Monday, March 26, 2012

It Takes Me Back

I think the two most powerful things to instantly take us on our own time travel experience is smell and music.  IF only for the spark of a nanosecond, I am transported to another time in another place. 

I connect 3 foods with my mother.  Liver & onions, fried chicken livers, and salmon patties, all cooked in a black cast iron skillet.   I do not like any of them, but she did.  If I even see them on a menu, I think, "Mom".  The memory of my father is stirring his instant coffee in a green "Fire King" mug and then crumbling leftover cornbread (from that same cast iron skillet) into a glass and pouring milk over it, to eat with a spoon.  I'm sure there was some fired Bologna in there somewhere too.   The only thing I made for my family was the cornbread but we never poured milk on it.

The smell of a high school gym takes me back to gym classes in those awful one piece blue,  bloomer things we had to wear.  Every Monday morning I was practicing the acquired skill of ironing mine on a towel, on the floor,of my bedroom, because I had waited to the last minute and would get a demerit if it was wrinkled. 

Remember, I'm the girly girl that didn't want to sweat.  It just ruined your whole "ensemble" to have sweaty hair and smudged eyeliner if you had gym first or second hour.  Needless to say, I was not a high achiever in gym class.  The only thing I did at all well was tumbling because I had had dance lessons as a child so I could point my toes and had follow through in my arms and hands.  (Think gymnasts and then don't think of anything that was difficult... only the " ta da"  at the end". )  I could "Ta Da" with the best of them!!

That gym also held Pep Rallies every Friday afternoon before football and basketball games.   How many cheerleaders did routines to this?

I know it is barely Spring but, with all of these high temps lately,  my body clock is saying it's Summertime.

There is nothing that takes me to a summertime/vacation frame of mind faster than the smell of coconut oil and fruit.  It's in Bath & Body spray mist colognes with summer names like Aruba Coconut, Exotic Coconut  and Caribbean Escape .  It smells like suntan and tanner lotion and the beach to me.  The smell of chlorine, when I pour it in the washing machine, smells like swimming pools to me. Instant summer moment.

Back in my teen years, I tried that awful...awful... one more time...awful Coppertone instant tan lotion that turned your skin orange and between your fingers rust!

I've mentioned before that I wore "Ambush" as a young teen... I am curious as to how I would like it now.  I'm not even sure I wore because I liked it or just because it was the "in " thing at the time.   I have worn Estee Lauder's "Beautiful"  for about 25 years.  I still like it and my girls know that is their "Mom" thing.  Daughter # 1 wore "Red" in high school.  The other two didn't have a favorite.

The sound I like most, that is good for my stressed out soul, is the sound of steel drums from the Caribbean.  They put me on a white sandy beach with pretty turquoise water immediately.

What transports you?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What's Goin' On?

I have been stunned by two events that are in the news right now.  These are serious subjects and I can't believe how little we have learned to get to this point.

The first was the American soldier gunning down 16 people, 9 of which were children  (The others were women) a couple of weeks ago, in Afghanistan.  This man served 3 tours in Iraq; had suffered a head injury and lost part of one foot.  He had been promised he would not be deployed again.  He was.  He had spent some time drinking with fellow soldiers before he walked out of camp, fully armed.  Alcohol is illegal in Muslim countries.  Why was it there?  I'm smart enough to know that anything banned is black marketed as soon as you can snap your fingers.... and we've been  there for  a decade now.  So, I'm not really surprised it's there. 

I don't doubt he shouldn't have been deployed.  This is a very troubled individual for sure.  Life, as he knew it, is over.  It is also over for his family.   It absolutely destroyed many Afghan families. 

This followed the burning of many Korans in Bagram Air Base a few weeks before.  I believe our soldiers did not realize what the books were.    This is what I choose to believe.  Maybe I am naive.  That started riots in the streets and attacks on our forces, putting them in more danger than usual.

Now this.    Our troops have been ordered out of the cities (humble as they are) and back to the bases.  I say.... get out.   The time has come to bring our men and women home.

I can't believe we are in the same position we were in, during the 1970s when Marvin sang this song.

The other news story that has me hanging my head. is the down right murder of  17 year old Trayvon Martin by "Neighborhood Watch"  member George Zimmerman.    Zimmerman was told by the 911 operator to stop pursuing the teen.  He did not.  Trayvon was carrying a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles.  Zimmerman was carry a revolver and shot the defenseless teen.  The boy can be heard crying for help on the 911 tape before you then hear the sound of a shot being fired.  It rips out my heart.  I cannot even begin to comprehend how his parents feel.

Leave it Marvin Gaye to ask the question we all are wondering. 

 ( I'm also wondering about the guy in that green suit behind Marvin.  Some things from the 70s should not come back in style!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Glory Days

I've posted that when Terry and I travel we take along CD's of "Road Music".  For a few years we subscribed to satellite radio but discovered we like our own choices better. So, on our Charlotte trip, we were listening to a "Greatest Hits of Bruce Springstein" and his song "Glory Days" played.

Glory Days

I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was

Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Well there's a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boy's heads
Sometimes on a Friday I'll stop by
and have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed
Her and her husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it's two years gone by now
We just sit around talking about the old times,
she says when she feels like crying
she starts laughing thinking about


My old man worked 20 years on the line
and they let him go
Now everywhere he goes out looking for work
they just tell him that he's too old
I was 9 nine years old and he was working at the
Metuchen Ford plant assembly line
Now he just sits on a stool down at the Legion hall
but I can tell what's on his mind

Glory days yeah goin back
Glory days aw he ain't never had
Glory days, glory days

Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days

The third verse isn't sung on this 1985 video, but resonates so much now because of all the closed automobile factories.

We've all know the sports jock that lived his best days in High School.  The one voted "most likely...." but it didn't happen for him.  We've seen the woman still wearing the same hair style she had at 17, but now she's 35, or 45 or 55.   

It got me thinking about my own glory days.   Do I count High School as one of them?  Sure!  Dates on Saturday nights...Football games and dances... Mom bought my clothes and  paid my bills. ....Glory Days.

Looking at the road I traveled, I would say my first marriage was not the best use of my time... accept I came out the winner in that too, because I walked away with a precious little girl.  

Terry played football in high school and college.  He was a marathon runner when we met.....Glory Days

After we  were married, he gave that up.  Too time consuming and we had our younger girls.  I distinctly remember knowing those were "the good ole days".   Three daughters to share memories.  Sippy cups and security blankets.  Soccer and basketball games. Family dinners and vacations,   School clothes shopping, and prom dress hunting.  Senior pictures and college graduation.    Glory Days.........

Now that my mother has been gone for 5 1/2 years, and I have moved 5 states away, I long for those family get togethers.  The many holidays, summer cookouts, graduation open houses, Birthday celebrations.  Any excuse and all excuses just to get together to spend time with one another.
  Glory Days....

When I took my break from blogging, my sister ( YFS - Your Favorite Sister)  thought I needed to plan a trip.  I needed to do something to shake the doldrums and cobwebs out of my brain.  So we did. 

 My Mother and Father both only had one brother each. Both have passed away.    They, in turn, have one child each. (Actually my Mother's brother has another one when he was in the Air Force, stationed in Scotland, but we have never met her.)  After not seeing either girl for decades ( they both live in other states) my sister tracked them down this winter.  Thank you Facebook. 

So, in June, my sister and I are meeting in Tampa to spend a few days with one of the cousins and her family.  I believe she is about 15 years younger than us.  She is married and has a young daughter, about 8 I think.  See, I really do need to know her better.  We will spend a couple of days at a hotel on the beach with her and her Mom, that we both adored, for "girl time", as well as at her house.  ( The Uncle and Aunt divorced... long story) I have not seen the Mom since I was about 20 years old.  After that, my Uncle brought our cousin to Michigan for a visit when I was about 40... She was a teen.

My sister is planning on inviting my father's niece, the other cousin, up to Michigan from her home in Missouri, sometime this summer too.  She really wants to hear the "growing up" stories about her father (who passed away when she was a teen)  from my father..his brother.   I  would like to be there for that too.  We'll see how that works out.

This is a whole new experience.  Connecting with long lost relatives and vacationing with my sister.  You know what this sounds like to me?  Yep, you got it.

Glory Days

What "Glory Days " do you most cherish?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Trip Home From Charlotte

The theater where we saw Jersey Boys is downtown Charlotte.  Terry had told me to check out the events to see what else I wanted to do but I never did.  I didn't have any idea where to begin, never having been there before. Now I wished I had just Googled the city for Events because, as we drove around looking for parking, we passed a museum that was having an exhibit of mummies from around the world. Anyone that knows or reads me here, knows I will watched the National Geographic Station or the History Channel dig up just about anything.  Of course, that dear man had to remind me he had suggested I look. darn!!  I hate when he's right.

After the play, we walked out to these street jazz musicians.  I have seen street musicians in a lot of big cities, but never with the bass horns these guys had.  They were awesome.

Terry and I are fans of The Food Network's "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives".    This is the first time we've been on the road that had one of  the eateries close to us.  In Charlotte, there are 2 within one block.  We chose " DISH"  because Terry had read that the other one had changed hands, so we wanted to stick with an original.  We are not adventurous eaters.  We stick to the chains when we are traveling, like Ruby Tuesdays or Applebees. Something along that order.  We are not ones to venture into the Mom and Pop restaurants like the program show cases.

Having said that, when I saw the DISH building, I was a little suspect.  Walking in, I wondered if  we should stay.  I knew which part of the  Triple D I had entered.

From the photo it looks cute and homey. me it was more worn out and I was a little worried about cleanliness.  There is a second room behind where we sat, so it is bigger than it looks from this shot.

The program that aired 2years ago,  showed host,  Guy Fieri,  watching the cook make their "famous" chicken and dumplings, so, that's what I ordered.  I have to say here, though, having southern grandmothers that knew how to make that dish, and I make it like they did, this girl knows her dumplings.  (Terry did have the meatloaf which I thought was good.  It was pretty spicy hot, which I liked.)

So, here's my chicken and dumplings.

It is difficult to see from this photo, but there wasn't any broth or gravy.  It had the consistency of mashed potatoes with some chicken mixed in along with a few small pieces of dumplings.  I think I got the end of the batch or something.  The other side dish was mashed potatoes with gravy.    I ate about half of it. Plus, it wasn't hot, just warm.   I was pretty disappointed, but if given the opportunity, I'd try another Diner, but I wouldn't try another Dive, that's for sure. 

In all fairness to them, by the time we left, the place was packed, so I admit, it must be just me that was not impressed. 

Charlotte is about a 6 hour drive from us so, while there is a lot to do, I wonder how often we will make that trip.  It's not something I would do on a whim. It has to include an overnight stay so that's something to consider too.   At any rate, this trip was a success.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On the Road to Charlotte

We are back from "Jersey Boys"  and had a wonderful and entertainment wise.  I usually travel with the camera in my lap as we drive along so I can snap shots of interesting things we pass.  I've mentioned in the past, that flying by something at 60 miles an hour does present me with a few issues.  By the time I say, "I want a picture of that" we are half a mile past it, but I did manage to slow down my speed demon enough to get some interesting pictures.

Does anyone know why there are so many doors in these trailers?    We're stumped.

My daughters would probably think there was a time I could have won this.  The Hollerin Contest at Spivey Corners, North Carolina and it's "National" too.

I've posted about other local events our small towns host.  I've been to all kinds of festivals, but this one is new to me.

Being fairly new to the south, I was not and am still not used to seeing grave markers or stones in fields or close to the road.  This one was in a tobacco/cotton ( I've read both now)  field, all around it was planted.  Close, was another one.

Standing in one spot I was able to snap both of these pictures.  At least this one had a fence.  So, I wondered about that lonely marker, all alone in the field and had to go check it out.

Looks like Lizzie didn't make it back here to lie beside her husband, but I did find a article ( good ole google   that says she is, in fact, buried next to her husband.  Mr. Lee was a black man that farmed the these fields for years.  The other stones, it says, also have the last name of Lee on them, but no first names.  Puzzling isn't it?

Tomorrow I'll share our Diners, Drive ins and Dives experience and a couple of other things.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Big Weekend

For Christmas, Terry gave me tickets to see Jersey Boys on stage in Charlotte.   Last fall,  2 of my daughters had met 3 of my girlfriends to see it in Michigan.  I was bumming that I was left out of this "Big Fun".  ( Over the years/decades, I have used this phrase more times than I want to admit.  It is my all time Cosby Show favorite when Cliff and Claire bring Vanessa home from having "Big Fun" when she and girlfriends went to a concert against their parents orders. There was a time or two that I had to interrupt my girls "Big Fun" too.

So this is the weekend for Jersey Boys and I am ready to have "Big Fun" too.

I was a huge Four Seasons fan.  I know I will know the songs.  I knew I had done my job as a boomer when my 26 and 28 year old daughters told me, they had too.  They hadn't expected to, but my subtle brainwashing must have worked.

I have to really thank Terry for stepping up with these tickets because, while he enjoys theater, this is not the music he listened to like I did. He's a trooper for sure.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Emergency Preparedness ???

In channel surfing on the TV guide station, I came across Doomsday Preppers..  a program about people and families preparing for all sorts of doom and gloom to hit our country.  It could some from cyber attacks where all electronic are blown to all out war and destruction.  I have to say, I did watch a few minutes of one program to see where it was headed.

This particular family had home canned and store bought canned goods, water, weapons, ammunition, bows,knives, wood chopped, etc,  and all sorts of  "live on our own" stockpiles.  They were prepared to protect what they had and to survive for months, on their own.

Another family was a member of a group that worked together.  All had different skill sets to draw from, in event of an attack of whatever may happen.   These folks had purchased shipping containers to be buried in the desert... adjoined to become living quarters, underground. Of course, they too, were stocked full of food and supplies.

Ok, that is the extreme.  I did also catch a portion of Anderson Cooper talking to quests about such preparedness vs. the average person's needs, in a local disaster.  He said, in his experience, that in such events as Katrina, Haiti, the tsunamis, etc., the government will not be there to help you.  You need to have a 2 week supply, at least, of food, water, some sort of shelter, flashlights, and a battery powered radio.  All right...  I can see the 2 week preparedness in the event of a tornado, hurricane,  or ice storm maybe, that affects a wide area, other than the one that is destroyed,  that may not have their power restored for days, if not weeks.   But, in all of those other natural disaster scenarios, Katerina, etc., your 2 week supply is pretty much toast I'm thinking.  

Remember back to the 1999 New Year's Eve going into 2000?  Whoa,... the doom that was forcasted for that.  Computers will run amok!  Banks will close.   Power plants will falter. We did get a little more cash to have on hand, and we did fill up both vehicles.  My entire "home"  preparedness for that was to buy a kerosene heater for my husband to use in the garage...or we could bring indoors if necessary.  The other thing I did was buy a couple of packages of dried beans for chili.  There ya go.  

My next experience with disaster preparedness was Hurricane Irene, last summer.  We eventually drove inland to weather the storm in a hotel.  Anderson Cooper was on my beach (7 miles from our house)  telling the world this is where Irene was going to hit land, which at that time was a Cat 3.    Until noon on Friday, before she was due to hit that night, I had bought 2 cases of bottled water..... and some extra tuna and soup. I did go to Walmart to get a battery powered radio only to learn they don't carry them.  Seriously... Only Radio Shack  did and it was a fancy schmancy thing that was $40.00.  I did not go get one.  That's when I called Terry again and said, "we really should not stay here..we should run for the hills and we did. "  As it turned out, Irene downgraded to a Cat. 1 and power was restored by 2pm the next day. 

Needless to say, I'm a poor example of disaster readiness.  I do not have an emergency kit in my car. ( blankets, water, food )  I do not have a legitimate "First Aid Kit" in my house or car.  My first aid preparedness consists of a box of bandaids and some antibiotic ointment.   When my girls were small I always had Bactine as well.  That's it.  

The bottled water from last summer in still stacked in the bottom of my coat closet. I still don't have a battery powered radio. Am I the odd one out?  My grocery supply turns into empty shelves before I will go shopping.  I just detest that job.

 Are the rest of you stocked and ready for even a  disaster? 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mom and Dad's 63rd Anniversary

Had my mother lived, March 4th would have been their anniversary.  I always hesitate to make much of it, especially now that she is gone.  Theirs was a very rocky road.  I don't carry many happy memories between the two of them.  My father is not and has not been one to celebrate such things... or Christmas, or it was, for me, something I recognized for her, not him.  ( If you've read me for any length of time, I have shared that when we lived in South Carolina, I called her local florist and had flowers delivered for an anniversary, signed "Your favorite daughter".  They only have 2.... Mom guessed wrong.   I had forewarned my sister so to us,  it was funny.  I was out of state, the florist was local so she just assumed it was my sister.  So..... the next year.... I did it again.  You would think she would have known then.  Nope!   My sister got the credit then too.  So that was a running joke for years.  Mom was not happy.  We were laughing at her and she did not appreciate it.  (We did.)

This photo was taken of Gerald and Nancy in May of 1950.  Mom was 19, Dad may have had his 22nd, May 26th Birthday.  Mom would be 20 in June and I would arrive in July.  They look happy.  They had left all they knew of family and friends in Missouri, in the rear view mirror,  as they made their way to Flint, Michigan so Dad could work for General Motors. 

I have mentioned previously that they were married March 4th, 1949, when they were 18 and 21.  They had only dated a few weeks.  They eloped, with friends serving as their witnesses.  Then, (my grandmother told my sister and I when we were in our 20s...that they kept the marriage secret,and went home to their respective parent's homes for 3 months.   I've never gotten a straight answer on the "whys" of that.  I think I need to sic  YFS (your favorite sister...) on that with my dad.

This is from their 25th anniversay party that my sister planned.  YFS, Mom, dad, my brother and me, March, 1974.

My father will be 85 in May.  I wonder if he even knew that anniversary has passed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Thoughts

While I was taking some time off from blogging, I kept reading, hearing and seeing things on Television that spurred me to ask " Are You Kidding Me?"

So here, I am back to ask you what you think about this.

1.  In Alabama, the "Honeymoon Husband", Gabe Watson was set free after serving 18 months in an Australian prison while he waited trial for killing Tina,  his bride of 11 days.  Charges were dropped because the prosecution did not have enough evidence to prosecute.

He had taken her scuba diving off the coast of Australia, after she had completed only a few shallow water lessons ( where she had panicked) , and Tina had drowned.  He was a "rescue diver" and he left her on the bottom of the ocean while he went to get help. he says.  Remember seeing the photo of her lying on the bottom of the ocean floor, through the pretty blue water?  He had promised her family he had stayed with her all 40 minutes it had taken to get her from the ocean to rescue on shore, when , in fact, he had been on another boat.....not with his wife.  This guy is going to be on 20/20 tonight. (Friday)

 Her father had stated that Gabe wanted her to take out more life insurance and to make him the beneficiary of the insurance she did have.  She had done neither.    Her father inherited.

I say...if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...well then...It must be a lying - no good - darn duck! 

2.  This brings me to the gut wrenching case of Josh Powell, husband of the missing Susan Powell, that blew up his 2 sons after he took an axe to them, and himself in the explosion of his house.   I know you remember this one.  He "took his two toddler sons "camping" in a blizzard the night his wife disappeared.  Only recently had the older son drawn a picture of the Dad with the boys camping.  When the teacher asked "where's Mom?", the little guy responded. "In the trunk."    Josh's father had been arrested on having child porn in the home where he and the children had been living after he had packed up and moved from Utah (after he had donated or dumped all of Susan's possessions,  to Washington.  The boys were delivered to him that day by their social worker.  My heart goes out to that woman and to the family of Susan Powell.  

3.  As if these weren't enough... then there was the murder of the wife, Monica,  of Survivor Producer, Bruce Beresford-Redman, in Cancun at the Moon Palace resort.  Having been a travel agent, I can say, the Palace resorts are high end.  They are not cheap. You are not going to get riff raff staying here.

  Her body was found under a covered sewer not far from the couples room.Not next door close, but still inside the resort area.  She was naked and had been beaten to death. He says she left that morning at 8am to go "shopping"(her cell phone was in the room)  and by 10pm, 14 hours later, she was still not home. Then he says he started looking for her. He had surrendered his passport to Mexican authorities (right?) but still managed to get back across the border to his home in sunny California.

  He has since been detained and is now in a Cancun jail, purported to be a "dangerous and vile" place. (Good)  I, for one, would not vacation in Mexico for any reason, resort or not, but that's just me.  My daughter and her family did, recently spend a grand time in a Cancun resort, but this Nana did not rest easy until they were home. 

There seems to be mixed witness statements on his guilt.  He had been having an affair, loud noise and loud voices were heard coming from their room.  They had their 2 young children with them.  The neighboring room had called the front desk to complain but no one was sent to check out the noise. Ole Bruce says they were playing a game jumping fro one bed to another, as a 6'6" man (or there abouts...he is a big man) is likely to do.  Doesn't your husband jump on the beds in your hotels?  Sure... right...all the time. 

I think they are all guilty.  I would not be chosen for these juries...  that's for darn sure.  I would add them to the list of O.J., Drew Peterson, and Casey Anthony... all got away with my humble opinion.

4.  Bristol Palin, mom of a toddler now and daughter of Rep. former Alaskan Gov... (she quit, remember that?)  and running mate of John McCain, what were you thinking?)  is going to have her own reality show on the Lifetime Network.  Seriously!  What has she done other than be a teen Mom and  Dancing With the Stars?  She did get "jaw" surgery which seemed more like an excuse for a lypo sculpting thing to me.  I think this show will be as interesting as watching paint dry.

5.  OK.... Angelina's leg at the Academy Awards.   Trying a little too hard?  I think so. 

6.  Lindsay Lohan confirms she will play Elizabeth Taylor in a made for TV movie.  Oh. My. Goodness.    The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls ......    That's what she's bringing to the table.   Tell me this isn't so.  I could see Kate Beckinsale  or Katie Perry even....but not Lindsay.  Probably because these other women have a career, not a "time served" on their resume.

I think that's enough.  Look what happens when I take time off.  Now I can't shut up. 
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