It’s me!

During these long and sometimes weary days of isolation, one might get the impression they are about to go insane. But here is a thought – who has ever heard of the voice of insanity raising its ugly head and shouting out loud – “Let me out of here!” Keep that thought – I’ll come back to it later.

What does one do during these long periods of self-isolation? Well, one can do various things to occupy one’s mind, some of which may or may not include physical labor. Having moved quite recently, we – in our self-isolation – have become rather chummy with cardboard boxes. Boxes of all sizes. And the contents of same add to our enjoyment. Read on to see what I mean.

The fun part is opening the box to see what weird combination of “stuff” the packers put into these boxes. Now one might think that being considered a “professional packer” these intelligent individuals would realize that if packing frying pans or saucepans, upon arrival at the new destination, the individuals emptying the boxes would expect to have the lids to these pans. You know where I am going with this already – don’t you? Yup, we are in our new digs a month now and there are still some pans (frying or sauce) that are waiting patiently to be matched up with the lids. Just one of the many wonderous things that keep us entertained during this period of self-isolation. While we have emptied many of the boxes deposited in our house, my educated guess is that the lids may be hid deep down inside one of the many boxes that made their way to our storage locker.

And then there is the realization that several of the rooms that seemed so bright and cheerful when we first looked at the home, do not have sufficient lighting. Some may say that as we age, our hearing goes first, but that is not true for all octogenarians. For some of us, our eyes tend to go first.

Oh, we can still see quite well, it is just that we prefer going into a room without having to carry a torch (you know, one of the most early and most primitive ways of illumination). For those of you not familiar with your history, a torch is a rod-like piece of wood with the rag wrapped around one end, which is dipped in a flammable substance that you set fire to before entering the darkness.  Okay, so I exaggerate, the rooms aren’t that dark but don’t people know that there are 75 and 100 watt bulbs or even 60 Watt LED lights.  

What else can I ramble on about here – oh, I know, the numerous “Honey-dos” that tend to crop up after moving into new digs. Now I personally do not have anything bad to say about “Honey-Dos”. But let’s face it, you know us guys – if we see a rack of some sort holding utensils, we think cool – one less job I have to concern myself with. But our wives see it differently. You know where I am going with this, don’t you guys?  She looks at it and immediately says – but it (the rack) is on the wrong side of the room or it should be under that cabinet over there as it would be more accessible.

So, being the faithful companion I am, (no – I am not talking about The Lone Ranger and Tonto here), I set out to find my trusty electric drill, screwdriver, and after going through three small jars of thumbtacks, pushpins, screws, hooks, twisters, etc. find just the right size screws needed and set about to change positions of the infamous rack.  Easy peasy – right?

 Noooo! Here comes the fun part. Why is it that at our age, the task we set out to do, not only takes us three or four times the amount of time a younger fella might take to do – but it also requires us to become a contortionist in order to position ourselves just right so that we can  screw in two screws. And why is it that usually the spot we are placing this rack requires a left-handed person versus a right-handed person. This, so-called simple job, by the way causes us to position ourselves in such a weird position that once the rack is attached and we free ourselves from the entanglement we placed ourselves in, we will require months of chiropractic therapy. Assuming that is, that our knees will allow us to stand up once the rack has been hung because this rack had to be fastened under the sink.  Oh, if only I were a drinking man, what I wouldn’t do for a shot of Jack Daniels. Question is – do I get it before attempting to stand up, or while still bent up like a pretzel.

Okay, I’ve rambled on quite a bit with respect this post. Let me end by saying this: Remember earlier I made mention regarding the voice of insanity raising its ugly head and shouting out loud – “Let me out of here!” Well, during these times of self-isolation, and what I see as a long road to the time we will be able to associate with others, thus creating more wonderful “honey-do” type jobs, I would like to think that instead of that voice saying “Let me out of here!”, in its own way, that quiet voice of insanity, (the one that rests in the back of our minds waiting for the end of our slow boring day) after seeing what I just went through to hang a simple utensil rack, may just be dying to whisper softly to me: “There may be room in here for one more loony tune! Care to join me?”

Until next time – stay safe!

Questions about Pennsylvania!

Let’s see, what shall I share with my fellow Word Press bloggers now that I have decided to get back to writing and let the pandemic and other worldly issues stay in the background. Other than keeping with staying safe by practicing social distancing, wearing our mask and only going out in public if it is truly necessary – what else can we do.

Seeing that we have a lot of stuff that should be gone through and gotten rid of, cannot think of a better time to do it. So, purge away we go.

But you didn’t stop by to hear what I am going to do with my days so being from Pennsylvania allow me to share with you questions that many people around the country (outside of Pennsylvania) have asked Pennsylvanians.

What questions am I referring to? Well, the first one that comes to mind is: Just what is Shoofly pie and why such a weird name? Both my wife and I enjoy Shoofly pie and as a matter of fact, one of my sisters worked for a well-known Shoofly bakery in Reading, PA called Wixon’s Bakery.  Unfortunately they are no longer in business as they closed a few years ago after being in business 100+ years.  The pie is made with molasses and as such attracted flies when it was cooked in outdoor ovens. Another story was that when the bakers of this concoction placed the pies on the windowsills to cool, flies wanted to land on them to get a taste and the bakers would shout: “Shoo flies! You get the picture. In any case, the pies are delicious and if ever in PA, especially in the Berks County area, seek out this tasty dessert. You will wish they made it wherever you live.

And then if you like Diner eating, when travelling through PA, stop by a diner for breakfast. You will see scrapple listed on the menu. Here is my suggestion, order it, eat it and if you like it, let it be. If you don’t like it, you may want to ask what it is made of. Chances are, when told, you will tell yourself, “Now I know why I don’t like it. Scrapple’s ingredients include the organs of pigs, including the heart, head, and liver. Personally, I like it but would I have a steady diet of it – NOPE – once or twice a year while in PA visiting satisfies my taste buds until the following year.

Okay, one more interesting fact about Pennsylvania. Many people over the years (while we were living in PA) used to ask the question – “Don’t you ever just want to leave PA for good?” Let’s see, how shall I answer this question – the misconception is that many Pennsylvanians are just stuck living in PA. Not true. They are not – they live there because they want to live there. Some, like me, leave for a while or for good BUT we always return.  No, we don’t go back for good. We go back to visit and to enjoy being back home. I know this is true about some people just wanting to live there and never leave because I am but one of eight children and am the only black sheep, so to speak, of the family. I left PA in 1969 and have now been in FL longer than I ever was a resident of PA. But all my siblings are still in PA and I doubt seriously that any of them will be leaving PA anytime soon.

Hope you enjoyed this little piece of PA history. Something different to rant on about. Now what will I come up with next week.

Until then though, stay safe.

One Bite at a Time!

For the past several years, my morning routine has been to wake early, do about 15 minutes of stretching exercises, go to the computer and prepare either what I like to refer to as a “Facebook Quip” which is merely my way of saying something bright and funny so that those who followed my crazy mixed up ways might get a smile or chuckle out of reading it and assist them in preparing for their day.

But for the past several months, such has not been my routine. Why? Because I allowed all the negativity that occurred during 2020 to bring me down. What do I mean?

Enter 2020, namely February and/or March and “Whammo” along comes the dreaded Covid – 19 Virus and subsequent pandemic. Add to this, it was an election year and I am not going to go into all that happened and is still happening surrounding that, but suffice it to say, it has been an election campaign that many of us have never seen before and I do not mind saying, I hope never see again.

Now, I am not one to receive the local newspaper, but unfortunately wanting to keep up with all that was happening, I decided to stay current by accessing Social Media. Wrong thing to do! I am sure that most of you will agree that no matter what network one turns on today, you cannot turn on the news without being blasted with negativity. And if any of you are like me, even after you have had your fill of the, and I will try to be polite here – “CRAP” – seen, there is usually one story or another that tends to linger on even after you either turn the set off or go to another show.

So, what to do, what to do? I have never been a “take charge” type of guy thinking I could change all this. Nor have I ever wanted to be part of the solution. I am a mere mortal, living in this wonderful country of ours just trying my best to make it through another day like most of the rest of the world does – day in and day out. One of my favorite sayings has always been “One day at a Time, One day at a Time!”

For many years now, I have ended many an email and other writings I have written with the following quote:

“Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda

For years I have been a fan of reading, writing, and making comments about various quotes I have come across and one of the ones that has always stuck with me is the one Desmond Tutu once said: “There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time.” In times like these, when everything in life seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible, stop for a moment and think. It has been said that even the impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time.

Another thing I have learned due to all that has happened over these past 9 + months is that we should all stop a moment and count our blessings if we are still able to get up every morning, take nourishment, and go about our day. Why, because looking at life that way will make us realize more that every day should be looked upon as a gift. We are still here. It is like when we first wake and see the sun shining. Yay, a brand-new day!

And when you run into an old friend unexpectedly while out getting your groceries (social distancing of course), think of that too as a gift. They too, woke up this morning and hopefully are experiencing a similar experience.

Is it all going to be sunshine and flowers? NO, it is not! Believe me when I say, we (my wife and I) as well as many others in this world today have endured sorrows throughout these past few months. Such events wrench one’s heart every day but instead of bringing us down, should give us more of a bittersweet appreciation of life.

Both of us are now in our eighth decade of life and even with all that is happening around us, do our best to keep each other upbeat, happy and we face each day with a smile and a “Get Up and Go Attitude” because, well, as has always been said – It beats the alternative!

Didn’t mean for this to drag on like it did, but just wanted to say that even with all that is going on around us and within our own family, I am back and am looking forward to posting weekly here at Lakeland Musings.  Stay safe and

Happy New Year everyone!

The Outhouse

Hi All:

Been on sort of a hiatus from writing and believe it or not – when I stop and think about it – it has been my writing this blog post along with the quips I used to write (another thing I must get back to) that has kept me sane in these wild and crazy times. With that thought in mind, being gone as long as I have, I got to thinking what is it I could share with you folks that would (1) get me back in the writing habit and (2) hopefully get a chuckle from those of you taking the time to read my “old fart dribble!”

Enter the task of researching and creating this post which is based on some material I came across that was stuck in an old writing folder. I only hope it will bring a smile to your faces.

It is good to be back and hopefully I will get back to posting at least once a week as I used to do.

Stay safe and I hope you enjoy.

The Outhouse!

Ma and Pa were two hillbillies living in West Virginia out on a farm up in the hills.

Pa has found out that the hole under the outhouse is full. He goes into the house and tells Ma that he doesn’t know what to do to empty the hole.

Ma says, “Why don’t you ask the young’n down the road? He must be smart ‘cause he’s a college gradjyate.”

So Pa drives down to the neighbor’s house and asks him, “Mr. College gradjyate, my outhouse hole is full, and I don’t know what to do to empty it.”

The young’n tells him, “Get yourself two sticks of dynamite, one with a short fuse and one with a long fuse. Put them both under the outhouse and light them both at the same time. The first one will go off and shoot the outhouse in the air. While it’s in the air the second one will then go off and spread the poop all across your farm, fertilizing your ground. The outhouse should then come back down to the same spot atop the now-empty hole.”

Pa thanks the neighbor, then drives to the hardware store and picks up two sticks of dynamite, one with a short fuse and one with a long fuse.

He goes home and puts them under the outhouse. He then lights them and runs behind a tree. All of a sudden, Ma comes running out of the house and into the outhouse!

Boom!! Off goes the first stick of dynamite …   shooting the outhouse into the air.

Boom!! Off goes the second stick of dynamite … spreading poop all over the farm.

Wham! The outhouse comes crashing back down atop the hole …

Pa races to the outhouse, throws open the door and asks, “Ma, are you all right??!!”

As she pulls up her panties she says …

“Yeah, but I’m sure glad I didn’t fart in the kitchen!”

Is Jeeves a Robot?

Seeing that I will turn eighty later this year, at times my mind wanders to what the future might hold for us. We (my wife and I) celebrated fifty-seven years of marriage in May and we would hope that should one of us take sick or become disabled, the other will be around and will be both physically and mentally able to provide whatever care is needed.

That being said seeing that we are living in such a high-tech world today with so much being discovered about Artificial Intelligence, is it possible that some may think that we should entrust the care of our senior citizens (in their upper 70s or 80s) to what have been defined as artificial assistants?

There are quite a few robots in place today that were designed for and are actually providing support for older adults (senior citizens such as my wife and I) who are – how do they like to put it – aging in place. What this means is, most of us prefer to stay at home and care for ourselves as best we can. The alternative would be being forced to relocate to assisted living or nursing homes.

The big thing about such robots is that they will not necessarily look like people. With so many robot movies being around for years and the role robots tend to be portrayed as, it is not any wonder why some people are reluctant to face what the future might hold regarding seniors and robotics. Fact is they are not all like that.

Take, for instance, Hector. As we all know, most robots are mobile. They are usually designed to work in collaboration with a smart home and remote center. Some of the things they are capable of doing is to support older people living at home versus an assisted living facility. Some of the tasks they can perform is keep track of a senior’s eyeglasses, hearing aids, as well as remind the senior citizen to take their prescribed medicines and even quite possibly help in the case of a fall the senior might incur.

We know that as we age, we usually tend to lose muscle mass (unless we are fortunate enough to go to the gym every day). I know for a fact pushing our vacuum cleaner (ours is an old Kirby, fantastic vacuum cleaner but heavy as @#$%^*) just wears one out even if it is self-propelled. You still must get it from point A to point B. Enter small, specific devices such as iRobot’s robotic vacuum cleaner Roomba. These small, specific devices are just what the doctor ordered for those senior citizens that are unable to vacuum their own house anymore.

As we seniors age, we may need assistance with everyday tasks, tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, and standing up – you know – what many of us know as the “activities of daily living”. Add to the mix is help needed with cooking or managing our medications. Enter the possibility of ‘a robotic hand’ which might also be available to assist when we do our laundry and other tasks around the house.

Think about it – I am sure we already have robots mopping floors, mowing lawns, lifting people into and out of chairs and beds when the individual caring for them is not physically able to do such tasks. Sound unbelievable? But then along came AI driven cars. Who would have believed cars could parallel park themselves or even drive themselves? That one still surprises me although some movies have eluded to it for years.

And then there is the thought that with more advanced robotic technology, things that caregivers are doing now could be replaced with robots freeing up time for relatives and social workers to visit elderly people more often no matter where they live. Some people may not be in favor of robots replacing some of our everyday activities. But, if AI (artificial intelligence) applications can remind seniors of things that are pertinent to their everyday living, chances are that doing so may just remove some of the anxiety and confusion that seniors face every day.

It has even been suggested or mentioned that AI-powered social robots may just provide some level of companionship for lonely seniors. I mean, we all would like to think that we and our mates will be around forever. But truth be told, other than buying a puppy for companionship once a mate is gone, a robot might just be the next best thing. If nothing else, they would be someone to converse with.

The plus side of this equation is that these AI robots are able to work around the clock and are available 24/7. Who says they cannot support aging in place?

Welcome to the future! Interesting concept is it not?

Stay safe and be well.

Until next time!