Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gotta Go Get Christmas Hugs

I'll be gone for a while.  I have to to north to collect my Christmas hugs.  I have not seen my family since last Christmas . It tears at my heartstrings so you can imagine how overjoyed I am to be with them all for a few days. 

I am gladly trading  my  50 - 60 degree temps for teens and single digits.   I will have lots of love to keep me warm.   (After I wrote that I saw on  one daughter's Facebook page that it is 50 there too.  Yay!  I don't want to drive in a blizzard!) 

                                          Merry Christmas and have a very Happy New Year

Christmas Trees in My Life

             These trees are from 1955 and 1956.  I was  5-6 years old and my sister was 3-4 at the time.

 This one was 1955.  That means my mother was only 25 years old and Dad was 28.   My parents had moved to Michigan from Missouri so there were no big family gatherings for us.  My mother was only 18 when she came north.  I asked her once, not that many years ago,  "wasn't that difficult?"  She kind of shrugged and said, "That's just the way it was."    I think she must have some to terms with it all ago.

These trees were real.  They were tall and thin or short and fat.  They smelled like pine.  We put up the tree about two weeks before Christmas and we always opened gifts on Christmas Eve night.  My father was a 2nd shift worker for GM and did not want to get up in the wee hours with 2, and soon to be, three children.  I never had a traditional Christmas morning until I had daughter # 1.

Move ahead now to 1967.  I was a Senior in High School.  You can faintly see that same small rope of silver tinsel.  I think the curtains are still from the 50s as well.  This as a particularly festive year with  a construction paper chain hanging from the ceiling.   That TV is the one my brother shot with a BB gun when he was about 8.  Oops!  It was resting on his lap and he pulled the trigger.  It left a ping ricocheted bullseye about the size of a quarter.   We lived with it another 10 years.

On into the 70's we had some pretty regular trees.  Nothing much different than these.  I don't know what struck me senseless in the 80s when I thought these trees should come home with me.

There is nothing redeeming about this tree.  We continued with the family tradition of random strings of tinsel and the hanging icicle kind.  You can see clusters of bulbs hanging at 3 year old level.  Holy cow that thing is ugly. 

It was in this house that I discovered Clair Burke's  Applejack & Peel  fragrance candles and potpouri.  It's almost impossible to find now.  I had to order some on line.  It just smells like Christmas to me.

This is no better.  There appears to be two large sections out of each side of the top.  Even that stategically placed red tinsel  and the 5 link construction paper chain, cannot distract your eyes from this poor sad thing.  Somewhere around this time frame, no one wanted to go on the wagon ride and slug through the snow in boots and heavy coats.  What this Mother thought was making memories was not being appreciated by my young crowd. 

After the tree mutiny,  Terry and I would go get a cut tree and wrestle that thing into the holder and then into the house. 

We moved to  South Carolina from this house and then returned a couple of years later.  We still had live trees and the girls helped put on the decorations.  When I was a Mall rat, they would often put it up by themselves and I loved that even more.  No, I can tell you what I loved the most.  I always had to work the day after Christmas and they would take all the decorations down and it would be all put away by the time I got home.  That was such a gift.

I was a little late coming the fake tree decision.  I fought it but it really is easier. 

I burned Yankee Christmas candles so there was the fragrance of pine in the air, along with the Applejack & Peel.   We lived in this house for 8 years and I kept that green living room and burgundy furniture all that time.  Only the gifts changed.  The tree stayed the same. 

I miss those poor sad trees.  My daughters don't talk about that fake tree.  They remember the live ones.  The lopsided, needle shedding,  living room engulfing real trees.   You need to experience walkng across the carpet in July and getting stabbed by an errant pine needle.  Try as they might, there is no candle that really has that Christmas tree smell.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Old Songs Time

I was reading a book the other day that mentioned the male character's favorite romantic song was "These Arms of Mine".    I couldn't get interested in the rest of the book so I only read about 25 pages and returned it to the library.  But that song... that song has stayed with me.  I remember dancing in the gym after football games to that song.  It is indeed a romantic one.  (Frankly, who I danced with is not in my memory bank any longer, but the song stayed.  We know what I valued don't we?)

Being the music person that I am, that got me thinking about songs in movies that just made the movie, for me, such a great "chick" thing and I am not offended my calling a movie that.

I mean, really, how many times have we watched Dirty Dancing?   Seriously?  It wasn't for the profound dialogue.  "Nobody puts Baby in a corner/"   No, it was for the dancing and this.

Big sigh.  Now if those guys I was dancing with at those school dances, back in the 60s, were dancing like Patrick here, I would darn well have remembered their names, but, believe me, no one I knew danced like that!   Lordy, Lordy! 

I was swept away by this song too.   Way back in the 80's was long before Tom jumped on Oprah's couch.   Living beside the Navy/Marine  Cherry Point Air Station,  I now have the newer models of these jets and more flying over my house.  I think there may be a Pete Maverick or two up there.

This woman is a heck of an actress because years later I learned she's gay so while I was thinking she was one lucky lady she was probably thinking about lunch. 

These are songs of romance.  I'm sure there are singers and songs and movies now that are just as romantic.  I still watch the chick flicks of today and nothing really stands out to me.  Maybe that's part of all the remakes now.  They are trying to recreate the magic again.  Some things are better left alone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Misheard Lyrics

There is a commercial on now that shows 2 people in a car singing along with Elton John to "Rocket man".  They don't know the lyrics and are just throwing out anything that may fit.  It reminded me of all the songs that I have messed up and lyrics that others thought they knew but didn't.  I once did this as a game with a bunch of girlfriends to see if they could guess the song that went with the lyrics.  I won't make you guess.  I'll tell you which song and which lyrics were messed up.

Rocket Man's "Rocket Man....burning out his fuse up here alone" becomes "Burning off the trees on every lawn" or "Burnin up loose on everyone", just to name a couple.   My favorite Elton John mix up is "Won't you dance with me Tony Danza?"

1.  One of the most common ones is the Jimi Hendrix "scuse me while I kiss this guy"......instead of "touch the sky",

2.  Creedance Clearwater Eevival's "There's a bathroom on the right"  for Bad Moon Rising.

3. The Rolling Stones " I don't want to be your Beast of Burden' has become " I don't want to be your pizza furncace" or "Don't look at me, your pizza's burning, " or" I'll never  be your big suburban."

4.  The Beach Boys "California Girls"  "The west coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan" becomes "The girls are tinsel thin"...( Now they are, that's for sure)  

5.  In "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys that girl with the T-Bird has lost her T-bag, T-shirt, TV and Dad's taken her to a wake, instead of  "takes her T-bird away".

6.  Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams"  line "Thunder only happens when it's raining" can't get screwed up can it?  Oh, yeah.....Thunder on Campus when it's raining,  

The original line "Say women, they will come and they will go.  When the rain washes you clean, you'll know"  has been  "When the rain washes, you'll clean your nose."

Tell me Lies has become "sell me fries".   

I may not have made all of these mistakes, but I've sang my heart out, in my car all alone. Don't judge.  I know you've done it too.  Then kinda of smiled at yourself at how bad you messed it up.  But, there are no witnesses keep on singing.   I know I am not alone here.

I love the oldies and sometimes I only think I know all the words.  Terry and I once and I do mean once, tried to karaoke to The Mamas and the Papas "California Dreamin. "  Have you seen the lyrics to that song.  I swear there are whole stanzas I had never heard.  I know they played a whole new version for us. 

So the next time you are out driving and you seen a lone woman in a car singing away, it may be me. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time For Some Stress Relief

Many of you have seen or heard this song because I see that it is a year old.  I just received it in an e mail yesterday and thought is was worth passing on in my blog world.  Christmas is a time that leaves me feeling so frazzled.  We will be leaving for Michigan about a week before Christmas so I have to have everything done by then.  I feel the pressure.

( I still had to be careful and not show half the wall with "surprises " lined up against it.)

 I was grateful for the reminder that just because my living room looks like Santa's workshop exploded in there with gifts and wrapping paper and boxes and tissue all about,  that is not what the season is all about. 

This is:  The story I got with the email is that a child saw the very long line of people waiting to see Santa so he then asked, "Where's the Line for Jesus?"  

The most important thing this holiday is to remember the reason for the season.  And to hug my girls and boys.

This is my all time favorite Christmas carol.   After years in retail where I got so tired of hearing them from November 1st on, sadly, I still cannot enjoy it like I once did.  But this still touches me.

I enjoy the Celtic Women.  I hope you like this little break too. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

All I Want For Christmas.....

I have to say, before I moved south, this was one of my favorite "new" Christmas songs.  When I was looking at freezing rain, sleet and snow, this sounded very good indeed.

I haven't been to the Caribbean Islands in two years and I am missing the pretty turquoise water. Living on the coast here, is not the same.   I would love to, one day, meet my daughter's and families for a Caribbean Christmas. 

So sit back and enjoy this Christmas song that shows a different view of how to celebrate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hair Day

Just got home from getting my hair cut.  Did the same thing yesterday too.   Women and our hair stylists are a make it or break it kind of relationship.   I had been going to the same stylist for a couple of years.  I found her when we first moved here, to North Carolina and when she opened her own shop, I followed her.   So, that makes well over 2 years I have invested in hair care.

  I'm not one to wear the same style forever, unlike my mother, who had the same style as long as I can remember. She got her hair "done" on Monday and it was wrapped and protected   A brush never touched it until the next Monday.  I know, I can't imagine that either, but that's what they did years ago, and for 30 years afterwards apparently.    I've shown photos of me and my hair from the long to the short of it.  For a while in the 1970's I thought I was a young black woman and sported an afro, as you can see.

In the last 4 or 5 years, I've gone a little Sharon ... and no, mine is not red.  That would take a lot of maintenance.  It used to be dark brown and now it is mostly gray, which happened a year ago.  It didn't suddenly turn gray a year ago.  No, that started happening when I was in high school.  Thanks Dad.  I just got tired of coloring it a year ago.  I'm coming to terms with it.  Big sigh.........

At first all was well, but slowly, my stylist kept cutting it shorter and shorter and all I was left with was 6 hairs glued to my cheeks, bangs like a 3rd grader,  and no fullness.  I realized where this was headed.

Google photos

Remember Susan Powter?  "Stop the Insanity" ???     So I stopped.... I canceled my appointment with my now "former" stylist, a month ago, ( had to have more time for it to grow)  and went back to the shop where I had found her.  That's where I found 21 year old Samantha.   I explained my dilema and told her to error on the side of too long rather than too short.  I showed her this picture of Sharon and she still left it a little long so that it didn't spike, it split.  That's OK.  That's fixable.  So, that's what she did today.  

I stopped in at the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and the pharmacist said, " Wow, your hair is really getting long!"   So I guess Samantha got it right.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dark Shadows

When I was flipping stations the other day, (back's very much better now) I watched a few minutes of a ghost hunting thing taking place at Seaview Terrance in Newport, R.I.  I stopped to watch because they gave a brief history of the "house"...sure.... and that it was used as the Background shot of one of my favorite television shows of the late 60's and early 70s.   Dark Shadows.......

                                                                     Google photo

The actual home, Seaview Terrace, began in Dupont Circle, in Washington D.C. in 1907 by Liquor millionaire, Edson Bradley.  In the 1920s, he had it taken apart, stone by stone and moved to Newport Rhode Island.  Can you imagine?   The move began in 1923 and took 5 years to complete.  54 rooms on three floors, moved.

Mrs Bradley, a music lover is supposed to still haunt the home and continues to play her piano in the music room.  If she loved that house enough to move it, I guess she loves it enough not to leave it either.

It became a school from 1951 -61 after being bought from the City of Newport (when the family lost it over back taxes) for $8000.   40,000 square feet.  $8,000.... I think that even  in 1950 dollars that has still got to be the steal of the decade.  As with the great plantations of the south, it's not the price of the building, it's the upkeep that is so expensive.

 In the later 60s it was called Burnham by the Sea, and was a school for girls.   Can you imagine?  That was during the time Dark Shadows was huge. It would be like going to school at Hogwarts today.

They do have a website.

It doesn't say anything about it being open so it may be a private home again.  I did see other sites where people have gone there, so Maybe now it's closed to the public.  It is just fun seeing a little piece of our past really exists.

I'm wondering if they will use it for the new movie too.  They almost have to for us oldsters that know what the house looked like.

Johnny Depp.....Barnabus Collins
Helea Bonham Carter.... Dr. Julia Hoffman
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard...Michelle Pfeiffer 


You can still see some of the out takes of scenes and bloopers on Youtube.  Of course it looks pretty cheesy now, but back then, I was hooked.

With the Twilight series so big, I think this one will draw some interest just based on the vampire thing.  For me though, I'm remembering that teen that rushed home to see what was going to happen next in Collinsport.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ouch, I'm All Better Again

I managed to do something painful to my lower back just by bending over to get my pitcher of iced tea out of the fridge.  The minute I bent at the waist, I could feel my lower back yell.  I have never had that happen before.  It was very ouchy for about 3 days, this being the 4th, but is about 75% better today.  Thank goodness.  This is no time of year to be restricted anymore than the aches and pains of wrapping gifts on the floor or sitting too long at the computer generally get me.  I think I may have to rethink that floor thing.

 While I was stuck on the couch for those few days, I watched an Investigation Discovery program I had recorded.  It was simply called "GONE" about the disappearance of Aeryn Gillern, a 32 year old American gay man, living and working in Vienna, Austria.  His mother. a former police officer,  got a call from his boyfriend, saying that Aeryn had been missing for 4 days, I believe.   I do not know how to add this link  other than just by coping it here.  There is a Facebook page for him as well.

The lack of information furnished to this mother, the lack of respect to her as a former police officer, and the total uselessness of the American Embassy in a foreign country astounded me.  We believe, as Americans, that embassy is there to come to the rescue.  Not so.  They can't make the local police do anything.... and doing nothing is exactly what the Vienna police do.  This mother has yet to see the official police report after numerous inquiries.   Her loss is heartbreaking.  Aeryn was a wonderful son, a great employee and a good friend to many.  I hope this is not the end of the story.

Please indulge me a  moment to revel in the victory of a Michigan Football win over our nemesis Ohio State, in a rivalry that is simply called "The Game".  My husband is one of four brothers that grew up playing and loving football.  At one point there were 3 brothers playing on his high school team.  All during those years, his college years and afterwards he followed Michigan's Bo Schembechler's Wolverines. There were good years and a great year with Gary Moeller after Bo retired and then came the era of Rich Rodriquiz when Michigan football faltered and life on Saturdays was a little trying in our household.  We now have a new coach, Brady Hoke and a new attitude.  Michigan football now stands at 10 -2.  That 10th win was Saturday against Ohio, who had beat us 7 games in a row.  (8-1 in conference play,  with that one being Michigan State....dang it)   We had texts going across the country and even Twitter was alive with Michigan tweets.  So congrats to Michigan Football and hail to the Victors!
                                                                        Google photo

I found an old photo, in an old metal frame, from the 1950's of my sister and I.  When I took the photo out I discovered this young woman behind it.  She was the picture that came with the frame.

In the bottom right corner is printed Marilyn Monroe - printed in the USA.  At the top corner is The Art Publishing Company and under that is Chicago, Ill.   I could not find anything on it.  So, Allie, this is for your new hot pink room.  She should feel very comfortable there.

Now I need to go see what all of you have been doing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

While I may be separated from my family by many miles today, I still have many reasons to be thankful.. 

I spent a few hours Christmas shopping today and even bought some things.  Yay!   Some Christmas things I am making and I will show you those after Christmas, because as much as I would like to share now, those girls read my blog. 

I now have 4 library books sitting on my bedside table that I am slowly reading.  I am being a Santa Elf this year and reading less.  This will be one year I don't hit 100 books read, like I usually do.

Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Mysteries of Hollywood

I hadn't planned on making another comment of Hollywood, but then this past weekend, along came the Natalie Wood story.  She allegedly (is everything alleged these days?) drowned over Thanksgiving weekend, 30 years ago.  I remember this.  I was 30 then. She was one of the "old Hollywood" set. She made movies with James Dean and Warren Beatty. She was Maria in "West Side Story" and she was "Gypsy".   Hers was not one of those Hollywood deaths that I can say "I remember where I was when...." 

I do remember where I was when I heard Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her bedroom.  I was 12 and visiting my grandmother on one of those once a year visits.  Her radio was always on low, kind background noise of farm reports and who was in the hospital kind of small town stations.  August, 1962. Then came the annoucement of Marilyn's body being discovered by her housekeeper.  This made an impression on me.  I was laying on a big feather bed, on the floor,  in grandma's living room. 
(That feather bed was rolled out for us kids on those visits and it was awesome!)
John Kennedy.. sure.  I was 13 and a hall monitor, sitting at a desk, outside the door of a study hall, when the teacher opened the door and asked me to step inside. 

But, no, I don't remember all that with Natalie Wood.  I do remember thinking the whole, went out in the dark, in her nightgown and a coat to tie up a dingy story didn't quite ring true.  We knew, at that time there was an argument between Christopher Walken (He must be a brilliant actor because he creeps me out.)  and Robert Wagner, and that there had been a lot of drinking of adult beverages going on.    hmmmm? 

Even back then a female witness claims to have heard a woman calling for help in the middle of the night.  She, the witness, had tried to call Harbor Patrol (?) , something like that for help, numerous times,  and no one ever answered the phone. 

So, now there is a book and "new evidence".  Really? I don't think the evidence is new.  I think it was always there and covered up.  These were 3 of Hollywood's brightest stars.  No one was willing to point fingers, especially the boat captain. He admits he didn't witness what happened.  He just failed to tell whole truth about what he had seen.

Hollywood has been covering up and stretching the truth, about their scandals for generations.  From Lana Turner's 14 year old daughter Cheryl Crane stabbing her mom's abusive boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato (He walked into the knife is what Cheryl says), to the Black Dahlia and Marilyn Monroe's questioned suicide, there have been questions about some of these conclusions.  Yes, O.J., I'm talking about you.

I'm the one that watches all these forensic programs.  I do know that sometimes the bad guy does get caught decades later.  I'm hoping that is the case here, but I'm not gonna put any money on it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ashton, You Blew It!

Google photo....

Way back when Hugh Grant was arrested for solicitation when he was dating Elizabeth Hurley, he was on the Jay Leno Show.  Hugh walked out and sat down in the guest seat and Jay looked at him, took a breath and asked, "What the hell were you thinking?"

Of course, I don't know the ins and outs of other people's lives, but these two were all a "Twitter" throughout their marriage.  So, I ask the same question Jay asked...

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Back in the last 1980's Arsenio Hall had a late night talk show that included a monologue on "Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm?"

I have a few of those thing now too.

1.  What the hey is Benneton thinking with their ads featuring world leaders kissing.   For instance:

I may be alone here but I don't think this is at all respectful to any world office, and is absolutely not something I want my President featured in.  I'm not talking about the man, I'm talking about the position of President of the United States, period.  Man or woman.

2.  I watched a Dr. Phil I had DVR'd because he had Prosecutor Ashton on from the Casey Anthony trial.  I had seen a commercial where he asked "How did you get it so wrong?" about picking a jury.   He also had Mark Geragos from the Michael Jackson molestation case and Marcia Clark from the O.J. trial on as well.   The whole point is... Have you seen Macia Clark lately?

If he had not introduced her by name, I wouldn't have known who she was.  Now that I think about I don't look like I did back in 1995 either.  I look older.  She doesn't.  I'll drink that water.

3.  This one is more trivial, but if you are a DWTS fan, and those that are fans know that is "Dancing With the Stars".    I was a fan until this season which slipped about as far as they could go to call these contestants "Stars", so I haven't been watching.   But, I've still been hearing ans seeing my guy Maks, one of the Pros, behaving badly.   He's always been more verbal than the other Pros about the judges scores, but this season his criticism has been over the top, I feel.    I have a feeling his contract may not be renewed for the next season, which is too bad because he is one of the more popular Pros, but Maks, Maks, it's only dancing buddy.  Get over yourself.

4.  This last thing that makes me go hmmmmm is the Chevrolet Dealership where we've taken our car for work.  After  hurricane Irene came through but before we went to Savannah, I went to the dealership, sat for 2 1/2 hours to get a front end alignment and 2 new front tires.  2 Days ago Terry took the car to another service place for 4 new tires and another alignment.  The new tires were extremely worn in the same pattern as the first time.  That car sits in the driveway most of the week.  I don't go far  and rarely do we go far on the weekend.  We did take our trip south, but that's about it.  He doesn't  think the dealership did the alignment.  Now we're out $500.00 more.  I told him I would take it back to the dealership but he said they would just say we hit a hole or something  to cover their butts. 

Has something been making you go hmmmm too?   

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Can Admit It

I've done it.  You may have done it too.   Raise your hand if you have ever done the Limbo.

Chubby Checkers was extremely popular when I was a preteen.  Most of his hits were in the early 1960's with The Twist, Pony Time, Limbo Rock and Let's Twist Again.

I'm sure I Ponied around the world at least once.  Those dances and songs may have started in the early 60s but they stayed around all that decade, and maybe into a wedding reception or two much later.

When I was in Junior High, (Middle School now) our High School had dances in the gym every Friday night, during the summer.  I could get in once I was in the 7th grade.  It was soooo exciting to watch the older high school students dance.  There were rumors of one very pretty blond that would dash off to the girl's bathroom to loosen her bra straps so that her Shimmy had more shimmy, so to speak.  That was pretty hot stuff back then.

So many of the Chubby Checkers dances were popular then.  Everyone could Twist.

It was so much fun when dances had names....and my joints didn't pop and crack when I moved them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Fond Memory

Joey Heatherton
Is there anyone else that remembers this blond and very talented lady?  I remember her dancing on many of the variety shows that were on in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dean Martin, Ed Sullivan, and Andy Williams, just to name a few.  I learned she was with the Bob Hope USO Tour from 65 - 77.  That's a big commitment.

I don't remember this commercial but it does show her style.  Evidently by the 1970s, her career was slowing down.

I remember her dancing more than her singing, but after looking at a few things on Youtube, I wonder why.

That girl can sing!  So what happened?  Where did she go and how much did we miss because of it?  I read on Wikipedia that in 1992 she appeared nude in Playboy.    I venture to say she must have needed the money.   It's a mystery at which  talent has a long life and which doesn't.  To me, her talent deserved more.

Of course there are photos of an aged Joey. You would still know her.  She was born in 1944.  You can do the math.  I chose to let her stay young here and to let her show what we've missed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Well, it's easy to have an opinion on the Penn State atrocity.  If you knew about it and did nothing, you are equally guilty.  Period.   I know if I had personally seen a man raping a little boy in a shower, I would have screamed it from the rooftops, not just telling the coach.  ( If I didn't attack the SOB right that moment!)   I don't care what position you have, what the program is, who the perp ( yep, call it what it is)  is, you know this is wrong. 

Another child is missing in Bellevue, Washington..  A 2 year old little boy that the mother says she left in a parked car while she and another child went to get gas.  The police say the car had plenty of gas to get to a location for help.  No one can remember seeing Sky Metalwela in the last 2 weeks.  More than something fishy going on  here.

Billy Crystal is hosting the Academy Awards again, after Eddy Murphy dropped out.  Yay!!   I watch every year.  Some years I've even seen some of the movies nominated.   I'm looking for the fashion hits and misses.  I've been missing Billy.  No one does it as well as he can.

My random thought is this video that's gone viral.  This poor guy was only trying to surprise her.  I guess he did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thank You Spouses of Our Military

My DVR has become a good friend.  I just watched Lisa Ling's "Our America" on OWN.  This program was about our returning servicemen/woman ( I will say say men from now on and wives, because that is what the biggest percent is.  I do know our female soldiers are just as affected.)  from various war fronts, affected by PTSD.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder   This was a one week program to reach these men at their core.  To give them some tools to release their demons.  To teach these couples how to be partners again.

Veteran's Day is Friday.  More and more I think about the families of these soldiers.

                                                                         From Google...
I learned that  18  ( I think that was the number)  veterans/soldiers commit suicide everyday.   Everyday!  We have lost more returning soldiers to suicide than in combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan together.  This breaks my heart.

I wanted to say Thank You for your service  to the spouses of these soldiers and Marines.  ( Marines do not call themselves soldiers.  They are Marines.  They are also never a "former" Marine.  Once a Marine, always a Marine.   Can you tell I live in a Marine town?)   So when I say soldiers, yes my Marine friends, I know who you are.

We know so much more than we did years ago when the soldiers of my generation were returning from Vietnam. These men are still feeling the affects of their war. That's not even getting into the politics they faced coming home from a war most were drafted into entering.   Our military today volunteered to put themselves in harm's way.  Their spouses volunteered to support them. How selfless is that?    The result is still the same.  These soldiers experienced sights, did things, and felt things, that even with the best of training, years later, they are still trying to digest.

                                                    Vietnam Memorial close to "The Wall"

I heard one wife explain it so well.  She said the wives were in the "kill zone", of the fallout, of their husband's experiences.   At best, their loved one came home well, and does not suffer from PTSD. While their husbands were deployed, these women have been the Mother and the Father,  the disciplinarian, the chauffeur, the accountant, and in most cases, held down a job of their own, as well.   They have lived in two completely different worlds for 6 months, 9 months, or a year.  Becoming a couple again can be difficult, if both are used to giving the orders and having them carried out.  One soldier told his wife "You are as much of a soldier as I was."  Isn't that true? 

My heart, my respect and my gratitude belongs with these men and women.  They have both serviced and are still serving this country.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Ballad of Tom Dooley

A couple of weeks ago I read a review for a book that caught my interest.  First of all, it is based on an actual historical event and being a boomer, I grew up hearing the song.

The book is by Sharyn McCrumb and the title is The Ballad of Tom Dooley.    She is not an author I generally read but after reading this review I ordered it from my library.

Plug for Amazon here.   I will say, I usually do check them out to see how many stars the books get and how the reviews are going.

I believe the most well known song about Tom Dooley (whose real name was Tom Dula ) was made popular by the Kingston trio.


Sharyn McCrumb unearthed real evidence that all we may have thought we knew about this lover's triangle may not have been the whole truth.

The story takes place in the mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina just after the Civil War.  Tom Dula and Ann Foster had known each other from childhood and had silently staked their claim on each other early.  Tom was not known for his strong work ethic, but rather the lack of it.  Ann, the beauty of the family, decided she had better marry for security instead of love, so she accepted the offer of James Melton, just 6 years her senior, when she was 15 years old.  Both James and Tom went  off to war and returned, much to Ann's dismay.  She had hoped only Tom would come home. 

So there is this triangle.  Tom, living with his mother, and romancing Ann, along with many other local ladies willing to overlook his lack of funds, but enamored with his good looks.  Ann is not pleased with this situation but accepts that Tom will always come back to her.  That is until he shares his favors with her cousin Laura Foster, over the mountain, about 5 miles away.   Throw into that mix  another cousin, Pauline, who is living with Ann and James as a servant basically, because she has her own issues.  Pauline fuels the fire at every instance.  

Another version of Tom Dooley was recorded by Doc Watson and is a little closer to the truth, but not completely.

The songs say Tom and Laura were running away to get married, but both were over 20 years old and both were single . They didn't have to run. 

The author visited the locations and read court transcripts that are still in existence today.  That trial went on forever, much like O.J.'s and the Casey Anthony trials of today.  It was big news in the Appalachians.  Pauline was very much at the center of things.

The grave of Laura Foster is still well marked today.

photo by David Spiceland
As we know, from both songs, Tom did hang for her murder.

photo by David Spiceland
But, did he do it?

I found the book a very quick read.  I was enthralled with the story.  What really happened?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Now This is a Send Off

This obituary was forwarded to me by a girlfriend today.  I've removed any proper names out of respect, but I think it is worth sharing. 

A Very Special Woman- Went Home to her Father on October 24, 2011. Cremation has already taken place. She loved her beer cold and her music loud. She'd fire you but forgive you just as quickly. She had a tendency toward sesquipedalian loquaciousness that belied her lack of formal education. She didn't always make it to the baby showers or weddings but she never missed a funeral. She got kicked out of every bar on Autumn Road, which became a family tradition. She used to say she could drink 42 beers and not even burp; and that she could take a punch as good as any man. On game days she could be found on her couch betting on her favorite teams. GO BLUE! GO LIONS! GO TIGERS! She was fond of the Dalai Lama and saw Buddha-nature in every living being. She was generous, a lover of life, a fighter, an artist, a poet, a wanna-be rock star, a collector of many fine things including many fine people, a mother, a proud grandmother, and one of many in a long line of strong women. She was a legend in her own mind-and she was right. Her legend will live on. She was a rebel, an original, and did everything you weren't supposed to do: drink like a fish, smoke like a chimney, curse like a sailor, and raise her children on her own like the old lady in the shoe. She will be missed greatly by her children: and her grandchildren: ; and many, many friends. A memorial in her honor will be held Sunday, at the Neighborhood Bar at 2 p.m. Those who loved her are invited to join the family for stories, laughter, tears, and food in celebration of her life.

I've never seen an obit with this much pizazz.  I'm sure she's smiling down at the author right now.

All I can say is that my daughters should not be taking notes on this one for me, please.  I would come back to haunt them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When Innocence Was Taken

I've posted in the past that I watch a lot of the forensic/who did it?/ Disappeared/ 48 Hours, shows.  I think I keep watching because I want to know that the bad guy gets caught.  I had DVRed 20/20 on ID and watched it this morning.  This hour was about the first child disappearance that made national deadlines.  Etan' ( pronounced A-tan') Patz.  This little guy disappeared on the first morning he was allowed to walk to the school bus stop, at age 6, in NYC.  It was the last day of school before Memorial weekend, 1979.

Six is way to young we say.  His parents do admit that, as it turned out, it was.  I had to remind myself that is the case that put the face on the milk cartoon.  Truly, this was the case.  I also remembered living near downtown Flint, Michigan in the mid to late 1950s and my mother sending me to the A & W by the jail, no less, to get hot dogs for us when my brother was a baby, my sister was 3-4 and I would have been  6-7 years old.  I walked about 3 -4 blocks and back, to bring home hot dogs, for goodness sake.   It was still a time of innocence.  What happened to Etan' told us innocence was lost.

I remember his name so well.  I was 29.  My oldest daughter was 5.  We lived in the little town I grew up in.  A place where we didn't always lock the doors.  A place where kids could ride bikes from one friend's house to another.  The  Etan' Patz case in far away, New York City changed my world.

Two years later another 6 year old little boy was taken.  Adam Walsh....

I feel the reason we know more about who Adam Walsh was, is, no doubt, a tribute to his father's media experience.   By the time Adam disappeared there was a pretty good link between Etan' and the man  authorities are convinced abducted Etan', molested him  and disposed  of his body in the man's, (Jose' Ramos) furnace in his own apartment building.

This man was arrested some years later in Pennsylvania on molesting another child and is serving a 20 year prison sentence.  He has talked about his involvement with Etan', with jail house snitches.  He confessed and recanted to police, way back, nearly 30 years ago. Did the police drop the ball all those years ago?  I think so.  The scary thing is that 20 years is up in November 2012.  He could be back out on the street again.

Did these things happened before? Of course they did. The Lindbergh baby was kidnapped in the 1930s and made huge headlines.   Evil wasn't born with Jose' Ramos. But, I believe this was the first time we knew evil could happen to the common man, or to our children.  

I've wondered for years about this little boy.  I didn't know there was someone in the bull's eye for it.  Now he may go free.  I hope not.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Omar... Shame on You

I don't know how many people have seen this news clip of 79 year old,  Omar Sharif slapping a woman that wanted to get a picture taken with him.  He behaved abysmally.  This happened just last week.  Here is an example of violence against women that has to be stopped.   Dr. Zhivago was one of my all time favorites.  Now,   I won't be able to watch it anymore knowing what I know about this man.  You just know if he can do this on camera, in a public forum, he's done it before.  So far, nothing has been done to him about it.  An apology has been asked for by "a leading Arab organization"  ( which is nameless apparently) but so far, he has not responded.

All I can say is "Shame on you Omar."  Frankly, I think you are an ass.

First there is a woman, all smiles that stands next to him.  Then another lady walks up.  You can only see the back of her hard and then he lashes out and her hair goes flying and he starts lecturing her in Arabic.  She looks stunned and has a smile stuck on her face.  She then goes on to get the photo op.   Boy, oh boy.   All I can say is she probably not an American.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Fun

It is 50ish outdoors and 9 am.  I am waiting for Terry to get dressed to go Flea Marketing.  Michigan plays at noonish.   After last week's loss to our nemesis, Michigan State, we are out for blood.  We are  5 - 1 as of today.   Just a couple of years ago, I had to leave the house at game time.  I couldn't take the pouting, whining and "Turtle Throws a Tantrum" ( from the Sweet Pickles books) of that man I love, over a football game.  I saw a lot of movies that year.  He has mellowed a bit, or knows he will be watching all alone otherwise.  A victory is not as much fun without someone to high five on a good play.

At the Flea Market I am looking for shelves I can paint for my daughter's townhouse.  I think I've found enough frames to do for right now.  Wish me luck in the treasure hunt.

All is well in the world.  Michigan won.  Michigan State lost.  And, I found a couple of treasures at the flea market. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New From Old

I have been playing around with a mixed media art form that has inspired me to take and go in different directions,

Back in the summer I found a couple of old photos, one a tin type, at our local flea market.  I later found old doilies, post cards, an old book, pearls, a broach I had for ages, and various other pieces.  This is what I did with them.

It's a glimpse into a past era.

Now I have been on the hunt for photos and postcards I can use to tell the stories of days gone by.  I have a couple of pieces from the mid 1940s WWII time.  I need a photo of a soldier of that decade.  I'll keep looking.

I can take the same idea and use broken wine bottles, corks, wineglass pieces,  old china, teacups, etc, and go in all different directions.

                                            Right now I have these 2 beautiful young ladies.

The back is blank.  There is no hint at what was going on in her life or when this was taken.  I'm thinking it was a communion day, but she seems a little old for that.  Her shoes are very fancy indeed. 

The back of this one does tell us something, but I have no idea what language this is or what it says.  The only thing I can see is April 1918, in the left bottom corner.

Both of these came from an antique shop near Charleston.

Maybe there is a slim chance someone can read it and tell us something about this little girl in black.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Fun.

Because Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I would go down Memory Lane and  take you with me.

This was 1955... I'm in the middle with my Kangaroo sister and a family friend. 

Either that is two different years, or we ditched one little guy for another.  We just didn't look that excited about being there did we?

Big jump forward to when I had Trick or Treaters of my own. 

Daughter # 1.   After that, she was a cheerleader for about 5 years in a row.   I liked when I could dress them, which makes me think my mother dressed us in the first pictures.

I don't think I ever bought a costume.  To me it was more fun to put one together out of stuff we had.  They probably wanted the one in the box from the store.

If you notice that the little Gypsy's hair and the ghoul's hair is the same, it did have to come from somewhere.

"If I Could Turn Back Time" now,  would I?  Would you?

Now I have these guys to watch get excited about their Halloween costumes. 

Have fun guys.  Take pictures and call your Nana.  I want to know all about it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Here's Your Movie Ticket

A week or so ago, I recommended Eddie and the Cruisers  with Tom Berenger.  Today I'm choosing another movie of his.  Someone to Watch Over Me . (1987)  

In Queens, Mike Keegan( Tom Berenger)  is celebrating his promotion to detective, with his wife and his son.   Meanwhile, in a fancy club, the socialite Claire Gregory (Mimi Rogers /the first Mrs. Tom Cruise)  witnesses the murder of the owner of the place by the powerful mobster Joey Venza. Mike is assigned to protect her in the night shift in her apartment in Manhattan. Of course someone wants her dead and someone else just wants her.

The only movie trailer I could find was in French, so I thought this version of that classic song, by Renee Olstead will set the mood for a penthouse New York apartment, in the middle of the night.

The second of his movie's is Shattered, 1991.

Tom Berenger as Tom Merrick, who begins to suspect the auto accident that caused his memory loss may not have been accidental.  Judith Merrick (Greta Scacchi) is thrown clear of the crash and escapes without injury. Her husband, Tom, on the other hand, is trapped inside and when he is finally rescued, he is disfigured and in a coma. Judith helps him through his ensuing recovery and plastic surgery and the couple returns to their home in San Francisco. Tom, now suffering from selective amnesia, meets his old friends Jeb (Corbin Bernsen) and Jenny Scott (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer). After meeting them, he gathers hints that before the accident, he wasn't well liked by many people. The next day, when he returns to work, he begins to pick up more clues on his past life -- clues that indicate his marriage wasn't as idyllic as he presumed. To make matter worse, he keeps having flashbacks of shattered glass, ocean waves, and a gun.

This is a Double Feature day.  Grab your popcorn. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Road Trip Home

We left Savannah bone weary and sore footed.  Driving toward Myrtle Beach, I spotted this gas station/grocery store/home.

It is on a main highway, but still, out in the middle of nowhere.  I wonder how they make enough to keep it going.    Not a customer in site.

Being a northern transplant, this was not a sight I had ever seen. 

So on to Myrtle Beach we went.  Murrell's Inlet, Surfside Beach, and on we drove, passing Seafood Buffet after Seafood Buffet... $19.99 - 2 for $29.99 , etc. 

Planet Hollywood - Myrtle Beach... Are they closed?  Where are the cars.  Ok, it is Wednesday.  Maybe that's it.

Hard Rock... hmmmm... not many cars is there?

By now it was about 5pm and I was hungry.  We had not had much of a lunch and I wanted seafood darn it.  We put a buffet address into the Garmin and off we went...only to find it closed. And so was the next one, and the next one.  Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday....This was Wednesday.My stomach was grumbling and so was I. Okay, let's just go check in to the hotel.  The attendant graciously told us, go down the road, Captain George's Seafood Buffet is open.  Yay!!

We found it easily enough and there were cars in the parking lot. 

In we went.

This was the first of, I believe, 6 islands of food.  It looked like a Vegas Buffet.  OUr very nice hostess seated us and said these fateful words, " Our buffet is $31.00"  each.   Why Terry looked at me for direction I don't know. To me, there wads no question.  I headed straight for the King Crab.   He  went for everything else.

I have never had blue crab.  I don't know how to crack it or haow to eat it, so a very nice waiter came over with one to show me.  I learned it is a lot of work for very little meat.  He did say it is alot more fun with beer and friends.  Okay.

I don't know what to do with these guys either.  I'm not good with food that stiff has their heads attached.  Cut the head off of my fish too.  I don't want the whole lobster... just the tail please.

                                         I love steamed oysters, but these were raw.  I can't do raw.

                                   Love at first sight.... Crab and shrimp, only because there was no lobster.

There was also all kinds of fish, chicken, pork and desserts.  Oh, yes.  My husband has a sweet tooth.  I saw on his plate alone, German chocolate cake, cheesecake, baklava, banana pudding and chocolate pudding.   I have that "off" button that tells my brain, you are full... stop.   Terry doesn't and he admits he doesn't.

So, as we sat  there, with tea and coffee, the waitress came over with our bill.  Terry looked at me, took big breath and said, very quietly "I'm gonna throw up."   The mother in me took over.  I said, very lovingly, " Get out of here.  Go outside. Go! now!"   My first thought was not that he was sick.  It was you are not going to do that in a dining room.  Get out of here!  

He slowly stood up... actually, he was afraid to move, but he said once he was moving he felt much better.  So he's not allowed to go to buffets anymore.

These buildings are in Swansboro,  close to Jacksonville, N.C. and we're almost home.

Whenever I see these old gas station ? store? buildings, I think of the movie " Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe."  I wonder what kind of life it had.

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