Elementary, my dear Watson!

In this time of the Coronavirus lockdown I find myself watching a bit more television than I would care to. One of our favorite shows is entitled: “Elementary” which for those of you not familiar with the show is about Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson.

Set in modern times, “Watson” is female, the location is New York City versus the original version where Watson is a male with both he and Holmes living and working in London, England. But the show is entertaining, holds our interest, and thus enables us to take our minds off what is happening in the world around us at least for a short period of time.

Seeing that I have been known to have a hard time concentrating on one thing at a time, while watching this show my old grey cells formed a question in my head: How did the phrase: “Elementary, my dear Watson!” come about?   

It didn’t take much research to learn that the saying evolved over the years. Looking over some of Doyle’s own writings (apparently I am not the first to pose this question), it appears that there is only but one bit of dialog that comes closest to matching this famous Holmesian signature phrase. It can be found within The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (a collection of eleven short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

I am referring to an exchange between Holmes and Dr. Watson in the short story entitled: “The Crooked Man”:  

“I see that you are professionally rather busy just now,” said he, glancing very keenly across at me. ”Yes, I’ve had a busy day,” I answered. “It may seem very foolish in your eyes,” I added, “but really I don’t know how you deduced it.”

Holmes chuckled to himself.

“I have the advantage of knowing your habits, my dear Watson,” said he. “When your round is a short one you walk, and when it is a long one you use a hansom. As I perceive that your boots, although used, are by no means dirty, I cannot doubt that you are at present busy enough to justify the hansom.”

“Excellent!” I cried.

“Elementary,” said he.

Other than the above, there is no other time when such a phrase was uttered by the fictional detective.

So there you have it. Things that are elementary are simple or not very advanced as one might relate to elementary school or if you enjoy reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s adventures of Sherlock Holmes one might just refer to the famous line, “Elementary, my dear Watson!”

Until next time!

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Tigger or Eeyore

I am going to have fun every day I have left because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore.      

Randy Pausch

It is my guess that Mr. Pausch wrote that quote after being given the news that he had terminal pancreatic cancer. A review of many of his quotes though show that he was blessed with a very positive attitude about life.

Based on the above quote, how many of us consider ourselves a Tigger versus an Eeyore? Before I get ahead of myself here, let me mention just what a Tigger is as well as what an Eeyore is.

Both are characters from Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. Tigger is a fictional tiger character originally introduced in The House at Pooh Corner, the sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. Tigger has distinctive orange and black stripes, large eyes, a long chin, a springy tail, and loves to bounce. In the series Tigger can be found to saying to himself, “Bouncing is what Tiggers do best.”

Whereas Eeyore, an old grey stuffed donkey and friend of Winnie-the-Pooh, is like other Pooh characters. His character though is characterized as pessimistic, gloomy, and depressed.

For those of you that recall the characters, you will recall that Tigger never refers to himself as a tiger, but as a Tigger and goes on about Tiggers not liking honey although he maintains throughout the show that he is “the only one” making reference that he is the only one that does like honey.

By now you are wondering what does a Post about Tiggers and Eeyores have to do with retirement and old farts such as myself.

Think about what is going on in the world today and how it might be affecting our senior citizens. Are you a Tigger meaning one that believes your point of view is more socially valuable, more thoughtful, more realistic, and more morally admirable? Or are you an Eeyore, keeping in mind that Eeyores tend to say and think things like “No one can be cheerful all the time.”

And let’s not even get into it when a Tigger and an Eeyore do their best to convert each other. For those of you that can see where this post is heading, by now you are recognizing that it is a battle of positivity versus negativity.

Even though we are going through some trying times at the moment, I like to see myself as a Tigger meaning that even with all the doom and gloom some people like to think about, I as a Tigger look for all the opportunities that may be out there in the world today that open up many positive interactions. Eeyore’s on the other hand, true to their nature, can only think of conflicts and as such dread every conflict that may arise.

What stokes the flames – “Attitude.” Fortunately with today’s situation what it is as it relates to staying home so that those on the front lines so to speak can get a handle on this pandemic, we have both Tiggers and Eeyores. It would be nice if they couldn’t talk to each other but that would be paramount to eliminating Free Speech.

Unfortunately, attempting to make converts out of either Tiggers or Eeyores is not the answer as usually the more one tries – the result will be that they will probably be more Tiggerish, or more Eeyorish.

Both individuals have hopefully done their homework and as a result are proud of their reasons for thinking the way they do and as such are not going to be talked out of them.

Chances are that the Eeyorish’s are not an upbeat type of individual and as such may be down more than they are up. So, as we have learned over the course of our lives, someone with negative thoughts will, willingly or non-willingly, pass that negativity onto whomever is around them eventually.

What to do, what to do? We do what most upbeat articles, posts, or what have you stress the most and that is: “Do what is right for you.” Chances are that you are not going to change the other person’s view anyways. Now, I am not saying that we need to disagree with the individual and push that you are right and they are wrong. That will get you nowhere.

When at an impasse regarding something as touchy as a situation that might come about between a Tigger and an Eeyore, we could use the old saying: “Let’s agree to disagree.” Or we could recall the quote below:

“All of us are made up of the stories that we listen to, the ones we disagree with and the ones that we agree with.” – Stanley Crouch.

Having done that – the only thing left is to move on! Remember – “Life is short!”

Until next time!

Isolation/Lockdown – Whatever!

Gotta keep smilin!”

Today is April 13 and it has been one month since we have been isolated, so to speak, in our own home. We learned of the rule that groups of 6 or more could not congregate on March 13. That was the day we were having our dress rehearsal for the annual Variety Show we (Dolly and I) host for our 55+ community. ☹ Oh well, there is always next year.

But life goes on. How do we spend our days? Well, to begin with we have told ourselves that we need to resume our usual early morning routines of stretching. That takes about 15-30 minutes. Having done that and completed one’s usual bathroom routines, I prepare our orange juice (How does that saying go – a day without orange juice is like a day without sunshine). Then I prepare our breakfast and finish it off with my morning cup of coffee.

This is usually when we both write in our daily journals outlining whatever wild and wacky thoughts are going through our minds. Mine usually mentions my weight, what the temperature is outside, how I feel (upbeat, somewhat down, wild and wacky, or whatever) and she usually records something health related.

This is also when, on a separate piece of paper, I devise a list of all the things I hope to accomplish before days end. Sometimes the list is less than a half-dozen things while other times the list is a dozen or more items (wishful thinking on my part). In either case, at the end of the day, whatever items did not get accomplished are moved to the next day’s list and the next day we start all over again.

Being in this period of isolation, we have not ventured out since March 13. Our daughter, who lives 20 minutes away, secures our groceries when supplies run low. Our family physician has been keeping in touch with us via phone conversations and a representative from their office calls us once a week to check in and see if we are okay and if we need any medications.

Other than watching TV, we keep ourselves busy by finding little jobs within the house that need to be done. We also take time to play gin rummy or some other card game. I am also trying my best to get back to reading (mystery and detective type novels) and have even started reading some of the books on writing I purchased long ago. We make it a point, weather permitting, to take at least two walks around the block every day and to make sure we get our daily step count in for the day we even walk the distance of the house several times a day. Our step goal per day is 3000 steps.

Seeing that we cannot have physical contact with our children, our son has set up Zoom and both my daughter and I now know how to access it and we have video conference calls between the three of us several times a week during which time we play games such as Trivia, Yahtzee, and other such games adaptable to long-distance conferencing.

While it isn’t as good as being able to hug and kiss our children (no matter how old our children get, we still enjoy hugging them when we do get to see them), modern technology such as Zoom, Duo, and Skype, (forms of video conferencing) are a blessing. It would be much harder were we not able to see them during this time of self-isolation.

Before I end this post, let me just mention that all our days are not always fun-filled and jovial. There are days that we too wake up on the wrong side of the bed either in the wrong kind of mood, sad or what have you. But we are fortunate in that we still have each other. When one of us is down, the other is up and vice-versa. Should I do wake up in one of those moods though, I concentrate on the fact that there are many others having it much, much, worse than I do. It doesn’t take long then for me to say to myself, “Suck it up buttercup – we will get through this.”

Time to bring this to a conclusion. How many of you   remember Paul Harvey. I’m talking about his famous words:  And now – the rest of the story.

Our day usually ends with us watching some television and we do our best to end the evening with a sit-com of one sort or another. One sit-com we truly enjoy and watch even if we had seen it before is “As Time Goes By” with Dame Judy Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. There is just something about this show that enables us to retire for the evening knowing that all will be right with the world in the morning.

Until next time!

Wild and Crazy Thoughts!

Due to all that has been happening in the USA and the world today with regards the coronavirus and what we have been experiencing over the past few days, I thought I would just sit down at my computer and ramble on writing whatever dribble comes to mind.

One thing that seems to pop into my head more often than it usually does is food. It is amazing to me how when we need to be careful about our provisions and how  we should sort of ration what and when we eat due to not knowing when we will get to replenish them, the thought of food seems ever present on my mind.

What to do, what to do, what to do? Rather than eat, I decided to pick a subject – say – Food – and write about it for my next Rant and Raving on Lakeland Musings by Irwin. My next thought was – “what type of food shall I write about? You will never guess what I came up with. Okay – some of you that have been following my rants and raves probably would.

I got to thinking about some of the wild and crazy things people eat. But after doing some research, I must admit that while some of the things are actually wild and crazy things to eat – several of which I myself would not even consider eating, others are interesting and if one can get by the name, would probably be somewhat tasty.

Let’s take a walk on the wild side and look at some of the crazy names given to some of the foods eaten today both here and abroad.

One that we Americans know and love (well, some of us) is SPAM. Many of us know that Spam is a brand of canned cooked pork made by Hormel Foods Corporation and has been around since 1937. Spam’s basic ingredients are pork with ham meat added, salt, water, modified potato starch (as a binder), and sodium nitrite (as a preservative). Let’s face it – once we get by the name, it is quite tasty, especially if fried.

I don’t know how many of you reading this like eggs, but I discovered that there is such a thing as a coddled egg. At first I thought who in their right mind would want to cuddle with an egg? Then I realized the word was coddled. All it means is that the egg is lightly steamed in an egg coddler. I know, now you want to know what is a coddled egg? A coddled egg is an egg that is gently cooked whole in a small dish that’s placed in a hot water bath. Some might use what are known as coddling cups-ceramic cups with screw-on lids.

Ready for a trip across the water? We now go across to the UK and try something called Bubble & Squeak. I won’t even begin to picture what some of you might be picturing in your minds regarding this weirdly named dish but know that it is fried left-over veggies.

I could go on and on as there are several more unusual named meals that I could share with you but let us discuss one more meal from the UK named Clootie Dumplings? Let me explain the word “Clootie” for you and once you understand that, perhaps you might consider trying it next time you are in the UK. The word “Clootie” refers to a piece of cloth or leather. Think of it as a strip of fabric which holds within it a “dumpling” – a dessert pudding made of sweet stuff, like dough, dried fruits and sugar. See, that wasn’t so bad was it?

Okay, this piece may have enabled me to satisfy my desire to write while in “Lockdown,” but it has also stifled my appetite. I mean, let’s face it, I do not want to cuddle with any eggs anytime soon even if it might make me bubbly and squeaky. Nor do I want to look for any Clooties.

All I want to do now that I have written my piece is to sit down and have some Oreo cookies and a glass of milk!

Until next time!