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!    








         







Sunday, August 31, 2014

Horrible History ...



So, this RE-RUN isn't necessarily for a lack of goings on.   Rather, my own inertia - which I suppose is a fancy way of saying, 'lazy.'
  
DH and I are enjoying a laid-back weekend ... looking forward to a brief get-away later this week.   Pictures to come!

Meanwhile, I felt compelled to honor one of my favorite people, gone too soon.  
------------------
 

Paris, August 31, 1997.  
Do you recall that awful day?  

From the moment we "yanks" lay eyes on Diana Spencer, I was smitten.  And, in an odd sort of way, I remain so.  

One day an associate asked, "Why are you crying?  You didn't know her." 
Not being blessed with a knack for appropriate comebacks, I sort of slunk away -- probably to reapply my eyeliner. (Again.)
Later, a friend counseled, "You should have said, 'Yes, I did -- everyone knew her'."

Journalist and author Peggy Noonan remembers picking up her Sunday paper:  "I realized I was holding horrible history in my hand.  I felt what a lot of Americans felt: shock, of course, and then sadness -- and then shock at the depth of my sadness."

When someone dies unexpectedly, we feel our own sense of vulnerability.  These days, our nation is reminded of other "horrible history."   Remember how, after 9/11 everyone seemed kinder to one another?  

We need to walk in a constant awareness.  To be kind.  And most important, live every day as if it's our last.  Because one day, it will be.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Colors of the rainbow


I'm not really sure when it began.

... Perhaps the day someone told me, "The mother of the groom wears beige and keeps her mouth shut."  (Really! ... isn't that a hoot?)

... or the time DH -  not usually given to random compliments - volunteered, "You look really nice in black."

Aside from being cast as a nun in our high school's production of the "Sound of Music"  I don't recall owning much 'basic black.'  Or brown.

So who'd like to tell me, what's wrong with this picture? 


But wait .... there's more!  
Pathetic, I know.
Last Fall, I was really taken aback when someone said, "Bet-cha I know Myra's favorite color -- purple!"
I wanted to weep.  

She couldn't have known, I regard the color purple right up there with brussels sprouts.  I think it stems from my childhood neighbor, mean old Mrs. "D", who seemed to lavish undue attention on her creepy African violets.

Still, my friend' statement was an educated guess -- given the fact all my 'play clothes' range from lilac to eggplant.

Honestly, it wasn't my idea!   Purple is the 'official' color of my workplace, so I've several branded golf shirts.   Too, I once belonged to the flamboyant Red Hat Society, whose members are expected to wear  purple, purple - and more purple.    A few of those gals remain good friends, but for the most part it wasn't a cozy fit.


Mind you, I'm about as flamboyant as a rock.
 
Wouldn't you agree, something's gotta give!  
 
In her later years, momma believed everyone needed a 'signature color.'    I've not heard that since!   Have you?
 
Methinks it's high time I take myself to my fav consignment shop and (attempt to)  rediscover the color wheel.   Or at least, a signature 'pop.' 
.... I'd like to rediscover what it's like choosing an outfit based on my mood.
But in all honestly, I'm nervous.  Isn't that silly?

This has to be a solo flight.   Usually it's a long time coming, but when I finally decide to shop-to-buy, it's best done alone.  

What's your shopping M.O.?    Are you a 'browser' like my best friend  ... a 'buddy stroller', aka the denizens of Mall-land ... or perhaps a 'point-and-shoot' type who trusts her own instincts?

Please wish me luck!
... and don't forget to have yourselves a sweet weekend!


Hugs from Phoenix,
Myra

        










   










 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Inside Box 1663 ... my hometown



Sometimes it seems the years I spent growing up on the Hill happened to someone else.   As if I were made of Teflon®, the significance of what went on there just a few years before never really touched me.

Then, a few years ago I happened upon an unassuming little book, Inside Box 1663.
It may sound crazy, but I've a need to identify on some level with a book's character - fictionalized or not.    Written from the perspective of a real LA wife - no sensationalism necessary - I empathized with Ms. Jette almost immediately.  

Her opening sentence gave me goosebumps: 
"In 1943 I lived in Croton-on-Hudson, New York with my husband Eric and my son Bill who was almost ten years old.  At that time I had no idea there was a Box 1663 in the Santa Fe post office, nor that I would disappear into it, lose my identity and emerge from it at the end of 1945 an entirely different person."

One observer writes, "Los Alamos, NM was a bustling city that officially didn't exist." 
To ensure that this town was completely hidden from the rest of the world, incoming mail was addressed simply to P.O. Box 1663, Santa Fe, New Mexico.   Birth certificates of infants born at Los Alamos during the war even listed 'P.O. Box 1663' as their place of birth!

My heart ached for Ms. Jette and the others who worked in "grim secrecy" ..... whose parents and extended family members had no idea where they were.  But I was astonished at the harsh living conditions the families had to endure -- a far cry from what I witnessed in the 50's and 60's, when the government practically threw money our direction.

At the same time, there was humor: 
Long-time resident, Marge Schreiber remembers a quiet afternoon in early August of 1945 when her husband witnessed an accident at the Lab and was thought to have been exposed to radiation. 

"Harriet Hollaway was at the foot of the stairs and, after I told her, we just looked at each other. In times of crisis, we would take out the whiskey bottle, so Harriet went and got her bottle.  Every time I looked like I was going to faint, Harriet would give me another shot of whiskey. I have no idea how much I drank during that time, but I am certain I completely depleted her supply. Consequently, I have no real memory of that night, and that’s how I got through it."

.... in Daddy's uniform with service weapon  
...  Mother's gate pass

Yes, I'll be watching the premiere of WGN's "Manhattan" on Sunday night.   Obviously, it's historial fiction, but I hope the producers don't feel it necessary to sensationalize - or demonize those early citizens.   As Ms. Schreiber said, "They did what they had to do to win the war." 

Omega Canyon Bridge

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I fibbed ...


Happy weekend, friends!

...not much, how about you?
Unless you count two truck-loads full of  'schtuff' bound for Goodwill as noteworthy.   (Um, I didn't think so either.)

Actually, it was those long overdue partings of the ways that got me thinking.    And feeling a bit restless.
... which, given my present circumstances, isn't such a great combination.

A pleasant compromise is in order.   But first, a confession.

I fibbed.
Why, with just a glance at my Pinterest dreams boards, you'd have reason to believe I'm 'in lust' for grand homes with enormous, state-of-the-art kitchens and sweeping stairwells.   Think Ben Cartwright's 'Ponderosa.'  

Not so.
Evelyn Willer's daughter is becoming more like her mother every day. When faced with sprawling spaces, the first thing to cross my mind is 'how much would THAT cost to heat and cool?'
... followed by, 'and effort to keep clean?'

Having spent my childhood in a government-assigned 'quad'  -- and, like my fictional 'bestie', Kinsey Millhone -- I instinctively gravitate towards really small places.    It's been years since I saw The Bodyguard ... but didn't Whitney Houston's character sleep in a tiny room down the hall, far from her opulent master suite?   I "get" that.

So, I've become fascinated with the idea of RV-living.   Then again, it's such fun to witness the tiny-home movement grow in popularity.   Do you suppose they come with a panic room?    I've always wanted one of those! :)         

On the other hand ...
DH considers our 1,800 sq. ft. house somewhat small.   The last year of his helping maintain the yard and pool - while battling cancer - has (obviously!) been a burden.   He's not exactly come out and said so, but I suspect he'll be agreeable to downsizing in the next year or so.  

Have you any recommendations - or warnings! - which might serve us well?    This whole idea might come to nothing -- but for now, it's wonderfully nice to dream.

Hugs from Phoenix!

Myra

  


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Home Sweet Home?


This just in! ...
Kim over at Snug Harbor Bay is the winner of my first (but certainly not last!) giveaway for the wee vintage spice bottles.    Won't you please send me your preferred mailing address?  Thank you for playing along! 
.... we now return to our regularly-scheduled surfing! :)



"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
... Just a guess, but I think most folks immediately 'get' the origin of that line.   (And if you're anything like me, it's accompanied by a delicious little chill.)

Once upon a time, I possessed an ability to easily memorize most any passage or musical score.   But these days -- aside from Ms. du Maurier's opening paragraph or "The Wreck of the Hesperus" -- I'm dependent on prompts and lists.  Lots of lists. 
Anyway...

Recently I was delighted to learn I'd won Linda O'Connell's giveaway -- an autographed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul's "Home Sweet Home."   
I love the Chicken Soup series, and was especially eager to make this book my friend.    Not just because Linda is one of its authors("contributors" sounds way too inadequate, don't you agree?).  
No, I'm intrigued by others' definition of 'home.'

Ours is an OK house .... a nice, average house for average folk.   I'm just not 'in love' with it.
10 years later, it still doesn't feel much like 'home.'
The decision to build in the far west valley was probably a result of our looking at far too many homes, far too long.   My mother's health was rapidly deteriorating, time was at a premium -- and I just wanted to step off the carousel.     Even during our final walk-through, I had reservations.  Still, I kept my mouth shut.  
Perhaps what I was looking for didn't even exist ... at least not in our pay scale.

Only when I first heard Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" -- and subsequently burst into tears -- did all the pieces start falling in place.   

I first met 'the house that built me' in my mid-20's.  It sits amongst other middle-of-the-road, working-class dwellings in west Texas, looking much the way I remember.   (Love Google!) 
I sincerely hope its current residents replaced the burnt orange, high-low carpet and avocado appliances.   I hope they love it ... the way in which I forgot to do.  

Once upon a time, I couldn't wait to leave that place and that town behind.
However - like the first line of "Rebecca" - for a few years now I've dreamt of going back.   
     

"If I could walk around, I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,

from the house that built me." 
- Miranda Lambert


It's probably a safe bet, I'll never act on that impulse and knock on that door.  But it doesn't cost anything to fantasize.  

What would you do?
Where is your very own "House That Built Me"? ... or, is it still waiting to meet you?

Thank you for listening!

...and hugs from Phoenix,

Myra