Miscellaneous Rambling

Today, I went into a mild shock as I tried to stuff a fully assembled winter coat box into my car for delivery. The box didn’t fit, and I had to disassemble it to make it go into the back seat. Now I have to expand the box and tape it at each location that I deliver to.  A minor irritation, but an irritation no less. 

The morning was beautiful sunny blue-sky-day which made me feel really upbeat. I quickly made a KETO omelet with spinach, scallions, and sundried tomatoes accompanied with three slices of gypsy style smoked bacon, and two slices of KETO toast smothered in butter.

After breakfast I read the mail, and then prepped for a walk. The plan was to walk to the pharmacy, to pick up a prescription, then to the mailbox to drop a letter, and finally to the coffee shop for a latte.  The prescription failed, my doctor did not approve a refill, I had to make an appointment for a blood test and an office visit before he would. Onward to the drop box with the letter and for the latte. I arrived home after two hours, and proceeded to assemble the box I grumbled about above. 

I spent a long afternoon surfing the net for information on immigration laws. One of my friends is living here on an expired visa, and needs help to get legal again. I didn’t find anything very promising. I don’t know how all the people who come in here illegally actually get to stay, much less to sign up for bennies. All the law I found is pretty simple, and seems to be iron clad on how to handle illegals. I’m positive that If I try to help this person that I will wind up in jail for five years and he will be deported.

Immigration word cloud concept isolated on white

My daughter called me this afternoon to tell me that her daughter (my grand-daughter) received notification that she was placed on the National Honor Society. Proud mama that she is she couldn’t wait to make a braggadocios phone call to let her pride show. She is one of my favorites so I am as proud as can be of her accomplishment. She did it while hunkered down and forced to attend classes on the internet.

After this post I will settle into my usual evening routine of five hours of non-stop TV. I found a new series which I have been avoiding for reasons unknown to me. It is titled Hunters, and stars Al Pacino. He is a former prisoner of a Nazi camp who escaped being gassed by his captors. He is currently hunting down escaped Nazis from WW-2 living within the USA. I found the first episode fascinating, and will watch it until every damned Nazi is hunted down and exterminated. 

Another movie title caught my eye and I latched onto that too; Moondance Alexander. It turned out to be a horse story about a young girl shunned by her friends who finds a horse while delivering groceries after school on her bicycle. It turns out it was filmed in Calgary, Canada home of the Heartland series my favorite horse opera too date. I must have seen ten movies in the last month all with the same theme, and all filmed in the same location with titles that lure me in. 

It is also time for me to call my long-lost son from the Lone Star State. Our conversation will easily last an hour or two as we share Trump stories.       

Boredom Yields Grief

A few days ago I completed a project that took me several months to execute. Begun in March of 2019, and then set aside in May of 2019 to spend time with my wife. I restarted again in January 2020 a full six months after Peggy died. During the time I worked on this animal, my life was never lonely. This week, I found myself with a couple of hours of free time that I didn’t know what to do with.  I missed going to my shop to cut and grind, sand, and finish wood pieces. I found myself getting lonely and wishing Peggy was still alive, what a terrible feeling. Not that I didn’t want her to be with me, but that I wanted her to be with me so badly.

To ward off the loneliness, I dressed for winter and took a long walk. Exercise helps ward off grief. My shoes are beginning to show signs of wear because I am walking so much. Somedays, I will walk several times. If I need a book, I’ll walk to the library, if my hair needs cutting, I’ll walk to the barber shop. If i am meeting friends for a drink I’ll walk to the bar. Today, I’ll walk to a noon meeting with my men’s group for lunch. (KETO for sure.)

Loneliness is an emotion that causes me to be depressed. Therefore, I must avoid it with a passion. Instead I find more powerful activities to fight depression. I pray when I walk, I watch movies that absorb, I read books with stories that engulf my mind, the last thing I will do is nothing, because then the mind begins feeding me bullshit about how tough I have it when the exact opposite is true. My blessings far out number my adversities, and I thank God for having blessed me so much.

Yesterday, a friend texted me with a link to a Lions event which is in September. I texted back that I have not been able to think that far in advance. Then immediately, I signed up for the event, a three day training session called the USA/Canada Leadership Forum held in Louisville, Kentucky this year. I thought, what the hell. there is nothing holding me back but me. I have looked at this event for three years always thinking that when I am free again I will go. I am going.

While on the Forum website I was reminded of a newer Lions educational program. One can earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s and a Phd in Lionism online from Lions University. I signed up for it while Peggy was still alive and I was President of my club, but put it aside. I clicked the button and completed the first of ten sessions required for my Bachelor’s Degree. I want to receive the degree at the forum in September. Why not? I can be a widower who sits and watches grass grow, or I can be a widower who attends Webinars to get a degree.

Activity, activity, activity, is the key to trudging through grief, along with writing about it.

 

To Die For

Learning to be single in one’s eighties is really different. Throughout my life I always had some type of support. From birth until college it was my parents, brother and sister. In college it was a room mate. After college it was back to my parents for a short while, then, marriage. That phase lasted forty two years, and I was single again, living alone, then marriage again. The second time it lasted fourteen years, and that brings me up to today, single again. I vowed never to get married again, but never say never. I am determined to stay single.

Life has become a battle between grief and loneliness, but after nine months of it I  can claim I am gaining on the task. To combat loneliness I have developed a daily pattern. Basically, it is get up, make breakfast, clean up, read mail, listen to my radio show, make lunch, go for a long walk, surf the net, work on my art, make supper, cleanup, work on my art some more, watch movies, read, then go to bed. Exciting? Not really, but it takes my mind off my loves and keeps grief away. After seventeen years I still grieve for my first wife Barbara, and now my second wife Peggy, such is life.

I thank God for allowing me to have Xfinity On Demand, and Amazon Prime, both services are keeping me going. I stay away from zombies, terminators, cartoons, satanic, comic characters, and stick with drama. Do you know how many movies are in the genres I just listed? Thousands. I do like action movies involving espionage, and mystery. All of them have to be included with the service, I refuse to spend money on rentals to get recent selections.

Most of the films I watch are family oriented stories. Most of them have plots based on the effect of someone dying. I estimate nine out of ten stories depict the hardship that life brings after a family member dies. Knowing a little bit about life after losing a partner I can attest to the truthfulness of how life gets screwed up. Many stories are about the effect of death on children. I watched one last night called “A Father’s Choice.”  A cowboy falls for a city girl, and they marry. They have two daughters. Their marriage falls apart and the mother raises the girls alone. She meets a man she wants to marry. The happy family to be is returning from a night out at dinner and the movies. As they exit their car and approach the house the new man notices strange things, like the dog is out in the back barking, the front entry light is out, etc. They take two steps toward the door and a man in black jumps out of the dark and begins shooting. He kills the mother on the spot and nearly kills her fiancé, the girls are spared. Think of the impact of this scene on the kids. The rest of the story involves how the kids cope and how their estranged cowboy father learns to be a parent after a long absence. I love this kind of plot, but there are too many off them that rely on death to become a story.

Many of the better films are not produced int he USA, but rather in Canada or Australia. Folks in those countries are not as focused on the weird zombie stories like we are in America. come to think of it, zombie movies are dependent on death also.

I got hooked on a series called Jack Ryan, based on author Tom Clancy’s stories about espionage and intrigue. The remarkable thing about these stories is the unbelievability of the central character to endure enormous punishment and his bullet dodging capability to stay alive while killing untold numbers of bad guys shooting at him with machine guns with single shots from his pistol.

If Hollywood ever decides to quit making this genre I am in trouble.

 

A Short Story Made Long

This is a short story which I will make long. Peggy and I have been theater goers ever since we married. For three years we subscribed to Chicago Shakespeare Theater. We looked forward to going, but always came home wondering what-the-heck is was all about. I was lucky if I understood fifty percent of what the actors said. Peg felt the same. In a cock-eyed way we enjoyed Shakespeare, maybe because it was a night out in the big town. Then, I learned that my friend Sherman and his wife Harriet were avid Steppenwolf Theater fans. My only association with Steppenwolf  came when I recognized the theater while driving by. I had heard the name many times, and my ears stood up when I drove past the building.

We subscribed to Steppenwolf in 2007 for the same nights as Harriet and Sherman. We have been members ever since. One of the first plays we attended is “Superior Donuts.” Sherman could not laud playwright Tracy Letts enough for his writing ability, and raved about a play they saw during the last season called “August: Osage County” also by Tracy Letts.

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All along, I kept telling myself that I have to see this play. From Steppenwolf the play went to Broadway lasting two years and receiving rave reviews. Then, Tracy Letts won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Osage.”  All the while, Peg and I have watched five plays a year since then, and many of them featured Tracy Letts as actor. He is a fine performer. Our record of coming home not understanding what went on has improved and we now understand all the dialog.

This week, I accomplished the goal to see “August: Osage County.” Peg and I opened our winter movie season by seeing this film. The story has strong characters played by fine actors, two of which you will recognize immediately, Meryl Streep, and Julia Roberts.

I don’t know what it is about playwrights they always seem to write their best stories about dysfunctional families. I admit, Osage is about one really screwed up family. The story is riveting, as screwed up as the people are. This was one film that went by fast, and My old man bladder held out for the distance. There was no way I would  interrupt seeing one minute of this performance.

There is one thing left for this story, an Oscar. The film did not receive a nomination, but Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts have both been nominated, I agree that both should win.

Save Your Money

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This is a true confession. Today, I went to see a movie. Peggy and I have a goal to see twelve movies in twelve weeks, and today we saw number ten. The first nine films we saw  were very good;  the stories seemed plausible, the action looked real although contrived, and the characters were believable. I wrote about “Olympus Has Fallen” on this blog not long ago.

The film we saw today is a giant pile of dog turd. I was praying for my bladder overload to kick in so I would have an excuse to leave. As luck had it, my bladder behaved.

The movie is ” Tyler Perry‘s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.”

When I first read the title I was stupid enough to believe that Tyler Perry was part of the film. It turns out that he is the author, and it surprised me to know who the hell Tyler Perry is. Looking back at it, I now realize that “Tyler Perry” is code for “all black story, and actors.” Call me a racist if you like, but this film left me wishing I had chosen to see “the Croods” instead.

Where do I begin? Portions of the story are completely unbelievable, the characters are not real, the plot is worse than some of the fairytale action films, and the actors performed like rejects from a third-rate school of drama.

Ask me if I liked it? NO!

I give this film five dog turds.

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