Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sepia Saturday: A Smooth Operator and Some Traveling Men

I was delighted to read that this week's Sepia Saturday theme is WORK, because it gives me the opportunity to post two of my all-time favorite photos. Both of them have been posted here before, but it's been nearly six years, and the clothes alone make them worth a repeat.

My maternal grandmother, Lola (a/k/a Mammaw), keeps popping up in these Sepia Saturday posts, and she's here again today. Lola worked as a telephone operator in Waynesville, Missouri, in 1917, two years before she met and married my grandfather.

In 1984 she wrote this to my daughter (spelling and punctuation are hers):  "I hope you and your boyfriend are doing fine go with him and get really acquianted. But that was not my case. I was going to bussiness college in another city from my home town a girl friend ask me to doubledate with a boy just home from the army (WWI) and we went to a show, that was on the 10th of July and the 1st of Oct. we were married 47 yrs. (or until death did we part) and it wasn't always a bed of roses, we had our ups and downs."

Switching to my father's side of the family, the other work-related photo I want to show you features my great-great-grandfather, Samuel (on the left below), and his son, my great-grandfather, Ernest. The photo doesn't show them on the job, but the tools of their trade make it obvious what kind of work they did.

These two were originally from upstate New York. Their work as carpenters kept them traveling to the mid-west, and the family eventually settled in Stone County, Missouri.


The photo of Mammaw was the inspiration for this week's Saturday Song Selection. I can never hear this song without being mentally transported back to New York, where I heard it first when my own growing family lived there in the mid-1970s. Old photos and old songs. Nostalgia. It gets to me every time.


The song is "Operator" by Jim Croce. 
(Click here to read the lyrics.) 
Thanks to maxstratos for posting this video on YouTube. 

Now, get to WORK and see what other Sepia Saturday bloggers have posted this week. Just click on the image below to find them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What I'm Reading Today: More Nora Roberts

Having read the first of Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet series a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find the other three books at my nearest library branch so I could read them consecutively. They've occupied my reading time for a week now. As I turn the pages of the fourth and final book, I'm already wishing for a fifth one. I like these characters, and I'll miss them when they're gone.

It's too bad fictional characters don't live on in Facebook pages.

For a description and reviews of any of these books,
click on its image above.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March Magic

Time Marches On
My older daughter turns 50 today. How could half a century pass by so quickly? And when did 50 get to be so young? Because she is young, that one, whether she realizes it or not. She's young enough to have hopes and dreams and aspirations, yet old enough to understand that many of life's blessings occur in the small moments, not just in the big, splashy ones. Fifty is a great place to be.

The azaleas started blooming in February this year, 
but it was in March that they became magnificent.

Marching to the Beat of a Different iPod Shuffle
The cardiologist I visited at the end of February told me, among other things, to walk half an hour a day. It's taken me a few weeks to get myself mentally geared up for that, but this morning I did it. It turns out that getting started was much harder than the walking itself.

Rather than using a watch to make sure I'm putting in enough time, I've decided to walk through ten songs on my iPod. The average song is around three minutes long, I think, so depending on which ones the shuffle feature chooses, I'll do thirty minutes, more or less, and I'll vary my pace to fit the music. (I only hope I can remember to control the volume when I get to the parts of the music that always make me bust out and sing along.)

Where Mother Nature tends the Louisiana
 land by herself, it is raw, lush, wild, and full of life.

Hopping, Jumping, Leaping, Flying...or Not
With the bird feeders freshly cleaned and filled, my patio is once again a hub of activity. Levi loves to catch lizards, and I was concerned that he'd turn those instincts toward the birds. So far, I needn't have worried. The other day I left him outside by himself for a while. When I went to let him in, I found him lying peacefully on the mat right outside the backdoor, watching half a dozen sparrows peck at seeds on the ground around him. I wonder how those birds knew they could trust him; they never get that close to me.

Where my son-in-law tends it, 
the land is pristine, plush, and tame--
and still full of life.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

There's Nothing Sepia About This Saturday (except this post)

It is a glorious, technicolor day, warm but not hot, with a breeze that feels like a soft caress on my face and arms. Everything about this day shouts "SPRING!" Nevertheless, here I sit, indoors at the computer, because challenges intrigue me just that much.

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt is GOING OUT, and it almost stumped me. I have plenty of old photos of people who are dressed up but don't appear to be going anywhere. There are people lined up on stairsteps and people posing on the street, in a park, even two people dressed up in business clothes on a beach. Other folks are wearing their going-out clothes but are, in fact, merely posing formally in a photographer's studio.

I considered using one particular photo of a large group of family members gathered on the front steps because I'm pretty sure that all those relatives were in the same place at the same time because of a funeral. I thought that one could be twisted to fit the theme, but then I realized that the honoree of the occasion, the person who was actually "going out," wasn't in the shot.

Finally I found two photos I thought would do. The first one dates back to the 1940s and features my grandmother, Lola.

She was definitely out and about, but she doesn't look very happy about it. She was a very pleasant person and probably would have had a happier expression on her face if she'd been going to meet her lady friends for lunch or a movie, so I'm thinking there's nothing festive about this photo. She might have been going to work. Or to the dentist. Or maybe she was going someplace fabulous and was just annoyed that some mid-20th century paparazzo popped out and snapped her picture.

The only other photo I found that somewhat fits the theme is one I know I've posted here before, though I don't remember when or in what context. This one is from late 1944 or early 1945 and

I was clearly pretending that I was going out, just as I am pretending today that these two photos suit the theme. In this picture I was obviously discussing the feeding schedule of my child with her babysitter (my uncle Joe). I don't know where I thought I was going, but with those shoes and that killer hat, it must have been someplace fancy.


We're going out for today's Saturday Song Selection, too. Where? Why, "Downtown," of course:


The song (from 1964) is "Downtown" by Petula Clark.
(Click here to read the lyrics.) 
Thanks to nyrainbo2 for posting this video on YouTube.

Click the image below
 to see a list of other bloggers who are GOING OUT this week:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wiggles and Trievy: BFFs (another sappy dog story)

When my sister and I were little, our family dog was a small, black and white terrier named Wiggles. The name suited him well; he was rarely still.

(Left to right) Linda, Wiggles, Judy

Wiggles was nominally our uncle Joe's dog, but we didn't pay much attention to that technicality, and neither did Joe. Or Wiggles. Wiggles seemed to think of himself as his own dog. And, in a way, he was.

There were no leash laws in those days, and the few dogs in the neighborhood came and went as they pleased (except for Susie, the pampered Chihuahua four doors down). Wiggles showed up at our house most days, but it wasn't uncommon for him to go missing for a day or two. In fact, he made such a habit of wandering that we weren't the only people who thought we owned him.

One day, after Wiggles had been gone for a couple of days, I saw him sitting on the sidewalk halfway down the block. I called him by name, then realized there was a man at the end of the block who was also calling him--by a different name. Wiggles just sat there, his head swiveling slowly back and forth between me and the man, then lay down and rested his head on his paws right where he was.

Where he was was right in front of the Wheelises' house. The Wheelises lived three doors down from us, and Jimmy Wheelis was good friends with my uncle Joe.

Joe and Wiggles

Fittingly, Jimmy's dog, Trievy (pronounced TREE-vee, probably short for retriever, though I don't think he was one) was Wiggles' best friend. Nine times out of ten, where Wiggles was, Trievy was, too.

Trievy and Judy

Trievy was also black and white, but he was at least four times as big as Wiggles. Trievy had long, fluffy hair, while Wiggles' hair was short and flat, and Trievy's ears were big and floppy, while Wiggles' ears turned down only at the tips. 

They were quite a sight, those two in their matching colors, parading purposefully down the sidewalks or through the alley, always trotting along, side by side, as if they had an appointment and didn't want to be late. If Wiggles decided to lie on our front porch and soak up the afternoon sun, Trievy lay right there with him, and my sister and I contentedly scratched both bellies. We loved Trievy as much as we loved Wiggles.

One afternoon late, a neighbor came to our house carrying Wiggles in his arms. The neighbor had seen Wiggles and Trievy playing tug-of-war with an old rag earlier in the day. Later, the neighbor had noticed that Wiggles appeared to be injured and had gone outside to see what was wrong with him.

The rag that the dogs had played with had been full of fishhooks, and a number of those hooks were now imbedded in Wiggles' lips and on the inside of his mouth. Trievy stood at the neighbor's side as he handed Wiggles to my grandfather, and Trievy watched as both grandparents put Wiggles in the car and drove him away to the vet.

It was dusk when they came home. Wiggles had never been allowed in the house, but that evening Mammaw and Packy carried him inside, still unconscious from the anesthesia, and laid him on a folded blanket in a cardboard box next to the warm floor register in the living room.

By breakfast time the next morning, we were happy to see that Wiggles was up and around and still in the house (though that wouldn't last for long). As we ate our cereal and toast, my grandmother told us we'd had a visitor in the middle of the night. Well after midnight, she said, she'd heard a scratching noise at the front door. When she'd gotten out of bed to check on it, she'd discovered Trievy standing there. Now, if Wiggles had never been allowed in the house before, Trievy certainly hadn't been either, but that night Mammaw let him in. He walked straight to the box where Wiggles lay, still out cold, stood there a moment sniffing Wiggles from nose  to tail, then turned around and waited at the door to be let outside.


Why am I telling this story now? Because that's the kind of faithful friend I want for Levi. And I think I know where that friend might be.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Odds and Ends

In the absence of anything meaty enough to fill a whole blog post, I'll just toss out these few bones:

Bad Weather
We had a couple of hours of thunderstorms this morning, along with a tornado that touched down and damaged several homes about five miles away. So far I haven't heard of any injuries, thank goodness.

It rained hard enough at my house that little waves
were forming at the edge of the carport.

On a lighter note, I must add that, after having lived so long with the severely storm-phobic Kadi and Butch, it was quite a change this morning to huddle on the sofa and watch televised weather alerts while Levi eagerly nudged me with his tennis ball.

The Garbage Incident
The raw-meat-filled garbage can I forgot to take out last week turned out to be a problem only in my mind. For some reason, the odor never got strong. There were no buzzards, no maggots. When I went out to push the can to the curb last night, there was one fly and one tiny green lizard on top of the can. I got lucky this time. 

A few days ago Levi woke me up in the middle of the night by standing tall next to my bed, his front paws on the mattress, and leaning down to lick my face. As soon as he knew I was awake, he walked over and put his nose on my purse, which was in a bedroom chair. After I lay there for a few seconds trying to figure out what the heck he was doing, I suddenly heard the very faint sequence of musical notes my cell phone makes when the battery is about to die. Wasn't that smart? I feel safer now that I know he stays on top of things.

March is a busy birthday month in our family. Both of my daughters were born in March, as was my great-grandson, Owen. We've already celebrated one daughter's birthday, and plans are underway for a small party for the other one toward the end of the month. The biggest event occurred this past weekend when Owen turned two. His mother is super creative and threw him a "planes, trains, and automobiles" party. I had the best time watching all the little kids, especially when they raced in colorfully painted cars made from cardboard boxes with paper-plate wheels. 

Here's an after-party photo of Owen with one of his favorite presents:

Photo by Kalyn Hoover

Also, it didn't skip by me that Butch would have been 14 years old on the 19th of this month. I miss that sweet old dog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What I'm Reading Today: The Pact: A Love Story

This book explores the impact of a teenager's suicide on everyone who is touched by it. I wasn't sure I wanted to dive into such a dark subject on a beautiful weekend, but I find myself thinking about the story even when I'm not reading it, so I might as well pick up the book and see what happens next. Just have to remember to come up for air every now and then.

Click on the image above for a
description and reviews of this book.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Switching Allegiances

In the second grade I had a choice between being a Bluebird (the junior version of a Camp Fire Girl) or a Brownie (the younger version of a Girl Scout). I don't remember why I decided on the Bluebirds, but I suspect it had something to do with the uniforms. Bluebirds wore red, white, and blue, and Brownies wore...well, brown.

In the photo below, taken in 1948, I am the first girl on the left. The girl next to me was wearing a Brownie uniform, and the girl on the far right of the photo was wearing her Bluebird uniform (see the tiny bluebird on her breast pocket?). It was clearly troop meeting day. Now, if you were to call attention to the fact that the expression on my face indicates that my mind was a million miles away, I could only respond by guessing what I was thinking then: "How the heck did I forget to wear my uniform today?" And then I would have figured out a way to blame it on my mother.

(Left to right) Donald Smith, me, Linda Edmonds, Jean Lee Benning

I have vivid memories of two things that happened while I was a Bluebird: One week we made Rice Krispie marshmallow treats. (My carb-free lifestyle doesn't allow them now,  but I can still taste them in my mind.) Another time we went on a field trip. It involved a short ride on a train, followed by the chance to run around on someone's pasture land. There was a large bull nearby, separated from us by a barbed wire fence, and I was firmly convinced that the bull was going to be attracted by my red sweater and charge me on the spot. I thought my death might be imminent (though I didn't yet know the word, "imminent"), but there I was, running around in little circles and figure-eights like a nitwit, holding the red sweater high in one upraised hand, waving it, simultaneously screaming and laughing for my friends' amusement. 

I stayed in the Bluebirds for only one year. Apparently, I wasn't much into commitments in those days. In the third, fourth, and fifth grades I didn't join any groups, but in sixth, when I was 11, I decided to give it another try. That time I joined the Girl Scouts, despite never having been a Brownie. Why the switch? Probably because my best friends were Girl Scouts instead of Camp Fire Girls. Possibly because the green uniform of the Girl Scouts would have emphasized the color of my eyes. As the following photo demonstrates, I was quite a fashion icon by then:

Can you believe I'm actually posting this photo on a public website? (Of course you can believe it; I just told you I waved a red sweater in front of a bull, so you already know I make dumb decisions sometimes.) And can you tell that I was doing my own pin curls by that time? I don't know if the Girl Scouts had a hairdressing badge, but I'm pretty sure I could have been a scout for years and never earned one.

I dropped out of Girl Scouts after a single year, too. The funny thing is that I know I was a Girl Scout, but I have no memory whatsoever of doing anything with my scout troop. Not a meeting, not cookie sales, not anything. Is it possible that one look at this picture just erased the entire Girl Scout experience from my mind?


My older daughter, Kim, followed in my footsteps and became a Bluebird in 1969, when she was in second grade. I still remember the look of exasperation on her face when she returned home from her first candy-selling trip around our block, plopped her carton of candy boxes on the kitchen counter, and said, "Sheesh! Some people just close the door right in your face!"

Kim went on to sell more candy than anyone else in her troop that year. Her prize for her candy sales achievement was a week at sleepover camp, but I, her overprotective mother, thought she was too young. We traded it in for two weeks of day camp instead.

As for that banged-up, cardboard, Camp Fire candy carton, I've somehow managed to hold on to it. For nearly 43 years, through a number of local moves and half a dozen cross-country ones, it has held bits of ribbon and lace, zippers and threads, and lived in a closet next to my sewing machine. I'm careful with my kids and my cardboard boxes.


The song I've chosen for this week's Saturday Song Selection is from 1963. Come to think of it, this song may have unduly influenced my decision not to let Kim go to sleepover camp.


The song is "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" by Allan Sherman.
Thanks to bohemister for posting this video (complete with lyrics) on YouTube.

Click the image below
 to find other bloggers who have posted
scout-related photos this week:

Friday, March 16, 2012


Here's a picture of Levi three weeks ago:

Here's a picture now:

And here's what happened in between, when I sat on the floor with Levi and a pair of scissors for three hours:

He was very good about it. Maybe we can make this home-grooming work.

What I'm Reading Today: Vision in White

It's interesting to me how much I still enjoy a good romance novel at the age of 69--even though I now skip right over the sex scenes. I like knowing that the characters have reached that stage of their relationship, but it's the story that appeals to me, not the play-by-play in the bedroom.

Nora Roberts' love stories are the literary equivalent of a candy bowl filled with M&Ms: there's nothing in there that will stick to your ribs, but once you've had a delicious taste, you'll keep dipping in until the bowl is empty. I'm enjoying this first book in her Bride Quartet and looking forward to getting my hands on the next three volumes.

Click the image above for a
description and reviews of this book.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I think I'm in trouble here

Yesterday I cleaned out my freezer. There was meat in there from as far back as 2010. I would have cleaned it long before this, but I wanted to do it no more than a day before garbage day, and I only ever thought of it right after garbage day.

The garbage goes out on Tuesday night for Wednesday morning pickup. Yesterday, putting groceries away after a trip to the store, it occurred to me that it was Tuesday. Such is the state of my life that I was actually excited by the realization that I could knock this project out and check it off my list. I threw stuff away until I had one and a half tall-kitchen-can bags of frozen meat and vegetables. I quickly discovered I couldn't lift the one full bag, so I repacked everything into three bags and lugged them to the can outside.

It was too early to take the can to the curb. In this neighborhood we all take our trash cans out after dark, so nobody has to look at the ugly blue hulks, lined up like sentries, in the light of day.

So. Yesterday afternoon I knew it was Tuesday. By nightfall, I had forgotten it was. I never fail  to take the garbage out; you might know I'd do it this time.

It was ten o'clock this morning before I remembered the three bags of meat that are  thawing rapidly no more than 25 feet from my front door. The temperature is supposed to reach into the 70s and 80s every day this week, warm enough that I'm pretty sure the meat will begin to rot by this afternoon and to smell at least by tomorrow.

I wonder how long it will take for the buzzards to get a whiff of it. I wonder how many buzzards it takes to lift the lid off a garbage can. Is that even in their skill set? I would estimate that there is at least six armadillos' worth of old ground beef, stew meat, chicken and fish inside that can. How many buzzards do you think that would feed? If they all show up at once, will we be able to back our cars out of the carport around them? Will we even dare to open our doors if that many food-frenzied buzzards are hanging around?

On the other hand, what if the buzzards don't come near the house? What if they just circle overhead, menacingly, and wait until next week, after I've held my breath, stifled my gag reflex, and pushed the reeking can all the way to the end of the driveway? Will the garbage truck driver not notice the flock of ghastly black birds and the cartoon-like, wavy lines of foul odor emanating from my trash can? Will he not see this as evidence of foul play? Will he not call his supervisor, who will then contact the authorities, so that traffic will be tied up on our busy, two-lane road for hours while white-suited, crime scene investigators rip apart my garbage bags in search of human body parts?

I'd haul it all away today by myself, but a) I have no idea where to take it, and b) I'm not about to put those by-now-nasty bags in my car.

This is not good, people.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What I'm Reading Today: Islands and Burnt Mountain

I've been reading a lot of Anne Rivers Siddons' books in the past few months and have enjoyed most of them tremendously. Right now I'm halfway through Islands and am quite fond of its characters.

Click on the image above for a
description and reviews of the book.

Over the weekend I read another of her books, Burnt Mountain. I liked it, too, in the beginning, but it all sort of fell to pieces near the end and left me feeling unsatisfied and unsettled.

Click on the image above for a
description and reviews of the book.

But that's okay. She has a good enough track record that I'll try to find more of her books next time I go to the library.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Hazel and the Bob

Hazel Belle Willis was 16 years old when she wrote the following in her diary:

May 22, 1923:
I'm simply dying to bob my hair! But John [her stepfather] says I can't--Mama says maybe I can.--so there! Oh, yes! the most important thing happened last Sat.,--Marie had her hair bobbed! Lucky child!

A few days later Hazel met my great-uncle, Loren Elliott, who was a year older than she. She wrote about it here:

May 26, 1923:
Well, caro diary, the seniors graduated last night. Flo saw Loren Elliot as she was coming home--and he asked where I live--she told him--so tonight Clifford & Flo--Loren and I went to the show. I don't know him hardly at all--but Flo says he's nice--so I guess she knows--he certainly seems nice, anyway.

Several later entries in Hazel's diary mention that she received letters from Loren, and others mention visits, which leads me to believe they must have lived in neighboring towns that summer. Her comments about Loren were always favorable, but she certainly wasn't swooning over him. In those early days of their acquaintance, Hazel seemed more interested in her friends--and her hair:

June 13, 1923:
Oh honey, 13 is my lucky number!--I had my hair bobbed about an hour ago,--surely am glad--but feel awful silly.

Hazel was a beauty, and Loren must have liked the bob. He stuck around. They were married in 1926, three years after that summer when they first met, and they stayed married for more than 64 years, until Loren's death in 1991.

Hazel herself passed away in 1997. My mother and sister went to Florida for her funeral, and Mother brought back Hazel's diaries and gave them to me. I love to pull out one of those diaries from time to time, to read Hazel's brief commentaries, to see what things she stuck between the pages.

She was beautiful on the inside, too.


In keeping with the content of this post, here's today's Saturday Song Selection:


The song is "Diary" by Bread.
Thanks to cyberman000051 for posting this video on YouTube--and for including the lyrics.

Click the image below
 to see what other bloggers have posted this week
for Sepia Saturday's HAIR theme:

Thursday, March 08, 2012

A little cash on the side. Yeah, right.

My visit to the cardiology clinic on Tuesday entailed a lot of waiting between various phases of the nuclear stress test, which meant I was stuck in the waiting room for long periods of time with a number of other people in the same situation. Near me sat a man and his wife. The man was taking the stress test, and his wife was creating stress by talking loudly to anyone who would listen to her.

At one point when I was the person seated closest to the woman (Kim had been there with me but had left for a few minutes to run an errand), someone on the TV news mentioned marijuana. That was all it took for the woman to begin telling me what a big problem drugs are in the parish where she lives.

She said that a recent drug bust in the parish prison "proved that the police must be in on it, because how else are those prisoners getting drugs?" As further evidence, she cited relatives of hers, saying, "Everyone in that family sells drugs," and adding, "I've called the cops on them more'n once, told 'em where to go, what time to go, and all that, and the cops never did nothin'."

In the next few minutes she told me how drug use had affected her immediate family, resulting in her son's current imprisonment. "I've spent so much money on him over the years you wouldn't believe it, but never again. I told him I won't spend another dime on him; I'll gamble my money away instead."

What do you do when someone you've never seen before in your life begins sharing personal information with you--loudly--in a public place? All I did was listen and try to nod or shake my head sympathetically as seemed appropriate to her most recent revelation. But in the end, just before the woman's husband returned and she changed the subject, I had to bite my tongue to keep from responding.

"It's all the Medicare people," she said in a disapproving tone of voice. "Those Medicare people can get all the drugs they want. Doctors just give 'em to 'em, as many as they want, and then they turn around and sell 'em. That's where all the drugs are coming from, those Medicare people. Someone needs to put a stop to it."

I'm a "Medicare person." It wouldn't have occurred to me in a million years to ask my doctor for extra pills so I'd have some to sell. It wouldn't even have occurred to me to share my personal business and opinions with a complete stranger in a doctor's waiting room. But that's just me. I'd rather spill my guts here.

So, are any of you readers making a killing in the prescription drug trade? Looks like I'm losing out again. I wonder how many other business opportunities I've blindly failed to recognize.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A piece of cake

That's what the nuclear stress test turned out to be. I wouldn't have dreaded it nearly as much if I'd known that I would get to be the one to say when I'd been on the treadmill long enough. I don't get a lot of physical exercise, so I was fairly fearful at the idea of staying on a treadmill, its speed and slope steadily increasing, until some Nurse Ratchet-type told me I could stop. In fact, I had created an entire slideshow of mental images of myself lying face down, arms and legs tangled around various posts, while the still moving treadmill  scraped against the side of my face.

It wasn't a bit like that. And my knees didn't hurt at all during the test! And the nurses were nice, too!


Now I'm feeling good. Good enough that tonight I'm going to a birthday party, at which I'll completely replenish my supply of positive energy from abundant sources of love, laughter, and Mexican food.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Treading lightly

"Tread lightly upon this earth, seeing, understanding, but never imposing.
Thoughtful, independent, be gracious in victory and defeat. 
Free of possessiveness, so ease of mind sweetens relationships. 
Like the scent of a rose the untroubled spirit imparts a lasting fragrance."
- Author Unknown

Sometimes it takes a little work to keep my head in a really good place, but I feel grateful  to have learned over the years what's effective and what isn't in that effort. Words like those quoted above always help me to focus on the peaceful, harmonious state of mind I strive to cultivate. At present I feel blessed to have peace of mind, a positive outlook, and beautiful weather to boot.

The temperature here is in the mid-70s, warm enough to eat breakfast and lunch on the patio, an activity I've missed in the winter months. A good book is part of that picture, too, and even if I have to stop every other paragraph to throw Levi's ball, I'm happy out there. Yesterday and today, the world as viewed from my backyard has been crayon colored--not  the pastels of crayons on paper, but the brilliant hues of wax crayons in the box. The big box.

Friday's weather was warmer and greyer, and, though a predicted storm never materialized, there was a storm of a different sort in my front yard. Just before dinnertime, there was a loud explosion and the power went out. I stepped outside to see neighbors standing in my driveway, looking at the telephone pole at the end of it, from which loose lines hung and flew in multiple directions. A couple of those lines lay across the road. As it was rush hour, traffic was heavy, and the driver of one vehicle either didn't see or didn't care about the lines in the road. As he sped over one of them, his wheels kicked it up and it tangled around his axle, making him wobble across the center line, then bringing him to an unexpected, screeching halt two doors down. Fortunately, no one ran into him, and no one was injured. Our electric company sent a truck out right away, accompanied by sheriff's vehicles to regulate traffic on the two-lane road, and when our power was restored within the hour, we actually raised our arms and cheered the guys who made it happen.

I've had multiple medical appointments in the last week or so. Those often stress me out (the waiting alone can sometimes do it), but I've been able to keep the zen thing going through all of them. One day it was the doctor, then the lab for blood tests, then the dentist, and then a first-time visit to a cardiologist, prompted by a recent episode of arrhythmia. The cardiologist was reassuring. He tweaked my hypertension meds a little bit and told me to come back and see him in a year. In the meantime, as a precaution, he scheduled me for a stress test. There's a history of heart disease and strokes in my family, so it makes sense to be sure I'm not already walking down that same path.

Tomorrow I'll be treading as fast as I can go. Until my heart, lungs, and knees have made it through that test (and except for the two hours I'll spend tonight watching "The Bachelor: The Women Tell All"), I'll continue to gather as much positive, peaceful energy around me as I can.

With that thought in mind, there's only one thing left to say: "Ommmmmmmmmmmm."


Thanks to mrinalpatna for sharing this YouTube video.

What I'm Reading Today: Blessings

Just finished this one this morning, actually. It's a sweet story, though not a riveting one.

Click on the image above for a
description and reviews of this book.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Fun and Games

This week's Sepia Saturday photo prompt is GAMES. I didn't think I had an image that would fit that theme, but I soon found this one, dated Christmas 1951:  
There's no interesting backstory to this photo, but I do like the reflection of my mother's hand in the mirror over my sister's head. As for the game we were playing, I don't remember it at all. Do you recognize it? A search of Google images turned up a Groucho Marx TV Quiz game that looked similar but not identical to the one on my lap. Ours may have been an earlier version of that game, or it may have been something completely different.


Now, leave it to me to turn a post about games--presumably a fun thing--into something maudlin. I'm trying to let Sepia Saturday play nicely with my regularly posted Saturday Song Selection, and every "game" song that came to mind was about the game of love. We all know, of course, that when love is spoken of as a game, it doesn't end well.

Anyway, the song I chose is "The Crying Game." I love the Boy George version that's on my iPod. While looking for the best YouTube video of that one, I came across an earlier version (1964) by Dave Berry. Hmm. I always thought the Boy George version was the original. By virtue of vintage alone, the older version seemed to be the best fit here, so if you like good songs and you might actually enjoy seeing interesting images of people crying, this one should be right up your alley:


The song is "The Crying Game" by Dave Berry.
(Click here to read the lyrics.) 
Thanks to rikkyhardo for posting this video on YouTube.

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