Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Charmed Life?



"Is every one of Michele's family ridiculously good looking?"
... so an associate asked me a few years back.   My boss' daughter was to be married in a few days, and extended family members from here-there-and-everywhere gathered to check-in.
Yes.  To a person, their faces appeared to have been crafted by heavenly hosts.

I probably shouldn't say this out loud .... but it's been on my mind a while now.   And at this stage of my life, I'm all about transparency.

For too many years, I might have disliked them - and their seemingly 'charmed lives' - on sight.   For no good reason.

Since grade school, I resented those whose effortless good looks and charisma made me want to shrink further and further into the shadows.    Janice's poignant "At Seventeen" may well have been written about yours truly.


 
 
Thank God, we grow and get over ourselves!
And learn what Real Beauty is all about.
  
Still, every now and then I wonder.   What is it about the presence of others' larger-than-life appearances that makes us feel clumsy or inadequate?  
 
Sure, every once in a great I can still hear a classmate's words, "Myra?  You mean the one with the big nose?"  
Then I reassure myself, recalling another similarly-afflicted soul's laugh: "All this oxygen we get to breathe, and I'm sure lucky to get more than the next fellow."
 
I was sobered recently by a news story whose headline teased:  "What the Dying Really Regret."  
As Erma Bombeck once lamented - I presumed the answer to be not taking more chances.
 
No.  They regretted wasting so much time hating their own bodies!   Isn't that incredibly sad?
 
Oh, and by the way.  
One of Michele's  "ridiculously good looking" family members - a vibrant young man with a lovely, loving wife and two little girls recently passed away from brain cancer ......at age 34.     
 
Tommy's story is but one of hundreds, maybe thousands.  
Didn't we used to refer to the Kennedy family as 'charmed'?
 
It's a little early to be talking about Thanksgiving, but I'm incredibly grateful to be right here, right now .... and especially for you allowing me to be part of your charmed lives.  
 
I promise to be back with a more upbeat tone next time.
 
Hugsfrom Phoenix!
Myra :)
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Do you smell that?

  

So, I've been doing a lot of smiling in the last 48 hours.
Not just because DH's latest CT scan warranted a great review from his oncologist (which is pretty awesome!)

... but I think Summer's finally releasing her grip on the valley.  Woo-hoo!

Just yesterday morning - instead of automatically hitting the A/C, I felt like rolling my car's window down.    Not 10 minutes later, I caught the unmistakable aroma of a commercial bakery, and my toes began to curl in unison.

... Which got me pondering.  
Aside from baking bread, or a porterhouse steak sizzling over a mesquite-wood fire, here's a baker's dozen of my favorite, happy aromas.


Bubble gum










Garlic and onions simmering in olive oil
 
Movie theater lobbies
 
Brand-new textbooks
 
Wooden matches
 
Supermarket freezer-chests (it's been a long time since I stuck my head deep inside and inhaled ... only on account grown-ups aren't supposed to do that sort of thing.)
 
Ponderosa pines




Play-Doh
 
 
 
 
Elmer's rubber cement (remember those adorable pots in elementary school?)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Original Jergens lotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The lumber section of a warehouse
 
 
 
 
Horse stables
 
 
 
 
 
 
A lit pipe (preferably held by a gent wearing a smoking jacket, cradling a cognac in his other hand.   Ahhh!)
 


Have I struck a chord with anyone?  
What would you recommend?
 
 
Thank you for pausing to visit, and please, have yourselves a sweet new week!
 
Hugs,
Myra
 
 







Sunday, October 5, 2014

Killing me softly, with his song


I hadn't planned to chat about Those.Who.Entertain today, but learning of Paul Revere's passing leaves me a bit reflective.  
Inquisitive, too.

Do you recall your first concert?

Growing up in a community the size of your average saucer, I longed to live in New York City or Los Angeles.  I longed sit alongside those screaming in Sullivan's audience.   Instead, I sat cross-legged, inches in front of our black/white television, dreaming of the day I'd reside in a Big City.

A few years later, I was thrilled to attend a campus concert by one of my favorite artists.   Unfortunately, the poor fellow was so messed up on gosh-knows-what he couldn't recall the words of the opening song and had to be led off-stage.    Na├»ve, yes, but I remember feeling soooo sorry for him -- and really upset at my supposedly-religious fellow students' jeers and boos.   (Thankfully, I learned he subsequently cleaned up his act and turned his craft to a 'contemporary Christian' genre.)

All the same, I was hooked -- on the smells and sounds and energy -- even before the artist(s) took the stage!   One of my favorite memories involves a B.Y.O.B. affair in the early 80's where we sat at portable tables and danced in front of an "up-and-coming singer" by the name of George Strait.   I wasn't really 'into' c/w music at the time, but had to admit he was pretty cute!

Obviously, some were better than others.  Perhaps my biggest let-down was a surprise trip I'd planned for my then-husband to see Ole' Blue Eyes at Reunion Arena in Dallas.   Unlike "R", I wasn't especially fond of Sinatra - and even less so after the lukewarm performance where he appeared wholly disinterested.

 
A few years later I began work at Tampa Bay's CBS affiliate where I was astonished to realize, concert and theatre tickets could practically be had for the asking!  Crazy, the things I used to take for granted.  (It may be a common practice, but now that I'm on the "other side-looking in", I don't think that's especially fair.   LOL!)

These days, DH and I've not attended a concert in ages.   Oh, a few years ago I won a radio contest to see Neil Diamond, and his show was just as amazing as I remembered from 1972.   Unfortunately, transportation in and around the newly-constructed stadium was poorly orchestrated, and at least one concert-goer was trampled and badly injured in the exodus.    Tom sometimes experiences difficulty maneuvering, so I do my best to avoid crowds.  

Sure, there are times I miss the energy.
... But I was only mildly disappointed recently at being "Caller #5" when the tickets to see Kris Kristofferson were meant for "Caller #6."   
Aside from the obvious, most nights I find myself yawning uncontrollably after 9! 

Irrational, perhaps ... but I'm always concerned that someone I've adored for years will turn out to be a huge disappointment.    I may be the only person on the planet who disliked George Strait's much ballyhooed farewell concert.   Has something like that ever happened to you?

All else aside, is there someone I'm still dying to see?   You bet-cha! :) 


(Say, I never claimed not to be a square!)
When we were in Vegas a couple years ago and had a chance to purchase tickets I balked at the prices.  Instead we returned to our rental, stuck a bag of popcorn in the microwave and watched one of his 'live' performances on DVD.   Not so sure I'd do the same today. 

If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to hear your own concert-going stories -- the good, the bad and the ugly!    Is there a special someone you're still longing to see?

Hugs from a deliciously-cooling Phoenix.   Have a great week, everyone!

Myra
  


      

  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Heirlooms - or horsefeathers?


Me, I'm not normally given to 'signs' or 'tugs' from the universe.  
I sure don't discount their existence.  It's just, that stuff happens to other folks.

Before anyone goes getting excited, I'm not talking about seeing long-deceased, line-dancing ancestors.   

Instead, a mundane activity in which lots of us find ourselves unwilling participants:   Deciding what family 'heirlooms' to save, what to release.

For a while now, I've felt it's time to purge.  
Still, I was doing a pretty good job of ignoring our guest-room closet - whose contents challenge anyone to hang more than 1-2 articles of clothing.  

Then, in the space of a few days came a proverbial 'kick' ... and another.  Followed by another:
  
As is custom, the other morning I grabbed a random Unity cassette from the hodgepodge to 'pump me up' while preparing for the day.   Titled Heirlooms, my former minister was speaking about those sometimes silly, inanimate objects we hang onto - which really have no value - except in our hearts.   Her turning point came when a trusted friend sat alongside as she examined the contents of one box, then another.   Each time the friend asked, "Does that mean anything to you?"

That evening an inspiring e-mail arrived, improbably titled, 'Learning to travel lighter.'

... and the morning after that?  Both my go-to radio stations were playing something I didn't care for, so I hit the button for a frequency I used to enjoy.  The hosts'  were soliciting listener's feedback, asking, "What is something you will never get rid of?"

I don't know about you, but I'm probably holding onto lots of stuff out of some weird sense of obligation.  I've already tossed some hundred matchbooks and swizzle sticks - keeping those whose logos still evoke a smile.   They'll probably mean little to my granddaughters, but meanwhile they don't take up a lot of room.

Perhaps I should consider an Etsy shop like my blog buddy, Kim.   Or Instagram akin to Martha's spot in the sun.    You think?


Candidates for the chopping block
That with which I'll never (ever) part?  
I know this is long, but I'd really like to show you few of my favorite heirlooms.


No, this isn't my wine-glass! 
I remember little from our 1957 European excursion, but do recall my father refusing to let the folks at StadtKeller ship his 3-liter glass boot.
Instead he carried it by hand throughout the rest of the tour, then across the Atlantic, and finally via Greyhound back to New Mexico.
 
Know what?  Throughout all my moves, I've done the same.   
 
Grandma Willer gifted a set of these to my parents for their wedding ...
then was enormously appalled when she discovered the 'nekked lady' engraved on each of the delicate glasses.
Once I turned 13 y/o, one of these 
appeared alongside my own dinner plate each Sunday!
 
Silly old wooden bowl now sits atop my refrigerator,
but used to be the dedicated repository for S&H green stamps,
 
 
 
So, I've got to ask.    
Besides photographs, what's something you will never, ever get rid of?
 
 
Hugs from (rainy) Phoenix!
Myra
 
 
 
 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Let's hear it for the hose!


From an early age I was besotted by my mother's silk stockings. 
On road trips I'd position myself 'just so' in the little cavity beneath the glove box and run my hand up and down her stockinged calves until sleep came.  

I could hardly wait for my very own pair!
Lordy, reaching that milestone made me feel like 100 bucks!
Never mind that my nerdy 14-y/o self wobbled like crazy in my first hose- n'-heels get-up.
I'd arrived!   

To complete the ensemble, certain accessories were in order.


To the best of my knowledge, no-one I knew was permitted to own one of these.




Instead, our mothers consulted with the matriarch of all things lingerie at Clement & Benner. 
An appraising once over ... a nod ... then old Mrs. Benner would pull open a narrow drawer and carefully present a tissue-wrapped GIRDLE for inspection.
I was mesmerized.  







While I've difficulty recalling the advent of pantyhose, I soon became addicted.  I loved the way they kept my legs cool in the summer, and toasty warm in the winter.  I even wore them under blue jeans!

Fast-forward to 2002.   July, to be exact ...my introduction to Phoenix:
Clad in a navy business suit, nylons and heels, I must have been quite an apparition out there on the interview circuit.  
 (Those familiar with our 110-degree summer days and super-casual business attire may well be laughing aloud.)

Loathe to change my stripes, I continued to wear 'panty-nylons' (DH's term) for another few years before caving.

Imagine my surprise last Fall, when I happened on an old piece of luggage containing two dozen pair of L'eggs!   Woo-hoo!

Unfortunately, I'd quite forgotten the art of putting them on! 
Then came the ugly realization I was trying to squeeze 20 pounds that weren't there before into the unforgiving silk.   Yes, I hopped up and down.  
.....And yes, I swear those darn dogs were giggling.


Obviously, I need to pick up my game, shed some most of this unnecessary weight and start using those L'eggs again.  

'Casual' is all well and good -- but I can't help feeling better about myself in heels and hose.  








I'm curious!  
Ladies, are nylons still in vogue in your part of the country?

How about the fellows?
.... Do you care one way or another? 

As always, hugs from Phoenix!







Thursday, September 11, 2014

Going to the dogs!


Gosh, it's hard to believe a year has passed since our lives were turned upside down by two wee pieces of fur.  


Some may recall, I lost my precious Caraleigh in March '13 ... then Tom was diagnosed with lung cancer 5 weeks later.
  
When well-meaning friends recommended we adopt a puppy, I'm sure mine was a mirthless laugh.   No interest.  Ever.

Still, they persevered ... assuring me it would be great therapy to boost DH's spirits while he battled chemo and depression.  

So we listened.
....and I believed Tom when he said, 'We'll just look.'

Who was he kidding?
We both fell .... for different puppies.   Unable to arrive at a decision I remember saying, 'Let's get both.  How much trouble can that be?'
 
The litter mates - Macie and Grace - were adorable.  And yes, Tom's attitude did a real 180.   He'd lay for hours on the floor laughing out-loud as 'da girls' climbed all over his chest ... struggling to gain purchase on his head.


The oncologist was thrilled by the results of his next PET scan.

Unfortunately, I was ill-prepared for the pups' energy -- and total disregard for discipline.   While Caraleigh had been the Perfect pup, these impostors seemed bent on destruction.   

Cute Kong toys and bones were ignored in favor of
... unraveling the living-room carpet
... excavating furniture 
... gnawing on baseboards

... and swallowing inanimate objects.
 

Their developing personalities were so different!   DH has always called little Grace, 'the snuggler.'  In fact, her latest report card states, 'Grace just wanted love and attention, and that's what she got.'
On the other hand, Macie's a clown.  Her report reads, 'Rebel without a cause.'   Yup. 

Not wanting to risk emotional involvement, I kept them at arm's length.  
... and waited for the day Tom would come to his senses, agreeing to find them a new home.

Funny, but life has a way of turning the tables.   You know how cigarette smoke always seems to float directly towards the one person in a room who suffers from allergies?  
First Grace, then Macie developed this crazy attachment to me.

I tried to ignore their overtures.  In the name of all things Caraleigh, I did.   It seemed so disloyal to love again.  

But cracks began to form.
Recently when we took the girls to be boarded, Grace began to shiver -- almost violently, and clung to my neck. 
... and I couldn't keep that darn wall up any longer.

No, they're not Caraleigh.   

But I'm learning to love Grace (left) and Macie (right)
for the rapscallions they are.

You might say, I've grown accustomed to her face!
 

 
Have yourselves a wonderful weekend ...
Hugs from Phoenix!
 


   






 




  


 


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Looking for Mayberry

 
Happy September, everyone!
...and to those fortunate enough to witness the beginnings of Autumn, won't you inhale deeply on my behalf?  

I so hope everyone enjoyed a satisfying holiday weekend?  
Used to be, I'd regard any 3-day weekend as an excuse to hit the road. For example, on a whim I once traveled from Abilene, TX to Vail, CO in a roadster with no a/c, 'just because' someone offered us the use of their picturesque cabin.    
... and I suppose it was that very weekend I began to grow up -- when, on the way home, exhaustion set in and I started 'seeing things' on the lonesome highway south of Lubbock.

For a host of reasons I've been reluctant to stray too far from home these last few years.  Still, the idea of having of 5 unfettered days off -- not to mention my growing 'itch' to change course -- resulted in last week's getaway to the picturesque Verde Valley.  


Stock image

Now, I never properly said Thank You! to all who offered suggestions regarding my wanting to downsize.   Each of your insights was really valued.  Really!  
Sadly, I have to admit (that) while DH and I are wholly committed to one another, if we were to try and coexist in an RV bloodshed might come of it.  (JK!!!)    

Actually, Jon's mention of a mobile/manufactured home began to make the most sense.   
... and we began visualizing just that sort of abode, situated in one of my favorite spots in the state.   A Field Trip was in order!

Not coincidentally, one of my favorite blog-pals lives in the Verde Valley and I was more than a little excited when Mary and her hubby invited us to meet them for breakfast.    I'm not particularly fond of the over-used term, 'exceed your expectations' ... but that's exactly what happened!   Mary is as genuine and caring an individual as you'd ever want to meet, and her handsome hubby just cracked us up with his stories!



As with any 'first steps', many of my presumptions about real-estate were WAY off-key.   After all, Cottonwood lies practically in the shadow of Sedona.    
Still, everyone we encountered just exuded this openness and warmth I'd not witnessed since having lived in West Texas.    I can seriously envision our living in its neighboring community of Clarkdale ... which I (not-so-privately) christened, 'Mayberry.'   
...see what I mean? (Stock images borrowed from 'Bing.')

I'm not sure if you can spot them, but I adore those olden homes' front porches!
Yes, they still pump your gas and check the oil!  Love!!!!!


For a myriad of reasons, we're in no position to make a move right now.  God willing and careful choices, I hope we're but a couple of years away.
Is anyone interested in purchasing a gently-used home in Goodyear, AZ?  LOL

Sorry to have rambled on and on.   Can you tell, I'm excited?   It's been a while I've felt that way ... and gosh, but it feels good.

Hugs from Phoenix!

PS - I've almost 44 hours remaining before Real Life intrudes, and I plan to spend a big chunk of it blog-hopping.   I've missed you!