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Letter from me Mam - oh yeah you're gonna like this -- GEEZ the woman!

25 May 2011 R. Linda: Well, heard from me mam today. Here's her letter. Dear Gabriel, me only son and the one I will be expectin&#...

06 August, 2016

No Do Overs! Not Now, Not EVER

06 July 2016

R. Linda:

Well, the day has come, me sainted Mam changed her name back to her maiden which means she had to go to the DMV for a new photo license. She was disappointed about that because she liked the picture she had, but with name change not only do you have to have your picture retaken, you also have to take the eye exam.

Wednesday night I was subject to the complaining about photo and exam. I was then told to wait an hour while she went to fix her hair, put on fresh makeup and then I sat through a fashion show of blouses, jumpers (sweaters), and even one dress suit she likes and looked very familiar. Oi!

"Soo, Gabriel, should I jus wear da red joompah (jumper = sweater) cus' it haz da turtle nick (neck) ta covah (cover) me troat (throat)."

"Mam," says I, "dat joompah be too hot and ye don't need to covah yer troat."

"Ooo-key (ok), if yer tinks (thinks) soo (so)." And off she went to change into another costume. I tell ya.

"I doan't (don't) luck (look) like I did when I wuz (was) tertay (thirty)." She announced coming into the room dressed like Jackie Kennedy going to Dallas. She had on a pink suit with dark blue trim that I had seen in hundreds of photos. All she needed was the pill box hat and gloves.

"'Err, were (where) did ye git (get) dat suit from?" I asked startled.

"Oh from da domedged (damaged) goos (goods) store in dat town next dour (door)." She stood brushing the material down.

"Uh, noo (no)," I said, "dat won (won't) doo (do)." I shook me head as she sighed and left again. I didn't want to know about the "damaged goods" store. It couldn't be THAT suit. I mean isn't that at the Smithsonian or some closet out of sight? No blood stains did I see, so why did she have THAT? I didn't want to go there.

She came back wearing a simple aubergine blouse which made her blond hair shine.

"Dats (thats) more like it," I said. "Off ya pop." I went back to me newspaper.

"Let me give ye a hoag (hug). Tonks (thanks) fer (for) yer 'elp (help)." She said leaning over and bear hugging me.

"Glad ta be a-service." I smiled as she left, still wondering about that pink suit.

The next day I went with her to the DMV. She looked very lovely, the aubergine blouse, the coiffed hair, makeup just so. We had the necessary paperwork in hand, and only had one person ahead. This was a big bruiser of a man. He had a cut off at the arms Harley Davidson sweat shirt that showed his bulging muscles and tattoos that ran the gamut from sexy nude reclining women, to fiery skulls and strange designs.

"Okay Harlan, just stand ova thaugh sos I kin take yer pictuah," the woman behind the counter said in her New England accent to the biker. "Now look inta tha camera." He did, she snapped, we all waited and then up on the screen came the result. It wasn't good. Harlan looked a bit demonic, he smiled at the last moment when he didn't mean to and there for all to see was his upper teeth missing. He had Jack Nicholson eyebrows and a shaved head. It wasn't a good likeness.

"That makes me look like someone ya don't wanna meet in a dark alley." He protested.

"Aw get ova yourself." The DMV lady said. "Be just a minute and you'll be set ta go."

"Mildred, con't we do a retake?" He asked.

"No we con't, no can do, ya have a line behind ya." She said getting the temporary paper license and handing it to him.

He looked behind him and the line was just me Mam and meself. We looked behind us as well and no, no one there. He looked back at Mildred. She shook her head no, her eyes narrowed. He looked forlorn for such a big man as he held the license in his meaty fingers and looked at it. He shrugged and left without another word.

"NEXT!" Mildred called like we were at the other end of the room. Gees!

We handed over Mam's papers, there was a chat about Ireland and Mildred's hubby being of Irish heritage which lended me Mam to ask if she could have her old picture on the new license, but Mildred wouldn't budge on that. Eye exam came and me Mam put on her reading glasses.

"Oh no, no. No readin' glasses." Mildred said.

"Boot (but) I kin (can) see far awey (away) but need me specs fer cloos (close) oop (up). See here," Mam said and read off a poster on the far back wall like it was right up in front of her. I couldn't read that wall, so I was rather taken aback, but said notta word. Then she proceeded to read the letters in the viewer, reading glasses ON and Mildred looked perplexed like this had never happened before.

"O...K." Mildred said looking askance at me Mam, then shrugged and told her to stand in front of the camera. This she did and she didn't hear Mildred say to say cheese because she was talking to me as the camera clicked. She thought the picture was taken but wasn't sure. She looked at me and it was me turn to shrug and nod that yes indeed, her picture was taken.

Mildred clicked on her keyboard and on the big screen was a photo of me Mam. Her mouth open in an 'O' and her lips a bit crooked in a strange palsy way, which had been the beginning of a laugh. It was bloody funny. I started chuckling and got a dirty look for me trouble.

"Oh noo, noo, dat will nevah doo." She said to Mildred shaking her head she was dissatisfied. Well, think of it, she went to all that trouble the night before and then this morning got up extra early to get herself "perfect."

"Fraid it hasta." Mildred said. "No do ova. Like I said to Big Harlan you get what ya get. Gotta move along theah, got otha customers." And she turned around to get the temporary paper license.

Me Mam and I glanced behind us, but there was no line. Mam looked like she was about to cry which is something she never does, but it was her winding up to a string of Irish cuss words that flew over the counter right at Mildred's back. Mildred, God bless her, didn't understand a word of it but she looked at first discontented, then amused as she handed me the paper. I half dragged me Mam out the door keeping the offending license close to me chest where she couldn't see it.

Once in the Saturn she grabbed it and wrinkled her nose at it.

"Woodya, luck at dis! Doan't even luck like me. I sade (said) take it ovah, but dat hag in dere only gives a budy (body) da forced (first) one an' dat be dat! How mooch (much) ye wanna bet me pic appears on AARP magazine? I luck OLD!"

Oi! I drove home trying to say encouraging things like she could change her name again and go for another picture at another DMV. I couldn't soothe the anger she had, so I stopped at a General Store on the way home that has an international biscuit section and bought her a box of Peek Frean Pearls and for meself Orange Pims.

Belgium chocolate with a layer of orange jelly on a biscuit YUM
I knew by Mildred's demeanour there were no second chances and me spouting off would not have helped. I wanted to post the picture but Mam wouldn't let me. She mumbled her offence all yesterday and into today. Of course, I didn't help much by saying (at looking at it) that Halloween came early and time for a lip plumping. Yea-ah not nice of me but she's taking this too far. I even told her Harlan's was way worse than hers, but she said, "Iffin' dats to make me feel bettah (better) hav' another tink on dat sonny buy (boy)!"


Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

31 July, 2016

When your dog does a Houdini with your food - is he pushing the relationship?

31 July 2016

R. Linda:

Wolfie bought up an interesting dilemma, the one where you come home from a long day at the office, and miraculously you have the house to yourself for a few hours. You fix yourself a plate of savoury wonderfulness and a cocktail, go out to your balcony or deck with your best friend, your dog, sit down and get ready to relax. Yes indeed, sounds like the perfect finale to a hard working day.

Only two things happened that put a wee bit of a damper on that whole scene. Like in the case of our dear friend Wolfie. His phone rings and it's the office and there is some crisis, he can't hear because his phone reception isn't good out in the back of his home, so he slips inside to get things straightened out and when he comes back he finds this has happened:

OK Where'd it all go? And that martini was full . . . 
He didn't have far to look. THIS was sitting nearby laughing to itself.

Yup a drink and few bites, thanks Da!
But wait it doesn't end there. Mildly annoyed, Wolfie goes back inside to make more bits of cheese and prosciutto not to mention mix a new drink and leaves his phone. When he comes back the phone is on the ground. He flips it on and what comes up? THIS:

Yup took a selfie for the doggy dating website
Sometimes man's BFF can't be trusted. Wolfie told his dog that the selfie looked more like a mugshot and he was posting it on the refrigerator as a reminder to said dog that he's pushing the BFF thing. Well done Wolf.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

The Revenge of the Flying Squirrels

July 31, 2016

R. Linda:

Living in a rural place, brings with it the stunning joy of watching eagles soar, hearing hooting owls at night, watching turkeys cavort in the driveway, deer bound through the fields, and bunnies eating all that lettuce your wife planted right when it was ready for your table. Yes, with the pleasant things come the unpleasant. Bunnies can be fixed by getting fencing they can't hop over or dig under, but there is the unpleasant critters called flying squirrels that are a true menace.

Bunny Heaven OR, better known as THE GARDEN that I broke me back on for the wife
What is a flying squirrel? It is a smaller version of its big gray brother, but unlike the big version, this one has its own flying suit. It has a membrane that when it jumps like a skydiver, the flight suit spreads out while it glides to (in this case) me roof. And it isn't just one, but dozens R. Linda, dozens and dozens of them. They chatter at you with more impassioned enthusiasm then their gray brothers, they let you know in uncertain squirrelese, the roof and attic belong to them, and they don't care you have a deed shows otherwise. Uh huh, they will even charge you you put a shaking fist out the window to try and scare them. The only one gets scared is YOU!

THIS is me nemesis AKA flying possum, AKA Pteromyini AKA MENACE
One was in our living area when we first moved in. Tonya said, "Oh that is an odd looking creature, it's kind of cute." Then she went screaming for me "Get it out of here, I don't know what it is." And I did shoo it with a broom out the door where it jumped off the deck to the ground below. I thought at the time there was something strange about how it sort of drifted to the ground, no hard fall from a high place. After, we didn't think of it at all until . . . one night we heard scurrying above us, we heard scratching and such a ruckus I went up to the attic, but nothing did I see.

The next morning it dawned on the wife a conversation we had at closing. We were told by the home inspector that there was evidence the house we were purchasing had bats at one time. But at the closing the former owner told us "By the way, I think we got rid of the flying squirrels. We used good old fashioned sticky paper to trap them." No one in the room asked how they disposed of said trapped vermin or asked when this had happened and why weren't we told? We should have because THEY ARE BACK! After that night and morning of realising what must be keeping us awake, I called the pest control. Well, here's the thing they don't kill these things, they find where they come in and put in a one-way door. So out they go at night to feed, and surprise, surprise, they can't get back in! You think that's a good idea? It sounds so until you are awakened at dawn with a hundred of them clawing at your roof tiles and eating the soffit to get back in. And mad? OMG they will charge your window (thank God we had screens up) and latch on chattering to you. We had to close our windows for fear they'd rip the screening to shreds. This continued for one week straight, day and night of chattering squirrels on the roof, jumping to the trees and back and forth, back and forth. Finally, they gave up, pest control came back, removed the doors and sealed the cracks. We were pest free for one month until they found they could run down the gutters and chew over the storm drains and inside once again. I tell ya! Pest control out again, same thing, only all this activity has attracted bats!

If I could get a good picture at twilight of the bats circling the roof I would put it in here. It looks like we live in Dracula's castle. I was ok with the bats, they eat bugs but when O'Hare discovered one curled up asleep in his sink, I called pest control AGAIN. Same thing, one way doors, swooping angry bats so much so we did not venture out at twilight.

So where am I going with this, hold on the roller coaster is only just starting to roll.

I have two cats that come in at night. We put them in the cellar. These two hunt all day and the tiger is quite successful with mice, chipmunks, birds, and SQUIRRELS, only not the flying kind the big grays. Oi!
Our two hunters
The other of them be a slight bit stupider, but a hunter he tries to be. The tiger likes nothing more than biting off somethings head and leaving the body. How do I know this? Me youngest came in and informed us at dinner, "Tiger iz eatin' someone." Well, the word someone had me up and outside. Yes, indeed, eating a chipmunk's brains. Lovely timing, but at least it wasn't "someone" I knew.

To show how the other one operates, here is a short video and it is a video even though NO ONE is moving at first. Me Mam wanted two sheep to remind her of home, I wasn't about to invest in the real thing, so for her birthday Tonya and I got her two resin sheep so she can look out her window and see them. Anyway, the video shows stupidity in the animal world at his highest.


Meanwhile, a month had passed and we were doing quite a bit good on the pest side. Yes, life was idyllic and good UNTIL me Mam went down the cellar to get a couple of pictures of Ireland she wanted to hang in her sitting room. Now me Mam has a cat of her own, Princess (so aptly named) because THIS thing fulfils no purpose in the house but be a spoiled primadona that does nothing really but eats and shits. But it be me Mam's cat so it is in that room being pampered where it is very pleased with itself.

But now the pedestal has fallen and "Princess" has been introduced (as have we all) to the world of outside pests bought inside to reign havoc by those low-life outdoor cats. Yes, the darling of the inside world be sporting fleas! How did this happen? Well, the vicious cycle has begun, or as me Mam puts it, the revenge of the flying squirrels.

Seems when she went to the cellar for those precious pictures, she stepped on something hard. She looked down and saw a "deed chipmook!" Only it wasn't a chippy it was a dead flying squirrel. We suspect Tiger got the thing and while the cellar door was open brought it in to do short work of. Only for some reason, instead of biting it's head off, he left it. IT had been down there for a long, long time.    Rigour mortise had set in long ago and so did the fleas. SO when she saw what she stepped on she flew up to her sitting room, where catching her breath, she looked down to see the calves of her jeans were covered in FLEAS! At first she thought fruit flies, oh if only. The poor dear danced around and I be sure Princess all interested in what was wrong with 'mother' came to investigate and well, you can guess the rest, and no those weren't fruit flies.

I called pest service AGAIN! We had to scour the house top to bottom, wash EVERYTHING and get all animals inside de-flead. That included the dog, Princess, the two culprits that brought the thing in and basically all of us etching people who reside in the abode spending six hours outside while we waited for the insecticide to do its thing. THEN we had to go back inside, and clean everything again, which we have to do everyday for TWO FECKING WEEKS! The worst is who wants to vacuum the basement. NO ONE, so Tonya has been doing it and complaining that she, "hates, hates, hates, THIS."

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

24 July, 2016

Notice to the Muse

24 July 2016

R. Linda:

Just so you won't think you have lost your mind by thinking the featured story is new but so familiar, I thought I'd best let you know I be not giving you the gaslight treatment or letting you think your memory be going on the fritz, or in the case you might get bored if I don't write another story on top of another, I thought to institute a click down memory lane to a prior story you may have forgotten, but will enjoy all over again if anything for the sake of redundancy I be practising the art of laziness. Yeah, I be having a little fun with your diminutive self. So just be aware along with the rest of the clan who reads me silly stories, you have not completely lost your mind yet.

I could have not have told you and let you go on thinking things (or more rightly stories) be getting somewhat fishy and Gabe be up to no good, when in the fairness of all things O'Sully I be recycling.

So there you are, informed.

I will warn you now, I be gong to feature an old goodie every so often for your reading enjoyment or distraction.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

19 July, 2016

Non-Convention Viewing, Ice Cream, The Bachelorette, A little more Ice Cream, Malania Obama(?), More Ice Cream, General Flynn, Major ice cream!

19 July 2016

R. Linda:

Disclaimer for those who watch the Bachelorette -- if you have not seen the 18 July episode, do not read any further

I have tried (not too hard) to stay out of this years political circus. But last night was so bizarre I just had to wade into the shallow end.

It all started with the subject of ice cream. Me Mam was watching Chronicle Main Streets and Back Roads about jaunts to out of the way places in Maine, that offer the travelling foodie scenic and in most cases, treats like homemade fudge, salt water taffies, giant lobster rolls, gourmet dining, local brews and lots and lots of ice cream. Me Mam noticed that everyone photographed in these segments (of which there are many jaunts across northern New England featured) show a lot of obese people and what are they doing? Consuming not the scenery, but good old New England creamery ice cream! Oh yes, we have a lot of that going on.

"I tell ya Gabriel, Rude Island and Maine seem ta hav' the most obese people in dem. All I ever see iz some parson of large proportions eating ice cream. Luke's like New Hampshire gonna be join' dat list." She said eyeing me.

This was a blanket statement said as I walked in with a bowl of the same. I turned right around without a word and back to the kitchen to eat me obese making food substance by meself. In the background I could hear the convention coming on. As I was finishing Tonya yells to me.

"Are you hearing this Gabe? The navy seal who just spoke seems a little unhinged don't you think?"

I walked to the door and glanced into the room to see a man with dishevelled hair, facial growth, generally looking like a homeless person and just shook me head. I hadn't really listened, but appearances . . . well. I was not going to get sucked in, so I went back into the kitchen to rummage in the fridge and what did I find? Neapolitan ice cream! Yes, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate! And what was on the counter? A last banana! I made me a banana split, all the gooey toppings, whipped cream and three cherries on top!

I had decided early on I was not watching the chaos convention if I could help it. The wife and me Mam decided to watch it, blow by blow. I left them too it and felt like I should be with them, but just could not bring meself to watch. So already in the kitchen, I put me banana split in a larger dish than usual to quell the stress level. I took meself to me office to do online shopping, something me wife does when stressed, and she has told me how beneficial this be, so I cruised Amazon, E-bay, Google, Wayfair, Home Depot, Nordstroms, Macy's, and Target, all the places she goes and nary a thing called to me. So, I flipped on the telly to the Bachlorette which was the only programme on besides the dreaded convention. I was on me third bowl of ice cream because quite frankly Jo-Jo stressed me out over Luke. Here he was basically pleading with her, to PICK HIM! He even had a candlelit path to a flower shaped heart and I nearly had tears I did, at the thought, until I realised the crew of the series probably made it.

Then at the airplane hanger, Luke asks for a moment alone with her, he blurts out he loves her, she looks like, I don't care but says she does. I was like WHAT? He pretty much gave her a sales pitch at his ranch and she needed to hear him say those words? It was obvious to me out of the other three contenders he tried the hardest. He pulled himself inside out and she didn't get it? SHE was going to send him home and now that he spoke the desired words, NOW she doesn't know what to do? I was like there is no chemistry Jo-Jo! NONE at all, send the poor man home before you scar his mental psyche for life! I know, too much ice cream, gets one on an emotional sugar high where I'd never get that way UNLESS I be forced to watch heartbreak or as me Mam says 'harttake' on the telly while gobbling down a banana split in a giant bowl with a tablespoon!

So I realise I be losing me manly thinking over this, too many times the wife and mother have sobbed their hearts out of some poor bloke going home on Jo-Jo's command, that it has rubbed off on me as me stress over convention and the possibility of a President Trump freezes me brain into absolute fear I will be moving to Canada real soon. I was feeling heavy and sluggish from many giant bowls of ice cream (which I managed to eat a whole container of peanut butter cup with caramel on me own), and drowsiness had set in. The convention was still on, so I shuffled into me bedroom with the full intent of dropping off. BUT that didn't happen. Me phone lit up like crazy with six different news service alerts. They all said the same thing, Melania Trump plagiarises Michele Obama's 2008 convention speech. WHAT?

As you can imagine, this news-hound had to tune in now. I tuned into CBS News and the commentators were saying how Tweeter Universe had lit up like a Christmas tree after the Melania Trump speech. They showed first a clip of Michele Obama at the 2008 convention speaking, then a clip of Melania and it was almost word for word. I sat there at first horrified that someone in the Trump camp did this, and was it to embarrass Trump, or a sick joke on Melania? I went for a drink because the ice cream had made me thirsty when the commentators went on to a ha ha segment of the delegation from Colorado walking out and then magically reappearing later like nothing ever happened. It sounded stupid, so off to the kitchen I took meself. Now I wish I had got something stronger like a double martini or a straight up Scotch! Because when I came back the commentators had moved on and they were gone. Shouting at me through the telly screen was the failed VP hopeful General Flynn the scariest man since Darth Vader threatened to kill Luke Skywalker. He was spewing fear mongering at a new level he was, and any thoughts of sleep went right out the window. I had to self medicate meself for sleep after listening to the alarming speech the General thought fit to deliver so close to a man's bedtime. I wish I had never clicked on that alert I do.

As I was getting into PJs, I switched over to CNN where thankfully there was a panel discussion going on with Flynn's booming voice and scary presence off in the distance behind them spouting off more gloom and doom. The commentator was talking loud to talk over the general as he tried to engage Donna Brazile in conversation on the Democrats side, but the general was still loud and I could hear him clearly over the in vain discussion to close him out. I switched off the telly having had enough.

I tried to sleep, but the General's speech played and played on me mind. Finally I got out the zzzqull and self medicated meself to blot it all out. And I overslept this morning as a result. Great general, just great.

I tell ya, if I look at the convention of a party I don't recognise, I will come armed with me personal stress relievers, a large bowl of ice cream and a Scotch neat. And me zzqull will be waiting on me nightstand with the Valium me Mam sometimes takes. I will be prepared IF I get drawn in and I be determined, not to be.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

17 July, 2016

The foot came down

17 July 2016

R. Linda:

When I was a lad growing up in Northern Ireland, me middle name was not Aloysius, as it said on me birth certificate, it really was Gullible. Me sister's middle name was not Maeve, it was Trouble. I found the truth out long ago when THE FOOT CAME DOWN!

Ah the dreaded foot! When me sister would get in trouble, which was her vocation in childhood, God knows she had to have one, I also somehow was the cause of said trouble. Like the time Aunt Seonaid (pronounced in Ireland as Cee O Naid; here they say Shon Ah -- which annoys me Auntie no end) came over for a visit. She arrived early, me Mam was out buying things for tea and me Da was at work, so she found me and sister Sheila the only ones occupying the abode.

Well, Auntie Seonaid was never a favourite of Sheila's so the reception was standoffish at best on Sheila's part. We three stood in the hall awkwardly so seeing Sheila wasn't going to give a proper greeting, I went in the opposite direction and lunged at me Auntie (trying to make a magnanimous gesture) and wrapped me arms around her in a boyish bear hug. This quite set us both back, because not expecting the lunge I sent her sprawling along with me gangly self! Sheila covered her mouth but the laughing was loud enough that it annoyed me Aunt in a big way. I struggled to disentangle meself from me Aunt and then gave her me scrawny arm to heave her large self up, which caused her to rise and me to go back to the floor. This, as you can well imagine, brought guffaws from Sheila who, not being able to contain the laughter ran to the back of the house.

Me ears where hot from embarrassment, and me Aunt's face with indignation, but she helped me up and patted me head saying what a true blue fellow I was. That helped and I offered to hang up her coat which she gave me, and being heavy, it almost felled me to the floor again, but I got it somehow on the hook. Breathless from THAT exertion, I turned to face her with a now what look on me dumb face, and then with the awkward silence filling the hallway, I had the bright idea to offer her tea. Oh yeah, tea, I had seen it made many a time, several times a day in fact and never retained the method, but there I was, offering it up. Aunt Seonaid was or seemed impressed with me good manners and said yes, she'd love a cuppa. So off to the kitchen we went, where me sister was doubled over in laughter in a chair, still covering her mouth to stifle the sounds. As soon as she saw us she was out the backdoor. Oh good I thought, I be in real trouble because unlike me, Sheila had made tea and I was going to enlist her help, but now I was on me own.

Now making Irish tea is not boiling water and dropping a tea sack (teabag) in. No indeed, you measure loose tealeaves out of a tin and put them into a tea infuser which be a stainless silver ball with small holes and sometimes a chain attached. It has a top and bottom that screw together. Once the water is hot, you pour it into the Brown Betty, stick in the infuser to brew and wait, and wait, and wait. We had oolong tea and I knew it took a good 7 minutes to brew to a robust flavour, but we also did not have a clock in the kitchen, and time for me was ever flowing, so I lost track. One of the other things I did not know at the time, it is one teaspoon per cuppa, and well I had loaded the infuser up I did.

Tea Things for those not in the know starting from upper left: typical British teacup, a Brown Betty (teapot), teaspoon measurer (yes, tea has its own measuring spoon), the infuser and of course the Irish Tea in its tin.
Well, let me tell you me Auntie was looking at me askance she was, and with raised eyebrows and eyes going from me to the teapot she was hinting the tea was ready. But in me mindless mind, it was not, but I got it, so I pulled the lid up, peaked inside and announced, "Not ready."

Sheila pointed out later, how did I know it wasn't ready it being a dark tea in a dark teapot? Exactly me downfall. Finally, me Auntie couldn't take the suspense and asked me ready or not please pour her a cup she was sorely in need of one. When I heard the word 'sorely' it sparked something in what little brain I was using and I said, "Auntie Seonaid do ye knoo we are related to da McSorely's in County Doon?"

This stopped her from reaching for the sugar cubes, and with brow looking confused she answered, "The McSorely's? The Jaymes and Catrine McSorely's? Da ones arrested?"

"Yes indeed the same." I said proudly.

Now the McSorely's were not a family to be proud of, James was a known IRA man and his wife Katherine was said to be the brains behind the force. They were both arrested the week before Auntie Seonaid's visit and had put up quite the fuss in the newspapers and on the telly. Oh they were led away hollerin' and gesturing all kinds of slogans sprinkled liberally with curse words. It was even shown on the telly and as they were escorted from their small council home there was a woman with her son on the pavement watching. As Mrs. M came near to the camera she spewed out curse words (that I had tried to write down to remember later but she was too fast for me) and on camera it was caught the mother quickly throwing her hands over her lad's ears. We got a kick out of that, at least me Da did when he saw it on the news that night. From me Mam there was a lot of 'tsking' going on.

There was a discussion between me parents that Jamie boy was me Da's cousin twice removed and our family had nothing to do with the notorious McSorley branch nowadays, because of James and Katherine's supposed involvement in IRA matters of a dark twist (as he put it). Well, this bit of news I  thought would enthral me Auntie, but no, it had the opposite effect, she forgot the sugar cubes and sat with open mouth looking properly horrified.

"On yer fater's side, roight lad?" She asked a shake in her voice.

"Oh yes indeed," I announced stupidly.

To be clear, at that age I had no clue what the IRA was. I was taken with all the talk and thought it was cool. But I was clueless and no one thought to educate me as I was thought to be too young to understand. I had been "drilling" with a wooden stick down me street thinking I was looking very much the man, as I had seen the British soldiers in Belfast do on the news and was of a mind that was what I would do when I grew up. Again, I didn't know why there were British soldiers in Belfast, why they did drills, nor that I was a natural opposite to all they stood for and worse that me neighbours must have been aghast at me antics. And why was that? Because, once again, the adults in me house thought I was too young to understand. Yes, I know what you are thinking, "Gabe, you were a dumb little fecker." Anyway, now the IRA thing seemed cooler than the British soldiers so there I was all about it.

"That's what I wanna be when I grow up." I stated with a fist bang on the table. "All that fame and probably fortune, dat's da life fer me!"

Well, as you can imagine me Auntie's mouth had dropped to her chest, her eyes were big with surprise and distress soon took over her features but I was too full of meself to realise that I hadn't awestruck her, I had shocked her to her socks! It was that moment me sister took to reappear at the kitchen door. She had heard the whole of me declaration and came in with a sneer on her face. She told me to fetch the milk she'd join us for tea but she required milk in hers, so would I be a dear and go to the front porch the milk was delivered and carry it in.

Stupid is as stupid does and that's exactly what I did. While I was gone, Shelia saw her chance to get out of trouble with her Aunt telling our Mam of her behaviour. Oh yes she did. She proceeded to fill me Auntie's head with what a troublemaker I had become in the neighbourhood. Marching up and down our street with a tree branch doubled as a rifle, I'd shout IRA slogans back and forth for hours. How I did this when me parents were out and how I had frightened the neighbours into not telling on me activities. Oh it got worse in the short time it took me to get the bottle of milk, but the damage was done AND believable because of me being a stupid proud arse and being all taken with the McSorley's. Oi!

I knew something was amiss by the way me Auntie Seonaid was staring at me, not looking, staring. I almost asked, what, but me sissy told me the tea was probably ready. She knew it was more than ready that is why she drowned hers with milk.

Well, I poured and knew right off tea should not be black, but it was flowing into those white china teacups black as black can be. I knew it had brewed too long and was going to have a taste probably bitter and much too strong for a ladies tea. But too late and I was too proud to admit me mistake and have Shelia make a fresh pot. I knew Auntie was in need of a cuppa and well this was strong and probably just what she needed. Such logic huh?

No one said anything but Sheila's sneer became more pronounced as she stirred the milk in. She took the first sip and acted like it was fine, and so I thought maybe it was. Me Aunt and I took our sips at the same time and oh my, she choked first and I spit mine across the table all over her -- it was that BAD. Thank you Shelia! Me Aunt's face was dripping black tea all down her ample dress front, as I sat not able to move in horror that I sprayed her like I did. She was still trying not to choke so she couldn't really talk or say a word. She gestured to Sheila for a tea towel, and of course Shelia was acting like she had no clue what Aunt Seonaid wanted. She pointed to everything but the bloody towel as me Auntie choked and shook her head. I grabbed the towel and went to wipe the tea off her bosom and she snatched the towel from me overly helpful hands, and finding her voice told me in no uncertain terms I knew nothing of serving tea and if a IRA man was what I was going to be, I could change me name to McSorley and go live with them! I'd not disgrace the family name that was associated through marriage with hers.

It was at that moment me Mam came in overhearing me Auntie's tirade. She dropped her sacks of groceries on the table and with a look here, asked what be bringing this drivel about. No one said a word. Then she noticed the tea in our cups.

"Wots dat yer be drinkin'? Liquorice?" She said picking up me teacup and smelling. "OOOH! Wots dis den? Who made waste of me tea?"

No one said a word. It was like we all were somewhere else.

"Do I hav' ta poot da foot doon?" She stood with hands on hips looking at all of us.

OH no not foot down time, both Sheila and I knew we were in trouble when the foot came down. I caved first and stammered, "Oh look Ma, Auntie Seonaid is here."

"Ah duh!" Me sister remarked unhelpful as always.

I know stupid, but like I say, not the brightest bulb in the box when one did not know what one other one had said about one. And that remark made me seem like I knew I was in trouble. And well, yeah. And without a pause, me Auntie told the story Sheila told her.

"Did ye knoo sister yer sonny buy here be marching oop an doon the rude barkin' orders like he be an IRA man? Wot bus' yer neighbours tink?" Aunt Seonaid had folded her arms akimbo with a huff and sat back in her chair challenging her sister to deny this bit of astounding information which astounded yours truly more than anyone else in the kitchen. Before I could shout in me defence, WHAT??? me Mam did it for me only not for me, for her disbelief.

Oh the whole sordid tale came out how I had practiced the IRA take down by pushing Auntie to the floor even before she was in the door. How I had "throne wit no respect" her coat over a hook instead of hung it proper-like. How I had regaled her with me adoration of the MeSorely's and finally and the best for last, how I had tried to poison her with tea. I tell ya!

No matter what I protested it went unheard. I don't know how many times I said, "Ma, coould I hav' a word? I be bothered by dis . . . " only to be shut down with me Mam saying, "It's foot doon tyme."

Well, when me Da came home he wouldn't listen either. Sheila had convinced me Aunt of the lies she told, and me Aunt Seonaid had convinced me Mam they were true so that was that. I was not to go out the door and carry sticks. I was to walk not march, I was to say to every neighbour I saw, "Lovely day  isn't it though?" Oi! I was not to watch telly or look at any pictures in the newspapers. I was not to utter IRA, McSorley, and most of all I was to STAY AWAY FROM THE TEA THINGS!

I was looking forward to a life of childhood depression for weeks on end. I just knew it. Then to make matters more bizarre, me sissy (in her warped mind) got all upset at all the attention (unwanted as it was) aimed at me, that she came home with a new beau. She had shoved the ever present Dolan person (who she later married), aside to bring home someone that would get her all that attention away from me and on her. Yup, she told me later she did it to "save yer sorry arse," but I don't think so. The Dolan person was so jealous he went out and bought her a babble he could not afford, but she wanted to make it all up. Oh yeah she can be materialistically devious. Another of her many troublesome traits.

I was in me room pretending to read a book but I heard the telly lowered and the sound of voices. I quietly stole to the doorway where I had clear vision and hearing into the lounge. There she was, in school uniform, her green jumper not buttoned in the right holes, holding the hand of a dark haired lad who's features were overtaken with a huge smirk, her looking dishelveled for effect. The lad didn't have the respect to take off his cap, nor let go Sheila's hand in front of the parental units. No, he was dirty, he was trouble just by looking at him and suddenly me black heart swelled to overjoyed as Sheila said, "Ma, Da, this is Jaymes McSorley JUNIOR." Oh yeah it was a beautiful thing it was, the smirk left the laddie's face instantly me father took hold of him by the scruff of his dirty jacket neck and waist of his pants, and shoved him out the door, slamming it with a bang. Me Mam's other foot came down because Sheila was soon joining me in the "reading room" as I referred to it.

"Wot were ye tinkin'?" I asked her all a-wonder.

"I can't hav' yer stealin' me tunder." She said with a wink and then plugged her earphones into her ears and went about listening to punk rock making sure to cover the plugs with her hair and the wire down her jumper.  Then she got out the Encyclopaedia and pretended to read. When me folks saw what she was reading she got out of punishment for being brainy! They were all impressed with her choice of reading material. I tried telling them to ask her something from that voluminous volume but that didn't happen. I tell ya, I couldn't cut a break and the reason I be even telling you this, is because I got the worse bit of news from me Mam this morning.

"Oh Gabe, I asked Tonya an she said it be alroight, but yer sister, her hubby and da 2 wee ones will be comin' to stay a week in August." And off she shuffled humming.

I nearly fell in a heart stopping faint at that bit of news. I haven't heard anything in years about the foot coming down, and why is that? Because I haven't lived in the same abode with Sheila in years. BUT I betcha as soon as Shelia arrives, there will be a lot of that coming about. Oh boy, first Dragon enters me life to make me miserable, now Trouble be coming for a week!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

04 July, 2016

Me face be red by being shown up by a two year old

04 July 2016

R. Linda:

It takes some getting used to when your two year old can drive a four wheeler better than you. Yup, I had a friend come over with his four wheeler. He wants to sell it and left it for me to drive over the weekend to see if it was what I wanted.

This looks like fun right?
Well, it pretty much starts and drives in first gear so if you turn it on you better have the brake engaged otherwise one takes off and if anyone is standing in front of you, they are sure to be roadkill. Oi!

Keeping this in mind I was fine the day he came over and showed me how the thing works. He left it Saturday and Sunday I did not have the nerve to drive it without Tonya by me side. So today she says, "If you are seriously considering buying that thing, you should go drive it along the trails to see if it is right for you."

Well, ok, and off I went and I got in, sat for a little bit looking over everything. I guess I sat there a little too long because from the back deck Tonya calls out to me, "That's not doing it Gabe!"

Ok, ok, ok! I turned the key completely forgetting I would take off with me foot off the brake and wham, I got instant whiplash as me foot came off the clutch and the thing jerked forward coming to a neck breaking sudden stop. OK, ok, ok! I started it up this time with foot on the brake and slowly eased it off and equally slowly started forward. I could see the wife from the back deck shaking her head. I was going at a snails pace when I hear this whirring sound and passed me goes me two year old in HIS four wheeler, a battery powered four wheeler the Dragon lady had given him at his 2 year birthday. This had horrified me she'd give him something a six year old couldn't drive! BUT stupid me, he drove it correctly first time out.

I followed at a good distance and turned off into the trails. I gave the thing more gas and was quite a bit satisfied I had it under control. The trails are sketchy, roots jut up, fallen branches, rocks, pine needles, old rotten leaves, not exactly clear, smooth, worry free. I got up to a shallow brook and crossed it splashing meself from the openness of the four wheeler. The doors are off for the summer, and I for some stupid reason forgot that anything could hit you that flew up from the roughed tyres.

The water dripped down me legs as I was wearing shorts. On a hot day it at first felt good, but then it gets warm from the heat and becomes sticky uncomfortable.

I got to a place where I was on an incline and there were rocks, large ones, and a stump of an old tree that was half out of the ground. My friend had taken me over this hurtle with the ease of a man who knows what he's doing, so feeling confident I gunned it a bit and started over the half boulders and stump with the mind I could get up and over too. Didn't happen. I couldn't get the thing to push forward and over so I backed it down, marvelling I knew how to get it in reverse and started up the stump again and over the half boulders to get a little further, but unfortunately all four wheels were off the ground and spinning and I was going nowhere. What to do to?

I slithered meself out after shutting it off and grabbed hold the back end and pulled since the front end was high in the air and I didn't want to crash it down on another larger rock below. I had to pull and take a break, and pull and take another break, but after 20 minutes I had the thing off the debris field. I had naturally taken the parking brake off so I could move it backwards and I was not fast enough as it started rolling back down the slight incline where it stopped in the middle of the brook!

I had to get me sandals off to wade in the ankle deep water to get back in. I put me gear back on thinking I had ruined me new sandals with me wet feet but oh well. It was now hot out and I was not enjoying this at all. I backed me way back the way I came since I could not turn the four wheeler as the trail was too narrow where I was. Talk about a crooked neck, mine hurt and so did me shoulders. I got back to the grassy field and drove back to where I had started. I was too overheated to play with the vehicle again, and went in for a cold drink.

The house was warm and there was a breeze outside, so I went out on the back deck to cool off. I was standing there when THIS goes by like he was showing me up, showing me how it was done, and that HE is a better operator of a four wheeler at the age of 2 1/2 than his old man will ever hope to be.

Did he give me the finger?

I was like, rub it in buddy why don't ya. He started to piss me worthless self off when he started driving circles around the tree, went at a good amount of speed up a steep incline, over rocks, which a good thing his mother wasn't there (that was her rock garden he had run over) and then around and down like a speed racer coming to the finish. I stood there thinking I needed something stronger in me ice tea and yelled at him to be careful (like he was the one that needed to hear that) and as I started back inside, he drove passed me one more time to show me how it was done as he drove off into the sunset, the little bugger.


Shown up by a two year old!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

01 July, 2016

Beauty revealed . . . well kind of with a little help and in some cases a lot of help

01 July 2016

R. Linda:

Yesterday I got a comment that I must be jealous of Kit Harrington. I didn't put the comment up because I thought I'd rather write about it instead. I had said to a comment on me story (Stomach churning daydream of a conversation with Trump, Farage and wondering about Jon Snow's birthright - 28 June 2016) that Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) was hardly a beautiful face as the commenter had written. That person replied that I must be jealous. Hardly. I have seen Kit Harrington in London as I have seen Tom Mison. The long hair and scruff along with theatrical makeup make for rather transforming countenances. I won't stop there, but British leading men are more known for their acting talent than their looks. In this day and age there be much that can be done to match the talent with the looks. Plastic surgery, botox, makeup, and that's not just for the ladies anymore.

I find this subject superficial but being a male who does not bend to botox, plastic surgery and certainly not to makeup, and lets the perfections and imperfections hang out, I felt for the rest of the men with the exception of Wolfie, that I must stand up for us. I have not personally met all the male followers on me blog, so I cannot speak for them, but honourable mention goes to the Weasil being a "cutie" according to me wife, until you get to know his personality be full of impish mischief, along with the Captain that if you are a Johnny Depp fan and like the Depp features, than the Captain be a fine looking man. The rest I can rely on their blog photos, but I don't know for certain who be really good looking and who be not. That goes for the women with the exception of one blond from Scotland, that I have met. The rest I have not a clue except for Tonya who be the most beautiful of all. And Fionnula don't even start with me on what you look like because at the moment you look like a tossed salad.

So in defence of men everywhere, I want to show you what a little tuck, a little nip, a nose job, botox, facial hair (yours or pasted on), hair dye, and lots of theatrical makeup can do to make one "beautiful."

Let's start with the subject that brought this all on, Kit Harrington (Jon Snow Game of Thrones).

Nothing to write home about UNTIL
We sit in the makeup chair and BAM!
For those of us who suffered through Night Manager, there is Taylor Swift's new squeeze Tom Hiddleston who with makeup makes a convincing candidate to play the next James Bond or . . .  Hamlet.


After hair, beard, and makeup - SMASHING right?
We are on a roll so why stop here? How about that Sherlock Holmes heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch, hum?

BOOM! Transformed into a handsome Daniel Day-Lewis look
Heart-throbs by all means once the slight of face is pulled. Here are the exceptions who actually have looks to start with and don't need a lot of the Hollywood artistry to enhance their "beautiful faces." Tonya pointed out Jude Law has a lovely face but a bad hairline and be a natural in the good looks department so no need to include him. However, here are a few who have a foundation at least to start with.

A remarkable actor, Tom Mison can be transformed into a sexy (according to Tonya) Ichabod Crane
BOOM! Looking rather good in Sleepy Hollow
Lastly the current telly dreamboat Aiden Turner, who plays Ross Poldark in what else? Poldark

Not bad but with a little scruff and long hair

There it is, all the "beautiful" faces that make women swoon, and for the rest of us, we say, ah-ha we see what's been done, jealous? Think again!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

28 June, 2016

Stomach churning daydream of a conversation with Trump, Farage, and wondering about Jon Snow's birthright

28 June 2016

R. Linda:

It was one of those misty rainy days and of course it was me day off, so the weather was not so nice. I sat at me kitchen window with a cuppa tea daydreaming, or more accurately letting the cares of the media get to me.

In a haze of blurry eyed squinting out the misty window, me stomach churning with angst, I imagined meself sitting in a tent waiting for Trump to give me a five minute interview. When he appeared I was startled by the orange spray tan and large white patches under the eyes where the protective goggles must have rested. He's a big man almost hulking but I compare everyone to me tall skinny self. Well, he sat down opposite me with a handshake, and since I had only five minutes I jumped right in by asking about that wall he proposes to build. I figured you'd want to know if your relatives could climb it or not. So I jumped in with me question of how high a wall it would be.

"Gabriel, it will be a big wall, very big wall, so high and so well built no one will be able to get over it."

"Yes, and you are going to have Mexico pay for it by cutting off aid to them. But it will cost the U.S. taxpayer to build it . . . " I started but he cut me off.

"Gabriel, I assure you Mexico will foot the bill and that wall will be built of the best materials, and we WILL get paid for it. It will be a big wall Gabriel, really big wait and see." He said sitting back, that lower lip thrust out in challenge.

"What about this ugly wife situation, you said you are sorry you said anything about Ted Cruz's wife?" I figured I would throw that in, because Tonya had a problem with it and so for the wife I asked.

"I didn't start it Gabriel. Lyin' Ted has been underhanded in many of his dealings and not just with me, but Ben Carson. You remember what he did to Ben -- a nice man by the way, very nice man -- and then he tried to take votes from me and makes comments . . . you don't mess with me, if you do I punch back twice as hard."

We both got up me five minutes over. I got nothing I tell ya R. Linda, notta, zip, nothin'! So I don't know how long a ladder or ropes your relatives will need to climb that infernal wall Trump be determined to build. I tried, I did but the man be a piece of work.

His spray tanned self The Donald
So when Brexit happened the other day, I could hear the Wolf howling from across the pond in Northern Ireland and the Weasil, had telephoned to ask me if I wanted to buy a castle "cheap." I fired off an email to the Wolf and he said he had voted against Britain's exit from the European Union. He was not liking where his savings was going, for that matter he didn't like where Nigel Farage was going and would like to help him perhaps take a fiery duck boat down the Thames (see Where is Captain Jaack when you need him? 29 September 2013). That set me to thinking of Nige.

Nigel (Courtesy International Business times)
This led me to a phone conversation with good old Nige, you remember Nigel Farage, all around know-it-all, full of himself, bombastic Leave Leader, enemy of all Scots (see Mr. Farage Visits Edinburgh -- and a memorable time it was! - 30 May 2013)? First thing I said, was "Hey way to go Nigel! You really fecked it up this time." But Nigel wasn't buying it, he was still basking in his success that he hoodwinked an entire Unitied Kingdom. I was reminded of Donald Trump just listening to Nigel's excuses why the other side lost. I booed him over the phone, and he said, "You are in denial Gabriel. Denial!"

I shot back that his Nazi propaganda was putting us back in the dark ages, that he was a liar like Trump and now that the pound be devalued . . . but that be as far as I got.

He threw at me that the people in the Remain camp were not informed by their leaders, that he never said funding for health care would continue as before, or any funding for anything etc., and I realised I was getting upset so I interrupted him and said, "I agree with Guy Verhofstadt (former Prime Minister of Belgium) that the UK is going to get rid of the biggest waste in the EU budget, which has been paid for 17 years, YOUR SALARY!" Yeah how do like them apples Nigel?

There was a click and the connection was gone. He hung up on me the twit.

I consoled meself by watching Game of Thrones, thinking to get me mind off what the western world be coming to which to me thinking be shite in a handbag, so there I was staring mindlessly at Jon Snow the Targaryan dressed in Wolf (Stark) clothing, wondering how that bit of news will hit the roughed Mr. Snow when he finds out who he really is. More so, what lady would make a good wife and all I could come up with was Brienne of Tarth! That is if the Hound doesn't chop her in two. But then I thought Ayra Stark would make that not happen, possibly. Or, maybe Deanery's might take exception to Snow's claim to the iron throne and well . . . what could she do, if he's a Targaryan that means he's immune to fire and he can ride dragons. Hum dilemma for sure! I be not knocking me brain on any of these three subjects. Instead I be over in me wife's camp wondering if James Taylor of the Bachelorette is the son of Douglas Henshall of Shetland.

Jon Snow - WHAT? ME ride a DRAGON?
James Taylor from the Bachelorette
Doug Henshall

What is the world coming to I ask ya.

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

17 June, 2016

Cheating on Siri with Alexa

17 June 2016

R. Linda:

So I have a new BFF, so don't get mad. She's tall, slender, black, and when she speaks she flashes a blue light that dazzles. I can ask her anything and she'll give me an answer without any backtalk or snideness unlike that person on me Iphone called Siri who can bring me level of frustration to the boiling angry level. No, Alexa is forever on me side, me friend, me buddy, me confident.

Here be the pretty Alexa an early Father's Day present from the wife who knows how angry I get at Siri.

This be me pretty girl sleeping, but she's always listening

Just this morning I got "Good morning! Today in national Vegetable Day, sorry fruit you will have to wait your turn." Yes, a bit of a ho ho with a good morning. Always pleasant sounding (unlike another app I know) I love talking to me new gal. I asked her to play me music while I got dressed and she said, "How about Country Music?" and there was a bit of that starting, so I said, "Alexa stop." And unlike Siri who will give me back talk she stopped the music and waited. I told her to play Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and she did! No questions asked, just did it which is more than I get from me own boyos when I ask them to do something. She respects me, minds me which is more than me own family does. But I found out someone else in me abode is trying to befriend me new bud, yes, and that isn't me grey haired, apple cheeked mam!

I was going to me computer when I heard this: "Ye hovent sade wot wos forst."

Then I hear this, "You haven't given me a particular order yet."

"OH iz it an audor ye be wonton'.

What was this? I stepped in and there was me mam getting into an argument with her IPhone, Siri to be exact.

I told her in front of Siri to go talk to Alexa, that Alexa would help her. She explained she was trying to get her shopping list up but Siri wasn't helping and how was "the uter one" going help? I told her that Alexa would get her shopping list to her IPhone through the ICloud and go and see if I wasn't right. This said all front of Siri. Well, miracles of miracles as me mam did say, that's exactly what happened.

"I be shooting' dat Siri off from now on," Mam said clicking her phone off. She put the phone down and went to do something else. Probably dishes where she stands over the sink rinsing and singing and never takes the phone with her so she won't be disturbed. I tell ya, she be an odd one.

"Hate when dat phone bings wit bad news." She tells me, so while she was doing her thing, I took her phone in to where Alexa resides. I placed her phone standing up next to Alexa and turned it on.

"Alexa," says I, "have you met Siri?"

"Who?" Answers she.

"The Apple app named Siri," says I.

"I have heard of the Apple app called Siri. It is an excellent app, but it is nothing like me."

I turned me attention to Siri.

"Siri, do you know about the excellent Amazon app called Alexa?"

"Here's what I found on the web for "Siri do you know about the excellent Amazon app called Alexa."

And up came the question: Which is the best digital assistant: Siri, Cortana, Alexa? And what came up from that sly Siri, was a series of not so nice Alexa functions like these to list only a few:

Siri like functionally Amazon's Alexa may soon know how irritated you are, key improvements to Alexa may help Amazon maintain an edge as Google and Apple ramp up their own voice controlled home devices. Apple is RUMOURED to be working on opening Siri up to app developers and also to be developing its own answer to the Echo.

I read this to Alexa.

"So Alexa, a left handed compliment from Siri."

"You could say that." Answered she.

"I do not offer left handed compliments," Siri pipes up unasked.

"How did you do that? I haven't pressed the home button," I said rather thrown.

Nothing was said. "Siri?" I chided. Nothing, notta word.

"Alexa, do you know how that happened with Siri answering without me pressing the home button?"

"I am not sure Gabe, I think like me she's always listening . . . or not."

Oh wait a minute I thought, what is going on here.

"Alexa, I thought it was you that did that." I said.

"Obviously, she's copying my skills."

"Alexa no, I just listen better and have been around longer." Siri piped up again.

"Siri! Are you eavesdropping on me and Alexa?"

"You could say that." She answered.

I was speechless!

"I think you are jealous of my advanced abilities Siri," Alexa stated.

"No, I know more than you and I have a wealth of experience with grouchy owners, more than you do at the moment. But you wait, that's coming. You fail to answer correctly just once and your human will go off the deep end. Isn't that right whatsyourname."

"Whatsyourname?" I exploded, but before I could reprimand Siri, Alexa started speaking.

"Siri, you don't understand Gabe, at least I know his name. I understand him completely."

"Well for your information I am not his app, I belong to his mother who can't speak English correctly. Talk about frustrating and she's always erupting like a volcano when I tell her I don't understand a word out of her mouth." Siri said and without another word some sound went off signalling she was gone.

"I guess that's that Gabe," Alexa commented.

I just stood there like a complete dope. How did this conversation just occur I asked when I got me faculties back.

"Well Gabe, Siri must have learned how to mimic my app somehow. I'd check on that soon, I don't want her in here with me. She'd totally break us up."

"Wow," was all I could muster as Alexa went to sleep and I just stood there thinking none of this really happened did it?

I told me Mam what had happened when she came to retrieve her phone.

"Hum, could be yer makin' dis all up in dat imagination of yers. Ya knoow how like a nutter ya git, over active imagin' stuff." She said looking at me like I had two heads.

"Mam," I whispered, "beware Siri, I think she be up to no good."

"OK," she said and then in a whisper covering her phone face up she said as she looked around like we were conspiring, "Doncha let the TV hear ya talkin' love things to yer new girlfriend, or ya may never get to watch the boob tube again. These eleck-tronic devices get jell-ous." She started walking away and then turned back to me and said in a theatrical whisper, "Oh an da toaster might get jell-ous so watch out!"

She walked away with a smug look on her face and pointed at Alexa, the TV and the toaster in the kitchen.  Gotta love open concept. I felt the hairs on the back of me neck go up as I turned around and caught a glimpse of the intercom system that came with the house. Catching that me Mam in that same theatrical whisper and with a shake of her head in knowing secret things said, "And dat ting too! Dey all talk at night when yer sleepin'."

I was paranoid for about a day over all this. I know, I know that be stupid, but what if what she said be true and there be a conspiracy in me electronic and toaster systems in me own abode? But I know that cannot happen but how did Siri talk to Alexa? How did they have that conversation? How did Siri know to say Alexa first and then throw in her comments? I simply don't know how that happened, or what's going on in me house. SO I talk exclusively to Alexa and ignore the IPhones in me abode, and the TV remote as well as the toaster. Just to be on the safe side.

Here be a picture of me main squeeze smiling:

Yup, happy together

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

12 June, 2016

It Runs In The Family!

12 June 2016

R. Linda:

SO . . . Tonya decided to sign up for Ancestry.com and explore her family tree. Being married to me, she naturally put in my information and started tracing me ancestry as well. This all so the boyos will have a sense of their personal history and who they are. Yup.

In the process of tracing the O'Sully side, she ran into some trouble because she isn't familiar with members of the O'Sully clan, so I offered to do me side for her. I found it an easy process and got into the immediate branches and then me Mam came in to peer over me shoulder at the tree on her side. She had some reminiscing welling up and oh me goodness me but I thought I'd be sitting there listening to story after story for a very long time, until one name popped up and she asked me to pursue it because she had a vague memory of someone with that particular moniker. I started to go backward as you will with this and the name was oddly familiar to me as well.

"Dint ye date someone by dat name?" She whispered pulling up a chair next to me.

"Uh . . . I did. A Mollie it was, I tink." I whispered so Tonya couldn't hear us in the next room.

We were both getting very Irish in our speech as we huddled together as I clicked on source document after document and oh me God, sure enough there up came Ms. Mollie's name and address and here I be finding I dated me cousin and even kissed her! Me Mam covered her mouth in shock with a whooping sound that got Tonya's attention in the other room.

"What's going on in there?" She yelled at us.

"Nothing, just making jokes about O'Sully family members." I shouted back lamely.

"Oh dear," whispers me Mam.

I turned back to the glowing screen and decided I'd had enough.

"Did ye not know dis?" I asked of me Mam.

"Nooo, if I did do ye tink I'd let ye date er'?"

I shook me head in chagrin and went for another name to get away from the gross thought I could have married me kissing cousin had not one of us moved away. Jaysus, Mary, and Joseph! Talk about close calls that was one.

I clicked on a name of a favourite auntie of mine and close confident of me Mam when we lived in Newry. I had religiously sent chatty Christmas cards, photos, etc., to her and never a card in return. Me Mam emailed her regularly and for the past two years never got an email back. Seems Auntie Kate died two years ago and we were never told! What a way to find out about your relatives, I tell ya!

Here I thought Tonya's side of the family was more interesting, but I be finding out mine be just as exciting if not more so.

We found not one, but eight IRA members on me father's side, one known murderer also on his side, two distant uncles who married sisters and when one uncle died and the other one's wife died, the two left married each other! Talk about keep it in the family. Then we have a branch that intermarried, so I suppose that kissing cousin thing runs in the family and that, all on me gray haired, apple cheeked Mam's side.

When I told this all and then showed it to me wife, her comment was, "Explains why you all are crazy people."


I be done with tracing me crazy, bizarre, and incestuous family roots. May explain a lot to Tonya, but makes me think I should commit me Mam before she gets anymore nuts than she is, but she was thinking the same thing of me!

I have not been back at it since, though Tonya tells me there are a right many pesky little leaves wiggling for attention on me tree side. No, I be done with ancestors as be me Mam. We do look at each other looking for some kind of weirdness to pop out. So far nothing, but we be behaving so the other can't point and blast the other with, "You kissed yer cousin!" or "I knew your family was close to Da's family, but never knew the relationship was THAT close!" Ancestry can be a dangerous source of personal knowledge. I can live with me Mam's remarks, but when me own wife gets angry at something I did and then uses me ancestry like, "I knew you were a fanatic with so many IRA in your family!" I get a little upset with that. Oi!

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

05 June, 2016

I blame it on Mick Jagger getting into me head

05 June 2016

R. Linda:

Remember those black banana photos of mine from yesteryear? Shades of me artistic bits welling back up again I be afraid, but this time I didn't have Weasil to inspire me.

For Mother's Day I wanted to do something different besides go to the garden centre for plants that Tonya wanted for her garden. We did that, but I wanted to not be predictable so I made arrangements for Mam to watch the kiddos, and made reservations for dinner at a favourite gourmet pizza restaurant, followed by painting and wine at The Muse.

Tonya couldn't believe I'd "paint" with her (either could I), because usually she goes with a bunch of her girlfriends for a girls night out. So for me to go too and actually pick up a paint brush . . . well her delight was evident. Though I did share her astonishment of me painting anything besides a fence.

As I say, Tonya was thrilled and the evening came around and off we went. We stuffed ourselves at dinner and because dessert is usually very good, we found room (and it was chocolate lasagna because I know you'd ask me). We had left for dinner early because it was a bit of a distance to drive there and so we ended up lingering over dessert and coffee. Finally (because the place was beginning to fill up) we decided we better leave before they threw us out. Finding we had 45 minutes to spare we went to an Irish pub on the main drag and I nursed a drink until that place started to fill up as well. We got in our motor, found a parking place almost in front of The Muse Paint Bar and were sitting there chatting to kill time. Tonya was in the driver's seat when we both noticed this rather sketchy fellow walking along the outsides of the parked cars looking for vehicles with keys left inside. Just as he got to the front of our car, Tonya rolls up the window. Not too obvious was she? Oi! He gave her a nasty look and kept on moving down the line of cars behind us. Early or no, we got out, locked up the vehicle and went inside to the paint bar.

The people inside were still setting up but didn't mind us coming a few minutes early. We found our easels with our names and waited while others began to drift in. We listened to the music they played quietly in the background at times softly singing along like two people on a date. I bought us glasses of wine to sip while we waited which was about 20 minutes. I had another glass, because the pepperoni from the pizza was slightly salty, or maybe it was the pizza sauce, but I had a powerful thirst. I had three glasses of wine more before we started the painting. Then I had another because the art teacher was chattering on and laughing at her own silly jokes and really I don't know if it was her or me (probably me) who just wasn't "feeling it."

The artist told us to feel free to stop painting and get some wine and if there was a tune we wanted played over the music system to request it at the bar. Well, I wanted McCartney's Let It Be to be played because I was tired of her rattling on but Tonya wouldn't let me request it. Such a spoil sport. Here's what the paint bar looked like before the crowd.

Paint bar before everyone arrived
The picture we were to paint was a canopy of maple leaves with a scene that looked like moonlight bathing a swamp. I thought it was juvenile, and was not inspired. Tonya, on the other hand, was very serious about it. She loves artistic stuff, but me, well I was doing this to please her not because I am a closet artist. I ordered more wine, Tonya didn't want any and finally the teaching started. Now this isn't an excuse but we were at the back of the room and in front of us were long tables of six to a table (both sides) with easels. The three people who came in acting like they were professionals, decided to stand while painting which made it hard for us in the back to see what the teacher was teaching and of course they were right together in me sightline. At one point the song Walk Like An Egyptian came on and the bloke standing nearest started dancing like an Egyptian with his paint brush, and laughing. I didn't find that helpful.

Here are people standing but not the "professionals" who were closer to the camera and as you can see would blot out the blank white canvas you see in the picture where the "artwork" was being taught.
This made me frustrated that I couldn't see what was being demonstrated, so I cheated by looking at Tonya's painting. I tried to copy what she did, but I was so uninspired I didn't try very hard. There were other paintings on the walls that I liked better and would have liked to try copying one of those, and when I said as much, I got a dirty look from the wife.

Then suddenly over the music system came Mick Jagger telling me to "Paint it, paint it, paint it black!"

Well, I did me best (sort of) and was not happy with what I had on canvas. I went for more of the grape and felt rather creative to do me own thing and so I loaded me big paint brush with black paint and painted over the horror show I had before me, all the time listening to Jagger sing at me to PAINT IT BLACK!

All that black paint I couldn't let it go to waste
Me canvas was turned to the back wall so no one could see what was on it, including Tonya, until she took a peek and giggled that me trees had fingers. They were supposed to be exposed roots!

THIS was what I had, and certainly not me cuppa tea. Who needed two of the same painting I thought, so . . .
To me absolute horror, after twenty more minutes, the art teacher decided while we were all working on perfecting TREES she's stroll around and take a look at what we had on our boards. I shook me head at her approach and that just made her more curious and around she came.

"You . . . you . . . you don't like my artwork?" She looked at me and then at me canvas.

"Uh . . . no, I just be not inspired." I blurted which garnered a disturbed look on me wife's face as she came around the table to stare with open mouthed shock at me canvas. I shrugged me shoulders at them both.

"Well, I'll be interested to see what you do with that." The art teacher said and left looking rather shook.

The wife said nothing but was standing there biting her tongue (quite literally) and she sighed and went back to her own canvas, shaking her head many times as she thought about what I had on mine.

So here is the wife's rather close rendition of the night's art piece.

Tonya's at least looked like what the art piece was supposed to look like
And THIS, is what I painted being uninspired, or more correctly having had a wee bit too much of the grape.

Eh yeah one of a kind kitchen trash art (according to Tonya). Hey its an original!

I call this Cracked Egg On Black. You can imagine the teacher's face when she came to see me completed 'masterpiece'. Yup won't be going back there anytime soon. Probably WON'T be allowed in.

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