Wednesday, September 06, 2023


I've been on the receiving end of this new cultural happening called "butt-dialing" a few times.  It's usually from a work friend and it's always happened while he's cutting firewood with a chain saw so that when I'm yelling hello into my phone, he cannot hear me.

To my recollection, however, I don't remember ever making a butt-dial call myself, until a few days ago.

Returning home from my daily walk, about 3 blocks from home, in front of the law office at about 11:30 AM I hear a voice saying: Bob, Bob, BOBBB!  I look around, up and down Main Street and at the moment our village Main Street is devoid of humankind.  You can imagine, I'm befuddled and unable to identify where from someone is calling my name until I realize the voice is emanating from my left wrist!

Having recently purchased a new Samsung tracking watch and having never heard it talking to me before, I tentatively raise my wrist to my face and stutteringly say hel, hell, Hello?  In reply I hear my sister's frantic voice asking if I'm ok?  I said "yes, I'm fine, just finishing up my morning walk, why?"

She had received a call from my phone and when she answered it, she only heard a rustling sound which she interpreted as gurgling, gasping attempts at speaking and she wondered if I'd had and accident, stroke, or some mishap and was calling for help.  Getting no discernable reply, she texted my daughter who in turn texted me and receiving no reply responded that I wasn't answering her texts. (My daughter and sister live a 4 hours' drive, in opposite directions,) from my home.

Finally, my old age hearing and novice at technology brain figured out what was happening, and we got everything cleared up.  She asked me if there was anyone, neighbor, friend, or otherwise, nearby my home that she could call in case of a repeat pocket-dial or, heaven forbid, a true emergency?

Half glibly, half truthfully, I said all my old friends, and neighbors have moved away or died.

Finally, I did provide her with my neighbor's phone number, after clearing it with my neighbor.

A humorous vignette yet one fraught with serious warning for those of us who live alone.  You need a contact person who can check on you when questions arise about your welfare.

Saturday, July 08, 2023

Strange pick-ups; truth is stranger than fiction.

I was a hot sultry Friday evening in early July, and I was sauntering the block and a half down Main Street to the Iron Horse Grill for supper; around 5 O'clock.

As I was just arriving at the corner of the Iron Horse building, an older appearing woman was exiting her just parked car even with my position.  She flashed me a toothy smile and said "hello."  I returned the smile, while searching my memory bank for recognition of her face, I came up blank.  Still, thinking to myself, "she does look familiar enough that I might know her but just can't place her at the moment."

I walked down the driveway to meet her, (not wanting to appear rude or embarrassed that I couldn't recall her or her name,) and as she reached out to embrace me while saying, "we finally made it." In my usual, slow on the up-take state of mind, I interpreted that to be a referral to herself and, perhaps a husband, having just returned to the north country after being away.  Still hoping that recognition would come to me, I returned her embrace and we walked together to the entrance of the restaurant chatting easily about the village and how the restaurant came to be.

Ushering her ahead of me through the two entry doors I said, "you go ahead while I make sure to close the doors as requested by the management's sign placed on the inner door because of the air conditioning."  She said, "oh good, I'm glad they have air conditioning." and went into the restaurant proper and stopped to wait for me to follow.  Which I did and surveying the surroundings I noticed a man sitting at a table by himself, and thought to myself, "this must be her companion."  In the few steps that it took me to reach her side, the owner/manager, Mark, approached her and asked her "are you two together?" When she responded in the affirmative, he asked if "we" wanted a table, or would we sit at the bar looking at me for an answer since I usually sit at the bar.  I responded, "I'll sit at the bar like I usually do."  She nodded and said, "that's fine."

My mind is still discombobulated about the situation, but the fear of embarrassment deepened, and I continued to "play along," hoping time and conversation would clear the muddled thoughts in my mind.  at the same time, I glanced over at the man sitting alone and a nagging suspicion gnawed at me that something here is not quite right.

Be that as it may, I pulled out a bar stool for her to sit on and took the adjoining stool.  The bar tender, Holly, approached us with menus and asked what we would like to drink.  I ordered a Tangueray gin and tonic tall, and the woman (notice, I still haven't gotten her name) ordered a white wine.  Conversation flowed easily between us, evaluating the menu choices, and exploratory chit chat.  Holly returned to give us our drinks and ask for our food order.  I said I'd have the Ruben and my {companion} ordered the hamburger.  Holly asked, "Bob, is this all on one bill?"  Before I could answer, although I did nod my head in the affirmative, The woman said to Holly, "what did you call him?" and Holly replied, "Bob, that's his name!"

The woman looked at me and asked, "what is your name?" flushed with embarrassment, (realizing the cat is now out of the bag) I said, "Bob."  To which she said, " You told me that your name was Ed!"  I replied, "I never told you, my name."  At this point the situation has become crystal clear to me.  I turn around and address the man alone (previously noticed by me) at the table just behind us, and asked, "is your name Ed?"  With a broad grin on his face he answered, "yes, it is."

Addressing them both, I said "it seems a misunderstanding has occurred allowing me to be your unintended stand in!"

She joined him for their date, and I returned to my supper and joined Holly in a laughing response to " nobody will believe this story." The entire staff found this event quite amusing.  That is the fastest pick-up and dump I've ever had!

When Holly brought me my check later, I pointed out that she hadn't removed the lady's hamburger and wine from the bill, which she promptly corrected, and we laughed anew.

Thursday, March 23, 2023


 What a treat greeting me from my patio this early morning;

As I looked up to scan the sky and it's stars, I saw a line of "lights" streak across the eastern sky from south to north. My first thoughts were, OMG, it's Santa and his reindeer! Quickly, my rational mind says, get real Bob. This series of a dozen shiny objects were visible for only a few seconds but impressive.
Next, I thought; meteor shower. After further investigation, I believe these were Starlink satellites.
Whatever, it was a delight to witness these "UFOs" in the night sky and prod my imagination. Perhaps a poem is in order, or a song!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Blood pressure medication has turned me into a sloth.

Around ten years ago or so, while at the doctor's for an annual physical it was discovered that my blood pressure was dangerously high. My doctor prescribed medication to lower my B/P. Mind you now, I was still working full time, doing strength training 3 days a week and walking 3 to 5 miles 6 days a week. I was 67 years old.

 Time, as you may have discovered, goes by quickly, even quicker as you accumulate years. So, my timeline here will be imprecise at best. Suffice it to say, this single medication was effective for a few years, but my B/P started climbing, again, to a level my doctor felt too high. He prescribed a 2nd medication to take in addition to continuing with the first drug. Over the course of time this scenario repeated itself 2 more times until a year ago when my medication to keep my pressure down totaled 4.

 I retired at age 75 and remained active, walking and playing pickleball 6 days a week. The last of the 4 medications was added 6 months ago (just before coming to Florida.). Since then, my blood pressure has been the lowest, consistently, then ever before that I can remember. I've become progressively more lethargic this year and for a while I put it off to age. I still have spurts of energy and can still play a pretty competitive pickleball session 3 days a week. But I've stopped my daily walks and find myself taking frequent naps during the day, (especially after a 2-hour pickleball session.) mimicking my cat. In spite of 2 to 3 1 hour+ naps during the day, I have no trouble sleeping through the night. I do get up at 0330 to 0400 everyday but that has been my routine for all of my adult life.

 This lethargy has been weighing heavily on my mind these last few months as I find myself being unable to assist my son and son in law with the extensive renovations of my Florida home following the extensive damage inflicted by hurricane Ian. This guilty feeling can no longer be excused by thinking; well Bub, you're getting on in age you know. And without saying it, I think my kids think the same thing.  I do help some but mostly with the cerebral stuff, permit applications primarily.  And I do clean the house and other household duties.  I'm not an invalid, just not my usual self when it comes to pulling my weight.

The thought to check out what effect, besides lowering blood pressure, these 4 medications have on people occurred to me recently and thusly I looked it up.  And, sure enough, each and every one of the types of medication I'm taking has as a side effect of causing fatigue.  So maybe I'm not getting old.  Well, yes you are my friend, but that is not the problem.

The dilemma to deal with now is, stop the medication and risk heart attack and/or stroke, or live out my final years as a sloth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A half bubble off level; physically.

Good morning. The weather still sucks and I'm feeling slightly unwell, as in a half bubble off level; though more physical than mental. My malaise is probably related to my sinuses but the symptoms are not clear cut. Last Saturday, the 15th, I awakened at 0345. When I glanced at the clock the digital read out was flickering up and down uncontrollably. This persisted for less than a minute. I felt "off" for most of the morning but back to normal for the rest of the day. I had dinner with Leigh and Karen Sunday evening and explained my "vague" symptoms to him and he suggested checking my B/P. Last night I had a repeat of the visual disturbance. This time I noted that it occurred when I turned over, i.e. changed my head position. This presentation is what points toward sinus but could be other things such as inner ear. Now that I'm upright, drinking coffee, writing coherently, my symptoms are best described as: mild sinus pressure, mild nausea, slightly off balance, and general unease. We'll see how It goes today.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Hard of hearing #Plein-air

 OK, story time.

Leaving my house this morning to walk to the post office, I see a lady on my neighbor's lawn looking at their house and she turns to me as I am walking toward the sidewalk with a look on her face that says, "I have a question." I approach her and ask, "what's up," and I heard her to say, "I'm looking for a place to pee."
Pondering, for a few seconds, where I might suggest that she relieve herself, besides recommending a group of bushes in the back yard, I realize my bathroom is the only viable solution. I invite her in and give her a tour of the downstairs on the way to the bathroom. She's very complimentary of the decor and expresses a love for the bathroom. Believing she, like most if not all women I know, prefer to attend to their business in private, I wait in the hallway for her to do her business. But when she exits the bathroom after only a couple of minutes, I become a little puzzled, like, really; that's the fastest take down your pants, pee and pull your pants up I've ever been privy too, even for a man. She continues to marvel at the decor as I escort her out and she comments, "Maybe I'll paint your place." At this point, obviously still in a brain fog, I wonder if she actually paints houses or maybe represents a house painting contractor, and I comment. "I admit, the house needs painting this year." I wait for her to make an offer that never comes.
Later, as I leave to drive to the 'burg I notice she has set up an easel on the sidewalk and is painting a picture of my house. When I return from my errands, I approach her and relay to her what I thought she had previously said to prompt me to invite her into my home; "I'm looking for a place to pee." She lets out a hearty laugh and says, "no, what I said was I'm looking for a place to paint."
It's a busy, busy weekend in Morristown and I'd forgotten that the Plein-air was taking place.

May be an image of 2 people, people sitting and outdoors

Monday, July 04, 2022

What's one of your favorite summertime meals?

 My mom, Millie LaRock, was a superb cook. She always put much thought and effort into putting tasty and appealing meals on our table. Growing up, the only food I remember disliking was spinach, cooked spinach. Other than that, I liked everything mom put on the table. I wasn’t a big fan of steak when I was younger, preferring my beef in the burger style. I tell you this as a segway into the following; when I would come home on leave from the military, mom would always ask me, “what can I fix you to eat? what’s your favorite thing?” And, every time, I’d reply, “anything mom, I like everything you fix.”

My favorite summertime meal is a simple, fresh from the garden, tomato sandwich on wholewheat toast with fresh lettuce and slathered with Hellman’s mayonnaise. Coming in a close second would add to that sandwich a couple slices of crisp bacon to create a BLT. Of course, I have to wait ‘til late summer, when the tomatoes are ripening, for that meal. To finish off this late summer meal, I’d look for a generous slice of vine ripened watermelon. Also, the addition of fresh boiled sweet corn on the cob smothered with real butter would add another layer of gustatory delight. Since we are starting this menu in late summer, desert would have to be blueberry pie. Everything washed down with fresh squeezed lemonade.

Summer starts in June however so what to eat while we wait for the garden harvest? How about a lunch of fresh strawberry shortcake and vanilla ice-cream and fresh iced sun tea? For supper we can throw some hamburgers and Glaziers hot dogs on the grill. Ice cold lager goes well with this meal. Recently, lobster has entered my summertime, meals to enjoy, preferably while viewing the Maine coastline.

Of course, the 4th of July brings us to the fireman’s field day and the choices are hot Italian sausage smothered with grilled peppers and onions. Or BBQ’d chicken well marinaded in Grandpa Aubrey’s State Fair Spiedie sauce. accompanied with macaroni salad and if available canned garlic green beans from last year’s garden.

Fall ushers in, Caprese salad with fresh basil. And homemade, fresh from the oven, yeast bread.

With a gin and tonic in hand on a blistering hot summer’s day, I wish you a bon appetite.

Bob LaRock, July 04, 2022