“Insanity”

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!

One Man’s Opinion!

Here it is time for my weekly post and I am at a loss for words. I keep up with a lot of blogs from other great writers and yet at times have a hard time getting my own thoughts down on paper or in this case, my computer screen. So, I am going to cheat a bit today and go back in time and I am going to share with you a piece I shared with the members of our community via my column entitled “Irwin Ponders.” The article seems appropriate for what we all are going through right now. Not exactly on point – but if you take the time and read between the lines – you should get my drift.

Irwin Ponders

Normally my posts are based on my experiences but every now and then I read something that strikes a chord or something and as such resonates with what is happening at this precise moment in time. Such is the case with what I am about to share with you. The piece refers to something George Carlin said a few years before he passed.

George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate.

Wondering what has happened to the world today!

An observation by George Carlin:

Quote:
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
George Carlin”

How many see the world today – Upside Down!

I believe, after reading this, that George was much wiser than many people gave him credit for. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. The sad news is that it pretty much says quite a bit about how the world (our world) is seen by many today! Change is definitely needed. The question everyone asks themselves though is: “Will we see it in our lifetime?” One can only hope!

Until next time!

Castaways!

Getaway from it all!

How many months has it been now – going on three months – since we have been told to stay indoors and stay well. We are doing this to expedite the world getting back to normal, whatever normal may be. Hopefully by doing so, we will see the numbers regarding Covid-19 get lower and lower. Of course, one has to ask: “What is normal?”

Me – normal!

But being completely honest with everyone, now and then I just feel like disappearing into a scene such as the one that I used to open this post. Can you picture it? No worries, nor a care in the world. Just a little escape to “Never-Never Land!” A land of dolphins, birds, turtles, frogs, and the like, and guess what – they do not talk. Okay, so maybe after a while I will get lonely for human companionship.

I know, should I want for human companionship, in addition to my wife perhaps I could round up five more individuals and we could have ourselves whisked off to an island, somewhere in the South Pacific. But the ship would not stay. We would not have the comforts of home. Why no comforts of home? Because, this is an adventure! As the ship sails away from the island and we see it disappearing over the horizon, we realize that we are now ship-wrecked and must fend for ourselves.

I can picture it now, Dolly would be the skipper and I would be her first mate and if anyone would be responsible for us not getting off the island, it would be me. A boy scout I am not! Good luck with me starting a campfire by rubbing two sticks together.

Of course, depending on the individuals chosen to accompany us on this adventure, we, in all probability, would have dissimilar tastes. But that is where the fun part would come in. Chances are after a very-short time, most of the others would want to escape back to the real world, if for no other reason than to get away from me. And thus the challenge begins.

However, due in part to my being the dysfunctional individual I am, their escape plans would back-fire due to my usual and sometime dumb comical shenanigans. I am sure that if anyone would be responsible for us not getting off the island, it would be me. An outdoorsperson, I am not.

I am sure it would not be long before the group of us would end each day singing:  

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
the Skipper brave and sure,
five passengers set sail that day,
for a three hour tour,
a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,
the tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
the Minnow would be lost.
The Minnow would be lost.

Is that Robinson Crusoe or me?

Why did I write this little story? Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I was becoming a bit dis-illusioned and feeling somewhat walled in, if you will. But now that I have channeled my frustration into my writing, the good news about writing this little post – is that it took my mind off everything (Covid – 19; politics; protestors; and so forth) happening in this crazy mixed-up world of ours today.

So, by now you are thinking, okay, how is he going to end this wild and crazy story. Well, seeing that it is  nigh onto eating time as I am finishing this little post of mine, I have but one question: How does one open a can of sardines? What? You didn’t think that just because I was stranded on a deserted island that I was going to fish for my own dinner did you? What type of castaway do you think I am? Now where did I put those crackers?

Din-Din!

If by chance, this little romp into Never-Never Land made you, for one short moment, forget about Covid – 19; politicians, protestors and so forth, well then – my work here is done. Done that is until next week. I try my best to look at our lives as this great comedy and we are merely some of the many characters within said comedy. What about you? What are you doing during this time to keep yourself sane? Stay safe and stay well my friends.

Until next time!