Moments of Joy: August 2015

Last month, I recounted a friend’s wonderful heart-to-heart speech that she worked long and hard to prepare.  This month’s happy moment also involved preparation — for a big surprise!  He never saw it coming!

candles spell

“Half a century…it’s a blessing to live that long, and it’s a great opportunity to surprise and tease someone!” I think as I begin preparations for my friend’s 50th birthday party.  I really want this to be a big surprise, so to help avoid arousing his suspicions, I decide to have the party two weeks early.

First, I gather ideas from friends:  “Surprise him at a restaurant.  We’ll all go there first and get ready for him.”  “Don’t do the black balloons and over-the-hill stuff, that’s just depressing!”  “Get him a walker with a bicycle horn and signs on it about how old he is!”

After thinking it over, I agree that the “over-the-hill” gag with tombstones and all black decorations is too cliche and unpleasant for this occasion, though I decide maybe just one or two black balloons might get the point across.

With a desire to make the party a little more kind, I even go to the lengths of searching for ideas on Pinterest.  There I see the sweetest poster entitled “70 Things We Love About You.”  “Hmmm…could I get 50 messages together in about two weeks time?  Why not try?!”

So begins a barrage of Facebook messages, emails, and whispered conversations to gather the loving comments for the poster.  While waiting for responses from some of our friends, I can’t resist poking a little fun at my pal by making one smaller poster covered with old-age jokes.

Why did the 50-year-old cross the road?

No particular reason.  People that age often get disoriented from time to time.

At your age, it takes you longer to rest than it does to get tired!

You’re so old, the candles cost more than your birthday cake!

There’s another really lame joke that hits my funny bone just right, so I go ahead and add it:

You’re so old, when you were born, the Dead Sea was just getting sick!

It’s ridiculous, I know, but it really makes me laugh!  (Yes, I’m easily entertained.)

Just for fun, I decide to get a little nostalgic and refresh the memories of those who were around in 1965 with history and trivia from that year.  Researching on the internet to gather facts and photos reveals a few surprises for myself that I didn’t realize occurred that year.  Newspaper articles and advertisements are particularly entertaining.

newspaper ad for Pepsi from 1919

This ad is actually from 1919, but I think it’s funny!

Here’s most of the facts list I manage to compile, in case you’re interested:

How did the money flow in 1965?

  • Household income averaged $6,450
  • Gallon of gas was 31 cents
  • Bread was 21 cents
  • Houses averaged $13,660
  • New homes averaged about $21,000
  • Rent was about $118
  • New cars cost $2,650
  • Postage Stamp was 5 cents
  • Payphone call cost 10 cents
  • Hershey bar could be enjoyed for 5 cents

What happened in 1965?

  • The respirator replaced the Iron Lung
  • The President was Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Life expectancy was 70.2 years old
  • Population of the world was 3.345 billion
  • Population of the USA was 194 million
  • First person to walk in space (for 12 minutes) was Soviet Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov
  • The optical disk, now called the compact disk, was invented by James Russell
  • Malcolm X, the Human Rights Activist, was assassinated at a Harlem rally
  • 1965 was the first year that health warnings appeared on a pack of cigarettes
  • The skate board and super ball were the hottest toys
  • Walt Disney premiered “The Sound of Music”
  • Men began to grow the hair longer
  • Women began to wear their skirts shorter; the mini skirt was the fashion
  • The first US combat troops arrived in Vietnam
  • The Beatles released the movie & album “Help!”
  • The Voting Rights Act became law, allowing African Americans the right to vote
  • The Gateway Arch was completed in Louis
  • Hypertext was introduced for linking to the internet, and the rest is history…

The two weeks of preparation fly quickly by, as all my weeks seem to do these days, and the big day arrives!  Even with one or two close calls, my friend never catches on to the party plans; and with the aid of several other friends, the decorations and the crowd are in place for the big reveal.

Strangely enough, the lady at the cash register messes up his ticket as he tries to enter the buffet restaurant, giving us plenty of time to all get in the party room ahead of him while he’s straightening out his tab.  When he finally enters the room, a chorus of voices join in to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.

The stunned look on his face is priceless!

He shakes his head and tries to turn around to leave, but several friendly hands drag him farther into the room as we finish the song.  The rest of the evening is filled with friendship and fun, and a special piece of cake with one huge (8-inch-tall) candle smashed into the center of it.  (We warn him that at his age, one candle for each year was just too much of a fire hazard.  Tee Hee!)

It is a happy evening, an occasion that strengthens friendships and creates fond memories.  And, luckily, I don’t even get in too much trouble for all the old-man jokes.

There is a drawback to all the fun I’ve had, though.  The next time I have a special birthday approaching with a big round “zero” on the end, I’ll have to watch my back and be prepared to be on the receiving end of the teasing.  I’m sure my own black balloons are floating just around the corner!


All Is Not Lost! It’s Just Distorted.

The previous post contained seagull photos from a recent family vacation to the Great Lakes.  I thought I had lost all the photos from that day of our trip by accidentally erasing them from one computer before successfully transferring them to mine.  (My kingdom for an SD card!  Lol)

By reining in my frustration and researching on the internet, I gave myself a crash course on data retrieval and recovered (nearly) all of the accidentally-deleted photos. In the process, I also recovered some distorted versions of these images, and I may have discovered a new art form!

About to Take a Cold Swim in Lake Erie

data recovery scrambled image of swimmers at the beach

Burgundy Lake Gulls

data recovery scrambled image of seagulls on the beach

Gulls on the Beach at Lake Huron

data recovery scrambled image of seagulls at the Great Lakes

Shades of Sand and Gulls

data recovery scrambled image of sand and seagulls

Late-night Window Shopping at a Store for Lefties in St. Louis, MO

data recovery scrambled image of window shopping at a store for lefties

So, what do you think?  Is this a photography art form you could enjoy?

What would you call this style of photography?

This One’s for the Birds, and I’m Happy About It!

During our recent trip to the Great Lakes, I was surprised by how many seagulls were on the beaches in Ohio and Michigan.  I really enjoyed interacting with them, as they are definitely not shy!

flock of seagulls walking and flying at the Great Lakes

They gracefully turn, twist, and hover in the air in ways that we as humans can only imagine doing.

Isn’t nature amazing?  There are so many simple pleasures to enjoy in this varied world in which we live.

seagull hovering in the air with wings curled forward beneath a cloudy sky

seagull with one wing outstretched while flying at the Great Lakes

two seagulls floating in the air with wings spread at the Great Lakes

seagull hovering in the air with wings stretched forward beneath a cloudy sky

“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?

~Matthew 6:25-26

seagull with wings outstretched on the beach at the Great Lakes

I’m so thankful I have the health and means to get out and enjoy moments like these.


To the Point: Positive Personal Growth

"Life is a process in which I must focus on progress." Merry Hearts Medicine

No one is perfect, but each of us should be perfecting.  If you fail to meet worthy goals, please don’t give up.  Instead, try to learn from your mistakes and regrets, and move forward in a positive direction.

This topic reminds me of a lame joke I heard as a child.  Do you remember this one?

How do you eat an elephant?


One bite at a time.


Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery…

…or it’s just plain funny!

The message behind this song can be interpreted in a positive way: show people your love through your actions because sometimes words alone are not enough to solve a problem.

In a 1991 newspaper article, Extreme’s guitarist described it this way:

…a lot of the time [love] isn’t real…People use it so easily and so lightly that they think you can say that and fix everything, or you can say that and everything’s OK.  Sometimes you have to do more and you have to show it — there’s other ways to say “I love you.”

~ Nuno Bettencourt


In other words:

By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

~ 1 John 3:16-18


Living Mysteries Continue

Macro Mysteries logo small

Here are the remainder of the photos which I presented to you earlier this week.  Can you stretch your observational skills enough to discern the subjects of these images?  Remember: these are all photos of things that are alive.

 Can you identify the subjects of these macro photographs?

9.macro photo of a fuzzy tendril on a watermelon vine

10.strangely-shaped pink blooms on a tall wildflower

11.macro photo of a chicken's ear and earlobe

12.colorful macro photo of the center of a sunflower bloom

13.macro photo of sun shining through a purple coleus leaf

14.macro photo of a freshly-trimmed black dog's toenail

15.macro photo of the skin of a yellow spaghetti squash fruit

16.macro photo of the wings of a hummingbird moth

17.seed pods developing after a crape myrtle bush bloomed

I will be otherwise occupied for a few more days, but I look forward to reading your comments about these photos!

All the living macro mysteries will be revealed when I return home.  Until then, keep guessing and thanks for playing along!

~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~

{Did you see the first half of this guessing game?  If so, keep your list of guesses in mind and click here to see the answers!}