Hate Mail to I-24

Dear I-24,

I know it is probably a shock to find out that not everyone likes the Interstate Highway system, but some of us are getting sick of your consistently bad behavior.

I hate your dark asphalt and your multiple fast-moving lanes. No one seems to be able to stay in one lane. They keep switching lanes and passing. Why don’t they realize we will all end up in the same place sooner or later?

I travel on you almost every day, not because I want to but because there is no other way to get where I’m going. Commuters have become so dependent on you that alternative routes seem impossibly slow. Local roads are neglected and their numerous stop lights uncoordinated. The focus is now on you and not on alternatives.

I hate the way you intersect with other Interstates. There are never enough funds to build elaborate interchanges. So, I-24 and your good buddies I-40 and I-65 come together in a haphazard fashion that could drive any highway engineer insane. The Interstates merge and crisscross, another of your five-lane nightmares.

I hate the overhead electric signs flashing the number of fatalities. Can’t you be more positive? I especially hate your billboards that do nothing but make some advertising company rich at the expense of drivers’ attention. The most hideous signs are the electronic billboards, flashing several different ads in sequence. How are we supposed concentrate in this billboard jungle?

I hate your monstrous traffic jams. When a wreck happens, traffic is backed up for miles and miles. Actually, it doesn’t even take an accident to stop the traffic flow. A traffic stop or flashing blue light can create enough of a diversion to slow traffic to a crawl while drivers’ rubber neck.

I guess you are in a hurry to get where you are going, I-24: From Illinois, to Paducah, to Nashville, to Chattanooga, to Georgia. You are so hard-surfaced that you don’t care how frustrated people are with you in the cities you pass though.

I hate every pothole and every patch of you. You are not nearly as smooth as you seem to think you are. You are only out to give people a ride. I hate life in the fast lane. I hate your HOV lanes for vehicles with two or more passengers. That’s really not enforceable, is it?

I hate the large trucks that think they own the road. They are supposed to stay in the two right-hand lanes, but they can’t read the signs as they are going too fast. Little wonder that one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the country is a steep grade between Nashville and Chattanooga.

I hate your orange barrels and construction zones. I hate the way they close you down on the weekend to resurface you. Of course, you do need a face-lift, especially after they scarify you to make the asphalt stick. The construction seems to go on forever. Will you never be finished?
 
There is hardly a day when I travel on you without seeing something that should be called in to 911: road rage, an animal on the roadway, a broken down motorist, a speeder who imagines he is a NASCAR driver, a road hog refusing to allow cars to merge, tailgaters two inches off someones bumper, and white-knuckle drivers that are afraid to drive. You seem to bring out the worst in people.

I just wanted to let you know how I feel, I-24. I know you are hard-hearted and don’t give a whit about the incidents that take place because of you. So, you just go on thinking you are the king of the roads, but one day you will find that life has passed you by and a new bypass will take your traffic. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving highway.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Ode to Coffee Mugs

I like my coffee in a mug. Coffee demands a large cup that you can hold with more than one finger. That being said, I seem to have overdone a good thing. While cleaning the kitchen, I realized that I had accumulated more mugs than my shelf could hold.

Why would anyone need so many mugs? After all, you can only drink out of one at a time.

Looking over the mugs, I realized it was not a collection at all, but more of a miscellaneous hodgepodge of cups, most of which had materialized in my cabinet without me noticing.

I have a couple of mugs that have advertisements on them. There is one with a dot.com ad on it that could probably be disposed of, but I haven’t. There is one from Gateway that came with a computer I bought years ago. The cup outlasted the computer, which long ago became an electronic dinosaur. 

There are souvenir cups that came from conferences, one that says “Columnists do it write” and a couple of navy mugs that say, “I secretly like Nancy Grace.” I’ve not been able to bring myself to drink from the cup of Nancy Grace, so those just sit on the shelf. 

There are souvenir cups from other people’s vacations, like the one that says Bahamas. I don’t know why I need cups to remember other people’s vacations. There is even a cup that says Nashville on it. Why would I have a souvenir of my home city?

I have cups that were gifts, like the one that says “Well done.” I don’t remember what was well done, but I have the cup to remind me that I once did something well.

A few of the cups were gifts to someone else, like the one that says “Dad” and has a picture of my granddaughter. There is a tall mug that says “Coffee”. It probably came packaged with a gourmet beverage inside.  I don’t like it because it has the one finger style handle.

Some cups are seasonal and celebrate a holiday like Halloween or Christmas. I have a a scarecrow mug, and several for Christmas. Of course, those can only be used at the right time of the year, preferably with flavored beverages.

Some of the mugs I actually purchased, for instance, those two, red, Angry Birds cups. I bought them for gifts and then decided they were too stupid to give to anyone, so they ended up in my cabinet.

One pretty mug with a large blue heart is the lone survivor of a matching set of four. I remember how angry I was at a friend who borrowed a mug from my new set and never returned it. I can’t use that mug as it makes me mad all over again.

Another mug is too faded to read but was purchased at the Corvette Museum and said “Get your kicks on Rt. 66.” Actually, there once were two of those. I don’t know what happened to the other. It apparently had enough kicks and faded into oblivion.

One extra large mug has an ad for 1887 tobacco. I have no earthly idea where it came from or why I have it.  I’m not sure what 1887 tobacco is for – smoking, chewing, dipping or sniffing. The cup could be for spitting for all I know.

My favorite mugs ever were stoneware with a Pennsylvania Dutch design. I hated it when the last one broke. I tried to find more, but never could.

There are mugs with flowers and mugs with teddy bears. I don’t know why I don’t throw away this ridiculous assortment and buy a set of pretty matching mugs. But, they are like old friends; each has a personality and a story. They are mugs with character.

A new set would soon be broken and miscellaneous cups would creep in unnoticed to fill the empty spaces. I might as well keep the ones I have.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Your So-called Vacation


EMAIL

From: Dixie Dog
TO: Daddy
SUBJECT: Your so-called vacation

I hope you are having a good time on your vacation without me. I’m here at home right where you left me, all alone with nobody to take me for a walk.

I just wanted to set you straight about a few things before you hear any false rumors that I misbehaved while you were gone. I might have been a little upset that you went on a vacation and left me here alone with nobody but a dog sitter to take care of me, but I tried not to show it.

You might hear that I had a few so-called “accidents” on the floor, but that is not true. If there were puddles on the floor – and I’m not admitting that there were – it wasn’t me. After all, I could not jump on my human daddy and ask him to walk me when he wasn’t here. I think you should have considered this possibility before leaving me here.

The fence you built out of chicken wire so I could go outside in the yard is a laugh. I liked the grass on the other side of the fence better. As you know, I am a pretty clever little dog. It took me only about two trips outside before I figured out how to scoot under it and run away.

It was fun to hide behind the bushes and watch everyone running around frantically looking for me. I thought it would be a great prank to have the dog sitter call you and say I was lost, but she spotted me hiding and put me back in prison.

After that, the dog sitter started trying to walk me herself. I jumped off the porch to chase a cat, and she fell off all by herself. I saved her from a vicious animal, but she didn’t appreciate it. That was when she started calling me the devil dog.

I really missed sleeping in your bed at night. The dog sitter let me sleep with her, but it is not the same. I finally figured out a solution, though. If I sat in the middle of your bed and barked long enough, the dog sitter finally came and slept with me to get me to shut up. I don’t know why she was so mad. I couldn’t sleep by myself with no one to keep me warm at night.

The dog sitter has been petting me and giving me a lot of attention, but she is not my daddy. Why did you leave me here? I like vacations too. You have never left me behind before. I was so upset that I threw up a few times, but the dog sitter cleaned me up so what’s the big deal? I didn’t like getting my face washed, stupid dog sitter. She said I am spoiled, another lie.  I should have bitten her.

By the way, did she tell you that I had a little accident on your bed?  If you notice that it is a little damp when you get home, I didn’t do it. I was framed.

And now, if you will excuse me, I see some of my doggie friends outside and I need to stand at the window and bark for a while. Their daddy is walking them. They are lucky to have a daddy that loves them and does not go off and leave them alone.

You are not planning on taking any more vacations without me, are you? The dog sitter said she will never sit with me again. I don’t know why.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss
 

 

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Domestic Diva vs. Grumpy Granny

DOMESTIC DIVA: There is nothing like a homemade Thanksgiving meal to celebrate the holiday and show your family how much you care.

GRUMPY GRANNY: There is nothing like calling all your friends and relatives to try to wrangle an invitation for dinner so you don’t have to cook.

DOMESTIC DIVA: The most important thing, of course, is the turkey. I recommend buying a fresh one, more expensive but the difference is worth the extra cost.

GRUMPY GRANNY: If your good-for-nothing relatives insist on coming to your house, try to find a stupid frozen turkey on sale somewhere.

DOMESTIC DIVA: Everything for this special occasion should be homemade. Use your own dry bread crumbs and seasonings for stuffing. Prepared stuffing mix is way too spicy.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Who has dry bread crumbs? I made sandwiches out of the dry bread yesterday. Stove Top dressing is good enough for anybody.

DOMESTIC DIVA: Get up early on Thanksgiving Day and stuff the turkey. Use a cooking thermometer to be sure it comes out perfect. The smell of a stuffed turkey baking is wonderful.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Cooking thermometer? What’s that pop-up thing in the turkey for? My turkey is frozen as hard as a rock. How do you thaw out these stupid things anyhow? I’ll just stick it in the oven and pray. I can take out that stupid bag of giblets after it cooks.

DOMESTIC DIVA: While the turkey is roasting, prepare homemade side dishes. Peel fresh sweet potatoes, snap green beans, boil fresh potatoes for homemade mashed potatoes. There is no substitute for the delicious taste of fresh ingredients.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Hello….. Why did God create can openers? Open canned sweet potatoes and green beans. Use instant mashed potato flakes and packaged gravy. Why kill yourself?

DOMESTIC DIVA: Set the table with your best tablecloth, cloth napkins, china and silver. A special occasion deserves your finest and presentation is half the meal.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Have you lost your mind? Throw some paper plates on the table. You can usually find them on sale. If you don’t have any paper napkins, use paper towels.

DOMESTIC DIVA: Don’t forget to decorate with a beautiful seasonal centerpiece for your table, such as fall flowers or colorful gourds. Spice-scented candles add another festive touch.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Are you kidding? Don’t put anything on the table that they can’t eat….. period.

DOMESTIC DIVA: Appetizers are a nice touch for guests while they wait for the turkey to finish baking. A cheese ball and crackers or veggies and dip make an easy to prepare appetizer.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Why do they call them appetizers? They should call them “appetite killers.” Hide the snacks! No junk food before dinner! They will fill up on crackers and cheese and won’t be hungry after all the work I’ve done..

DOMESTIC DIVA: Serve the turkey with all the trimmings and enjoy the wonderful tradition you are creating. Be sure to give thanks for all your blessings!

GRUMPY GRANNY: Beg them to leave the football game on TV off long enough to eat. Give thanks if the right team is winning and they can spare 5 minutes to scarf down the food.

DOMESTIC DIVA: Don’t forget to save room for homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

GRUMPY GRANNY: Homemade pie in your eye! You mean don’t forget to take the frozen pie out of the oven before it burns — not that anyone likes pumpkin pie anyhow.

DOMESTIC DIVA: Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

GRUMPY GRANNY: Happy Thanksgiving? The only thing I’m giving thanks for is leftovers and the microwave.

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss

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Goodbye to Leaf Peeping



I didn’t set off any more car alarms as I had previously when waiting for the others to hike, but I did get in the wrong car. I ran out in the rain opened the door to a car of the same color that was parked next to ours. “Hello,” said a lady inside. “Whoops, so sorry, your car looks just like ours.” Seems I’m determined to be embarrassed to death by rental cars.

We were getting tired of “leaf peeping” as the locals called it when you view the fall color, and it was raining again. We went to a railroad museum and made a few pictures while trying to avoid being trampled by tourists getting on the train or being run over by a train while we were crossing the tracks from the parking lot.

After that we looked for an Audubon trail and couldn’t find it, but figured the birds were probably hiding from the rain anyhow. Even the Chamber of Commerce was closed.  Finally, we decided to call the day a rainout and go shopping at a crafts store.

“I have been to the mountain top,” Dr. Martin Luther King said. And the next day I could say it too. There is a mountain in New Hampshire called Mt. Washington that is supposed to be the third tallest peak east of the Mississippi. To get to the top, you can drive or take a cog railroad. I wanted to take the railroad. Everyone else wanted to drive.

It was a narrow, winding road, so steep a mountain goat would say, “No thanks.” But here we were, driving along with sheer cliffs straight up on one side and straight down on the other and one wheel hanging its toes over the side of the road.

I promised God when we drove to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado years ago that if I got down alive, I would never do such a thing again. But here I was, doing it again – different mountain – same thing.

At a certain elevation the paved road ended and became dirt, “no traction,” I surmised. When we finally made it to the top, we were in the clouds and you couldn’t see a thing – same as Pike’s Peak. So, what’s the point of risking your life? Don’t ask me. I’m just grateful that God didn’t hold me to my promise.

It is said that people have raced up and down the mountain road. Horses, wagons, and carriages drove it in the olden days. I feel sorry for any horse that had to pull a wagon up that steep grade. Today buses and motorcycles take it on.

Why do men climb mountains? Because they are there, it is said. I’m a flat-lander myself.

The next day it was raining again. Does it ever stop raining in New Hampshire? The group went on yet another hike at a place called the Flume, apparently a big tourist stop for buses and international visitors. The hikers came back from the trail soaking wet again.

Good news, I finally saw a moose, except it was a stuffed one in the visitors’ center. Best I could do.

At last we did something I wanted to do, which was visit the home of poet Robert Frost, who once lived in the area. It was a simple farm house with wood floors and sparse furniture. It had a big stone fireplace and one area was roped off for the poet-in-residence to live. Each year a poet is selected to live for a year and be inspired. It would have been nice visit if it wasn’t so wet.

We decided not to stay long as it was late and we had “miles to go before we sleep.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.) Good thing as we went the wrong direction and ended up in Vermont, driving in circles for about an hour. Eventually we found our way back, driving more winding mountain roads at night.

By the time we got back, I was happy to pack my suitcase and say goodbye to fall leaves, covered bridges, mountain roads and rain.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Test-Tube Lobsters

While not especially humorous, the lobster industry was an interesting aspect of a trip to Maine and I want to share it with readers.

I found out more than I ever wanted to know about lobsters in Maine. They are so proud of the hideous creatures that I’m surprised they are not on the state flag. However, a large part of the economy of the state is based on the lobster industry. Maine produces 75% to 80% of all lobsters used in the U.S.

Since lobsters are so economically necessary, they are artificially bred to ensure a large supply of lobsters is available. We visited a lobster hatchery where we met a lobster fisherperson who explained fishing for lobsters. She was not a fisherman but a fisher-woman.

Somehow fishing is not an occupation that I expected a woman to have, and she did admit that it is not something usually done by a female. It seems her husband was a fisherman, and after he passed on she decided to continue the business. She said that she has always been around fishing and the sea and it is the way of life familiar to her. She has her own fishing boat that she takes out to sea.

Lobster fishing is tightly regulated and controlled. Fishers are allowed to have only a certain number of traps and have to fish in a designated area. Lobsters cannot be too small and so the little ones are allowed to escape through an escape hatch in the trap. Lobsters that are too large are sometimes caught in the traps, but they are turned loose as they are the breeders.

Prices for lobsters vary according to how big the catches are for the year. Lobster fishers are not paid nearly as much for the lobsters as people pay at restaurants, she assured us. According to information I have seen, the fishers get only a few dollars a pound for all the trouble of catching them. For every dollar paid to a lobster fisher for a lobster, $3 to $5 is generated for related businesses such as processors, restaurants, marinas and bait suppliers.

The lobsterwoman showed us how she sets and retrieves a lobster trap. She removes the “bugs” as the fishers call them, from the traps and puts bands on the large claws. Hearing about the lobsters was probably one of the most interesting parts of the entire trip, but I don’t think I’ll be going to sea any time soon.

We then visited the actual hatchery where the lobsters are bred. Female lobsters with fertilized eggs are removed from the sea and taken to the hatchery where they are held in tanks until the eggs hatch. The eggs remain attached to the lobster and are carried around for nine months before hatching. Seem familiar?

After hatching, the tiny lobsters, barely visible, are removed and placed in an area with rows of large bubbling tubes about eight feet tall that resemble the lab of a mad scientist in a science fiction movie. Because lobsters are predatory and will eat each other, they are kept apart by the fierce bubbling action in the water.

We laughingly dubbed them “test-tube lobsters.

When they grow larger, they are separated into small individual tanks until they are large enough to return to the sea. They are released at the bottom of the sea in areas where conditions are best for survival. Only about fifty percent survive to become adults, but in the wild, the survival rate by natural reproduction is only about ten percent.

All of this trouble only to ensure the survival of lobsters so they can be caught and eaten. Somehow it spoiled my appetite and I decided I would just have a salad for dinner.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Land of Lobsters and Lighthouses

In Tennessee the leaves of late fall are turning deep gold and red in their last hurrah before giving up to the wind. Fall comes later in the South than in the North. Today I have another column in the ongoing series about New England. The title of the column pretty much says it all.
 

We had packed early and left New Hampshire behind to head for the rocky shores of Maine. On the way made several stops to look at lighthouses. Lighthouses are maintained by the Coast Guard, but the parks around them belong to others, usually a city. I don’t know why it matters, just thought I would mention it.

The first lighthouse we saw was in Portland, Maine and was appropriately called Portland Head Light. It was very picturesque, like a postcard or calendar. The next lighthouse was called Pemaquid Point and it had a lot of accessible rocks on the seashore that were not fenced. We were warned not to walk out on them as big waves have swept people out to sea. Of course, Mo walked out there anyhow. Lucky for him there was no big wave at that time.


We finally made it to Acadia National Park. Thanks to our hanging around at the lighthouses, it was too late to do anything except find a restaurant serving lobsters, as if there are any in Maine that do not. Bar Harbor, close to the park, is a highly developed tourist area. All the stores are gift shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

We tried to figure out why it was called Bar Harbor and decided that the sailors probably looked forward to going to bars when the ships came in to harbor. We found out later that it was only due to a sandbar.

We were frequently reminded that it is A-cadia, not Ar-cadia, as some people call it, including me. It is unusual because it has both mountains and rocky seashore and has been endowed by rich benefactors such as Rockefeller and L.L. Bean. It was a resort area for the rich and famous who came to the area to summer in the Gilded Age.
 

We drove to the top of a mountain in the park called Cadillac Mountain with no steep roads or plunging cliffs. The view from the top was spectular, but it was windy and cold. Mo had to make a picture of every rock and scenic view before we could leave.

Later we went to a little town called Eastharbor. All the villages are named something-harbor. It must be a law. We bought sandwiches in a deli and found a picnic table, which was nice until the sun went behind a pine tree. We thought that we might see some wild life but all we saw was one squirrel and some crows.

We decided at the end of the day to drive to a lighthouse – more lighthouses. It was the only one we saw with the light actually on, a real working lighthouse. We were caught in a terrible traffic jam on the way created by a grand exodus of weekend visitors all leaving at the same time.

We went to another restaurant called a lobster pound. You could look into the kitchen and see the giant steaming pots where they cook lobsters. There was also a tank where the live lobsters were piled on top of each other waiting for their number to come up. It was like a lobster holocaust. They told us that lobsters have no nervous system and do not feel pain. I looked it up later and found other opinions on this, however.

We decided to visit a lobster hatchery. Who knew lobsters are hatched? They are not very exciting, or very friendly. Other sea creatures were more interesting and we were invited to touch and hold such things as sea cucumbers, sea urchins and clams. I held the sea urchin which was covered with spines like a tiny porcupine. It only uses the spines to appear unappetizing to fish, not to sting tourists. I also held a mussel, which is similar to a clam or oyster. It behaved well when other people held it, but when I held it the shell opened, and it looked out with a row of tiny eyes, then snapped shut.
 
Sorry, musssel, but I feel the same way about you.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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Covered Bridges

What’s a trip to New England without covered bridges? I love covered bridges, so, of course, it was mandated that we look for bridges. We didn’t have to look far as there were two right in the area where we were staying. One was old and for walking only. The other was a bridge that was actually in use. Cars could drive on it, so we drove across and then stopped on the other side to make the required photographs of other tourists making pictures.

Later we found yet another covered bridge, this one with both traffic and walking, which made for an interesting combination since there were no sidewalks. For the most part, the cars watched out better for wandering tourists than the tourists watched out for traffic, enabling many disasters to be narrowly avoided.

When we got home, someone asked if we met Meryl Streep or Clint Eastwood. Sorry, that was a different movie. Our movie was more like one made for television featuring senior citizens by the busload. The only things missing were children, who had used up summer vacation and were back in school. Some of the adults were worse than kids, however, walking thoughtlessly in front of you while you were taking pictures and rushing from one place to another as if a waterfall might be turned off before they could see it.

In addition to covered bridges, there were other wooden bridges built over scenic places, such as river cascades. These bridges seemed to have no particular purpose except to allow tourists to get a better look and a better picture to post on Facebook. We walked across one suspended bridge that bounced and swayed slightly as you walked. I was okay with walking across bridges as long as I didn’t look down through the cracks in the floor and see the water rushing below.

We saw scenic overlook after scenic overlook and hiking trail after hiking trail.  My sister wanted to walk every trail we found. Remembering the long, long hike from our previous experience and my bad back, I decided to opt out on some of these. My adventures in parking lots were more interesting than the trails anyhow. At one trail, I waited outside at a picnic table in woods that grew colder and damper by the minute. I thought I would freeze to death or be eaten by bears before they returned.

The next time, I found out what happens when everyone goes for a hike and I stay behind in the car. It pours rains and everyone gets soaking wet except me. I also found out that when a car is locked, the alarm is on and if you open the door to take pictures, the alarm goes off loudly. Once again, the car keys had gone on the hike and I just had to wait for the horn to stop honking and reset itself regardless of annoyed stares from other people.

After a while, all the scenic overlooks seemed to melt together and look the same. At one stop, however, there was an old cracker-box style house that had once belonged to a woman whose husband abandoned her. According to legend, she put a light in the window in case he decided to come home, every night for 37 years. After she died, guess who returned and tried to lay claim to the estate?

Further along, we stopped at a restaurant with a giant wooden lobster on the outside porch. We whipped out the cameras to take pictures. The hostess told us how someone had tried to steal the lobster by cutting the bolts and dragging it down the handicap ramp to the parking lot. Eventually, they abandoned their efforts in a foot of snow. Unfortunately, one claw was broken off during the escapade, but it was later repaired. Like a brass moose, I had to wonder what thieves would do with a giant wooden lobster.

The waitress didn’t know and neither did I.


Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

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New Hampshire Autumn

I was packed and ready to go at 5 o’clock in the morning. I didn’t think there would be many people flying at 5 o’clock on Sunday morning. Wrong. The place was packed.

Going through airport security, I had my first experience with a body scanner. I’ve heard of these things. They can see through your clothes like Superman. I didn’t know how long it took or whether to hold my breath like for an X-ray. Before I could blink, it was over and the security guard was telling me, “Come on out, lady.”

The flight to Philly was fine except for a gabby lady across the aisle that didn’t shut up for the entire flight. The connection from Philly was delayed. After all the planning we had done to coordinate flights and get to New Hampshire at the same general time as my sister and brother-in-law, we spent two hours waiting, and wouldn’t you just know it, listening to another gabby lady who talked endlessly on a cell phone – one call after another. She must have called everyone she knew.

When we finally got to New Hampshire, I spotted a large bronze moose in the airport that reminded me of article I wrote called “What to do with a Brass Moose.” I didn’t think of putting it at the airport to amuse the tourists. I wanted to take a picture and my sister said “Go ahead as it will probably be only moose we see.” It seems she once looked for moose for an entire vacation in Canada and never did see any, even though other people saw them walking the streets of downtown.

We were all starving as we had been traveling all day. We didn’t know which restaurant was a good place to eat, so we decided we would go to one with a cute name. We decided on “The Muddy Moose.” Bad choice. With my sister’s luck at finding moose, we couldn’t find the restaurant. However, we did find one called “Horsefeathers” and figured that was cute enough.

The next day was rainy; in fact every day was rainy with clouds and mist hanging on the mountains. We decided to do an auto tour of the mountains and check out the foliage. The leaves were gorgeous, all shades of yellow, gold, orange and red. A lot of maple trees grow there, which probably accounts for the beautiful colors. It was a tossup as to which color was prettier, but it would be hard to find anything more glorious than a red maple.

New Hampshire has a lot of waterfalls, dozens. It quit raining long enough for us to walk a trail to a waterfall that was supposed to be only a half mile away. The more we walked, the further away the waterfall became. I know we walked 5 miles. There was a breathtaking cascading falls at the end of the trail. That was the good part. The bad part is that we then had to walk back to the car. I was really feeling sorry for myself until we met up with an old lady on a walker who was hiking the trail.

We found other waterfalls that you could see without having to hike, though, and so many gorgeous vistas with mountains, lakes, and fall leaves of all colors that our eyes were sore from looking. The color was at its peak and we decided that nothing could possibly be any grander than this or we would find that we had died and gone to heaven.

I always thought that heaven had only clouds, but my sister insisted that heaven has trees. We never did decide. I guess we will have to wait and see. I don’t know if there are any moose in heaven either; however, I do know that there are no moose in New Hampshire, at least none that we ever saw.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

Today is the first column in a series about a trip I took to New England. I hope you will get a few smiles as well as enjoy the image of a colorful fall.

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Older than Dirt

I’ve not checked the mirror, (We are not on speaking terms.) but I’m beginning to suspect that I’m getting old:

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU ARE OLDER THAN DIRT?

*You can’t figure out the remote control or the automatic coffeemaker.
*You get discounts by playing the age card or the AARP card.
*You can fall sound asleep while sitting up and wake yourself up snoring.
*You don’t go to places with stairs instead of elevators.
*You can’t read the small print and can’t find the magnifying glass.
*You don’t answer the phone because you are tired of hearing your friends complain.
*You feel a chill and need a sweater, even when it’s 80 degrees.
*You sometimes misplace things and think you have been robbed.
*You can’t get the child-proof tops off of medicine bottles.
*You used to like to cook but now you like to microwave or eat out.
*You favorite TV shows are all reruns.
*You gave up driving at night since the doctor says you have cataracts.
*Your Facebook picture is 20 years old because your new pictures “don’t look like you.”
*You don’t like to travel because it is too much trouble to pack.
*You hire someone to do chores because you don’t want to bother your kids.
*Your closet only has sensible shoes.
*If you sneeze, you have to change your underwear.
*You have professional pedicures because you can’t reach your toes.
*You wish people would stop walking so fast and running over you.
*If you go shopping, you spend half your time looking for the restroom.
*You wonder how they get away with charging $5 for a stupid greeting card.
*You can’t remember names, phone numbers, or where you left your false teeth.
*You know a half dozen alternative uses for a crochet hook.
*Your favorite scent is eucalyptus menthol rub.
*You don’t like electronics with an “i” in front of their name.
*You vote for anyone who says they will not cut social security or Medicare.
*You carry a folding walking cane in your bag – just in case.
*You go to senior citizen meetings, not for food or fellowship, but to play Bingo.
*When you leave Wal-Mart, you can’t remember where you parked the car.
*You still read the newspaper with your morning coffee.
*You have a cell phone for emergencies but can’t remember to charge it.
*You insist on talking to a real person on the phone instead of a recorded message.
*You don’t trust banks, insurance companies, loan companies or credit cards.
*You are trying to figure out how to keep a nursing home from getting you and your life savings.
*You are tired of people asking how you feel. How do they think you feel at your age?
*You would rather buy another one than go to the attic to look for something.
*You give away things so you don’t have to dust them anymore.
*You have aches and pains in places you can’t talk about.
*You think renewing your driver’s license online is the best idea since cordless phones.
*You think debit cards are great and electronic checks are even better.
*You carry out your own groceries at the store so people won’t think you are too old.
*You don’t eat hotdogs anymore because they give you indigestion.
*You sleep with a heating pad on whatever is hurting most that day.
*You don’t know who all these actors, actresses and singers are that are winning awards.
*You only eat out at restaurants that give a senior discount.
*You don’t like smart phones that are smarter than you are.
*You carry a flashlight, rain bonnet, and hand wipes because you can’t be too careful these days.
*You can’t remember if you took your pills but are afraid to take them again.
*You can’t find your glasses because you can’t see how to find them without them.

Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss

Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments