Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Kitchen Sink: Scary Things

“Halloween is Coming”

Spooks, screams, ghosts, howls, shadows, squeaks, ghouls, groans, and monsters. Fright night. Everyone likes scary, right?

In my youth (many long years ago), I loved Halloween. I loved it because I got to go to a few neighbors’ doors after dark. I loved it because I got to dress up in a costume of my mother’s making. (Which in Minnesota meant that no one saw my costume, because I was wearing sweaters and a parka on top of my costume. And a scarf wrapped around my neck and over my face.) And I loved Halloween because most importantly I came home with a bag full of candy and peanuts. Yes, peanuts, unshelled peanuts.

To this day I don’t like peanuts.

You see, one year I shucked and ate ALL of the peanuts I’d hauled in. That same evening! And then proceeded to come down with stomach flu. A memorable Halloween. It was a different kind of scary.

Ellen DeGeneres loves to scare her guests on her show. She distracts them with conversation while someone dressed as a huge bunny, or wolf, or even a male dancer jumps out at them. Ellen and her audience delight at the reactions displayed by the guest who usually lurches out of the seat, screams and then gathers wits. The humiliated scaree charges after the scarer. Good for a few laughs…I guess.

My husband is like Ellen. He delights in scaring people. Our children and I have been the benefactors of many of his pranks. He can’t control his laughter as he retells the stories of sneaking outside after dark and slowly scratching his nails on our daughter’s bedroom window when a girlfriend was staying over. Their screams delighted him. He also tells the great stories of how he would hide in a dark room and jump out at the kids and their friends as they unsuspectingly walked out of a bathroom. Their screams and immediate crumple to the floor were his best entertainment. He loved it.

Surprisingly, they loved it, too. He is a great prankster.

One of his favorite stories was about the time when he came home at lunch time to find our daughter and her friend Jill sunbathing out back. Our golden retriever Tigger had met him at the door. For Some reason, maybe the noon time heat, the girls had decided to move their lounge chairs under the deck for a little shade. My husband quietly filled a bowl with water, tip toed out onto the deck splashing the water through the deck floor onto the girls while shouting, “Tigger! Don’t pee on the deck.” Picture screaming girls, husband doubled over with guffaws.

To this day, my husband continues his scare tactics. He will sneak up on me when I’m standing in the walk-in closet deep in thought about what I should wear for the day. The sudden claw on my shoulder sets my heart racing. Not in a good way. I swear he is trying to cause my heart attack!

I’ve never gotten a kick out of being scared. Being scared scares me! Being scared sets my heart racing. My skin tightens and grows clammy cold. My stomach clenches. My muscles tighten into a cramp. I have no doubt that my eyes dilate, several strands of hair release from my scalp, and at least two new wrinkles appear somewhere on my body each time I feel fear. Things that go bump in the night scare me. Roller coasters scare me. Haunted houses with monsters jumping out of the dark scare me. And yes, sometimes my husband scares me. And he laughs.

There are so many other things that scare me, too. Let me name a few:
The Right wing, the Left wing, the Reds, the Blues, the NRA, the terrorists, Fox News, MSNBC, and most news organizations, the PLO, ISIL or ISIS, Ebola, germ warfare, war in general, OPEC, NAACP, NCLU, PACS, conservatives, liberals, human trafficking, racism, all the fanatics…

Is that enough? Have I lost my sense of humor? Like eating too many shelled peanuts, we can ruin a good thing if we can’t step back for perspective.

I remain hopeful. After all, we aren’t the only generation to have experienced the divides, wars, and evils like we are facing today. And here we are still here pushing forward. We are all still trying to make the world right.

And I think we need more laughter. Even laughter at our fears. The ability to laugh also gives us hope. Because then we can see the brighter side.

Halloween is coming. My husband is ready. And so am I.

The Kitchen Sink: Time

“Time is Such an Interesting Thing”

We use the word so casually. It is a fabric of our lives, a part of conversation, and it is the ultimate control factor.

Time is such an interesting thing. But we don’t think about it much. We take the word time for granted. We can talk about timing races, being placed in a time-out, setting the timer, running out of time, and doing something all the time. We ask a stranger for the time. We ask one another, “What time should I be there?” Or, “How much time does he have?” Or better yet, “Where has the time gone?”

Perhaps the most well-known reflection of time is the Ecclesiastes “a time to reap,a time to sow; a time to grieve, a time to dance; a time to build up, a time to tear down; a time to laugh, a time to cry; a time for war, a time for peace; a time for love, a time for hate,” etc. He pretty well covered it. That’s time in a nutshell.

I guess.

Time is such an interesting thing. We can say we will make time, but I’m not really sure of the science involved in that. How does one make time? That would involve creation. That would mean I’d have to create a finite number of seconds to put together into finite minutes, hours, days, years, etc. Well, that would certainly throw everything out of whack, wouldn’t it? It would throw our whole universe into chaos. What if everyone decided to make time for something? Say time for a quick nap, or time to read a book, or time to visit with a friend, family time. Would that mean that we would be adding time to our lives? I rather like that idea. Making time for the good things. Making my life longer and richer by making time.

The Kitchen Sink: Global Warming

“Obese People Cause Global Warming”

This is an old post, but I wanted to include it here.

I heard on Leno last night that some scientists have now decided that obese people contribute to Global Warming. Seems they breathe out more CO2. Oh for gosh sakes GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!!!

If that’s true, then my theory is just as good. More likely even better!

A few years ago I wrote about Global Warming. I’m not sure I believe everything Al Gore says. I do think weather is changing. And perhaps not for the best. But I have my own ideas about why we are seeing ice caps melt, El Ninos ramping up, and bigger hurricanes swirling. It all has to do with hot air!

Here’s my theory: Women who have hot flashes are the TRUE cause of global warming. We always get blamed for everything anyway, so why not add this one. Just think of all the heat we generate in one hot flash!

And think of all the energy created. So, I have a solution to the energy crisis, too. If all the women over fifty in the world are having hot flashes, there must be a way to corral all that heat! After all, we all know that a hot flash can bring your own personal summer in the midst of a twenty below winter day. I’ve seen women open windows in the middle of winter temps in the teens to ‘cool off the house’. And then there are those females of a certain age who drive down the freeway on a frigid winter’s day with the car windows down. Every woman of the age understands.

So why not capture that heat and put it to use? In the 60’s Gloria Steinhem brought us the women’s liberation movement. Now in the 21st century we should be able to take it a step further. We could start the rise of Hot Flash Energy. HFE for every household…And it’s free!

Just think what we could do. We would have cars that are propelled by Feminine Power. Wouldn’t that be great? Or perhaps heat our own homes with feminine power. It would only seem reasonable if several women were gathered for a game of bunco once a week, we could harness that power to heat that home for the month. What a deal!

Now I haven’t quite figured out all the details. I’ll leave that to the great scientists. And I haven’t figured out what we could do for air conditioning in the summer. Someone else would have to come up with that one, too.

But for once, I wish the scientists (and others) would listen to women. We shouldn’t have to take the ‘fall’ for everything. Just give us a chance, right?? Do you have solutions, ladies??

The Kitchen Sink: The State of Life

“Dealing with Dimentia/Alzheimers”

I’ve decided my Blog should be called “The Kitchen Sink”. I never have just one topic I’m thinking about. My thought patterns follow the events of my life.

Right now, my life is revolving around the end-of-life issues facing my family. My mom is 93 and fading fast. She recently suffered a series of small strokes called TIAs and then a larger one just this past weekend.

As I posted about the accumulated effects of her dementia and the stroke, I’ve learned that so many others my age have had or are experiencing the same things.

Dealing with dementia/Alzheimers can be both sad and humorous, depending upon the moment. It also requires an enormous amount of patience.

Mom will ask a question and it’s as if she hasn’t heard the answer. Within a ten-minute period the same question is answered ten times.

The saddest part is when she asks where Dad is, and has to be told again and again and again that he has passed away. This also means that her grieving is refreshed regularly.

On a brighter note, all things are new. Her visitors are new faces, her room is a new place with a somewhat familiar feel, conversations are new as are the pictures and knick knacks in her room.

“Where’d that come from,” is a frequent query. “Where am I?,” is another.

“What happened to me?” was a frequent refrain at the hospital this past weekend.

Now that she has returned and resettled in her own room in Memory Care, she is feeling more secure. She is rested and at peace.

But her constant mantra remains, “I have lived long enough. I need to just die. I’m tired.”

Such is the state of life…or is it?

Maya Angelou said, “My mission is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

I liked that. I hope that I can have that. But I worry as I watch Mom. At this point Mom has a different mission.