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I’M ALRIGHT!!!

I guess some of you have been wondering if I’m still alive. It’s been nine months since my last blog. If you follow Michelle at Silk Purse Productions you know I’m around…or…you may think I’m dead and Michelle is cashing my pension checks, making up stories about me, or us, as she goes. No. I’m cashing the pension checks. But she is making up stories.

2014-04-06 15.00.37

I do not check the mail box every time I pass it! That would be ridiculous. I limit my peeks into the mail box to 15 each day. And I’m looking for flyers, not mail. My checks are deposited directly into my bank account and the bills arrive on line. But flyers, mmm, ♥♥flyers♥♥…often include money off coupons from fast food restaurants and can come anytime. (I am, if you remember, a junk food aficionado.) And I love to peruse flyers, just to see what I want but can’t afford. I even read cereal boxes − I can often afford cereal. But you know what ticks me off? There’s not a french fry truck in the Durham region that sends out money-off coupons!

Seriously, my head has been in another place these last nine or so months. I think I’m just not liking being 18 but stuck in a 66-year-old body. But we’re nearing the end. I’ll be 67 in August. And I have a question − at what age will they start calling me senile instead of eccentric? (Friends labeled me as eccentric when I was in my 30’s. Family just referred to me as crazy.)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, including the four 700+ page text books it took to pass the exams and get an Ontario real estate sales rep’s license; Carrie Rubin’s Seneca Scourge, which I enjoyed immenselyand dozens of other mysteries, action thrillers and fantasy fiction tales about wizards, dragons and such. My one wish? That I could have read the text books on my Kindle. It’s a whole lot lighter than they were.

Anyway, the thoroughbred horse racing season has just begun, so there is light. I’ve begged asked Michelle not to plant poison ivy in the mail box. No answer yet. And I will get back to writing on a regular basis.

-30-

Clothing Optional

Take me home to Maui. I can’t stand it here anymore. Frost warnings? Hail? May 13th? WTF!

It’s been a few years since I was in Hawaii and then only for two weeks. Michelle and I went for a holiday to celebrate our 50th  and 60th birthdays and never came back. You can figure out which birthday was who’s. I won’t say I didn’t want to come back because that’s what all of us snowbirds say when it comes time to leave the sun. But Maui had a profound effect on me. From the moment we stepped off the plane it was like being enveloped in a cloak of relaxation.  You know, like Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak, but for an old guy, way better.  For two weeks there was NO stress, GREAT coffee and the sound of waves on the beach.

Hawaii Day 1

View from our 8th floor studio suite.

Maui is where I sat near a Sharon Stone look-a-like (in a white, so sheer it was nearly see-through) outfit, with a huge pipe and drum band playing for our entertainment.  It was, after all, Saint Patrick’s Day and we were at Mulligan’s Pub. This is what people are thinking when they say, “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day – Who’s that behind the pipers in the white outfit?

We lazed on our lanai, real Kona coffee in our mugs, and watched the whales and dolphins as they too played for us. That in itself was worth the price of admission. Of course we shopped and Michelle bought me tons of tee-shirts. We ate out and visited almost every beach on the island.

Big Beach

The location of Michelle’s “almost drowning”. Big Beach.

That was for Michelle, a water baby if there ever was one. When she almost drowned six feet off shore because the savage undertow kept sweeping her legs out from under her, I roared with pleasure. Even Michelle was putting on a show for me.

For her birthday, we ate dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. The fabulous waitress entertained us as we stuffed our faces, Michelle with her steak and mushrooms and me with my steak and shoestring French fries and lots of ketchup, some of which slipped onto my butterflied and well-done filet mignon.

For several days I bought coleslaw and baked beans from a fellow who had retired from the Navy and opened a small kitchen adjoining a Tex-Mex bar. He made the best slaw and baked beans, but laughed until he nearly gagged as he watched me mix the two into one bowl. It was awesome. So was the food.

Due to my finicky eating habits, we did not partake in a Luau, but took in several shows (magical and musical) and a catamaran day trip to Lanai (another beach stop for Michelle). We also hit every burger joint we could find. I was one happy camper. And yes, we drove the road to Hana with its 42 miles, 54 bridges and 600 hairpin turns. We certainly put that Mustang convertible through its paces, giving it a breather when we stopped at a roadside stand for fresh papaya and banana bread. Near the end of the “road” we visited a black sand beach

Black Sand Beach

Didn’t swim at Black Sand Beach but “the girls” did. “

where we met a couple of Vancouver girls who were talking about “Wreck Beach”, a clothing optional Eden located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park just west of the city. Naturally, my deaf old ears got their second wind and I forced myself to join their conversation. It was enlightening, to say the least. As far as the picture goes, I really had to search for one of the opposite sex. It seems that mostly guys habitate Wreck Beach. (I had to take Michelle off the job because she was taking way too much time checking out the guys on the beach)

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach

I could go on and on about Maui. My daughters love it there, although Keri-Lynn, my oldest, prefers Kauai and its even more relaxed way of life. What surprises me the most, however, is the response I get when I suggest to people on my “Preferred Friends List” that instead of spending another winter in Phoenix or Florida, that they give Hawaii a try, they hem and haw. “Yeah, well, maybe next year.”

I’m telling you now that Maui is my Never Never Land. I will get back there if I have to track down Tinker Bell and steal her pixie dust. And I guarantee I won’t want to come back.

Tinker Bell

Press Here. My ticket out of here.

Google Image

It needs but a thought. Not even a deed. Just a notion and karma will take it to the bank. It waits, gathering interest over the years. Then, one day, without warning…smack! The little shit whacks you upside the head. That’s just for thinking it!

For actually doing it, you get promoted. That’s correct, a promotion, And it comes with a raise! Better still, it’s more like you get…elevated.  We’re talking the proverbial pointed boot right square up the ass and believe me, that’s good for at least three feet north-west. In my case, Karma always waits for me to hit bottom before sneaking into town to cash my check. It takes a second and a half. In and out. I feel the whack and realize that once again, I’ve been boinked and left holding the bag. Karma’s big bite marks never go away, either. In my case they last years. And years. Like tattoos. I’ll die with them.

kicker

From: San Francisco Chronicle

The worst, though, is when karma wants to make a bold statement and looks for payback in a huge way. I’ll be tying my shoe laces when it  materializes and goes for a 52 yard field goal against the wind!  Over the years Mr. K and I have teamed up for quite a few three-pointers and several really long punts when it’s really pissed at me.  Often, I hit the crossbar then bounce between the posts for the score. Karma doesn’t miss.

Karma is not punishment or retribution but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts,” according to Wikipedia. It is a universal principle of cause and effect. Notice the word “extended.”  But, we are now getting into belief systems and that is a much larger subject suitable only for books, never mind a blog post. Still, to bleed into the story just a tiny part of my own world view, I think to myself, what a wonderful…  (where did that come from?) I am the deliverer of my karma.  Furthermore, in my opinion, all karma is negative. At least mine sure is.

But not all karma lasts forever. There are some consequences that are quick and to the point. That would pertain to “instant karma“, but not quite like the instant karma of John Lennon’s famous song.

I like to think of instant karma as practice. Like when I was a pre-teen and sassed my mother. I learned not to linger in the kitchen. Too many times she caught up to me and kicked my butt. Hard. Then, she wouldn’t talk to me for days, but still woke me up at 7:26 a.m. to listen to Earl Nightingale impart his words of wisdom on the radio. He’s the one who said something to the effect that “if you think it, it will happen.” But you see, karma doesn’t make it happen. You do. Karma simply waits for you to do all the hard work then shows up and takes a jack hammer to your dream. Instant karma, on the other hand, lets you get used to its big sibling’s bite. It readies you for when you think or do something really evil, or just contrary to the rules on the rock, most notably (if you’re not a murderer or adulterer) the second commandment which can− if you are really high on yourself, perhaps even narcissistic − involve pride. Vanity is also one of the seven deadly sins. It’s certainly been a major player in my game. Well, actually they all have.

10 Commandments

7 deadly sins pride I used to think I was sooo tall.

Ha! Did you think I was really going to tell you what I thought? What I did?

You first.

I Love Ketchup!

Hi! My name is He Who. I’m a junk food addict and I love ketchup! I like it more than anyone else in the world and almost as much as I love fresh cut french fries. I’m telling you this because of a blog I read called Life on a Silva Platter which extols the virtues of mayonnaise and I think  ketchup deserves at least as much.

I’m the guy who orders ketchup with a filet mignon at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. And at Shula’s in Manhattan. Of course, I ask for my steak to be butterflied and well-done, with fries on the side. I especially like the shoestrings you get at Ruth’s Chris. I always ask for a second order to take home. Where I use my own ketchup.

Shoestring Fries

I won’t eat just any ketchup, either. It has to be Heinz.  But let me tell you about Ruth’s Chris. I had been to R’s C in Fort Lauderdale and loved it. So, while trying to impress Michelle early in our relationship, I took her to their location in downtown Toronto. This visit didn’t seem to go as well, but I don’t think it was the restaurant’s fault. For some reason, M tried to make herself disappear when I ordered a burnt steak and ketchup — lots of ketchup. The waiter brought me two full bowls of the best which were mysteriously empty half-way through dinner. I asked for more. Surprisingly, the waiter was far more obliging than my date. It took quite a while before Michelle would go out with me again. Heck, I hadn’t even flinched when she ordered her meat raw rare with sides of mushrooms and asparagus. GAK. Since then we’ve eaten at several more Ruth’s Chris locations including the one in Maui.

Ruth's Chris Lahaina, Maui

You can imagine that I use ketchup on most of the food I eat, like fried eggs, potatoes, cabbage rolls, spaghetti and meatballs, blueberry pie, fish and chips and Chinese fried rice. A friend once told me that Chinese food was a medium for the wonderful sauces that accompany it. I feel the same way about ketchup. The food is the medium. As an aside, can you believe that I hadn’t tried ketchup on Kraft Dinner until just last year? MMMmmmm.

There are some things I won’t enhance with a touch of ketchup, like apple pie, french toast, pancakes, porridge, pizza, pea soup or grilled cheese sandwiches. Now I know for a fact that some of you use ketchup on your grilled cheese sandwiches and french toast, but not me. That would be too much of a good thing. Ha Ha. I remember Pops using salt and pepper on his french toast. “It has eggs in it,” he said. “Don’t you salt and pepper your eggs?” Yes I do, and then comes the ketchup! But I prefer jam, syrup or cinnamon and sugar on my french toast. I do, however, like to clean the plate by soaking up the residue from fried eggs and ketchup with my regular rye toast. Weird?

But it’s a good thing I love ketchup. If I don’t get back to work soon, I’ll be living on ketchup sandwiches. And Michelle will starve. She doesn’t like ketchup.

Do you use ketchup? On who what?

Heinz Ketchup

Art-of-Learning

"HE WHO":

I appreciated Sakshi Vashist’s post. You might too!

Originally posted on ~Cruising through my Life~:

How do we learn?

Answer is simple. We learn from our mistakes.

learn from mistakes

We may conclude- “All is well that ends well” or even before it “ends well”, we start introspecting. Questions like, “Where did I went wrong? What could have been done differently?”.

But the moral of the story is not generally so straight forward. We do not conclude that these were the reasons of our success. Rather we learn – these were the reasons which were stopping me from being successful.

mistakes

Many would agree the idea of success is a controversial one.

Some say success is achieving your goals and living your dreams. Others may argue, taking the non-convention path and making your own unique story takes you to success.

Regardless of which path we take, it is rare that success comes along easy. People say that do what you love and then dots…

View original 293 more words

Gargantuan Eyes

I originally wrote this poem in the 80’s. I felt a rework was in order and wanted to publish it to celebrate the Academy Awards which will be handed out tonight…because films aren’t simply for entertainment.

Gargantuan Eyes

Gargantuan Eyes

Music…Poetry…Film…Prose…

Through their essence, by their essence, they are complete.

Alone, each narrows, contracts and envelopes me.

With tunnel vision I feel their power and consume their infinite potential as my own.

They cast off my cover. They force me to climb outside my Self.

Each note, each line, each scene, every word — distinct — but invisibly bound in purpose.

And so, they enrapture me. They amplify my life.

These are eyes of gargantuan scope.

Music lights halls dark with blindness.

Poetry sounds drums in deaf ears.

Colors on canvas carve highways through mountains,

Prose and Screen unlock doors to unknown worlds.

I swallow them whole.

Each is self-existent.

I wear their pasts like a cloak, their futures a mask.

I savor their essence and drink in their lies.

They renew my life for a short time.

But steadily I grow.

Stretching. Distilling. Transcending. Fulfilling.

In dialectic ascension I’m full, running empty.

These gargantuan eyes are my risks, my dreams.

The keys to my jail.

Paul Turney
February 24, 2013

-30-

If I Had a Time Machine

POPS AND HIS MUSCLES

Pops Sporting His Six Pak

As I pondered questions posed by fellow bloggers, I decided that if I had a time machine there were a few sporting events I’d love to go back in time to see. I would journey to the 1930’s when my father was in his early twenties.  There was no television back then and my dad and his friends spent their play time doing gymnastics.  He was in wonderful physical shape, sporting a six pack where I lug what looks more like a keg.  His favorite routines utilized the parallel bars, pommel horse and rings.  The rings were his favorite. An uncle told me that dad was the guy who could make a perfect 90 degree angle, pointing his legs straight out in front of him and then hold the position forever.

I didn’t get into gymnastics like pops did, although he was relentless in his efforts to get me to straighten up as I stood on his hands. He wanted to lift me up and then stand up himself. I think I was afraid of what might come next if he got me up there. He could walk all over the house on his hands…he did hand stands as easily as head stands. Trying to get me to do it, he’d hold me by my ankles and coax me to take a few steps but I failed dismally every time.  And that was long before I grew a  keg. I wonder if I love watching the Cirque du Soliel perform because it brings me closer to my dad.

Pops was also a long distance runner. He told me about winning a 20 mile race which earned him a bicycle. Surprisingly, he was a winner even though he smoked from the age of nine until he was in his 50’s. And what a terrific swimmer he was! He tried over and over to teach me but I didn’t learn until I was about 10 years old, at camp and on my own. I knew how, I suppose, but was afraid to try. He came out to visit after I had been there a week but because I hadn’t swum my four lengths of the pool, neither one of us could go into the deep end. Pops was pissed. After he went home, I asked the counselor to let me try my swimming test. I did it without drowning. But there were no more visiting days before my two weeks was up. My fellow campers would never be privy to the most perfect swan dive I’ve ever seen.

Pops Sporting his Bathing Suit

Pops Sporting His Bathing Suit

Over the years Pops and I played street-league softball and he took up bowling after I had already been on the lanes for several years. I enjoyed the sport and was good at it. He was obsessed. He bowled 10 pin three or four nights a week and after that practiced on the 5 pin alleys, just to improve his accuracy. When he began beating me, I quit for a time. It wasn’t fun any more. Especially when he’d flaunt his score sheets. He was extremely  competitive and so was I. Pops also loved to curl and was usually the skip. I subbed for his lead man one afternoon but burnt a rock I was sweeping down the ice (nudged it with my foot). A screaming match ensued and I stormed off the ice.  That is one game I want to go back to.  I’d like to do it again so I could show him the respect he wanted so badly. Respect he deserved.

In his 60’s, he bought a pair of roller skates so he could go to the rink with my oldest daughter. Then I heard the stories about how he used to do all kinds of stuff on skates, including dancing and who knows what else.

My dad had no fear, or so I thought. I remember taking him on the backside of the racetrack one morning to show him my new newly-acquired racehorse. At one point he stood against the wall on the walkway at  the corner of a barn. He was calm as can be as one horse after another pranced by, some within inches of him. “Weren’t you afraid?” I asked. “I was scared to death,” he replied. So he knew fear, but never let it get the best of him. Unlike myself. I’ve always taken the easy way out.

I took part in most sports as a kid and usually excelled. I loved baseball, basketball and football and more often than not played on teams a year or two older than me. Marksmanship was my best event. At 14, I out shot seasoned adults from the first day I lay prone with a 22 rifle. About a year later, after a trophy the size of the Stanley Cup was delivered to our door, Pops came home with a Mossberg 22 complete with match rifle sights. “I won it in a raffle,” he said. Yeah, sure. Hockey was a different story. I skated on my ankles and could never make the team. I still blame the ill-fitting second-hand skates my parents bought me and to this day I hate the game.

I wish I could take my daughters and especially my grandchildren back in time so they could watch me playing baseball, football and other sports — when I was at my best. Although my father lived to 87, he and his great grandchildren never met. I would so love for them to see him in the gym, on the beach or the bowling lane. If children could see and even understand a little of the past, it might well change their future in some small, positive way. I’m convinced it would put Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in a whole new light.

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