Archive for Family

Cursive Writing

Last week I found in the attic an old accordion file of bills and such that dated back to 1993 and 1994. Don’t know how it got in the attic but there it was and I took it to work today to shred. As I was going thru the “Miscellaneous” part, I found a Post It note my mom had written on a magazine. She was in the process of moving from Maine to Florida and she gave me her new phone number in Florida and added a little word or two along with  it and signed it, “Love, Mom.”   I read it several times, that little note. It was in cursive and Mom had a pretty handwriting even when she was hurriedly writing a note. I tacked it to my picture board just so I could look at it from time to time while I’m working.
Then I came across some letters my friend Cathy had written me. Cat would always write long, lovely letters – front and back, and would fill me in on everything happening in Mattawamkeag and Lincoln. All handwritten. All in cursive. I remember how excited I would get to open the mailbox and find a letter from her. I knew it would be a good long one full of news! I have saved many, many letters from her over the years and have a hard time throwing any of them away, even though I know they only mean something to me. Someone else will have to throw them away eventually, but it isn’t going to be me. Not all of them anyway.
I’m sure we’ve all read or heard how the schools are talking about taking cursive handwriting out of the curriculum.  They’re going to teach them how to print.  When I was growing up, we didn’t call it “cursive,” we called it “real writing.”  “I’ve got to do a book report in REAL WRITING tonight!” Killer.  I do remember the alphabet being written in cursive on the wall up near the ceiling.  Big huge letters that little kids can see easily from their desk and practice until they get it just right.  Sure, the printed word looks good too.  But when you print, you have to keep picking the pencil or pen up from the paper to move to the next letter.  There is something magical in flowing letters together to form a word and seeing how legible you can make it.  When I started writing in my diaries, it was as much as holding the pen and writing the WORDS as it was to just put my thoughts down on the page.  To this day I love the smell of ink and paper.  Or a new book or new magazine.  I love to open it up and just bury my nose in it and breathe deeply. 

I’ll be the first one to admit that I love to type.  It’s fast, easy and to the point.  Boom, zoom, it’s out there.  You don’t have to dot the i’s and you don’t have to cross the t’s.  However, I also like to write.  I like the way a pen feels in my hand and there are some great pens out there.  Yes, emails are wonderful, I absolutely cannot imagine life without emails now.  Best invention since white bread. 

I saw this past Christmas where more and more of us are getting away from handwritten notes and cards.  For years, I had trouble finding room to display all the cards I’d received.  I know that postage is pricey and ridiculous and we’re all in a crunch to save money and mailing Christmas cards is expensive.  I didn’t send near as many as I usually do.  But you know what?  I missed those handwritten cards.  I truly did. 

My birthday.  Thanks to Facebook I had birthday wishes from people that have never wished me a Happy Birthday or hadn’t in years because I mean, who can remember all those birthday’s anyway?  Get real!  But hey, look, there it is on Facebook!  It’s Donna’s birthday.  Shoot her a message.  It was great!  I loved it!  But you know what really meant the most to me and I didn’t even realize it so much until this year?  It was the few special handwritten cards that I did receive.  The joy of slitting that envelope to see what someone had picked out to send to me and what they had written in it to wish me joy on that day.  The ones you read and then press to your heart because they were just so darn sweet.  Yes, I enjoyed my “social network” cards, don’t get me wrong, I did.  I also realized that I had done the very same thing to other friends on their birthday – Facebooked or emailed them instead of sending a card.  It works, it’s great and I’m truly not dissing it.   I just think it is wrong, wrong, wrong to not teach children how to write in cursive.  I’m a little old fashioned that way, sue me.

You know what else?  200 years from now, or maybe not even that long, – handwritten letters may turn out to be worth money.  Can you imagine?  I mean look at the stuff on Antiques Roadshow that turn out to be worth a pile of money!  Stuff we or our parents had at one time and tossed out because they were old or ugly or we weren’t using them anymore.  I still grieve that I didn’t keep my Barbie and Midge, Ken and Skipper.  Dang things would be worth something now and I took good care of them too!  Shoot!!

So I’m saving my letters and maybe someone behind me will save them just for the heck of it, and maybe, just maybe, many years from now some tekky group that can’t even imagine  cursive writing will come across them and they might be worth more than just great memories to me.  Won’t THAT be a hoot…

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Another Summer Gone…

Summer is gone again.  Boom.  Just like that.  One day it’s hot as heck,  (it’s still hot as heck) and the next thing you know it’s cooler in the morning when you’re outside drinking your coffee.

I’m looking forward to:  outside fires, a cane boil, lots of stews in the crockpot, leaves falling, and crispy skies, Thanksgiving, football games, Christmas, being with friends and family and shivering happily by the fire.  Singing, laughing, dancing…

And I’m really going to miss my sister in law picking flowers and putting them in my kitchen window.  Here is her last creation…

Sil's Pick of the Day

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Cemeteries and Sil

Arlington Cemetery-VA

 Once again I had a great day visiting the loved ones who have passed on to eternal life.  This time my sister in law went with me.  (Hereinafter called Sil).  I took a vacation day one Friday mainly to just hang out at the house but we decided to go cemetery haunting.  Our first stop was to take fresh yellow squash to Judy and her mother and we surprised them.  We had a nice visit with them, but couldn’t stay long – we were on a mission!  We left there and we stopped and bought some silk flowers for Mom’s grave – fresh flowers just don’t hold up long, you know?  Once there, we washed and polished Mom’s headstone,  put the flowers in the vase and it looked very nice. The weather was perfect!  The day was bright and pretty – we picked a great day to ramble around, I must say.

 Rocksey went with us.  Dogs must be able to smell what’s going on underground in a cemetery.  She tried to go back to the car several times.  (She did that the first time I took her too).  She kept shaking and acting nervous.  Sil kept calling her back while I was tending and eventually Rocksey got over whatever it was that was scaring her.  After that she was doing her own visiting.  I’d like to know what was going through her mind.  For all we know, dogs can see spirits and ghosties and such.

 From there, we decided we would go visit Sil’s mom and dad’s grave.  We drove back to the northside and meandered down the roads of our childhood that had changed so much.  What used to be nothing but woods and dead end roads now are rows of subdivisions all through Oceanway.  Her parent’s headstone is beautiful and the tree that was so small when her dad was laid to rest there beside her mom, is now a huge tree with roots running over the tops of the graves.  The headstone is still beautiful, but slightly canted down on the right.  I think it gives it a bit of mystery…Sil isn’t so sure she likes it like that for fear it will crack.  They are in a very pretty cemetery and it isn’t very crowded.  Yet!  We then wandered around the area to see how many women were outliving their men…

 After leaving there we hit a free Barbeque Dinner given by Catty Shack and some other place that sells LP oil – I can’t remember that name but it was on Main Street.  We stayed there long enough to sample several different kinds of barbeque pork, roast, hamburger, chicken…it was all delicious and we bought some of the John Henry spices for sale.  They had a big tiger in a cage in the front that was pretty cool.  Sil said she’d bottle fed one of the babies years ago, back when she worked at a company in that area. 

 Happily fed, we went to her house and sat out back and had a couple of beers and wound down from our day.  It turned out to be one of those special days that we had always talked about doing but never got around to, and there it was, done on the spur of the moment.  Sometimes when you don’t plan it, it works out better. 

 Thanks, Sil, for the great day!  We have to do that again soon!  HUGS!!!

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A Perfect Day

Once in a while, you get a perfect day.  Yesterday was one of them.  I called my friend Judy, who does my taxes and we got together at 1:00 so we could get them done.  I get there and Judy, her mom and I sit down and eat delightful little crackers with different cheeses and chat.  Judy’s mother is so sweet and I love her so much.  I stopped into Publix and bought her a little pot of some kind of lilies with pretty flowers.  It’s so nice to have a “Mom” I can still give flowers to once in a while, you know?

We finish up our lunch and Judy and I get to the tax stuff.  It didn’t take long, she got us some money back (she is so good!) and we were ready to do something else.  The plan was to go visit my mothers grave and spif it up and come on back to her house and I’d go home.  But we veered off the track, like we usually do, and also went to where her family went to sprinkle her dad’s ashes in the river.  We wandered the roads through Arlington and gazed longingly and admiringly at the beautiful homes along the river.  We went to the Lions Club Park over off University.  There is a fishing pier and boat launch there.  The day had begun gloomy and cold and magically had turned sunny and almost warm.  The river was beautiful and we were both in a great mood just being out in the sun near the water.  We walked along the beach and talked.  Judy kept picking up trash and I had to keep helping her with it, haha. 

There is a nature trail next to the fishing area so we decided we would take that.  I armed us both with pepper spray – I had two in the car.  We took our beers and smokes and headed out for what we thought was going to be just a short walk.  It turned into a hike pretty quickly.  Between us laughing like fools over stuff and just enjoying the gorgeous day and the woodsy walk, it turned out we may have even done the whole trail and then some!  Judy kept walking towards the sun trying to stay in it, going through palmetto bushes which make me very nervous, like she had on snake boots and chaps.  I’m keeping a close eye the whole time and she is walking nonchalantly along and discovers this very neat little piece of beach with sand on it and a bench!  A tree had fallen over and the root system sticking up along the shoreline was absolutely incredible to see.  We both lamented we didn’t have our camera.  She said, “I have one on my phone!”  I said, “Do you know how to use it?”  She said, “Nooo…”  I said, “Well neither do I so we’re still out of luck.” 

I know when I’m licked.  A couple of beers and anything mechanical or technical is beyond my comprehension.  We said we’d come back again and get the pictures, but we both know that was an extra special day and the tide was perfect and pictures like that usually only happen once.  We hung out on the beach for a little while and then made our way back to the car.  Judy says to me, “Do you know who killed J.F.K.?”  and I slowly remembered the last name, then the middle name, but couldn’t get the first one.  Lee Harvey Oswald.  This led to who killed Abraham Lincoln and Robert Kennedy and John Lennon.  We were doing brain teasers.  Sometimes we do state capitals, this day we did murders.  Her clues were priceless.  You had to be there to see the clue for Sirhan Sirhan but trust me when I say it had us both falling out in the parking lot laughing so hard. 

We finally had to agree that it was time to get back and went to use the bathroom there and the doors were locked tight.  Two paper towels later behind the bathrooms and much, much, more laughing, we both agreed we were glad we DID NOT have a camera.   We slowly made our way back to her house.  We said our goodbyes and I drove home and smiled and giggled the whole way with joy at such a perfect day.  Spontaneous and unplanned! 

The perfect ending to this perfect day was that my husband was feeling much better from his cold and felt like having a few cups of cheer with me and we both played guitars (me mostly with my two chords I’m good at) and him doing lead and we actually sounded pretty good!  Or so we thought anyway, but it didn’t matter we had a blast.  We put in a Eric Clapton music DVD and listened and watched him and were in bed by 9:30.  Fuzzy and happy.

We really all need more days with good friends, sunshine, love and laughter.  I will remember this day for the rest of my life.  I will.

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Birthdays Come and Go…

I just want to write a short note about what a great 55th birthday I had last week!

First, I must confess that every year for as long as I can remember, I play the same mind game with myself.

It starts in the mornings when I say to myself, “I have 6 more hours to be ___.”  And the countdown begins.  I was born at 1:09 p.m. so I always allow myself those few hours until I actually believe I’m my real age.  I picture my mother in labor.  I picture her going to the hospital.  I picture her waiting on me to be born, not knowing if I’m the girl she’s been wanting or the third boy.  Mom said she had three miscarriages before she got me, so I’ve always felt kind of special.  Haha.  Or weird, one. 

 I will glance at the clock off and on waiting for 1:09.  This particular year, it rained like heck.  Mrs. Jia said it’s lucky when it rains on your birthday and I choose to believe her.  So I held off going to lunch because of the rain but finally needed a ciggy so about 12:50 I went for a drive down the road and watched the clock until it got to 1:09.  I will shout, “___ years ago I was born at this very minute!” 

 Then I spend a few minutes hoping my mom and dad and two brothers were really happy to have me land in their world.  I think how fortunate I was to be born to such a wonderful family.  I think about my mom being happy to finally get that little girl!

Then I get over myself and become my real age and life goes on and I don’t think about it anymore.  LOL  Uh, like REALITY sinks in or something. 

 My brother and Sil came over after work to celebrate with us.  Even though it fell on a Thursday, that did not stop us from celebrating with a few cups of cheer.  I left work at 3:00 so I had a head start. 

My dear Tim picked up KING CRAB LEGS and scallops.  Two of my favorite foods!!!   Bro and Sil hung around for about two hours.  They both gave me funny, musical cards and perfume and candy.  Tim is trying to teach me to play the guitar so we played a little at that while Dana did his harmonica and I had to keep sucking the ends of my fingers because they hurt so bad from holding down strings.  I can’t wait for calluses on the tips!

 After they left, we had a few more drinks and then fixed the seafood and stood at the counter dipping huge chunks of crab into melted, salty butter and stuffing it into our faces and making delightful ‘orking’ sounds.  Think WHALES, haha.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

 I’m glad I’m 55, I guess.  You could say I’m the old speed limit now.  Or, as Dana says, DOUBLE NICKLES.

 Thanks guys, for helping me celebrate another year.

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Happy New Year

OMG 2009 is gone!  It’s 2010.  Do you say “Two thousand ten” or “Twenty ten”?

Guess it doesn’t matter.  I’ve typed it several times today and it’s rather a strange thing to type.  I almost feel like I’m picking at a guitar.

We had a GREAT New Years!!!!  Absolutely AWESOME!  No lie.  We invited several couples and friends over for a party sometime earlier in the month and neither of us remember it.  Kim called a few days prior to and asked if we were still on for the party and had me completely stumped.  I tried not to act it, but my mind was racing trying to remember when I’d said anything about a party!  Eventually I figure out we’d told Bob and Nancy one night when we were both having Wild Wednesday and they remembered and passed it on.  It was a great idea! 

About 7:30 Lester and Marti appeared.  Then it was like they all came at once!  Kim, Rhonda, Nance, Bob, Curtis, Dana, Sharon, Mark, Glenn and ??? (oh gosh, I’ve forgotten his name)  Richard, Cheryl, Keith and Mary. 

Within an hour the band was set up in the living room and the music and fun began!  Curtis Willis and The Bad Influence are my favorite band in the whole world, bar none.  We danced, laughed, ate and partied our way into the New Year and right on past it until after 3 in the morning.  How Tim got up and made pancakes and sausage the next morning is beyond me, but he did.  I also have about 4 minutes of me dancing to boot scoot boogie while holding my camera and it recording.  The floor is spinning back and forth and my hand partially covers the lens but you can hear the music and everything else.

Needless to say, we slept off and on all day Friday.  Only got up to eat and go back to bed and let the Noodle out to pee.  She was in heaven with us piled up in bed all day.  Such a sweetie.

If every year could start off this great, we’d all be truly blessed!

Thanks everyone who came and helped us bring in the New Year!  Love you guys so much!!!

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Stuck on Halloween

You want to know how to end a great Halloween night?  Take your grandkids, pile them in the back of the car with blankets and pillows and snacks and ride them down a long dirt road around midnight, during a full moon, just for the heck of it.  Then get the car stuck in the sand.  They’ll love it. 

We started off with a hayride through the neighborhood.  My niece, her two boys, and our three grandkids.  We had a blast!  Tim loaded a big trailer with hay, hooked it to the tractor, and off we went.  The kids loaded up with candy and wore themselves out climbing in and out of the trailer.  Halloween could not have come on a better night.  It was warm and beautiful and the moon was full and the people were generous with their candy.  My brother and his wife joined us, only they stopped at a friend’s house and stayed there to watch the Florida-Georgia game.  Go GATORS!!!  They said they have a better time watching the football games with them than they do with us.  Imagine that…LOL!!!! 

We all get back to the house, put on the music and dance around the pool and howl at the moon for a while.  Dana played the mouth harp, Tim played his guitar, the rest of us danced like fools.  Eventually, everyone leaves and the kids have taken a bath and Tim says, “Let’s go for a ride down the dirt road!”  You only have to tell me once, I’m always ready for dirt road rides on a full moon.

We took the pooch for good measure of course.  We crank up the music and we are all singing at the top of our lungs and we girls are taking turns sticking our heads out the moon roof and letting the wind blow thru our hair and acting like clowns.  At one point, I even climb up to the top of the car and sit with my legs dangling inside and pull my littlest granddaughter up with me.  She loved it as much as me.  Tim pulls over to step outside for a moment and that was when we got stuck. 

We all push and the tires spin and the car sinks right down to the frame in the front.  There is no moving this baby.  Luckily though, we see coming down the road a trailer full of people who are doing the same thing we are so they pull over and there are about 20 of them.  Everyone pushes.  The car won’t move.  It is down in wet sand and not budging.  It took a truck with a rope to haul us out of there.  I think the kids were getting worried.  They climbed back into that car pretty quickly once it got moving again.  Could have had something to do with the wild bear stories I was telling them, I don’t know…

We get home, pile up on the floor in front of the TV under blankets and I think we were all out within 15 minutes.  We sure had a good time. 

Kids make Halloween so much fun…I almost wish it came more than once a year.  Almost.

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