Archives for October 2009

Why Carve Pumpkins?

The story of the Jack o’Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree.

When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down. In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again.

When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the Earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern.”

I found the story here, including a recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds.

Another interesting fact to share, “Today, pumpkins mean big business at Halloween: U.S. farmers grow over a billion pounds a year, worth about $106 million.”

Things That Frighten Me 2009

Every year I run a post that offers a list of things that frighten me. This list was composed around 2005 or so. As it says below some of these are still relevant and some are from the distant past. I probably should take a hard look and see if it is time to add or delete things.

This a list of things that have frightened me in my life. Some are still relevant and some are not. But I thought that it might be interesting to just throw them all out there to see what they look like during daylight hours. P.S. I have explanations for all of these, but I may not include them on the list. Why? I just don’t feel like it. 🙂
  1. The Dark.
  2. The Amityville Horror scared me.
  3. Oscar the Grouch
  4. Bigfoot- The one from the Bionic Man television Show. He gave Steve Austin plenty of trouble.
  5. The Creature in the Legend of Boggy Creek
  6. A couple of dogs that chased me on my paper route.
  7. The homeless guy from the park.
  8. V.L.- He and I got into a fight in high school. I pretty much kicked his ass up and down the corridor, but I do remember shaking with adrenalin afterwards. For about two weeks I was concerned that I was going to have to face him and his older brother again.
  9. Having my heart broken again.
  10. Breaking someone’s heart.
  11. Not being able to provide for my family.
  12. Letting my children down.
  13. Not making it to the bathroom in time.
  14. Finding out that I have a child that I didn’t know about.- Ladies this is never a problem for you, but we men wonder about this sometimes.
  15. Being mugged at an ATM- When I was in college a guy was murdered at the ATM I used that day. It was several hours after I had used it, but….
  16. Something happening to my children.
  17. Getting stuck at a job I hate.
  18. Never living out my dreams.
  19. Being paralyzed.
  20. Losing a parent/close friend or family member- Actually I have lost several friends and family members, but it is still a fear.
  21. Being eaten alive or mauled seriously by a hog. (But I won’t go down easily, so sirree Bob.)
  22. Losing my perspective on life and why most of these things are nonsense.

Mothers Love Their Mommies Too

It is Friday afternoon and I am staring at a blank screen. I have my iTunes on shuffle now. A New Game is Playing. It is good music for a football game, not so good for the topic. I click the button and up comes Golden Slumbers and The End  by The Beatles.  It is more appropriate.

“And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make.”

I just finished speaking with my father about my grandmother and my mother. Grandma is slipping away. Slowly pieces are being taken off of the table and it is becoming more evident that slips of the tongue are not exactly accidental anymore.

My mother is tough as is her mom. But tough doesn’t prepare you for watching your parents lose their invulnerability. Strength may help you deal with it, but it doesn’t really make it easier to watch them become less than they once were.

Grandma is 95, almost 95.5. Her great grandchildren are rooting for her and grandpa to hit 100. Truth is that her children and grandchildren are too, but we’re sadly skeptical about this.

When I think of people who love life I always think of grandma. She has always been among the happiest, most optimistic people I know. Until a few years ago you would have described her as a powerhouse of energy. She exercised every day well into her eighties.

That energy has been the stuff of family legend. It makes me sad to say that to her great grandchildren legend will be all that it is. Unfortunately the last few years have seen various parts of her body lose interest in operating as part of a team.

Macular degeneration robbed stole her ability to see bright colors and sunny days.Now she lives in a world of shadow, but I have never heard her complain about that. A few years ago her heart decided that it would refuse to operate at peak condition and that incredibly energy dissipated.

Her daughters and family did ok with those things. No one was happy about it, but it is life. And since grandma wasn’t complaining about it we weren’t going to either.

But the memory issues and the demential are a different story.

I watch my mother. I watch her reactions to her mother and I see. Most of the time mom is o.k. She is strong. She handles stress well, but there are moments. Those moments that we all feel, the ones in which it is one thing too many. I see the look on her face and wish that I could do more.

It is not easy. We have all been very lucky. Grandma just wasn’t sick, not beyond the normal run of the mill stuff. She was just this powerhouse. This is one experience that I had before my mother. When my father had his heart attack I flew cross country not knowing whether he would still be alive when I landed.

I stood at his bedside when he was on a ventilator and watched the machines help keep him alive. I had to face the immediate questions of mortality right there. And I am so thankful that we rolled a seven.

It is not easy for anyone. But it is harder for a child.

I think that within the last three months there have been some dramatic changes with my grandmother. She never used to be nervous, but now she often is. She talks about dying with great regularity. I think she is preparing herself.

This isn’t to say that I or anyone else is giving up. I remember a conversation I had with her cardiologist about her.

My parents were back east visiting my sister. Grandma didn’t feel well. She got checked out and was admitted to the hospital. The docs gave me the usual medical speak with a strong emphasis that anything could happen. But the bottom line was that they didn’t expect the discussion to still be going five years later.

So here we are now. Grandma surprised them all and may do so again. I wouldn’t put it past her.

But on my mother’s behalf I’ll say that I am praying that the dementia doesn’t get any worse. Mom will take whatever comes and she’ll never give up on grandma. It just won’t happen. But there is only so much that can be done and so I am hopeful that whatever comes is as easy as can be for her.


Download now or listen on posterous

08 A New Game.m4a (4253 KB)

Download now or listen on posterous

1-09 Hero Of The Day.m4a (4445 KB)

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2-03 Jackson.m4a (5569 KB)

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What Brings You Joy?

It is a simple question that I like to ask every so often. What brings you joy? I look forward to reading your commments.