Happiness/Monkey Business!

It is my educated guess that many people have been discussing, debating, writing, and in my case, ‘pondering about life’ – well for as long as I can think back. One of the things I have discovered through the years of aging though, is just this – it doesn’t even matter about the circumstances one is going through – if one wants to heal or understand whatever we are going through, humor can help. Sometimes, even if it seems bad, you just have to laugh. It’s all a matter of putting things in perspective. 

Think about that for a moment. If you are like me, every now and then a funny thought pops into my brain (not as often as I would like but often enough). Maybe that thought or thoughts jelled within one’s brain (mine in this instance) and after giving it a bit more thought, I come to realize that it told a truth in an odd or strange way. The brain is a mysterious place – believe me – mine is anyways. I have this short little comedian that resides deep down in the recesses of my brain and at times he makes me laugh so hard, my wife looks at me funny as though as to say: “All right, is it time to call the guys in the white coats to come and take you away, away, away?” What can I say – when I stop and think about thinking, well, let’s just say that things start getting a little weird?

I am what is known as an early riser (yup, alarm set for 6 AM every day of the week). I know, I know, many of you are thinking of the adage: “Rise and shine – the early bird gets the worm”, but how many of you reading this ‘catch phrase’ know the meaning behind these words? Some would say that those who rise early every day have more time to achieve whatever goals they have planned for that day. But that is not entirely true – leastways – not for me. No, we rise early because we truly enjoy the quietness of the morning and how relaxing that time might be.

At dawn, we prepare our orange juice and sit and watch the sunrise and truly wonder over the various hues of color sunrise provides us. The sun’s rays appear to be caressing the earth – you know how we as parents did way back when we had to gently awaken our children from their seemingly peaceful night’s sleep telling them it is time to wake and prepare for a new day. Once our orange juice has been consumed and we have eaten breakfast, we sit back watching and listening to the birds that fly back and forth over the marshy area outside our window approximately 30 to 50 feet from the actual lake. We keep telling ourselves that we should take a brisk walk in the fresh air and enjoy the gentle morning breeze on our face while doing so, but our PJ’s are so comfortable at that hour of the morning!! On occasion we merely move to the screened in porch and enjoy the sounds and cool breeze while I finish my coffee.  

“Being retired it is so easy to enjoy the simple things in life.”

But mornings mean different things to different people. What do I mean? Well, take me for instance, I am a twin and while I head for bed around 9 or 9:30 P.M. I know my twin brother usually doesn’t retire much before midnight and sometimes even later. So, let’s just say that there are morning people and there are night owls. Some people, like me can just pop out of bed first thing in the morning – at the crack of dawn, if you will, with a get up and go type attitude while others just sort of drudge along until that first cup of coffee kicks in.

What do I do after morning coffee, well, as many of you know, I like “To-Do” lists! It is one of the first things I do once I have had my coffee in me. But being truthful about said lists, I would be lying were I to say that I prepare them every day. There are days that I prefer not to make a list. Oh yeah, there are days when preparing my daily ‘to-do’ list, I feel like George Carlin, who once said:

“I made a huge to-do list for today. I just can’t figure out who’s going to do it.”

“One day you’re the best thing since sliced bread. The next, you’re the toast.”

Okay, time to move on to something a bit more comical –

Did you know that overcoats only last one season because they are designed to be worn out!

Jogging is a change of pace!

Ready for a piece of trivia:

Did you know that New Zealand’s Ninety Mile Beach is only 55 miles!

Did you know that Iceland diverted roads to avoid disturbing communities of Elves!

Did you know that the most consumed manufactured drink in the world is tea?

Okay, so much about trivia! I have rambled on long enough now without truly giving y’all something to laugh at.

Time to move on to a joke about Semantics:

A boy asks his father to explain the differences between irritation, aggravation, and frustration.

Dad picks up the phone and dials a number at random. When the phone is answered he asks, “Can I speak to Alf, please?”

“There’s no one named Alf here.” The person hangs up.

“That’s irritation,” says dad.

He picks up the phone again, dials the same number and asks for Alf a second time.

“No – there’s no one here named Alf. You have the wrong number. If you call again, I shall telephone the police.” End of conversation.

“That’s aggravation.”

“Then what’s frustration?” asks his son.

The father picks up the phone and dials a third time, but this time says: “Hello, this is Alf. Have I received any phone calls?”

Well, as much as I hate to see this come to an end, I will have to leave you with my philosophical quote for today:

I Don’t Suffer from Insanity:

I Enjoy Every Minute of It.

Y’all have a good day now, ya hear! Until next time! Time to get back to my morning newspaper!

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Happy or Unhappy?

I am going to open this week’s post with a quote from Dale Carnegie and end with yet another quote from Abraham Lincoln.

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

What makes me happy? Well, the fact that I am in my eighth decade of life, healthy for the most part, and retired to boot!

Let’s see, why do I like being in my eighties:  Well, now that I think about it, it really is not much different from being 50, 60, or 70 except on those days I wake up feeling like I am 99!  On those days, I want to say, okay Jeeves, I think I’ll have my breakfast in bed today. But guess what? You got it – no Jeeves!

What is the main concern of being in my eighties or any age for that matter? Getting through the day. Possessions are no longer something we seek. The reality of it is that people such as our children and friends mean more to us than possessions. Our comfort over ambition is uppermost in our minds. We value trust more than we do money. And while we all know we gotta go sometime, we find that we value love more and find it more satisfying than we do immortality.

Let me end this portion of my post by saying that… seeing that I am turning 82 this year, guess what? I only have 18 years left until I can celebrate the century mark! Okay, enough about that – let’s move on to something lighter and hopefully funnier because that is why I write. To make us laugh.   

Take a trip in your mind with me. Did you ever wonder about the quizzical expression found on monkeys at the zoo? Are they thinking to themselves: “Am I my brother’s keeper or his keeper’s brother?”

My post would not be complete were it not to include some trivia so here goes:

Did you know that when the mood of an octopus changes, so does its color! Or that a cow spends approximately 18 out of every 24 hours chewing on something…or that the leader of a wolf pack is always female!

Here is yet another thought from my wild and crazy mixed-up mind: People may argue whether we came from the apes, but most agree that we’re going to the dogs.

Of course, so that we do not go to the dogs, what is needed by humans is just this: “We need to be surrounded by more open minds and fewer open mouths.”

Some might ask me why I feel so lucky to be almost 82 years of age. Well, I have a big-screen TV, two remote controls (one for the sound bar and one for the TV), and a wife of 58+ years. And the good news is “they all still work!”  

To end this piece allow me to borrow a quote from Abraham Lincoln who said:

“We are as happy as we make up our minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

Remember:

Until next time. Y’all come back now, ya hear!

What Can I Say? – I’m Not Awake Yet!

Here it is Easter Sunday and while I wanted to post something funny, my mind has been drawing a blank in that arena. So, I will share with you something philosophical, then some trivia, and perhaps by the time I am through, a funny thought will come to mind.

Philosophical:

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trivia:

Yesterday after watching an old Agatha Christie movie with Helen Hayes in the role of Jane Marple, when the movie ended, we were enticed to stay seated to watch the next movie which was another Agatha Christie film but this time with Jean Stapleton and Peter Ustinov as the stars. We didn’t watch it but did write down the title to watch it perhaps sometime later today. Seeing Peter Ustinov’s name reminded me of a movie we saw many years ago with Ustinov in the starring role alongside Aldo Ray and Humphrey Bogart entitled “We’re No Angels.”  

At times my memory amazes me. I mean that movie came out in 1955 when I was just 15 years of age. I loved it then and I am pretty sure were I to watch it again now, I would like it today as well. What does this movie have to do with today’s post? Well, probably nothing but seeing Peter Ustinov’s name and face reminded me of a quote he made many years ago which went like this”

“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”

On that note, allow me to share with you some unusual trivia you may or may not have known:

Did you know that Rocker Rod Stewart was once a gravedigger….or that entertainer Victor Borge used to play the piano at funerals….or and here is one that I truly enjoyed….The inscription on actress Joan Hackett’s grave marker reads. “Go Away! I’m Sleeping.”

In case some of you do not remember these three entertainers, allow me to give you a few hints to jog your memory. 

Rod Stewart is a British rock and pop singer, songwriter, and record producer. 

Victor Borge was a Danish-American comedian, conductor, and pianist who achieved great popularity in radio and television. One of Borge’s other famous routines was “Phonetic Punctuation,” in which he read a passage from a book and added exaggerated sound effects to stand for all of the punctuation marks, such as periods, commas, and exclamation marks.

Joan Hackett was in the 1969 film “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner and Walter Brennan.   Ahh, the good old days!

Oh, here is something to think about:

Gossips are the spies of life.

Funny thought:

Here’s yet another thought for you all to ponder over that has to do with crazy names some cities and towns have. Did you know that there is a place in Delaware called Corner Ketch? Yup, it’s rumored that Corner Ketch – an unincorporated community in New Castle County, Delaware – got its name from a rough-and- tumble bar, whose patrons were so quarrelsome that townspeople would warn strangers, “They’ll ketch ye at the corner.”

Well, that’s all I got this week. That’s about as funny as I get today. We made it through yet another week without any unusual surprises. Our health is good, and as the saying goes or the one that I remember:

I woke up this morning, am on the right side of the grass and I am still taking nourishment. But….don’t you just love it when I add a “But?” But…..

” Coffee where’s my coffee?

Until next time! Y’all take care now, ya hear!

Metaphors/Time

Hello folks:

‘Tis me, and I am back again one week later with yet another attempt to exaggerate the truth to elicit yet another smile from those of you that take time from your busy schedules to read my dribble.

What am I taking about – well, let me open this week’s post with something that while it probably would not happen today, it could? Is it funny? I think so but you be the judge. Picture this if you will: A man or woman walks into a bookstore, meanders up to the desk where various clerks are diligently working doing whatever it is they do and asks this question:

“Where is the self-help” section?  The clerk closest to the customer stops what she is doing, walks over to the customer, shrugs her shoulders and replies: “If I tell you, won’t that defeat the purpose?”

Each week I try my best to find the funnier side of things to share with those of you following my nonsense. While it is true, sometimes I wander off point and write something more profound than comedy, but the bottom line is that looking at the funnier side of things, especially in today’s atmosphere and world conditions, assists with taking the edge off things enabling us to cope just a bit better.

But before I drift off to funny land, allow me to share with you two things I think about that help me cope. For instance, say I sit down at the computer to do some writing be it something to place on Facebook, create a post such as this one or perhaps start a fourth book and nothing comes to me – nothing, nada, zilch. What do I do? I think of the metaphor:

Books are the keys to your imagination.”

If I feel stumped regarding what to write, I peruse my library of books and sure enough one of them will provide me with the inspiration I need to spark my imagination and shortly thereafter I am back at my computer pounding on those keys. 

Now if, when I wake, I feel like my “A” game is still hidden under those covers, well, then I think of music. What type of music? Well, country (think Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and the like) is my “Go-to” medicine when things have me down or I just need a pick-me-upper. Sometimes, it is just the song title itself that gets me in a better mood, but more times than not it is a memorable “hook line” that gets me out of my mood.

Take the song “The Gambler” sung by Kenny Rogers.

For those of you not familiar with the song, I am referring to the verse that goes like this:

You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them
Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money while you’re sittin’ at the table,
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

See what it is telling us? Play the hand you have been dealt the best you can. These two methods (my books and my country music) have served me well over the years and more so during these, our twilight years. Books spark my creative side of my brain and before long I come up with a thought or two enabling me to write something, be it a Facebook quip, Lakeland Musings post, or the thought of writing a fourth book. Listening to my country music picks my spirits up and before I know it, I am dancing throughout the house which can last anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes. Listening and dancing does wonders for my spirits and puts me back in the happy frame of mind I prefer to be in.

Now that I am in what is sometimes referred to as the twilight years, some might say that “life (or age)” should be looked upon as a staircase. Each passing year becomes a step up that staircase. Some might say that as we take each step up the staircase, another year passes (I hope it is a long, long, staircase). How do we approach this staircase? By being very optimistic. If we are lucky, being optimistic about such a trip up that staircase will enable us to become more experienced, a wee bit wiser, and as the old saying goes “the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” more at peace with ourselves by the time we get to the top.

Okay, enough with my viewpoint of life as I see it during my twilight years. Let me move on to something a bit educational. I know, I promised comical, but the post isn’t over yet.

Did you ever think there would be a town called Why? There is. It is a town called Why, AZ. It is approximately 30 miles north of the Mexican border where Lukeville, AZ and Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico, border each other, and 10 miles south of Ajo, AZ.

According to Wikipedia, the town derives its name from the fact that two major highways, namely Routes 85 and 86 originally intersected in a Y-Intersection. At the time of its naming, state law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) later removed the old Y-intersection for traffic safety reasons and built the two highways in a conventional intersection south of the original intersection. Oh, and by the way, it has frequently been noted on lists of unusual place names. What’s that? You want to know what the population of this town is? As of the 2020 Census there were 148 residents. Nuff said!

As to the comical stuff I promised, well, here are questions that have been bugging me for some time now:

Do astronauts change their clocks when they move over different time zones in space?

What do Greeks say when they don’t understand something?

What happens if a Queen gives birth to a pair of Siamese twins? Who gets to be king?

If a taxi-cab driver were to drive backwards to the destination given him, would he end up owing his passenger money?

If a bouncer at a bar gets drunk and unruly, who throws him out?

If you had a three-story house and were on the second floor, isn’t it possible that you can be upstairs and downstairs at the same time?

Well, that’s my piece for this week. In conclusion, due to my advancing years, I tend to see life through Forrest Gump’s eyes.  If you will recall, Forrest’s quote was:

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

While it might have sound silly on the big screen, for those of us now in our eighties, we are proof that it means:

“You should always expect the unexpected!”

Allow me to end this post with yet another metaphor and one that I believe in whole-heartedly:

“Life is a song; we each get to write our own lyrics.”

Y’all have a nice day now, ya hear. Until next time!

How Much do We Think About the Aging Process?

Seeing that I turn 82 this year, I got to thinking about various things that pop into my mind when thinking about the aging process. Things I might add, I probably should have begun thinking about several years ago. But, hey – I am not the sharpest tack in the box and as the saying goes “Better Late than Never!”

So, what things should we consider? Age, beauty, physical shape, and so forth!

I am sure that many individuals might say beauty, attractiveness, and so forth and I might have considered that. But truth be told, let’s face it, despite our best efforts to “stay in shape”, chances are our booty sags, our bellies expand, and the attractiveness we may have had many years ago gives way as might be expected when one thinks of what we know as “The Circle of Life!” Wrinkles – as much as most of us do not relish them – tell a story if but one takes the time to read them. One might even say that the lines and wrinkles in our face have been earned and we should look upon them as a face map (roadmap if you will) reflecting where we’ve been and depending on circumstances also reflect how we’ve weathered the journey.

Another thing I have noticed during this aging process is how both our energy and priorities change the older we get. I can remember when I had a strict schedule that I followed religiously but that has sort of disappeared over the years. However, that is not all bad. Energy that is waning should be looked upon as a hint that we need to “prioritize” those things that are truly important at this stage of our lives. While our hearts may suggest that we do this or that and believe me when I say that, at times, intentions of the heart may be very strong – we must keep in mind that aging has the tendency to affect the energy one must have in order to accomplish those intentions. How do we do that? One way I do it is to journal about what I consider to be important at this time of my life.

My list is somewhat short and probably shorter than many others at this stage in life, but nonetheless, having such a list enables me to wake up each morning and face each day with a smile. What is on my list? Things like:

Stretch daily and have a daily step goal I try to meet day in and day out.

Spend time looking and taking in what mother nature has provided us.

Writing every morning.

Eating right 24/7 which means making sure I stay hydrated; eat healthy foods that will sustain me (but allow myself to indulge on a truly special occasion).

Finally, face up to the fact that even though we might be in our sixties, seventies, or eighties and beyond we must recognize the fact that:

We need to find what gives us a sense of purpose. What is truly fulfilling and satisfying to us every day.

What’s on our bucket list, if we even have one and if not, why not make one?

Recognizing the fact that we only go around one time I must ask the question:  

What, at this point in my life, do I truly consider to be important for the time I have left?

Live life to the fullest because none of us know what tomorrow might bring.

Until next time!