Thursday Thoughts

We Are Part of the…
You know how songs get stuck in your head? Sometimes I don’t even know why I inexplicably find myself singing a particular song. That happened to me recently. I can’t remember the song, but it was something random. Maybe Who Are You? Anyway, that night I was watching television – probably a football game – and a commercial came on that played the song. I have no memory of having seen that commercial previously, but I have no doubt that’s why the song was in my mind. Well, the song that is currently (and unfortunately) stuck in my mind is Rhythm Nation. Monday night on Dancing With the Stars, the theme was “famous dances.” Tamar Braxton’s performance was to that very tune. The biggest reason I say it is unfortunate is because the only words I can remember are we are part of the rhythm nation, and so that is what I sing over and over. Here is a link to Janet Jackson’s video so that it can be stuck in your head too.


No body fat....

No body fat….

The other day we stopped by the McLains to pick up something Dave had brought from the office for Bill. We were enthusiastically greeted by the grandkids. Except for Dagny, who, while she came to say hello, had a sad look on her face. I asked her why the sad face. “I got my flu shot today and it REALLY HURTS.” Let me tell you that Dagny is not a baby about pain. She is tough. I have seen her fall from a tree and get the wind knocked out of her and get back up to play. But she was feeling punk that night. Her side of the story is that the person giving the shot stuck the needle into her and then wiggled it around A LOT. Presuming that is not actually true, the only thing I can figure is that since she has no body fat, it must hurt more. Bill and I, on the other hand, got our shots yesterday and what do you know? It doesn’t hurt. No needle wiggling; lots of body fat.

I’d Do Anything For You Dear
Speaking of flu shots, Bill and I had lunch yesterday with two very good friends, one who was my boss for 15 years. Every year when I would mention that I was getting my flu shot, he would scoff at the notion. “I never get a flu shot, and I never get the flu,” he would tell me. I never argued, because it would have been pointless. And it was true that he was never sick. But when I mentioned that I was going to get a flu shot following lunch, he sheepishly admitted that he had just gotten his very first flu shot. It turns out that for reasons having to do with construction on his house, he is living for a bit with his daughter, son-in-law, and 7-month-old grandson. His daughter informed him that because he is living with the baby, HE WILL GET A FLU SHOT. The thing is, he did it quite willingly. “It was the right thing to do, you know, for the baby,” he told me. I’m telling you, the things we’ll do for our grandkids…..

It’s Beginning to Feel Like Winter
The temperature didn’t get above 48 degrees yesterday, the first really chilly day we’ve had thus far. I turned on my heat for the first time this year. We have had an unseasonably warm fall. I’m grateful that it didn’t get cold enough to snow, but rain began sometime in the night, and it fell most of the day yesterday. It was gray and dreary. I spent much of the day under a blanket, reading. Lovely.

They’re Very Photogenic
We are still going through boxes and boxes of photos. Here is one that makes me laugh each time I look at it…..

rashka family

Doesn’t it have a Night of the Living Deadness to it? I just can’t figure it out. Maybe they were all working in the yard and someone yelled, “Turn around because I’m going to take a picture.” Maybe they were playing freeze tag. Any thoughts?

Craft Time
Sunday afternoon, about the time that I no longer knew how to keep the grandkids entertained, Jll showed up with a craft project. The project consisted of tiny pumpkins, paint, various decorative elements, and a glue gun. They all went to work…

grands working on craft

At least they don’t resemble a remake of Night of the Living Dead.


The Eye of the Needle

6vs1q4go1mdabh35c1qtsldqs.1000x976x1Every time I publish one of these blog posts in which I talk about my spiritual life, I’m uncomfortable. After all, who am I to feel like I have anything to tell anyone about being a good and faithful servant of God? Attending a Catholic school from Kindergarten through 12th grade certainly doesn’t give me the necessary credibility. Especially since I was sent to the principal’s office on more than one occasion because my uniform skirt didn’t meet the necessary guidelines, i.e., touching the floor when kneeling at daily Mass. People – it was 1969! Oh, it did once I got to the principal’s office because the reason my skirt was short was that I had folded over the waist three or four times. It probably doesn’t surprise you that I didn’t really fool the principal when I entered her office with a skirt down to my knees. (It didn’t fool my mother either, but as good a Catholic as she was, she never really thought highly of some of the school rules. I remember when I was in grade school, a rule was issued that girls couldn’t wear sleeveless dresses to school. “Oh, yes,” I remember her saying, “because there’s nothing sexier than a 6-year-old’s underarms.”)

But I digress, something I do very well.

Despite my lack of credibility, the gospel readings keep slamming me in the face, and I need you all to assure me of my salvation. For example, in yesterday’s gospel from my old friend St. Mark, Jesus tells the rich man that in order for him to make it to heaven, he had to give away all of his worldly goods.  Dang, thought the rich man. Gulp, thought I. St. Mark tells us the rich man’s “face fell” and I’m certain mine did. It does every time I hear that gospel. Heck, I don’t want to give away my big screen television. How am I supposed to watch the Broncos or Dancing With the Stars?

As I sat back to listen to Father Larry’s homily, I was prepared to hear him assure me that I didn’t have to give up my iPad after all. As I recalled, every time that particular gospel is read, the priests assure us that we don’t have to give up everything and eat only locusts and honey. To my relief, Father Larry did, in fact, assure me giving away everything was unnecessary. However, he put it in a way that actually made some sense. He pointed out that Jesus told the rich man that he should follow the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal and so on. The rich man assured him that he did indeed follow all of God’s commandments and had since a mere youth. For the most part, so do I, or at least I try.

But, said our homilist, Jesus went on to tell the rich man – and therefore me – that it isn’t simply what we don’t do, but just as important, or perhaps even more important, what we do.

Gulp, I thought again. Because the fact of the matter is that while I think about doing a lot, I mostly don’t getting around to doing anything. I can be more generous with my time and talents. When I get mail from nonprofits asking for money, I can actually give money instead of tossing them out without even opening the envelope. I always tell myself I should carry a stack of one dollar bills and when I’m at a stoplight where someone is holding up a cardboard sign, I could actually hand him/her a couple of dollars without thinking about whether or not he or she deserves my money. After all, it isn’t up to me to judge.

“Then who can be saved,” the disciples asked Jesus, who responded, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

Even saving my pitiful butt. I’m going right now to put some dollar bills in my car.

Thursday Thoughts

Boy Toys
You might as well start getting kids interested in technology at a young age. We watched Kaiya, Mylee, and Cole while their parents attended Curriculum Night at the school. Keeping 16-month-old Cole out of trouble is a full-time job. Papa entertained him with his telephone, and it worked. For a bit.

papa cole telephone

Patriot Madness
ESPN’s story about all of the ways the New England Patriots have cheated over the years makes my head want to explode. I simply don’t understand why the NFL keeps putting up with their shenanigans. Of course, Jen reminds me that as Denver Broncos fans, we can blame almost everything on the New England Patriots. As a matter of fact, one recent day when the stock market was volatile, one of the financial analysts with whom Jen works was grumbling about the role Greece and China were playing in the market fluctuations. Jen told him, “I’m blaming it on the Patriots.”

I Feel Like Dancing
This Monday at 7 o’clock in the evening, I will be glued to my paula-deentelevision as the spring season of Dancing With the Stars commences. I am not even ashamed in the least to admit that I am a fan. For the first time in a while, I will actually have someone for whom I will be rooting. Go Paula Deen! Do it for your old overweight fans. I never did blame you for the honest revelation you made about your inglorious past mistakes. I did blame you, however, for your selection of a PR team to handle the aftermath. Paula, Paula, Paula. Make up for it, Girl, by dancing your tail off! And, by the way, your fried chicken at Lady and Sons in Savannah is amazing!

Outfoxing the Foxes
In addition to their unending efforts to eat the tomatoes out of my garden, our neighborhood foxes have taken to walking around on cars that are sitting on the street or in driveways in our neighborhood. I can’t figure out why they do this, but they, indeed, make the practice a habit. It’s been driving Bill crazy, since his car sits in our driveway and hence, is walked upon almost nightly. You can see their paw prints. He doesn’t find it in the least amusing. He has tried various things to thwart their activities to no avail. Until now……

wolf in window

He printed out this photo of a wolf – with enhanced (and I think quite terrifying) teeth – and places it in the front car window each night. While I literally laughed until I cried the first night, he is now four for four in nights without a visit from the foxes. I wonder if the foxes are asking themselves how the wolf gets into the locked car. Here is a closeup so you can really see how terrifying it is….

wolf closeup

Leave it to Bill.


Thursday Thoughts

Belly Aching
I’ve been out of the hospital now for about a month-and-a-half. I’m feeling great; no problems with my stomach at all, thanks be to God. However, now comes the time when I have to deal with my hospital bills that are trickling in. Paying them is awful, but I think that reconciling them to the insurance claims is almost as bad. Bill is helping me, for which I’m very grateful. Two brains are better than one.  I don’t know how elderly folks who live alone manage. Having said that, I am very grateful to have insurance to provide the confusing claims!

bird feeder squirrel

This squirrel thief is dining on the seeds the birds accidentally drop.

One of the first things I did upon returning to Denver was to fill up my bird feeder in the back yard (between rain showers). We offer our feathered friends black oil sunflower seeds, which small birds such as house finches and chickadees find yummy. Apparently squirrels also find them yummy, because I have already had to chase off a couple of squirrels who have managed to figure out how to shimmy up the skinny little wrought iron pole to reach the feeder. I’m going to suggest to them that they try out for America’s Got Talent. I don’t know why it bothers me so much that they eat the seeds, but squirrels seem to bring out the worst in me. After chasing off the most recent squirrel, I got out my Pam and sprayed the pole and the top of the feeder. Now I will just sit back and wait to see the squirrel sliding down the pole and I will laugh hysterically. Squirrel hater, that’s me.

Reality Television
And speaking of America’s Got Talent (which is ready to start up very soon), three of the talent programs we watch have wrapped up, and they all finished the way I’d hoped, or nearly so. Nick Fradiani took the prize on American Idol, and I liked him after losing interest in Clark Beckham (who went from being my favorite to getting on my last nerve). I like Nick’s smile, and he seems like such a nice man who loves his mommy and daddy. Rumer Willis definitely deserved to win Dancing With the Stars, though the few times I voted, it was for Riker Lynch, who I thought was just adorable. He came in second. I was also happy with Sawyer Fredericks winning The Voice, though again, I always voted for Meghan Linsey, who came in second. How adorable was it that when the top four were given a car, 16-year-old Sawyer admitted he didn’t even have his drivers’ license yet? I want to pinch his cheek. Actually, what I want to do is cut his hair and donate it to Locks of Love.  Still, the young man can sing! Maybe if he cut his hair he would be similar to Samson and lose his singing strength.

Sentimental Journey (Call the Midwife spoiler alert)
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of PBS’s Call the Midwife. Big fan. Huge fan. Sunday was the season finale, at least until they run their annual Christmas special at the end of this year. I think it’s safe to say that I pretty much cried from the beginning until the end of the program. I was very glad that Bill wasn’t home, because 1) I would hate to have to try and make him understand all of the reasons I was crying since it would take oh-so-much explanation (thalidomide? Trixie’s alcoholic father? Amnesia? sign language?; and 2) he hates even being in the house while I’m watching the show because of all of the screaming during childbirth. But seriously, could it have been any sadder? How can I wait until next year to find out what happens to my favorite midwives? And please, please, give Chummy a bigger role next season.

Let the Growing Begin
Literally between rain showers yesterday, I managed to get the remainder of my plants into the ground. I have now added chives and basil to the herbs that I will be able to enjoy this summer on the off chance that it ever stops raining long enough for the plants to get some sunshine in order to grow. I still intend to plant dill, but I haven’t been able to find it at the garden stores in which I shopped. I will make a trip to my favorite garden store — Groundcovers — this weekend. They have everything.

By the way, forecast for today, rain. Sigh.


Reality Check

keeping-up-with-the-kardashiansI know someone who admits to limiting her television watching almost entirely to so-called reality TV. She is a mother of young children who also works part time outside the home in the evening. I suspect that in the little bit of time that she has to call her own, she doesn’t want to have to work too hard at following a complicated plot or becoming depressed from some of the very sad and/or violent offerings available to the viewing public.

If someone asked me if I watch reality TV, I would haughtily deny I did any such thing. Hmpff. Who needs to watch the Kardashians or Honey Boo Boo? I don’t care what’s in someone’s abandoned storage locker or about the problems of having 19 children. Really? 19 children?

But here’s the thing. I might deny watching reality television, but I would be lying. Because when I looked on the internet to find out what reality TV shows were currently popular, I was quite surprised to find that I watched a fair number of them.

Dancing With the Stars, Shark Tank, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, not to mention many, many Food Network programs. I can call them whatever I want, but they are, in fact, reality television. Who knew?


I even watch Chrisley Knows Best, but mostly because I love Todd Chrisley’s AWESOME Georgia accent. But we all have our excuses, don’t we?

For the most part, however, my reality television is limited to cooking programs and talent programs. I have watched American Idol almost from the beginning. I don’t think I have ever missed an episode of Dancing With Buzz-Aldrin-Cha-01-2010-03-22the Stars. I even watched Buzz Aldren clomp his way around the dance floor week after week until I thought my head would explode. You should have stopped with the moon landing, Buzz.

I strongly suspect that many baby boomers keep programs such as Dancing With the Stars on the air. Despite the fact that they keep trying to make the program palatable to a younger demographic, I suspect the actual demographic looks a lot like me.

At this time, I must admit to you that not only do I watch programs such as Dancing With the Stars and American Idol, I might actually, well, uh, you see, sometimes, on occasion, I even, um, vote. Again and again and again, to be perfectly honest. I’m pretty sure I’m single-handedly saving Clark Beckham each week on American Idol.  And I have such a crush on Riker Lynch on Dancing With the Stars that it isn’t even funny. I think it’s because he’s from Littleton, Colorado. I’m going with that, anyway so it doesn’t seem too perverted.

I know I’m not the only one who votes on these performance-based reality television shows. While Jen and I mostly agree on who we like (Scotty McCreery owes us BIG TIME), there have been occasions when we have pretty much cancelled out each other’s votes.

I’ve only just this year discovered The Voice, and I’m totally addicted. I don’t know if it will be a long-standing love affair since I’ve never watched it before, but I’m certainly caught up in the drama this year. Oh Adam.

I was pretty sure that reality TV was a passing fancy, but I’m thinking it’s here to stay. I’m just waiting until my family hits the reality scene. We definitely have the makings…….

How about you? Do you vote on any of the performance programs?