Celebrations

Samhain 2018

(Last year’s Samhain and Allhallow’s Eve posts)

It’s both a joy and a hindrance growing up and now living in Florida. The seasons don’t really change. The calendar changes just like everybody else’s, but that’s the only way to know which holiday to celebrate. Yes, we get our 12 hours of autumn, and maybe four days of winter, but other than love bug season the rest of the year it’s the same. It was nice to get bicycles and skates for Christmas because we could use them right away. We didn’t have to wait for the spring thaw. I spent many Christmas afternoons outside on my bike, skates, playing with whichever piece of sports gear I got that year. No bundling up, hell I seldom wore a shirt or shoes!  Brag all you want about winter sports. We spent two years in Alaska. You can keep all your skis, snowmobiles, and hockey gear.  Not for me.

With my birthday falling during Thanksgiving week (no, I was not born on a Thanksgiving day. I am not a Turkey. I was born on a Tuesday), that holiday holds great importance to me. Except for the year I turned 18. That was on a Thanksgiving day. But I was at Lackland Air Force Base, in basic training, pulling KP duty. So that year it basically sucked.

One thing that has bothered me for years now is the “holiday creep”.  It really pisses me off when I go into a store before November and they have Christmas decorations already up. Let’s give all the holidays their proper time.

That would make Samhain/Halloween/Allhallow’s Eve first.

mvimg_20181028_191808

The girl’s Jack O’Lanterns for this year

Again this year, trick or treating falls in the middle of the week, so we had to take the

img_20181020_124257

A map of the corn maze. We didn’t get lost, but we didn’t do the entire maze either. Somehow we skipped about a quarter of it!

girls out for fun early.  We hit up a “Fall Festival” with a corn maze, games, food, and other typical events. Despite the heat, it was quite fun. The girls had two of their younger cousins come along, so the adults didn’t have to be with them all the time. We just had to keep them in sight.

We also took the girls to a local church’s festive events.  We got there a bit late, but there really wasn’t much to do anyway. Both the girls did the “box maze” (you had to crawl through large boxes that were placed together. It was more of a tunnel than a maze). Granddaughter-the-elder spent her time on the big inflatable slides.  Her costume was one of the characters from Disney’s Descendants 2 show. Don’t ask me which one. Maybe you can tell from the picture. But her costume was so slippery she beat all the boys down the slides every time. They said she was cheating!

Granddaughter-the-younger (costume from the same show) spent her entire time waiting in line to get her face painted. She didn’t seem to mind (don’t think she was feeling well anyway), so I’m not complaining.  I just sat on a chair off to the side where I could see everything. But the music!  So bad! They’d blast some pop tune all the kids all knew followed by a Christian song that had no relevance to the event. Sheesh..

And of course, we carved the Jack O’Lantern’s you saw above.

Tomorrow the veil thins, and travel between the realms is easier. At least that’s what some believe. It may well be true. Having never been dead, I don’t know what it takes to cross over. But last year’s posts have more info (they’re linked at the top of the page).

There aren’t many kids in our neighborhood, although some families are moving in as us old folks die off, so Wifey® and I usually don’t stay home on trick or treating night. We’ve found that even leaving all the lights out in the front of the house doesn’t stop the most determined hoodlums’ kids from banging on the door and screaming for candy.  In the past that made the dogs go crazy. But sadly, the dogs have passed on so that won’t be a problem.*

I used to dress up in costume and hand out candy and /or go to parties. But not anymore. If my granddaughters were available during the week and not just on weekends, I would do it again. Way back in the day I would drag my sound system out to the front porch and blast Rick Wakeman’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII at a very loud volume while my bud Mo and I would do our best to scare the kids trying to steal our candy. But, alas, those days are past.

Check out my friend Kirsten’s blog Once Upon A Spine. She still has the spirit.

crop clown makeup.jpg

I don’t even wear my clown face anymore…

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

* Wouldn’t it be a hoot if the dogs and cat we lost last year crossed over and visited us??

Celebrate Good Times (Come On)!

Yesterday we had the final celebration of Wifey® and granddaughter-the-elder’s birthdays. Since they both have birthday’s on or around the 4th, and we live in a tourist area, sometimes we have to do our celebrating in stages. Plus it’s more fun to keep the celebrations going for a while! Then this morning, Wifey® reminded me that today is our 73rd six-month anniversary. Yes, we celebrate every six months since that was how long we were told we would last. Ha!

So yesterday the family went to Universal City Walk and had a great time. It was all son-the-younger’s idea. Since Wifey® and I both agree we have too much stuff, we would rather do things with whichever family members we can get together. Son-the-younger picked Blueman Group, and since none of us have ever seen that show, I immediately agreed.

wp-1531740904567..jpg

My fam-damily!

And boy did we pick a hell of a day!  The rain was so bad on the way over to Orlando, we could barely see the hood of the car. But there was no rain in Orlando (surprise!). We had crazy heat. Well maybe not crazy, after all, we are Florida natives (except for son-the-younger, he’s our “token Eskimo” – he was born in Alaska).

wp-1531740904378..jpg

Feels like 108!

So our basic “plan” (we never have a plan – or if we do we don’t follow it), was to get to City Walk around 3PM, walk around and shop a bit, then catch an early dinner and the finally the Blueman Group show at 6PM. But as luck would have it, we sat down at the Lone Palm Bar (part of Margaritaville) and had a few beers. Son-the-younger took his girls and walked around. They found the hot dog stand. And they know that I love hot dogs. But, even cooler, they found stadium seats from some major league stadiums! They also know that papa loves baseball!

wp-1531740904544..jpg

My baby girls in the doughnut chair

Once we realized that we had missed our time for an early dinner, we decided that another round of beers was in order and that we would go to the theater and wait for the show.

Since it was so hot and humid outside, the theater was like an ice-box. But man did it feel good! Plus we were allowed to bring in our drink and snacks! I won’t give much of a review of the show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing it.

wp-1531740904444..jpg

Beer, popcorn, and Minecraft swords! Oh, my!

The Blueman Group show was totally awesome! I have not laughed that hard in a long time. I was already fighting a head cold and scratchy throat before we went, so now I can hardly talk. But it was completely worth it. wp-1531740904422..jpg

After the show, we went to the restaurant that we used as a ruse to plan this whole adventure. We didn’t tell Wifey® about the show, only we were going to dinner. But since we had waited so long, there was now an hour wait. What to do? What else, go have another beer!  So back around the park, we go back to the Lone Palm Bar. But our very cool server, Bethany, was off shift now. But we only had time for one beer, so it was all good.

wp-1531740904403..jpg

It was 9PM or so by the time we got to eat. The girls were very hungry, almost to the point of feeling sick. But the milkshakes they had took care of that quickly. I will say I was not happy with my meal, but I don’t blame the restaurant. By this time I was feeling so bad, between the heat and the head cold, that nothing would have tasted good to me.  Everybody else said their meals were great, so I’ll take the heat on this one.

Other than stupid Orlando traffic, and all the damn construction, the drive home was a little easier. Traffic on I-4 (AKA The Devil’s Highway), which according to a recent study is the most dangerous road in America, was light. But we still didn’t get home until midnight.

But all in all, a most spectacular evening! I highly recommend Blueman Group. We’ve already made plans to bring the girls to the Universal Theme Park and Harry Potter.  Stay tuned for that review!

So, how was your weekend?

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

And A Good Time Was Had By All

As I mentioned on my 4th of July post, Wednesday was granddaughter-the-elder’s birthday, and Thursday was Wifey’s®. Last Monday, granddaughter-the-elder informed us she was having a unicorn party at both houses (as in our house and her other grandparent’s where she lives). Of course, she didn’t bother to ask us if she could have a birthday party, she just decided she was going to have a party, and that was the end of the discussion.  Well, what’s a good papa to do, other than making sure she has a unicorn party? Between Wifey®, son-the-younger (AKA Daddy), and myself, we managed to get everything together.

Wifey® and granddaughter-the-elder, along with granddaughter-the-younger, starting browsing the Intertubes for unicorn party ideas. Somehow they decided on unicorn cake pops. Now we have never made any cake pops before, much less unicorn type, so Wifey®, being the smart cookie that she is, said we should make a trial batch before the party so we could get things right. Damn good thing we did. The first batch was an utter failure. The “instructions” (not really instructions – more like general ideas) were so generic, nothing went as shown. So she broke down and bought a cake pop tray. And while the cake pops came out correct, it was still anything but smooth sailing.

wp-1531148573461..jpg

Nekkid cake pops

The concept is once you have the cake pops baked and stuck on a stick (and there are several sizes of sticks available – but no advice as to which size to use), you’re supposed to dip them in some melted candy. This will give them a nice smooth surface to decorate, plus it seals the cake portion making them last a bit longer.

But here’s the thing. We bought a package of “candy melts” that are specifically made for this type of project. We bought a 10-ounce package (only size available), the “instructions” say you only need 4 ounces to cover 24 cake pops. Bullshit. For one thing, despite following the melting instructions on the candy packaging, I never could get it to dippable consistency. I have been melting chocolate and other candies for many years and never had a problem like this. One “instructional” video shows that instead of dipping the pops, use a spoon and drizzle the melted candy over the pops. Nope, not gonna happen. The candy was never liquid enough to drizzle either. So we ended up only covering some of our pops.

So on to the unicorn decorations. Wifey® found “instructions” on how to make a unicorn horn with fondant. It sounded easy enough. Just roll out some fondant cut into about a 2-inch section fold, and twist to look like a horn. You can then mount it on a toothpick, or something similar, so you can stick in a piece of styrofoam like stuff and put them in the fridge to harden. Once they’re hard you paint them with a small mix of either water or something alcohol based (for quick evaporation) and some edible glitter. We used vanilla extract, but I think the dark color of the extract made the horns turn too dark. But for the ears, mini-marshmallows cut in half, and painted with the same mix, they came out beautiful.

Next, we were supposed to draw eyes on the pops. We

wp-1531147146275..jpg

have special edible markers just for this purpose. But since the candy coating didn’t work correctly, and wasn’t smooth, it didn’t work either. But granddaughter-the-elder had a blast doing it anyway!

Wifey® then showed up my failures by piping the manes and little flowers on some of the pops. She has considerable piping skills!

wp-1531147146241..jpg

But, cake pop issues aside, the party was a lot of fun. Since we didn’t have a lot of time to plan it, we let granddaughter-the-elder set the guest list. So only a few really close friends of hers were invited.

Daddy (AKA son-the-younger), made us some homemade pizzas. He is a sous chef for an Italian restaurant here in town, and he has this pizza making stuff down pat. We had five pizzas and a mess of garlic knots (also homemade). And they were amazing!  I think we only had three slices of pizza left over!

The best of all the kitchen work was how little I had to do. Not that I didn’t want to help, but my lower back issue flared up again Saturday afternoon so I was on muscle relaxers most of the weekend. So all I really did was sit and chop veggies, and fail at the candy coating for the pops. It also meant that I couldn’t join in on the tequila shots later that evening.

Granddaughter-the-younger said that the kids were celebrating sissy’s birthday and the adults were celebrating memaw’s (Wifey®) birthday. So there was a water balloon fight (all ages), fireworks later in the evening, beer (and I did have some of that) & tequila (adults only!) and movies with popcorn and a sleepover (kids only!). My driveway looks like a battle zone right now. Remnants of fireworks and brightly colored balloon pieces are everywhere.

One of granddaughter-the-elder’s presents was a stuffed turtle. She has a fascination with any stuffed toy, with a soft spot for turtles. The turtle looks decidedly drunk. One droopy eye and the pupils are different sizes! She absolutely loves it.

wp-1531147145998..jpg

SO… how was you’re weekend?

P.S. If you have any good tips on cake pops, please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

Happy Day!

While the rest of the USA is celebrating our Independence Day today, I have a much better event to celebrate. Today is granddaughter-the-elder’s® birthday, and tomorrow is Wifey’s® birthday. I will not tell you their ages, as I know better than that!

g-ma & kairi

Several years ago.. not saying how many.

And since it is the 4th of July…

happy-treason-day-ungrateful-colonists-2986684

How are you spending the day today?

Peace,
B

Twitter FaceBook

Over 50!!

(Followers that is. Personally, I’ve been over fifty for a while now…)

Thanks to all my followers. I broke the 50 follower mark today. Never thought I’d get any kind of following!

So here’s a video to celebrate.

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

A Father’s Day Contemplation

So yesterday was Father’s Day. I hope all the fathers reading this had a wonderful day. I know I did. I spent the majority of the weekend smoking fish, ribs, and chicken. It was so hot (95° F according to the weather app on my phone) and time-consuming, my feet and ankles are so swollen I could barely get my shoes on this morning.

But it was worth it. And this is not what I came here to talk about today.

While I was checking on the smokers, I saw a pizza delivery guy go by. I was going to tweet a sarcastic remark about “who would order pizza on father’s day”? But then I thought about and grew troubled by that thought. Since son-the-younger did pizza delivery for many years, I’ve come to realize that for some folks pizza is the “world’s best food”. I don’t agree with that, especially not your average delivery pizza, but it’s not my call. If someone enjoys pizza that much, then go for it.

But then my thoughts went a bit deeper. What if father’s day doesn’t have the same connotation for that person as it does for me? Maybe the pizza was going to a single mother or a family that has lost a child, or a father? What then? I looked at all the food I had going on the smokers. What if they couldn’t afford anything more than a pizza? I wanted to follow the delivery guy and see if I could invite them over to eat with us.

And then it went deeper. What about those families that are torn apart by the draconian policy currently in force by our sham president and his evil Keebler elf? I cannot imagine the thoughts going through the minds of families seeking asylum in our country just to have their children forcibly taken from them. Seeking asylum is a human right. If you are running from a terrible situation in your home country, you don’t exactly have the time, nor the resources, to apply for entrance to a safer country. Asylum seekers are not entering this country illegally, they are running for their lives. If America will not accept them as they are, then we need to change our leadership. I’m pretty sure that it’s always been our policy to accept immigrants, especially those seeking asylum.

21207_edited

But, unfortunately, this behavior by our administration doesn’t surprise me. This country is built on the bones of slaughtered indigenous people, the bones of families taken from their home country and forced to work as slaves, the bones of any and all marginalized people, women especially. We need to change this. We need to be better.

Sorry for such a morose post, it’s not like me. But it’s Monday, I’m a bit hungover, and my feet hurt.  So there!

Peace,
B

Twitter FaceBook

Tartan Day

Wear yer tartan ye filthy cur!

Highland Games 08 012DSC02839beer1

Scotland For Ever!

A video from Albannach. The name roughly translates to “Men of Scotland”

And of course, “The Campbell’s Are Coming”

And you can’t leave out “Scotland The Brave”

Peace,
B

 

How I Spent My Easter Weekend (A.K.A. Home Repair As Therapy Part 2)!

I’m sure you, my faithful readers (both you are), know that I am no longer a religious person. So, since Wifey® had Friday off for Good Friday I decided to take the day off as well. I didn’t list anything religious on my request for the day off, just put it down as home repair.  And that’s just what we did. (Previous post on home repair)

I spent almost all of Friday pulling up the carpets, the carpet tack and the quarter round molding in the girl’s rooms (we had already removed all the furniture from one room). The plan was to get at least one room cleaned up and the adhesive for the flooring (Smurf juice as we call it) painted. But Wifey® went above and beyond. While I was ripping all the stuff out of the first room she removed all the light stuff from the second room. So, when I finished the deconstruction in room one, we could move all the bigger stuff out of the second room too. This allowed me to rip the carpet and other stuff out of that room as well. We then “Smurfed” both rooms, with much help from son-the-younger as well. So we had both rooms fully prepped before dinner time. This put us about 6 hours ahead of schedule.

 

We settled in for the night. Which meant Netflix for Wifey® and a baseball game for me and son-the-older who came by, at our invitation after he finished work, for dinner. Son-the-younger just hung out in his room for the evening. He wasn’t feeling all that well.

Saturday morning meant laying the flooring. With both Wifey’s® and son-the-younger’s help, things went rather smoothly. We finished the first room just after lunch (taking alternate lunch breaks). I started with the more difficult cuts, but son-the-younger picked up the technique quickly and took over. Once the first row was laid, Wifey® took over with the placement of the full pieces of the flooring while son-the-younger and I took turns cutting pieces of the flooring for the ends and beginning of rows, to keep the staggered pattern going.

We took a break, going on a beer and dinner supply run. Then started in on room two.

wp-1522529068910..jpg

Wifey & son-the-younger workin’ it!

We could have finished before dinner time, but son-the-younger had to make a trip outside the home, so it was only me and Wifey®. We managed to finish all but the last strip in the main part of the room (a strip about 1 1/4 inch wide) and the closet. We were both too hungry, so we stopped until son-the younger could come back to help. Needless to say, by this time I had already cut myself once (not surprising) and my body needed a rest.

After a lovely grilled shrimp dinner (courtesy of yours truly), son-the-younger and I got back into it. He was working on the small strip while I would take on the closet. As luck would have it, I managed to cut myself yet again (again, not surprising). Since I do take an aspirin a day for a cardiac problem, Wifey® had to take over my work, while I tried to get the bleeding stopped.

IMG_20180401_082103.jpg

If you think it looks nasty now, you should have seen it last night.

We still managed to get both floors completed by 8:30 PM. Which put us a full 12 hours ahead of schedule! We expected to do the floor in the second room Sunday morning. But now we’ll just wait for the girls to come over to dye eggs with Daddy (son-the-younger) and let them decide if they wish to rearrange their rooms. We also plan on painting the entire house this summer and we’ll let the girls pick colors for their rooms.

So, as this project nears completion, we face the next project. Cleaning out our very cluttered garage. We have a contractor coming by Monday afternoon to do some work on water damaged walls and ceilings (you can see some of the damage in the corner in the left picture above). One of the main jobs is replacing the entire ceiling in the garage. But it’s not all work today. The little store we went to yesterday for our beer and dinner supplies, had 6-ounce filet mignons for $6 each, and 5-ounce lobster tails for $5 each. So guess what we’re having for dinner tonight? Oh, and Wifey® made some compound butters for the meal too.But, son-the-younger will need to do the grilling tonight, my body still hurts. And yes, we did invite son-the-elder to dinner.

And I can’t say thank you enough to Wifey® and son-the-younger. Without their awesome help, we would still be doing room one today (Sunday) and I would probably have to go to an “Urgent Care” for sutures (probably more than once). My family ROCKS!

So, what did YOU do this weekend?

Peace,
B

Twitter  FaceBook

St. Patricks Day

Uh… NO!

scots

And why does everybody wear green? If you’ve read your history, you would know that the Catholics wore green, while the Protestants wore orange. So pick you color appropriately.

‘Nuff said.

Peace,
B

Twitter Facebook

Not That I’m Counting Or Anything

But on 25 May 2021, I will turn the magic age of 62 1/2 years old. Provided ol’ 45 doesn’t change the retirement age, on Friday 28 May 2021 I am retiring (told the boss I’d finish out the week just to be nice). I’ve already done my 20 years in the Army, and quite frankly, I’m done. Stick a fork in me.

The current countdown (give or take a few seconds since I took the snip)..

time

But like I said, I’m not counting down or anything.

Peace,
B

P.S. Yes I know it’s a long way off, but these “Stupid End Users” I deal with day in and day out required me to put the countdown on my PC so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

P.P.S. I’m always worried when I click the spell check button on the WP editor and it says “No writing errors found”. I think it’s just fucking with my mind…

Twitter  Facebook