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I will leave it to you and your cogitations to come up with your own word-play interpretation of Bow Tie o’ the Day, in combination with Ties o’ the Day. Santa + scantily clad women in Santa hats + Santa’s greeting = ?

Feel free to share any guesses, jokes, phrases, or questions this neckwear brings to mind– if you so choose.

Holiday Tie Tally:  14 bow ties. 29 neckties. And it’s barely been one week.

An Irreverent Time Was Had By All

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Glittery Christmas tree Bow Tie o’ Last Evening was the festive finishing touch to my go-to-an-event outfit. I don’t know about you, but I think I paired the perfect Shirt o’ the Evening with the harlequin side of my Cape o’ the Evening. Non-matchy matchy. Snazzy-licious. It’s a wardrobe combination I might repeat, even though my policy is to never wear the exact same “costume” twice. I suppose a different bow tie would qualify as making it a different outfit, so I guess I needn’t fret about going against my self-imposed style rules.

Anyhoo… Last night, Suzanne and I went to the Eccles Theater in downtown SLC to listen to a reading by David Sedaris– an author and humorist, who mines most of his material from his childhood, his family, his partner, and just from stuff he notices going on around him. Gee, that sounds kind of familiar, eh? I, of course, do not claim to exhibit writing or humor skills that even remotely approach those of David Sedaris.

I captured this selfie in one of the theater’s restrooms, because no photography was allowed in the theater itself– which is where I usually get TIE O’ THE DAY shots of me and Suzanne when we attend events. I made the bold photo choice to snap this selfie with the baby changing station and the “vending” machine in the background, rather than the potty. I thought staging it like this would exhibit just a bit of class. I might be a character, but I value the fact that I am rarely uncouth.

Suzanne and I had a swell evening. I laughed until my  belly scar broke open. Seriously, if I’d gone to a David Sedaris reading two weeks after my surgery, I really would have popped my scar bigly wide open. Come to think of it, that would have been kinda cool because then I could say, “I laughed so hard I literally busted a gut.” I quite enjoy making clichés and over-used descriptions come to life.

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We’ve got some goings-on going on this evening– which I’m positive you will read about tomorrow– so I’m short on time to write a regular post. But I wanted to show off some ties which can only be fully appreciated way up close. Ties o’ the Day show us a Santa stuck in a chimney, and penguins in hat scarves. Bow Tie o’ the Day is my fave of these three pieces. I mean– you gotta love an antler-wearing penguin. It’s like a jackalope. Yup, a penguinalope.

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I’m wearing my Grinch pajama pants, and I thought a sort of tie skirt would add panache to the presentation. This morning I offer up a season-shimmery Bow Tie o’ the Day and five more snowflake Ties o’ the Day. As an added bonus for your viewing pleasure, here are our first three ho’s o’ the Christmas season. (It’s ok to make snarky remarks about all the ho’s hanging around during the holiday season. Don’t worry! I have lots of Xmas balls too. On the ties, of course. 😉)

HOLIDAY TIE TALLY: 11 Bow ties. 24 Neckties.

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One snowflake Bow Tie o’ the Day. Four snowflake Ties o’ the Day. Just snowflakes.

I have almost nothing to say about snowflakes except that I love watching them fall to earth– especially when I’m watching them through a picture window, as I’m sitting in a toasty house eating ice cream. Hills of ice cream are the only cold things I want to experience. The cold that snow needs in order to survive makes me cold. That’s all it does for me.

I certainly don’t enjoy winter sports, although I have tried most of them– just in case I liked one enough to suffer through the freezing part. There is no sport or activity of any kind that I enjoy participating in enough to play/do it in cold weather. I’ll watch winter sports and programs on TV, and I’ll smile at how grand the background snow looks, but that’s as close as I’ll get to being anywhere actually in it.

Dad felt the same as I do about cold weather. Whenever we watched M*A*S*H*, if it was an episode in which the characters were freezing, it gave Dad the shivers and made him cringe. Dad had to mention it every time one of those episodes played. But he liked the show enough to keep watching despite the story’s temperature.

Dad died in the first week of December, in 2007. It was cold, and there was snow on the ground. Dad would have liked to survey the winter scene from his picture window in his own home, in his own chair, while he read The Salt Lake Tribune and dozed off. And he would have enjoyed driving through the chilly landscape in his warm truck, characteristically on the lookout for coyotes. He wouldn’t be doing either of those things anymore.

Despite the gray cold, the Delta cemetery was a picturesque scene on the day we let Dad go to his nap in the ground. As his casket was lowered into the earth, I wished I’d been able to swaddle him in his favorite quilt Mom made for him. It was lavender. And it would have kept him warm.

Holiday Tie Tally: 10 Bow Ties. 19 Neckties. So far.

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Bow Tie o’ the Day and Ties o’ the Day are undisputed evidence that if you are decking yourself out for the Christmas holidays, besides donning a festive tie or two, you must wear shades in order to be sufficiently holiday-hip. Apparently, according to one tie, if you’re a snowman you don’t have to follow the sunglass fashion trend, despite being surrounded by be-sunglassed associates.

Of course, because Mom wears her shades 23 and 1/2 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year, I’ve already posted a few photos of her expressing that fashion trend. I actually think she may have started the indoor wearin’ o the sunglasses. Don’t blame that fashion development on hipsters and gangstas. Wearing shades indoors was likely one of Mom’s many fashion innovations.

It’s a gray, sorta rainy day here in Centerville. No wearing shades for me, inside or out– except in this picture. It’s the kind of day that makes me wanna do a lot more of the nothing than I’m usually doing since my stoopid surgery. When will my gut quit pinching, pulling, tugging, and feeling like duct tape is being ripped from across my innards? Really though, I’m doing much better than that last sentence makes it seem. Those odd pains and feelings are only occasional now. But when the buggers attack, I can’t not-feel them.

When I got out of bed this morning, I immediately became ticked off. And it wasn’t because of the gloomy weather. It’s because between my scarry tummy and my ouch-y rotator cuff, it took me literally two minutes– okay, forty-five seconds– to wriggle out of the bed. I do not consider myself old. I do, however, feel like I’m feeling apart.

This last year is the first time I’ve ever seriously felt I’m getting decrepit. First, I had to get new glasses with a much stronger prescription. Then I had to get a pair (or six) of cheapo reading glasses with stronger magnification. Then I had to get that sexy hearing device to drape around my ear. And then I had to get sawed in half for my pancreas surgery. As if that’s not enough, my rotator cuff has suddenly become an issue. That shoulder hurts so much I can’t even move my arm to dress myself. anymore I had no idea how much I used my right shoulder, until I couldn’t use it anymore. Seriously, that list o’ ailments amounts to more than enough physical adventure for a year– for me anyway. But no!

For the last few years, my fingers have been shaking a bit. It hasn’t been a bigly problem. But as of three days ago, my shaking phalanges have manifested a noticeable escalation in their doing whatever the hell they want, despite the orders I send them. In the context of my day-to-day doings, I manage my little finger earthquakes quite effectively. The real problem occurs when I’m writing on the computers. My fingers now have a tendency to hit the keys next to the key I told it to hit. And sometimes a finger’s shaking will cause it to tap one key twice.

Trying to move the cursor where I want it to be on the screen sometimes becomes a mystery as to where it will set itself down. When I’m typing on the laptop or desktop, I begin to feel as if I’m playing with a Ouija board. Apparently, my keyboard is trying to send me a message of some sort– perhaps from the beyond. Maybe my fingers are possessed. Or maybe my keyboard is. I dunno.

All of these medical problems either happened or came to a head the second I turned 54, last March. (Well, that’s how it seems). I hope every one of these problems is resolved by the second I turn 55. I know I will continue to experience age-related physical changes– which are generally not pleasant, but oh well. I don’t fight that. I’m at peace with aging. But I hope turning 55 in a few months will bring me some better health karma. I’ll settle for whatever karma won’t pile a mountain of physical issues on me, simultaneously. Of course, that all depends on if I have any good karma coming my way. I will certainly hate it if all the karma I get is the karma I probably truly deserve.

BTW  My health is good, relatively speaking. I am blessed to be so well. Despite what it might seem, I’m not complaining in this post. I’m just having a written tantrum which will pass as soon as I eat ice cream for breakfast and lunch and dinner.

5! Count ‘Em. 5!

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Two Bow Ties o’ the Day, plus three Neckties o’ The Day. I’m amazed at my own self that I managed to put this many ties on me at one time. I’ve set myself a sort of goal now: I want to set the record for wearing the most pieces of neckwear at the same time. Of course, I know there’s no record for wearing ties already. I’m sure no other human being in the history of mankind has thought of doing it. It is, therefore, accurate for me to boast that I hold the record. In my quest for adding to my record, I will be in competition only with myself. Still, my accomplishment must be put in the official Guinness Book of World Records. I must be The Tie-est o’ All– even if I’m the only “all.”

You might be wondering if I actually wear this kind of multi-tie get-up when I go out into the world. Yes, I do– sometimes. We all have a purpose in life. Wait. I got that wrong. We each have a host of purposes in our lives. One of mine is to be fluorescent in a world that is often dark. When I walk into a room, in my sometimes-way-over-the-top garb, the mood gets a bit lighter– even if the consensus of the folks in the room is that I’m a total idiot. You can bet I and the ties I’m wearing will be the topic of talk around the dinner table that evening– which will result in a chuckles. Mission accomplished.

This entire tie venture– including these website posts, which get shot to Facebook– is just plain strange to me. It isn’t my inexplicable tie obsession that’s strange to me. No, the strangeness of it is because I hate attention. I am a hermit at heart. I like to hang out in primarily solitary environments. I like my books. I listen to music, which acts as the soundtrack behind everything I do. Each day, I write poems– which are usually published– which I won’t share with people who know me. People can read my serious writing when I die, if they want to.

The point I’m trying to get across is that I’m not lonely in my own company. I’m not saying, “I’m the grooviest person, so why would I care to be around anyone who isn’t me?” Of course, I’m not meaning any of this in an arrogant way. I’m only saying I’m at ease with my own company. I suppose I mostly live what is sometimes referred to as “the life of the mind.” I think about everything, all the time. My crazy head has no OFF switch. There is always a party to attend in my brain– a party of thoughts and ideas.

All I can figure out about how my solitary self is okay with my gregarious, snappy-dressing public persona is that it is, in fact, just a persona– a kind of mask. It is not I out there in front of an audience. It’s the clash fashion. It’s the ties. Especially the bow ties. I’m simply the mannequin. And I’m the puppeteer.

HOLIDAY TIE TALLY: 8 Bow Ties. 11 Neckties.

A Helen And A Skitter Walk Into A Bar…

I was resurrecting out of bed this morning, trying to decide what ties to wear for this photo. (Yes, TIE O’ THE DAY is always the first thing I think about when I wake up.) As I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, it occurred to me that my new sleep hat looks like a plaid Santa hat– making it one of the hippest Santa hats ever. That’s how I decided to display Santa hats Bow Tie o’ the Day and three Santa hats Ties o’ the Day.

As I typed the paragraph above– where I mentioned rubbing the sleep out of my eyes– I was reminded of an old joke that for some reason I remember. Here it is: “Why do women rub their eyes first thing when they get out of bed in the morning? Because they don’t have balls to scratch.” (Excuse my language there if it bothered you, but it was the right word for the joke.)

Of all the jokes I’ve ever heard in my life, why is that joke one of the few I can always remember? And why is it that most of us have the hardest time remembering the “clean” jokes? Or maybe that’s just me. On the other hand, if you’re like that too, maybe I should just reply with another jokey thing: “You better get your head out of the gutter, so mine can roll by.” What a groaner.

As I finished typing the paragraph above, it came to me that we also tend to remember jokes and sayings with a high gross-factor. This is one of my fave grossly humorous sayings, which can apply to any arrogant person you can think of: “He thinks he’s hot snot on a silver platter. But he’s really a cold booger on a paper plate.” That’s yet another groaner. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s “a gross-er.”

I’ve always been better at spouting improvisational humor than with telling jokes. I do the spontaneous humor that occurs organically out of a conversation I’m having, or out of a place I happen to be. Even when I write these posts, more often than not, I don’t have anything in mind when I open up my laptop. I just start writing and try to find an interesting and/or amusing way to tie (hahaha) the tie photos to what I’m writing. Sometimes the writing and the tie photo connect in an obvious way. Sometimes they link up by the skinniest of threads. Occasionally, I seriously have to stretchhhhh to find the connection between the photo and the words. When I have to do that big stretch, I consider that to be my calisthenics for the day.

HOLIDAY TIE TALLY: 6 bow ties. 8 neckties.

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Bow Tie o’ the Day and one Tie o’ the Day offer up a batch of kitties in their festive Christmas hats. The other Tie o’ the Day lets us watch a Santa-hatted penguin do some ice fishing with a candy cane. Love me my critter ties.

I have done my fake research and come up with the fake fact that the internet was originally created for the sole purpose of distributing sappy cute animal pictures, memes, and videos. That might be fake news, but sometimes my Facebook news feed makes me wonder if it might actually be true. Cute animals and political posts that haven’t been fact-checked– that’s the bulk of what shows up for me on Facebook.

I don’t have to sift through all that extra stuff when I’m on my tie website, and that’s nice. But it’s also worth it to me to stay on Facebook to connect with my pals. I’ll wade through the malarkey posts in order to get to my “friends.” I mean– we all do interesting stuff. And the things we do differ significantly from each other. I find it fascinating to see what we’ve all done– and continue to do– with our lives. We are diverse, and we are much the same. I guess that’s what makes us human beings.

We have approached our adult lives with varied plans. And I imagine most of us are not quite where we thought we would be at this point on our mortal journey. Stuff happens. Let’s be honest: shit happens. Not every circumstance in our lives is under our control. We do the best we can to stay out of our own way when we can, but sometimes we’re just stooopid idiots. For whatever reason, we occasionally make choices that create havoc in our own lives, diverting us from any brilliant plan we might have had. But we are, in fact, still here. That’s a good thing.

If you haven’t already– and you most likely have– you will experience tragedy, pain, loneliness, and disappointment to a degree you could never have imagined existed before they found you. These sadnesses will become part of your story. You can make it through these storms. You can learn the lessons these floods can teach you. Your Facebook friends– and tblog friends– are part of your cheerleading squad. Their LIKE’s and COMMENT’s can build you up.

And that idea leads me to this: In your life’s trek, you will meet people you don’t especially care for. Maybe they simply bug you in some minor way, like the way they hold their chopsticks. Maybe they mock you because you have a website about ties. Maybe they slashed your car tires when you broke up with them. But remember– tragedy, pain, loneliness, and disappointment will surely visit them too. It will punch them in the gut as hard as it punches you. It will bring them to their knees. And you might be on your knees at exactly the same time. You might as well pray together while you’re both kneeling down there in the mud, because you’re gonna need to help each other up.

That’s part of what it means to love your neighbor– chopsticks and all.

TIE TALLY: I’ve worn 5 holiday bow ties and 5 holiday neckties so far. That’s 10 pieces o’ Christmas neckwear in only 3 days. I wonder how high I can count.

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We have to remember we aren’t the only ones trying to get in shape and drop a little poundage for the holiday parties, at which we will show off our new skinny bodies and our ugly sweaters. Or something like that. Ties o’ the Day help us remember that Santa, his helpers, and his reindeer have to build up their muscles and stamina for the 24-hour, worldwide event called Christmas. We think we’re in a frenzy to pick out gifts, decorate, and cook–  but nope. These dudes are really the ones who frenzy around to give Christmas its material joy. The least we can do is to leave the rotund guy a cookie or two, and hope he shares his cookie haul with all his support staff. Of course, I do not leave a glass of milk for the jolly ol’ boy. I leave a tall glass of Diet Coke. I figure Santa needs the caffeine.

Bow Tie o’ the Day offers us some Billy Bob Thornton, as a grossly bad Santa, from the movie BAD SANTA. That movie is not a Xmas classic. I’ve actually never been able to get through the entire movie, so I can’t recommend it. Why did I buy Bad Santa Bow Tie then? Because I didn’t already have one like it.

But I’ve changed. My bow tie collection feels almost complete. I’m at the point that unless a bow tie captures my attention from at least forty feet away, I’m not all that interested in adding it to my collection. I still have an incredible fervor for the little critters. I just have a bit of the been-there-done-that feeling about the less dazzling bow ties. I suppose it’s sort of like when you’re in your having-kids years, and one day you just know you’re done adding to your family. You’ve had enough babies. Your family feels whole. You get a feeling about it. No more babies, please and thank you.

I have no biological children. I decided when I was very young that giving birth to babies was not on my Bucket List. As I have probably mentioned here before, I thought my genes should end with me. I’m convinced that if my body created a kid, that poor child would have all of my worst physical attributes: My kid would have bad hair, bad teeth, too-big boobs, and be bipolar. I would not feel good about myself if I did that to a child of God. (Especially if it was a boy– with that big boob characteristic.)

But I do have two sons– one with an ex and one with Suzanne. One kid at a time was enough for me. Those boys are what I needed in my life. I love the men they are now. I tried to teach them what my parents taught me. And I can say without exaggeration that neither Devon nor Rowan ever left the house– or went to bed at night– without being told they were loved. Oh, and I always added, as they left the house: Remember your “please”s and “thank you”s. They have each reported to me how that advice has helped them become successful in their lives.

FYI   I will post more about the amazing Devon and Rowan in the future. Believe it or not, there are some topics– Devon being chief among them– I’m not yet ready to write about here. Yes, I have a filter. Yes, I have places in my heart which I have a tough time re-visiting. But I’ll keep getting things worked out, and you’ll read about it– because these posts are a kind of memoir, and I’ve sworn to tell the truth. The whole truth. So help me, whatever god makes you a better person.