Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #148 -- Regrets

While traveling down the road of life...




Visit here for more Sunday Scribblings.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Pink!

Better late than never...Here is my PINK composition.

This adorable puppy was a valentine gift from my hubby. She is sitting on a scarf which was knitted by a special niece, Patti, who has Down's Syndrome. The background is a skirt from my closet.

To see more PINK, visit my friend Blue, the host of True Colours Thursday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My First Award - I'm So Excited!

***This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog’s content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, Brilliant.

I was so thrilled to receive this, my very first, blog award from BJ. I am especially honored since BJ is such a talented blogger. Thanks so much, BJ.

The rules:
When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to said person so everyone knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have 7 friends. Show the 7 random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Weblog.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!

Now that you know the rules, here are the honest random things about me: ( I ended up with 15 things).

1) I love lists. I even have a List of lists and once got really excited when I saw a book of lists for sale.

2) I'm an only mother. (My daughter is an only child, so that makes me an only mother, doesn't it)? When I was growing up, I always wanted to adopt children from different countries and cultures and have an international family.

3) A newbie blogger, I am already addicted and, yes I must admit, I am a comment junkie.

4) Sometimes I think Sunshine should be the mother and I should be the daughter.

5) I'm a vegetarian and I don't even like to kill bugs. We even keep a "bug box" at our house for catching unwanted visitors and releasing them outdoors.

6) I love detective shows.

7) I once had a major, MAJOR crush on Paul McCartney.

8) I hardly watch any television, but do enjoy the PBS network "Create."

9) I like Monty Python.

10) I love Christmas music and movies and swear I must be related to Clark Griswold.

11) I'm claustrophobic and I don't like darkness.

12) At one time I considered a career in interior decorating, but instead got a degree in English and have worked the past several years as a banker. (And I still don't know what I want to be when if I grow up).

13) I like cats. Yes, they do have a bit of an attitude, but I feel so special when they condescend to pay me some affection.

14) I took my first airplane flight last October--swore they'd never get me on a plane. I was so proud of myself. I did not succomb to a full-blown panic attack nor did I crawl down the aisle screaming, "STOP THE PLANE AND LET ME OUT, NOW!!!"

15) My grandmothers' maiden names were Wheat & Rice--it's no wonder I'm a carb-oholic!

And now, drum roll, here are the lucky recipients (in no particular order)...

Samantha - I love the pictures and really enjoy reading about your adventures with Holly and Zac.

Rosey - You seem like such a charming person and your posts always make me laugh.

Keith - You are such a talented writer. And I love hearing you read your work.

Gel - I love your poetry and must admit I envy your talent.

Tumblewords - I really like your description of yourself (the "left brain turned right...") and would like to learn more about you. I appreciate your comments; they mean a lot to a beginner like myself.

Linda - I really enjoy reading your poetry and also appreciate your visits and comments to my blog. I also enjoy your other blog Linda's Stuff. Feel free to display this award in either or both blogs.

Lilibeth - I really enjoy your blog. You seem like a really sweet person and I would like to get better acquainted with you.

Snow, Snow Go Away....

This picture was taken through the windshield of my car as I drove to work this morning. As you can see, the road was completely covered.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #147--Phantoms and Shadows

I stared out the window of the quiet room where I sat with my family. It was a lovely spring day, the first day of May, and I watched as the birds outside the window flitted happily from one shrub to another. Outside, the world was bursting forth with life; but death loomed heavily within these walls. I glanced at the old man on the bed, with his gaunt face and scrawny arms. “That is not my Dad,” I mentally screamed. My thoughts turned to the father I had known for most of my life...

Dad worked in a factory and was a backyard mechanic. I remembered his muscled arms and sinewy hands, always black from grease and oil. I smiled to myself. “I don’t think I ever saw Dad with clean hands until he came to the nursing home,” I mused. Dad’s favorite place was his garage, where he spent most of his spare time. It was like his den, a place he could escape from the responsibilities of raising a family and do the mechanic’s work he enjoyed so much. The garage was large. Dad had built it himself and wanted plenty of room to work. Having a self-expressed hatred of “dungeons,” he had left the entire south side of the garage open. Dad almost always had a radio playing and, as kids, my brother and I always enjoyed listening with him to the Grand Ole Opry, various radio ministers and especially the Indianapolis 500, which took place every Memorial Day. Often, Dad would be working at the bench grinder which he had mounted on a large wooden post set in the ground just outside the garage.

Since he had known nothing but hard manual labor all his life, Dad’s only hobby was work. So when he “retired” from the factory, he became caretaker for the local cemetery in order to keep busy. And the month of May was always the busiest one of the year. After a long winter’s hibernation, the young blades of grass pushed enthusiastically through the warm soil, eagerly soaking up the rays of sunshine and gentle spring rains. The little wisps grew rapidly, soon carpeting the cemetery grounds with a plush green cover. Arriving toward the month’s end, Memorial Day always brought a host of visitors who came to decorate graves of loved ones. And, of course, these annual pilgrims expected the grounds to be well manicured. So, early in the month Dad would stand at the bench grinder and sharpen the mower blades, preparing them for the grass cutting task ahead.

I was only vaguely aware of the television which was playing in the background for my attention stayed focused on the bed where my father lay, his life slowly ebbing away as we all sat in silence listening to the shallow breaths grow weaker and farther apart, wondering which one might be the last. Suddenly the melancholy of the moment was interrupted by the sound of engines revving as the sportscaster announced the latest reports from the time trials. I had almost forgotten—it would soon be time for the Indianapolis 500. If Dad were still able to work, he would no doubt be at the bench grinder right now, sharpening the mower blades in preparation for yet another season of grass cutting.

Monday morning we received the call we knew was inevitable—Dad had passed away at 1:00 a.m. We spent the rest of the day taking care of the usual necessary tasks—calling other family members, making arrangements for the services, finding something to wear, etc. By night, we were tired and slept soundly, no longer concerned that our slumber would be interrupted by “the call” we had so dreaded to receive.

Tuesday morning was ushered in by a call from Mom, who said she had just heard from the country neighbors. Mom and Dad had moved to town several years ago, but had kept the family home place, a ten-acre plot in the country consisting of the house where we grew up as well as Dad’s garage. The neighbors had become self-appointed guardians of the property, quickly reporting to my parents any unusual sights, sounds or activities they observed. That was the reason for the phone call this morning. After the usual condolences, the neighbors reported they had heard a noise the night before and thought, perhaps, we might want to check it out.

My husband was conscripted to perform the investigation. After arriving at the property, he parked his vehicle and began to look around. He saw no one and, for that matter, found no evidence of any recent visitors. However, he did hear a noise which sounded like that of a piece of machinery running and appeared to be emanating from the vicinity of Dad’s garage. He continued following the sound until he found the source—it was the bench grinder! The grinder had not been turned on since Dad had last used it about three years ago, but it was running now.

Chills raced up and down my spine as my husband related the story to me. Who would have turned on the grinder and why? Was the whole incident just some sort of strange coincidence? Or was it something else? My heart beat rapidly. Was it possible Dad had asked St. Peter to take a detour on their voyage to the Pearly Gates? Could the episode with the bench grinder have been Dad’s way of saying “I was here for one last visit?” You decide. I know what I think.

Click here for more Sunday Scribblings.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Turquoise!

Better late than never! I had a little trouble locating some turquoise for this week's meme, but a more careful look around the house yielded these finds:

An assortment of wrapping paper & gift bags purchased at an after-Christmas bargain price.

My nice, warm jammies. Really cozy on cold winter nights.

My MP3 player. It has 30 gig of memory and can store lots of music, audiobooks & pictures.

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #146 -- Pilgrimage

The brilliant orange sun painted the western horizon as we pulled out of Williams, Arizona and began the eastward journey to Winslow. We reminisced about the lovely day we had spent at the Grand Canyon, marveling at its majestic beauty, chuckling at the humorous remarks of Thomas, our tour guide and conversing with the four other couples on the tour.

Dusk arrived swiftly, but was soon overtaken by night as darkness descended over the desert landscape and cloaked the beautiful scenery in blackness. The blazing sun was now behind us and the chill of the desert evening was upon us.

Despite the gloomy night, we were still in high spirits as our thoughts turned to our next destination—Winslow Arizona, a town made popular by the Eagles’ song “Take it Easy.” As we contemplated our pilgrimage to visit “The Corner” in Winslow, we began humming the song, and then broke into a duet. The song had a laid-back feel about it that we both enjoyed. What would Winslow be like, we wondered? Nestled between the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest, Hubby imagined it would be a pretty little southwestern town, with glimpses of mountains in the distance. Daughter and I both envisioned a small town, Mainstreet USA setting.

The journey seemed long and the desolate darkness was punctured only by pairs of headlights from cars and trucks on the highly traveled road. But finally we arrived in Winslow and located a Pizza Hut where we enjoyed a good meal. As we headed back to the car, we noticed a nearby Wal-Mart store. “Pizza Hut and Wal-Mart--makes you feel right at home, doesn’t it?” I asked. Daughter, Sunshine, agreed and noted that we should stop at Wal-Mart in the morning so she could purchase a memory stick for her camera.

After a good night’s rest, we arose early for some sunrise pictures. We packed the car, enjoyed some breakfast muffins and were ready to start the day. Sunshine had planned our trip beforehand and I had printed MapQuest directions to all the places we intended to visit. All the MapQuest pages were slipped in sheet protectors and placed in a vinyl notebook which I kept in the front seat at all times. We also had our trusty GPS Unit, Gabriella Poppadopolous Smith, whom we affectionately referred to as “Gabby,” so we should have no problem locating “The Corner.”

Confidently, we left the motel and pulled onto Route 66.
Yes, we were actually traveling on the famous road, the Mother Road, the ultimate symbol of freedom and independence. But, the scenery was not exactly what we had imagined. The buildings were old and run down and the area looked like a desert ghost town. Suddenly the fresh innocence of early morning gave way to an inexplicable sense of foreboding. Was “The Corner” just an evil scheme masterminded by some diabolical being to lure unsuspecting tourists into the town for God only knows what wicked purpose? I almost expected Rod Serling to materialize at any moment, announcing we had just entered the Twilight Zone.

Undaunted by the bleak surroundings, however, we continued driving and, happily, soon reentered civilization. Our hearts began to beat a little faster—it appeared we were approaching the downtown area. Surely our destination could only be around “the corner.”

“Just look for Kinsey Ave.,” I said to Sunshine, all the while watching the street signs myself. I just knew we must be very close by now. The directions were so simple—take I-40 exit 252, then east on Route 66 (Second St.) to Kinsey Ave. Apparently we were already on Second Street, so all we had to do was locate Kinsey Ave. and turn left. Easy street! Well, it should have been easy to locate had we not encountered the dreaded road work sign. As we approached the next intersection, we saw the street was blocked off for repairs.

“No problem-we’ll just take an alternate route,” I said while turning the only direction possible without going the wrong way on a one way street. “It can’t be too hard to find.” Winslow seemed like a fairly small town and, besides, Sunshine and I had always prided ourselves for our keen sense of direction. We would simply try to go a couple blocks south, turn right and continue westward until we reached Kinsey Ave., which would now be to our right.

We had driven only a short distance, however, when we once again encountered the unwelcome street closed for repairs sign. It's nice that Winslow wants to maintian the streets, we mused, but why couldn’t the town wait until we had visited “The Corner.” Then, once we were happily motoring down the road again, Winslow could have begun its street repair project.

We continued driving around town, but were never able to locate “The Corner.” We either came across another street closed sign or found ourselves back where we had started. Our quest for the fabled corner now seemed an increasingly difficult mission if not an outright impossibility. When we found ourselves in a rather seedy-looking part of town, I suggested we try and find that Wal-Mart store we had seen last night. Sunshine could purchase the memory stick and we could ask an associate for directions to “The Corner.”

Fortunately, we located the Wal-Mart store with little difficulty. Sunshine purchased her memory stick and the kind lady in the camera department gave us directions. Soon we were winding through a pleasant residential area. But there was no sight of downtown or “The Corner." We were both concerned that these directions might also lead to yet another dead end. Finally, I verbalized what we both already knew. “Sunshine, if we don’t find it this time, I’m afraid we’ll have to head on to the Petrified Forest.” Our tight schedule had left us little time for cruising the streets of Winslow. But, even if we couldn’t visit “The Corner,” I reasoned, we had already had a great time and there was the promise of more exciting things to come.

“Yeah, I know,” she said. We each tried to keep a stiff upper lip and hide our disappointment from the other. But in reality, we were both quite discouraged at the thought of coming over a thousand miles and being so close, yet not being able to actually visit the site.

It was at this instant we looked up and saw THE SIGN—the beautiful green sign which read “Kinsey Ave.” Our gloom turned to joy! Rays of sunlight broke through the clouds and from the heavens we heard the majestic strains of “The Hallelujah Chorus.” (Well, it may not have happened quite like that, but we were really excited and simultaneously shouted in exuberance, “There’s Kinsey Ave!”).

We found a parking spot and approached the hallowed ground. There was time for pictures and even for a short visit to the corner gift shop across the street. Soon we were back on the road, elated that we had been able to visit the “shrine.” Now we could sign with gusto “Well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see.” Happily, we pulled onto I-40 and headed east toward the Petrified Forest.

Click here for more Sunday Scribblings.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Black!

Here are my BLACK offerings for this week's True Colours Thursday.

This is the front of a tote bag I recently purchased which features none other than Oscar the Grouch . Like shoes, a girl can't own too many totes!

This building is just across the street from "The Corner" in Winslow, Arizona and shows our rental car parked in front.

Here is a closer view of our rental car, Penelope Tocarra "PT" Cruiser.

And finally, this is Black Baby, a dear friend who passed about 2 1/2 weeks ago. We miss you, Beebie.

True Colours Thursday is hosted by my friend Poopsie Blue at My True Colours

Saturday, January 10, 2009

100% Organic Horse Hockey

Now, don’t think from the title that I am anti-organic. Quite the contrary—I have always been interested in adapting a healthy life style. In fact, several years ago, my husband and I became very attracted to organic gardening and self-sufficient living. ..

At that time, he managed the sewing machine store we owned in a nearby town and I worked in the office of a local manufacturing company. One of my co-workers, MJ, was a very frugal older lady who was both an avid gardener and an unabashed animal lover. She was quite pleased to learn that I, a member of the younger generation, was also interested in gardening and so she volunteered to bring me some organic fertilizer.

Friday arrived and, knowing I would have the whole weekend to work in my garden, MJ decided to bring the fertilizer to work. I was ecstatic—she had brought me three large plastic bags of horse manure! You would have thought it was gold. As we lifted the heavy bags into the trunk of my car, I could envision my hard clay soil miraculously transforming into rich dark loam and producing mouth-watering crops of corn, tomatoes, and green beans.

The work day was rather uneventful. I spent my time processing orders and answering customer complaints. Since our shop stayed open until 8:00 on Fridays, I planned to go there after work to help my husband and keep him company. Four o’clock finally arrived. After spending nine hours indoors in a windowless “dungeon,” it would be great to step outside into the sunlight and enjoy a breath of fresh air.

As I opened the door and descended the steps, my nostrils were assaulted by the most horrid stench imaginable! I immediately clamped my hand over my face. “What in the world could produce such a sickening odor?” I wondered. Just then I realized the awful aroma was emanating from the trunk of my car where the organic fertilizer had been cooking (or rather, decomposing) in the hot sun for the past nine hours!

Hoping for some small relief from the stench, I quickly opened the car door only to find the smell had become even more concentrated, permeating every inch of the small, enclosed space. The obscene odor, I feared, might have even penetrated to the molecular level. Not knowing what else to do, I started the engine and began the twenty-five mile trip to our store.

Once on the open road, I rolled down the car window. By this time my lungs were desperate for some fresh, clean air. But, alas, there was none. For the stagnant putrid air inside the car had co-mingled with the noxious fumes erupting from the trunk, producing a malodorous monster which re-entered the car with a vengeance and attacked my nauseous nostrils.

I pinched my nose, clamped my mouth shut, and held my breath as long as I could. Eventually, however, the survival instinct took over and I sucked in a breath of the noxious air. As quickly as possible, I again covered my nostrils and lips, gasping for a quick breath only as a last resort. This process was repeated for the entire trip. It was unquestionably the longest 30 minutes I can ever remember.

In addition to olfactory anguish was the dread of breaking the news to my husband that I had despoiled our primary means of transportation, probably rendering it worthless. He was unable to protest since the foul odor had left him semi-conscious and in a completely passive state of stupor. (Well, maybe that last sentence is a bit of an exaggeration). Anyway, we did grow a wonderful garden that year. And, despite my misgivings, the organic produce was scrmptuous and didn’t taste a bit like equestrian excrement!

Visit Sunday Scribblings for more organic reading.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

True Colours Thursday - Purple!

I had a hard time finding anything purple. I searched and searched and finally found this cute little fellow:

He was a gift from a customer/friend. Isn't he adorable?

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend Blue

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #144 -- for richer or poorer

It was Monday, the 29th of May, our wedding anniversary. Having just turned 21 a few months earlier, my husband and I were now officially adults, albeit still poor college students. Since there was no school, we had the whole day to celebrate our first anniversary.

My thoughts turned to our lovely wedding. It had been a very simple outdoor ceremony, attended only by close family members. There was no money for a lavish wedding, though my unpretentious husband would never have agreed to any such copious event had our budget allowed it. The weather that Saturday had been picture perfect – fluffy cotton clouds floated in the cerulean blue sky and the spring sunshine smiled upon us, basking us in warmth as we said our vows. There was no money for a honeymoon--that would have to wait till another time.

“How do you want to celebrate our anniversary?” my husband asked. The question brought me back to the present.

“Hmm….. I don’t know.” (I never did like to make those important decisions). "Maybe we could just go for a drive.” I said, ignoring the ominous-looking rainclouds that were forming in the sky above us.

So we hopped into hubby’s 1966 Dodge Charger, which he had purchased for the whopping sum of $96, and headed for... anywhere.

As we neared the local grocery store, hubby said, “Do you want to stop and get a snack?”

“Sure, let’s do.”

A few minutes later, we returned to the car with a bag of chips and some pop. The Charger seemed to point in a westerly direction, so we obliged.

“How about we stop at the ‘rez’ and feed the ducks?” Hubby asked.

“Sounds good to me.”

As we started to enter the reservoir area, the grey clouds began to release the rain they had been storing all morning.

“Guess we’ll just have to watch the ducks, today,” I said, not letting the rain dampen my spirit.

So, we sat in the car, eating our chips and drinking our pop. Observing the circles created by the drops of rain as they plopped onto the surface of the water, we mused how wonderful it was that ducks were waterproof and basked in the warmth of each other’s company. The drip-drop of the rain on the windshield reminded us of the pitter-patter of tiny feet that was sure to greet us when we returned home. (No, we didn’t have any children yet-- I refer to Tabitha, our first kitty).

Fast forward several years:
We were blessed with a lovely daughter. Tabitha lived to the ripe old age of 19, and we have adopted and loved many other cats since her. We still live in the bungalow where hubby grew up. And although we have never yet taken that honeymoon, we are still enjoying our life together as best friends. Tell me, am I shamefully rich or what!

Click here for more Sunday Scribblings.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

True Colours Thursday--Gold!

Angel with star

Music note bell


Angel holding candle

This is "Elphie," my GOLD colored camera which I acquired in mid-November. "Elphie" and I are still getting acquainted, but hope for lots of good shots in 2009. Happy New Year to all!

True Colours Thursday is hosted by friend, Blue.