Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Thought I Saw A Movie Star! I did! I did!

As David and I sat in Grapes and Beans [our favorite restaurant near our mountain house], two fit young men came in and placed an order at the counter.

David: You know who that is?

I had my back to the counter.

I turned around and glanced. He looked familiar.

Me: No.

David: It's that actor.

Me: What actor?

David: Turn around again and look closely. You'll know.

And sure enough, I turned around, and there was that actor.

Me: Yeah, he was on that show we used to watch and his name was....

David: Private Practice.

Me: Yes, he played that character...

David: He was the receptionist. His wife got killed in the meth lab...

Me: And, he was in that movie we watched last night.

David: He was?

Me: Yes. He was in that short scene when George Clooney called to get his messages.

David: I don't remember that.

Me: That's because there was no car chase, nobody getting shot, or anything blowing up.

David: I still don't remember it.

Me: Up in the Air. That's the movie.

David: We watched it?

Me: Yes.

These are the kinds of conversations we have ... it's called a good marriage.


How weird was it that we [I] just watched that movie on DVD the night before -- and the next day we run into an actor who had a role?


How often do I run into a movie actor at all?

*counts on fingers*

Does it count if I went on purpose to see Steve Burton? Paid money?

One? Two? Does Joe Namath count?

I mean, how random is it to run in to one in a little restaurant in a little town in the north Georgia mountains?

*scratches head*

As David and I were leaving Grapes and Beans, we stopped by his table and told him that we recognized him from Private Practice.

He stood up and introduced himself: "Hi, I'm Chris."

{We totally didn't know his real name or his character name in either thing we had seen him in. We are such losers, that way. LOL }

We told him that we had enjoyed his role on Private Practice when we watched, but that frankly we hadn't watched the show since Violet rejected her baby and Addison had made too many rounds at her own practice, so to speak.

He laughed.

I said, "I heard your character was killed off." {read it on the Internet somewhere}

He said, "I asked to be killed off. I want to go to New York and do theater."

Me: Don't blame you. Hollywood is so..

Chris: Yeah. It ain't all that.

I then told him that we had watched Up in the Air the night before.

He said, "How did you like it?"

Me: I liked it, but it was so slow starting. I thought it was an interesting commentary on relationships, but by the end, I felt like I had a PHD in airport.

He laughed again and thanked us for noticing him.

David: Good luck in New York.

It wasn't until we were half way down the road before we remembered his name on Private Practice.

And yes, he's better looking in person. His name is Chris Lowell, and in addition to his "pretty-ness," he has a lovely voice. Really lovely.

*wink, wink*


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sweet Dreams, Keats.

Dear Keats,

You know how much we loved you, and we thank you for the joy and the love that you brought us.

When we "rescued" you, you were eight months old, and a kind person, who already had too many cats, had brought you to Dr. Best in hopes of finding you a home. It was Christmas time, and my family was in town. My niece Nora and I went to see you, and we both approved of you and noted that you were such a "sweet kitty." You were sleek and long and feisty. When our hands came near you to pet you, you were already pre-purring. :)

We decided to adopt you.

When David brought you home, you lay on the dash of his car, purring and happy to be out of the cage at the vet. We were amazed at the immediate happiness you brought us. Kitty Moose, who was 14 years old, had died two weeks before, and we had a hole in our hearts; we needed you to love - and you gave us that love and more.

You came to us and you called us home. The first night here -- we showed you around -- you looked, but then you purred a greeting, raised your tail with its crooked little tip, and went back and forth between us till you were worn out. You chased a feather duster, your favorite toy, and then you sought out a lap. Later that night, you curled at the foot of the bed, as if you had always laid there, and then during the night, you moved up between us and snuggled in tight.

We named you Miss Keats [shortened to Keats and made other folks think you were a boy], and then you answered to every variation: Baby Keats, Keater, Keats Keats, Keatee, the Keaster.

You held our heart in your paws and then trained us to be perfect for you. You knew you had us --- and you did.

You liked to be fed at 4 in the morning. You liked that time, so you sat on the floor by our bed and let out your signature meow.

Feed me. Now. Purr.

You liked to drink from of our drinking glasses, your head, ears squeezed down in them before we could catch you.

But, you liked your water best from the bathroom tap. If we went in the bathroom, you had to have water -- and you used the sink, the shower, or the tub to get it. You would sit by the sink and wait, and when we turned the corner to the bathroom, you would cock your head and meow.

You hated thunderstorms. Loud noises. Motorcycles.

You hated most other cats.
[Tallulah was okay, but not a favorite as you hissed and swattered at her when she was little, then you began to tolerate her better.]

You loathed the ones who dared to come on the deck or the porch. Loathed. You hissed at them, howled at them through the window or door, and puffed up like a blow fish over their trespassing.

You hated Stumpy and Lumpy, the cats across the street who taunted you with their outside freedom.

You loved an open window. An open front or back door. You loved a full view.

You loved the deck. The screen porch at the mountains. The basement with its nooks and cranies. You would return from the basement with cobwebs on your nose, whiskers, and tail.


You rode back and forth to the mountain house in the car with us like a dog, sitting on the console like a princess and watching the road.

Then after you tired of that, you napped.

I'll never forget the first ride to the mountains with us; you curled up in my lap and slept, your warmth and heat so comforting -- you had been adopted by us less than a week.

You like to get under the covers. You loved an afghan A fire. A good brush. The ottoman. The heated laundry from the dryer.

You loved food, especially canned, and the sound of one opening would raise you from your reverie and bring you flying into the kitchen with your tail up.

You loved a warm lap. You loved your ears and neck rubbed. You loved watching birds or chipmunks. You loved chewing on the plants on the porch.

You loved to curl up and sleep next to us, your back or your paws against us in trust. You wished to be near us, against us, and with us.

You didn't like strangers.

You hated to see our friends come over to visit, but you loved to see our friends leave. When we had company, you hid or eyeballed them suspiciously and let them know that they were "sitting on [your] sofa."

You didn't like for me to grade papers. When I sat at the table to do it, you swatted at my red pen or lay full length across them. I didn't like to grade them either. :)

You didn't like my nephew, Andrew or Sarah, my former student, who took care of you when we went on vacations. You would meet him or her at the stairs, see who it was, and then take off and hide under the bed. You hissed at Dr. Jim.

But one time, you let Sarah [pictured below] see that you were the best cat, but only if you know, we weren't out of town.

But you loved us. We loved you.

We thank you for that unconditional love [based on tap water and food, but, you know, we were at your service]. You never failed to greet us when we came home. You never failed us as a pet.

You, my precious Keats, blessed us. We will miss you so.

Thank you for giving us all that... thank you for being our cat. Our baby Keats.

Sweet Dreams, Keats. We hope you have the sweetest of dreams.

December 2004 - May 26, 2011

ETA: I wrote this yesterday when I knew her death was imminent. Thank you to all of my friends who have been so kind and understanding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Zeitoun is the last name of the main character in Dave Eggers' non-fiction novel [?] about one man's journey and survival during the days after Katrina ravaged New Orleans in September of 2005. Eggers notes that "this book does not attempt to be an all-encompassing book about New Orleans or Hurricane Katrina. It is only an account of one family's experiences before and after the storm."

Kathy and Abdulrahman Zeitoun [pronounced "zay-toon"] own their own painting and contractor business in New Orleans. When word came to evacuate with the approaching storm, much to Kathy's dismay, her husband Abdulrahman decided to stay in the city to wait out the storm and see to their business as well as to protect their home and rental property.

Kathy packed up their van and their four children and fled to Baton Rouge and later to Phoenix, Arizona, all the while concerned about her separation from her husband. The trauma and stress that both of them suffered during this separation has had lasting effects on their health and sense of security.

Abdulrahman's story is an ugly one, and in his story, no one looks worse than the military of the United States and the local law enforcement.

There were moments when I hesitated as to whether I would finish this book. I reminded myself that this was "Zeitoun's story" and not the only story of those chaos filled days of lawlessness and bad human behavior in a town torn apart by a natural disaster.

ETA: Thank you, my friends and readers, for all of your kind comments about Keats. :(

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Prayer for Keats

As many of my close friends and blog readers know, my cat Keats is gravely ill.

The infection that set into her system in February has forty syllables, and even when the vet explains it to me, I don't get it.

David has taken her several times for check ups, and both the vet and he believe that any day now, any day now, Keats will turn that corner and head back to health.

It's been four months, and she has made little progress if any. Mostly, she seems to have faded.

David has been the best caretaker. He wets soft rags and bathes her fur, which she thanks him with a gravely purr. He gives her antibiotics three times a day; she thanks him by choking 'em down but sometimes throwing them back up. After all, she is a cat -- and they no likey medicine.

David gives her treats, opens cans of tuna or small, glass jars of chicken flavored baby food and tries to tempt her to eat. Sometimes she eats, but it is never much, and we're afraid, it will not sustain her.

Keats is ill. Gravely ill, and David and I each night say prayers for her.

"Lord, you know our heart and how we love our cat. If it be Your will, heal her."


Keats loves to eat -- she used to beg by her bowl, beg any time a can of any kind was opened in the kitchen, and beg at all hours of the night -- where she'd stand by our bed and let out this wail of hunger and lead us to her bowl.

She used to love to sit at the door and look outside.

Now, she lies prostrate and weak on old towels laid on beds and chairs for her and takes every opportunity to hide in closets, under beds, or behind the television where she licks and licks and licks her open wounds.

Our cat, we used to know is gone, and in her place is very sick Keats.

"Lord, you know...."

Both of our cats are indoor cats. We made a commitment to them when we adopted them that we would love and care for them as long as they live. If something happens to David and me before Tallulah and Keats have gone to Kitty Heaven, I know that someone who loved us would take "our girls."

"...our hearts love this cat..."

In the evenings, we take the cats to our back deck, which sits up two stories, and if we keep our eyes on them, they sort of know the rules of the space -- well, the way in which all cats know rules -- when you ain't looking and sometimes when you are, they break them.

If they start for the steps, we stand up, and they skedaddle back to the side that is allowed. We have them trained; well, we have them sort of trained. If they break the rules, they know it's back inside.

"..if it be YOUR will"

They love the brief respite outside where the many feeders attract birds to flutter around. Sometimes the birds land too close to the cats, but so far, the birds are winners as neither cat has gotten her paws on one of the feathered ones, but they love to try.

They mostly watch the birds, but they also sip from the bird bath [must taste like birds], perk their ears this way and that to the outside noises [especially the sound of stirring in the grass and bushes -- chipmunks, stupid squirrels, or Stumpy and Lumpy from across the street], and sit or lie placidly on the railing.

I like for Keats to sit in the sun, her wounds exposed to its hopefully healing heat.

"...heal her."

But on Wednesday as I sat on the deck, my sweet Keats moved on the railing and fell sideways, awkwardly, and horribly to the ground.


I heard her hit the ground below the ducia, and my heart fell. I rushed to get her, and when I found her, she sat there, stunned, with bird seed and leaves sticking to her fur and wounds.

From the porch behind us, our neighbors asked, "What happened? Is she okay?"
I replied shakily, "I don't know. I don't know."

I picked her up, ran up the deck stairs, and hurried Tallulah inside as I brought Keats to where I could see her. She looked at me with wide pupils. We were both shaken.

I cried.

and I thought: That's it. I let her fall, and now in her weakened condition, she'll die. It's my fault.

Today, she's still weak, fragile --- and alive. She ate a little tuna, offered to her on a teaspoon.

The fall didn't kill her, and if the infection does, it is yet to be known.

Only God knows that and He knows our heart.

That's one of my many prayers these days -- a prayer for Keats.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Daughters of Edward Dailey Boit

Painted by John Singer Sargent in the early 1880s and first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1883, The Daughters of Edward Dailey Boit never failed to elicit criticism and praise.

In Erica E. Hirshler's examination of the history of the painting in her work, Sargent's Daughters: The Biography of a Painting, she explores and disseminates the art world of the late nineteenth century, but she also looks at the biographical information of the lives of the four young girls who were the subjects of the painting as well as that of their parents.

With twenty-five pages of notes from the unpublished archival papers used to document her study of the painting and its subjects, Hirshler's affinity for detail and fact only support the lasting impact that this work of art had on the genre of the time as well as how "the buzz" of the portrait affected the Boit family.

This is not a page turner; in fact, Hirshler's writing is quite dry. [no pun intended]

I stayed with it because, well, I am nosy enough to want to know why Sargent posed them in such an unusual way, and I wished to know what happened to those four girls.

I got half of what I wanted. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let me Count the Ways I Miss You, Potluck.

As I prepared a meal today for a friend of mine who had surgery, I thought of potluck dinners and how awesome they were. Does anyone still do those?

I attended Mary Branan United Methodist Church for my formative years; there was nothing I liked better than potluck dinners.

Mmm. Mmm. So good.

What was it about all those congealed salads loaded with cream cheese and whipped toppings?

Or the real macaroni and cheese resplendent in cheese with the extra crispy brown crust?

Or heaping bowls of potato salad, my Daddy’s favorite, layered with egg, onion, and potatoes and then mixed with mustard and mayonnaise and topped off with sweet pickle?

But the best part of the potluck dinners was the endless dessert table: apple pies, frosted chocolate cakes, pound cakes flavored with vanilla and almond, fruit cobbler, or banana puddings baked to perfection with the brown heads of vanilla wafers peeking out the top.

*mouth waters*

The church used the Fellowship Hall at Mary Branan for multiple events.

In between Sunday school and church for about 30 minutes {this was the olden days, my blog readers; we had one church service -- Sunday school at 9:30 and church at 11:00}, women set up huge aluminum urns full of hot coffee which adults sipped laden with sugar and cream. The sugar spilled from the bowls on to the white tablecloth and the multiple cream pitchers brimmed with white foam. Teaspoons lay scattered hither and yon as the adults absent-mindly picked them up and stirred their coffee all the time never missing a beat in a conversation with a fellow worshiper.

In my day, no teenager hung around the Fellowship Hall for coffee; they were busy securing seats in the balcony or hitting up their parents for a dime or using their own hard earned money for the Coke machine that graced the hallway in front of the Hall. Sometimes, they shared a sip of that Coke with their siblings or best buddies.

Ugh. I can’t believe I ever drank after anyone.

Cookies were usually the snack fare to accompany the coffee, but on some Sundays, the doughy, yeasty, sugary smell of doughnuts filled the air. We children would sneakily take more than one if our parents weren’t looking.

What were we thinking? We were about to head upstairs for a full hour of announcements, hymns, responsive reading, and preaching. We were about to sit still!!!! Not that sugar intake mattered then -- there was no such thing as processed food with that added sugar that we have today. Sugar was sugar -- and it wasn’t in everything.

My parents instructed us four children to meet them in the Fellowship Hall in between Sunday school and church -- for one reason and one reason only.

If we were not sitting with them, where were we sitting and with whom? Daddy took inventory each Sunday by craning his neck as he searched around the sanctuary to make sure that we were where we said we'd be and with whom we said we would be with. Lord knows, no pun intended, that we were not about to do what we rather do and what some of our friends did -- skip church.

Never gonna happen. We didn’t dare cross Daddy. Nope. Nada. Not smart. Not worth it.

I was not allowed to sit with my friends until I was in high school. Before that I sat with my parents and drew furiously all over the bulletin and the offering envelopes with those little bitty, unsharpened pencils placed carefully in those pencil slots next to the envelopes on the back of the pew in front of me. I always thought the women in the altar guild were mean spirited in never sharpening those pencils.

My mother sometimes handed me a fountain pen from her purse, if she was in a good mood and if I pleaded well, with a stern look to be careful that I only wrote on paper and not accidentally on my clothes. My mother could do some communicating without ever opening her mouth but simply by making certain facial expressions. She could also do wonders with a pinch to the thigh if she found me slouching, leaning my head back on the pew too far, or kicking my legs back and forth madly like I was on a swing. I stood for hymns and sang, closed my eyes for prayer, and read along with responsive readings. Occasionally, or once I grew bored with my doodling on every available white space, I could lean my head against mother or daddy’s arm, but it was on rare occasion that I was allowed to put my head in their laps. I have no idea what would allow that action, as most of the time, they wished me to sit up.

We sat still in church.

BTW: My Aunt Ava told me a hilarious story about how she survived the boredom of church as a child. She and my Aunt Harriett, who were closest in age, would have fits and snorts together by flipping through the hymnal and reading the title of the hymn and then adding “between the sheets.” She said some days she thought she would die holding in the laughter under the watchful eye of my grandmother, a no nonsense, strict disciplinarian. She said that somehow Grandma’s rigidness made their getting away with it more fun.

[Take any hymn right now, blog reader, and add "between the sheets.”]


The church also used the Fellowship Hall for other events. Located directly under the sanctuary, the room had a small stage at one end, a green linoleum floor, and four or five huge windows on either side complete with Venetian blinds.

Folding chairs set up in rows facing the stage allowed parents to watch their children in various accomplishments: receiving ribbons for memorizing verses or the order of the books of the Bible, performing in small plays, sing alongs, or skits, or for the end of Vacation Bible School closing ceremonies where we came together and sang the songs we had learned that week.

Also used for gathering together for Wednesday Night Suppers, prior to Wednesday night prayer meeting or for those special Sundays when the day was called Pot-Luck, the Fellowship Hall was aptly named for its building of fellowship and relationships, the casual camaraderie of coming together.

I wonder if potluck was a quarterly event. I really can’t remember.

Pot-Luck! What a great name -- if I was lucky, I could fill my plate over and over with the goodies brought to that hall -- and I grew up in the age of the casserole. If a mother added cream of mushroom soup and sour cream to anything, it became twice as yummy! Who couldn’t eat broccoli if it was covered in cheese?

That was rhetorical, but my oldest brother wouldn't. He's still weird, btw.

My own mother, a nutritionist, never served casseroles. They were of the Devil.


As I think back to that hall with the long table set up on either side, covered in long white tablecloths and covered from end to end with food, it brings back nothing but good memories of
watching the mothers and other ladies of the church bring bowls of salads and vegetables, plates of biscuits and corn bread, and oblong platters of fried chicken or ham covered with aluminum foil. Adhesive tape adhered to the bottom of the dishes with family last names kept from their being any mixed up as to what plate belongs to whom when so many were similar and empty of food at the end of the dinner. I waited patiently while the minister or a deacon drew our attention to him to bless the food.

I was always proud when my Daddy was asked to say this prayer as he had a beautiful voice, a varied vocabulary, and a way of phrasing that was a gift. I also prayed that it would be short.


I stood in line with my plate, mouth watering, the aromas of good things to come wafting in the air, and then I took my heaping plate of food to the table. If I were sitting with my friends, we saved places by placing purses or coats in chairs or turning it up to lean against the table and mark this spot as "saved."

Heh. Saved. Church.

Never mind.

At that table, we broke bread with our neighbors, our school friends, and our church body. We laughed, we caught up on each other’s lives, and we ate large.

'em, my friends, are some good memories.


You got any? Meanwhile, Brother Blog Reader, pass the fried chicken.

Monday, May 16, 2011

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

Daniyal Mueenuddin's collection of short stories titled In Other Rooms, Other Wonders effectively captures the dying feudal order that at one time ruled Pakistan and the changes brought on by this transformation.

The stories, loosely connected by centering them around a central figure, a wealthy but aging landowner, run the gamut of characters and settings. Beautifully told, whether set in a Pakistan city or the remotest village, each story resonates with a conflict true to human nature.

Good read.

Friday, May 13, 2011

State Plates and Plymouths

Yesterday, I was moving items around in my china cabinet, and I came across a blue and white plate with “Lake Tahoe” blazoned across the top.

I chuckled at the fond memory of my aunts, Ava, Eleanor, and Harriett, who loved to take a trip and collect “state” plates from places they had visited. When they returned to their home in Virginia, they labeled each plate by adhering a strip of white bandage adhesive tape to the back and handwriting with blue or black ink the likes of “Yellowstone, 1965” or "Seattle, 1971" and then hanging them high on the walls above the windows in their dining room. Eventually, the collection of plates completely circled the top of their dining room with their festive, lively colored, but souvenir - ish, memories.

They were proud of those plates, and when my parents and siblings spent a week in the spring of 1992 cleaning out their home and preparing for an Estate Sale, we had no idea that those cheesy, hokey, cheaply made decorator grade souvenirs would be a hot seller at the sale.

Sister: If I had known they would be such a hot yard sale item, I’d marked them up.
Me: If I had known, I would have taken them all myself.
Mother: I told you they were chic kitsch.

My sister and I both picked out a plate or two to keep for sentimental reasons. Lake Tahoe was my choice, and it now spends all of its time gathering dust in my china cabinet, but when I picked it up yesterday, I smiled. Big.

When my Aunt Ava died in 1991, we had high hopes that my Aunt Eleanor, who would soon be 81, could live by herself. Unfortunately, with Ava’s demise, Eleanor retreated inside herself and tasks, which she used to be able to do, became insurmountable, and the dementia, perhaps kept in place by the presence of Ava, emerged quickly.

We had two choices. Do we take her to Georgia, away from her home and put her in a facility there or do we find a place here in Lynchburg where she has friends who would come see her? We decided on the latter, and the home Ava and Eleanor shared in Lynchburg, Virginia, sold, possessions and memorabilia packed and dispersed, and my sweet Aunt Eleanor left there with fragments of her mind.

That decision was a hard one for all of us, but especially for my parents, who had made trips every month from their home in Atlanta to Virginia in order to see to and care for Eleanor and Ava, since they had “not been the same” since a car accident in the fall of 1989 had fiercely rattled them. Even though the accident could have been worse, as they came away with a few bumps and bruises and Ava with a broken foot, they seemed nervous and cautious and frankly--- more house bound. Mother and Daddy made this eight- hour trip up and down Interstate 85, a trip that we children worried about -- as they too had their own aging issues. They continued to make that trip monthly for the next two years, as Eleanor faded into a mind that didn’t recognize my mother but remembered her “Papa” and his 1924 Ford. My parents would die in 1995, and Eleanor would live another three years.


I had always admired my aunts who were sprightly and agile, running up and down the steps of their three storied home like children, and who took care of elderly cousins and church friends by preparing home-cooked meals and seeing to their daily needs. They kept a garden, did genealogy, sewed, read, and mowed the grass. They seemed like they would live forever with their indefatigable nature and projects.


One of my aunts favorite past times was travel. Not only had they driven cross country more than once and been to every state except “Hawaii,” they never turned down the opportunity to get free maps from AAA and a Triptik to guide them to some place else they “had always wanted to see.” The three of them, Eleanor, Ava, and Harriett, would gather in Lynchburg on a spring weekend, [Aunt Harriett lived in Falls Church], and chat about the places they would like to see and then plan a week or two to “get away” and “see “ that summer. They once included my sister and me on one of their excursions, but as you might guess…

that’s a post for another blog.

*tee hee*

My aunts drove economical cars --- mostly Plymouths. I remember a blue Plymouth Valiant from the mid 1960s -- which had a gear shift in the floor. My Aunt Ava taught me to shift gears in that car, as she would work the pedals and steering while I grinded my way through getting the timing correct in gear changing.

Aunt Ava also let me drive it “down in the country” [the backwoods gravel and dirt roads of Appomattox County where my mother’s family grew up] when I was old enough to reach the pedals; I might have been 10 or 11. One time while driving “in the country” and changing gears in that blue Plymouth with the four in the floor, a huge black snake fell from an over-hanging tree branch with a thud on to the hood of the car, rolled off, and slithered into a ravine. Aunt Ava and I both screamed like banshees while the even-keeled Aunt Eleanor piped from the back seat: “Hush, and quit being so silly about a harmless snake. I’d be more worried about Harriett Sue’s driving if I were you two.”


The last car my aunt owned was a 1989 Plymouth Reliant, a car that replaced the one totaled in the car accident. When my Aunt Ava died in 1991, my Aunt Eleanor bequeath the car to David and me.

The car had 20,000 miles on it and drove like “the mule” [David named it] it was until I gave it to my nephew Chapman in 1999. Chapman renamed it “El Burro” and he and then his sister Nora drove it until it died a natural death, sometime in 2004.

I know that both of my aunts would have been happy to know that their car had such a legacy.

As I think about my aunts’ collection of state plates from the many places they visited, I can picture their happy faces as they must have packed up their Plymouth au jour with maps, thermoses, snacks, a planned itinerary [reservations made], books, shorts and sleeve-less cotton shirts, and take off for here or there.

Ava and Harriett would take turns driving while Eleanor, who didn’t like to drive, sat placidly in the back seat content to enjoy the ride. I know that they talked and talked and talked as they so enjoyed each other’s company and excitedly looked forward to what was ahead for them on their trip.

Along the route from Virginia to California or Virginia to Vermont, they added to their plate collection and picked up postcards to send to my mother and their nieces and nephews. On these colorful postcards they would write short notes and drop them in mailboxes [in order for them to be stamped from where they came from] across the country.

I was thrilled to receive one of these positive missives from my aunts:

“HS -- stopped by this spot on our way to _____ . Loved the view. Tomorrow, we’re on our way to _____________.Wish you were here! Love, Aunt A. "


*says a little eulogy over the lost art of postcard writing*

*double sigh*

I know, I know. Now, trips can be video taped and sent via email on the I-Have a Better Phone Than You.

*shakes head*

But, but -- in my humble, but accurate, opinion, it’s not as memorable as a postcard or a state plate.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

"The 100 Dollar Store"

Costco always makes me laugh -- perhaps because of a clip from the movie Idiocracy [that my nephew Chapman wanted me to watch] of the Costco of the future. The movie is funny but crude... how can it not be -- it has one of those Wilson guys in it.

*thinks about whether there is more than one Wilson brother who is an actor, well, sort of an actor*


David and I went to Costco last night [big Friday night out for this married couple], and when we exited the building, we had paper products piled high in our super-sized buggy. I couldn't even push the darn thing it was so heavy...

Geez. Really?


As we made our way to the car, I said to David: “Costco makes me so happy and then makes me so sad.”

David looked at me.

David: Where else can you get a 64 ounce package of Mesquite Kettle cooked potato chips for 7.99? Costco is awesome -- plus, I see that they have a 100 inch big screen tv for under a 1000 dollars.

*rubs his hands together gleefully*

David: It’s as close as we get to heaven on this planet.

David hates when I get philosophical, so he likes to hand me reality checks.

*channels the left*

Me: I’m not talking about the deals; I’m talking about our consumerism. All of those people in there buying these huge quantities of stuff. It seems so --- over the top. We seem so greedy -- those giant bags of bagels, those packages of underwear, those cases of water.....

*drifts off*


This is what we bought:

10 rolls of paper towels.
16 rolls of toilet paper
12 boxes of Kleenex
4 packages of Band-aids
5100 tablets of multi-vitamins
42 lbs of cat litter
4 (96 oz) bottles of Listerine
1 (170 loads) container of Gain
500 Ziplock sandwich bags

And 9 lbs of ground beef


Only in America can you do this -- it’s sad in a hilarious way.

As I put the packages of products we bought away in the basement cabinets {cause who has room for 10 rolls of paper towels inside their house? That's supposed to be rhetorical, btw.], I thought, well, if David and I die anytime soon, the family will inherit some household goods.


Nieces and nephews: Score! Look at the size of this bag of potato chips.

ETA: Our friend Joe calls Cotsco -- "the 100 dollar store."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weed or Read?

Life's pretty simple these days as I have settled into my retirement routine.

Retirement routine?


"Retirement Routine" makes me feel like holding a baton aloft and waiting for the high school band to cue up a rounding version of The Ventures' Hawaii Five O theme song.

BTW: Don't you love these guys? All plugged in -- in the desert.

By 1971, every high school band knew that theme song, and every majorette and drill team member had a routine for that song.

I was on the drill team, known as the Bear-o-nettes [our mascot was the Golden Bears]. During football season, we accompanied the band to the field at half-time and performed routines to the songs as they played. Bad routines, I might add, since we choreographed them ourselves and were limited to -- well, our expertise.


I know. Lame. What can I say -- it was a lame time.

*tap, shuffle, kick*

My high school band in 1971 knew about four tunes ---- they played over and over and over and over and over -- that tune by the Ventures, "Be True to Your School" by the Beach Boys, and "Light My Fire" by The Doors. LOL --- I can still bust a move to those songs.

*erases visual*

But, all that is for another blog.

So, what I think about each morning as part of my "retirement routine" is whether I want to read or weed?

*puts finger on chin*

What a dilemma!


Yesterday morning, I politely asked David to help me decide:

Me: Hmm. Do I want to read or weed today?
David: You talking to me?
Me: Yes.
David: You're talking to me, out loud, aren't you?
Me: Yes. I need some help with these major decisions. Do I want to take a book to the deck or do I want to weed the front bed?
David: You so need to go back to work.
Me: *channels some EnVogue*

{blog readers -- please insert "my workin'" in place of "my lovin'" even though either kind of works. Bwha}

Weed or Read? Friends?

Brendan: "Quit braggin' about being retired."
Marilyn: "Ain't it grand? Retirement?"
Nan: "I won't live that long." *sighs* then *pouts*
Laura: "You deserve such a choice."

So, on that note. I think I will read. Tomorrow? I might weed.

*tee hee*

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Readership Drive

I love this blogger, Michelle @ Graceful, and over the last year we have become "virtual" friends -

eh, it happens.

Friendships from the web world have been a blessing to me.

It's weird, but NOT all my web friends are from my General Hospital message board. LOL

I'd like to help Michelle get "her platform" ---

so, if you would, please click on this link and add her to .... well, whatever she says -- Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, etc.


Michelle's Readership Drive