Sunday, August 28, 2016

Auld Acquaintance

It's a bit unsettling, to grieve for something I never had.   
(Grieve?  That's an exaggeration, but I'm too lazy to consult the Thesaurus.)

Nevertheless, that's sort of how I felt last weekend after meeting my cousin.  Re-meeting, I should say.  To the best of our recollection, the last time we saw each another was 1959-60?  Six years younger, Gretchen would have been about 4 ... too unimportant to have made a lasting impression.  :)

Prior to our lunch date, I'd tried exuding a laissez faire attitude.  Whatever!
Privately - in spite of myself - my insides were doing somersaults.
An only child, I coveted the camaraderie DH enjoys with his extended family. 

So we met, we hugged (she, self-assured ... fit as an Olympian) and tried recreating our family's jig-saw puzzle ..... albeit, one missing more than a dozen pieces.   
Not for the first time, I sorely regretted not having paid more attention when my father spoke of his childhood.  

I was taken aback to learn, it was at my own father's urging, Uncle Edric "straightened up his act" and joined him at mortuary school.   (While they both graduated, only Edric made that his career.  I've absolutely no idea why my father took a pass!)

Recalling my growing-up years, I suspect my father was a bit lonely for his siblings - in particular his younger brother, fellow Navy mate and practical joker.  Whenever we'd check into a motel room, one of the first things Daddy would do is consult the telephone directory to see if there were any Willer's listed.

G and I smiled, recalling our fathers' favorite ritual -- consuming raw hamburger meat, specially prepared by the old German butcher her dad knew and trusted, followed by thick, stinky cigars.

Later, as Gretchen and I prepared to take our leave, I remarked what (our getting together) would have meant to our dads.
She concurred, "Except, they would have been disappointed we didn't have kanapras."
True that.  

My family always used 'kanapra' to describe an 'adult beverage' but now I felt compelled to ask,
"G, whatever language was that?"
"Ha! I think he and Uncle Ad made it up."

Despite our obvious differences, I expressed a desire we'd see each other again sometime.
"Well", she winked, "I plan to live to 100.  Everyone can come enjoy my grand meal, have a b.m. and go home.  You'll be there, right?"

Like our fathers before us, more than 1200 miles separate G and I.
Except that G and her hubby - both executives in the travel industry - skip around the country (around the world, actually), about as often as Tom and I drive into Scottsdale.

More so, there's a chasm I can't define.  Like mother's bracelet I slipped on at the last minute, it just wasn't a comfortable fit.

So yesterday, I revisited my mother's hope chest ... specifically daddy's memorabilia.  I may not have listened so good while he was alive, but I hope my father knows how I treasure what remains.  Can I show y'all a few?

My dad's baby book
ca. September 1912
The illustrations are amazing!
My grandmother, Adele, and daddy at Quincy, Massachusetts
Quincy shore w/ siblings.  (Gretchen's dad is the little guy in the center.)

Thanks for listening, m'friends

... what a comfort you are!

Hugs from Phoenix!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Another Hodgepodge Wednesday!

Happy Hump Day, everyone!  
I'm in the mood for a little levity, today ... how about you?  

As always, a big thanks to Joyce, for these prompts! 

* * *

1.  I read here four creative activities to try this month.  They were - calligraphy, make your own cookbook, dance (or learn a new type of dance) and letter writing.  Which activity appeals to you most?

None of the above?  
After work, my 'creativity' pretty much extends to reading and writing blog posts, drinking wine and staying awake past 9 o'clock.

2.  Bertrand Russell is quoted as saying, "To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."  Agree or disagree?  Explain.

Absolutely agree.  I normally don't speak to the life I enjoyed in my 30's, except to say I wanted for little ... then wound up appreciating it less and less.
These days I derive satisfaction just anticipating the occasional nice dinner out or a weekend excursion with DH.

3.  August 17 is National Thriftshop Day.  Are you a 'thrifter'?

I adore thrifting!  Aside from my (ahem!) unmentionables, 99% of my wardrobe came from consignment or thrift shops.  I think the trick is, not to be in any hurry and have no expectations.  (Easier said than done!)

If so, tell us about one of your best or favorite finds.

There's several that come to mind!

Year ago, I spotted these bar stools in a dusty old place ... right about the same time my son sent a birthday check for the exact amount they were asking.  Kismet!

(Click to enlarge)

Here's one of my $35 wedding dress.

4.  On a scale of 1-10 (with 1=almost none and 10=loads) how would you rate your sense of wanderlust?

A '3', perhaps?  I've been fortunate to travel throughout the U.S. and most of Europe.  Somewhere along the way, however, I morphed into a bit of a coward -- overly conscious of my car's remaining 'oompf", hubby's health and, of course, whether our pups are being taken care of the way in which they've become accustomed.  (*smile*)

What kicks your wanderlust into high gear?

If my BF were to propose another random day trip?
I adore DH, but some things are better when you and your girlfriend are laughing so hard your faces hurt.
(Degree of difficulty: 10, given she still lives in Florida)

5.  Has life felt more like a marathon or a sprint so far this month?

Marathon.  I have to consciously keep a smile on my face and focus on the promise of shorter, cooler days.  This August seems like a long, long month.

6.  What do you need to get a jump on before Fall officially arrives?

DH doesn't know yet, but I'm hoping we can arrange a Thanksgiving getaway to New Mexico.  The high country's autumnal colors were always spectacular and I'm hoping Mother Nature won't disappoint!

7.  What's the last thing you did with friends or family where you lost track of time?

I can't recall!  Good or bad, I'm one of those folks who's always conscious of the time, whether there's a clock in the room or not.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Chuckling at my own sense of vanity over here ...  
See, a few days ago I had a routine derma appointment to remove a pre-cancerous spot on my face.  While there, I mentioned this "annoying" quarter-size wisdom spot on the other side.

"Tired of being so wise?", the doc quipped.  "We can take care of that!"

That evening I warned DH I'd probably resemble a marionette for the next couple of weeks.  What I couldn't foresee, by Friday morning I'd grown 'chipmunk cheeks' and the next day my right eye was practically swollen shut.
Now I looked like a painted pugilist puppet.
(Liking that alliteration, Jon?)

You've heard, pharmacists are worth their weight in gold?  I sure wasn't anxious to visit one of those 'doc-in-the-box' urgent care places, so I stopped by Walgreens.  He took a close look, recommended Ibuprofen and cold compresses ... and sent me on my merry way.  Lesson learned.  Remember to always ask about possible side effects before agreeing to any procedure, no matter how routine!

* * *

Until next time ...
Hugs from Phoenix!



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Denizens along the drive

An unassuming abode, yes.  
The term "tired" comes to mind.

Commerce and commuters alike mind their P's + Q's at the 4-way stop, just left of this photo.  Feed-lots and industrial outcroppings vie for position, little more than a stone's throw away. 

But here, on what appears to be one man's acre, the little home sits resolute.  Endearing.  

As I have near every weekday, I'm drawn to that little home ... its occupant an unknown, overalls-clad elder in a wide-brim hat.  Head bowed, he's usually accompanied about the yard by a smiling dog of uncertain descent.

Every now and then, a U.S. Flag - held erect between the coils of his chain-link fence - reminds us busy folk what matters.

A near scare late last Fall:  
An I.V. pole appeared on the little porch, but no evidence of the man.

A few days later, an anemic yellow porch light revealed two large "work" socks hung to dry on the pole's clips.
A sigh of relief.

* * *

A couple of weeks ago, while waiting my turn at the 4-way, I waved.  Again, the next day... and the day after.  Mine's become a habit.

No, I've no idea why.
... a carefully, careless gesture.  Some days, little more than 3-4 fingers raised off the steering column.  I strive for nonchalance.  
Eyes straight ahead I test my peripheral vision ... is the man out and about?

Then last week, a thought.  
What on earth will I do if he waves back?
... What if he approaches the fence?

My assumptions are precious ... best left undisturbed.
Someday, sure.  A shiny new 'convenience' store will likely occupy that parcel.

But, if given the chance?
I'm pretty sure I'd just say, "Thank you."

"Thank you for keeping it real.  
Please, don't be going anywhere soon."


Saturday, August 6, 2016


G'morning friends!
I'm feeling sort of discombubulated, which may explain this choppy post.
Nevertheless, this is my life.  Welcome!

First, some good great news ...
After 9 months on the market, son and DIL's home finally sold!
Lots of mixed emotions here.  So much love and laughter.  Sadness too.   Were we able, I'd have grabbed it up in a heartbeat.

Privately, DH and I worried they'd over-priced it for the neighborhood.  But no mortgage remained and the 'kids' wanted to offer what they, themselves, would look for in an existing home:  Whole new 30-year roof, HVAC system, bathrooms remodel, interior paint, carpet, stainless appliances ... even light fixtures and lock sets.

The eve before closing, everyone (including 'adopted' DD Caitlin) gathered old quilts, Subway take-out and enjoyed a picnic on the floor of their old great-room. 
Goodbye Saddlewood

Ah, Life goes on.
... and what better reminder than getting Sarah and Daniel's engagement pictures the same week Troy and Lois celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary.

 Time's a thief, y'all.

* * *
I'm feeling pretty blessed this morning.  Foolishly, I wasted all last weekend, Googling every 'what-if' and worrying myself crazy -- about what turned out to be a false positive lab test.  
(I know! ... I know!)
Still, this was the first time my nurse practitioner seemed a little 'off' and wouldn't meet my eye.  
I'm pretty sure (now) it had nothing to do with me personally -- but I've always taken a certain amount of pride in my intuition and reading others' body language.

The only thing?  
My thyroid function came back unusually low.  No surprise, since a portion of it was removed, together with a tumor, when son was but a toddler.
So Tuesday I get a call, they're increasing my meds to 113.  OK.
Then!  Not 24 hours later I get a call saying she's increased it to 164.  Whaaaa?
The medical assistant and I chuckled and concluded that's indeed a bit wonky.  I've elected to stay with the 113 until my next set of labs in 3-1/2 weeks.

You know, I don't think they could pay me enough to practice medicine in this day and age.

* * *

YAY!  Less than 60 days remain (I think) in monsoon season!  I'm impatient with the unaccustomed humidity ... DH with having to baby the stupid pool.
   This, even after the pump filter ran all night.

Lucky, we've not experienced any trees come crashing down in our neighborhood, but my workplace recently counted more than 50 mature trees downed - one of which had to be removed so guests could exit their room!
(BTW, "Sloopy" is still hanging in there!)

* * *
... and speaking of hanging in there:
Do you recall this electric moment 24 years ago?  

Never, ever give up.

* * *
Have a beautiful new week, everyone!

Hugs from Phoenix,