Sunday, December 31, 2006

And a Happy New Year!

The excitement is underwhelming. I remember an old T.V. ad where the lady in question is trying to get out of going out with a real dork. So, she tells him she can't go out, because she has to wash her hair. Guess what I did on this night of joyous abandon? Right! I washed my hair. The husband is still hanging out in the LazyBoy and waiting for his last epidural, so we can run back to Florida. The translation is --- Holy Cow, I have to pack up again! Since we shouldn't be in Ohio right now, nobody thought to invite us anywhere. I think I'll pull out the party hats and bang on a big pot at midnight. Actually, I think I'll go back to my current book, while the husband is in the grip of yet another football game on his HDTV. The whole point of coming into my blog tonight is to wish all my blogger friends ---

A Very Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Fatigue with Google

It's simply amazing that we can spend every waking moment on preparations for Christmas, then awaken on the morning of the 26th with a feeling of letdown. The party's over! We have managed to live joyfully through another year of excess and fatigue. Three loads have run through the dishwasher, tablecloths and napkins are laundered and ironed, but the vacuum is still waiting to see whether or not someone will gather up the energy to push it around one more time. May I have this dance? Anyone may take the job from me, since I have given in to overload.
Yesterday and today have been devoted to switching my blog over to Google's new version. Since I am of the wrong generation to be a computer whiz, this was no easy task. I am thwarted at every turn. You can't have the name "Cookie's Oven" --- it is already taken. No kidding! I think I know who is hogging the name. You can't use that password to get into the new version --- you must use a Google account. What was that form I filled out for Google? They sent a verification, but forgot the housekey to my new home. Okay--- I think I've got it --- it took my identity and password, but sent me nowhere! Okay! I'll keep clicking on the faint white sign that says click here to continue --- nothing happens. So two hundred and three tries later, I decided to right click and try "open in a new window." Voila! Don't ask me why it worked, but it did. If anyone is able to read this post, it is proof that I still have a blog and it works --- just don't switch your account to the "new Google blogger" while in a state of Christmas fatigue. Wait until New Year's Day while you are hungover and it will be clear as mud!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve, at last! The family was at church for a lovely service. I was dashing about today like one demented. There was the church service this morning at 10:30 --- put on your best duds for the Birth of the King! Then on to the best grocery in the world to pick up our order for tomorrow's dinner. The husband is beginning to feel better, but I think I set him back a few paces with the grocery tape. ($303.00 for the meat, shrimp and a few last minute things.) This is the one meal of the whole year that our kids have looked forward to ever since I can remember --- so unless we can't pay the electric bill ...they will get prime tenderloin to celebrate the birth. After the grocery store, we had a precious hour and a half to get a few things prepared for tomorrow. The usual green bean casserole and the strawberry jello mold. (After all, Ohio is the Jello capital of the world) It must be because of all the church pot-lucks! Next came a great Thanksgiving dinner at our oldest daughter's house. We are all thrilled to see her # 1 son home from Washington for a few days and # 2 son home for the Air Force for a month. He just finished eighteen months of Arabic and a month of secret night training. He will be doing something that is so secret that he cannot tell us anything until 2029, when I am 93 --- what do you think my chances of ever finding out what he's up to?
After dinner, we ran home and did a few more chores for tomorrow's dinner and then flew out the door for the evening church service. It was a real blessing. One of the female singers is a very talented young mother/teacher who was one of our daughter's first third grade students when our Lesley started teaching.

She sang "Someday by Rick Vale"...

Someday, when this night is over and the star has faded, and the angels fly,
I will look on You with wonder dreaming of that first night, when I heard You cry....
Someday You will take these fingers, and with just a touch will cause the blind to see...
Someday, You will walk with strangers, but tonight I rock You, stay awhile with me....
Someday, they will call Him Savior, hope of all the people, Light and Life divine.
Someday, He will speak the words and touch the hearts of many as He touches mine.
You will speak in love and wisdom, prison doors will open, all will be made free.
Someday, You will walk among us, but tonight I rock you; stay awhile with me, stay awhile with me, stay awhile with me.

I am still floating on the miracle of God's love in the gift of His Son.

Merry Christmas to all! He Lives!

Monday, December 11, 2006


If you look closely at this goofy reindeer, you might perceive that he is either very mellow or has been nipping at the eggnog again. His eyes have that look of....hic! hic!
Tis the season to be jolly....everywhere you go....oh, wait, that's a combination of two Christmas Songs and could confuse the best of music lovers. I have always had a passion for Christmas decorations and continually add to my collection. I take wonderful care of all my goodies and store them in plastic bins. Some of them even made the trip to Florida with me to decorate there. We didn't have a tree there, so I decorated a fake bamboo tree with gold bells and crimson berry chains. I made a bunch of great plaid bows and wired them onto the branches. Do you have any idea how crappy a bamboo tree looks trying to masquerade as a Christmas Tree? I took it all apart and am contemplating sticking up a tree with all my lovely ornaments now that we are back in Ohio. But, even though the spirit is willing.... the flesh is very weak at this moment and it sounds less and less appealing. I remember back when my in-laws were getting older and they settled for a little bitty tree on an end table.... I thought they lacked proper appreciation for the occasion and offered to trim a tree for them. They didn't want a tree! Now that we are getting older and our plans have changed for the season, we find ourselves in the position of appearing to have lost our love of the traditional things. The date on the calendar tells me that there is so little time to do all the things I once did with one hand tied behind my back. My parents were not big on Christmas, so I wanted to get my children into the habit of joyous celebration of the birth of The King. They have not failed me.... their homes are gaily decorated and the presents are wrapped.... guaranteed to please the grandchildren (I know, because they wrote their lists) and next Saturday is cookie day at my daughter's home. All these things used to be my purview, but now they are being taken care of by the next generation and I think this is what I wanted all along. It's nice to see the kids take up the reins and continue traditions. It's very nice to know that when the time comes, I can leave this world knowing that the kids will carry on with little pieces of me in their celebrations. Maybe someday my pretty ornaments will adorn another tree and a great grandchild will wonder who started the traditions in their families. Here's to the goofy reindeer ---- may he celebrate his way!

Friday, December 8, 2006

Whoops, He did it again!

I can tell that you are wondering why the snow and bare naked trees, when we are supposedly enjoying the sunshine and blue skies of southern Florida. Having bored the bejabbers out of all my friends and acquaintances for a couple of months while we packed up and raced out of Ohio, I am reluctant to tell yall' that he did it again. We have been enjoying the wonderful weather here for almost five weeks and suddenly "the husband" put his back out while remodeling the utility room. I have to put my reverse gear into action and start scouring the cupboards and drawers to see what we have to take back to Ohio for a month or six weeks. I am loading up the truck without the aide of the brute who is hanging out in the LazyBoy. It's time to call the utilities and get them turned back on and get appointments with the pain management doctor at home. We have been down this road before and I really think that I'm getting too old to pretend that I can handle this sort of thing by myself much longer. On the other hand, we will be home with our children and grandkids for Christmas. I think we should put in a fireplace at home --- I could keep warm and hang stockings, too! The question is --- do you think the big cities along the route home are ready for a little old lady driving a Ford F-150?

Monday, November 27, 2006

In Search of Colored Thread

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and even prettier out over the Gulf of Mexico. The hubby played golf with a couple of friends. He left the car for me and I hot footed it up to Port Charlotte in search of thread. Thread? Don't they have thread in Ft. Myers? Yes, but this is special thread --- the kind that you use in embroidery sewing machines in a color palette to make any artist drool. Here's the problem --- before the hubby retired, he let me buy a super neat sewing machine that does everything but the dishes. I took a few lessons to become versed on the workings of the wonder machine and then promptly forgot everything I ever knew about it. Over the weekend, a couple of friends who are very good at utilizing their machines to the max took me under their wings and forced me to watch the accompanying video for my Bernina. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was able to embroider an adorable mouse parachuting down on a falling leaf. Oh, how cute! If you spent over a hundred dollars on a computer card to do these cute little animals and have never even opened the card --- you better hustle along and learn how to use it. Now, I know! But, I didn't have the colors of thread (special threads) to continue this work before I forget how to work the machine again. Therefore, $117.00 for thread, so I can make good use of my earlier investment. I bet I never get the car again while he golfs. I'm dead meat! Next time I'll just do the laundry, hang out in the sun and get a tan or maybe actually use the machine and the lovely threads.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Told You So!

I distinctly remember telling you that my husband of forever thinks you can pack for six months in Florida in a couple of hours and be out the door without a second thought to the details. I, on the other hand, agonize over the little things --- like we have shirts in the suitcases, but do we have any pants? Also, I try to take things out of circulation a couple of weeks in advance, so I can have them washed and ironed in time for the great journey. HRH (his royal highness) wants his things left intact for possible use right up until the last minute. Since I am the one who does the list making and packing, I thought he would humor me and use stuff that was not making the trip. I did tell you that he would get a couple of miles down the road before asking if his sunglasses were packed? He has his glasses, but today is Sunday and time for church. Dress pants? Check! Suitable shirt? Check! Dress shoes? Uh? I left them out for you to pack!!!! They are not in the closet? I left them out for you to pack!!!! Since we went through the whole house before firing up the truck, I'd be willing to bet he left his shoes in the walk-in closet in Ohio. For sure, they are not in Florida. Honey, would you like your Topsiders, sandals or tennies with that shirt? Perhaps next time, he will let me pack the essentials ahead of time. What a turkey --- and just in time for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Addiction

I didn't know when I ran off and married the man that he was predisposed to an incurable addiction. Sure, he talked about his love for horses when he was a little boy, but don't all kids love horses? What I didn't consider was that his blind, unreasoning love extended even to the smell of manure, green hay stains on their teeth and brutally hard feet. Manure is not a real problem once you get used to it permeating everything about your life. I have been knocked down by a skittish horse while leading her out of the pasture and then dragged around the manure pile, because like a water-skier, I forgot to let go of the lead line. The poor little filly kept looking at me sideways and tried so hard not to step on me. Like the idiot I was, I kept hollering, "Whoa" in my most authoritarian voice. It is hard to be the authority figure while lying on the ground with manure streaks on you clothes and hair. The problem I had was with the smell of horseflesh on my husband's clothing and skin that came with the constant grooming and currying of his precious equines. When you raise horses for the show ring, your life is scheduled by the needs of the horses. Do they need feeding, exercising, grooming, breeding, veterinarian care,your life savings or any other myriad of things? The hubby would feed in the morning in his business suit and then cheerily head off to the office smelling of "Eau de Hors Hide". You may anticipate an evening out after the hubby gets home from work and has fed the gang in the barn, only to discover that one of their number has been secretly plotting all afternoon to develop a case of colic..... which will require a half gallon mineral oil lavage and being led around the paddock for a couple of hours. Horses who colic are not allowed to lie down until they have done their duty and produced a manure pile to prove that their intestines have not twisted in a volvulus. We all know where the wife falls on the priority scale with this warm pile of poo! Honey, would you like to take a turn leading him for a while? So, much for dinner out.
Vacations become trips to horse shows or a quick run to Texas to take your hot mare to visit that stud with a strong hip and long neck. Not only do they have the privilege of messing with your mare.... they get paid for doing it! Eleven months and ten days later, you find yourself hanging out in the barn at all hours of the day and night awaiting the birth of the new foal. You breed your mares in late winter or early spring, because you want your babies born as close to Jan. 1st as possible. We are talking AFTER Jan. 1st! If a baby should happen to hit the ground on Christmas, it would become a year old on Jan. 1st. All horses become a year older on that day and must compete with other horses in that age class, where the rest of the horses are eleven or twelve months old, but yours is only two weeks old chronologically. People who turn up at a show with a large, well developed weanling don't fool anyone.... everyone calls those babies "turkeys", because they were probably born on Thanksgiving and hidden in the barn until January.
It all started when I was in nursing school (at forty years old) and was studying every night. My poor husband was so bored and I was up to my eyeballs trying to study and keep up with a bunch of eighteen year olds. We were sitting on the front stoop looking at the stars one night when my honey said, "I've always wanted a horse of my own." Like my brain was in the off position, I replied, "So, go buy one and board it somewhere." I think the actual purchase happened the next day.... there just happened to be a gelding offered for sale in the newspaper and BAM!... we sold the house, bought acreage in the country and started
building a home and barn in the outskirts of town. I won't lie and say that I didn't like the country or that I didn't like having a few horses in the backyard, but a very wise patient at the hospital said, "Never add onto your barn." Owning a couple of nags only lasted until his first foal won the Michigan Breeder's Futurity. The addiction was on and he wanted more and more. Every stall was soon full and the mares had babies in the stall with them and they were pregnant for the next year. Where where we going to put them? The little voice in the back of my head said...."Never add on to your barn!" I threatened to leave home if some of the babies were not sold and pronto! He did sell the ones that didn't appear to be winners and bred for more. I did love the babies.... they are born and are standing up within an hour and are nursing within two hours. If you spend time in the stall with them, they begin to think that if you are not their mother.... you are at least an aunt or uncle. You have about ten days before they start getting teeth and will suck on your fingers just like human babies. My husband handled them from the first minute when he pulled the amniotic sac off their faces and they followed him around like puppies. He would run his hands over their backs and legs to get them adjusted to standing in the show ring and having their legs placed in a show presentation. One newborn kicked out with a quick flick of his back leg and broke my husband's baby finger the first day of it's life. It didn't matter... he was mainlining on horse manure by that time. He was fortunate to win many state futurities and made money from the shows and the sales, selling to breeders in Mexico, Venezuela and even Terry Bradshaw.
Then, the time came when we were getting older and keeping a small horse farm became more than we could handle. He says we had to sell the horsefarm, because the mower broke. I was the mower and I got asthma. The day we moved away, he sat on the picnic table and stared out at the pond.... I know there were tears in his eyes, but did not go out and let him know that I knew how hard it is to break an addiction. They don't make equineaderm patches for people who can't get the love of horses out of their veins. He still dreams of possibly owning just one mare to love, but I know the secret....never add on to your barn.... and our barn door is locked.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

At Last!

Okay, so I've been bending your ears about getting ready for the land of sunshine for the last month or so. We left the cold, gray skies of Ohio last Thursday at 8:00 in the morning and then drove for nineteen hours straight. Here we are a few days later and the sky looks the same as Ohio --- gray, leaden and rainy. And I am gray, leaden and rainy! I loll about on my bed like Cleopatra on her barge. Not young and lovely, but stricken with bronchitis and nasty of temperament. We have sustained ourselves on the bags of food that we brought from home, because I was not feeling like fighting the crowds at a grocery. Last night, we ventured out to the local Taco Bell and grabbed a quick couple of tacos, while trying very hard not to cough and give away the fact the a veritable Typhoid Mary was in their midst. The couple in the next booth placed a gray gunny sack on the table and kept feeling it in a very peculiar manner. The hubby said, "I think there is something alive in that bag". I eyeball the bag and look at the size of lumps therein --- too small for a kid, not noisy enough for a small animal ---- Hmmmm! Could it be a snake? A very big snake? In Taco Bell? And I am worried about taking my bronchitis out in public? You bet your life, it was a boa constrictor --- very big and very beautiful --- but not something you would find in your everyday Taco Bell in Toledo, Ohio! The folks in Florida do things differently from nice, middle class mid-westerners. I'm not talking about their tattoos or multiple piercings, but snakes on the dinner table? The young couple were very obliging and opened the bag to show us their lovely snake. I was impressed! I was also out of there!
This was the second snake we had seen since setting foot on Florida soil. Numero uno was a thin black snake about twenty inches long in our flower beds. This whole thing does not sound like the paradise I have been promising myself while I worked so hard to pack up and get here. Perhaps tomorrow, the sun will come out and I will feel differently about the gray and the snakes. On the positive side, the plants we stuck in the ground last summer have grown four or five times their original size and the living is easy.
We already have two or three sets of guests coming down for Spring Break, but Christmas is still up in the air. The picture at the top is my forty-six year old daughter at Ft. Myers Beach last spring. So, if you are reading this and are related to me --- come on down! The weather is bound to clear up any minute.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lately, All I've Got Is Leaving On My Mind!

"Sunshine, blue skies, white sand by the mile" --- that's a line from a song on "The Golden Girls", but it's true! Unfortunately, the traffic is as plentiful as grains of sand on the beach. Snowbirds, such as I, crowd into the state along with several hundred people, who are moving there weekly. We are in search of warmth from the sun to keep our bones from barking at us when the frost is on the pumpkin. The prospect of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) looms on the horizon as the gray skies pile up along the edges of Lake Erie and our moods become a pile of gray lumps. I really believe that I could stand to hibernate indoors, shut the drapes and pretend that the snow is not there, but instead --- somewhere over the North Pole --- way up high. I can be satisfied with quilting, reading and blogging, whereas my darlin' husband would go round the bend if there were no golf club in his hand or halcyon days loafing around the pool or just plain sitting on his porch and watching the world of geriatric strollers with similar ideas. Every time we make the shift from one state to the other, we get about four months under our belts and then thoughts drift to our other home and we start yearning to be wherever we are not at the moment. The advent of cell phones has made "reaching out and touching someone" so easy, that we don't even miss the kids too much and they can visit --- if they bring enough sleeping bags.
One of our close friends called from Ft. Myers today to say they were cooking out and we could come on over. That really stinks! It is really chilly here in Ohio and he was just rubbing it in --- like SPF #15 onto my goose pimples. There are so many things to be accomplished here --- like trimming the flower beds down for the year, washing and storing the porch furniture and making to do lists for all the things we need to haul back to Florida for the winter. Talking about that porch furniture on the deck --- a crazed squirrel has attacked one of the cushions on the wicker loveseat and pulled the foam rubber out. He is going to be really constipated if he is eating it or he is going to have a lovely soft nest for the winter. The chipmunks have headed into their burrows and are harmonizing to "Christmas, Christmas time is near", you know--- Alvin and his bunch? The leaves have been dropping quietly to the ground without as much fanfare as usual. The fall colors have been muted this year as though someone gave the signal that there should be no riotous colors before we dissolve into the world of winter white.
Some time has passed since I first started on this post and I find myself with one week to cram all the last minute stuff into the few short days until we leave. We went out and voted by absentee ballot yesterday and got new driver's licenses. The husband is getting some shots into his knee to stave off total knee surgery. If it didn't hurt so much, I'd think he was just hogging all the attention. We celebrated our fifty third wedding anniversary on Tuesday and he claims he brought me a present. He proudly showed the kids his big purchase --- a new toilet seat for the guest bathroom--- for me? You have to be kidding, Charlie --- I was thinking of something with class. He has been talking about another set of Taylor Made Golf Clubs to leave in Florida and I am not in the least in tune with that. He has been through several brands of clubs and still has a couple of sets that he doesn't use. Golf widows never mind the purchase of a single club --- even when it is his sixth putter and he is only allowed to carry one putter at a time on the course --- but another whole set? Get real! It is so cold outside tonight that I am anxious to finish the housecleaning, packing and move on down the road to the land of milk and honey or beer and chips, just as long as it is sunny and hot. My daughter-in-law has been over and cleaned out my excess food purchases. Why is it that I still think I am cooking for an army and buy as though the grocery stores are going to close suddenly? But, I will arrive in Florida and immediately head for the closest grocery to stuff my pantry there. I will just pretend that I am prepared for the next hurricane. The truck is packed, the house is cleaned, the doctors have given us prescriptions to last us for six months ---look out Florida --- another pair of snow-birds are exercising their wings for the flight to paradise. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Only One --- Therefore --- Priceless

This is Lacey. She is one of my eight grandchildren. We have seven great boys and this one lone girl. (Thank You God! for finally sending one.) This was taken at six years old and she is now fifteen. She is still beautiful and priceless in every way!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lovely Tradition

This is a quickie post about a lovely tradition. Our pastor and his wife came to our church twelve years ago.
They were the parents of three married daughters, who were all flight attendants. None of them had any children. Now, twelve years later, there are twelve grandchildren and we come to the tradition. When one of the girls is expecting the stork, Grandma buys a large handkerchief from a bridal store (we found the last one online). She gives it to me, because she is craftily challenged and I have made everything from suits, quilts and wedding dresses to these adorable bonnets.
I fold the back edge to form a casing and stitch with a long machine stitch, then run a silk ribbon through the casing and tie it into a bow. Then, the front edge is turned back and I embroider silk flowers (in the proper boy or girl color) and tack them over the silk bonnet strings. This little number is the last one I made (hopefully, the very last) and is pictured adorning a head of lettuce.
Oh, yeah, the tradition --- the new baby wears this bonnet home from the hospital and it is then put into the babybook. When the child marries, the stitching is picked out and the bride carries the handkerchief down the aisle. If if is a boy child, his bride carries it. My friend, the pastor's wife, has given these as gifts and has actually seen the tradition fulfilled. I hope I live long enough to see one of this "holy dozen" carry my handiwork down the aisle. They can leave the lettuce in the kitchen.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just Curious

Big Dave of Blogger fame commented that he wished he were a robin or even a goose and could fly south with all the migrating snow birds. True, I am pulling things out of their hiding places and starting to pack for the other half of our year, but the only thing a robin packs is it's belly. They are fat as the proverbial Christmas goose, in anticipation of winging southward for a few rays while the rest of the world freezes their tail feathers in the north. I just noticed something peculiar about several of the robins hopping around on our deck and pecking away at the seeds we have thrown out there to assist them in their carbohydrate loading before the big trip. A bunch have gray feathers mingled with their red breasts. Are these the senior citizens of the bird world ? If, so --- how are they going to make the long trip with aging wings? We, too are carb loading (I just frosted a ton of graham crackers to get rid of the last of my five pounds of frosting), but I am not planning to flap my arms all the way to Ft. Myers. The robins are the lucky ones --- they don't have to drag their golf clubs, or sewing machine and clothes for any and all occasions. I am just curious to know if birds camouflage themselves with scattered gray patches to blend in with the drab winter colors? If that is the way it works, then HRH and I are going to blend in perfectly with the other golden agers, who live in tin cans and eat early birds every night for dinner.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Time Has Come

"The time has come," the walrus said, "to speak of many things --- of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings." Summer just arrived three weeks ago. Then, the autumnal equinox came and certainly there must be more to fall than three weeks. Last night, Buffalo, N. Y. got twenty-two inches of snow. Really --- truly! My mind cannot curl around the thought of all that snow, now that we no longer snow ski. Those were younger, more pliable times --- when bones did not cry out in dismay at thought of shishing down a mountain or more accurately falling down a mountain with the tips of my skis stuck six inches into the snow, while I lay prone beneath the chairlift. I can still hear the sweet young thing (all of nine years old) offering to help, while overhead cute ski bums hollered out words of encouragement, e.g. "Looking good' --- "Wait for me and I'll help you when I come down." I was looking about for the St. Bernard with the keg of whisky and Lord knows ---- I don't even drink! So, here we are with over two and a half months left to enjoy the beautiful fall season and someone is pushing for an early Christmas. The maples outside our deck are still green. I cannot wait for their glorious red season, but the sudden cold has caught them by surprise. Could they be kidding us about global warming? I digress from my original point, which is, that the time has come to start getting all uptight about our move to the sunny south. My darling husband sees to it that the car or truck is ready and he does most of the driving. This leaves me more to do than I even care to contemplate. Tonight I finished piecing a quilt that I need for our bed in Florida --- all 2689 pieces.
Tomorrow, I will take it to the machine quilter. I called her a month ago and put my quilt in line to be processed, even though it was in pieces at the time. The pressure to be ready on a given day makes me want to dive into bed and accomplish nothing. One thing I could do is quit reading the blogs of the wonderfully talented people here in Blogspot, but they have brought new life to this old heart. Throughout my lifetime, my compulsive listmaking has kept me sane and helps me remember most things to keep everything running smoothly. The list will look something like this:

1. Take the teaspoon I inadvertently brought home in the spring --- it matches the silverware I bought for down there.
2. Take the CD box for our personal CD that our daughter made for our 50th anniversary and we left in the T.V. in Ft. Myers.
3.Sort through the Christmas decorations and decide how I will decorate the tree, if HRH (His Royal Highness) lets me buy a tree.
4.Try to remember which clothes I left there (Why didn't I make a stupid list? )
5. Dig up all the rechargers for cameras, cell phones, razors and the cords for the computer.
6. Go through all the file cabinets and pull out any pertinent papers we might need to file our income taxes. Put important stuff in the fire box or the safe and tell our trusty son where everything is.
7. Turn off the phone, computer, cable T.V. here ---reverse in Ft. Myers. Also, unplug all valuable appliances against power surges.
8. Go through our closets before next Friday and stick the stuff out for the Easter Seal Pick-up. I'm thinking I need to part with a bunch of junk, before I die and my kids are forced to do that which I have been putting off. I don't think size 4 will ever come my way again --- unless I get cancer or anorexia.
.9. Take extra pads of checks and notify the bank that I might be transferring money from other computers this winter. (They now register the computer I.D., besides the user I.D. and password)

The list will get longer and longer as the next two weeks go on, but one thing will surely happen. We will get into the truck (Ford F150 with heated seats) and about 15 miles down I-75, HRH will say, "Did you bring my sunglasses?"---and I will kill him!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Boy in Trees

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Boy in Trees
There's a new show on T.V. this year called "Men in Trees". I watched it and discovered that they literally meant the men were in the trees. You know, lumberjack types overhead trimming the branches from the fir trees. Today would have been my parent's seventy-ninth wedding anniversary. I wanted to write about my dad and the unusual life he had. The first thing that popped into my head was the tree thing, so----

Dad was born December 3rd, 1897 in Jonesboro, Arkansas somewhere in the middle of eleven children. Being a very bright little boy, he finished elementary school at twelve and then quit. Quit? He left home and joined his father in the logging camps of Arkansas to help support the family. He was "A Boy in Trees" for four years, until the thirst for knowledge overcame him and he left for the big city. He stuck out his thumb and hitch hiked to Toledo, Ohio where he had cousins, who would allow him to live with them. Between sixteen and nineteen, he attended high school, played football and supported himself in assorted jobs. That was just the first step toward an education. After high school, he began college at the local university and worked for a small newspaper as a reporter, doing a little bit of everything. Also, he worked at the original Jeep production plant.
After getting a degree in education and he started law courses by mail from the University of Chicago and night classes at The University of Toledo. He met my mom and they married somewhere in the middle of law school. The five children arrived starting in 1928, ending in 1936. Great timing--have a whole brood of children during the "Great Depression"! I suppose they had it much better than most people, because as a public employee --- he was paid in script. He had started teaching high school classes in English, Economics, Sociology, Auto Mechanics and World History the day the doors opened to a brand new school and he was coaching football at another high school for free. Because of the children, his law degree was delayed to the point that he could not afford to open an office and give up the safety of the teaching job.
I know he had become a flaming liberal during his college years and yearned for a world where there was no poverty or inequality. He loved to teach about the problems of the world --- we were served history and English with every meal. It was a mistake to ask a question --- that led to a half hour of explaining the hows and whys of the subject. He was active in the union fight at the Autolite Company in Toledo during the depression. This fight made national news for it's bitter physical battles between union loyalists (imported thugs) and the company hierarchy (more hired thugs). About a year after I was born, his picture was all over the local papers and he was temporarily suspended from teaching for reported un-American activities. The problem was that he was now legally an attorney and was busily forming The Federation of Teachers locally. That was the first teacher's union to hit the scene. The fact that he was a card carrying Socialist didn't help a bit. I get the picture of a bunch of young men sitting about and dreaming of how they could make a utopian society where all would have equal status. I wonder how they could have desired to elevate people who did little to help themselves to the level of those who had worked so hard to educate and sustain themselves? He was reinstated to his teaching job after a few months, but still believed that somehow life should be made easier for the downtrodden.
Dad had his office at home and after dinner at night, there was a steady procession of people needing basic legal advice or just wanting to sit at the feet of the master of dreams. People came and went, but if they didn't ask how much for a legal service---- they never got a bill.I watched as he built our home with his own two hands, because he couldn't find anyone who would rent to a family with five kids after WWII. He cut down trees and put through two roads nearby for a share in selling the property. Funny, that sounds amazingly like capitalism at it's best --- diametrically opposed to his share and share alike philosophy.When he died at seventy-eight, this little Ozark boy held a Degree in Education and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence. He was a wonderful and caring man, who built a great life and a terrific family. His name was Clyde and he was "A Boy in Trees".
posted by Kacey @ 4:54 PM 1 comments

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Party on Down

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my confusion regarding the marriage of my deceased brother's widow. How would I feel knowing that she is no longer related to me, but to a whole new family? The wedding was last weekend and we did travel a couple of hours to attend. Since they are an older couple with children and grandchildren, I thought it would be a simple affair with a bit of family present. Not in this world, Charlie! Two hundred and fifty guests at an exclusive club, with crudities and cocktails before a dinner of filet mignon, turkey, roast pork, a pasta buffet table, a salad table and fancy little dessert goodies followed by dancing the night away was their idea of a little wedding ceremony. It was a really nice affair and I only had a couple of hard moments. The first one was when she passed from my brother's last name to the new husband's last name. The second was as the couple sealed their vows with the marital kiss and I missed my brother terribly at that moment. The funny thing was that her maiden name was Elizabeth Stone and in marrying this man, she became Elizabeth Fieldstone (pseudonyms, but you get the idea). It really was a lovely wedding and must have cost an arm and a leg. Elizabeth looked radiant and very happy. I enjoyed seeing my nephews and their young families and am happy to report that the new husband is a really nice guy and good looking, too. I knew he would be, beause she has good taste. She married into our family, didn't she? We met her intended as he was entering the building to dress for the wedding. I shook hands and said, "I guess, if you are marrying my sister-in-law --- you will be my new brother-in -law!" My world remains unchanged and I sincerely hope that her world has changed for the better. God intended that man have a helpmate... life is meant to be lived in pairs.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Apnea Machine

Last week, the husband went to the Apnea Clinic and according to their standards --- he flunked! I've been hearing from friends in real life and in the blogashpere that many people are having this same testing done. Also, many people are getting hooked up to the machines every night for the rest of their lives. The thing is --- you might be saved from an early death from respiratory arrest, but you might never sleep again. Who had the bright idea to strap a moist air machine to your head with it's mask stuck up your nose and a hose leading to the machine? Can people really sleep like that? Maybe they can and thus arrive at the REM state of sleep, but their bed partner might never sleep another night. If it gets twisted or loosened or any other advent during the night --- it begins to sound like a circle saw bent on adding a new room onto your bed. Someone is getting rich! The husband is managing to sleep eight or nine hours, but the REM stage is elusive at best. I, on the other hand, have been hiding my head under my cuddle pillow to shut out the wooshing and squealing noises and after about four hours, am up and pacing the floor, flopping on the couch or watching T.V. in the LazyBoy. Last night, or rather at 4:00 this morning, I had a full blown panic attack. The only other one I ever had was over ten years ago and I recognized it immediately, this time. But, when you have been married forever, you don't want to start sleeping in another room. If I thought that this get rich quick machine would really keep him from dying, I would go quietly into that dark night and let the machine win. However, he doesn't feel any less sleepy in the daytime and his nose hurts from the strap and I am so tired! The newest feeling is atrial fib several times a night, because what he really needed in the first place was a pacemaker to speed up his old heart. I can't say anything to him about the pain in the arse machine, because it would look really tacky to stop him from using the machine and then have something happen to him. Now, he is saying that he wants to go to Florida and forget about the whole thing. How can doctors become such a force in your life without your permission? Stay tuned --- I might get out the sledge hammer and smash that thing!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thanks for the Memories

Tonight, my darlin' husband is sleeping away from home. No, he's not messing around, he's sleeping at an apnea center to record why his heart rate drops to the low 30's during the night. I think he's just lazy and doesn't want to expend enough energy to get his ticker going any faster. The problem is --- we've been married so long that I can't sleep when he isn't home. I've been sitting here reading some wonderful blogs and looking through some of the pictures I have loaded into my folders. The picture on the left is one that was taken at my Junior Prom. The interesting thing is that the cute guy with me was not my boyfriend. He was my older sister's steady in high school until they both went to separate colleges. She met another dude at the local college and ditched this great guy. This wonderful young man was so sweet to me. I didn't have a date for the big prom and he was a fantastic dancer, so I wrote him a letter and asked if he would take me, providing I bought the bid and he would be home from Ohio University that weekend. He obliged me and we spent a super evening talking about my sister! (He still couldn't get her out of his mind)
His willingness to escort me was a great break for me. My classmates did not vote on a queen of the prom --- that was reserved for the Senior Prom. Instead, the dance band picked three Sweethearts of the Prom and surprise! They picked me to be one.
I know they noticed me because of this young man's dancing! He was really great on his feet and I was able to follow him(like a brother). I'm not writing about this to pat myself on the back, but for the big kicker of the whole deal. He took me to two big dances that year and I have pictures and nice memories of those times, but the big deal? He turned out to be a movie producer in Hollywood! My husband and I were invited to his wedding in Scotland, but could not attend because I was busily having babies every year for a while. It's fun to look at old pictures and think --- I dated a big wheel Hollywood type, even if he really had a thing for my sister. Thanks for the memories, Wayne.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

The Little Red Haired Girl

She arrived in the middle of my fourth grade year and I held my breath as she walked into the room. I had started into the new school at the beginning of the year and still felt like the odd man out. The other kids already had friendships going and I desperately needed a best friend to feel as though I were at home in this strange place. She was beautiful --- long red finger curls bobbed about her freckled face. I knew --- I just knew, she had to be the friend I needed. I, too, had finger curls, but I didn't have naturally curly bright red hair. She was a little Shirley Temple dropped right into our classroom. Perhaps she felt that she was the strange one in this new place, but somehow we gravitated towards each other and started a friendship that was to grow and continue through many decades of our lives. Our school was a little country school, without enough kids in any one grade to make up a class. The whole school, at that time, consisted of four classrooms with two grades in each room. There were empty rooms for want of children to fill them. The third/fourth grade teacher had a peculiar practice. Talking, gum chewing, fidgeting --- just about any infraction of her rules led to being summoned to the front of the room and being seated in the reading circle chairs. With the advent of "The Nanny", I like to think of those chairs as "The Naughty Chairs". Once six children were in the circle, she took us to an empty room and paddled us with a large wooden paddle. My only turn in the chairs came about when the person behind me asked me for the answer to a test question and I shook my head to keep the dreaded Miss Bourn's eyes from lighting upon me. The look and the nod came and I went to the reading circle, not knowing how long it would take to accumulate five more recalcitrant fourth graders. As we finally arrived in the empty room, she asked me if I had ever been spanked before. Are you kidding? I was the youngest of five kids! You betcha I had been spanked. Most of the children stumbled back into the classroom with tears streaking down their cheeks, but I gritted my teeth, set my jaw and willed myself not to cry. Instead, I waltzed back into the room and actually giggled out loud (because the teacher was still whipping the others in the spare room). Suddenly, I was a class bad girl and a folk hero among ten year olds. My little red haired girl stuck steadfastly by me, even if I were becoming not quite the model of decorum that her mother would have liked for her. I don't think Elaine ever met with the humiliation of that dreaded paddle, but I would have taken it for her. You can't hit a delicate little red haired girl with all those lovely freckles. We did all the things little girls do from the fourth grade through the eighth grade. We played jacks indoors at recess and baseball outdoors in the sunshine. There were wonderfully tall swings and tetter-totters for us in the younger grades. Sometimes, we just sat and talked through recess or the end of lunch hour. We stayed at each other's homes for overnights, but mostly it was at her house. I know her mom didn't trust me to keep her safe and innocent ---after all, I had all those older brothers and sisters. Her house was an absolute wonder to me. We (a family of seven) lived in a four bedroom, one bathroom home and I was the only child with a room to myself. But, her house had a little, narrow staircase leading upstairs, with only her room, her sister's room , a huge empty room, a bathroom and a storage room up there. I loved her room. The windows were low and seemed to me to be under the eaves and there were lots of them. Her parents never bothered us up there and we talked for hours, did homework, gossiped about the other kids and exchanged secrets never to be divulged to another soul. We told each other whom we liked and whom we hated. When we liked a boy, we practiced writing our names as they would be if we were to marry the boy. We had many crushes and did much speculating, but it was harmless fun. Her mother made the greatest chocolate cakes with marshmallow frosting in the world---oh, how loved them. She seemed to be the perfect mother, but I knew she didn't like me very much---- tough---we were best friends! Elaine seemed to have everything I every wanted. She actually had a huge collection of Nancy Drew books. I never knew until recently that Millie Benson from right here in Toledo, Ohio wrote those books and people came from all over to get them signed and have Nancy Drew gatherings. But, you can see how I loved her---red ringlets, chocolate cake and Nancy Drew books--- I hit the trifecta! Many teachers never understood what sort of problems I had. They were not big problems, but being the last of the Mohecians, my parents didn't pay much attention to my needs or lists of supplies needed for school. I just struggled along doing what I could. On the other hand, the little red haired girl had a mom who sewed and understood that children need help from their parents, if they are to succeed in life. By the eighth grade, we had sewing class from Miss Kitzmiller and I could tell that she thought me to be a total loss. We were to make a simple straight skirt or blouse. I picked a complicated pattern and my mom popped for some cheap colored cotton. Elaine's mom was a sewer and knew how to help her at home without making it look as though she had actually done the project for her, Our second item was to be of our own choosing. Elaine choose to make a stuffed lamb, so I made one, too. Why buy another pattern? Her's was adorable,(it was white with little flowers all over)---- mine was just okay. I had no sewing machine at home and had to make seams by hand with backstitch. The one thing I had going for me was an abiding interest in sewing that started in the sixth grade and continues to this day. (I can finally buy beautiful fabrics.) The thing I admired the most about my friend was her ability with the piano and the flute. She was good! Really good! I took one year of piano and gave it up ---I was tired of paying for the lessons out of my babysitting money. Armed with a bit of musical ability on my part and a bunch on her part, we started off to high school --- she to the marching band and I to the choir. This quickly changed when the band director asked who could actually read music. I raised my hand and he stuck a baritone horn in it. I was in the band with the little red haired girl!
This meant that I had to take a crash course in how to play a brass instrument, but I was in the band and on the band bus with some really cute guys. We each picked out people we thought were worth a second look and set about making them like us. Those band bus trips were so much fun ---singing ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, munching apples, flirting, et cetera. We were freshman riding to football games on the bus with juniors and seniors! Woo Hoo!
High school meant sharing a locker with another person--- guess who? Right you are --- the little red haired girl. We kept this up all the way through high school, even as seniors when we were allowed to fly alone at long last. Staying together in a locker meant that we would be certain to see each other between classes and and at the beginning and ending of the day ---before we would go home and call each other. (Times when we could talk about how we felt we would die if that certain someone should notice us) Sometimes, we even liked the same guy and wanted at least one of us to be the chosen one. We took the same college prep classes and were in many of the same rooms at the same time. We always got to be in homeroom together.
Then, I did something that changed it all for a while, I ran away and got married. She loaned me her good navy blue suit to be married in, because I had nothing suitable. This was the worst I had ever felt about her mother. Even though I always wanted her to like me --- she wanted to burn that suit, because I had worn it for a nice legal Lutheran ceremony an illicit runaway ceremony. I always wanted her to know that I went down that aisle as pure as the driven snow and would never have done anything to hurt her daughter ---she was my Best friend!
Today, I drove from Northwestern Ohio to Southwestern Ohio to celebrate the little red haired girl's 70th birthday! I remember seeing it written on the mirror of her compact in the 9th grade in lipstick. 9/11 She had no way of knowing that her birthday would go down in infamy. I haven't mentioned a couple of things that are really important in her life. The first is her marriage to a great looking guy from our class after she had been to college. The second thing of importance are the births of her three babies,---Sandy, Bobby and Cheri. The third event was a devastating sadness that should never come to a mother. Their only son died a sudden and confusing death at an early age. (in his twenties) And, something that should never happen to a family---My Little Red Haired Girl developed Multiple Sclerosis when she was 28 and carrying her last baby. The progression of this disease put too much strain on the marriage and it broke up after many happy years together and now her daughter is devoted to the care of my Little Red Haired Girl. I wish you could have seen the many family members and others who gathered to share with her, a Happy Birthday. No one wishes her happiness more fervently then I. You go girl --- race along on your scooter, knowing that a lot of love goes with you. I still love you, Elaine.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

And the Beat is Gone!

Electronics have gone too far. Technology has taken over our lives and I am going to take things into my own hands and stop the insanity. I have been sitting here...being a fairly normal blogaholic... checking e-mails, reading a few good blogs (see my beginners list above) and chatting with my husband in the other room, while he watches T.V. The strains of very tiny music have been tickling my ears for two hours. At first, I thought that there was a musical background to his movie, but it continued into the next program, so that wasn't it. Perhaps my asthma is wheezing with sibilant, I held my breath and still the very tiny music continued. I checked the boom box on my desk...nope, that was not it. I turned off the speakers on my computer... ditto... and the beat goes on. I moved further afield...not in the garage, not the bedroom T.V. (okay, I admit we are unclassy enough to have a T.V. in our bedroom), not the T.V. in the utility/sewing room. Possibly, the crazy lady who thinks that the government is leaking electricity out of her switchplates knows something after all. Could I be going crazy and marching to the tune of a different violin? Suddenly, I have a bright idea...a couple of years ago, I bought some greeting cards in one of those cutesy card shops in Florida. Little, old ladies do those sorts of things. Among my bargains were a couple of cards with the little musical discs inside that play the appropriate message...( like, I'm sorry to hear that the carpet layers accidentally covered your canary with the new broadloom, boom, boom). I searched through the pile of bills that I have tried to ignore,.... after all, I have a couple more days until the 10th of the month. There it was, in my trusty "Hallmark Monthly Card Planner" merrily playing an unrecognizable tune. The poor little disc has probably been on play since I sent a card to my grandson ten days ago. Therefore, I took matters into my own hands and wrung it's little neck... thereby putting the both of us out of our misery. If birthday cards are going to drive us round the bend, then technology has definitely gone too far.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Quilt vs. Blog?

There are so many great writers in blogsville, that I am spending too much time reading their great posts. I have loved words since I started reading at four or five years old. I don't know how I knew to read, but it seems that it was always there. I had no kindergarten, but was reading years ahead of my class in the first grade. The reason was probably that I was the baby of a family of five children and the boys would hold me on their laps and have me read the newspaper.
So, here I am in the latter stages of life and hoping to leave quilts to each of my childred and grands and I am spending all my spare time reading blogs. Quit being so facinating, so I can get back to leaving a heritage for my descendents. In my sewing room I have two quilts sliced and diced and awaiting the sewing machine. One has almost 3000 pieces and has to be finished this month, because it matches our bedroom in Florida and it will be quilted by a big machine here in Ohio. I have one in the works that I am hand quilting, but the rules are--- piece in the summer and quilt in the winter. If you live six months in Ohio and 6 months in Florida--- when to you hand quilt? The quilt shown here is made from 1930's retro fabrics. Individually, they are sort of ugly prints, but they make a nice looking quilt. And so, my friendly bloggers ---please, stop being so good---go on vacation for a couple of weeks ---okay?

Friday, September 1, 2006

Uno Septembo

In my last post, I mentioned my puppy middle-aged son who is brilliant with computers. He also has a love affair with autumn and has started a new holiday in these parts. So, if you are reading this ---check out his site:
He would be thrilled to pieces if he had mail from all over the country. ( I can't believe that I am doing this, but "what's a mother to do?"

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Old Dog, New Tricks

A really good blogger asked me to make a link for his posts. Being an old dog, I did not know how to do very many things with my computer, but I do have a puppy who knows all about this stuff. (And, a little child shall lead them!) My little child is forty-seven and pretty good looking. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it! So, the puppy taught his old dog how to make a list of my favorite blogs. It is at the top of the page --- I am proud of my new trick!:o)

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Betrayal of my Soul

My ideas of marriage have been in constant flux over a lifetime of marriage to my one and only. Early on, I had lofty ideals that if, (God forbid) I should suddenly be run over by a speeding train or any other such catastrophe --- my dear husband would have to remarry, because he was so happy with me. Actually, I think I wanted someone to mother my children until they could fend for themselves. Deep in my heart, I knew that I couldn't stand the thought of him whispering sweet nothings into another woman's ears. The very tiny, creeping, ugly little voice said in my ear, "What if he tells her about all your shortcomings?"

There is a joke about a wife questioning her hubby in this way;
She, "If I were to die, would you remarry?"
He, "Oh, probably".

She, "Would you give her all my lovely things?"
He, "Oh, probably."
She, "Would you even give her my clothes?"
He, " I might."
She, "How about my golf clubs?"
He, "Oh, no, she's left handed!"

In my late thirties, a good friend died from a really nasty cancer. As if that were not bad enough, her husband told a few of "the guys" some of her intimate details. (e.g., having her monthly period start when she was sick unto death and lying in her own blood) I cried at this betrayal of her womanhood. We all know that there are thoughts and happenings in our lives that we hold near and dear and share only with one other trusted person, perhaps we even keep them to ourselves. Our inner being is indeed fragile and in need of a confidant with the ability to respect our privacy. Another friend lost his wife a couple of years ago and is blissfully married to another woman and people are saying things like, "John is so much more fun with his new wife than he was before." Just stick the knife into my ribs and twist it around a bit! Admittedly, his new wife is a live wire and the first wife was every inch the lady. I went to Hospice and gave her manicures and pedicures because I loved her and now he is having more fun with the new model.
My brother's widow of three and a half years is getting married next month. While I am extremely happy that she has found someone to be a companion--- I harbor this nagging little thought ---"You can't do this --- you are my sister-in-law and your children are my nephews." The new groom is a widower and certainly loved his first wife and my s-i-l loved my brother. We are talking older people here---grandparents. This man will make her life very comfortable and they love to travel all over the world ---she can stop tutoring primary children in her home, if she wants . Don't jump on me because I sound selfish --- I am in a whole new territory here. I must be thinking in terms of those left handed golf clubs. My husband has been with me as long as I can remember and I would hate to die and have him find out that some other woman would have been a better wife, lover, companion. We have to keep changing out minds about how we feel regarding life and love. There should be a pre-nuptial that says you cannot tell your new husband the longings of your previous mate's heart.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So, you're a nurse, too?

One of the other bloggers mentioned being a nurse. So, I thought I would quickly give you a taste of hospital humor ---

Doctor, leaning over a patient just recovering from anesthesia, "I have good news and bad news, which do you want first?"

Patient, "Give me the bad news first."

Doctor, "I had to amputate both your legs."

Patient, "OMG! After that, what could possibly be good?"

Doctor, "Your roommate wants to buy your slippers!"

Second scenario:

Doctor, "Good news or bad news first?"

Patient, "Give me the bad news."

Doctor, "I amputated the wrong leg."

Patient, OMG, what could be good about that?"

Doctor, Your bad leg is responding to treatment!"

You see, nurses work through blood, sweat and tears. They eat lunch between emptying bedpans and cleaning barf off their scrubs. So, in self defense and to keep from fleeing, screaming from the hospitals --- we hear and tell truly tasteless jokes and laugh before the
tears start.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Today was Odd

You don't get into your eighth decade without experiencing a number of interesting things. Marriage, childbirth, deaths in the family, auto accidents, et cetera are all occurances that routinely come and go with the rhythm of a marching band. I worked in a hospital as a nurse for twenty years and saw all sorts of horror and proceedures, along with joys and blessings.
Today, I have seen and felt something completely new to me. The doctor plunged a 20 gauge needle directly into my throat , and thence into my thyroid gland. It wasn't that bad --- just that weird. Thirty years ago, we didn't have ultra sound images to guide physicians in their perverse doings. Of course, they didn't have the life saving techniques at their finger tips, but my grandmothers would have run screaming into the night at the thought of needles sticking into their throat. Sometime, I will have to sit down and ponder on the things that I have seen come on down the Pike during my lifetime. It seems like we have always had these wonders available to us, but I remember being in the hospital for the first time at seventeen and the nurses didn't even start I.V.'s, the doctors did.
Well, I'll find out at the end of the week whether or not this worked or whether they will be playing pin cushion with my neck again. Big thought of the day--- "You're gonna do what to me?"

Friday, August 18, 2006

Under Construction---Please Excuse

Please excuse this blog site. I have attempted to fix something and I broke it! The letters are as big as a Times Square Billboard and I am stuck! I'll be back as soon as one of my kids takes pity on me and fixes things! Thanks

Well, I retyped that post, but I'm not certain that I did my blog any favors! lol

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Perfectionist

I'm turning into a blogaholic. The whole thing has been creeping up with increasing velocity. I am wondering, uh ---where have I been, lo, these many months? The wonderful world of electronics belongs to the young, but eventually the senior citizens will catch on ---then, you'll all leave and start something new. Adults have been copying teens for years, but the newest fashions have finally gone too far to be copied by anyone in their right mind or rather in their right size. So, as I started out to say ---a few people have clicked on my comments on other blogs and one thing has led to another and I am totally enthralled by the sheer numbers of great, funny, insightful people flying around the blogasphere. Today, I was catching up with Dr. Andrew in his blog (isn't that a clever title?) about the problems a perfectionist creates within a relationship. After admitting that I am indeed a perfectionist, I had to stop and realize that I wasn't always aligned with the weirdos of the world. It started on a very specific occasion. If he reads this, I will probably be committed --- but, I'm going to give it a shot!
The background has to come first ---
I started my senior year of high school the first week of September, 1953.
The new schoolbus driver was a twenty-one year old hunk, who had recently returned from the Navy, during the Korean thing. He was going to college on the G.I. Bill and driving bus to have spending money.
I was the first one on the bus in the morning and the last one off at night. Not being one to let any grass grown under my feet, I struck a claim before any other girls could bat an eyelash and started dating him the next
Friday night. He made the mistake of using a line on me --- something to the effect of, "If you were out of this school, I'd marry you". Sure thing!
Before he knew what hit him, I dragged him over the state line, forged parental permission and we were married on October 24th. We had some grandiose plans of keeping it a secret until I graduated. Think again, el bimbo! Being young and very dumb, I did not realize that our city is right on the Ohio/Michigan border and some of my classmates lived in Michigan and got "The Monroe Evening News". But, they paid tuition and crossed the state line to attend our school. When the marriage license was published, the jig was up --- we had to fess up, tell our parents and take our medicine. My father (a teacher and attorney) was going to have it annulled, but my mom said, --- 'THEY SPENT A NIGHT TOGETHER!" Now, think 1953 --- a night together meant "used goods" and they would probably be stuck with me forever.
Dad gave up his dream that I would teach Latin and mom had lots to
chat about with her girlfriends. I did manage to continue my senior year despite mononeucleosis two weeks into the marriage. I used every cent my new husband had for the hospital bill, because as a married, almost woman, I was no longer covered by my dad's health insurance.
So, we started our married life in a one car garage apartment sans T.V., dishes, pots, pans --- and anything else you can think of, but we had a wonderful time together. (Getting to know one another, so to speak --- both as people and in the Biblical sense.) His mom would look at me as though her son had lost his mind, but she always did want another little girl. (All 5'2" and 95 pounds of good gymnast and bad majorette)
About a year later, we moved into an 8'x26' trailer. Things were really tight and there was no bathroom --- that was across the street. (It did make things difficult, if you had the flu.) But, being young and resourceful, we found lots of things to do with each other. Keep your minds clean, folks! (Well, fairly clean) Our big plan was to pay the thing off and go to the Florida shore to listen to the waves crashing on the sand. I worked in an office and he worked as a carpenter while we lived in the trailer. Between a full time job and being a full time wife, I wasn't really committed to keeping things in great shape. Besides, we spent most of our spare time chasing each other around that 8'x26' space. One night, I awakened to a husband who was delirious with fever and I had absolutely no idea of what to do. We had no phone (keep thinking poor), so I jumped into the car and drove five miles to his parents home at three in the morning to call the medical academy. They promised to send a doctor right out and then, his mom said that she would be right over. EGADS! I drove those five miles back in an illegal flash. The clean dishes were in the drainer --- stick it under the sink! The dirty dishes were in the sink ---stick them in a bucket and hide them in a closet! Our hastily discarded clothing, even the undies were caught up and stuffed into another, tiny closet. Then, OMG, DH is naked --- and his mom is coming over. Have you ever tried to put jammies on a delirious, naked dude? Everything looked presentable when his mom and the doctor arrived, except for me---think bed hair and wrinkled clothing. The first words out of the doc's mouth were, "I forgot my tongue blades --- could you get me a spoon?" Mom started for the silverware drawer ---"NO! I'll get it." I'm fishing silverware out of the drainer under the sink. It turned out to be tonsillitis, but his tonsils had been removed when he was a child. I didn't know that you have several sets of tonsil tags and sometimes new ones take over when your immune system is threatened.
Now, faced with a mother-in-law who thinks you are a bimbo, not to be trusted with her only son -- wouldn't you develop a lifelong problem with perfectionism? The rules are something like this --- keep the home like something out of "House Beautiful", pick up every night before bedtime, never leave dishes in the sink, bathrooms must look like they haven't been peed in for years, closets and drawers have to line up like a department store display and make the bed if hubby gets up during the night to potty. Today, I keep two homes (one in Ohio and one in Florida) but, the work of moving twice a year is killing me! The hardest part is pretending that the "good fairies" take care of the details.
I forgot to say --- besides being a willing wife in the Biblical sense --- I could really cook at seventeen, after having cooked for a family of seven for five years. My mother had not been well during that part of my life, so cooking for only two was fun.
Life together has turned out to be ten times anything I ever had dreamed it could be --- and they said it would never work! We had three children in our twenties and then I went to nursing school at forty. (I finally found a use for all the high school Latin) You really can have it all, but I don't think they meant my way!

Monday, August 7, 2006

The Eye of the Beholder

Here we are, suddenly finding ourselves on the short end of the stick of life. We still believe ourselves to be the same two people we were the other day when we married. Our minds tell us that we are just as good as ever. Then, we arise from our easy chairs and find the first couple of steps to be difficult, because the joints have stiffened up when we weren't looking. The mirror holds still more surprises. When did that seventeen year old girl become a grandmother? When I was young and the children were little, the days were longer and the years went by more slowly. Now they fly past in a blur and I am afraid that I will miss something in this fast paced world. I read in another blog that the elderly are funny to watch with all our little foibles. I beg your pardon! I am seventy, not elderly. I thought my conversation had kept up with the rest of the people being held in place by the Earth's gravity. I have to snicker to myself when I hear a younger person (perhaps 40ish or 50ish) talking about their parents, as though they had lost their marbles in a crap shoot. We have forgotten more than they have learned much of the time. Young people will be amazed at how quickly the time goes between fifty and seventy and how badly they will wish they could hold back life's final curtain. Every day is a gift and we really love opening that gift every day.
Since we have retired from the working world, we live half the year in a condominium in Ohio and the other half in a candominium in Florida. (Candominium being a tincan in a doublewide park full of old people) Yeah, I'll admit that some people get old, not just in their bodies, but in their thought processes, too. The ladies who walk their poodles in baby strollers do catch a raised eyebrow from me and the non-golfers who buzz about in their golf carts are a real trip. But, I know I get the same reaction when I strap on my rollerblades and take a couple of laps around the park. They probably have 911 on speed dial and are anxious to see the men in white coats catch me in their butterfly nets. It is getting harder and harder to live those six months among the people who play Bingo on Wednesday nights at 6:30 and are home promptly at 8:00 for a nice early bedtime at 9:30. My lights burn into the night as I play on the computer or read or watch the medical channel, while the rest of the park is in total darkness. One thing I can say for these lovely over 55ers --- they get out of bed by 6:00 and have done their daily walking exercise, while I am still snoozing lazily in bed.
The best part of Florida is the trip to and from in the proper season. The world we see is ever changing and so beautifully made. Interstate 75 is as familiar as the back of my hand, but there is always a freshly mowed field of wheat, a country church with the sun shining on the steeple or one of those wonderful old, wooden barns to admire. Most of the barns are beginning to sag a bit or are outright falling down and being replaced with the newer steel, pole barns. We love the old barns --- they seem to hold a more romantic time, a time when farmers loved the land, the stock, the crops, their families and everything natural. I suppose that we are a couple of old barns, beginning to fall into disrepair around the edges, but still capable of holding the crops for a few more years. We behold the beauty along the roads between here and there and love the sight of the old and regal, when others might only see the piled up mile markers and weeds along the fence rows. It is all in the eyes of the beholders.

Summer Daze

To the Youth at Church

I've been reading blogs and see a pattern of late summer, early fall uncertainty in many of the bloggers. Junior High apprehension about going on to Senior High, Senior High fearful of the college or adult life in front of them. It's sort of like babies taking that new first step or not taking it for fear of falling down --- fear not --- The Lord is with Thee and with Thy Spirit! All of life is a series of endings and new beginnings. If we had crystal balls, and could see into the future, would we really want to know what lies ahead? Most of the fun in waiting for Christmas morning, is the anticipation of what lies in those festively wrapped packages. Some people cheat and peak into those packages and then are disappointed that there are no surprises in store. I could tell you that your parents and grandparents are just as uncertain about some aspects of their lives, but are afraid to admit that they are not as sure of themselves as they might appear. All we can do is throw ourselves on the mercy of God, knowing that everything in our lives has been known since we were still in our mother's womb. You get up in the morning, do what you have to do, keep heading in the direction that you desire and the next thing you know --- great things start happening. If God doesn't want you to continue in a particular path, He will slam the door and you will get the message through the window He has opened. Enjoy your young life --- we are too soon old and too late smart. ^_^

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Are they cute, or what?

When I close my eyes very tightly, I see my children as they were. It was a time when I was their whole life, before the schools took hold of their minds and hearts and changed them into something they had not started to be.
My firstborn was the product of four years of tests, surgeries, thermometers and desperation to have a child. Luckily, God knew that children should not be born to seventeen to twenty year old moms ---- especially when the young couple didn't have enough money to feed themselves. The wait made her arrival doubley special and she was so beautiful! Pale blond hair, big blue eyes and generally adorable. What parent thinks any less of their offspring? She grew more special every day and was so smart that I was astounded. Well, I did feel pretty good about her intelligence, because my older brother had told me that drooling was a sign of idiocy --- and she did drool around seven months old.
Since it had taken four years to accomplish what most people accomplish on their honeymoons, we began trying for another child on Lesley's first birthday. Our son arrived nine days before our daughter's second birthday. Now, here was a placid, easy-going baby. I hardly remember hearing him cry and he was even happy in a playpen. Somehow, our difficulty conceiving turned around and bit us very quickly and I found myself expecting a third child forMatthew's first birhday. The poor little guy --- morning sickness forced me to shake up his vegetables and cereal in his formula so I could manage to feed him at all. I grew and grew and so did he. At twelve months, he was perfectly happy to sit or crawl, but though he was sturdy as a tree stump --- he would not walk. Why walk when somebody will cart you around and you didn't care where they were taking you? Within two weeks after his birthday, I forced him to walk by putting M&M's on the couch and making him walk to them --- no dropping and crawling! He was twenty-seven pounds on one hip and I had a six pound newborn in the other arm. Okay, Mom, ---for M&M's,--- I'll walk!
We had started out with the idea of having half a dozen kids, but having three in three years changed our minds. Stacey was born five days after Matthew's first birthday and four days before our Lesley's third birthday. This has led to what we call "Birthday Week". As they grew up, each child would pick an activity, a meal and a dessert for their own birthday and all participated in each other's day. Today, they are in their late forties and are still sharing their "Birthday Week". The best part is that it culminates on the 4th of July with fireworks for all, not just the firstborn. (I plan to tell her soon that the fireworks are not all for her --- before she turns fifty.) When I was expecting Stacey, I wanted a girl and the hubby wanted another boy. I satisfied both of us by having a lovely little girl, who was the greatest tom-boy on the block. The two little kids would play with matchbox cars, making roads around the evergreens by the front porch for hours. The guys on the block would come over and holler for her to come out and play football by the time she was nine. No Barbie Dolls for this one --- just double up on the boy toys at Christmas. In high school, she would run track, high jump, play 2nd base and then turn around and become ultra female in her majorette's uniform on Friday nights.
I would jump at the chance of going back to the pre-school days when the child in your arms smelled of Johnson's Baby Powder or Baby Magic Lotion and the look on their faces meant that you were the most important being in their lives. I couldn't get enough of them and am sorry now that we didn't stick tothe original plan for six. Motherhood was the closest bond in the early school years, but as they approached high school, fatherhood took over slowly. I remember reading that children of tender years are best left with the mom, but children of business years are the perview of the father. His ability to cut to the chase in any given circumstance is a gift that few women have. They also, are afraid to cross dad, because they are just not certain how far they can go with dad. I was so lucky that my children respected my wimpiness. We never had any problems raising them. God is good! The oldest tried two cigarettes and came home and stood in her oppen window for an hour, because she felt so sick. She told us the next day. The youngest went to adinner party as a senior and the idiot parents served Tom Collins with dinner. She had two and came home and went to bed very early. We had company for dinner and the oldest one checked on her and came back and said, "It's okay---she's just drunk!" We didn't get mad at her, but at the parents who had the poor judgement to serve liquor to underage kids. None of them went to the alter with a bun in the oven, none of them has used drugs, been arested or bankrupt. The oldest did get divorced after three boys and ten years, because he had a girlfriend. She has remained single for eighteen years to raise those boys and besides being a mommy to three pre-schoolers --- she taught 3rd grade full time and got her Master+ in the two years after the divorce. She just got home from a missions trip to Moscow for our church. Her oldest boy works in Washington for a govenor, and the second boy is at the Defense Language School in Monterey, CA for eighten months of Arabic and her last one is a sophomore in college studying the basics, before he chooses a major.
Our son paid for college himself and is the only support for a familyof six. His wife stays home and homeschools four kids. The youngest is also a nurse and works for a gastroenterology clinic.and she does videography. This interet has led her to Russia, Macedonia and Sebia for film work for our church missionaries. Her only remaining child goes to Nyack College in New York and is studying film and directing.
I don't know why our lives have been so blessed, but like I said in the beginning --- Are they cute, or what?
Hold your babies closely, love them hugely and thank God for the gift of life that some people will never experience.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Simple Times

There was a time when life was easier and safer. Children were able play outside without fearing that someone would attack or steal them. I was accustomed to leaving the house with dawn streaking across the morning sky, dew sparkling like fairy dust in the grass and going a half mile away with an old tin can to catch polliwogs in the creek. Then, possibly rollerskating or hanging from the highest limbs of a big maple tree by my knees . Life was good and fun was free. If I did something wrong, like piddling in the urns at the old orchard site, someone in the neighborhood would drag me home for the appropriate punishment. They might even smack my behind and my parents would thank them for their concern.
Parents never thought about buying all the latest toys on the market, though there weren't that many anyway. Little boys had bicycles, baseballs, bats and maybe fishing poles. They could always make their own poles out of a stick, a string and a hook swiped from Dad's tackle box. Picking up night crawlers with a flashlight was a guy type of fun in itself. An old tennis ball was good for lots of things. Little girls has some sort of doll, a baby blanket, roller skates and paper dolls. They could always make the paper dolls out of a Sears Catalog model and then design clothes on drawing paper. Crayolas were a staple as long as they had a point, enabling you to color inside the lines of the coloring Book. ( you could sharpen a crayon on the sidewalk by scraping the edges) We coveted the box of sixty-four, but settled happily for the box of twenty-four. Oh, how we loved the silver and gold ones!
We had three meals a day, but if you missed lunch because the polliwogs were jumping into your tin can, then you would certainly eat a better dinner. Sugary treats came at the end of dinner and were called dessert. People worked and played hard and were not overweight. I cannot remember ever having soda pop in our home as a child. Even birthday parties served milk with the birthday cake. If your birthday was right after Christmas, there was no party. You just became a year older.
When I was starting third grade, we moved to southeastern Ohio where my sister and I had to have vaccinations to start school. The smallpox vaccination almost killed us... we were so sick, but the doctor wasn't called. Oh, they'll get over it ... and we did. We didn't go for regular check-ups, but when we had strep throat and bronchitis, the doctor came to the house and painted our throats with iodine. (penicillin was not around, yet) Rheumatic Fever was treated by staying in bed until we could walk again. During the third grade, we lived in two cities and went to three different schools. WWII was just ending and there was a housing shortage. Nobody would rent to a family with five children ranging from nine to eighteen. Dad taught English, Economics and Sociology in high school during the day and was an attorney (JD) at night. When our rental home sold, we split up for six months. Dad took the two boys and went to his sister's home, so he could teach and they could finish high school. The oldest sister became an au pair for the next door neighbor, so she could finish her senior year of high. Mom took the youngest two girls and went to her Dad's in southeastern Ohio. Grampa was a draftsman for the Sunday Creek Coal Company and lived downtown in a little town, above the local Elk's club. This is where I became aware that there are black children in the world, but children are truly color-blind. I was blond haired, blue eyed and pasty white. They were black haired, brown eyed and brown skinned, but we all could do leg spins around the teeter-totter bars and giggle like all little girls do. My sister and I had to race the delivery truck to the paper stand every Wednesday, because there was rationing and we each could buy a Mounds Candy Bar for our Dad back home in the big city. It was Mom's gift to him, because you couldn't get them in a bigger towns. The drunks from the Elk's Club used to stagger upstairs and fall down in the back hall, where they would drink the dregs of Grampa's beer bottles. Were we scared? Yes! But, were we abused? No! People were of a higher moral quality and grown-ups took care of kids. From the milkman, who chipped pieces of ice out of the sawdust to the policeman on the crosswalk, adults were there to make kids safe and special.
By the end of the third grade, Dad was building a house to get us together again. He hammered and nailed late into the night after teaching school all day, but we went along to keep him company. It was a wonderful place outside the city, where I could wander in the woods all day and play in the creek. The gypsies camped on the other bank of the creek, but nobody ever worried that they would take me --- or were they wishing that I would disappear?
In middle school, all girls needed was a jump rope and a set of ball and jacks to keep them happy at recess. The boys were still tossing baseballs and wrestling on the playground. Nobody worried about the swings being dangerous or someone getting a concussion by falling off the teeter-totter. We have become pro-active and worry about everything under the sun, instead of reactive after the "God-forbid" has happened. Without television, we went to bed when it got too dark to play outside or you played games with your siblings or read books. It was a lovely time, when people were not on Prozac, chasing their tails or eating themselves into obesity. The pendulum swings both ways and I wonder when it will swing back to simpler times. The times were safe and uncomplicated and wonderful. "Everything we've wanted, was everything we had. Honey, take me home, let's go back to yesterday." Niel Sedaka