Seize the Moment

“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour!”

Seeing that it is Memorial Day weekend, I am going to deviate a bit this week (primarily due to all that has happened across our country this past week) and be a bit philosophical versus comical.

Did you ever stop and think how often during our lives we say and do things that – when you really get right down to it – create negative feelings within us.

For instance, how many times can you remember days that you got up – went about your business – and later in the day or quite possibly early in the evening you find yourself saying – Wow, where did the day go?

I could go on about days we worked but being retired now for over 25 years instead I’ll talk about what we do now in our retired life. Even though we are now retired and supposedly have all the time in the world, at times I find myself mumbling things like “It’s Friday, where did the time go.” You know what I mean, we remember getting up Monday and saying to ourselves, hmmm, let’s see I have this, this, and this to do, and then before you know it, we are checking the calendar and lo and behold its Friday!” Where did the week go?

This could go on and on and on – for instance, where did May go, and later in the year we could find ourselves saying “Can you believe it the year is almost over. And I won’t even get into the times I have thought about the fact that “can you believe it – 60, 70, or 80 years of our lives have passed by already”. Sad feature is that we cannot go back to relive or do over those times no matter how enjoyable they were. I know – there are probably many things we think about that we could do differently.   

Fact is, if you are anything like me, when you get to my age, I stop at times and think of so many things I should be doing. I know, I know, some of those things will get done but here’s the thing – how many must be done right now? Who would ever have thought I would live this long? And since I have made it this long, my educated guess is that I should prioritize those things I want to do.

Making it to age 81 never entered my mind while I was growing up. But I have learned that despite everything that has happened in the past and being honest with myself, may happen in the future, I am going to try to enjoy whatever remaining time there is for me as we all should.

How is that done you might ask – well, let’s look at our life like an artist’s palate.

I’ve always been a guy that likes the colors blue and grey. Many of my shirts are blue or grey. But the older I get I have been adding more color in my life. I am now wearing brighter colors these days. Red, purple, tan, teal, and so forth. Also, shirts with pictures on them, flowers, stripes, and the like – anything that is bright. Let’s face it – bright things make us happy and lift our spirits. And at our age we need to keep looking for activities that we like.

I subscribe to a newsletter that provides me with several articles each morning designed to make me smile, and many times laugh. So, every morning after breakfast, I call up this newsletter on my smart phone and while enjoying my morning coffee, we (my wife and I) listen to several of the jokes provided or listen to that day’s stand-up comedian which usually has both my wife and I smiling and laughing by the time they are done. Great way to kick off the balance of the day. Why? Because they leave us smiling and ready to tackle whatever we placed on our “To-Do” list for that day.

Being our age, and I must admit – I need to work on this one – I am doing my best to eliminate the – hmmm- how shall I put this – ‘afters’ in my life. What ‘after’s’? After’s such as:

When asked to do something that truly needs to be done, I usually say “I’ll do it after…” or my honey will ask my opinion on something she needs an answer to and I will respond by saying “I’ll think about it after…”.

Think about that word “after” for a moment. What does after mean? My educated guess is that many of us don’t understand or realize what after or afterwards actually means. Think about it.

What happens ‘afterwards?

Well, afterwards the coffee gets cold;

afterwards, our priorities could change;

the charm of the moment could change;

health changes and we may not have the ability to do whatever it was we delayed doing;

our children grow up and move away;

dependent upon our age – our parents get older;

had we made promises – they are forgotten;

days turn into nights;

many of our priorities probably change;

life ends and what does that mean

 well, at this point, afterwards will probably mean

it’s often too late.

What does this all mean especially when you are my age, no, no matter what age you are? Leave nothing for later because the fact is by waiting to see someone later might just mean we may lose the best moments; the best experiences; best friends; the best family and so forth and so on.

With the world being what it is today, we are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone what needs to be done right away.

We must live for today. Today is today. The moment is now!

Allow me to share several quotes with you that relate to this post:

Larry McMurtry said it best when he said:  

“If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”

Eckhart Tolle said:

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you really have.”

But the quote I liked best of those I read said:

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.” – Art Buchwald

If you don’t take anything away from reading this post, think about this: Consider the content of this post as a reminder that every moment matters. And if every moment matters, then we must

Seize every moment!

We must live for today. Today is today. The moment is now!

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

Balance

I find myself trying to stay more balanced today than I ever have. Writing this blog once a week assists me in that endeavor what with this wild and mixed-up world we are living in today. What does it mean to find balance – well – there are all types of balance so let’s be specific here – finding balance in life!

We all know by now that finding balance in life should help us improve our overall health. Why’s that? Because when we have balance, we should have time to pay attention to many of our body’s needs. Finding balance in life helps us improve our overall health. Having balance enables us to have time to pay attention to various things that are good for us even though we shudder at the sound of some of the words I am about to mention. You know, words like diet, exercise, and if we are really into it, even meditation. Let’s face it, being honest, leastways for me, when I don’t prioritize those items, I find myself regretting not doing them. When’s that you say? When I find myself putting on weight, not being able to bend over to tie my shoes without huffing and puffing, and so forth and so on. In other words, by not taking time to take care of myself, I am not in balance.

Thankfully I am somewhat in balance (I know many of you are thinking about some of the wild and crazy things I post here – and are probably saying to yourselves – him – he is far from balanced), but I am sort of balanced.

What can I say – as Steve Martin would say:

“I am a wild and crazy guy!”

Okay, enough about balance – bottom line is no matter what age we are and in what stage of life we are in – we should seek to stay in balance. Enough for the philosophy lesson. Let’s move on to some other important information.

Did you know that in 30 days Summer officially begins?

Think about that – in June, just 10 days away, the June solstice occurs will occur on Tuesday June 21, marking the first day of summer? Seeing that we here in Central Florida have already experienced temperatures in the mid-90s, I am beginning to wonder what our summer temperatures might be. So, what is the summer solstice? Well, for one thing it will be the longest day of the year. 

Why do I know that you ask? Well, in the Northern Hemisphere, that’s where we reside as does all the United States, the June solstice or as some people would like to call it, the summer solstice occurs when the Sun (you know that bright big ball in the sky) travels along its northernmost path in the sky. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, the southern hemisphere begins to experience the astronomical start of winter because the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky. Meaning places like Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, to name a few would be experiencing their winters. 

If you will recall, June 21 is referred to as the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year. By longest, I am referring to the longest period of sunlight hours are experienced on this day. And if it is known as the longest day, it stands to reason, we also experience the shortest night on this date too.

What other tidbits of information might I share with you before I go off on some wild and crazy thought, idea, or what have you.

Oh, today (May 22) is also considered to be National Maritime Day. Yup, way back in 1933, Congress designated May 22 as National Maritime Day. It took quite a long time to get that designation. Why do I say that? Well, the “first successful transoceanic voyage under steam propulsion” began back on May 22, 1819, when the steamship S.S. Savannah set sail from Savannah, Georgia. Where did it go, you ask? Why all the way to Liverpool, England. It only took it 30 days to do it because it arrived on June 20. So, what do we celebrate May 22? Well, this day honors both past and present contributions of the U.S. merchant marine during both peace and war.  

Okay, time to slip in one of my wild and crazy questions that may or may not make you smile or chuckle. Here goes,

“What did Mama Tomato say to Baby Tomato when he lagged behind?” Ketchup!

I know, I need new material.

What else is this day famous for – well did you know that on this day in 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – you know the author who penned many stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes – was born. Who knew?

What else can I share with you this week. Let’s see – did you know:

Coffee is break fluid!

Okay, time to share a brain teaser with you:

Charles Chaplin’s chaplain chided Charlie constantly concerning Chaplin’s cow-like chewing. How many C’s are there in all?

Oh, and to end this week’s post, let me just say that:

Evolution is nature’s way of trying to cover its mistakes!

That’s it folks, that’s all I have. Hope you enjoyed this week’s post.

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

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!