National Poetry Month


You may not have realized it’s National Poetry Month.

“What does this mean to me?” you may be asking yourselves. Or you may already be making plans to celebrate. Who knows?

Probably Poetry Month isn’t something we all think a lot about, but maybe it should be. Where would greeting cards be without those cute little poetic sayings inside them? They’d be pretty plain!

And what kind of songs would we have if they didn’t rhyme? Again, pretty plain!

What about those cute advertising jingles we can’t get out of our heads? A lot of them are in verse. Maybe you wouldn’t actually classify them as a poem but many of them do rhyme or have some sort of special rhythm to them.

I wonder who was the caveman or woman or other speaking person that first came up with something poetic to say. Sometimes my doggy almost has a look about him that makes me think he’s thinking deep poetic thoughts so maybe it was some young pup in love.

So are you beginning to see what poetry does mean to us after all? Now that I think about it, I’m glad we have poetry in our lives! I wish I had some sort of nice little poem to share with you right now, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to find your own.

Features of Our Ideal Retirement House, Part 2

I found an old post back from March, 2007, done by my predecessor here and thought I might make a few comments on that. The post contains 11 things the author is looking for in a retirement home.

My retirement home is a manufactured house in Florida. We did put in mostly laminate floors that look like hardwood and I don’t know why we never had them before. I love them! We did them partly, well mostly, because we have two dogs and they can be messy at times. At any rate, these floors are so easy to clean and look beautiful even when you haven’t mopped them in a bit. So that’s one thing I definitely like in my retirement home. They’re not all that expensive either. Similar in price to carpet.

I do have two bedrooms and an area for the computer. What I would really like to have is another closet. We don’t have a garage, just a shed, and storage is kind of at a premium. Of course, one of the things you learn when you retire and downsize is that you don’t need all that “stuff” you’ve had hanging around for years that you never look at or use. Keep some favorites and get rid of the rest. Send it home with your kids. Trust me, they’ll love it (wink,wink).

Rather than having a hot tub of our own, we live in a community that has one we can use, well two actually. We hardly ever do and don’t really want to any more often than we do, so I’m glad we don’t have one of our own that we have to perform maintenance and upkeep on.

We also have someone to mow our grass. Our yard isn’t very big, but just the thought of mowing makes me cringe. We mowed about 3 acres for over 20 years so enough is enough. We even had some of our old bushes removed so there’d be less bush trimming we had to do or hire someone else to do. We still do it ourselves but we’ve got it down to a science so it doesn’t take too long. The main thing is to do it before it gets too bad. That way it doesn’t make such a big mess.

One of the bad things about where we live is that things grow all year round. Actually that’s one of the good things too since it means the weather is decent all year round. But there is outdoor upkeep that needs to be done all year too. Of course, we don’t spend a lot of time shoveling snow so I guess we can use that time to trim the bushes and weed a bit.

Ho hum, retirement is a rotten job but somebody has to do it!

Another Day at the Beach

You may recall I posted about our visit to the beach last week. However, we did not see this at the beach where we were, but I thought it was rather interesting so you get to see it without even having to go to the beach!

Funny Pictures

I cannot even begin to imagine being able to do this. Even as a child or teenager I don’t think I could’ve done this! I was barely able to learn to do a somersault. I never did learn how to roller skate although I can ride a bike and still do, so there!

Anyway, if there’s anyone out there who can perform this miracle please send us a picture! If you just want to try, maybe you can figure out the steps to get yourself into this position, but don’t come to me for help getting straightened out again.


Empty Nesters Once Again

Empty Nest

Well, the kids have gone back home so we’re back to our empty nest once again. It always seems so much more empty right after they leave!

We had our big breakfast and then a quick stop at Wally World and then they finished packing their car and off they went, only 7 minutes later than their planned time of departure. We all cry (well, not the son-in-law) when they leave. Sometimes for just a little bit and sometimes off and on the rest of the day!! It’s funny what sets you off again.

Grandpa’s taking his walk now and he had his nap earlier so things are getting back into a routine already. When the kids were here and walked with him, I rode around them on my bike but I’m not doing that today. I’m an exercise wimp!

Back to the old grind!

Japanese Cooking Techniques

The cooker at the Japanese Steakhouse!

Well, today we went with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson to a Japanese restaurant that features a chef at your table cooking your food. Our one-year-old grandson was in awe of this fellow as he whipped his cleaver blade round and round and then smacked the bottom of the metal salt and pepper shakers each time he seasoned the food.

Our son-in-law ordered steak for his meat of choice while the rest of us had chicken. The chef doused the grill with oil, broke raw eggs over the back of his cleaver and made fried rice. Then he cooked meat and vegetables and gave each of the diners their share. We also had two kinds of sauces, a teriyaki type thing and something the chef called either shrimp sauce or white sauce. I don’t think it was named shrimp sauce because there was shrimp in it but rather because it was to be used over shrimp. Whatever, it was very tasty.

After we ate all this food, someone got the bright idea that we should have ice cream so we had a scoop of ice cream at a designer ice cream stand and spent almost as much on that as we did on our whole lunch.

Tomorrow is breakfast at the Golden Corral. Luckily our bathroom scales went to sleep permanently a couple of days before the kids got here, so we don’t know how many pounds we’ve put on this week from all the endless eating we seem to be doing. At 9 o’clock tonight our daughter decided she needed to have a brat cooked on the grill so she had that and our son-in-law, grandson, and myself had hot dogs and we also made jalapeno poppers with cheddar cheese. We never do this when the nest is empty!

The kids are leaving tomorrow after the big breakfast and then I’m going to see if I can fix the scales. Hopefully, if I get them running again, they won’t scream when I get on!

A Day at the Beach

Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Florida

We took our empty nest fillers to Clearwater Beach on Tuesday. It was necessary to drive around for probably half an hour just to find a parking space. Whoever said tourism is down apparently hasn’t visited Clearwater Beach during spring break. We finally found a spot with a two-hour parking meter so then we had to find change to feed it with. And we did. At least it was a fairly short walk down an alley to get to the beach itself. Then of course another trek through a desert area to get close to the water!

By the time we reached a spot to park our stuff, there was no holding me. I had to potty! So another walk down the beach just to find a bathroom. But what a relief it was!

Back to the sunbathers but not into the water because the water temperature was in the low 70’s which is really not conducive to lots of floating around. We weren’t the only ones steering clear of the cold water. The baby got his feet wet, screamed like a banshee and came back to the blanket to play in the sand, which he much preferred.

During all this, we had to check the parking meter every so often and Grandpa finally decided he’d had enough of sitting on a blanket on the hard sand so he went back to the car and then to the drugstore across the street and finally for short walks keeping the car in site in case the rest of us decided to come back. I did and eventually the kids and baby did too.

Then of course, the road back home was pretty much at a stand-still so it took twice as long to get back as it should have. But it was the beach. What else can you say? Baby’s first visit and hopefully he’ll grow to love it. Especially when the water gets warmer.

Fill’er Up!

Yes, the empty nest is now full for a bit. The young’uns arrived about noon on Saturday, we had lunch, went shopping and went for a golf cart ride and were all exhausted! The baby is a blast.

Today, Sunday, we went to the flea market, they went to the pool while Grandpa and Grandma babysat. But little baby wasn’t too happy with Mama gone to the pool so Grams and Gramps had to take him for a stroller ride around the neighborhood to get him in a better mood. He loved that so it was worth it. Then we all went and ate Italian food which was also a good thing. But there were leftovers so a big shift of all the stuff in the refrigerator had to take place to get all those styrofoam boxes in there too. At least now we know what we’ll have for lunch tomorrow or the next day and not much preparation time either!

Baby is trying to get to sleep on his Daddy’s lap right now and I think he’s having a successful job of it. The poor little guy gets in the car, just gets to sleep and we get to where we’re going and he has to get up again so he can’t get a good nap. Now he has the whole night ahead of him to sleep as much as he wants but he’ll probably be up sometime during the night according to his Mom.

It is a real delight having them here and the empty nest partially filled for awhile. We’ll enjoy the time with them!

An Empty Nest Refill

Ima Tourist Flamingo

We’re on the verge of refilling the empty nest for a week! One of our daughters and her husband and just-turned-a-year-old son will be here in approximately 12 hours. The empty nest is all cleaned up, the extra bedroom cleaned out and tidied up, we’ve taken our junk off the back seat of the golf cart so we can all ride in the cart at once, laundry is done, beach towels are at the ready, fridge is full of stuff, Krispie Treats await! What more could they want? Well, some nice weather for one thing.

Of course, now the weather man is saying there’s a cold front coming in (we live in Florida, don’t forget, where it’s been in the 80’s for the last 2 or 3 weeks) with windy conditions. Then Grandpa says, it’ll be nice by Tuesday. By Tuesday, their vacation will be half over!! They don’t want to wait for Tuesday for nice weather to go to the pool and the beach. What do you mean–Tuesday?? They want sunshine, they want warmth, they want water sports, they don’t want a cold front coming in and staying till Tuesday!

But then we stop and consider that they’re used to it being in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, what can be so bad about a cold front that creates temperatures in the 70’s? And it may still be sunny and it’s not supposed to rain. So it’s not so bad, I think. There’s always the hot tub if they get too cool at the pool, which itself is heated to 84 degrees or so.

And there are other things to do besides water stuff. They’re having us tape a 2 hour and 11 minute movie so they’ll have to watch that at some point. And grocery shopping tomorrow–what could be more fun than going to the super Wal-Mart on Saturday afternoon? But it will be because we’ll all be together fighting the crowds and swooping down the aisles.

I’ll try to keep you updated on how the week plays out. It’s always a lot of fun. We eat a lot, talk a lot, DO a lot of stuff, and wear ourselves out. I even usually lose a pound or two without really trying! So here’s to a fuller nest for a few days!!

The Wearing of the Green

On St. Patrick's Day Everyone's Irish. (Steiff Teddy Bears.) POTD

Well, I guess it’s almost mandatory to mention St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is actually a rather confusing figure. He didn’t drive the snakes out of Ireland after all, since there weren’t any there to begin with! He wasn’t even born Catholic or born in Ireland but was taken to Ireland as a slave when he was around 16. Although it’s a nice story, there’s no proof that he ever used a clover to teach about the Holy Trinity. Probably there’s no proof that he didn’t either, so the story lives on.

No one is sure of St. Patrick’s birthdate but apparently there was a fight over who should have possession of his body after his death. Many scholars today even think that St. Patrick may have actually been a combination of two people. As I see it, if that were the case, why fight over his body. Each group could have had one.

Anyway, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t drink too much green beer or eat too much corned beef and cabbage.

“Music in Our Schools” Month

Saxophones and brass in the last set of Gladiator

Did you realize March is “Music in Our Schools” month? I didn’t know it myself until recently but I think it’s a great idea. Music isn’t nearly as highly regarded in our schools as it should be. Not nearly as much attention is paid to music and the making of it as is paid to the basketball, football, baseball and other teams in school these days.

Would a new gymnasium be built for music? I don’t think so, but many schools have built new gymnasiums for the main purpose of housing their sports teams and the fans that attend their events. Do you see pep squads being formed to cheer on the high school band? Hardly. In fact the high school band is used to cheer on the sports teams.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against sports. I just believe that there are other things in life and music is one of them. Many parents put out large sums of money over the years for instruments, lessons, uniforms, printed music and the like for their musically-inclined children. And the children devote lots of their time to learning how to play their chosen instrument.

But when these children put on a performance that is not connected to the sports team, the only people usually in attendance are the parents and grandparents of the kids performing the music. Hopefully children will continue learning their music because even if it’s not done professionally, making music is still something that can be enjoyed as an adult.