This last weekend was a bit tough, physically and mentally. Both Wifey and I had trouble sleeping which carried over into just being plain grouchy. Not to mention whatever the problem is with my back and/or legs was extremely bothersome all weekend. I have had 3 of the 4 tests ordered by the neurologist done, with the last one, an EMG, scheduled for tomorrow morning. I had an EMG before, and it’s not all that fun. It’s not painful, but not it’s not exactly comfortable either. Hopefully I’ll know more by the follow up appointment early next month.
Ont the plus side, the hole in the kitchen wall has been patched. So hopefully, no more froggies under the sink.
But I woke up feeling better this morning, so I thought I’d post a fun little video. I went looking for something by The Monkees first. The Monkees were my favorite band when I was a youngin’. I still listen to their CDs when I get tired of the radio. (Check out this post from some Monkees fun!) Instead of using a (silly) Monkees video, and I went slightly off-course. Which, of course, is par for the course for me. (Let’s see how many more time I use “course” in this post!)
I recently finished an older book by one of my favorite Florida authors, Dave Barry. For those that don’t know who Dave is (@RayAdverb on Twitter), he is a long time humor columnist. I grew up reading his column in The Miami Herald. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988.
The book I just finished, Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs made me wonder about the musical tastes of his readers. The basic premise is that Dave wrote a column about a particular artist, which I won’t mention so you can buy the book and read it for yourself. This opened a floodgate of responses, that went on for several columns. The book is the result.
Not surprisingly, there are songs listed that I totally agree with (see the chapter on Barry Manilow), some that I’ve never heard of, and some that I disagree with. It’s one of the latter that I want to talk about.
I will admit that the fact that the horse is not named at any time during the song (they do spend many days in the desert, and don’t let the horse go until after day 9), so there was plenty of time to name the horse. Even “Jim” would be a good name.. Obviously I’m talking about A Horse With No Name.
The band America has always been a favorite. A simple little acoustic group with good harmonies and simple lyrics. Well, may not simple lyrics. While Daisy Jane, Sister Golden Hair and Lonely People are straight forward, Ventura Highway is any thing but. And I won’t even get into Muskrat Love.
(Song writer Dewey) Bunnell has explained that “A Horse with No Name” was “a metaphor for a vehicle to get away from life’s confusion into a quiet, peaceful place”
While you are reading this (you are reading this and not just jumping to see which video I’m using this time, right??), I’m sitting in my dentist’s chair having yet another crown done. This isn’t just another crown, it’s a replacement crown for a job done only 14 months ago. Sheesh..
I do have a moderate phobia of dentists. Which is a bit odd when you consider that I went through several years of orthodontic works as a teenager with no real issues. Plus, the fact that I spent the majority of my young adult life as an Army Combat Medic (equivalent to a Paramedic). I taught many classes on giving immunizations and even intravenous (IV) classes. I’ve given myself an IV (as a demonstration), and even sutured both of my sons. Needles and blood are not the problem.
The problem started long ago. In 1986 to be exact. I was leaving Fort Bragg, NC the next day. My wife and son (only had the one at the time), were leaving first to Florida to drop them off, then I was headed to Fort Greely Alaska. This particular afternoon, I was playing racquetball with a few of friends that were staying at Fort Bragg. While running to the back wall of the court my ankle turned and I went face first into that concrete back wall. I ended up shattering my right front tooth (number 8 if you’re really interested).
Upon arrival at Fort Greely, as with any military posting, you must turn in your personnel, education, medical, and dental records at the appropriate offices. When I showed up at the dental clinic, they immediately scheduled an appointment with the dentist to have that shattered tooth evaluated.
Here’s the kicker.
About 20 years before this I was hit in the mouth by a baseball. This damaged the tooth extensively, and
according to the family dentist the tooth was “dead”. I had no feeling in the tooth, and it
I told the dentist in Alaska the story and she decided I
needed a root canal. I wasn’t really
surprised that she wanted one, but since the tooth had been damaged so long
ago, I wasn’t sure it was really needed.
Now, I don’t know if this dentist was right out of school or what. But it was almost three hours in the chair, and so many injections of lidocaine; all for naught. In the end all she could say was the root was too calcified to her to get it out. And I’m thinking, I could have told you that. I have my suspicions that I was her first root canal without supervision and she was not about to fail.
Sad to say that I now have a dislike for dentists.
But the dentist we use is anything but that. He is a really
nice guy, has great music playing, and even tries to make you laugh whenever
possible. Since this is just a
replacement, and the temporary is already there, it should be cake and pie.
Maybe. Hopefully. Let’s hope he’s not
having a bad day.
P.S. Have a medical phobia of your own? Leave a comment so we can all commiserate with you!
Specifically, two ladies that gave me a love of good food and how to prepare it.
Those two ladies, are my paternal grandmother “Nanny” and my great aunt (my maternal grandmother’s sister), Arline. I’ve mentioned Nanny several times before on this blog, so I will start with Aunt Arline.
Just about every year of my childhood we would all pile into the family station wagon (mom always drove a station wagon) and head out to visit mom’s family in South Carolina. We would leave way before the sun came up and drive the 14 or so hours straight through, stopping only for gas, restroom breaks, and a quick meal. Since this was before I-95 was completed, we had to travel the entire distance of the Florida Turnpike. The turnpike is, without a doubt, one the most boring drives in America. Flat and straight, and the same damn trees the entire way. Since it runs through the middle of the state, there aren’t even any alligators to break up the monotomy.
But it did have well maintained and clean rest areas. Several of them, such as the one at Fort Pierce, even had full service restuarants. Dad wouldn’t dare pass up that rest area. It was a great place to gas up the car and fill our bellies as well. The only other stop would be somewhere in Georgia at a Stucky’s for the filling up of both car and kids.
Finally arriving at our destination of Marion, SC things would go downhill quickly as all the cousins showed up. Many days were spent running around in the yards of various family members; especially Aunt Arline’s yard. You do remember Aunt Arline right? This part of the post is about her.
She had a pond in her back yard. I wasn’t allowed to go down to the pond by myself. My mom couldn’t swim and was deathly afraid I would fall in and drown. And with good reason, as when I was abvout 5 I did fall into a pool at a friend’s house; and if it wasn’t for my brother who noticed my struggling to get to the side of the pool and jumped in a brought me safely out of the water, I probably would have drowned.
Out of that pond Aunt Arline would catch some little brim or sunfish. She would scale and gut them, then fry them whole. Remember, this is South Carolina in the 60’s. Damn near everything was fried. I will admit that at first I didn’t even want to try a whole fried fish (I means bones??). But one of my uncles showed me how to open them up and get to the good stuff. I was hooked after that – bones and all. Aunt Arline also had a cage that she kept crickets in for bait. She would somehow catch these crickets by hand! I never did figure out how.
So, let’s talk about Sunday dinners at Aunt Arline’s. There would so much food! There isn’t a buffet around that could compare. Of course there were, at times, 20 or so of us eating. I was not allowed in the kitchen then. That was all the women. My mom, her sisters, my older sisters and some cousins that were old enough handled all the cooking. The “men folk” sat out front talking weather, politics and such. My cousins that were too young to take part in the serious talk would be outside playing in the mud, trying to get down to pond, and just basically getting into trouble.
But then, those magic words – “Dinner is ready”! Naturally, we all had to wash up, which took quite some time since there was only one bathroom we were allowed to use. But by the time the kids got to our table, our moms would have a plate ready for us.
And what a plate! There would be at least three kinds of meats; ham, the fish she caught, and my all time favorite – fried chicken. Fried chicken is still my most favorite meal. Many times there would also be a turkey or a beef roast! Then there would be so many veggies – all fresh. Lima beans (another of my favorites), corn, black-eyed peas, collard and/or mustard greens. Then mashed potatoes and rice. Three kinds of bread – cornbread, dinner rolls, and just plain white. Three or four sticks of real butter would be placed around the tables, along with the usual vinegear for the greens, and if needed, condiments to make sandwiches. One thing I don’t remember is ever seeing a “garden salad”; you know lettuce and chopped veggies. But I don’t think I missed it. To this day, I still don’t care for greens.
We would sit around and eat and drink (Carolina Sweet Tea) until we couldn’t move. Then at some secret signal (unknown to “men folk” and kids), out of nowhere large white bed sheets would be used to cover everything up. Nothing put into little plastic containers that go “burp” when you do that other secret thing men folk are not allowed to understand. Nothing even close to a precaution except keeping the bugs off (and kids out).
Then, at another prearranged secret signal the sheets would be taken off and everyone would sit back down and eat. Remember, this is the 60’s in rural South Carolina. Microwave ovens are still a good 10 – 15 years away from general use, so everything was at “room tempature”, whatever that is.
Now, I had no issues with the meat not being reheated. And as much as I love mashed potatoes and limas, I balked at eating them cold. This was where the sandwich fixings came in for me. But mom still wasn’t happy. I had to have a “balanced meal”, meaning veggies. But I would not eat them cold like that. So Aunt Arline came up with a fix. She would take a big helping of the limas (she knew I would eat them all), toss them into a small pan with another stick of butter (Paula Dean has nothing on my family), and heat them up for me. Such a sweet lady! I would then take the entire pot of butter and beans and pour it over a mound of mashed potatoes or rice, depending on which I could get my hands on. Guess it’s not really odd that the majority of my mom’s family died of cholestrol issues, and that I fight that myself.
Let’s switch gears and sides (in a civil war theme). Obvisiouly, my mom is from South Carolina. The little town her daddy’s tobacco farm was in, Fork, is no longer there. She couldn’t remember exactly where the town was but believed it was swallowed by Marion. And that’s where Aunt Arline lived, Marion, South Carolina.
Dad, on the other hand, was from central Pennsylvania. I joke we had the civil war in our house growing up. Mom was a southerner and grew up Baptist. Dad, a yankee (and a damn yankee at that), grew up in a Methodist church. After WWII they settled in the south (if you can consider Miami part of the “south”) and went to a Methodist church. Best of both worlds?
Nanny (again, you do remember Nanny, right? This part of the post is about her), was an exceptional lady. She was widowed at the age of 34 in 1919. Dad was all of 6. She never remarried. From 1919 until she came to live with us about 1968 or so, she was out on her own. She spent a lot of time going between Pennsylvania and Florida, playing the snowbird roll, before she stayed permantly. This was mostly before my time and when I was an infant, so I don’t really remember it.
What I do remember is her cooking. We may not have had the big ol’ spread that we had in South Carolina, but the quality was every bit as good. Nanny was the one that really started me cooking. I was old enough (well almost) to stay around when she was preparing meals. It also helped that I was the only child at home then and our little kitchen had a dining table. I could sit there out of the way and watch, ask questions and more importantly taste!
Not only did she cook your basic meals, she could bake. She would make bread from scratch. This is where I learned how to use yeast. Being the smart woman that she was, she always made me a small loaf when she was baking bread. As soon as it was cool enough to remove from the pan she would give me the first loaf and yet another stick of butter and send me off to get out of her way.
And here is another example of fried chicken; yet completly different from Aunt Arline’s. The crust was different and she would use a buttermilk bath on the chicken pieces. Still every bit as good, just different. Not to brag (who am I kidding??) I have been told that my fried chicken is better than either of their’s. That may be, but I will admit that I am nowhere as consistent as either of these ladies.
But Nanny taught me something more than fried chicken and bread. She taught me BBQ. We didn’t have a smoker growing up, and I can only remember my dad grilling something once. But both my brother and I love to cook with fire. We had to get it from somewhere. It was Nanny. She had a BBQ resuarant in the Altoona, Pennsylvania area. I can find city directories from 1935 and 1936 that list her as the owner. Can you imagine being a widow with a young adult son, in the middle of the Great Depression, and making a good living from a restuarant? The industry that has a very high if not the highest failure rate? Blows my mind.
Her potato salad, fresh made coleslaw and beans were out of this world! And a meatloaf to die for. Somewhere there is a recipe book with all these notes. I really think the printed recipes were there as a distraction. The true treasure were the handwritten notes in the back. My mom, a better than average cook in her own right, added to that collection.
It makes me a bit sad to know that I didn’t get the chance to cook for these ladies before they shuffled off to wherever great cooks go. I’m sure there would have been lots of “this is nice, but if you had done ….” comments. And I would have taken everyone of those comments to heart and tried to live up to their legacy another time.
Well, I’ve had these blog posts sitting here not being posted for quite some time now. All of these have been assigned to “I’ll finish this later”, or “Nobody wants to read about that”, or my fav, “Do I really want to post that?” categories.
An Anniversary (Of Sorts)
Today is the 30th anniversary of my vasectomy! I realize you don’t really care. But it’s important to Wifey® and me. The funny part was later.
We were stationed at Ft. Greely, Alaska. Four days after my getting fixed was son-the-elder’s birthday. Needless to say, we had a party. And as with most kids birthday parties, the adults consumed massive quantities of alcohol. The big toy that year was laser tag. I don’t remember how many we purchased, but we had several pistols, rifles, vests, and helmets. Many hours and batteries were spent running around in the playground and parking lot shooting at each other. Naturally, I was extremely sore for several days after. The beer kept me from hurting that day but did nothing after that.
Pro tip: Don’t go running around right after having your nuts cut!
Still Not The Song I Want To Hear
The posts I’m referring to are here and here. After dinner Sunday the family was sitting at our little bar in the kitchen (where we usually eat dinner) and within 10 minutes or so I had to change the station at least 5 times. Nothing but Skynyrd, Zepplin, Springsteen, U2, etc. Even son-the-elder noticed and said I was having a bad night.
Genealogy Still Sucks
If you missed the original post go here. Since everything I find on my Campbell side either has too many questions to lay claim to or goes back to King Arthur, I have decided to work on some other lines for now. Besides, I can’t get anyone to answer any requests on Ancestry.
I’m just happy that I haven’t found a “tree” that links back to Adam & Eve! Although I have to think that the Campbell’s would have sprung from Adam & Lillith, Eve was too prissy.
I have many DNA links on my paternal grandmother’s side, and my mother’s side (both her mother and father’s sides). I’m also going to start on Wifey’s® tree even though she has cousins with a lot of the family already there. But I have doubts about a lot of the historical family members.
Samhain is right around the corner! Even though we don’t participate much in Halloween (unless we have the girls), I still enjoy this time of year. The Celt in me loves the traditions and once this day passes the next holiday is my absolute favorite of all holidays, Thanksgiving.
We have always enjoyed carving Jack O’Lanterns. But since this year Halloween falls on a Wednesday I think we’ll cut it back this year.
To Gym Or Not To Gym
Yeah… This post didn’t get very far…
Mental Health Day (Or Lack Thereof)
I’ve mentioned before that I am bipolar type II. I don’t post about it much because I really can’t. When those days hit the last thing I want to do is talk. Not that talking about it doesn’t help, it does. But, I am not one to talk about what’s going on in my messed up head. And to spit it out only relieves the pain for a very short time. And the roller coaster emotions that this causes is even worse than just dealing with it in my own way.
Then this meme came across my Facebook the other day and I think it may have some merit.
I can understand this. The universe has a finite amount of energy (E=mc^2 tells us this). And since we are all made of stardust (and to stardust, we’ll return) we are all connected. Maybe days when you are sad and can’t place a reason why the universe is signaling that someone needs mourning. I’m down with that.
So those are all the leftovers that have been ignored. And to continue the Still Not The Song I Want To Hear post, this morning on the way to work, it was either Starship, Aerosmith, or Rocket Man, easily Elton’s worse song. And while putting this post together, Michael Martin Murphy’s Wildfire just came on. There is nothing that will make me change the station faster than that “song”. Has to be the absolute worst thing ever written.
But fear not dear reader (both of you), the music world is still kicking! Saturday night driving home from dinner with granddaughter-the-younger I had the Beatles channel blaring in the truck. Both of my girls love the Beatles. As this song came on, and I was singing it to her, she was laughing the entire time. When we made it home we watched Beatles videos on YouTube. It was wonderful.
So today I was doing the vinegar and water treatment to our several years old Keurig coffee maker and saw this:
And I think to myself, “Adult supervision”? Where in the hell am I going to find an adult to make us coffee every morning?? And coffee is just one rung below beer on the beverage scale to me. I am screwed!
The only reason I can even be considered an “adult” is the fact that I am older than dirt. I passed that magical age and entered into “adulthood” about two centuries ago. I really don’t care for any of those chain coffee shop “coffees”. Their coffee always tastes burned, and besides that, the average age of anybody working there has to be about the same as my granddaughters. They sure as hell ain’t even close to “adult” age. Although they are growing like weeds.
So what’s an old fart like me to do? Well, I will continue to grind my coffee about every two days and continue to make my coffee without any adult supervision. Because, dammit, I’m a rebel!! Ok, not really. But I need my coffee.
How do you like your coffee?? I take mine black. “Army” style!
So today, while at a doctor’s appointment (don’t worry everything is fine), I saw this note taped to the inside of the exam room door.
“Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
there’s something good in every day
because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last
and it’s not true that
it’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
it’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
it’s all beyond my control
and you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
today was a good day
Now read from the bottom up”
The poem was not attributed to anyone, so I’ll give the credit to the worlds most renowned author ~ “Anonymous”. I’m telling you, that guy (or girl) gets way too much credit.
So, I liked the poem, and I hope that you do too. Let me know what you think about it in a comment. (And for those that are reading this on FaceBook, please don’t leave a comment there – I won’t see it.)
So just what does a DNA test tell you about your heritage? You may have seen the Ancestry DNA commercial that’s been all over (at least my) TV lately. I tried to find it on YouTube, but couldn’t. It shows a young woman who has discovered a long-lost relative using their DNA testing service. It even goes so far as to imply that she not only found this ancestors name but that he had blue eyes as she does. All from a DNA test? Not likely. What it doesn’t tell you is that you need a lot of hard genealogy work to find these kinds of things out.
I have had my DNA tested by both Ancestry and Family Tree DNA. Surprisingly, the results were very similar. Both give my heritage as very “Scottish”. As a member of the Campbell group on Family Tree DNA, I have found that my DNA just might POSSIBLY point to a Pictish lineage. For those that don’t know who the Picts were, they are considered one the earliest inhabitants of Scotland. They are basically made up of the Celts that came across from what we would call Germany today, Vikings that come from the northern Scandinavian countries, and the people who came across from what we call Ireland and then north up to Scotland. This shows just how impossible it is to be of “pure stock”.
As you can see, my results from Ancestry DNA show a varied makeup.
The image above somewhat supports the findings from Family Tree DNA. My main groups do point to the historical makeup of the ancient Picts. But, since the Picts did not leave any written records of us to study, we can’t be completely sure.
But what does it prove? In all honesty, it doesn’t “prove” a damn thing. Without some genealogy work, it will never tell you much. I have done a bit of work at Ancestry chasing down my family tree. I have managed to solidly confirm the Campbell line back to the 1860’s or so. I just may have a lead going back to the 1780’s or so, but have not been able to confirm it. Ancestry does have very fine resources such as US and UK census records. How much access you get depends on how much you’re willing to pay.
Unfortunately, all the matches I’ve found through DNA testing have not been on the Campbell side. I did have one gentleman who matched my DNA (up to 37 markers) exactly. But he will not answer my emails to see how we are related.
I would like to call your attention to this page; “Two Lies And The Truth About DNA Testing”. The big take-away for me from this blog post was;
I want to stress that DNA Testing is of little value to anyone except yourself if you don’t do the genealogy research to back it up and share it. A common complaint among testers is that the test result is wrong. That’s probably a misunderstanding. Genetic testing is pretty reliable. What isn’t so well-known is that people traveled, sometimes quite a lot, even back to ancient times. Our genes have been mixing through migrations, marriages, immigrations, wars, and conquests for as long as we have been here. If you believe it to be wrong, prove it. But don’t forget to study up on world history first.
Shakespeare’s kid probably had 50 percent of his DNA; his kid in turn, on average, a quarter, and so on. Within 10 generations, Shakespeare’s DNA has spread out and recombined so many times that it doesn’t even really make sense to speak of a match. Putting the same point the other way, each of us has so many ancestors that we have no choice but to share them with each other… The truth is, you have your history and your genes have theirs.
So basically, trying to say some famous person is related to you without doing the genealogy work, and only relying on a simple DNA test, is impossible.
I’m not telling you NOT to do DNA testing. I just want you to know that the test alone will not answer most of your questions. Wifey’s® results from Ancestry gave her what she wanted. She wasn’t looking for a long-lost relative. She only wanted to see the “mix” of her heritage. But no, I will not post her results. That would be TMI. Hell, I don’t even use her name on this blog, why would I give you her DNA makeup???
One more consideration. What happens to your DNA test results? Family Tree DNA does not share your results without your consent. Can’t say the same for most of the others.
In the end, ask yourself why you want to do the test. Is it for health reasons? Trying to fill out, or start, your family tree? Just curious (as was Wifey®)? For whatever reason, read the fine print before you do the test.
And remember, your results may very well vary between companies. Take your results with a grain (or maybe a shaker) of salt.
We’re supposed to go to a Gordon Lightfoot concert tonight. I realize that most of you have no idea who Gordon Lightfoot is. But if you’re a fan of ’60’s and ’70’s folk music like I am, then you know his music very well.
I’m hoping this will break me out of my funk. But only time will tell. Maybe I’ll post a review of the concert tomorrow. If I feel up to it.
Here’s one of Gord’s best songs for you. And it was one of my dad’s favorite songs too.
One of the joys of owning a ten-year-old pickup truck is I’ve come to know every bump, grind, screech, and jangle it makes as I traverse my way thru life in it. Plus the joy it gives my granddaughters when they get to ride it in. They just love being able to sit up high and look into the other cars.
This truck has served me well, it’s moved both of my boys, more than once. Helped friends move more times than I can count. Not to mention the almost constant trips to county landfill with yard trash that for whatever reason the contracted waste folks refuse to pick up. (Other than just getting 2 paid holidays a year I wish I had their job – they don’t do shit).
The truck has given me very little in the way of repair problems. Had to replace the water pump (not unusual, but not my fault), and the clutch, which was, probably, completely my fault. And an outside mirror, which was son-the-younger’s® fault. But we found the replacement parts on Amazon and could fix it ourselves.
So, since I don’t listen to the radio while driving (the DJs in the Orlando/Daytona area just plain suck), I get to listen and talk back to my truck all the time. This morning on the way in I heard a completely new sound. What the hell could it be I wondered? It’d not a “clunk”, not a “grind” more of a rusty spring “squeak”. Now I know I need new struts on the front end (those are what have replaced the old shock absorbers, at least in mid-sized trucks), but that’s not what it sounded like. These usually just go “thunk” right before maxing out your credit card.
Now I do have to mention I have a pretty good hearing impairment. After playing in bands in my school days, years of DJ work (both on-air and parties) and then 20 years of military service with lots of “booms”, my ears are fairly shot.
The story of my life. Think my brother can relate too.
After about 3 miles of this unknown noise, I’m starting to worry about it. And as usual, I get impatient driving and go around the line of folks who can’t seem to do the speed limit in the left lane (morons). As I pull up next to the truck that was directly in front of me (also an older model pick up, but not as old as mine), I hear this squeak loud as hell! It was that truck all along! I have no idea what his problem was, but when we pulled up to the red light and stopped, he was still squeaking. While stopped!! Hope he doesn’t blow up or something anytime too soon.
So now I’m back to the regularly scheduled tunes that my familiar old truck plays me every day. Such a nice symphony 🙂
P.S. A shout out to my son-the-younger® who helped me through a very rough patch yesterday. I felt myself spinning into a well of depression. Since I know he also has bad periods of depression, I asked him for help. And he came through. Together we replaced the ceiling fan in his bedroom (See Home Repair as Therapy to see how it helps me), and then he cooked Wifey® and I a most wonderful Shrimp & Sausage Jambalaya for dinner. I even have leftovers for lunch!
I know he won’t read this (he doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter so he won’t get any notification). So for family and friends who read this, please pass this along, along with my most heartfelt thanks.