Thursday, February 28, 2013

Grandpa's dash

"I really should leave well enough alone."  
....  that's what I tell myself most days.

Then, there's those times I indulge in the fanciful.
You know that game?   "Living or dead, who'd you most like to invite for dinner?"  

That would be my paternal grandfather, the Rev. Franz E. Willer (ca 1877- 1944).
I'd raise a glass and just ask, "What happened?"

Graduation from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO

Obviously, I'm not the only one who never knew a grandparent.  But what gnaws at me, is not knowing what went on inside that dash ... between Franz' dates of birth and death.

Growing up, I suppose my cousins and I were too self-absorbed to wonder why Grandma Willer -- or our parents for that matter -- never spoke of him.    Not a word.
Except(!) for my having discovered a "post-it" note tucked inside my father's wallet after his death ... detailing the location of his father's grave-site.

Later, the cousins and I'd share our suspicions.   The most widely-held scenario involved (gasp!) a female parishioner.    

I like to believe he was terribly misunderstood ... cast out by my prideful grandmother.
An affair of the heart?   Ya, that's it.

So, I'd really appreciate your unbiased opinion.

I've a cousin-in-law, recently retired from the ministry, who's a bit of a historian.    His wife (my fav cousin)  tragically passed a few years ago, so Gary and I've never met.
Is it folly to ask him if Sue, perhaps, had any insight or stories to share?

...or, am I better leaving well enough alone?

* * *

Happy to sharing with sweet Martha at Flashback Friday.

Hugs from Phoenix!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Hub's Birthday

DH's birthday is still a few days away, but I'm officially in Party Mode!   

Today's share over at Flashback Friday spotlights the man himself, a mere 69 years ago.

I know "that" look!
For those keeping track (lol), yes this is a re-run ... 
but thought this excerpt from Square Meals might strike a chord with the little kid who lives inside each of us......

Nursery Supper

- Excerpted from Jane Stern‘s delightful book, Square Meals.

“How nice it is, in a world filled with mean, scary people like landlords, 
motor vehicle bureau personnel and headwaiters, to set aside time for milk and cookies.

Everybody has some special food that makes them feel taken care of: 
A culinary escape from danger: Noodles and pot cheese, Mom’s chicken soup, rice pudding with raisins, or a tall glass of chocolate milk with vanilla wafers on the side.

Nursery food is the supreme comfort. 
No wonder, because however, abysmal it really was, 
childhood looks so appealing the farther away it gets. 
 You remember warm farina served in a bowl decorated with dancing bunnies, 
or the ritual cup of cocoa after school.

Compared to grown-up worries like earning a living, 
developing a double chin or thermonuclear war, 
the childhood horror of spilling grape juice doesn’t seem all that awful.

It’s rumored that the more emotionally evolved a person is, 
the higher his required take of baby food. 
Well, not exactly pabulum and gruel, but nice food that takes the edge off a not-so-nice world … 
like pudding and Horlick’s malted milk powder.”

What would you bring to a Nursery Supper?   

Hugs from Phoenix!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Ship's Life

There are few things I enjoy more than being aboard an ocean-going vessel!   Thank you mom and dad, for instilling that passion in me early on!

Still, I don't expect there's a man, woman or child out there who wasn't a bit repulsed (or frightened) by last week's accounts from those aboard the Carnival Triumph.  

But isn't it heartwarming to hear passengers giving kudos to the crew!

Though I've never been aboard a Carnival ship, I'm blessed to have made some abiding friendships with other ships' mates.   Having witnessed their living conditions, and knowing how tirelessly each and every one these men and women work .... I wanted to share some 'truisms' recently posted on a FB group page by a former crew member.   Another point of view, if you will.

- Days of the week become countries
- Taking a bath is considered a luxury
- You have to be a contortionist to shave your legs
- When you talk about how to spend your "hours off" not "days off".
- You have to turn on the tv to see the weather outside
- When almost every night as soon as you close your eyes the alarm goes off
- Where you can get drunk for $5
- Hangovers can be blamed on seasickness
- Hours back determine when parties are
- You haven’t had 10 minutes alone since you walked onboard
- Arriving at a new country usually consists of finding the free wifi
- Sleeping in?
- You haven’t known what day of the week it is for 6 months
- Being screamed at by a passenger condones chugging a beer on a bathroom break
- Being solely responsible for tens of thousands of dollars with no sweat
- Happy hour can be every hour.
- Working less than 10 hours is considered to be "an easy day".
- You know there will always be white rice for breakfast/lunch/dinner
- Partying with your bosses
- It’s been 4 days since you’ve stepped outside
- You’ve just spent a 13-hour day with the same people, so you go to dinner and
happily spend the rest of the night with them
- You can survive with 3 pairs of jeans for 6 months
- You smile even if you’re having a bad day
- When you’re in the real world you stop yourself from saying hello to
random people walking past you

- Walking across the hallway and knocking replaces the need for a cellphone
- If you get a job on land you’ll feel naked without a name badge
- You’re so far from home but seem to be surrounded by your family.

Do you enjoy cruising? 
... Or, have last year's accounts from Italy (and more recently the Gulf) changed your mind?

Have a wonderful new week, everyone!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flashback Friday: Loving what you do!

Last weekend I overheard a customer at the salon saying, "I can't wait to go to work on Monday!" ... and for a moment, I felt downright wistful.

Once upon a time I was blessed to feel the same way.   Though my job description wasn't in the slightest bit impressive and the hours long ... my co-workers made (most) every day FUN!

... and we never knew who might show up!

Sally Jessy and me
Hey, it's OK to laugh.
I do too, when reviewing some of the crazy 
hairstyles I once thought were so cute!
What was I thinking?!?

Are you ready for some football?

Another Bridal Fair .. another "soap" somebody-or-another.
(For those of you keeping track, that year I opted for the tux!)

Prior to the coming of Political Correctness, our department was sometimes affectionately(?) referred to as "The Animal House."     In retrospect, those 9 years were some of the best in my life!
But like all fairy tales, the day came when we were compelled to grow up and go our separate ways.

Still, every now and then while watching TV, I can hear my manager advising me the first day on the job, "You'll never watch a commercial in quite the same way again."

You were right, Frank.   And by the way, I miss you all!

* * *

If you've a moment, won't you drop by Martha's place tonight ... or next week and play along with us at Flashback Friday?

Hugs from Phoenix!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Couldn't Wait!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

This year is the first in ages, I've been enthusiastic as Valentines Day approaches.    
To be honest, I'd grown a bit skeptical of all the commercialization ... longing to return to 3rd grade where we crafted mailboxes from white paper lunch sacks and hung them on that little ledge under the chalkboard.  

Leave it to Cupid's little helper Miz Mollye at Fruit of the Spirit, to liven things up!

She invited us to join in a bottle swap to celebrate the holiday ... and the next thing he knew, DH was enlisted to help transform a two-liter soda bottle into a mailer.  (Well, he's the one who won't let me near his X-acto knives!)

Anyway, I was more than a little delighted to learn Mollye, herself, had drawn my name!   Knowing her ability to turn the ordinary into something Special, it was tough to wait until this afternoon to open my treasures.  

Would you look at this?

... and this?

This classy lady will be a perfect addition to my "ish" room's treasures.

The UNFORTUNATE part of this whole episode is, my camera elected to be put on the injured reserve list, right in the middle of trying to upload.  Similarly, my phone's device is being uncooperative.   (I suspect they belong to the same union.)


Good golly, Miz Mollye ...
Thank you for turning me into a Believer once more!   I treasure each of these pretties and the love you enclosed! :)

Wishing each n' every one of you a sweet Valentines day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Grandma and me

Woo-hoo .... it's Friday!

Having met some neat new friends via Flashback Friday, I'm sure anxious to play along with Martha!
Today, we're visiting the '50's" .....

Grandma Willer and Myra (ca) 1953

You know, she adored you.", a relative shared a few years ago.
"Whaaaat?" I was stunned.

"Well, she sure picked a funny way to show it."

Unfortunately, one of my earliest memories remains: Grandma Willer's standing at the foot of my crib, shaking a finger: "You are a wicked child."     
(No doubt, I was pitching a hissy fit over something or another. Again.) 

Between her stern demeanor and seeming inability to display affection, my cousins and I were all a bit afraid of Grandma Willer.   We even envisioned her arrival at the Pearly Gates:  Clad in her customary black coat, glass-bead necklace and orthopedic shoes .... demanding to be let in!

Decades after the fact, I'm sometimes rueful for not taking more interest in my dad's mother.
Left virtually penniless, her last years were spent being shuttled between her grown children’s homes.          

That couldn’t have been much fun.

Only recently, I re-read a letter she'd penned to her sons and daughter shortly before her death, apologizing for not having any material possessions to bequeath.... begging them to please get along with one another ... to love one another.

Love? I suppose she loved me the only way she knew how.

I hope my own grands never, ever have cause to question my feelings.   I'm not big on advice-giving, but totally believe -- 
Even if it feels awkward, life’s too darn short not to tell those you love what they mean to you!

Hugs from Phoenix!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

That girl!

Color me excited!
'Hope you don't mind my sharing my Christmas present "to me, from ME!" photos of Granddaughter #1 which arrived this afternoon from Alabama!

I thought this bicycle was photo-shopped, but no ... my DIL painted it to match the necklace!

Come Friday, Sarah and her classmates will be flying to New York City for their senior trip.   For many reasons, I'd love to tag along.   But no, this is HER adventure.
Her dad is, well ... less than enthusiastic, but (thank goodness) our DIL prevailed:  She has to grow up sometime.

It's been said before:  "To the world she is growing up, but to me....she is my heart... walking around outside my body."
True, that.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Just lay your head down ....

.... and cry.

So early this morning, DH discovered me sobbing silently (sort of) at the computer.   Giving me one of his, "I don't 'get' you, but I love you anyway" looks, he continued on his way.   

Were I to share the source of my tears -- in this case, learning (late) that one of my heroines had passed away -- he'd be likely to say, "Oh well."    

Please, don't get me wrong!   T's not without feelings; like many a fellow, his triggers are more carefully concealed.  

I wasn't always a cry-baby!   For most of my life, I was more inclined to burst into tears if I was really, really angry.  (Personal losses aside ... they're too deep for mere tears.)

But every now and then, my insides get to feeling heavy like a thundercloud ..... for no particular reason!   (Is that just a "girl thing"?)
And, I SO identify with what someone shared,  "After a good cry, I always feel cleansed, like my heart and mind just rubbed each other's backs."    
... Note to self:   Must schedule a time, place and most importantly, a Prompt.   

Here are some of my favorite go-to's:

The Other Side of the Mountain 
Bridges of Madison County
The Deer Hunter  (I dare anyone to sit dry-eyed through Meryl Streep's, "God Bless America"!)
Cast Away
Saving Private Ryan

(While I love happily-ever-after films as much as the next person, the "keepers" are those which leave me feeling I've been pushed through a wringer.)

Have you any recommendations?

For now, it's time to put on a happy face and enJOY this glorious Super Bowl Sunday!

Hugs from Phoenix!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Flashback Friday

I'm tickled to finally join Martha and her friends tonight for Flashback Friday!

I'm not sure if it was my father’s fond memories of his own camp adventures?
... or, mother, tired of my constant whining for a horse of my own?

At any rate, come the summer of ’62, I packed a footlocker and headed off to camp in Bailey, CO.

Noted for their riding program, “Sylvania of the Rockies” was a wanna-be Dale Evans fantasy! 
 See that “Pipe Dream” sign? I’ve a pipe-dream to return to Bailey someday, to see whatever became of that camp site!

Having spent 8 weeks in close proximity (lol!) it’s sort of a shame we never kept in touch.    I sometimes wonder how the last 50 years have treated my cabin-mates -- Pandora (Australia), sweet Shelley (Lincoln), Missy, Elizabeth (Ft. Worth), Leslie and Denise (the “mean girls”), Cathy (Minneapolis), Virginia and Susie.

Can you spot the (oh-so-gawky) Myra?

Just click here for more glimpses over my friends' shoulders!    Won't you join us?