Humor

Old Folks Are Worth A Fortune

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Here is a humorous piece my mom gave me that was written by poet Shawn Jones.   I can identify with most of what it’s talking about, so thought I would pass it along.  Enjoy!

Old folks are worth a fortune,

With silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet, and gas in their stomachs.

I have become a lot more social with the passing of the years  Some might call me a frivolous old gal.  I’m seeing five gentlemen every day.  As soon as I wake, Will Power helps me get out of bed.  Then I go see John.  Then Charley Horse comes along and when he is here he takes a lot of my time and attention.  When he leaves, Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day.  (He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint.)  After such a busy day, I’m really tired and glad to go to bed–with Ben Gay.  What a life!

P.S.  The preacher came to call the other day.  He said that at my age, I should be thinking about the hereafter.  I told him I do–all the time.  No matter where I am–in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement–I ask myself, “Now what am I here after?”

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Food

Purslane – Bane or Boon

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Among numerous other blessings, my new home provides a bountiful garden.  The taste of store-bought vegetables can’t begin to compete with that of home-grown, in my opinion.  Whether roasted, steamed, or just plain raw, home-grown veggies possess a flavorful sweetness sadly lacking in supermarket fare.  I actually enjoy eating them.  That says a lot, considering I’m one of those nutritional heretics who believes that chocolate, salt, sugar, and grease compose the basic food groups.  Well, since I’ve so eagerly partaken, I thought it only right to help maintain this treasure.  Early this week I offered to help with the weeding.  I’ve always loved gardening and this would afford a welcome break from writing and a chance to putter around a bit, play with the cat, and commune with nature; and even though a week had passed since its last weeding, the garden appeared relatively clean.  How hard could it be?  I would probably spend most of the time with the cat.

Day before yesterday dawned bright and clear.  I went out early to beat the heat and, trowel in hand, set to work.  Things started out easy enough: a handful of lamb’s quarters and infant tumbleweeds here and there.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.  And THEN—I saw the flat fleshy green doilies strewn about between two corn rows.  Inwardly I groaned.  I’d encountered this stuff before: Purslane!  The evil weed that spontaneously oozes from the ground.  If pulled and left laying with the roots down, those roots drill their way back in; if the roots point skyward, the plant simply shoots new ones out its top and keeps going.  Ack!

Mom came over with a number of grocery bags and we stuffed a half dozen with the loathsome invaders.  The sun grew hot.  The purslane grew fatter.  I wrapped a wad of tendrils around my hand, yanked it out, and shoved it into a bag.  Aliens must have planted this stuff to choke out mankind so they could take over the world!  I finally concluded that the only way to eradicate this bane of my existence was to turn it into a money crop somehow and then watch it shrivel and die.  The heat intensified.  I hallucinated about building a still and making bootleg purslane moonshine or drying it out and smoking it.  I remembered reading somewhere that people eat this stuff and, since it had grown too hot to work anyway, decided to put my trowel away and do some research.

What I found intrigued me.  This crisp succulent is not only edible, but packed with vitamins A, C, and E, along with omega-3 fatty acids.  (A shortage of omega-3’s has been linked to such illnesses as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.)  Purslane also supplies several B-complex vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and carotenoids) and minerals such as iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, and zinc.  It contains a high level of pectin, known to lower cholesterol.  Purslane contains oxalic acid (as do spinach and other leafy greens), which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tracts of people prone to stones; otherwise, this noxious weed is actually a superfood.  So. . .if you can’t beat it, eat it!  Initially, though, the thought made me cringe.  Surely, I thought, only a domesticated variety would be fit for human consumption—not that untamed mat growing along the driveway.  And yet. . .Well, I decided to give it a shot and began searching for recipes.  A Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad on simplyrecipes.com caught my eye.  Basically you chop a tomato and a large cucumber (after peeling the cucumber and discarding the seeds).  Chop ½ cup wild purslane leaves, add a minced, seeded jalapeno chili pepper, then toss together with 2-3 tblsp. lemon juice and salt to taste.  I omitted the chili pepper, added a couple of tsp. minced fresh onion, and used only 1 tblsp. lemon juice.  The result?  A truly savory and attractive salad I expect to enjoy many times throughout the summer.

Several sites describe the taste of purslane as sour and salty, or as lemony followed by a peppery kick.  I thought it tasted pretty much like any other salad green, although I would probably liken it more to spinach.  At any rate, this recipe is a keeper, and this little experiment proved you can’t judge a book by its cover.  Purslane has suffered a bad rep and, of course, not everyone will like it; I, however, intend to incorporate purslane into my vegetable repertoire.  It grows without any human effort; simply wait for it to appear and then leave it alone until you’re ready to eat!

Here are links to the sites from which I gleaned my information:  Purslane Nutrition Facts; Power-Packed PurslaneEat the Invaders.  These are just a few.  There are loads of other sites offering facts, humor, trivia, and recipes.  So why not give purslane a try?

© KoppingAnAttitude, 2015  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given.

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Photography

Photo Crawl

Featured Photo

The other day I enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes at one of my favorite places: a photo crawl through Boise’s Katherine Albertson park.  Here photo ops abound with unlimited scenes to delight the senses at every turn, and for two hours I snapped merrily away.  I was especially pleased to find, along with the usual ducks and geese, two rabbits and a squirrel that allowed me close enough for a photograph before scampering into the trees.  Normally I am pretty happy with the results.  This day’s batch, however, left me somewhat chagrined.  Some shots were good, some merely satisfactory, while still others show a definite need for more than a point-and-shoot camera.

For general landscape shots and certain close-ups, my point-and-shoot worked fine.

1 The Road Less Traveled

2 Pond Mirroring Trees

3 Live Tree Alongside Dead One

4 Daisy closeup

The following two are fair, but I wished I could have zoomed in on the fountain and geese.  However, I couldn’t get any closer without ending up in the drink.

5 Fountain

6 Geese Swimming

The details in these flowers hardly show at all.  For the first photo I could probably have achieved good results using a mini tripod, but the lily pad required a stronger lens—or hip boots so I could wade out to it.

7 Carpet of Yellow Flowers

8 Lily Pads

My wildlife shots proved especially disappointing.  They require a telephoto lens, since woodland critters rarely let you very close.  A fellow shutterbug using a camera with one of the most impressive lenses I had ever seen showed me a shot of a blue heron taken from across the pond.  With this lens he had been able to zoom in for a beautifully-detailed head shot. Even the bird’s eye color showed distinctly.

Mine. . .well; this is a shot of some geese feeding, but they hardly show up at all and are indistinguishable as geese.  (They’re the white splotches near the center.)

9 Geese Feeding on Pond

Likewise the rabbits.  You can see one in the first photo, just left of the tree, if you look closely.  The second was feeding in the grass, but unless you know where to look for him, you would never find him.

10 Rabbit

His head is underneath the double arrows.  My naked eye saw him clearly but you don’t see him in the photo unless you get within a couple of inches from it.

11 CloseUp Rabbit

This little fellow might have turned out better had I used the flash; however, I was too preoccupied with getting the shot before he took off and never thought of it.  (It’s a squirrel, by the way, and if you get up close to the second photo you can see he’s looking around the tree as if asking, “Wanna fight?”.)

12 Squirrel 1

13 Squirrel 2

There is actually a turtle sunning itself on this rock.  Sadly, even the rock doesn’t show up that well.

14 Turtle on Rock

Conclusion:  In order to expand my photography skills, I need to make some equipment upgrades (along with staging my shots a little better!).  I had hoped I needed only to buy a different lens; but my Canon’s lens is fixed, and I cannot remove it without destroying the camera.  I have since come across another camera I am seriously considering.  One thing I find interesting is that, whenever I tell another photographer I wished I had a decent camera, they usually cast a rueful look at their own and answer, “So do I.”  I guess we see flaws in our own work that no one else does.  But the more I pursue this hobby, the more I love it!  It affords hours of pleasure and, I think, that is all that really matters.

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Humor

Things I Missed Out on by Staying Single – Raising Kids

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Like most girls when they reach their teen years, I dreamed of having a husband and children.  That dream, however, never reached fruition and as time passed I developed other interests and came to relish freedoms denied my married friends.  Oh, from time to time the domestic bug would bite, but a visit to a good friend who ultimately bore fourteen children quelled that.  Not that her kids were bad.  They were kids.  Kids are precocious, often mischievous, and have more energy than they know what to do with.  I only wish someone could bottle that energy and pass some along to me.  Goodness knows I need it!  Truth is, patience has never been one of my virtues, and the older I got, the faster of what little I had wore thin.  I could have never been a mother, and my hat’s off to any woman who can juggle a marriage, children, and career and keep it all organized with their sanity intact. The other day I came across the following list concerning raising boys, written by an anonymous mother from Austin, Texas.  While it reinforced my conviction I would never have survived motherhood, I found it hilarious and wanted to pass it along:

Things I’ve Learned From my Boys (Honest and not Kidding!)

  1. A king-sized waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4” deep;
  2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite;
  3. A 3-year-old boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant;
  4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-lb. boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape.  It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20’x20’ room;
  5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.  When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit.  A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way;
  6. The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan;
  7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words, “uh-oh,” it’s already too late;
  8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it;
  9. A six-year-old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year-old man says that only happens in the movies;
  10. Certain Lego’s will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year-old boy;
  11. “Play-doh” and “microwave” should not be used in the same sentence;
  12. Super glue is forever;
  13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool, you still can’t walk on water;
  14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O;
  15. VCR’s don’t eject PB&J sandwiches, even though TV commercials show they do;
  16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes;
  17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving;
  18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is;
  19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens;
  20. The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5-minute response time;
  21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy;
  22. It will, however, make cats dizzy;
  23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy;
  24. 80% of men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid!
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Humor

Life Without the Box

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Remove your hats, please, and bow your heads for a moment of silence.  My television has died.  Yes, after twelve years of faithful service and a power reset Old Sony has given up the ghost.  Cruel fate!  Already she’s dealt me two sucker punches.  First, my employer informed me the company is decommissioning their IBM AS/400 and me along with it (although, to her credit, the boss put it much more nicely).  Second, I twisted wrong the other night and threw my back out.  And now this.  Alas!  If only Old Sony could have held on for another six weeks.  My lease ends the month after my employment does and I am putting most of my stuff in storage and moving to temporary digs for the summer.  But when you gotta go, you gotta go, and that applies to hardware, too.  I have to accept it was just Old Sony’s time.  It is what it is.  From my perspective I now have three options:

  1. Have the old set repaired.  However, it seems like once the repairs start, they never end.  Who knows what else is ready to burn or wear out?  Besides, as far as electronics go, Old Sony is pretty long in the tooth, which brings me to the second option. . .
  2. Replace the set.  However, in six weeks the new set will have to go into storage, so why bother?  That leaves me with  (Shudder!  Gasp!). . .
  3. Simply do without the blasted television.

(I suppose I could have added “Visit Rent-a-Center” to the list; but then I wouldn’t have an article to post.)

At any rate, I’ve chosen option 3.  After all, my life began without television, and even now I know people who wouldn’t have one in the house.  I have other interests.  How hard could it be?  My right eye twitches and my hands start to shake as the DT’s set in.  Six weeks!  I stare across the room at Old Sony and Old Sony vacantly stares back.  Six weeks without blood and gore, depressing news programs, families and exes screaming curses at each other, and reality shows that annoy more than entertain me.  Six weeks with no courtroom dramas, soap operas, and game shows.  How many nights have I flipped through the channels, grumbling at having nothing worthwhile to watch?  In my opinion, TV offerings are like college degrees.  Most are BS.  Update your service and you get more of the same.  Buy the premium package and you’ve got more of the same piled higher and deeper.  Maybe you’ll gain another channel or two that tickles your fancy, but is it worth the cost of the upgrade?  I do like the Saturday night “Brit-coms” PBS carries (although the Bucket woman irritates me no end), but aside from an occasional old movie or nature program I garner little enjoyment from most of what I watch.  Trouble is, I’ve come home some nights with a long to-do list but sat down first to watch a little television while I ate.  Suddenly, BAM!  The ten o’clock news was on and I’d accomplished nothing.  Like a rushing river time raced by as I sat, lulled into brain-numbed apathy by that hypnotic glow across the room.

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I have to be honest though:  Just minutes ago, unable to accept Old Sony’s demise, I tried a couple more power resets in a vain attempt to revive him.  Old Sony just uttered some half-hearted clicks and feebly flashed his standby light.  “Get a clue, woman!  I ain’t doin’ nothin’ till I get some service!”

All right, time to stop beating this poor dead horse and move on to other things, such as blogging in earnest and putting out more than one post a week.  I love to blog and I have the ideas; I just need to write them out.  Concerning the to-do list, I could take care of one or two items each evening, rather than putting everything off until the already-full weekend.  We’re enjoying delightful weather now, and these beautiful evenings were made to enjoy outside.   I can hear my bike calling even now.  I could even learn how to play that 12-string guitar!  And if nothing else, I need to pack.  Right now I am simply enjoying the peace and quiet.

All right, I’ve got a plan and a mission.  But if you see a white SUV streaking down the highway with a rabid blond at the wheel and a big flatscreen tied on top it’s probably me.

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Humor

Computerspeak For Farmers

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I was going through my closets this weekend doing some spring cleaning when I came across a piece of paper containing some folksy, whimsical definitions of I/T terms.  I don’t remember where I got it or who thought these up but, having grown up on a farm and then working as a computer programmer for 30+ years, it stands to reason someone thought I would enjoy them.  I got a chuckle out of them then, and again today as I glanced back over the list, so thought I would share:

MODEM:  What you did to the hay fields.

FLOPPY DISKS:  An indication your machinery needs repair.  (It could also be taken that a visit to the chiropractor or spine doctor is in order.)

HARD DRIVE:  Traveling to town during a blizzard.

DOWNLOAD:  Getting firewood off the pickup.

MEGAHERTZ:  What you end up with if you’re not careful downloading (can contribute to floppy disks).

LOG ON:  What you do to the stove after you download the wood.

KEYBOARD:  Where you hang the keys when you finish work.

COMPUTER:  What you say when you call your dog.

BYTE:  What “Puter” does if you step on his tail.

I could add other, more irreverent descriptions, but it’s Sunday and this is a family site.

Have a great week!  🙂

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Food

Energy for the Trail

Juniper Branch and Berries

Some years back, my sister shared a recipe for one of the most delicious and revitalizing snacks I have ever tasted.  They are loaded with nutrition and take just minutes to make.  Pack a bunch of these into a Zip-Loc container, stuff them into my backpack along with some M&M’s almonds and a bottle of orange juice and I am in hiking heaven!  I know there are a lot of variations of hikers’ bars out there but thought I would share this recipe in case some of you would like to give ‘em a try:

Quick Energy Hikers’ Bars

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. honey

1-1/2 c. peanut butter (smooth;  chunky tends to make the bars dry and crumbly)

5 c. Total whole grain cereal flakes

6 oz. mixed dried fruit (any kind you like; I use a package of assorted fruit)

In a large saucepan stir together brown sugar and honey.  Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter until mixture is smooth.  Stir in cereal flakes.  Set aside 1/3 c. fruit; stir the rest into honey mixture until well coated.  Spread into a greased 12 x 7 ½ x 2” baking pan.  Press reserved fruit into top.  Cool.  Cut into bars and wrap each in plastic wrap.

** You could even toss in some nuts or chocolate chips.

I’ve never found a better pick-me-up.  However, I made the mistake of scarfing too many in front of the TV and became almost as big as the couch.  Fortunately my neck surgery took off the excess weight and then some.  (NOTE:  While extremely effective, I don’t recommend that method as a means to lose weight! )

Enjoy!

Frowning Mountain and Tree

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