Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New Look and Half of 84

If you've been to Wrestling With Retirement before, you may be noticing I have a new look!  I thought it more befitting the content of this blog.  The old face, while pleasant, had become just a little too staid for the direction my posts have taken.  I was fortunate to find a young graphics designer who came up with this logo for me and didn't take my whole social security check in the process.  He also has created business cards for me with the same logo.  (I was told I should bring business cards to Bloggy Boot Camp, which is what inspired this whole change.)

The creator of this gem is Drew Robbins and you can get in touch with him at GMAC Graphics  .  As you can tell, he's very talented and captured my likeness perfectly!  Drew designed the business cards for my son's business, which is how I found him.  Check out his website--he provides a variety of services.

Now, if you have recovered from the shock and awe of my new blog design, I have bad news.  Joan at The Retirement Chronicles tagged me with the task of telling you 84 things about myself.  84!  I begged her to spare my readers the pain and boredom, but she was insistent, as she pointed and giggled at me.

To make it at least a little bit interesting, I decided I would include some untruths as well as facts, and see if you can spot the lies.   Here goes:

1.  I once tried to dye my hair deep red.

2.  I once dated a fellow who carried an extra battery and booster cables in his the trunk of his car, because that hunk of junk was always dying on him.

3.  I have at least one friend that I have known for 60 years.

4.  I cannot watch a parade without getting teary-eyed.

5.  When I was 17, I had a teddybear tattooed very high on my left thigh so my mother would never see it.

6.  I love oatmeal cookies with raisens in them.

7.  When I was teaching, I replaced a student in a play when the girl who was supposed to act that particular part came down with pneumonia a week before the performance.

8.  I was once tempted to have an affair with a good looking fellow who worked in a button factory.

9.  When I was in high school, I shot at a couple of male friends with a B B gun.

10.  I was 16 when my best friend's 15 year-old brother taught me how to French kiss.

11.  When I was 10, I was sure I wanted to become a nun and had photos of nuns from different orders on my bedroom wall.

12.  I smuggled rum into my college dorm room and hid it above the ceiling tiles on homecoming weekend.

13.  I once had 3 kittens named, Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod.

14.  When my cousin dared me to eat a caterpillar, I did it, then promptly vomited on his shoes. (I was 9 years old.)

15.  I am not fond of children unless they are blood relatives; then I may just dote on them.

16.  Grilled cheese sandwiches with sliced tomatoes in the middle are a favorite of mine.

17.  I was driving a farm tractor when I was 6 years old.

18.  At 14, I went for a "joy ride" on that farm tractor with my best friend while my parents were out.

19.  In second grade, I told a girl she was going to hell because she wasn't Catholic.

20.  I once had a singing role in a community theater production of Godspell.

21.  In high school, I more than once sneaked one of my Dad's Camel cigarettes and smoked it.

22.  As a young child, I used to read by the light attachment of my Viewmaster under the covers after bedtime.

23.  I once decided to read the World Book Encyclopedia from A to Z, and did.

24.  I did not learn to speak English until age 6.

25.  As a child, I trained my dog to jump through a hoop.

26.  In high school, my best friend forced me to eat pizza while holding my nose.  I hated the smell.

27.  I adore football and never miss a Patriot's game.

28.  My favorite drink is a vodka gimlet, which I make with lots of vodka and just a squirt of lime.

29.  During my first pregnancy, I craved tacos.

30.  During my second pregnancy, I craved chocolate donuts.

31.  I have had 6 different dogs in my life:  Buster, King, Tippy, Zeus, Tiger, and Barkley.

32.  I sold magazine subscriptions over the phone one summer during college.

33.  When I was 18, I spent a summer working as a lifeguard at a local beach.

34.  At 18 I once got very sick on whiskey and rootbeer.

35.  One Christmas, I unwrapped all my gifts, looked them over, and re-wrapped them a week before the holiday.  (I think I was 12)

37.  I dangled my best friend's bra out her bedrooom window at the paperboy, and whistled to get his attention.

38.  I read every book in the Nancy Drew series.

39.  I was once one of two women in a training class with 98 men.

40.  As a kid, my favorite sandwich was marshmallow, raspberry jam, and cheese.

41.  I was voted class flirt in my high school yearbook.

42.  At one time I visited an internet adult chat room using the name Sinderella.

That's all I'll burden you with today.  Can you guess which 6 are not true?
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Losing It With My Phone

Those of you who've been around for a while are aware that I carry around a little extra poundage.  Ok, a lot of extra poundage!  You can imagine my excitement when I saw the headline that said, "Lose It With Your Phone!"  I'm not keeping up with all the technology out there--don't have, and probably never will have, a Kindle!--but a cell phone?  Hey, this Granny's all over that!   I have had a cell phone for probably 5 years now.  And it's going to be the key to my weight loss?  Shut up!  (Not quiet down, but "shut up" as in when Elaine gives Jerry a shove in the chest on Sienfeld!)

 I began to speculate how this would work.  Weight training with the cell phone?  Hey, I can bench press several of them, no problem! 

Maybe I'm supposed to make sure my meat and chocolate servings are no larger than my cell phone,  I can deal with that, too.  Or maybe the longer I talk on my cell, the more calories I burn.  Piece of cake!  (Whoops!  Probably a bad choice of words when we're talking about weight loss!)  Hubby says I must have been born with a phone attached to my ear.  I do LOVE to chat on the phone.  I call my sister two, three, sometimes four times a day;  and this is going to be a calorie burner?  Whoa!  I see a size 6 in my future!  (Maybe the combination of holding the phone and the jaw moving up and down during conversation increases your metabolism?  Oh, I feel the burn already, baby!

Then I read beyond the headline.   Bench pressing your cell phone does not appear to be what the author had in mind.   The message of the article is that there are applications you can get for your cell phone that will assist you.  For example, for 99 cents, you can download a Fast Food Calorie Counter that will help you make healthier choices at Mickey D's and other junk food joints.  (There are healthy choices at fast food places?)

For another 99 cents you can download Food Scanner.  This application tells you the nutritional content of foods when you scan the UPC barcode with your phone.  (I thought you could read that information right on the package, but what do I know?)

Weight Watchers has an application that will keep track of your daily food intake, tallying the "points" if you type in everything that enters your mouth in the course of the day.  (Sounds like a lot of work, to me.)  It is a free service, as long as you subscribe to Weight Watchers.

CookWell is available for $1.99 and helps you to cook healthy foods at home, since one of the keys to weight loss is to eat at restaurants less often.  I found this application to be totally inadequate, as it does no shopping or cooking; it only gives advice and suggestions.  You are expected to do the actual work!

There were more apps and ideas, but there was nothing there about bench pressing your  Blackberry  or converstional cardio on your Iphone!  That headline was one big, mis-leading tease, if you ask me!

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sundays in My Neck of the Woods

You may already be familiar with a chain of reataurants called Pub 99.  We have eaten at several of them and on this particularday decided to dine at the Pub 99 on Center Street in Auburn, Maine.  The facility has a really attractive decor, with lots of photos of sports teams from the local schools from back in the early 80s. 

There are also intresting wood carvings, such as the reproduction of a storefront shown above and paintings as seen below:

There's a general feeling of nostalgia throughout the restaurant.  I spotted a wooden replica of a trolley about 18 inches long and 12 inches high.  The photo I took, unfortunately did not come out clearly, so I couldn't display it here. 

The place is divided into several small dining rooms and a bar, which makes for a more intimate dining experience.  I really felt this was one of the nicer Pub 99s that I have visited.  And, of course, there was the food.

I started off with a Bahama Breeze, which while pretty to look at and pleasant to the palate, seemed to be lacking in booze.  I'm not a frequent drinker, so usually I get at least the beginning of a buzz of one drink.  Not so here.  But it was delicious, all the same.

Hubby was driving, so he went for the pink lemonade, which was icy cold with just the right amount of tartness.

We decided to skip the appetizers and go right to the entrees.  I ordered the BBQ turkey tips, with rice pilaf, coleslaw, and a biscuit.  (We were chatting, and I started eating before I remembered to takes a photo of my plate, so there was more food there initially than shows up in the picture!)  The turkey tips are a favorite of mine, and they come dipped in a hickory smoke BBQ sauce which gives them a really great taste.

Hubby also had started to down his dinner when I stopped him long enough to take this shot.  He opted for the smothered sirloin tips--tender steak pieces with lots of onions, peppers, and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and a side of corn.

Our dinner was delicious.  I have found the Pub 99 Restaurants to be quite consistent in their quality.  The service was efficient and extremely pleasant.  Tanya, our waitress had a great sense of humor and added to the positive tone of the meal.

And I forgot to mention, there are 9 entrees on the menu for just $9.99, so a meal here can be gentle on the wallet as well.  I'm sure we will return!

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Silliness

The Priest said, "Sister, this is a silent monastery. You are welcome here as long as you like, but you may not speak until directed to do so" Sister Mary Katherine lived in the monastery for 5 years before she was summoned to the Priest's office.  "Sister, " the Priest said, "You have been here for 5 years now.  You may speak two words."

"Hard bed," said Sister Mary Katherine.

"I'm sorry.  We will replace your bed," promised the Priest. 

Five more years went by before the Sister was summoned to the Priest's office once again.  "It has now been 10 years since you joined the monastary.  You may again speak two words."

"Cold food," said Sister Mary Katherine.

"I'm truly sorry.  We will do our best to improve the temperature of the food," answered the Priest.

 The 15th anniversary of the Sister's admittance to the monastary arrived, and again, she was summoned to the Priest's office.  "Congratulations.  You have been here for 15 years!  Once again, you are entitled to speak two words," said the Priest.

"I quit!"  announced Sister Mary Katherine.

"It's probably for the best," said the Priest.  "You've done nothing but bitch since you got here."


 As a bagpiper, I play many gigs.

Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man. And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Apparently I'm still lost...


I was going to take the train to visit a personal injury lawyer. I called and asked, "Can you give me directions from the train station to your office?"
"When you get to the station, just walk outside, lie down on the sidewalk and start yelling.  Someone from our office will be along shortly."





Man driving down road.

Woman driving up same road.

They pass each other.

Woman yells out window, "PIG!"

Man yells out window, "BITCH!"

Man rounds next curve.

Man crashes into a HUGE PIG in middle of road and dies.

Thought For the Day:

If men would just listen ....

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Friday, August 27, 2010

WTF Friday!

The following is a special exhibit at an Art Museum in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This is Austrailian Artist Lucy McRae

She is what is called a 'body artist."

She glued saftey pins to her body to build this structure that "reshapes the human silhouette."
  At least she didn't actually puncture her skin and pin them all over herself!
Here, she changes from safety pins to thumb tacks.
                          Perhaps her intent is to look really sharp?

 I'm sorry, I guess I'm a total cretin when it comes to art; I just don't get this.  Professor Chenowith never covered this in Art Apreciation 101 when I was in college.  (Of course, that was back in the Dark Ages, so maybe that course pre dated this art form.)  On the other hand, if she's making money from this.........Maybe I'll buy some super glue and a few dozen boxes of tampons and re-create myself as Tassel Tina!
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yes, There is a Chamber of Horrors!

Those of you who' ve been with me for a while may remember my post Welcome to the Chamber of Horrors    about my experiences with the Silver Sneakers exercise program at the gym.  Well, one of the local television stations recently did a piece about this program.  A couple of weeks ago, WCSH Channel 6 visited the Saco Sport & Fitness facility ad interviewed the Goddess of Pain, Heather Stirner Nutting, and my friend Priscilla Farrell about the program.  I was able to grab this video from Channel 6's webpage to share with you.

In the video, Priscilla mentions that her insurance agent told her about the Silver Sneakers program and encouraged her to participate; I'm proud to say I was that insurance agent.  I retired nearly a year and a half ago, and have participated in the program also, although not as faithfully as Priscilla.  Heather, the Goddess of Pain is the fat-free blonde who would disappear if she turned sideways.

Silver Sneakers programs are available at gyms all across the country, so if you are retired or disabled, or know someone who is, check out the gyms in your area to see if there is one participating.  Or go to the Silver Sneakers Location Finder and type in your zip code to find the facility closest to you.  It's a fun and healthy program!

Note:  I have not been compensated for promoting this program; my health insurance pays for it.  Yours may too...inquire.  You may live longer and healthier for it!
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Body Paint and Lingerie Now Make Sense!

Last week I did a piece about the Miss Universe pageant going sexy.  There was some contraversy about the fact that candidates this year were photographed in little more than body paint, and last year the pageant was promo'd with shots of the contestants in lingerie.

I happened to find these photos of the Worst Costumes of the Miss Universe Pageant I thought I'd share with you!
Miss Zambia adorned with gourds.
Miss Venzuela looks like her costume was provided by Reynolds Wrap!
Miss USA gives us the Bird!

Miss Turkey's outfit all but gobbled!

Miss Trinidad and Tobago is reminiscent of a feather boa and a tablecloth.

 Miss Switzerland was somewhere between the RED Baron and a Knight.

Miss Spain has me seeing spots!

Glad Miss Peurto Rico had a bikini wax; her dress "leaves" little to the imagination.
Miss Peru could carry a six-pack in her hat.

Miss Panama looks like a flock of wild turkeys gave up their lives for her outfit.

I wonder how many channels she can pick up with that antenna?

 I didn't show all 20...just the ones I thought were the worst!  Now I can understand why being photographed in body paint or lingerie might be a relief after being photographed in these things!!!

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Season's Changing!

There’s a nibble of a chill in the air today;

It’s a gentle reminder of what’s on the way.

I know there’s some summer sunshine still,

Lurking just behind this morning’s chill.

We have a few more days of warmth to hold

Before greens are over-taken by the russets and the gold,

As Mother Nature decides it is time she must unfold

Her crazy quilt of colors, so daring and so bold.

Not long after, that nibble of a chill becomes a bite;
The bite of Jack Frost painting on our windows every night!

And we’ll begin to crave that winter comfort food—

Beef stews and mac’n cheese, demanded by our mood.

Furnaces will be turned on and cozy wood stoves will be lit,

As wrapped up in our “snuggles,” in the chair by the fire we will sit.

We will miss the humid summer days and the pesky black flies,

As we recall the flowers that grew where the snow now lies.

An original poem by Eva Gallant
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Hubby's Surprise 45th Birthday Party

All this birthday business got me remembering the time I decided to throw a surprise birthday party for Hubby.  It was his 45th birthday, we'd been married for a couple of years,  and I thought the occasion deserved some kind of special attention.
What do you do to make a middle-aged man's birthday special?  You invite a bunch of friends over  and you hire a stripper!  That was my plan.  Problem was, 25 years ago, it was not easy to find a stripper in southern Maine.  There were no strip clubs in the area.  I checked the yellow pages; there were no listings for strippers other than furniture refinishers, which was not what I had in mind.  I combed the classified ads in the newspapers.  I did find a few ads for male exotic dancers, but no females! 

Finally, in desperation, I called a listing for a male exotic dancer.  "You've reached Harry's Hot Hips," or some similarly seductive message greeted me when the ringing stopped.
Feeling a little awkward to say the least, I cleared  my throat and answered, "Do you know any female exotic dancers?  I'm throwing a surprise party for my husband's 45th birthday, and I'd like to have a female exotic dancer for entertainment."  Harry Hot Hips was glad to help and very quickly informed me that, yes, he did.

"Sure," he offered.  "My girlfriend is an exotic dancer.  (love that euphemism--exotic dancer for stripper!)  He proceeded to inform me that the fee would be $100, and that she would provide her own accompaniment in the form of a boom-box type tape player.  (Remember those?  This was 25 years ago.  CDs did not yet exist.)  Now  $100 back then was a major investment, but I figured Hubby was worth it!

At this point, I should have asked for references, or at least a demo tape or photo, but what did I know?  I was just happy that I had at last found a stripper. Price comparison was out of the question...I hadn't "uncovered" any other options!  So, I agreed to hire his girlfriend for $100 dollars and gave him the date, time and address.

I was employed as a teaacher at the time, at a school about 30 miles or more from where I lived.  Most of the staff knew Hubby, because he had a seasonal job with the state during the summer months, and had often worked as a substitue teacher at my school during the winters.  When word got out, as these things have a way of doing, half the staff, including the principal and vice-principal, wanted to come to the party.  So, with the help of couple of teachers who were also close friends, plans for the shindig began to form.

My sister and her husband were to come, under the pretense that we were going out to dinner to celebrate Hubby's birthday.  We often got together with Sis and her hubby, so that did not seem unusual.  Meanwhile, as soon as we left the house, a group of four good friends of mine from the teaching staff were to come into the house, decorate, and set out the food and beverages, and let the other party guests in.  There was a church nearly across the street from my house, and guests would park their cars there and walk the half block to my house, so Hubby would suspect nothing when we returned from dinner.

We had reservations for six thirty p.m. and the plan was that we would return to a darkened house at nine.  Sis and I had trouble containing our giggles during dinner, anticipating the look on Hubby's face when he would be greeted with the word "Surprise!" and fifty of our salacious   closest friends, and then when the stripper went into her routine.  With an eye to the clock, we had dinner and were about to ask for the check, when Hubby announced that since it was his birthday, he wanted dessert.  The rest of us passed, knowing that birthday cake was waiting for us along with those fifty revellers.  We thought we'd never get him out of that restaurant, but we finally did.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, my house, the festivities had begun.  Booze was flowing and everyone was eagerly anticipating the performance of this "exotic dancer!"  A knock at the door was answered by my good friend Tyler, and he let the stranger in.  Back in the kitchen, he dryly told the others, "If that's the stripper, we'd better find a paper bag!"  In other words, this dancer was not exotic-looking; in fact, she was pretty close to ugly!
Nine o'clock came, the lights were turned out, and Sis and her man and Hubby and I pulled into the driveway.  The "surprise" was indeed surprising, and guests greeted Hubby, wishing him a happy birthday and grinning.  Tyler pulled me aside and informed me that my hired exotic dancer was waiting in the bedroom to speak to me.  I immediately surmised from his manner and tone of voice that she was not exactly a Raquel Welch look-alike.  (You young 'uns are asking, "Who in hell is Racquel Welch?"  Well, this was 25 years ago, and she was a beautiful actress that my husband might have actually considered leaving me for, given the opportunity!)
As I entered the bedroom and got a look at this girl, I realized that requesting a photo might have been a good idea. She was skinny, had a face that would slow down--if not stop--a freight train, and she had almost no boobs! Now every man expects his stripper to have bodacious taa taas! Not to be, this time.
She proceeded to show me a lacy camisole and said she could strip down to that and a g-string, or down to just the g-string. Beginning to feel like I had been taken, I said, "For $100, I guess you'd better strip down to the g-string!"

We rejoined the party, and shortly afterward, the "dancer" turned on her tape player and led my husband to a chair in the middle of the room, and proceeded with her "performance." I put those words in quotations, because this was when I realized a demo-tape would have been invaluable. Not only was she ugly, skinny, and boobie-challenged--she had no sense of rhythm and couldn't dance !

Of course, many of the male guests were sufficiently lubricated with alcohol to not notice these short-comings, but their spouses were delighted. (No competition here, was the general reaction, I'm sure!)
The exotic performer completed her attempts at "bumping and grinding" around Hubby and planted a birthday kiss on his cheek. I paid her and sent her on her way, and we collapsed in laughter shortly after! Hubby was a good sport and said, "It's the thought that counts!"

Note:  A few years later, one of those friends decided to do something similar for her hubby's 40th.  Times had changed.  She had many dancers to pick from.  The one she selected was gorgeous and had a body you only see in Playboy.  She drove up in a limo, emerged wearing a full-length mink coat, and from what I hear was an amazingly talented acrobatic dancer!  Sorry Hubby; maybe in your next life!

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