So much truth in the funny pages

There is a comic strip called “Pickles” and it is about an old married couple.  More often than not after reading it and laughing, I check the apartment for hidden microphones. Sometimes the conversations Earl and Opal have are word-for-word conversations my husband and I have had and situations that play out in my home on a daily basis (and no, we don’t have Siri  or Alexa or whoever). 

For example:

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But there are other comics that showcase our conversations – verbatim. More often than not this conversation ends with me yelling “Just pick something!”

A Tux and a Beer Truck

The other day I read a post called The Sartorial Elegance of the Labouring Classes by Jim Webster.  And it quickly brought to mind my father. While my father was not of the labouring class mentioned in this post he was a laborer. My father was a truck driver/delivery man. He worked for a major beer company, the same one his father worked for, he loaded and unloaded his truck himself – no helpers. I guess that makes him a laborer. 

My father wore a uniform – dark blue, with a company name patch on the shirt. I think they also provided him with a winter jacket but I can’t be sure. The shirts were short sleeved for the warm months and long sleeved for the cold months. 

But here’s the thing – my father also owned a tuxedo, a fancy tuxedo shirt, studs, gold cufflinks, a tie-it-yourself bow tie, a dark navy blue cashmere overcoat and a matching wool fedora. 

My father wore his tuxedo twice a month to attend meetings at his lodge (he was a Mason). His Lodge held 3 meetings a month and two required formal dress.

When I was a little girl I so remember Friday nights when Daddy would get all dressed up and I thought he was the handsomest man in the world!

It wasn’t until I was much older that I wondered how strange it was that a beer delivery truck driver owned his own tuxedo!

But – it did instill in me a preference for men in tuxedos. I’ve always said that there are only two “outfits’ for men –

  1. a well fitting classic tuxedo and
  2. nicely fitted jeans, cowboy boots, an open neck dress shirt and a leather jacket.

My father’s dead now some 47 years (actually almost to the day I am writing this) and while I have no pictures of my father in his tuxedo, none that I can hold or share, I have that indelible image in my mind. 

And always and forever a man in a tuxedo will capture my fancy.

Hand to Brain

There are many ways to learn – there is no one way or technique that works for everyone. Unfortunately, unless you are/were homeschooled  square pegs were jammed into round holes; you were thrown into the deep end of the pool and sink or swim – your problem.

I could never just memorize something. If I didn’t understand it it was not going to stick in my brain.  I learned by reading and writing – when I studied for a test I had two methods, depending on how difficult the material was for me. If it was information that I readily absorbed then all I needed to do was read through my notes or the appropriate chapters in the textbook and I was done. My memory was such that I could easily visualize the page and mentally scan quickly through to the information I needed to answer the question.  More difficult material I had to write – sometimes it was just a matter of re-writing all my notes – hand to brain – and then I could do the “visualize the page” thing.

My dear, dear 6th grade teacher, Adelaide Forlano, always said if you write a word three times you will never forget it. Worked for me – learning this way worked for me. Read-Write-Done – permanently etched in my memory.

I am a hand-to-brain learner. I am a reading learning. I am NOT a listening learner. This was obviously a problem in lecture type classes – the professor could be the most interesting speaker and none of it, or very little of it, would get processed in my brain. My constant complaint in college was “Just give me the syllabus and the reading list and I’ll come back to take the tests. Don’t make me sit here!”

Same thing when I started learning computers and programming and coding and all that jazz – if there was a manual, I read it and then – sat at the keyboard and – hand to brain. Often if someone was ‘teaching’ me by showing me I would say “I’ll sit at the keyboard, let me do it” – Boom! – hand to brain.

Which is way I HATE being read to – nothing makes me more crazy. Didn’t like it when I was a kid, don’t like it now. It’s just plain annoying. Audio books? Oh hell no. Podcasts? What the hell are they anyway – people you can’t even see talking? Give me a transcript – I’ll read the material, thank you very much. Do not talk AT me.

And the whole audio book thing – how do you flip back and refresh your memory? How do you flip forward and skip over the boring parts, and if you can’t ‘read’ ahead how do you know which parts to ignore? And suppose they read to fast, or too slow – OMG I can think of so many ways an audio book would drive me insane. And how do you underline things? And how do you look up something you want more information about? Yes, I look up things I read in novels – often just the meaning of a word, sometimes an idea that intrigued me – I put the book down and and go tracking after that…

Audio books – No,  not for me. Lecture classes – No. Memorize what I don’t understand – No.

Hand to Brain? Read, Write and Visualize? That’s how I learn.

Does any of this resonate for you?

Back in the day – (here I go again!)

I am not a fan of memorizing without understanding. Nor am I capable of it. While I have a talent for remembering and memorization I could never memorize something I didn’t understand – probably why I flunked Geometry II. Or never really mastered another language. The exhortation to “Just memorize it, you don’t have to understand it” never worked for me, actually never made sense to me – but you know, that’s just me.

That said, all through grammar school, as part of the reading curriculum, we had to memorize a poem every week. I loved that because I have always loved poetry. (The first creative writing I ever did was poetry. Ah, the poetry of an 8-year old. I still have a few, cringe worthy, but sweet.)  Bits and pieces of those poems still stick in my head and pop into my consciousness at odd, and sometimes appropriate, moments.

Many mornings, like this morning, when I wake up, the first thing I am conscious of thinking is:

“Here hath been dawning
Another blue Day:
Think wilt thou let it
Slip useless away.”
~ ~ ~ ~Thomas Carlyle

While today is not a blue day, as in sunshine and blue skies, it is indeed a rather dreary rainy day, but I am feeling well rested, and, if not totally energized, at least upbeat and looking forward to accomplishing something, anything, today.

Happiness is – feeling rested and hopeful, if only for practical things, and starting your day with odd bits of poetry making you smile.

Ah, Sunday morning OCD

OCD Nut job in action: Our living/dining area has 22 foot wall with 18 feet of windows across it. I have ivory lace curtains on those windows. I usually wash the curtains 3-4 times a year, the Fall washing went by the wayside because I was dealing with my husband’s care.

Last night I went to bed with curtain washing on my mind. This morning I jumped out of bed at 6:30am with only one thought – Wash the curtains! Must wash the curtains! I don’t have my own washer/dryer, I have to use a community laundry room so getting laundry done early is imperative.

I bounced, okay, I shuffled, out to the living room, announced to my husband “Help me get these curtains down” and by 7am the curtains were in the washer. I then commenced to wash the windows, and after my husband’s morning nap and shower, Boom, the curtains went back up. By 9am all was right again in my little squirrel brain.

Today is also a gorgeous Spring day in the middle of January! Yesterday we hit a high of 72º but is was overcast with a chill breeze so – didn’t feel all that Spring-like. But this morning – Ah, this morning! Bright sunshine, cloudless sky, lovely breeze and 68º

Gotta love it!

We were out and about this morning

First an Uber ride to the library because we had to renew our library cards. We have to do this every two years so we can prove we live in the county the library serves – heaven forfend that some devious person from another county might borrow a book.  But I get their caution, with the popularity of ebooks, and the cost for the library to purchase them, the library wants to know that only tax paying citizens are using their ebooks, purchased with said tax payers money. BTW – many libraries will no longer carry ebooks published by Macmillan – if you are interested you can read about it HERE.

While I was complaining to the nice gentleman at the Customer Service Desk that we only use ebooks because we are physically unable to access the library on a regular basis (any trip would entail a cab/Uber ride) and having to come in to renew our cards was a bit of a PITA, and expensive, he told me that the next county over, larger and more affluent, let any STATE resident get a library card. We would have to make one trip, and it will be expensive, but we will then have e-access to the largest library system in the state – Whee-oo!

I actually went on-line, registered for a library card, got a temporary pass and have already downloaded some books. Whatever that trip will cost us it will be so worth it.

From the library we took another Uber to Trader Joe’s – our bi-monthly trip there – when we came out, sitting on the bench in front of the stores was the most gorgeous, heartbreakingly beautiful creature I’ve had the pleasure of seeing up close and personal in a very long time. I fell instantly in love – His name is Oshi (not sure of the spelling) and he was just as sweet as he was beautiful…

Oshi4

Oshi2

Oshi3

Then on the ride home, I was looking out the car window and noticed the clouds were racing across the sky – I mean they were really moving – I managed to get a quick video while we we stopped at the longest red light on the planet –