33 % More Fun

Life is supposed to be fun

Aunt Phyllis

My Aunt Phyllis turned 80 in April and I was so excited to be a part of her special birthday celebration. It was a weekend full of fun, slideshows, dinners, breakfast and back for more dinners.

Saturday night was particularly special as everyone gave tribute to how my Aunt had touched their lives. Some were funny, some were thoughtful, but mostly they were all filled with overwhelming love and appreciation for such a magnificent person. I’m not much for speeches so I didn’t give my tribute in person so I thought I would write it here instead.

I’ve always greatly admired my Aunt. She has the gift of storytelling and as a child I couldn’t wait to hear about all of her adventures over and over again. There was the poor tuba man in the marching band that tripped and got stuck to the pavement on a hot summer day. The goose that bit her leg, with scars left to prove it!  The bicycle that ran her over when she was little, and a cherry tree ladder that feel right on top of her. It’s a wonder she made it through childhood.

But my favorite stories were the ones of far off places. She’d tell us about Japan and explain how bowing the lowest was a great sign of respect.  Once, as a guest in someone’s house, they kept bowing lower and lower to each other until they were practically on the floor. They had a good laugh, but I’m not sure they ever resolved who respected whom more. We’d listen to Tikki Tikki Tembo on repeat on her record player. One year she even created an authentic Japanese dinner for us and dressed us up in kimonos! I’ve always thought that she was so brave and she has also always been an inspiration to me.

Many years ago a colleague asked me who was the most interesting and influential person I knew. Without any hesitation I told him about my Aunt Phyllis. I’m sure I told him about all her travels, but the thing I distinctly remember trying to convey the most was about her spirit. My Aunt is just so full of love and joy, it radiates from her with such power you can’t help but feel her warmth and love surround you. She has this way of making you feel special and important as she asks about your life and truly listens to you. She is fun, loves to laugh, and always puts others before herself. She’s has an unwavering faith in God and is always optimistic. That’s what inspires me most about her. She’s just always present with you, right there in that moments, finding the joy and laughter in life. She has always been an influential part of my life as has always been a constant source of inspiration as I look to find the best in life.

 

 

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My Rainy Saturday

This weekend was special, to put it nicely. First, my car got towed while it was legally parked on the street in front of my house. Thanks Houston. So my husband and I made a plan to pick it up early the next morning before he went to his Saturday class. A few hundred dollars later I had my car and was headed home and looking forward to crawling back into bed, but I would not be so lucky.

See, the car that got towed is our spar car that we are working on selling. It wasn’t until I got home that morning that I remembered we had taken the house key off of the key chain. I was locked out. Crap, crappidy, crap, crap, crap!!!

The rain was coming down hard as I pulled out a chair and just sat in the middle of the garage. It was a little past 8am and I seriously contemplated if it was too early to start drinking. My husbands class was a 4 hr class way on the other side of town, it didn’t really seem to make since to go get the key from him, surely I could entertain myself some way.

I pulled out my phone, “Great, 20% battery. I guess I’m not entertaining myself with youtube videos. Think, think, think. How do I turn lemons into lemonade? With Vodka! Maybe it’s not too early to start drinking. No it’s definitely too early to start drinking.” So I just sat there and kept thinking.

I finally remembered that I’d always wanted to go to the Printing Museum. That seemed like a good activity for a rainy day. The printing museum was actually kind of amazing! Of course it explained the history of printing and it had old newspapers displayed. I really liked the papers from colonial times, they even had colonial currency.

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I was also interested to hear that the typewriter had a bit of a bumpy start when it first came out and it took the invention of the telephone before the typewriter really got its start.

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The museum had wonderful old printing machines and because it was Saturday they were doing demonstrations. I found it absolutely fascinating. The Linotype was the most interesting. You type the word or phrase you want on the keyboard which drops a mold of each letter. When the typist is ready the machine pours a melted metal consisting of lead, antimony, and tin to make the cast. Then they put all the casts together to create the page for printing. When they are done with the casts they just remelt them. I thought this was just so cool and ingenious.

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If you ever get a chance to go to the Print Museum in Houston you should go. Especially on a Saturday when they are doing demonstrations. I also saw demonstrations on papermaking, bookbinding,  and limestone lithography. What started out as a crappy day turned into a pretty fun adventure. It was definately 33% more fun than sitting in my garage for 4 hours, wallowing in self pity and waiting for my husband to come home.

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The Great VH4

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Mine friend Victor passed away yesterday while out for a run. I can’t think of a better way to honor him than his very own 33% post, (actually I can think of tons of better ways to honor him, but this is fun and I think he’d approve)

He was one of those people with so much charisma. He loved life and made other people love it too. He genuinely cared about people and their dreams. He was a cheerleader for everyone, inspiring us all onward. He followed his dreams with a focus I’ve never know before or since. He had such passion for science and felt determined to ignite that fire in people of all ages. He just thought life was wicked awesome and lived it fully.

He was actually a big part of my 33% More Fun. He loved the concept, but more importantly you just couldn’t not have fun and enjoy life when he was around. We did lots of 33% activities. One of my favorites was when we went and saw an Aeros hockey game. He loved hockey, all sports really. He helped explain the game to me as we cheered on our cities B team. Somewhere during the night we started talking about hockey team names and wondered how they were named. We decided to trying coming up with some of our own team names. I don’t remember the full list (we played the game for quite a while) but here were some of my favorites that I still remember.

  1. Prescott Asscotes
  2. Dillion Pickles
  3. Orange Bananas
  4. Saratoga Greek Gods
  5. Scranton Squirrels

Scranton Squirrels

There moto is “Don’t mess with us cause we’re nuts!”

Victor, you’ll be missed by many but we’re all rooting that you’re up among the stars where you always wanted to be. To Infinity and Beyond!

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I’ve rewritten this blog a hundred times today. How do you describe someone who was larger than life and made everyone’s life better by just being in his vicinity? How do you choose which characteristics and stories to write when these descriptions and memories could fill books upon books? Because the reality is, that all words fail when trying to describe who he is and the hole you suddenly feel. I’m old enough to know better than to find that endless loop that ask, “Why did this happen?” So instead, I choose to feel inspired. And in the next weeks and months to come I hope I can take a lesson from his life and live my life fuller, with more time for friends, family, fun, and laughter. And although it won’t be visible to others, each time I do, I’ll say a quiet prayer, thanking him for inspiring me.

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Finding a Peaceful Place

This morning I woke up feeling good. I felt renewed and excited about what the day would bring. I’ve been in a funk that last few days and I was tired of feeling blah. So last night as I lay day for bed I thought, “What do I like to do?” Camping came to mind. Then I thought, “Why do I like it?” Then my mind really started racing! “I like the feeling of being outside. I like the feeling of wide open space. I like the beauty of nature. I like the way it smells and sounds. I like the smell of fall and the beautiful colors on all the trees. I like the feeling of the crisp cool air. I like bundling up in sweaters. I like the feeling of freedom I feel when I camp. I get to choose what I do with my time. I like the people I go camping with. I like being in this nice easy environment where we are all relaxed and able to enjoy each other. I like sitting around campfires and enjoying stories. I like roasting marshmallows and eating s’mores. And at the end of the night I like staring up at the stars and feeling the vastness of the universe….” And so my mind continued on, feeling wonderful as I drifting off into a peaceful sleep. And somewhere, as I slept, my attitude of my life was changing, allowing me to wake up feeling wonderful and refresh, almost as if I had just actually gone camping. It’s amazing what the mind can do and how these little things can change our view on life.

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The Perfect Day!

Today was one of those perfect days. The kind where everything just seems to go right. I admit that nothing particularly special happened, but it felt perfect. I got to sleep in, my husband made me amazing breakfast tacos, and we watched I Love Lucy, (my version of Saturday morning cartoons), and that was just the beginning!

The best part of the day was the weather. It was the kind of day where you just had to be out in it, participating in the beauty of it all. So I got on my vintage bike and rode around town. Everything I looked at seemed perfect. There were so many beautiful flowers of all varieties and colors. Butterflies and dragonflies came out to greet me and everyone I came across smiled happily with joy, as if they knew it was the perfect day too!

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I decided to ride to my friends house and we spent the afternoon basking in the sun and catching up. The afternoon flew by with great conversations that left me filled with new ideas to ponder.

On the way home I decided to stop at the grocery store and grab a few things for dinner. I happened to wondering into the icecream isle. To my great surprise and delight they had Blue Bunny ice cream!! I’ve been looking for it for years and it’s a new item at our local grocery store. My husband has never had it, so I bought chocolate and vanilla and he approved of both!

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After dinner, I still had some energy left and I wanted to make some tasty treats. I really wanted to try to make fudge, but that seemed more involved than I had time for, so I made scones instead. Now my tea party can be complete!! (except I still need a few more guests.) I guess that just means I have a 33% activity to look forward to in the future.

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September Tea(cup)

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What could be more fun than having tea in September in your September teacup!?!  (Don’t answer that, I know there are a lot of things that are more fun.) Dang it I already thought of one, Crumpets! I need crumpets with my tea. Maybe a teapot, a nice teapot would be good. How about a tea party?!! Let’s wear silly hats and have a tea party! Yes!!! But with who…

Dante Tea

I’m not really sure Dante had nearly as much fun as I did.

P.S. No animals or hats were harmed in the making of these photos.

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Duck BBQ

My husband had a BBQ & Pool Party without me!

BBQ Balloons

Pool Party

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Bocce Ball League

My friends and I joined a Bocce Ball League. It’s great because you can have a beer in one hand and throw the ball with the other. It’s easy and makes my Tuesday nights 33% more fun!

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Pretzel Rolls

There is this fabulous German bakery in Alabama that I use to go to for breakfast sometimes. They had these delicious pretzel rolls and I would put cream cheese and strawberry jam on them. Every time I bit into one it would take me back to my Oma’s house, where we had fresh cut german bread and I would smear it with the same delectable toppings, just the way my Oma taught me. The other day I was craving these warm pretzel rolls and thought I would try to make them myself. They turned out good. Not bakery good, but for an amateur’s first time I would say they turned out well. And of course, pretzel rolls are 33% more fun than just plain old dinner rolls.

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Farmer’s Market

 

I’ve been hearing about this great farmer’s market for years and I finally went. It was awesome! While I was wondering through and taking it all in, I was reminded of Taiwan and the markets I use to go to. Instinctually I wanted to speak Chinese and it rolled off my tough with such familiarity. I had to rack my brain for my high school Spanish, surely lodged somewhere in my memory. But despite my best efforts only Chinese came to mind. Oddly enough, I even fumbled on my English as I bought tons of wonderful vegetables. At the back of the farmer’s market I found a stand where you could buy an opened coconut to drink from. I use to get those in Taiwan too. So of course I bought one. It was so much fun to wondered around with my coconut cup, full of coconut water, buying lots of fresh vegetables. I’d even say it was 33% more fun and will probably become a repeat weekend activity. 

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