered several aisle jams stalled by shoppers staring at the goods while trying to decide which kind of potato chip, wine, or olive to take off the shelf. Once more I back out, this time with the cart. Several times shoppers blind-sided me while rushing down an aisle and crossing lanes without looking. Smile, and say you’re sorry Joe, they are only stressed out like you are. On a normal day, close encounters of this sort would result in a lasting friendship, today friendship did not occur to me nor to those with whom I nearly collided.

Once at the checkout lanes, the crowd seemed even worse. People in line spilled into the aisles unseen. I passed through the waiting carts and aligned myself in what I thought was the end of the line. As luck would have it, the checkout lady was slower than cold molasses. Finally, the line moved one person, and I jockeyed into place but an old woman who came from nowhere and holding a fruit-tort blocked me. She smiled and politely inferred that I was cutting, and the line formed in the aisle behind her, patience Joe.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Door Bell Rings

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A good thing just happened to me. A very nice young man with a very heavy black beard, a bright red jacket and a black knit cap just rang the door-bell. I answered, and he very politely asked if I wanted my snow shoveled.  “How much,” I asked? He pondered a moment and looked around, “twenty-five,” he answered. “How about twenty?”  He nodded in agreement. “Do you have a shovel,” I asked. He nodded yes again.

Parked out on the street stood a sleek-looking Nissan. He ran to the car and knocked on the window. His partner came out and the two of them are shoveling furiously. In the short time it has taken me to write this, they have completed half of the job. Thank you Lord!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

By the time I checked out and drove home from the Jewel, Peggy decided to clear some counter space for me. My tension eased, and the meal prep began.

By four-thirty I finished the paprikas and the double recipe of spaetzle. I transferred the veal dish to a hot-pot and kept the spaetzle dumplings warm in a covered pot.  I looked out the window and realized it had snowed again. Peggy asked for help with something she was doing, and I freaked again, patience Joe. I did what she asked without grumbling, patience Joe. I rushed to the garage for my snow shovels. The drive and walks were clean by 4:55.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++The Door Bell Rings Again

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The snow-shovelers just rang the bell. They  finished. My God, what youthful energy they have. I would still be screwing around getting dressed and with starting the snow blower but they finished! I handed him twenty-six bucks. The two of them deserve it. Peg handed him a small bag of mini-Snickers bars left over from Halloween which I had secretly stashed.

Since it is still snowing, I’ll have another chance to show my aging-energy later this afternoon.

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We had a perfectly delightful evening with our friends eating and drinking and making merry. Harriet brought a lasagna to supplement my Paprikas, Mary brought shrimp appetizers, and Donna brought a scrumptious plate of cherry slices and a quart of ice cream, and Al brought enough wine to keep us happy the whole night long. The crowd left by nine o’clock. Peggy and I cleaned up and we were in bed by 11:00 p.m. by mid-night we were fast asleep.

Happy New Year everyone.

Wisdom Galore

When growing up during World War II my immigrant parents often lectured me on the Democrat Party, “they are for the workin’ man” Dad would say. Then he and Mom went on living conservative lives despising the idea of getting “charity” from the government.
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Trick, or Treat?

Trick or Treat. Well what kind of trick are you going to play on me if I don’t give you a treat? Huh? Back in the good old days, people knew what kind of trick would be played; soaped windows, tipped garbage cans, flat tires, flaming bags of deficant on the front porch, a mysterious knock on the door with no one there. We knew how to have some fun at the expense of our fudgey old neighbors. Try that stuff today, and see what it gets you? Most likely jail time.

Trick or Treat

TRICK!

OR

TREAT

Ugleee!

ugly-tomato-contest-winner

ugly-tomato-contest-runner-up (1)

For all the folks in the world who think I am a loser here is evidence that I am not. A few months ago a blog that I follow offered an ugly tomato contest and solicited entries. This was my big chance to show the world I can grow a tomato. The plant came from Home Depot and I planted it late. The species was labeled as Big Beefy. I wanted a big, juicy, meaty, red tomato to slice on to my sandwiches. Alongside the Big Beefy I planted a cherry tomato. I can report that I thoroughly enjoyed the cherry tomatoes in abundance all summer. The Big Beefy was somewhat sluggish to produce. When it did finally yield a fruit, it was always a distorted orb with tumor like growths projecting. The one in the photo caught my eye as a work of art and not as a meal. I picked it green to take photos. That’s when Soulsby Farm was looking for candidates. I seized the opportunity if only to redeem this fruit’s self-esteem. It would be an entrant in the ugly tomato contest. Never in a hundred years did I expect Big Beefy to become a finalist. Big Beefy won the runner up award.

I must confess I doctored the fruit just tad. Big Beefy looked very much like an Ogre. So I got creative and used a heavy marking pen to enhance his features with eye-pupils and eye brows. I thought Big Beefy looked rather scary. If he lasts until Halloween he will be my contribution to the night of horrors.

Thank you Soulsby Farm for an entertaining post.

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