A Jump Start to Bridge

My Aunt Mayrose is proud to say she is a “Life Master”.   Yes a Life Mater of the card game Bridge. Aunt Mayrose has been playing the age-old card game since she learned it while my Uncle Earl was in World War II. Wanting to learn the game I recently tagged along to one of her bridge games.

She belongs to more than one club. Members range in age 19 to 99. While youngsters learn the game each year, bridge is dominated mostly by older adults.

True, Aunt Mayrose spent the better part of one afternoon introducing me to the game. Perhaps some people are just not meant to play bridge.

Before we begin she explains, “In order to make the most of your hands, you will probably have to play them through more than once. “ I raise my arms in the air, “Sorry, I only brought one set of hands.” She was not amused.

A standard deck of cards is used: Ace (high) through 2 (low). There are four players, each pair forming a partnership. Partners sit opposite each other. A game is won by scoring 100 points, earned by taking tricks during the hand. Sounded simple so far.

Aunt Mayrose leaned over and said, “The auction begins once players have had a chance to study their cards.” I was more than a tad confused. Were we playing cards or having an auction?

Terms like – clear suit, long suit, follow suit, major suit, minor suit, plain suit, side suit, short suit, and void suit – were used all afternoon. I wondered why they were so worried about suits when most of these ladies were wearing sun dresses.

My Aunt Mayrose spoke right up and said, “First lead the King of Spades from the Dummy and follow suit.” What a remark. Obvious to me: I was the dummy of the group not the lady to my left.

“Take the early tricks in the short hand and the later tricks in the long hand,” Aunt Mayrose says. Who’s the dummy now? I look down at both of my hands: they are the same.

I should have known that the afternoon was a wash out from the start. First they call each other by positions. South, West, North and East. I am quite certain that I was sitting northwest all afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Order: Chaos

My  sister-in-law is a wonderful person. She is exquisite but her house is a mess. I’ve always wondered if there was any truth to the rumor that they won’t even sell her a subscription to Good Housekeeping Magazine.

True, clutter makes the home looked lived in. It is not necessary to be so clean that you can eat off the floor. But it would be nice to eat off your plate and see the table. I can’t recall ever once seeing the top of her kitchen table.

I don’t even want to talk about the family room. We always have to clear a space on the couch just to sit down. I’d be afraid to ask her to use the telephone. Her husband said the phone has been missing for weeks. Her son swears if he ever needed change, all he had to do was look under the couch cushions.

I once heard her blame the dust on a faulty flue. Yes, there is a fireplace in the living room. But really a faulty flue ? You have a Portable Walnut Fireplace Heater with a “fake” fireplace.

She always has a sink full of dishes. My husband suspects it is a good way to cover up a dirty sink. By the way, I’m not saying it’s time to defrost the refrigerator — but you can see frost on the outside.

Instead of washing the light fixtures, her husband swears she just uses stronger bulbs. In the fifteen years of marriage they have gone from 25 watts to a three hundred watt.

She has a Rubbermaid tote in the garage for Goodwill. I think it gives the impression that something might actually be going to a worthy cause. She once mentioned she was doing a magazine article and can’t change anything until she takes the “before” picture. And when will she be finishing this article?

She laughs that they live in a home not a house. She will start picking up items after her boys grow up and leave home. She might be better off leaving home with them.

Next month — maybe I’ll talk about my aunt. I’m not saying she is a lousy cook. But it is rumored that in her house they have Alka Seltzer on tap.

 

 

 

Skating taught me to set a goal

Roller blades, also called in-line skates, are an increasingly popular summer activity for families. So I agreed to give them a try. “It’s a great way to get around and a fun way to exercise,” Ann said. “If I can do it, anybody can.” I wondered, would it be that easy to learn?

The cost and quality of in-line skates varies dramatically from store to store. You can get generic-looking skates for $30 to $60, while sports shops sell brand name rollerblades starting at $100 and up.

Basically, you get what you pay for. When you get the more expensive ones, you get a better grade of bearing, and it’s got a better grade of carriage underneath. Everything is better quality and lasts longer.

I was satisfied buying a discount pair. Fashion isn’t a main concern. I wear wrist, elbow and knee pads.

It’s Saturday afternoon: Ann and Nancee, two cousins, are skating around Northeast Elementary School in Greenwood. I will admit that I scooted around the parking lot until I gained confidence. At first the knees were shaky but my spirit soared.

Learning to control the brake was the most difficult part for me. I still don’t have the knack of speed and brake. It’s more like speed and spin to stop.

I did question what I would feel the first time I saw the pavement coming to meet me. Much to my surprise I got up faster than I thought I would. I was having too much fun not to.

Now I can say it. Roller blades are not for everyone, but yes if I can do it anyone can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Birds Stopping By…..

Construction of birdhouses and bird feeders can be as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. Bird feeders can look like tiny bungalows, wooden A-frames or miniature chalets. Bird houses need no ornamentation to serve the birds using them, but an attractive design can enhance a yard. Thus, the custom built bird feeders are for the person filling them not for the birds.

My neighbor has two wood salad bowls with a wooden rod through the center. The house across the street has a large glass hanging feeder.  

A feeder could be attached to any window.   It will bring the  bird up  close for an exciting view.   The tube bird feeder,  found in any variety store,  could be fun.   One neighbor has a  bird feeder  made from old car license plates.

My  nephew  made an egg carton bird feeder in school. My Aunt Hilda has bird houses made out of gourds hanging off of her porch. My grandmother has a rustic barn creation bird feeder that has painted on the top, “See Rock City.”

Building a bird house can be purely practical or absolutely outrageous.   In   Greenwood  I have found bird house  and  feeders built to resemble a  gazebo,  a church,  a log cabin,  a totem-like housing complex,  a pagoda,  a school house,  even a little outhouse!    It was a one-holer of a different sort.

Would the blue jays, sparrows, starlings or finches that visit the feeder in my yard be more excited if I had a little deck for the feathered guests to stand on? I think not.

Bird feeder and houses are designed to bring pleasure for you and benefit our feathered friends. Where is it written that I have to build a fanciful birdhouse? It doesn’t seem to matter to the birds.

Mix together my plain and simple looking bird feeder with bird seed and it looks like a scene from the movie  The Birds  in the back yard.  Works for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Signs


Have you noticed all the different signs around town? True, more than one sign is strictly advertisements — periodically they are interesting.

One can’t help but notice the flashing neon sign on Madison near the Greenwood Shopping Mall. More than a few letters are gone. It blinks “quor” instead of advertising the establishment sells Liquor.

Did you happen to see the portable marquee sign on Meridian? “Tina, I love you – please come back.”   I wonder what ever happened to Tina.

The canopy sign outside of Fazoli’s advertised: All you “care to eat for $2.99”. I took my nephews and couldn’t help but notice they took the sign down the next day.  

Within a few blocks of the Shopping Mall, there is a deer crossing sign. True, plenty of deer cross a highway causing more than one accident. But honestly, have you ever seen a deer cross at where the signs are?

More than a few banks have electronic signs giving the date, time and temperature.   However; when it is 93 degrees outside, who needs to read a sign to know it’s hot.

There is a stop sign on Main Street in Greenwood that obviously doesn’t mean stop. More often than not when the cars come up to the street they roll right through.   I got a ticket there once. Now I stop.

By far my favorite sign is the billboard on I-65. As you head south toward Columbus you can’t miss it.   “Tattoos While You Wait”   Well, I would certainly hope so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horoscope Compatibility

 

A friend,  whom I’ll call Suzie,  reads her horoscope each morning as she drinks her coffee.   Lately,  she has been  giving me advice  on how I  should  handle the day.
I am not a superstitious person. I do not believe in fortune tellers with a deck of cards, nor do I believe that my life can be ruled by the alignment of the planets. I do have to admit that every now and then, when she gives advice, she can come curiously close to the fact.
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a book that had different astrology descriptions about my sign (I am a Gemini – born between May 22 and June 21). Now I have to say I do not believe everything that I read, but it is amusing to read these things to see how close or factual they actually are.
The book  gives  the  names of some famous Gemini:  John F. Kennedy,  Frank Lloyd Wright,  Cole Porter,  John Dillinger —  opps  maybe I’ll skip to the next page.
From what I read, Gemini is symbolized by the Twins which represents the duality of interest, occupation, and performance. Born under the sign of Gemini, my moods are like quick silver and change with the wind. Wait, what was I going to do next?
The reading continues: You think you like everyone and everyone should like you. Therefore you have many acquaintances. Excuse me while I answer the telephone, my friends keep calling tonight.
According to the literature, a Gemini thinks fast, talks fast, and can give the impression of a person always on the go. Actually, you run on nervous energy which can manifest as irritability and restlessness. Sometimes, I get so aggravated with this cell phone for not keeping up with my web page.
It reads that “a Gemini can think and talk but seldom listens”.
“Sorry honey, were you saying something?”
Again, I  don’t believe in everything these  readings  had to say.  Some were close, others were way out there,  and  there were some parts that hit it right on the head.   If you believe in this stuff,  well then good for you.   I think the Pisces astrology  interpretations  fit me the closest.   Guess I’ll have to change my birth date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature Has Done Her Best

Don’t put away those snow shovels, heavy coats and gloves just yet.   Better double check that bag of salt for the sidewalk too.

Mother Nature has done her best, teasing us that spring is right around the corner. The daffodils have jumped up out of the long silent lawn. Within a few days the tulips should pop up to say hello. Yet, you can bet there is plenty of a snow, ice and below-freezing temperature waiting to grab our attention.

The old saying about Indiana, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around another five minutes and it will change,” rings true. Less than a week ago registration was taken for the men’s and women’s softball leagues. Will they have to clear home plate of any snow?

Last Saturday, folks ignored the occasional raindrops to enjoy the first few days of comfortable weather. My brother-in-law, who supposedly is a winter couch potato, could be found on the golf course. Who can tell what winter will be like in March?

It is nice to see the garden shops around town preparing for their openings. Walmart is getting their patio display in order on their side parking lot.   More than one produce stand is setting greenhouse items. With the promise of warm days not too far away, we will be able to plant that garden!

Remember if you do not like Indiana weather; give it a day or two. Within days of the last snow this month, there were customers in Walmart wearing t-shirts and shorts.

Definitely, the warmer temperatures forecast for the next week is a welcome diversion from ice, snow and freezing temperatures. Yet it means only one thing—potholes.   And plenty of them.