23 January, 2017

Me wonderful day on the frozen lake

23 January 2017
847

R. Linda:

Well, here I be awaiting 7 to 8 more inches of snow on top of what be already out there. I understand (since I have opted out of telly watching) the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl and everyone up here be happy about that at least. Meanwhile, the day has dawned drizzly and gloomy and seems to have been this way since the coronation. I hope we don't have this continue in the atmosphere as most of us already have a dark cloud over our heads. Anyhootie, I remember the last sunny day up here (vaguely) and in me quest to keep your and my mind off the obvious elephant in the nation, I thought I'd post a couple of pictures (since I know you love pictures of snow).

Let me preface these first two shots with how they came about and what they are. On Saturday I had to work, so off I went on another dumb assignment this time snowmobile races on a frozen lake. Yup, I love to be outdoors in frigid weather, standing on  ice, the wind blowing over the open lake, yeah it doesn't get much better than that -- not! I bundled up in me insulated parka, had me a knit hat and me parka hood over that. Warm gloves, boots to the knees and a pair of ice skates just in case I had to keep up with sleds as they zoomed across the ice with me handy dandy action camera, aka me I Phone. Can you picture it? For sure you can!

I did not know that some of these gents on the lake (and I use that term loosely) fire up their snowmobiles or sleds as they call em' up here, with nitrous oxide. Holy cannoli R. Linda, these things  fly across the icy lake and I knew no way would I be able to film them while skating a distance away in the same direction. No, unless as some helpful bud offered, with the aid of a small tank attached to each skate and fuelled with hybrid rocket fuel was I going to be able to keep up.

I know I should have let them do it and they would have. You'd have had a laugh if not downright hysterics over me being propelled over solid ice at a rate of speed that me brain can't conceive, zooming away into the woods unable to stop. Yup, so I declined that offer. These New Hampshire boys are all out for fun. Yes they are, I have never met so many crazies in me life! I thought Northern Ireland was bad, but no, no, they could learn a thing or two from the swamp yankee kingdom of New England.

I did me best but the sleds were blurs and not worth the effort of me trying to film. I decided instead to just watch and report and not waste life and limb on moving along the ice (which cracks like crazy R. Linda, sounds like thunder underground. This scared the bejesus out of me, but I was told it was the ice merely thickening, uh huh). I was offered the shelter between races of a bob house where inside they were setting it up. I found a sofa, easy chair, bunk beds, small kitchenette, and best of all a wood stove. I have pictures of before it was fully set up! I was too cold once it was set up to take it all done up because quite literally, me brain was frozen by that time along with me fingers, bur! Wanna see? Look below:

One end
The other end
Now you've seen the inside of a bob house, a rather large one at that. The bob houses tend to be clustered in places together where they form a compound of friends and family. Some stay overnight in them (that's why bunk beds) and other bob houses are scattered about dotting the lake in blobs of colour. Made me wonder what you do if the ice cracks and your bob house with you in it, are on the crack. I was told the houses 'bob' that's why the name. I can't imagine.

What stuns me be the amount of vehicles driven out on the lake. There are campers, trucks, large trucks and then there are the air planes. Yes, R. Linda while I was standing there waiting for one of the many races to begin, a plane landed and a SUV went out to meet the occupants and bring them to one of the bob houses for drinks and race watching. I tell ya!

Here ya go, pics of the plane landing and taking off:

Landing
Takeoff
Yes indeedie me, it was a frigid day for yours truly doing what he likes best, standing out on the frozen tundra with frozen fingers trying to handle a camera and be a good joe at the same time. Yeah works for me -- not!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

22 January, 2017

Mad onna wanting to blow up the White House and me more interested in her cheek balls

22 January 2017
846

R. Linda:

Oh you don't know how hard I be biting me tongue and sitting on me fingers to keep from going wild humour over current events. There be so much writing fodder being thrown around out there it be to the extreme I be TRYING to behave and ignore it. Many others are picking that stuff up and running with it and the more they run the more the makers of it throw out. So because I have to get this yearning to go hog wild out of me system I will be only mentioning one event that I just cannot ignore. And which be that out of all the thousands of craziness being strewn about? It be Madonna!

I cannot help meself but I sat mesmerised thinking to meself, what has she done to her face? She looks like she's trying to look like Faye Dunaway. She has some kind of balls implanted at the bottom of her chipmunk cheeks that catch into six dimples on each side of her face and interfere with the botox. I be fascinated by plastic surgery gone awry. Lookie here:

Courtesy Fox News - Do you see them?
I was knocked out of me contemplation of those lower cheek balls at the three times mention of the f word. I started to pay some attention, and it was difficult because of those cheek balls let me tell ya, but suddenly she is spouting about wanting to blow up the White House, O M G! R. Linda, I image a lot of people are thinking it but no one would really do it let alone say it out loud, BUT Mad onna did. Yup she did and I had to play it back to make sure I heard right and I did!

So right away I be thinking, well Mad, the whole world be watching especially Kellyanne Conway and gees Louise but I bet by midnight or as late as tomorrow your arse will be on the investigation list for terrorists activity. And sure enough . . . What next the no fly list? I think Mad should have tried to contain her anger by saying something that might give the depressed masses out there hope instead of inciting something that would land her in a whole lot of censored trouble. Problem with celebrities be they are very full of themselves (most of them) and they think saying things like that makes them sound like a big deal, seemingly forgetting that what they said could influence some half brained scoundrel to think it a good idea and go do it because Mad said she'd do it or like to do it, or thought of doing it.

I be one for non-violence so this spouting off of awful thoughts where some innocent people and an American historical landmark could be ended bothers me. No matter how much one abhors the people and the man in that landmark, there are other ways of dissent. I also believe the power of the people is greater than any one figurehead. I do wish things were different but they are not. Of course, it doesn't help those of us that had the wait and see attitude; we are now seeing too early how things happening and being said are making the fear level go way up instead of staying in a steady range and the wait and see be slowly losing its grip on minds that were willing to hope.

If the media nonsense coming from that landmark doesn't stop it's only going to get worse. When I think about the great and weighty matters that are before us, I get rather pissed off when a war between the powers that currently occupy the White House and the huge media conglomerates break out. Would you not think the White House would be focused and preoccupied with matters of state instead of how many people showed up to see a swearing in, how many people rode mass transit and complaints that reporting by media outlets wasn't more positive? Come on!

So to Mad onna, I say "Get off the soapbox and do something constructive Mad. Adding to the hostility in this country be not the solution."

I have said me piece and I be finished with system wash out, getting off me own soapbox now. Oh and Mad, get the balls out of your cheeks and grow some someplace else where it matters.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

20 January, 2017

How I spent the coronation

20 January 2017
845

R. Linda:

So the day is gloomy, drizzly, dark, dank, yucky (the last word compliments of the kiddos). No one in this house seems happy. The kiddos trudged off to school, the wife with them, me Mam decided in honour of John Lewis to bake a sweet potato pie, her very first. She baked her first pumpkin yesterday and it be gone, so she decided to try her hand at another American favourite she never had before. The recipe she got from Tonya, who's mother makes sweet potato pie. Everyone in the house had never had sweet potato pie but Tonya. So why not, eh?

As for meself, I be off today but I work tomorrow! I will let you know how the pie tastes when it cools and I get me a slice. Here have a look at this goodness:

I know looks like pumpkin but it's not
So the Direct TV came up for renewal. That was last week. AND I was about to pay it when Tonya said, "Hold off for a minute."

"What?" I asked, looking at her deep in thought expression.

"I haven't been sleeping well, you haven't been sleeping well, and not seeing the news might help us sleep. Ignorance is bliss and right now . . . plus the boys should read more books instead of watching the tv. Your Mom said the other day how it seems their imaginations are stunted from so many electronics."

"So you are saying not to renew the satellite? I have no trouble with that." As it is it costs me an astronomical $300 a month!

She nodded and I closed up me laptop and we went to break the news to the rest of the house. It was the youngest who gave out an "Oh man!" The rest did not care as I thought they would. Even Mam shrugged and said, "Good!"

That was that and for the past week we HAVE been sleeping better, we have no idea of what the weather is, but it is a small price to pay. I unfortunately, because of me work know what be going on in the world, but I have been ignoring it all pretty well. The kiddos have found their fun in board games, and science experiments and seem more attentive to their homework.

So all was well until today. I have me phone on me because sometimes work beckons and it is standard procedure to have it nearby just in case I have to go in or cover a breaking story. But as it would happen, I'd get BRINGGG and on me screen would jump a picture or a headline, or both with a video link. You'd be proud of me I ignored it all, all day long.

I will say nothing else as being mostly ignorant of the day and wanting to keep it that way, as me mood has been better, not great but better. So, with wanting to cheer meself up and probably you to, I decided to put in some lovely pictures of New Hampshire as a temporary interlude because if I don't I might have some kind of meltdown and that wouldn't be pretty . . . or professional.

Enjoy scenic N.H. -- these are shots recently taken where I live by yours truly. I hope you enjoy the photos but well I know you have snow in Denver most likely or thereabouts and it isn't your favourite subject. AND you are probably standing there with hands on hips saying, "Really Gabe? Snow pictures?" Uh yup.

The lake down the road - reminds me of Canada
View of the Monadnock Mt. Range - reminds me of Glastonbury, Eng. without the Tor
Snowing in my front yard - reminds me I need a new shovel
After the now (yesterday) - reminds me I need a bigger shovel
Oh and the pie? DELICIOUS! Me Mam thinks John Lewis an elegant speaker and a powerful one in spite of Forest Trump taking him apart. Uncalled for she said, and so thank you Congressman Lewis for inspiring me Mam to go to baking universes she's never been before.

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

11 January, 2017

Call Me Genius

11 January 2017
844

R. Linda:

Ah another winter in New Hampshire! I was of the hopes we'd have a mild winter like last year, very little snow, unseasonably high temperatures, but no, no old man Winter has arrived and he's here to stay it looks.

So far it snows every other day which means, Gabe has to shovel, which be not me fav thing to do as you well know. Add to this, the only way to get telly programmes is via satellite dish. This "dish" business can wreck havoc when the weather is fierce. Case in point anytime there is a lot of wind (and where I live it be windy all the time), the signal digitises on the telly screen and freezes, it does the same if there is heavy rain or snow. Cloudy weather be the worst, the signal all but disappears if there is dense clouds or fog of which we get a fair amount of both and usually at the same time!

Add to this awful situation, our local news station which pairs with ABC, decided not to pay the satellite company whatever fees it demands. The satellite company therefore, shut off the local and ABC station. We had no clue what was going on in New Hampshire! More upsetting to me Mam at least, was she could not watch The Bachelor! No, all we could watch was NBC or CBS which has nothing my family likes to watch except the occasional 48 Hour programme or Lester Holt giving the news. We did have all the Boston stations which refers to New Hampshire as "up there" with a wave of the hand. It be like we are aliens and well not important enough to report our weather or anything else that might be of interest to we who live "up there." I tell ya!

So the other night we had almost 16" of snow. We had no idea it was coming because why? No news and in this case no news is not good news. We were stuck watching the Boston stations and O M G! You'd think Boston never had a snow storm before. The two major stations preempted any sitcoms or crime programmes they might have had to broadcast LIVE the snow falling in Massachusetts, primarily Boston and the Cape. Yes, R. Linda, live broadcasts of a reporter braving the howling winds in Sandwich, Mass. and another reporter measuring snow with a small ruler someplace else and we thinking her snow totals way off because she was measuring in snow drifts which prompted the in-studio anchors to declare Boston in the middle of a BLIZZARD!

I could remember me first winter in Boston and all that snow! I remember cross-country skiing on the common and there was more snow than we were watching that night. If I wanted to watch snow falling, I could go out in me yard and do the same thing. Gees Marie! Yes, boredom was setting in big time.

I'd almost say a visit from Weasil would have been welcome but I won't go that far.

Anyway, with all the snow and the rather long driveway we have, I needed to get it shovelled. No way was I going to hand shovel a driveway that is almost a city block long! Me car plow, had bit the dust before I moved. Here, I give you a remembrance picture of THAT.

RIP
I had gone through two junky cars with that plow. It served me well, but now what was I to do? It took me all of an hour to think up a new method of snow removal. IDEA! I had got O'Hare an all terrain bike for Christmas, and so I found it worked great in snow. I just needed to add a little something to it and I'd be in business. Ok, a lot of something.

This is what I came up with:

Yes, works for me!
I was able to solder a snow shovel to the bike. Did it work? You betcha! See here:

Took me three days but I did it!
The only drawback to this is that O'Hare was upset with me. So was Tonya and . . . Mam . . . even Guido had a few choice words. I did such a good job there be no way I can get the shovel off the bike. Which means I have to go buy him another one. BUT the good news be I have a bike-plow now!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

03 January, 2017

An unusual seating arrangement

03 January 2017
843

R. Linda:

Well, if this is how the new year starts off, I be not sure I want to participate. Me first assignment of the new year wasn't really mine to begin with. The reporter that was supposed to have it be sick, so I took it since I was in the "area." I be not in the area, as this assignment was for the Great North Woods region of New Hampshire. I be south centrally located and this was a two and half hour drive in rainy weather with snow melting so the roads were icy. But the powers that be think because I live in New Hampshire and it is a small state everything is close by to where I LIVE! To make matters worse, an hour and a half into me drive, me heater stopped working! By the time I reached me destination I was a frozen block of Irish ice I was.

The assignment was to interview his lord and ladyship who came over here from Austria a year ago, bought what looks like a castle (ok if you blur your eyes it does), and they set to fixing the place up and I was told it was all done up in old world style. I don't usually do the style pieces, so this was me dipping me big toe in the water to try it out. I can tell you now, me big toe didn't stay in long.

I rang the doorbell which made me step back from the stoop because it did not ring like most doorbells, it bonged like a great bell in a tower. I even looked up to see if there were a tower and well there was no tower but a turret. Lights were on and looked like a room not a bell tower. Me mouth was agape at the sound so I was swallowing rain water like a turkey until the front door slowly creaked open. I went to put on me best smile but it was quickly wiped away as I looked up at a gent who had to be 6'9" tall, skinny and gaunt with no smile. He reminded me of Lurch from the Addams Family.

"May I help you?" He said with a heavy accent as he slowly pronounced each word.

"Ah yes my good man you may. I be Gabriel O'Sullivan from the news to interview his lady and lordship. I believe I am expected."

"Come through." Said the deep voice as he opened the creaking door wider.

I stepped through into a vast octagon room with parquet flooring, a large brass candelabra hung from a very high ceiling, and candle sconces all around the rather elaborate room. I felt like I stepped back in time as there were armoured knights at intervals around the room and banners between each one. A lot of wood on the walls and wood compass in the entry floor. I suppose the compass was there if someone said take the south steps you would know what direction to take. Rather impressive if it was a castle, but like I say . . . it fell rather short of that.

Lurch (for want of a better name) had me hand off me rain spattered coat and brolly to him. He hung these on a hall tree built into the wall by the door. Then he told me Madame and Sir were upstairs in the lounge. To follow the stairs up and he would announce me from a speaker in the foyer so they'd know to expect me.

Ok, so I went up the stairs which were a rather pretty shade of brown marble and when I got to the top I could make a left or a right. Lurch had neglected to tell me which way to go, so I turned to point but he was gone. I moved to the right softly saying, "Hello?" but no one did I see and none answered. Great! I was about to get lost in a giant house and the possibility I'd never see daylight was nagging at the back of me mind.

I gulped, yes I did, I was unnerved R. Linda, I really was. As I was tentatively looking down a hallway, I saw a maid with a tray and did a John Cleese, "pardon me, excuse me," and she looked at me before entering, one hand holding the tray the other, the doorknob. I had the distinct impression as pleasant as she looked, that tray would be thrown at me if I made a move and she'd be behind that door before I recovered.

"I be sorry but I be lost, I be the reporter . . . " but she cut me off with a relieved smile and told me to "come this way."

I followed her into a rather large room with a blazing fireplace that faced the door, bookcases faced each other on opposite walls and there were two fireside chairs and in the middle of both was not a table, no no, something quite unexpected but I was brought out of me surprise as the maid deposited the tray on a side table as she indicated with her head the two people sitting in the chairs had company.

I cleared me throat and introduced meself as the maid left and the two occupants of the chamber got out of their chairs to greet me. They were very nice as they asked after me drive and did I find the weather too bad, etc.

After pleasantries were over the old man asked if I'd like his chair, and seeing there were no other chairs I told him I'd been cramped in the car for so long, standing for me would be just fine. And why do you ask? Because that thing that took me by surprise was a copper soaker tub. Oh yes R. Linda, they had a tub pulled up in front of the fireplace, the two chairs on either side. You'd think a pie crust table would have fit the bill better, but no, no, it was a copper tub one would bathe in.

"I canz take zah tub if you like," the old man said, "no reasonz for you to stond." And he began taking his shoes off and I thought for a very panicked second he meant to take his clothes off too!

I guess me face looked like yes, I'd like a chair but no way did I want him in the tub so I told him no, he should have the chair. And he said, "Then you may haft the tub, I only ask you remove zah shoes so you don't scuffz it," and he sat down as did her ladyship both looking at me like aren't you going to get in?

I tell ya! I was not knowing what to say nor what to do, but since they looked at me and the tub expectantly, I sighed and got me big self into the tub. Yes, I did and you know I did. I can be such a nutter I know, but they gave me no choice is all I can say in me own defence. Did I look ridiculous, you betcha! Did I feel that way too? You know it. Here is what looks very much like THE tub.

Photo: courtesy of stylehive.com
Yes, me legs were up around me chin but that was a great place for pad and pen. No, there was no water in it, oh and I did take me shoes off first. You think it funny? You try interviewing someone while YOU are laying in a bath tub that isn't yours. It didn't go well. I couldn't concentrate but on where I was sitting. They rambled on about the house and I didn't retain a word. No, I was more about the tub and me in it.

Finally, I asked why the tub was placed in a room that was not a bathroom and was rewarded with the information that the fireplace was why. I know, I should have quit while I was ahead. But no, I asked, "How is that?"

"Vell, you see dere we haft only the von verking fireplace and we do luff a nicez soak in front of zah fire. Until ve can get zah otter fireplaces verking we have zis."

Well, that explained it. I noticed the tub had no water facets and there was a large wooden bucket in the corner. Yes, I asked is that how you fill it up and yes, it was, Matilda and Lurch took turns with the bucket. I'd love to have seen it filled by those two, but had the wherewithal not to go that far in asking to see exactly how it's done that I wouldn't be the one soaking in THE tub.

Matilda the maid did come back and took me for a quick tour of the finished rooms. All very elegant and old fashioned, what you'd think of seeing in a castle, but the house wasn't a castle, so I asked Matilda why it was decorated like one and how people came to call it THE CASTLE.

"It's not a castle, you are right, not a castle in the literal sense. It's THEIR castle, and they decorated it with what they brought from Austria where they did live in a castle." She shrugged like that said it all.

"Wait, why didn't they stay in the castle in Austria?"

"The castle was crumbling so because their daughter lives here they came here and well, they thought this place looked like a castle somehow . . . I think." She shrugged again.

I didn't believe her, I just couldn't and it was getting late, I still had nothing so I took me leave. It was only when I was 30 minutes away did I realise I had no heat in the car. The Great North Woods has miles and miles of a highway with no one on it and trees and little else. No place to stop for coffee to warm up or a general store to buy gloves and a muffler for frozen fingers and drippy nose. I tell ya, it wasn't worth it but I got YOU a story at the very least.

No, I won't be doing anymore style pieces. As it is I now have to ring these people back up and ask me questions again, since I was that unsettled I retained nothing, wrote nothing but scribbles of a tub. Yeah I don't know about me either sometimes. Awesome!

Gabe
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

31 December, 2016

Happy New Year! Year End Antics

31 December 2016
842

R. Linda:

It is the end of the year finally, and I be hoping next year be a better year, though most of us are biting our fingernails in anticipation of a worse one. Let's pray it is a surprisingly wonderful new beginning and not an ending. I know I can't stop the pessimism after the hopeful optimism but this last year has conditioned something in most of the thinking population who just aren't sure anymore.

I'd like to look back on 2016 and remind you of the laughs we did have in the O'Sully household, but me pessimistic side won't go there, it'd rather worry and so instead of revisiting we will move forward and tell you a couple of short episodes in the life that you don't know that happened and might at the very least, give you a smile.

First up of two is Tonya and I at Walmart before Christmas, standing in a queue waiting to check out the last minute stocking stuffers we had gathered in our trolley. So there we are with a few other exasperated last minuters, when Tonya looks up an says, "Hey Gabe, would like an asshat for Christmas."

I blinked thinking I did not hear her correctly and asked her to repeat her question, which she did, and yes, I did hear it correctly. Me response was a "What?"

"An asshat." She said smiling smugly.

"Ok what pray tell what is an asshat."

"I don't know," she said and then pointed to the checkout.

I looked but I didn't see any hats so I shrugged.

"Look below the Merry Christmas sign," says she pointing.

I look over and I see this:

Yes indeed, there it was Asshats!
Ok she had her little fun. What was up at Walmart I do not know, but the Walmart elves were having a good time quite obviously. I would suppose it was a sign originally for Christmas hats, but who knows now-a-days?

Christmas Eve day we went to visit me old neighbour Lois and for years I have admired this:

Every year out on her deck lighting up the night
And every year I have threatened to abscond with Mr. Frosty since I like him so much. I have offered to buy him outright from her, but she will not part with him. Every year I up the ante to a higher offer and still no, no, no. For the past three years I have threatened to steal him off her deck and she laughs thinking I be joking.

Well, this year while she was busy on a phone call that came as we were leaving, I went out to her deck unplugged him and did this:

Yup I took the man of the hour FINALLY
When she got off the phone which was within seconds of me getting the Frosty person in Mam's car and driving off, I saw her come to the door to wave goodbye, which she was until she saw this:

Yes, I even lit him up!
If it wasn't so icy I think she would have come out running, but I was too quick with her. Well, I had Frosty all lit up at me house the next day, and guests admired I "found" a Frosty of me own. Even Lois who showed up with a rueful smile on her face, said through her teeth to me, "Enjoy him because he's leaving with me."

By the time our Christmas Eve gala was over, I was busy with wishing all a happy Christmas when I look out at the cars lining me driveway and what do I see, but Ms. Lois with her arm around that fat snowman, shoving him back in her car and then she had the nerve to light him up and as she waved and pulled away, shouted, "He doesn't like it here he wants to come home! Merry Christmas, good try loser!"

I tell ya! I was hoping to have Frosty for the holidays but no, no, no not if Lois has anything to say about it. Gees! But there is always next year. I need to get back at her for the 40 pink flamingos she left on me lawn when I first moved in. I had no clue who did that, but she couldn't contain her mischievousness and well . . . FROSTY IS MINE NEXT YEAR!!!

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

25 December, 2016

Elf off the shelf, a strange gift, a very expensive glass of champagne and the gingerbread man poem

25 December 2016
841

R. Linda:

Ok so where to start . . . it all started last night, Christmas Eve. We had invited friends to our home for a yankee swap, a casual dinner and camaraderie. Since her divorce this was the first year me Mam felt like celebrating Christmas so we took advantage of that to make her have a good time. We had some additional kiddos here so the house was lively to say the least.

It all started when me Mam (feeling particularly joyful) asked me to go fetch the bottle of champagne she had stashed in the basement. This bottle was given to me Da when he retired from a very grateful company and at the time we knew it cost a bit. How much we knew expensive but not the exact figure. In the divorce settlement, since one of the bones of contention was HIS suspected drinking, the bottle would go to me Mam. She decided last night was the night to open it and toast her leaving him and Ireland and starting her new life here with us. She wanted her "new friends" to take part and so I went and fetched the bottle.

R. Linda, it was the smoothest, best champagne any of us ever had in our lives and probably the last bottle like that we will ever have. It was a bottle of Dom Perignon Vintage 1998 Moet Chandon Epernay kept in pristine condition on its side so the cork wouldn't dry out. We were all VERY impressed with it and some of us had more than one glass until it was gone. One of our guests was curious of the cost and we didn't know what it was, so he looked it up and found it was worth a whopping $4,715.99 with shipping costs of $83.91. WE FECKING DRANK IT WHEN WE COULD HAVE SOLD IT! Come to find the empty bottle sells on e-bay starting at $40.00 first bid. NOOOOOOOOO! Who knew? Certainly not any of us!

WHAT?
So after the most expensive glass of champagne we ever had, we decided to let the kiddos exchange gifts so when it came to adult yankee swap they'd be occupied. The rule has always been they exchange Christmas pyjamas, I don't know why, they just do. Me eldest got a lovely red Bare Butt long john onesie pyjama. Instantly he was not "wearing this ever!" It was the equivalent of the pink bunny onesie from the movie a Christmas Story. After much consoling by me Mam he decided to go try it on. He was gone a long time when suddenly the Rolling Stones song Wind Me Up came blasting out of the hallway and there he was dressed like a demented elf on a shelf doing Jagger impressions to the song. I wish I had the forethought to video it but I do have pictures. He begged me not to publish them, but I do have his approval on at least one. The aftermath of the "performance of the demented elf off the shelf."

Exhausted Elf on the floor
After everyone left, Guido wanted to give me a pre-Christmas present. I told him I was willing to wait but he wanted me to have it because he liked it and well "here ya go da." So I get this heavy square wrapped in Christmas paper by his own hand and I open it and well . . . I don't know how to describe it but Tonya and I looked at each other completely confused, but he was thrilled and went to bed happy. Let me show you his masterpiece gift and you tell me what YOU make of it.

Yup -- what does it mean?
No clue what it is or why. But there you have it.

Before the kiddos went off to bed they were told by their Mam to pick out the cookies they wanted to leave Father Christmas. Since I am Father Christmas in disguise, I suggested the gingerbread men should be the ones they pick being in my mind, if I have to eat cookies to make like Father Christmas they'd be the ones I like. They told me they had done all that and left a glass of milk as well and off to their beds did they go. Later when Tonya was filling stockings I sat down to eat the cookies and I didn't have the usual three but this:

Seriously?
When asked the next morning what was up with all the cookies I was told Father Christmas is a fat man and if they wanted good presents they had to feed him. I tell ya! I ate three gingermen which leads me to the finale. Guido hands me a poem he made up for the season. Cookies and Father Christmas in mind for next time. I think you'll like it.

I ate me a gingerbread man by Guido O'Sullivan

Lil' gingerbread man
I eats his lil' toes
they crunch as I
bites dem all to bits

Lil' gingerbread man
I eats his lil' lil' leggies
they be soft and nice
and oh so good twice

Lil' gingerbread man
I eats his belly n' shoulder blades
he tastes so yummy
'specially when I munch his tummy

Lil' gingerbread man
all is left is icing scarf n' lil' head
one great bite n' den he's dead.

Yupperuddies only my kiddo, strange tile gifts and equally strange poems.

The Gingerbread man who was eaten by Guido

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

17 December, 2016

Creepy music in the night, exploding eggs and hazmat suits

840
17 December 2016

R. Linda:

Is it Halloween or Christmas season? The reason I ask is last night at 3 a.m. Tonya and I were awakened by creepy music blaring quite loudly. We both awoke at the same time shouting at each other asking WHAT IS GOING ON? Being rudely awakened from a sleep induced coma one is not very sharp on the brain nor can one see in the dark through sleepy and blurry vision. The music was coming from Tonya's side and she be a lot quicker than me, as she turned on the light.

"I thought so!" She said pointing at Alexa. "Alexa STOP," she shouted pushing the blankets aside which instantly had me chilled. Why she had to remove the blankets from me side I dunno, but it was not appreciated because now I was wide awake and shivering.

Alexa was the culprit and as soon as Tonya demanded her to stop playing that bizarre music, she did.

"I don't know what got into her," I said sliding the blankets back over me shaking body.

"I don't either, but that's the second time she's done that. The other afternoon I came home from work, no one was at home and I could hear country music (which I hate), playing from our room. It took all my courage to go up and see what was going on. No one here, just . . . ," and she pointed at Alexa, "just HER."

Well, this was the first I'd heard about THAT so I patted the bed and told her to come back where it was warm, I was sure the excitement was over and she (Tonya) having a nasty cold would catch her chill if she stood out of bed too much longer.

Neither of us got to back to sleep after that. We tossed and turned, me wondering how it was the machine turned itself on and her wondering if one of the kiddos programmed Alexa to play music at odd hours, but really? If Dragon was here I'd be suspicious.

We did ask the three boyos and me Mam if anyone was playing a trick because it wasn't a kind trick. Everyone genuinely looked astonished. Me Mam had heard the commotion and almost came to see what the matter was, but heard us and our voice tone sounded no alarmed so she went back to sleep. Lucky her!

The boyos said they heard nothing, which be not unusual as growing laddies tend to sleep deeply and well, something I wish I could do.

It had been snowing since the wee hours and was coming down heavily at breakfast time. Me Mam fixed breakfast telling Tonya to sit and she'd do it all. She set Tonya with a cup of tea first thing which knowing me wife, wasn't what she had in mind being a coffee shark like me, but she weakly smiled and sipped. I knew it was all she could do not to dump it in the sink and pour a cup of the real stuff. Being she has a bad cold and cough, I volunteered to go out to gather the breakfast eggs from the chicken coop. Ah yes, I did. Having had no sleep and no training in chicken management I had no clue what I was doing. I thought it was simple, go out feed the greedy suckers, make sure they had water, fresh bedding, and that all were accounted for. Then while they ate, gather the eggs. That was the plan, but it was tough because as soon as they saw ME, they all ran to the other side of the coop except for four of the hens sitting in the nesting boxes.

I decided good the gang is all here after I counted nodding heads, and so since they were in a corner I cleaned their bedding, refreshed it all the time with them clucking at me like where's the food you fool? This I got and put in the feed thingee and then the water. The gang of four in the nesting boxes  made no move to join the others. So, I gathered the exposed eggs and then tried to shoo the four holdouts but they wouldn't move, only tried to peck at me. I got a stick from outside and tried to move them from their behinds but no, they pecked at that too and put up such a ruckus I couldn't hear meself think.

I left them to it and when I got inside was told to go back or we'd have young chicks and this was not the time for baby chicks to hatch. I had forgot the egg basket in me dilemma so I needed to go back anyway. I trudged through the rapidly deepening snow back to the coop where I found the gang of cannibals eating one of their young. Yes, R. Linda an egg had broken open and they were all of them vying for the dripping stuff. I was shocked and aghast. I thought only pigs did that, I had no idea chickens were cannibals too! Well, live and learn Gabe.

The four holdouts were in that fray so it was easy to gather the eggs they had been sitting on, and get out of Dodge without a problem. Only there was a problem. I had let the eggs sit too long and when I put the warm eggs on the top, as soon as I hit the Arctic blast outside the eggs started to explode. I was covered in runny yoke!

Holy Cannoli I had, out of sixteen eggs, five left. Three cracked the others I was wearing. I was a bloody mess to say the least. When I stamped on in the family was pointing at the yellow stains, some laughing behind their hands and the rest looking horrified.

"Did dey pelt ye wit eggs?" Me Mam asked trying to keep a straight face.

"Did you fall down?" O'Hare asked somewhat concerned, but not really because he started giggling and had to leave the room where I could hear huge peels of laughter coming from the living room.

"None of that, as soon as I walked outside, they exploded on me person." I said putting the basket in the sink and informing the chef what was left for breakfast.

"I should have told you to take a warm tea towel, one for the bottom of the basket and one to cover the eggs with. Sorry, I wasn't thinking." Tonya said sipping coffee her eyes on the emptied tea cup. I guess by that time she had downed the tea and got what she really wanted and her brain began to work, only too late for me, I was already outside in the deep freeze. She had a smug look on her face which made me think she didn't just remember about the warm towels, she knew all along and was blaming it on the tea.

"We will git ye a hazmat suit fur next tyme, doncha worry." Me Mam said, trying to control her amusement.

Guess what ladies? Not going to be a next time. The laughing boyos can do it. At least the two older ones. I found out O'Hare has gathered the eggs many a time and knows how to clean, water and feed the cannibals without getting pecked to death for his trouble.

That's taken care of now I have to solve the Alexa mystery. Oh and one more thing on that. We ordered a Dot for downstairs. Am I concerned? You might say I be that.

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

02 December, 2016

That's it blame it on the English

839
02 December 2016

R. Linda:

I was lounging in the family room watching the telly when in come me three boyos. I wasn't paying much attention, they had toys they were each involved in and it seemed a typical evening. We had finished dinner, they had gone to do homework while Tonya and Mam cleaned up the dinner things and I made a few phone calls I hadn't got to during the day. It was the usual way we go about the after dinner routine. Until, I hear all this giggling and look up and at the end of the couch is me youngest, the three year old, mooning me, his head almost between his legs looking back at me, his eyes dancing with mischief.

I was speechless!

"What are you doing young man?" I finally asked him as he pulled up his pants and ran off, the other two tearing by after him.

Tonya happened in and I told her what HER youngest had done and she looked very much like she was trying not to laugh.

"Hum," she said sitting next to me. "The other day when I left the sugar out of the cookie recipe," she began, "was because as I was mixing things, O'Hare had come in and said, "Hey Mom, look at me!" and when I did, he was in the hallway mooning me. I told him to straighten up and he left laughing thinking it was very funny. I was shocked and forgot the sugar and that's the reason there were no cookies that night."

I looked at her like I didn't understand, which I did not and she continued.

"Ok, I got a call two days before the cookie disaster that Guido was mooning his teachers at school. It seems he and O'Hare watched some movie on TV where the young guys were mooning girls from their car." She stopped and sighed as if this was just too much. "Anyway, the two of them thought that was very funny, only Guido put it into practise at a public place. Don't look that way, the principal was amused by it, but we nipped it in the bud. Seems your middle son told your eldest that mooning was "prohibited in public places," but was perfectly all right at home, thus . . . "

"Did you tell O'Hare that wasn't true after the cookie incident?"

"I told him it was funny once but it wouldn't be funny twice."

"Ok, and somehow the wee one picked this new art form up?"

"Must have if he just did it." She giggled to herself as if she thought me being mooned was funny stuff.

"Oi!" I said rolling my eyes. "You need to talk with YOUR youngest and straighten this out before he does it in front of company."

It was then she called all three boyos in, clicked off the TV and had them sit on the floor in a row. She told them their mooning days were over which got a chorus of "aw mom" from them with the youngest intoning a second later just to be part of the crowd.

"I want to know what TV programs you watch from now on. You need an adults permission on what you watch."

Another chorus of  "aw mom" with the youngest getting the hang of it and chiming in at the right time.

"Why do we hafta check wit ya?" Guido said looking puzzled.

"Because you got this mooning idea from the TV." Tonya said as the two older kiddos exchanged confused looks.

"No we dint." Guido said shaking his head.

"No you didn't?" Tonya said her eyebrows raised in surprise. "Then where did you get the idea from?"

"From Grandma." The two eldest sung out.

It was our turn to exchange looks.

"Grandma?"  Tonya asked in disbelief.

"Yup she wuz tellin' us bout when grandpa wuz young an he'd moon da neighbours outta da window." Guido said smuggly and he and O'Hare started chuckling at the thought.

Tonya's lips were pressed together in a line, her eyes narrow as she looked at me. She didn't have to say a word.

I called Mam and she came in. We laid before her what was going on and she shrugged and looking at the row of lads she said, "Ya big Judases'. Ooo-key I wuz tellin' dem sum fomlee stories frum da paa-st an wuz joe-ken wit em aboot yer fahder an I'm a-freed dey got corried awey. Quite a bit corried awey."

Well, this was not expected but there it was. Mam was the culprit. I'd expect such from Tonya's mother but not me own. I didn't know what to say but Tonya did.

"Mom, you are grounded from Irish story telling for a week."

Mam's head snapped in her direction her face an astounded question mark. Tonya wagged a finger at her and she said nothing but bit her lip as she thought about this. It didn't take long before she opened her gob. "Tween't IRISH story tellin' it was English. Da ole man wuz in England at da time of da moonin' incidents of which dere were many. So wot ya mean iz no ENGLISH story tellin'."

We sat there looking at her like WHAT?

The kiddos all voiced yeah no English story telling, the Irish ones were on the table.

Oi!

In the few days that have passed the "big Judases' as she calls them have come forth with many a tale about their Irish grandda. And each time Mam is taken to task for filling the young ones with stories she says, she told them when she was "allowed ta tell da bhyos da English stories." Me Mam and Da lived in England for a total of one month when they first got married. They went there because he worked in Chelsea for a short time before moving back to the emerald isle. I had not heard the mooning stories but I do believe they were true. Me father, Mam told me, knew he was leaving England and had no love for his English neighbours and took a certain delight in mooning them as they walked by. Seems they lived right by the street, they had no small green space so how delightful was that instead of a small garden for his neighbours? I tell ya! Me Da didn't moon during the day, but with a street light at the curb directly across from their front window, he did it at night.

"It weren't clear wot dey would be lookin' at as dey paa-set by, da street lamp weren't dat bright and many a tyme a gent or ladee would move toward da window squintin' dere eyes only to see his behind in da air at dere faces. Ooh da shock when dey realised jus' wot dey were peerin' at." She peeled off in uncontrollable laughter at that memory and it was infectious, I couldn't help myself. We both got a disapproving looking from Tonya.

I have been grounded from asking me mam to relate any "English" stories and have been put in me place by a disapproving American wife. Sigh.

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

29 November, 2016

The Dogs Get Theirs

838

29 November 2016

R. Linda:

The day before Thanksgiving, we were baking our own pies, the neighbours pies completely gone. I was going to make me famous apple pies, as me Mam made pumpkin and Tonya her pecan. I was the last to bake and discovered to me horror I didn't have enough apples for a whole pie. It was too late to go out and buy some, as the farm stands were closed and the supermarket is an hour away. I decided to make do and realised I had two cans of sweet pitted cherries. Okay then, an apple cherry pie was in order. Never made one before, but what the heck, why not?

I used some of the cherry syrup but kept the spices I use for apple pie therefore, I had no idea what the hell I was doing or what it would taste like. I put it in the oven to bake and it smelled yummy, and I wasn't the only one who thought so, but I didn't know I had a secret pie admirer.

When it was time to take the pie out of the oven, the aroma of cherry apple deliciousness wafted through the abode making me think I'd like a piece just to try it and see if it was edible. Uh huh. I told no one of me plan, and put me wonderful pie on the counter in the kitchen to cool. I had locked my hound in the mud room so there would be no helping me bake. We are also dog-sitting Dragon's hound while she and Big Tony are off to the Bahamas. Why she couldn't leave the dog in Jersey with one of her other kids, I dunno, but actually I do know. Perfect excuse to descend upon me abode when she returns to tell us what a lovely time they had, no cooking, just sitting on a beach, drinking pina coladas and being waited on while we whipped around making a large dinner and would eat it while cutting up turkey for small kiddos, then doing dishes and not getting a moment of relaxation for the entire Thanksgiving holiday. I know her do I not?

I locked her hound up with mine and left the pie to cool. I did notice Dragon's coon hound standing on his hind legs, front paws on the top part of the bottom Dutch door smelling the air, but I laughed because he was latched in and well, that was MY PIE.

I went upstairs, turned on the telly and I heard a doggy commotion like two dogs fighting over something and it sounded closer than where they were. Then I hear my dog at the bottom of the stairs barking and I realise they somehow opened the latch and got out.

MY PIE!

I tore down the stairs and yes indeed there was my dog barking at me trying to tell me something was amiss and something was amiss.

THIS!

AGHHHHHHH!!!!!
That damn hound may not be a Bumpus Hound but he's close. He ate the entire pie almost including the tin and was sitting there with the tin on the floor smiling at me, his eyes glancing down to the "piece" he left me, like see I left ya some. I tell ya if I had a gun he'd be dead. I was pissed and I mean pissed! Here I was worried about ingredients, then congratulating meself on me innovative pie and now I had nothing, nothing to sample! Though he did leave me a crumb the stupid thing.

Me cursing and moaning brought out the women of the house who with one look were up to speed on what happened. No explanation needed, no none. Mam corralled the hounds put them back in the mud room shutting the bottom and top of the door this time. Tonya threw the remains in the bin and both offered to make me tea. I didn't want tea, I wanted the hide of a certain coon hound nailed to me wall.

"He has good taste," Tonya said trying to soothe me and that statement didn't help.

"It is all your mother's fault." I railed.

Well, there was no calming me down, they left for the sanctity of the room furtherest from the kitchen  where they didn't have to hear me half ranting, half crying, ok not crying exactly just jumping around like a who knows what madder than a lunatic being dragged to the asylum. Whatever. I made another pie, not so much cherry syrup and I put it in the oven AGAIN. It didn't look like the first one, I don't know what I did different in me anger, but I must have done something another way. It didn't smell as sumptuous as the first and well, I didn't taste it that night (yes, it survived cooling). I had hid all the pies in the upper cabinet so the Dragon hound couldn't get at them.

Me pie didn't taste as good as I thought it might. I think I was the only one that ate it. And I will say every bite I took did not go unnoticed. That hound's eyes followed me fork from pie plate to mouth and back again. He started whining when I'd get to the crust. Yes, he knew I was going to eat the whole thing without him. He did it to me, so there, I did the same to him and enjoyed every minute of it even if I didn't think the pie tasted that good.

That will learn me, I mean him.

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

28 November, 2016

Mam and the divorced women's club

837
28 November 2016

R. Linda:

Oh turkey day came and went and leftovers are gone, so sad. I could live on turkey dinners for a very long time, but I enjoyed the day even if it came with somewhat of a price to those around me.

Two days before Thanksgiving, me old neighbours dropped in for our annual coffee and pie catching up. Mrs. Neighbour bakes 30 pies and she can't remember why she does, but every year she has left over pies for months! One way of getting rid of at least two is the annual catching up. I think that is a great excuse she has, I love her pies so I hope she continues this strange pie baking next year and the year after that.

So we had eaten a good amount of the pies and were sitting back chatting and sipping joe when me very own gray haired, apple cheeked Mam remembered she needed a few more mini-pumpkins for Thanksgiving dinner, and if she did not get them that day, there would be none to be had. She excused herself and went out trailing coat and purse but was right back in again when she announced she was blocked in by our neighbours ride.

Well, here take my keys and use my car, be easier than us all playing musical cars, Mr. Neighbour said with a jolly laugh.

"Are ye sure?" Asks Mam, he was and so off she went.

She told us later, she pulled into the farm stand down the road, got out, picked out the mini-pumpkins and went to the counter to check out. There were about 10 other ladies there doing their shopping, when one of them says to her, "Is that your BMW 7 Series?"

Well, me Mam was flummoxed to say the least, as she did not expect the question and having once owned a BMW (not a 7 series) she automatically said, "Yes."

"I love that model, way expensive." Says the woman.

"Yes, yes it is." Mam answers regretting she opened her mouth.

"If you don't mind me asking how much did that cost you?" The woman probed much to Mam's chagrin.

"It was free," came out of her mouth, then as an after thought, "divorce."

The woman's mouth was a wide 'O' in surprise and admiration.

"High five to YOU!" The woman says holding her hand up.

Mam slapped hers in kind and then to more of her surprise, the woman behind the counter says, "Hey high five here, way to go!"

And Mam slapped her hand and as she turned to go (after paying for her precious pumpkins), she is met with a row of women all waiting to high five her as she went out the door! They said something about starting a divorced women's club and having Mam as president. I tell ya! The woman can't stay out of trouble.

So with a smug smile she got into HER BMW 7 Series and came home with that story. Thought I'd share the start of trouble brewing.

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

16 November, 2016

Death By Sandwich Board

836
16 November 2016

R. Linda:

At home, the youngest brought home the first cold of the season. He has been (for two weeks), a snotty, coughing, irritable mess. He's never been a whiner, but he has bought that art to another dimension in his illness. We started affectionately referring to him as our little 'crabapple'. To which he took exception. No, he did not like that at all, and took the crankiness up a notch to screaming at us every time one of us would solicitously ask if he needed anything. A resounding and loud froggy "NO, LEAVE ME LONE!" would be thrown our way and we'd run from the ear shattering renouncement.

In short time, the eldest child came down with the same ailment, but alas, he has handled it well, but O'Hare is our resident whiner, so if he was whining more we didn't notice. It was a matter of time before one of the three adults in the house came down with this pre-winter cold and guess who it was? Yes, that's right this guy. The only one of the three who neglected his flu shot. Yes indeed, I feel like the Russian army walked over me. Me back aches, me chest hurts, me nose drips, and oh the coughing. Let me not forget the ferocious headache as well that makes loud yelling and whining from others almost intolerable.

Add to this predicament of mine, that I be pulling double shifts at work. One of me co-workers had a bad auto accident and is out for a few weeks, which leaves me to fill in for him. So while he is home recuperating, I have dragged meself into work being careful to stifle me sneezes, and cover me coughing fits by going out to the back stairwell where they echo resoundingly, and basically surviving on won ton soup, thanks to Ms. Jaio. Oh yes, she is still around, though she does not work in me department she checks in on me and seeing me slumped over me desk, me phone ringing and me not answering, she took charge like an ad hoc secretary. God bless Ms. Jaio!

Recently, I was told to get the story on a bridge closing in Portsmouth. It seems the people who live in New Hampshire and work in Maine, and vice versa, went to work one morning and crossed the bridge, finding upon their return to go home, the bridge was closed and they were stranded. No notice, no nothing and to add insult to injury it wasn't a day gone by that the middle of the bridge was removed so there was no hope of it reopening. Quandary for sure. There are other bridges, but they are a distance anyway you slice it, so this no notice was a thorn for sure. I went to find out why the sudden closing, and what was to be done.

I was feeling quite lousy, Ms. Jaio noticed this state of mine, and offered to go with me. We got meself in me motor and she drove to Portsmouth. The day in me part of NH was mild, in the low 60s, so I had only me suit jacket. I hadn't thought about the coastal weather at all. The wind was up to gusts that could almost knock you over, so by the time I got me story I was chilled to the bone as most of me investigation and interviews were conducted outside in the chilly wind.

In addition to feeling dreadful, I was very hungry. Ms. Jaio suggested we go to the British pub I know of to redeem the disaster of the Brit Beer Company (see 02 November 2016ACK!!! Americans and British food not a good combination. It took some convincing as I could still taste that awful Kielbasa, but redemption along with Ms. Jaio's suggestion that it would be a hearty meal that was much needed by yours truly's body was just the thing. There I ordered sausages with Colman's mustard, and then bangers and mash, the real bangers this time with real mash and homemade gravy! It was a sniffling feast it was. I topped it with a shandy as I had to drive and the barman made it light for me. I did spend extra time to be sure any alcohol would wear off before I hit the road. Ms. Jaio would have driven, but highway driving is not her forte' so . . .

Beforehand, we could not find a parking space and got probably the last one in the parking garage. I had us on the upper level, so feeling poorly the six flights of stairs down (no elevator on that side) almost felled me by the time I reached the bottom. Therefore, I asked Ms. Jaio (since I was feeling shaky), if she would mind fetching the motor and I'd meet her at the pub doorstep. Off she went as I paid the tab. The pub is three flights up, so I had lurched the three flights down to a small hallway. I thought to wait inside but the door has glass you cannot see out, so no choice but wait on the stoop. I opened the door to a giant gust of wind that had me hair standing straight up, as I battled me way out to the street. It was freaking cold by that time, and the wind was lifting me jacket up so the cold wind was up around me ribcage, it blew up me pant legs and well, I was miserable cold! I sat on the stair huddled waiting. Behind me was a sandwich board that read, "beer tour" and the thought of cold beer made me colder. I couldn't stand being buffeted by the wind and cold, so I got up to settle as best I could in the doorway above me. It was just as I got into the doorway, hoping no one came out because they would not see me standing there, and I'd be a greasy spot on the wall should they open said heavy door. I needn't have worried about THAT because no sooner had I left me first perch on the step a violent gust of wind came up and lifted the heavy sandwich board and threw it where I had been sitting. Yes, I'd have been flat as a pancake, covered in bits of skin and blood if I hadn't got up when I did!

I looked at that board lying flat on the sidewalk, splinters of wood scattered here and there. I forced meself to go lift it so I could put it inside the doorway so no one else would be felled by it. Only it was heavy and in me weakened condition I couldn't get it lifted. I had a coughing spasm and moved back to the doorway as pedestrians came by STEPPING OVER the dead sandwich board. No one and I mean no one bothered to try to right it. By the time Ms. Jaio got to me (there was a line to get out of the parking garage), I was a mess of cold and worse remorse (for the sandy board's end), but thankful I was not injured or dead!

It has been a weekend and a few days since this happened. I be home today still feeling the chill from the sea breeze and damp of the water. Turns out the bridge was no longer safe and more so than first thought leading to instant shut down. They are building another bridge and it is started so there is hope for the commuters of both states. As for me, I smile in memory of the good fare that has made me have faith that someone in America knows the art of bangers and mash, but there is a bit of me that morns that sandwich board which looked probably to passerbys like an old drunk passed out on the sidewalk. It did look like too much beer tour to be sure. I wonder if it is still there, sigh.

Gabe
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved