Is the Glass Half Empty?

Last night I was out for a bit to celebrate my Sister’s birthday. It was just four friends hanging out and catching up after not seeing each other for a while. We talked about a lot of topics and were waxing philosophical at times.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff:

Example: The glass is either half empty or half full.

We were drinking wine at the time and all agreed half full was better. Duh.

Except then I went to bed and I had a dream.

Picture a blizzard in Wisconsin… your driveway is either half empty or half full of snow. Totally empty is better than totally full when it comes to driveways full of snow, hence half empty is better than half full. Duh.

Now I am totally confused.

Close Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades:

I have a neighbor who throws horseshoes in his backyard. He is really good. Clang, clang, clang… The problem is he likes to throw these horseshoes on Sunday afternoons around 3pm. Prime nap time. That is when I am wishing I had a hand grenade. Just sayin’.

This is the same neighbor that raises chickens in the summer as some sort of thing for his kids. The first summer he got totally bamboozled and got only boy chicks… Cock-a-doodle-doo X 6 every morning at the ungodly hour of 4-5am. Actually he is two doors down but I have good hearing so I was lying in bed every morning listening to the chickens and thinking about hand grenades. This year was better and he got 5 girl chicks and one boy. One Cock-a-doodle-doo was fine. There is some kind of life lesson here, only I am not sure what. How many cocks do you need? One is fine, six is too many and that is all I know so far. Bow-chic-a- bow-bow.

This is the same neighbor who shows up at the door every once in a while with a big mason jar of maple syrup. The real deal… yum. This makes up for the chickens… actually, I really like chickens now that I think about it. I think out in LA they eat fried chicken with waffles and syrup. I have to try that sometime.

I know, I know… you are thinking to yourself…GGJ, are you still asleep? How much wine did you consume?

Not too much and I think I am awake.

Mostly, I am happy. Happiness defies the laws of physics.  You can’t be half empty of happiness… you can only be half full.


The Wagon and The Rope

Last night I was flipping channels between football and everything else. I came upon an Oprah show where she was speaking with Steve Harvey about life. Steve Harvey told a little story about life and how it is like pulling a wagon up a hill with a rope. You are the only one on the rope. It is heavy and lays across your bare back. As you go along you end up having people in your wagon. As you go along, the people in your wagon help you clear the rocks from the road and push along….

Inevitably, you will end up with someone in your wagon who thinks it is okay to put up their feet and just ride along. It makes your burden heavy and the road very long. When this occurs (and it will) you need to throw the baggage from your wagon. (Amen!)

I got to thinking about my wagon as well as the wagons I have been in. So far, it has been an interesting ride. In my twenties I was in some wagons that I had no business being in! No wonder my Mom was nervous. But, I got lucky and if it was a little wild it was also fun and at the end of the day a great start to my collection of riders.

I was a college/optometry student for 8 years. I was broke and not always 100% sure where I was going. Luckily for me, I was in some wagons going in the same direction and I just rode along. Sometimes the occupants of my wagon knew where I was going and were pushing so hard that the wagon got ahead of the rope and basically dragged me along despite my intentions. I was a hopeless romantic and probably would have chucked the whole thing except my occupants drove me past the point of no return and kissed me goodbye and jumped overboard. Thanks, I think.

In my thirties the wagon got a little heavy. Looking back, I think this was a good thing because if you never feel the weight of a heavy wagon you cannot appreciate it later when the load is lighter. Mistakes were made. My biggest mistake was forsaking my own wagon to pull another. I put all of my eggs in one basket and the basket wasn’t even mine. So, there was a point where I had no eggs and no basket. Time to get my own wagon! It took a bit, but I got it.

My wagon is like the old Jeep Wagoneer. It takes a while to get going fast but there is plenty of room for everyone and when you go over hills really fast you get a stomach flip. Too bad they don’t make those anymore…they should bring them back.

I have a few occupants that are special. I have two octogenarians… I highly recommend getting a couple. One is my Mom who is sharp as a tack and can back up a truck and is not afraid of critters. She grew up in a large farm family and can remember WWII and other times of trouble. She doesn’t give up easily and can be relied upon to crack the whip or put the brakes on accordingly. My neighbor Jerry is in his 80’s and we grow stuff, share desserts and make sure we are both still alive. Sometimes I get home from work late at night and he will flash a flashlight from his living room that I can see from my carport. Kind of like Morse-code except I don’t know Morse code. I flash my carport lights on and off like a maniac in return. Kindred spirits.

After I saw the show I called one of my friends and told her the story about the wagon and told her she is in my wagon. We laughed and said we were stuck with each other. Her husband is in my wagon too and deserves a medal of honor. When we were students we used to practice procedures on him all of the time. Some of them were kind of unpleasant, involving a suction-cup type lens with goo running down your face…. He let us practice on him and quizzed us and really he probably could have passed the tests himself. It is good to have someone who will let you practice on them in your wagon.

As the years have rolled past I have lost and found and lost again the same riders over and over. I was confused at first and wondered if this was a good thing. The terrain is bumpy and not everyone goes the same speed. But sometimes paths cross and we can ride together again. One thing I know for sure, I have faith that if there is ever a time where I lose my grip and end up with a run-a-way wagon I have some occupants past and present who will throw up a road block.

The road of life is a long one if we are lucky and makes for a hell of a tale. Sleep well tonight friends, for tomorrow we are going to start to pull again….You can count on me, I am all in.


Montana, Sweet Montana and the Power of Pie

This week has been a long one. I am filling-in for a friend who is at a conference which means that I basically go to work, come home, put my jammies on and go back to work again. Yesterday was Wednesday and it was cool and rainy…a perfect day for jeans and a sweatshirt, naps, reading and firing up the oven for some baking. But I was at work, so I couldn’t do any of those things. Instead I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions on what kind of pie to bake and what movie to watch when I can actually do so. The responses were really good and got me to thinking…

Montana, sweet Montana…. How I love you so.

Also, it would appear that fruit pies are very popular in Central Wisconsin followed by banana and coconut cream and lemon meringue. Throw in some rhubarb and it’s all covered. Plus, I have a new source for a killer pecan pie recipe. As you know, I am an optometrist not a real baker or cook so I cheat a lot. I have a killer ho-made recipe from Rhee Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman that works every time. (I have a bad joke where I say this pie crust is Ho-made and I am the Ho that made it! It gets a laugh every time.) I buy my pie filling from Wienke’s Market in Door County, Wisconsin. I think they ship to pretty much everywhere. I like the Door County Cherry Pie Filling and usually have a jar in the cupboard and have “sources” who get it for me. That is the pie I am going to make tomorrow. I would like to try to make lemon meringue but it is raining and I think that I read/heard/watched somewhere that your meringue will “fall” if it is raining. Is that true? I have no idea, but that is my story and I am sticking to it.

On to the movies… I got a bunch of really good suggestions. I got to thinking about Legends of the Fall and Out of Africa. I love both of those movies. Both are also books. This is where I get to Montana. If you get a chance, check out Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Montana’ episode of No Reservations. You will get to meet an interesting group of people including Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall and artist Russell Chatham who is a great artist, fisherman and person.

After I saw that episode I contacted Russell Chatham to purchase a print of a fly fisherman for my Mom. We played phone tag and left messages on each other’s message machine. I ended up purchasing two of the prints, one for me and one for my Mom. Russell signed both of them and sent me another print, “just for the hell of it.” I love them both and have one in my house and one in my office which I look at every day. We did the whole deal over the phone machine, he sent me the prints without me paying anything, it was all packed and shipped super carefully- like a piece of art, with a paper invoice. I sent back a check and a note saying if I had the nerve I would sell everything and start driving West. It was a fun experience. I love that guy… I don’t know him, but I love him.

Years ago I was driving by myself from Wisconsin to Oregon where I was going to school. Just outside of Missoula, Montana I was driving through the 4th of July Pass. It was there that I saw both ends of the rainbow at the same time, and actually drove through the rainbow…. It was a magical experience. I haven’t seen both ends of the rainbow at the same time since. That area is a dramatic mix of rugged terrain and I think a person either loves it or hates it. It is where the desert meets the mountain and only the strong survive. It is a place where a person can get lost or get found depending on your point of view.

Ok, darlings I have to go to work now…. Shoot! I didn’t get to Out of Africa! Next time! Have a great day and I hope you get to eat some pie and watch a good flick this weekend. Or chuck it all and start driving! Man, I wish I was with you! Peace.GGJ