Friday, November 28, 2014

Made with Love


It is here!  Finally here!  This is time when all may hit the stores running.  Race up and down aisles with shopping carts rattling. 

It is also a time of befuddlement, when one will stand holding some inane present in the “one size fits all” aisle of decorative frames, pencil holders with fancy notepaper, or Christmas towels.  Toss it in the cart and mentally check a name of a long list.

Checkout and home-free!

Silly me, I think. Surely sharing my love for sewing through gifts would be better.  Silly me indeed.  My son recently told me that not everyone wants a gift made just for them and made with love.

It harkened back to the days of ugly sweaters and personalized odd stuff (a stuffed animal, like a dachshund, embroidered with one's name).  The recipient may nod and give thanks, but wonder What am I going to do with this?

Consequently, my adult children will receive gift cards and a magazine subscription each of their choice.  

So, here is my wise and sage advice: If one gifts another one with a "made with love" gift, be thankful and recognize the love that went into it.  Use it or not.  Re-gift it or not.

Maybe I will head to the stores with the indifferent, cold-hearted gift aisle.  At least I thought of those ingrates.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Tomorrow!

Did your Thanksgiving table ever look like this??
Thanksgiving is nearly over, Thanks Be to God!  Although it is just a stop-gap in the days between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving should be a time of family.

Memories of a frantic kitchen with Moms, Grandmas, and teenage females are made alive by the scents of current day Thanksgiving meals.  Hours and hours from the day before until the table is laden with the delightful turkeys, stuffing/dressing, gravy, mashed/creamed potatoes….so much thought, love, and hard work went into presenting a massive meal.

Memories then were fond and delicious.  Now?  Instead of carefully preparing pies to show pie-making prowess, CostCo and WalMart provide the ready-made varieties.  Let’s be honest here:  their pies are cheaper, labor free (for the consumers), and in some cases, better than the pies cooling on the counters.

Lift a glass to toast the maker of the feast!  With modern providence, family can sit down in the family room and actually enjoy each other.  With aluminum pans, plastic utensils, and heavy duty paper plates, even the clean-up allows for time to laugh, play games, or karaoke with off key singers.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Monday, November 24, 2014

I would miss them if...

Dang it!  I did not know there was a dress code!  So I went out and grabbed this thing from Alex's site and put it up.  Whew!  I am always a day late and a dollar short....
I began blogging in 2010, when my daughter urged me to find an outlet for my writing.  Since then so many talented writers have entered my world and blessed me with their words and thoughts.

As the focus of this blog-fest, we are to choose one to three bloggers who have slipped away from the blog-world.  And we are to choose one to three who would be severely missed (by me).

I miss: 

Carole Ann Carr whose site was inactivated two months ago.  Her writing and books were delightful.  

Heather Murphy who took a sabbatical, came back, and then dropped off.  I enjoyed her thoughts.

Jon Vermilye who journaled every day as he drove completely around America.  He is a photographer and captured some incredible places.  He has completed the trip, but I miss his blog.

The following bloggers' absence would leave a hole in my life.  There are so many fine bloggers whose sites have enriched me.  HOW can I list only three?

Gail WilliamsJoanne NoragonDeloresIngerElephant's ChildRick Watson, .................

Honestly, the list is long and the time is short.  What can I say?  It is difficult to find writers who portray life as they see it and choose only three.

If you want to go to more, check out Alex Cavanaugh .

Now, I am supposed to notify these marvelous people that I have mentioned them here.  Tomorrow is another day, and I will read their blogs then!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wednesday Words: Attic to Cellar

Vintage photo albums

The cellar, Jackson sighed as he descended moldy steps.  Having worked from attic to cellar, Jackson had just eaten a copious number of brownies Grammy forced on him.  Oh, Jackie!  What an industrial (industrious) little boy you are!  Have another brownie…

After a pot of black coffee and a belly full of brownies, Jackson was galvanized to tackle the dank cellar. The first few boxes were with junk.  Then the third box yielded treasure.

An old camera from long ago era, 1870s maybe Civil War? Riveted by the tin-type photos carefully labeled with names, Jackson could pick out physical resemblances in his own generation.

Jackson froze when one branch of the family turned and headed to here-to-fore hidden family names, absent from family conversations.  One of the great-great-grandfathers was Amos Lee, a black soldier and his black wife, Martha Lee held a child on her lap…Jackson Lee. 

It was a page turner.  Tin-types led to Seneca tribes in New York and then onto Oneida tribes, some twigs went to the Lakota tribes in the West. 

Well, that’s a hell of a thing…Jackson smiled.   Trees have to have deep roots.

An old photograph of Brave Eagle and Wife - Lakota c1870.
Source: a Lakota married couple

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cause and Effect in the College Years

Fresh air, breathed in and then exhaled, echoed:  Free at Last!  Free!  Free!  A flurry of  young freshman  girls unpacked boxes from car to dorm, with parents’ help.  No need for help it turned out.  The girls had been planning their escape for the past year.

Then the freshman mixer after reluctant parents disappeared was rife with giggles and nervousness.  The school year began.
The fresh batch of fairly innocent freshman girls were greeted a bit too friendly by older class males.  Ah!  Innocence—how nice it smells.  Red Riding Hood enacted on a college campus.

Some of female dorms were noted as the “free and easy dorms”, making the marks a bit too easy.  Really easy.

“Every year this happens.  You’d think the parents would talk to their daughters about this.  But, no.  To discuss this is to condone it. So, here we are, again,” Nurse Ruth cursed.

Read the information first!!
What happened every year?  The young gullible girls on Third Floor Jennings Dorm (the easy dorm; not the real dorm name) had just learned about birth control pills, the miracle of birth control pills!  One girl made an appointment to see a doctor and brought back the round container of pills.

Sooo, when one had a date, she would take one pill and tah-dah she would be safe from getting pregnant.  One pill = no pregnancy.

In three months, three girls were sent home to finish out their pregnancy. 

Fresh air! Free at last!  Free!
Do you recognize boy, left, bottom row?

Late 1960s senior photos:  note hair and clothing styles.

Monday, November 17, 2014

War of the Letters

Dear Mom,
Have just returned from seeing “Golden Child” 
with Eddie Murphy
The villain is Charles Dance. I do believe he is 
the very face of evil. Love.  Joe 


Dear Joe,
Don’t be silly!  Just saw “Gosford Park” 
and Charles Dance is the only noble 
character in the lot.  Well, Clive Owen is pretty good, nice on the eyes. Love. Mom

 Dear Mom,
Silly!  No, I mean it! 
Charles Dance is the face of evil.  
He and Terence Stamp. 
I just watched “Haunted Mansion”. 
Stamp is scary, too. Love. Joe
Dear Joe,
What about…can’t think of anyone else.  Love, Mom
p.s. How about Malcolm McDowell?  
His eyes creep me out.

Malcolm McDowell  Dear Mom,
Charles Dance, Mom.  
Love Joe

Dear Joe,
Just saw “Dracula Untold” and I agree.  
Charles Dance is the face of evil.  
Dang.  Love. Mom

p.s.  New question:  What actor could 
be the enigmatic answer to any question?

Dear Mom...
Good question...
"Who changed the
course of American History?  
Andy Williams"
Love. Joe
Dear Joe,
Seriously?  The 
answer: Don Knotts.
Love, Mom........

What random actor do you think could be said to "have the face of evil"?  What random actor could be named as one who changed the course of American History?

These has been an on-going question game between me and my son for years.
 It hasn't gotten
vicious yet.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pain and Angst of Elections

Get out the vote!!
A hard fought campaign had raged for the past few months.  Opponents laughed and greeted each other affably, even providing a few fist bumps for the viewers.

Smiles continued until the debate.  Questions revealed the two snarling beasts within.  A week before the election, mud-slinging began, followed by character assassination.  

Voting Day came, with sighs of relief from both sides and the candidates.

The ballots were carefully counted, while candidates waited anxiously for THE announcement.  Then it came.

Principal Brook’s voice crackled through the PA:  “For the Fifth Grade President is Billy Hopkins and Vice-President Jimmy Rogers.  Let’s all congratulate Billy and Jimmy for such a great campaign.”

Crackle…hiss… and then silence.

Mr. Harman cleared his throat.  “Well, then.  Open your books to page twenty…”

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wednesday Words: An Aggrieved Heart

Source: wikipedia, may God bless 'em
It wasn’t until his fifth venture up to Granddad’s attic that Jackson discovered a burlap covering a satchel, knowing instantaneously what it contained.  The randy old man had told him about a battered bag that held purloined jewelry from his younger days.

“Jest you be sure, lad, that yer Granny never sees what else is inside…”  So Jackson pawed through jeweled rings, necklaces and minute lockets, until he found a crumpled letter.  “You scoundrel! You absconded with everything I held dear…” and some other words he dare not read.  “Damn your unfaithful heart!   Sincerely, your aggrieved and betrayed, Mary Dent…”

Hmmm, Jackson pondered as he closed up the satchelMary Dent? Aunt Mary Dent? Granny’s sister? Hmmmm...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Indecision, Indecision

Everything hangs in a balance.
At this stage of life, moments of indecision involve banality.  Should I re-fill the printer with paper?  New ink?  Should I mend clothing on the sewing machine?  And has been for years?  Should I buy new sponges, and what kind?

Banal and easily answered, they truly are.

But back when I was seventeen, life was rampant with indecision of all sorts and most readers understand, remember those hard, unsure decisions.

I was 17, a senior in Pittsfield High School.  My family had enough money to pay bills and support a family.  My father had promised that he had an account for me when I was 13 and it would have enough money, from which I would go to college.

Then, in eleventh grade, he and Mom sat me down to tell me the money had been used for other needs.  “If you want to go to college, you will have to find the money, get a scholarship…”  Mom looked down at her clenched hands, her face stony and rigid.

After a senior year of intense work to achieve and maintain a high GPA, this happened: I was asked to write the senior class poem for the graduating class of 1969.  I remember it still, now 45 years later, as I agonized over every word:

Indecision, Indecision,
Where is the rhythm of precision?
For those who lack the sight,
To make the cut
That ends the night?

We are Ixion on the wheel
Revolving in a world unreal,
Doomed to twist and turn and weave,
In an endless world of make-believe.

Oh, send to us a man of might
To save us from this plight!
With a strong arm,
To lift up us from our chair,
And return to us the need to care.

It is said a night has a thousand eyes
And the bright day has but one.
The darkness sends weeping, cries,
And the blind men suffer

The College English teacher, Mr. Robb awarded me A, rare event and, one that I so desperately required to grasp the scholarship.

Monday, November 10, 2014

In Remembrance...11th day of the 11th month at the 11th minute, 1918

Today is November 10.  That means that tomorrow is November 11, which is fairly obvious.  It is also Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.  It marks the end of World War 1. The eleventh month November, the eleventh day, at the eleventh hour was the day peace was declared and papers were signed, in the year 1918.  Ninety-six years ago and all veterans who were part of that era are gone.  The last veteran died a year or two ago, maybe more.

 Davey Fury and the Dubliners

There is no way to “celebrate” this day.  But some countries mark the day and the moment by holding a minute of silence in respect. 

The song that always breaks me into tears is this song by the Dubliners.  (I posted it before, but oh well.)

Remembrance is too often left absent in life, when it can only be done by those still alive.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cross-walk Drama

Photo of Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in Boston's Public Garden -
Source: Boston Discovery Guide

Ducklings crossing the road in Boston was written into an old children’s book:  Make Way for Ducklings.  But this post is a reverse, different setting, and with people.

Picture this:  a crosswalk two blocks away from DisneyLand (happiest place on Earth!) and a family of parents and four offspring.  Happiness was evident.  The parents were in the back, laughing and enjoying mild sunshine in Anaheim.  The youngest child (8 yrs.?) pranced in excitement: Oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy….

The next two were sisters (10-12 yrs?) who were giggling and whispering, but it was not clear at whom their giggles were aimed.

Then at the front of the crosswalk family was the source of giggles and whispers:  The 17 yr. old (maybe 16 yrs.) was walking a good six feet ahead of her rag-tag family.  Her clenched jaw, clenched fists, and tight face said so much.  Her thoughts:

OMG…I can’t believe those are my family.  I mean, like, look at them!  Like, you know, dressing like they are, OMG, TOURISTS! 

Just one look at her and surely everyone could see what she wanted to wear:  high-very high-heeled sandals, straps around the ankles; short, very short, and very tight red shorts (good grief!); and, then a tee-shirt that matched the rest of the family’s shirts.  Her thoughts:

OMG!  A TEE-SHIRT?  A tee-shirt?  Like, you know, anyone would ever ever wear “I’m from Idaho!”  What was wrong with the sick hot top Belinda and I found on-line?  Sassy spaghetti straps—what’s wrong with that??  And the mid-riff?  Everyone I know wears mid-riffs!  The sequins?  So what if they spelled out: PUSSY CAT . I love cats, everyone knows that!  Just wait, Mom, you turn your back one second and I am gone.  Away from you hicks.

What was Mom thinking:

Yeah, Missy…you may think you can escape, but I know you.  And, why do you think I let you wear those ridiculous sandals?  To look good?  No, to hobble you while you think you look hot.  The red shorts?  Sunburn always reminds that pride goeth before sitting.

Quack. Quack. Quack.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wednesday Words: Victor at Thanksgiving

Kids Table 6
The Kids' Table
This is THE Thanksgiving! Victor laughed as he placed two casseroles in the back seat of his new hybrid Toyota Prius.  His new pristine, low maintenance Prius—Victor eagerly caressed the leather seats around the Jell-O™ salad and hot vegetable dish.  How I love the new-car smell!

After years of wishing that he could finally sit at the Thanksgiving Adult Table never seemed feasible, Victor squirmed excitedly as he started the engine. The Adult Table!  And, I am only 25! Great-great Aunt Agnes had died in August, moving Victor up the roster from the Children’s Table.  At last!

Jell-O is Utah's official specified snack.
  He glanced back at the assigned dishes he was bringing.  Man, I was lucky with these!  Improvising, Victor had thrown together a lime Jell-O™, along with some fresh kiwi and fresh pineapple (see note belowęśś).  These guys were on the verge of rotting…sure lucked out!

Brussels Sprouts in Cheese Sauce
The odoriferous steaming hot Brussel sprouts,  swimming in Cheese Whiz™, wafted fragrantly through the car. Victor opened the window, and in those few seconds, that precise moment, the beat-up Honda ahead of Victor’s precious Prius braked suddenly.

Victor braked hard and swerved, barely missing the damned Honda. 

That one moment sent the gelatinous Jell-O flying, covering the precious leather with green slime.  Brussel sprouts bounced merrily around the leather seats, leaving ball-sized Cheese Whiz dots there and on the ceiling.

What to do?? What to think??  Victor’s mind spun in search of an answer.

What do you think he should or will do? 

Note from Jell-O box: Do not use fresh or frozen pineapple, kiwi, ginger-root, papaya, figs or guava.  Gelatin will NOT set.

Again Delores has lobbed some interesting words our way! Every Wednesday, Delores chooses 6 random words, inviting writers to create a poem, prose, short story from these words (seen above underlined).  Visit her site by clicking on the lovely Methodist Church in the right sidebar. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Waves of Triggertreeders

Source: Wave after Wave
Halloween is over…Praise be to God.

Starting at 6:00 pm, they came in waves: low tide, heavy surf, high tide…

Little princesses, little super heroes with proud parents holding them…Shy, little first-timers are so shy.

Mixed in the low tide were toddlers and pre-school delights, walking uncertainly to the door.  “Tank you…”
The golden delights (eight to twelve yr. old) boldly stride to the door.  “Triggertree” they said, with their plastic pumpkins held out.  Parents waiting on the sidewalk talk and look at the watches.  “Thanks…” Parents smile and wave.  Some respond to a sign on the door.

Heavy surf.  

Teenagers charge the door, running from house to house.  Demand Triggertree!”  No parents this time.  Should have been, but no.

Shock hits when they see the bold sign:  No Adults or Teens‘But I’m…I’m…only …ten. Hands, feet, and teeth always tell the truth, and they walk away.

High tide.  

Huge vans pull up under the street lamps, offloading streams of parents and kids, all ages, people not from this community or even this town.  These  triggertreeders are out trolling for more candy.  Exhausted children are dragged along with these adults who expect to harvest the candy.

This neighborhood is mostly retirees. The cuteness factor of the low tide is what matters.

Oh-God-Please!-not these!  Time is 8:25, about ten minutes to lights off.  

Hoards hit the door, but brake to read the signs: 

Candy is for children only; No Adults and Teens; and, Donate to Wounded Warriors (with a five-gallon water bottle, containing change and dollar bills).

Parents, dressed in tutus and ghostly sheets, are confused. Small kids step up “Triggertree”, holding out pillowcases, heavy with candy.  Most said Thanks.

Teens announced they are twelve—nice try.  One tall boy looks confused; he doesn't speak English.  ‘Say you’re twelve’ he is told, but he announces ‘diaz’. No.

Only one little boy asked about the signs.  “Candy is for children only…candy costs money…can’t afford it…” he is told.

Finally 8:35 pm arrives.  Signs come down. Lights go off.

The water bottle holds more and more dollars, more change.  From which wave?  It did not matter.

We collected about $125.

The waves settled into calm water.  Praise be to God.

What do you think?  Check out these sites:

 Are adults too old to go trick or treating alone, without children?

Is there an age at which an adolescent should stop trick or treating?

Monday, November 3, 2014

God bless you, Marvel Comics.

A question was asked about Comic Books recently: Which is/was your favorite comic series?  With all the Marvel Comic movies capturing audiences and making big bucks, that is a good question.

Peter Pan was my hero until I hit age ten.  “Superman” had been a favored television show, which I watched unfailingly.  He almost threw Peter Pan off the throne, until George Reeve’s sudden and questioned death.

Sadly, farewell.

Peter Pan was back in my imagination, until something happened to me at age ten.  I did not know why the change happened (hormones), but Superman was in my head and kicked Peter Pan out.

That might also have something to do with the availability of Comic Books in the Benjamin Franklin 5-and-dime.  Superman was about hand level for me and cost about five cents.  Every first comic in the row had been thumbed to a fare-thee-well, with kid-sized finger prints covering in page.

Although I did not technically get an allowance (on a farm, kids were free labor), my mother did give me a quarter for my own shopping pleasure once a week at the big town fifteen miles from the farm.

At first five cents bought an un-thumbed copy (from the back) of comic book, Superman!!, then it moved up to 10 cents.  That left me enough to buy fifteen cents worth of chocolate at the mid-store candy store, which I finished on the way home.

I successfully hid my stash of Superman comics from my brothers, since they were disrespectful swine who had already destroyed my first five comics.  I had quite a collection hidden away, until I returned from an hour long visit with a neighbor, and found my collection torn and shredded all over the lawn.

My brothers waited for sister-explosion, but none came.  What was, was.