Sunday, December 30, 2012

Josh, the neighbor kid

We had a little neighbor kid named Josh back in the seventies. He was an average boy with Dennis the Menace blond hair. His mom left for work in the afternoon before his dad got home, so we would take care of him for a few hours every day.

Bren's boyfriend Steve was over at our house one afternoon soon after we got our first TV with a remote control. Steve was sitting on the couch with the remote hidden next to him where Josh couldn't see it. He soon had little Josh tricked into believing that he was magically changing the channels on the TV by walking past it or making "zapping" gestures. Josh soaked up our admiration at his abilities. He was having great fun; magic powers are pretty heady stuff for a 5-year-old.

A while later, Steve was teasing Josh. The little boy turned to him and said, "You better stop that or I'll zap you and you'll be dead!" We were blown away at how we had created this little monster. We quickly showed him the remote and how it worked and explained it was just a joke.
As they say, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Since Josh was "babysat" by whoever was around when he came over, we pooled the money earned and bought a new stereo system to replace the old HiFi. Those were the days of LP records so it only had a turntable. My dad built me a big record cabinet because we had a very large collection by the late 70's.

I finally sold all those LP's to Cheapo Records for $20 in 2005 since nobody in the family wanted them. Most systems no longer had turntables and it was difficult to find needles for them.

In my lifetime, the recorded music format has gone from 78's to LP's (with an overlap of 45's) then on to 8-tracks (big mistake) to cassettes to CD's and now...MP3's and ?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

About my grand-dogs

                                    I love goofy dog poses.
We stopped at my middle daughter's home out in the 'burbs to pick up my big stock pot for making matzoh ball soup. We were greeted at the door by all six of the family dogs. It always makes me laugh at their overwhelming exuberance as they jostle for position in the entryway.

The family never set out to have that many animals but things happen. Steve, my son-in-law wanted a lab for duck hunting. He got a female black lab named Reggie from the friend of a relative, but she turned out to be gun-shy. So, he got another big blond lab named Duke for hunting.

The two daughters decided they wanted some small dogs for their own and got a pair of chihuahua crosses and named them Yoda and Dobbie. Daughter Sam was working part-time at a vet clinic and fell in love with an elderly dachshund named Freddie that was abandoned there. She brought the little fella home where he became number 5. (Here's to dachshunds with waggly tails)

                                          Family dog pile                   
Just recently, their grandma died  (The beauty of the "surge"). Before her death, my daughter had promised that they would take her dog Ruby after she died. So, poor sheltered Ruby was thrust into this riotous throng. It was a big adjustment for the beagle-cross who was the sole, housebound pet in a quiet home. She was very shy and obese as well.  However, after a few days, Ruby decided that she wanted to join the pack. She now chases rabbits outside and romps with her new canine friends. She has already lost four pounds.

My daughter is a little embarrassed at the number of dogs they have, but she takes it in stride. I'm just happy to get lots of doggie loving when I go over there!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A major holiday approaches

We never actually celebrate Christmas on the 25th. With several nurses and a policeman in the family plus in-law obligations to reconcile, it just doesn't work out. It hasn't dampened our fun however.

This year, we'll meet halfway between the two farthest points in the town where my youngest daughter lives. She has reserved the fully-equipped community room in the Assisted Living Facility where she works. This year we are having a non-traditional menu and going Mexican. We're having tacos, enchiladas, refried beans, rice and lots of accoutrements. I'm calling it our Mexicano Navidad.

I've got all my calendars bought so now I have to wrap them. When we get together for Christmas, the adults no longer trade gifts as it got to be too expensive. We each bring a $15 gift and then play a dice game. After all the gifts have been won, we continue playing so the gifts won are up for grabs. Anyone can take away your gift and give you theirs. A popular gift may change hands many times, so it gets to be lots of fun.

      All the cooking and shopping does tire a person out!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Grief! Christmas is coming!

I just realized that our family Christmas get-together is in two weeks. All I've done so far is to set out the little Charlie Brown Christmas tree and buy some calendars. Not a great start!

We got an entire foot of snow yesterday so we're holing up until all the streets are cleared.  While the fluffy white snow makes it very "Christmassy" outside, I'm really feeling bad for the turkeys. Their whole world has turned upside down. They were hatched back in June and grew up over a long, hot summer. When fall came, it cooled down but there was still plenty of foraging and food to be found. This morning, the food I threw out for them was eaten quickly and some of it disappeared into the snow. Confused, they would scratch with their scrawny Tyrannosaurus Rex toes, but it just moved the snow around.
              (Turkeys trying to find the food buried in the snow this morning.)
The flock moved on plowing swaths though the snow as they looked for food on neighbor's patios. In desperation, they ate snow. After a time they went up on the slope and just hunkered down trying to warm up. No doubt, eating the cold snow gave them chills and stomach pains. After a long rest they moved on. I'm waiting for them to come back and make me feel better about their miserable lot.

I might getting a little too obsessed over them--God knows there are a lot bigger things to worry about--but these turkeys are right here outside my window. I can hear them making their little clucking sounds as they look for food and I'm not the sort of person who can just look away.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Of Twinkies and hungry turkeys

Recently the Hostess Baking Company went bankrupt and closed. It made the national news mostly because they made the iconic Twinkies. I never bought any Hostess products except for an occasional Snowball so I didn't really give a care until today. But today, it suddenly hit home.

We make a trip over to Minneapolis every couple of weeks to shop at the Master Bakery "used bread" store. They sell bread that is near the "sell-by" date at half the price. We always stock up on English Muffin Toasting Bread. It's the very best for breakfast toast and also grilled cheese sandwiches, BLT's or French toast. It's basically the only bread we eat.

Ever since I began feeding the flock of turkeys this summer, we had been buying expired bread that they sell for animal feed. We could literally  buy a car trunk full of bread and buns for five dollars. The turkeys happily gobbled it up, along with the squirrels, birds and assorted other animals. It was a feast by the wooded lot twice a day. Little did I know that when they stopped making Twinkies and other Hostess products, it would trickle down to create a problem for my menagerie.

Today, when we asked to buy a cart of stale bread, the gal said they didn't have any. She told us that when Hostess Bakeries closed down, people who had been getting bread at the local Hostess thrift store started coming over to the Master Bread thrift store. She said a man came in one morning who was with an organization that provided food for homeless people. He bought 50 loaves of bread. She said they are clearing out their shelves every day now so there's no leftovers to sell for animals.

It brings home the interconnectedness of everything that happens--and I will miss those yummy Snowballs.

Hostess marshmallow-covered, cream-filled Snowball. They come in lavender for Easter, green for St Patrick's day and orange for Halloween plus white for every-day.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another sad duty of the hoarder

It's December first and I changed my wall calendars to their last page today for yet another year. I have begun shopping for calendars. I've been giving everyone in the family a calendar for Christmas every year for a long time. It's my thing and I really enjoy it.

I love calendar art and so I can't bear to throw old calendars away. As a result, I have a big accumulation of them on my closet shelf. Today, I noticed that the weight of those stacks of calendars was causing the shelf to sag pretty low in the middle. I took down a hefty pile of them and decided some of them have to go.

Sorting through them has been a difficult thing to do. Every one had to be paged through to make sure there weren't any notations of momentous importance, such as a dental appointment in 1996. I also have to make sure there aren't any pictures that I want to save. This made for some brutal decisions, but I finally reduced that pile to less than half.

So now I have the pile of rejects sitting aside ready to be disposed of  humanely. I feel guilty about it because there is some really wonderful photography and artwork in those calendars. Most of them are printed on high-quality paper. They don't deserve such an ignominious fate as to go into the recycling like a mere stack of old newspapers!