Celebrations

72 Half-Years ago…

January 16th, 1982 we said, “I do”. It’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride, but we’re still here together. And I know I’m a shit to live with. Thanks for sticking me babe! Love ya forever.

 

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See? I told you she was tiny!

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Somewhere around 1981. At the MetroZoo Preview Center (Now Zoo Miami). So one trivia answer; yes we met at the zoo…

 

 

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A long time ago, in an Army far, far away.. Between 1987 and 1989.

 

 

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1995, just after I retired from the Army. After having to cut my hair every week, and shave every day I quit. Now it’s shaving once a week and get my cut about once, maybe twice a year.

If the title throws you, it’s because both of our families gave us 6 months to stay together. So we celebrate every 6 months. This will our 72 6-month celebration. That’s 36 years (didn’t want you to have to do the math because we all know math’s hard!). 

Peace,
B

 

New Favorite Band

So this past Saturday Wifey® and I, along with some friends (invited my brother too now that he lives in the area, but he had some lame excuse about moving trucks delivering furniture to his new house or something. Whatev’ bro) spent the day at the 41st Central Florida Scottish Highland Games. It was chillier than usual, right around 60° F. Not bad, but we prefer it a bit warmer.

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The music lineup was as good as always, Albannach, Off Kilter, and Rathkeltair are some of our favorite Celtic/Rock bands.  But this year we had a newcomer. The Screaming Orphans. An all-girl band from Ireland that did everything from traditional Irish songs (in Gaelic and English), reels to get you dancing and some pop sounding tunes, easily on par with The Bangles or the Go-Gos. (Sorry if you’re not into their music – we enjoy it).

Here are two videos to showcase their talents.

First is the oft-covered “Whisky In The Jar”.  (Off Kilter closed out their first set with this song as well).

And then “500 Miles” another song that’s been covered many times.

They did do some original music as well, but due to all the loud drunks all around us, and the girl’s heavy Irish brogue I couldn’t get the names of the songs. Even though for once I was not on the drunk side during this festival. We estimate this is our 16th or 17th year attending.

Check them out on their webpage The Screaming Orphans. You’ll find links to their FaceBook and Twitter there as well! And everything they played was outstanding. Their vocals blend so well, it was simply amazing. Thank you ladies! We hope to see you at more of the Celtic festivals in our area.

Peace,
B

So This Is Christmas.. Already?

If you’ve read the other posts about how I don’t feel that Christmas can start until I hear John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over), you will understand this post just a bit better.  If you haven’t read them, go find them and come back here.  I’ll wait…

(Hums Jeopardy theme song)

Back now? Good.  So for some reason, my Spotify playlist just played the song.  So I guess Christmas 2018 can now start? We just got the decorations down! At least it gives me an excuse to start the Christmas shopping early. And with the Central Florida Highland Games (Albannach & Rathkeltair providing the music, and another visit to And Sarah Smiled for more Celtic pottery) this weekend, we’ll have the chance to pick up some early presents!

So Happy Holidays, I guess??

Peace,
B

The Tears Of A Clown

(Many thanks to Kiersten over at Once Upon A Spine for the inspiration for this post)

And no, this is not a sad post, but the only song I could come up with that has “clown” in the title is “Cathy’s Clown”, and that’s not one of my favorites.

So, let’s go back in time, shall we?  The year was 1981, Wifey® and I were not yet married (although we were dating).  Wifey-to-be® and I took my oldest niece and nephew to a function at their school. But that was many, many beers ago and neither of can remember what the event was. At this event was Hi-Pockets The Clown. Hi-Pockets had his run in various circuses until he tired of the constant moving. So he left the circus and became a firefighter of all things, still continuing his clowning at parties and such.

Then he had a stroke, and his firefighting days were over, but he could continue clowning, just at a slower pace. He would go to the local schools perform a little and try to recruit folks for his clown alley. I was hooked the minute I saw his pitch.

I immediately signed up. As both Wifey-to-be® and myself were working at Metro Zoo (now the Miami Zoo), I had an in to get us into a face painting setup. We charged $2 to paint a face.  We kept $1.50, the zoo got the rest. Not a bad scheme.  We would also warm up the audience for some of the animal shows.  When we would walk from our spot by the gift shop to the amphitheater, the Bengal Tigers would go nuts. They would pace up and down their open enclosure following us.

So one of the first things a clown needs to do is design a face. I sat down with paper and pencil trying to come with something rather unique.  Unfortunately, only one picture of me in makeup survives.

 

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Skeeter the clown. I was about 22 then.

 

I had just finished putting on the face and still had the scarf on keeping my rather long hair out-of-the-way when my dad took this picture. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you “Skeeter the clown”.  Hi-Pockets told me this face is registered with Ringling Brothers, but I have no proof. But I hope it is.

One of my most beloved props was an Orangutan puppet named Merlyn.  I bought him from a festival that was being held at the zoo. At the time, it cost me every penny I had, but the laughter and love Merlyn has generated has come back many times over.

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Granddaughter-the-elder with Merlyn

Merlyn has seen quite a bit. Not only at the zoo, but he’s entertained friend’s kids, even went to a strip club with me once. I would guess he’s about 36 years old now.  The first time I brought him out to Granddaughter-the-elder®, she was about 2 years old. She had no idea what it was. She wasn’t exactly scared, just very unsure. But it didn’t take long for her to warm up to Merlyn and ask me to go get him.Merlyn is enjoying his retirement awaiting the next generation to play with.And just to prove that I am not all clown, here is a photo, totally unrelated to this post, here is a picture of Wifey® and me in our kilts. Let’s face it, the Central Florida Highland Games are in about two weeks.  We already have our tickets! If you’re in the area (dear ol’ brother mine) come join us. We’ll be over by the beer tent listening to Albannach.

 

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Black Watch Tartan – The Campbell’s are coming!

 

Here’s the video to go with the title.. not the best I know. If you have a better song leave a comment telling me so.

And just to go with the kilts, here’s Albannach. The band name roughly translated means “Men Of Scotland”.

Peace,
B

P.S. I’ve never understood the clown phobia. I know people that are very afraid of clowns, and I feel for them. ‘Cause clowns are cool!

Gynger Makes Her Debut

It seems our little Elf had a bit of mischief just before she left us on Christmas Eve. We kept these pictures from the girls.  Maybe when they’re old enough, we’ll show them.

 

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I thought Elves drank maple syrup? Don’t think she knew that that’s a jar of ‘shine from North Carolina. The apples and cinnamon stick must have confused her. And on our ancestor altar too!

The liquor really got her into the mood..

 

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She tried a little “pole dancing”. She said it was “for exercise”, but I fail to understand what taking the skirt off had to do with exercise.

 

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And, as usual, She ended up “praying to the porcelain god”. Happens to the best of us!

 

 

Ginger The Elf – The Last Week

This is our last week with Ginger. She will return home to the North Pole (a.k.a The Shed) on Sunday the 24th.  I hope she gets a good employee evaluation from the Head Elf, or Santa or whoever.

Here’s what she’s been up to this week;

 

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Quite the engineer she is!

 

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I guess this is a game of “tag”? The Gingerbread man got caught.

 

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Let it snow baby!

 

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Just how many pieces of bubblegum did it take to get a bubble that big?

 

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It’s a nice thought to welcome the girls back (how did she know they would be with us a day early?), but those post-its ain’t cheap!

In case you can’t read her note it says “I brought you a snowman from the North Pole”. But this is Florida and it melted. Silly elf!

 

Caught her with some popcorn watching “Christmas Vacation”. At least she has good taste in Christmas movies.

 

 

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On her last day, she tried to make breakfast for the girls. She needed a little help. The note says, “I brought you breakfast. Daddy needs cooking, can you help?”.  I did the bacon, daddy did the chocolate chip pancakes. 

So Ginger goes off to the North Pole until next year. We hope she didn’t do anything to get into trouble with Santa so she comes back next year. We’d hate to have to train another Elf all over again!

 

Peace,
B

Ginger The Elf, Week 2

This is Ginger, our apprentice Elf’s second week with us. Let’s see what she’s been up to over the week.

 

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Saturday found her hiding out in our Celtic water pitcher.

 

 

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Sunday she decided to make snowflakes with Q-tips. Those things cost money ya know! 

 

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She put on a fashion show, first the red skirt.

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Then the blue skirt. All on the top of the cat condo. A “catwalk”?

 

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Getting a little aerobatic! Ask Wifey about the “Legend Of The Trapeze”!

 

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Snow angels!  In Florida??? Our “snow” comes in little gram baggies. But what would I know about that?

 

 

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Looks like she got into the chocolate. That will not help her keep her elfish figure!

Nothing like a nice refreshing mini-marshmellow bubble bath.

Looks to me like she was trying to put candy canes on the tree and something happened. Looks like an Elf slide for life now.

Be sure and check back next week to see what this crazy little Elf is up to! 

Peace, 

B
 

 

 

Christmas Movies

Since I STILL haven’t heard John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas”, I thought I’d do a post about Christmas Movies.  I’m not talking the made for TV crap that Lifetime and Hallmark channels play. You could cut whole scenes out of those movies, switch them with scenes from another movie and other than there being different actors, you wouldn’t notice the damn difference.

So I checked out several sites that have rankings of Christmas movies to see who ranks which movies versus other lists.

I looked at Rotten Tomatoes, Thrillist, and Buzzfeed simply because they were the first three in my Google search (links above go to the lists I used).  What I basically learned from these sites is that I have not seen damn near any of this movies.

Let’s start with some of the classics;

White Christmas; #25 on Rotten Tomatoes, #33 on Thrillist and not listed on Buzzfeed.  I have only seen snippets of this movie.  Usually when Wifey® elbows me to stop snoring and I wake up just enough to see that it’s still on before rolling over and going back to sleep.

Elf; #19 on Rotten Tomatoes, #6 on Thrillist, and #12 on Buzzfeed. I have never seen this movie nor do I intend on ever watching this movie. For whatever reason, I just have an aversion to Will Ferrell.  Nothing personal, just don’t care for the man.

A Christmas Story; #9 on Rotten Tomatoes, #2 on Thrillist and #6 on Buzzfeed. Again, never watched it. I can’t really give a reason why not. It just doesn’t appeal to me.

Miracle on 34th Street; #2 on Rotten Tomatoes, #3 on Thrillist, and not listed on Buzzfeed.  Nope. Not interested at all.

It’s A Wonderful Life; #1 on all three sites. It’s a bit strange that I’ve never seen this one. If I understand the plot (and please correct me if I’m wrong), the main character (Jimmy Stewart?) wishes that he had never been born.  Someone (Santa maybe?) grants this wish and he gets a glimpse of what his loved ones/town/I don’t know, would have lived without him. Since my bipolar depression leads me into those kinds of thoughts on a semi-regular basis, maybe I could learn something from this movie. But that damn phrase “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets her wings”, is enough to keep me away. That did come from this movie right? Or am I confusing it with 34th Street??

So now, some of the movies that are listed as Christmas movies for reasons I don’t understand.  No rankings on these.

Die Hard; Just because this movie takes place during a company Christmas party doesn’t mean it’s a Christmas movie. Last time I looked, Christmas is (for some – not all) about the birth of the “Christ Child”. I don’t see how blowing shit up and automatic gunfire qualifies. I have seen this movie, it was during my Army years, and then I enjoyed it. Now, not so much. I’ve grown way to pacifist for this level of violence.

Trading Places; Again, just because the storyline takes place during the holidays doesn’t make it a Christmas movie. Maybe it’s the greed versus the people on the margins of society that qualify it, I don’t know.  But I have seen this one and I did enjoy it. I enjoy both Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

Batman Returns; Seriously? A Christmas movie? SMDH… (But did enjoy the movie).

Now let’s talk about some Christmas movies I have seen.

Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer; My favorite character is Lemny the Elf who wants to be a dentist. A good study in breaking out of a class structure.

A Charlie Brown Christmas; One of my all-time favorites. Even with Linus’ soliloquy of Luke (a direct quote too). An interesting fact is that the network pressured Charles Schulz to take the bible quote out. He refused, and it’s still there to this day. It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is also a classic holiday treat.

The Nightmare Before Christmas; A Tim Burton masterpiece!  Absolutely love this one as it spans two holidays. And the animation is just so cool.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas; The original animation from 1967. I have not seen the live action mainly because I don’t want to compare it to this one. This has become my favorite Christmas cartoon.

And my All-Time-Favorite Christmas movie is (drumroll please); National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. How did you not see that one coming? Without a doubt, this movie cracks me up no matter what time of year. The script is amazing, the acting is beyond belief.  I have an Army buddy that’s nicknamed “Sparky” in tribute to Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold. But all in all, my favorite character of all the Vacation movies is Cousin Eddie. He reminds me of a sudden depressive episode that comes with the bipolar. He shows up at the worst possible time, he turns the situation upside down, and you just can’t get rid of him.

An honorable mention goes to Christmas With The Kranks.  Wifey® got me to watch it just last year. And while not quite up there with Christmas Vacation, it was still quite enjoyable. And I will admit I will watch Jamie Lee Curtis read the phone book.  I’ve always enjoyed her work.

So there’s my list. I’m sure I’ve left off your favorite movie, or maybe you disagree my views. It’s all cool!  Leave me a comment below and let me know! (And don’t text me bro!)

Peace,
B

Ginger the Elf

The girls convinced Wifey® to buy them an “Elf On A Shelf” this year. They named this one Ginger. Luckily the box said that this elf was a girl because the only difference I could see between the “boy” elf and the “girl” elf is that this one has painted on earrings. And we all know that earrings are not a gender identifier anymore.  So thank you whoever designed the boxes.

Since we only have the girls at our house on weekends, we figured Santa sent us an “apprentice elf”.  This is just a training mission, with light weekend duty only. So it’s only natural that poor Ginger gets bored during the week.

Although she hasn’t done anything inappropriate, we have found her in some unusual places in the mornings.

 

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Ice fishing for goldfish. Seems she caught one too!

 

 

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Having a tea party (with the girls best tea set) and two other elves.

 

 

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Toy shopping in a catalog. Not sure who the gifts are for though…

 

 

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Touching up a foot painting of the youngest granddaughter.

 

 

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Watching the Charlie Brown Christmas play. If you look closely you can see she’s petting a catnip mouse!

 

We can only imagine what she’ll be up to next!

Peace,
B