Sunday, May 24, 2015

Do Birds Mourn? (a Guest Blog)


I should probably be ashamed to say so out-loud, but I've always felt the loss of a dog, a horse ... even a bird more acutely than I might a fellow human.

So it goes to reason, I reacted with horror when I spotted one of our dogs shaking a tiny bird in her mouth.   I'd no idea what to do but place it gently under one of our giant cypress trees and summon the cavalry.    Together DH and I were clueless, but fashioned an impromptu nest inside a little box and agreed to re-evaluate the situation in the morning.

All night I prayed for a total healing.  Then come daylight, I realized Mr. God had granted my wish in His own perfect fashion.

This happened weeks ago, but I still grieve for that wee being.
...and puzzle for doing so.   Can you only imagine the sodden mess I'd be if I lived in the country?  

* * * * *
Sure and I've seen the essay my grandmother penned (ca)1906,but never bothered to read it until this afternoon.   It's a bit long - without so much as a happy ending - so I'll excuse anyone who's not inclined to read any further.   (The punctuation and grammatical liberties are preserved exactly as was written.) 


"Do Birds Mourn?"

"In the little New England town, near the Berkshire Hills, where we lived, the warm spring days always brought with them the beautiful song-birds.  My husband and I were very fond of birds, and always looked forward to their coming.

In the Summer of 1906 our particular interest was centered in a pair of Robins, who had builded their nest in the hollow of an old apple-tree, in a neighboring orchard, and which I could see from my kitchen window.  I delighted in watching the happy little couple, as they flew back and forth, calling and singing to one another.

One evening, as I was preparing supper, I chanced to look over to the leafy home of my little friends, when I was shocked to see the neighbor's big cat, coming from there, with one of my Robins in his mouth!  I ran out - but the cat slipped under the stable, and out of reach.

I was very unhappy and told my husband about it, on his return.  As we were sitting at the table, in few minutes later, we both stopped to listen - yes, it was a Robin's call.  I ran to the door, and there sat my other poor little Robin, in the apple tree, in front of the stable-door, calling as loudly as he could for his mate.  It was such a pitiful sight!  My appetite for supper was gone, so I sat on the step watching my poor little friend, as he fluttered from branch to branch, incessantly calling.  At first it was an anxious, worried call, which sounded to me like, "Oh, my dear, where are you, where are you?"  But when the loved voice did not answer, his call became more beseeching - "Please, please come!  I want you, I want you!" Still no answer.  Then it seemed his little heart would break.  He flew from tree to tree, and his calling must have reached his other feathered friends, for soon six or seven other Robins came from all directions and fluttered around him, joining in his calling.  I know they were sympathizing with him.

I could not listen to it any longer, for I was crying as though my heart would break.  I went into the house, closed all the windows and doors, trying to keep out that pitiful call.  

As it grew darker, the calls became fewer, as the other Robins flew away to their respective nests again, but my little mourner kept up the plaintive calling, becoming fainter and less frequent, until away into the night.  Then he must have flown back to his nest.  At day-break we awoke to again hear our Robin's voice.  I looked out of the window.  There he sat in his apple-tree again.  But now his call had in it a tone of utter hopelessness, and it soon ceased altogether when my little Robin flew away, and the little nest remained empty.  

It was a long time before my husband or I could forget that little tragedy, and now yet I seem to hear that heart-rending call of my poor little Robin for his lost mate.  And now - does anyone wonder if birds mourn?  I do not."

The author, Adele Willer, with her sons, daughter and my mother (2nd from left).



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Friday Letters, May 22 edition



Gosh, but once upon a time the Memorial Day weekend seemed so far away.  Used to be, any 3-day weekend was cause to hit the road ... but hopefully, I've hopefully grown wiser.
...Tired-er for sure!

Time's a-wastin'; let's get this week's edition of Friday Letters on the road!



Dear Blog pals,
I'm a little taken aback - but flattered all the same - by your belief in my creative 'powers.'  I've always been a 'color inside of the lines' sort ... shying away from projects I wasn't sure would come out looking Just Right.  ... but I'm going to take your words of encouragement and run with it.  (The 'ish' room thanks you, and so do I!)


Dear Kelli Scissor-hands,
It's true.  I never cared for the way in which you styled my hair these last 8 years.  (Betcha didn't know, I always kept a cap in my car until I could get home and stick my head under the faucet.)
But I never expected you'd leave me.
'Not sure if I'm more upset about having to find a new hair guru - or because YOU'RE getting to go live in Dallas and I'm not.


Dear Mr. Benz,
It's a safe bet I'll never own one of your products.  But that doesn't stop me from looking.  And coveting.
May I weigh in?
Classy cars deserve classy paint jobs like 'cashmere' or 'obsidian.'  I just can't wrap my head around the C-class driving around Phoenix, whose color scheme resembles the aftermath of somebody having consumed too much cheap wine.


Dear DPS,
I've no way of knowing why you had that 18-wheeler pulled over on I-10.  'Not a big deal, but I don't recall having seen that before.  All this time, I presumed the Highway Patrol pretty much looks the other way when it comes to letting the big rigs roll.   No?


Dear Mr. God,
You know I was feeling unusually discouraged the other morning.  I can't recall what it was I asked .. but darn if the very next moment the cloud cover opened a bit and allowed this pretty spot of sunshine.
That WAS you, wasn't it?






Have an amazing weekend, everyone!  
What do you say, we do our best to ignore the unrest and anger ... and just pause to give thanks to those who gave their all.


Hugs from Phoenix,
Myra



Saturday, May 16, 2015

The 'ish' room



To tell the truth, I've not been real interested in our home's interior for some time now.  Then again, I saw where blog-friend Paula once created a room of her own.  A retreat, if you will.

Without conscious intent, a little flame came alive.  I could do that, too!

Because our home's layout allows a considerable separation between the master bedroom and its guest rooms  - and due to DH's and my conflicting sleep schedules - I soon adopted the smaller space to house my clothes, my (late) exercise equipment and olden boom box. 

Unlike our 'real' guest room which features a restful theme of lilac and pine ..... my 'ish room' has served as little more than a utilitarian dressing area.  I allowed myself to imagine the possibilities.

Love this sentiment!

Obviously, the treadmill had to go.  Before 24 hours elapsed, a random comment to my hairdresser led to  $50 burning a hole  in my pocketbook.

Admittedly, I'm the least patient person I know.   Also, the least crafty.
Having watched too many episodes of HGTV's 60-minute transformations, I wanted a prayerful retreat to call my own ... punctuated with photos, personal treasures and bits of 'Americana.'
In 60 minutes.

I hadn't a clue where to begin.    

Against the beige carpet, our (beige) daybed and (beige) thrift-store shelving were crying for a bit of pizazz.   I became a disciple of Craig's List.
...then discovered that $50 doesn't begin to equal my good taste.  LOL!

Because I'd an unaccustomed day off Friday, DH and I were really looking forward to a walking tour of Glendale's antique neighborhood.
But a low tire warning on the truck's dash necessitated a detour to the dealer ... who discovered a nail, then informed us he couldn't fit it in for another couple of hours.   My euphoric mood began to crumble.

But everything happens for a reason.   After breakfast, I spotted a cavernous antiquities marketplace - not a stone's throw from our own burg!

Soon it became clear why the elderly greeter insisted I accept a map and pencil.  DH had to phone me from the front of the store to ask, "What street are you on?"  

It hasn't come home with me - yet - but I've fallen for a cute something-or-another called a 'dry sink.'   They tell me, Memorial Day is 'Name Your Own Price' day, so I'm hoping the dealer is amicable to lowering his price point.

(Irony 101:  No, it's not escaped me, my word for 2015 is 'Release' - not 'Acquire'!)

Still, I couldn't come home empty handed.

Would ya look at this weathered frame ....only $6.95!   (This is Grand #1 at her senior photo shoot in 2013.) 




A first for the 'ish' room ... this tin sign was but $10!   This makes me wish I'd hung onto my original Raggedy Ann and Andy!

   

Since I'm hoping y'all will come see us someday, I want to make the 'ish' room feel warm and welcoming.   Stay tuned, won't you?

Hugs from Phoenix,

Myra                  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Letters, May 15 edition


Woo-hoo, it's Friday!
... which, in blog-speak, means I get to hook up with Paula and friends for Friday Letters.




Dear Heredity
Mean-spirited, hmmm?   All these years I've believed you couldn't catch me.  Being diagnosed with osteoporosis is so annoying.
... Then again, I've an amazing doctor who's pretty sure she can help reverse it.
(Suppose this means I'll have to table plans to ride the mechanical bull?)


Dear Terrycloth
How do I love thee?  To the moon and back!  Ever since cousin Kathy defied tradition and designed her prom gown from terrycloth ("it shlurps up the sweat") I've grown pretty fond of you.  Thank you for serving as my 'go-to' hankie in allergy season ... even a place-mat in the workplace.  (No, not at the same time!)  Personally, I'd like to see you replace table napkins everywhere.


Dear Human Resources executive
Because I respect the job you do - and because you're a pretty nice fella - I'm willing to look the other way when you wear logo'd attire from that 'other' school in Alabama.
But now (that) our new name tags have arrived, let's see how observant you are!

    


Dear Adkins Foundation
Honestly, I'm feeling a little let down.  After 12 weeks, only 17 pounds down?   Doesn't seem that long ago, I could accomplish the same thing in a month.   Fess up.  Have you changed?
... or could it be me?


Dear Mr. God
In the 13 years I've called Phoenix home, I can't recall having experienced a cooler May.  You know how cranky I get when the mercury hits 100.   I suspect you may have had something to do with today's 75-degree temps  ... and I couldn't be happier!

~ ~ ~

Wishing you all a wonderfully-satisfying weekend .... please take good care of one another!

Hugs from Phoenix,
Myra









Sunday, May 3, 2015

Addicted!


It's all my father's fault.    
I've spoken before about being an reluctant participant on my parents road trips.  
Until the summer we visited San Francisco.   I don't recall a whit about the cable cars or China Town. But daddy wanted to check out a novel burger establishment he'd heard about called 'Hippos.'  

... and my love affair with the burger was born.   I couldn't understand why my folks wouldn't up and relocate to San Francisco so we might eat there every week. 

So far as I can tell, I'm not evolving ... 
but shortly afterwards momma began to predict, "You're going to turn into a hamburger one of these days." 

It's a given. I enjoy my food more than most.  In particular, red meat.
Let the nutritionists say what they will, Real Life's too dang difficult -- and short, to boot! -- to live in accordance with the Gospel According to the Surgeon General.     

Owing to the rising prices of beef, we're consuming more chicken and pork ... and I'm trying to limit my purchase of ground chuck to a 3-1/2 lb. package each week.   
It's what's for lunch ... almost every weekday now for the last few decades. 

Forget the lettuce, tomatoes., the cheese.  Forget the onion (sniff).  Forget the bun.
I've taken to serving loose meat in these sweet little mason jars - with a squirt of Ken's Greek salad dressing.
Other favs include a Tabasco/cheddar strata, cottage cheese swirl, Marie's blue cheese dressing and of course,
my ever-present jar of Hellman's.

Sure, I've tried mixing up the content of my lunch box.  Invariably, however, I'll unwrap my Adkins pizza and feel a pang for the loose meat left behind.     Only last night - not an hour after the conclusion of a satisfying stir-fry - DH caught me with a little bowl of dessert:  Loose meat and spicy mustard. 

I dunno, do you think an intervention is in order?   

Is there any food, or food group, you could see yourself enjoying every day?   

Ah, thank you for indulging this silly post.   
Given that our vacation plans have pretty well gone up in smoke (new, unplanned air conditioning unit and exterior paint mandate) I'm trying really, really hard to remain optimistic.   
There's no red wine in the house ... but maybe, a helping of loose meat might do the trick?

Hugs from Phoenix,
Myra




  



Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pride and Prejudice


So come the conclusion of yesterday's line-up, my ARM posed the following question:
"Providing you could take everything you love with you ... where would you most like to live?"

Only 3 (out of 11) said they'd stay in the U.S.!
... and no-one admitted wanting to stay put, here in Arizona.

As DH can attest, my train of thought tends to veer this way and that -- so that conversation reminded me of something I saw in USA Today -- reflecting pride in one's state.



I know.  These sorts of polls aren't meant to be taken as gospel, but I was more than a little surprised. Texas (my 'heart's home') came in 5th? Seriously? I expected a stronger showing, both from Texas and the deep South.

Now I've never lived in 'Bama, but once had the privilege of attending the best Independence Day celebration I've ever seen, right there on Montgomery's riverfront.  It might sound unpatriotic, but we just cracked up at the evening's finale when "Sweet Home Alabama" trumped the "Star Spangled Banner." (Suppose that's one of those 'you had to have been there' moments.)

In spite of having grown up in there, I don't recall having a sense of pride in New Mexico.
... Except making fun of those people who don't know N.M. is, in fact, a part of the United States.
How many other states find it necessary to add "USA" to their auto tags?

I've only called 5 states 'home' - and honestly, Pride isn't a sensation with which I'm real familiar.

Of course, we've also got Prejudice.  (Maybe that's not the word I'm looking for, but it thought it sounded good in the header.)   How telling is it, I find it easier to identify places I'd rather NOT reside!

Until joining Blogland and meeting some of the nicest citizens ever, I have to admit making some a lot of unfair generalizations about different parts of the country.
... which recently came back to 'karma' me right up the side of the head!

A few weeks back I was assisting a guest with some papers needing notarized.  Before long, we got to chatting about this-that-and-the-other, and our conversation turned to my hoping to visit my son and his family this year.
"Alabama?  Why, I don't know why anyone would ever want to set foot there."

Stunned!  For just a moment I enjoyed visualizing my hands wrapped around her neck.
Must.Remember to take the high road.  We-R-Hospitality.

Keeping things positive ...
Providing you could take everything you love with you ... where would you choose to live?

(Yikes, I almost forgot!) ....
Hugs from Phoenix,
Myra


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Remember Mama


Wow.  What funny - and thoughtful responses y'all left on my last post!  It sure wasn't my intent to put anyone on the spot, but I really appreciate your candor.

So, it's official?  We'll do away with all the mirrors!
... But you have to promise to say something if I get a piece of spinach stuck in my teeth. :)
_______________

Her 'Heavenly birthday' not withstanding, tomorrow would have been my mother's Centennial!
... served with spumoni ice cream and 'just a sliver' of cheesecake.


Since time travel remains a myth, I've no alternative but to celebrate the occasion of her birth with some favorite mental vignettes.  
Coffee, anyone?   

New Years Day, The Grand Canyon  
"You'll love it.  I promise!"  (That's dad.  I was too excited to speak.)  
No-one's sure if she loved riding a donkey for 4+ hours in freezing conditions - or not.  Anytime I looked back, her eyes were screwed tightly shut!

Cooking kidneys
It's been decades, but I'll never forget that horrible smell ... boiling water sending clouds of foul steam throughout our little apartment.  But daddy really wanted kidneys.  So mother obliged. 
(Obviously, this apple's fallen a long ways from the tree.)



Embarrassing one's daughter
Having lived through the Great Depression, money-saving measures were second nature to my folks. Still, I'd cringe when she'd wash the aluminum foil for re-use.  Then there was a time she carried a big old crate of fresh eggs aboard the train from Grandpa's farm in Minnesota back to New Mexico. (While I tried pretending I didn't know her.)  'Suppose she wasn't particularly thrilled  about it either -- but those little acts all added up. 

Reluctant traveler
Thanks to my parents' work ethic and standards of living -- there's only so much one can do in an isolated community the size of a saucer --  my father was nearly able to realize his dream of seeing the world.  Mom, not so much.  But she always went along with a smile.
That is, until 1978.
I wasn't privy to her near meltdown, but the story goes (that) dad kept their destination a secret until they were aboard a flight bound for JFK.  "We're going to ... Russia!", he exclaimed.
(I really, really hope he didn't add, "You'll love it!")

___________________

Thanks for indulging my little trip down memory lane!   Tho' we were never especially close, the older I get, the cooler my mother seems.
For certain, she was the wind beneath my wings.


Hugs from Phoenix,
Myra