A Thankful Hodgepodge…

Since it’s almost Thanksgiving, I’d like to give thanks for our hostess, Joyce, who makes this fun meme possible each week.  For 199 weeks, Joyce has done an awesome job of providing varied and thought-provoking questions, and she visits every participant, which takes a good chunk of her time. Joyce is an awesome hostess!

I’d also like to give thanks for all those who stop by this blog, each week, and take the time to leave a comment. They have become very special to me, and I treasure their thoughts, words, and friendship.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it’s also National Game and Puzzle Week…what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?

I played ‘Lucky Ducks’ with my grandson, Chase, last Thursday morning.  It’s a ‘pick up the ducks’ kind of game, where you try to collect all of the ducks that have your shape on the bottom.

No, I have not worked any kind of puzzle in quite a while!  I don’t have patience for that anymore.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?

Home sweet home! There’s no better place in the world.  Of course,  I am also thankful for beautiful little St. Simon’s Island, because it’s just a short drive away, and it’s lovely there. It’s my ‘island get-away’.

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores…which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? For those of you playing along who aren’t in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.

Take a nap, of course!  I’m not a fan of football or shopping on Thanksgiving. Not to mention, after cooking, I’ll be too tired to take a walk!

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what’s your favorite home cooked meal?

That’s a tough one, but I’ll say roast beef, with potatoes, carrots, and onions (in gravy), served with rice and a garden-grown vegetable, or two, like peas or corn. Oh, and some cornbread for Ed!

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?

I’m going to have to pass on this question because I don’t watch infomercials! I record everything I watch, so I can zip past any commercials.

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

I’m basically finished with my Christmas shopping, and I’m so glad!  I did most of my shopping the easy way– online.

I won’t be shopping on Black Friday, but I might take advantage of a few Cyber Monday sales.  I don’t think the stores should open on Thanksgiving Day. People should to be able to have the day off!

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?

I’m most grateful for my family!  Life would be so empty without them. Sometimes, when we’re all together again, and the house is extremely full of chatter, as everyone catches up with one another, I sit and look at all of them in awe. How blessed I am!

100_3120Our family on last Thanksgiving 

Random:  

For some reason, I’m experiencing technical difficulties when I try to leave comments on other people’s blogs.  I keep getting the message “You don’t own this identity” whenever I type in my user name at the end of a comment!  I’ve requested help with this, from WordPress, but the problem hasn’t been resolved yet.  For now, I’ll be commenting under my second blog name of  Maddie/CadesMimi.

 

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Published in: on November 26, 2014 at 8:18 am  Comments (9)  
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Memory Monday ~ Mama…

I sighed when I first saw today’s prompt for Memory Monday. My mother was a complex woman, and to sum her up in a few paragraphs is almost impossible.  I knew writing this post could prove to be difficult, and it was.

Mama was the youngest of five children.  She had three sisters and a brother.  I’m pretty sure she was her daddy’s favorite child, and she was definitely the most like him.  Both were ‘head-strong’ people with bad tempers.

Mama’s parents decided to name her Jessie Nell, partially after an uncle (Uncle Jessie), but mama would have none of that.  When she married and left home, she left her name behind, as well, proclaiming herself to be “Jackie”.  In the end, however, almost everyone ended up just calling her “Jack”.

6-29-2010 7;34;31 AM old fam pics2

There’s an old nursery rhyme that reminds me of Mama.  It goes something like this, “There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.  When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.  Those words could have been written about my mama.

My parents used to tell this story:  When daddy talked with mama’s parents about marrying their daughter, they sort of tried to talk him out of it.  They told him how ‘head-strong’ she was, and said that he’d have his hands full if he married her.  He married her anyway.  My grandparents didn’t lie.  Daddy certainly had his hands full with mama, but he loved her with all of his heart, which was obvious to anyone who knew them.

7-2-2010 11;10;31 AMpics cir. 68 or 694
If I had to choose one word to describe life with mama, it would be “turbulent”. When times were good, they were very good, but, suddenly, everything could change at the drop of a hat.  I could never understand mama, while growing up, or for many years afterward. The answer finally came, in the last years of mama’s life, when she was finally diagnosed with and bipolar disorder.  I suspect my granddaddy suffered from it, too.  As if bipolar disorder wasn’t enough, Mama’s life was further complicated by the fact that she suffered from anxiety, and alcoholism, too.  By the time I was seven, mama had already experienced a ‘nervous breakdown’, and was well on the way to becoming an out-of-control alcoholic.

During the good times, Mama was awesome.  She was a lot of fun, full of energy, and she kept everyone laughing. Mama loved cooking, keeping house, and she also loved growing flowers.  During her mid-life, Mama spent several years working in a sewing factory.  I always found this to be amusing, since Mama couldn’t sew a stitch!  Mama worked as a trimmer, cutting dangling threads from finished garments, and she became a treasured employee.

Throughout her life, Mama was always working on one home improvement project or another.  Some of mama’s most ‘memorable’ projects were the time she ‘feather painted’ the bathroom red and white, then painted the fireplace bricks red and white, as well.  Mama had the ‘Christmas Look’ going on, in her house, year ’round, and she liked it!

During the bad times, Mama would often have awful temper tantrums.  She’d say and do awful things to anybody and everybody, it didn’t matter who they were.  Mama could say and do the most hurtful things, but never apologize to anybody for anything.  These times were painful, and sometimes downright embarrassing!

Many stories have been passed down, over the years, concerning ‘Mama’s tantrums’.  Here are the top three:  (1) There’s Ed’s “Your Mama won’t get out of my car” story,  (2) There’s my “Mama says she’s coming to burn our house down” story, and last, but not least, (3)  There was Daddy’s “Your mama shot me [in the foot]” story.

Fortunately, we can laugh about some of these stories, now.   All’s well that ends well, and Mama’s been gone since 1997.  As  a result of Mama’s memorable tantrums, our family coined the phrase “Jack Attack” for those times when someone in the family loses their temper!

May 79

I don’t want to end this post by leaving the impression that Mama wasn’t a good person, or that she was never a good wife or mother, because she was. Mama loved her family very much, and she was proud of us. Throughout the years, there were lots of good family times.  It was just unfortunate that Mama was plagued by so many mental issues, and none of us really understood.  Mama’s death left a void in our family, that can never be filled by anyone else, but I hope she’s finally at peace.

***I’m linking my post up with other Memory Monday posts @ Retired-Not-Tired.  Thanks to Judy for hosting!

 

 

 

Published in: on November 24, 2014 at 8:45 am  Comments (6)  
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A Chilly Wednesday Hodgepodge…

It’s turned a bit chilly here in our neck of the woods, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a cold day, than sipping something warm while participating in The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  Our hostess, Joyce, has graciously provided us with seven more thought-provoking questions, so let’s get started. Mmmm, this cocoa sure is tasty…

1. What’s something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for?

Up until I first became ill,  about twenty years ago, I took my health for granted.  I complained about having to pay our health insurance premiums, especially since we never used ours back then.  Little did I know how quickly things could change, and it happened literally overnight.  If you still have good health, you should praise the Lord for it!

At times I’ve taken having a regular paycheck for granted.  Ed’s always had good health, and been able to work.  He’s always had a good job to go to each day, and has been a good provider for our family.  Now that we’ve grown older, and things in our lives are changing, I truly appreciate each one of those paychecks a whole lot more, as well as the health insurance Ed’s employers has always provided!

2. The color brown-love it or no? What’s your favorite shade of brown? Most loved something in your home or closet in a shade of brown?

Brown isn’t among my favorite colors, but I do like khaki and tan, which are shades of brown, I suppose.  My favorite ‘brownish’ item, in our home, would be our living room furniture, which consists of two reclining, tan-colored, leather sofas and a glider/recliner.

3. What’s something you’re looking forward to today?

I’m answering these questions on Tuesday, so I’m looking forward to making a pot of Taco Soup for supper.  We’re supposed to reach a low of 23 degrees, this evening, so it’s a great day for soup!

4. The word ‘feminism’ is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months. What do you think/feel when you hear the word? If you’re a woman, do you want to be described as a feminist? Why or why not?

Whenever I hear the word ‘feminism’, I think of a woman who wants to be more like a man–‘equal’, if you will.  I’m sorry if I offend any ‘feminists’ out there, but I don’t agree with it.  God made men, and He made women.  The two are not the same, nor were they intended to be.

5. What’s something you personally can’t eat without making a mess?

Popcorn!  I can’t seem to eat popcorn without dropping some, or getting crumbs all over myself.

6. When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift? What was it?

I was surprised, a few days ago, by Ed, when he brought me a piece of pound cake from work.  Someone baked him a cake for ‘Bosses Day’, and he shared.

7. Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric or scripture relating to gratitude.

Psalms 107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.

I really like this song, too.

Random:  Life and Death

I have two randoms this week, one concerning life, the other concerning death.

Random one:

Ed turned 65, last week, and we celebrated his birthday–twice!

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First, Ed and I celebrated his actual birthday, on November 13, with a German Chocolate cake, Ed’s favorite.  He thoroughly enjoyed his cake!

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Then we celebrated again, two days later, with family, when I threw Ed a ‘Vintage Dude’ birthday party!  Fun times!  Ed may want to turn 65 again next year 🙂

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Random Two:
Heaven gained another angel, on November 17th, when the grandson of my first cousin passed away. Little Colby’s been battling leukemia since 2010. Colby only recently turned nine-years-old.

10615539_1503619473242311_5384701147111676352_n Colby

Losing a child is hard any time, but it seems especially hard this time of the year. My heart goes out to Colby’s family, during and after, this most difficult time.

Published in: on November 19, 2014 at 8:20 am  Comments (9)  
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Memory Monday ~ The Most Influential Person In My Life

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Early 70's6

lt to rt – Grandma, me, my mom (taken around 1970)

When I saw today’s prompt, I didn’t have to think, at all, about who my answer would be.  Without a doubt, my maternal grandmother definitely helped mold me into the person I am today, whether she realized it or not!

Grandma was a kind and gentle soul, always willing to lend a helping hand. She loved her husband, her family, and God. She was always a great example of what a lady should be. Grandma was the glue that held her family together, but life wasn’t always easy for grandma.

Grandma married her husband, Henry, when she was just thirteen years old.  At some point, early in the marriage, her husband started drinking.  I’m told he was a “mean drunk”, and I can only imagine what that meant for grandma.  I don’t know how many years granddaddy drank, but I’m told he eventually put liquor aside, never to touch it again, sometime before I was born.  I’m glad I never knew granddaddy when he was drinking.

As long as I knew grandma, she stood a bit awkward, and always walked with a  limp. She told me she had once fallen, and had broken her leg.  (Apparently, it didn’t heal correctly.) Later in life, both of my grandparents were both involved in a head-on collision, in which Grandma suffered another broken leg. Grandma was bed ridden for weeks, and my parents and I moved in, with my grandparents, to help take care of her.  Grandma’s limp was even worse following the accident.

My fondest memories of grandma are from 1963, when I lived with my grandparents during a  low point in my parents’ lives.  I was eight, at the time, and I lived with my grandparents for over four months.

Grandma was a hard-working woman. She cooked great meals, in a kitchen barely large enough to turn around in, she kept her house spotless, without the benefit of today’s modern conveniences, and she even washed clothes using a wringer-type washing machine!  Grandma took pride in everything she did.

Grandma loved fresh vegetables and flowers, too, and every year Granddaddy would plant a row of zinnias in the vegetable garden, for Grandma.  I loved seeing those flowers growing among the vegetables, and have continued that tradition in my own garden, as well.

Grandma spent a lot of time sewing on her treadle sewing machine.  I would sit and watch as she sewed, keeping the machine going by gently rocking her feet back and forth.  Grandma liked to make aprons out of cloth flour sacks, and I liked to watch!  I knew I wanted to learn how to sew, and I did, in Home Economics class, a few years later!  Over the years, I’ve sewed many items–everything from personal clothing to dolls!  I actually inherited Grandma’s old sewing machine, after my mama died.  It sits in our storage shed, some twenty-nine years after Grandma’s death.

Grandma also knew how to crochet, and I wanted to learn how to do that, as well.  The problem was, I’m left-handed!  Grandma tried, several times, to teach me how, but I could never understand because she used one hand, and I was trying to use another.  Years later, I was finally able to learn how to crochet–using my right hand!

Grandma had a habit of always fidgeting with her hands.  If she had a napkin or a tissue in her hands, she’d roll it or fold it a hundred different ways while sitting idle.  Many times, I’ll catch myself doing the same thing!

My grandma never learned how to drive a car.  She was totally dependent on others to drive her around.  I didn’t get my drivers’ license, either, until I was almost twenty-six years old!  I’m so thankful I got my license when I did, because it gave me more opportunities to visit Grandma while she lived at the nursing home.

Grandma’s last years weren’t easy ones.  Her husband passed away years before she did.  Before he died, he suffered from dementia, which made life difficult for Grandma.  After granddaddy died, grandma lived alone for almost ten years.  Time took a toll on Grandma, and eventually she went to live in a nursing home. A couple of years after that, Grandma suffered a massive stroke, and was completely bed ridden for the rest of her life.  She was barely able to speak or even chew her food.  Grandma was basically trapped in a body that no longer worked. As much as I loved Grandma, I couldn’t make myself go visit her while she was like that.  I only went to see her a couple of times, in four years.  I feel guilty about that, but it’s something I have to live with.

Grandma has been gone from this world a long time, but I do know, without a doubt, a part of her lives on through me.  I’m very grateful for the guidance and wisdom I gained from her.  She was a special lady.

 *I’m linking this post up with other Memory Monday posts at Retired-not-Tired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on November 17, 2014 at 9:44 am  Comments (6)  
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Happy Hodgepodge…

After last week’s hiatus, The Hodgepodge is back!  I was a bit over-whelmed, last week, so I didn’t really mind the break, but I’m happy The Hodgepodge is back, this week!  Let’s jump right into Joyce’s questions, shall we?

1. We celebrate Veteran’s Day in the US of A on November 11th. When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)? Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a solider, said an unprompted thank you to a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? If you’re not in the US, comment on a similar holiday in your own country.

Ed in Okinawa 1970 thru 72 (or just before leaving)pt 230

Ed (cir. 1970) just before leaving for Okinawa

I interact with a former member of the armed forces every day of my life, because I’m married to one.  Ed served in the army from 1969-1972, and my brother is a Vietnam veteran, as well.

Since I’ve had loved ones who have served in the military, letters and ‘care packages’ have been a part of my life.  I still remember mailing home-made pecan pies to my brother, in Vietnam, and wondering how they would taste, once they arrived!  (He says they were good!) While Ed was in the army, he and I spent a small fortune, on postage, over the course of our three-year courtship, sending letters, tapes, and packages to each other!

Also, many years later, while I was working as a parapro, our first grade students once wrote letters, brought in items, and helped make care packages to send overseas.  The fathers of two of our students were deployed, so we sent the packages to them at Christmas, to be shared with fellow soldiers.  I thoroughly enjoyed participating in that worthwhile project, and I think the children did, too.

I’m planning to make a Christmas donation to ‘Operation Gratitude’, this year.  They’ll send cards, letters, and ‘care packages’ to our military.

2. You can have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)…what would you choose?

Since I can’t choose money,  I’d choose fifty pounds of precious metal–preferably gold or silver!

3. When did you last receive an invitation in the ‘real’ mail? What was it for and did you attend? When it comes to RSVP-ing, are you an ‘early responder’ or a ‘last minute, barely-under-the-wire’ kind of guest?

It’s been quite a while (at least a year) since I received an invitation in the mail!  The last invitation I received, in the mail, was probably a shower invitation.  Regarding RSVPs,  I prefer to be an early responder.

4. What’s something you really don’t like to waste?

Since groceries have become so expensive, I can’t stand to waste food!  In the past, Ed and I never used to eat many ‘left overs’, but, as we’ve grown older, we’ve learned to like them!  No food is ever wasted at our house, if we don’t eat it, a dog, a cat, or a chicken will!

5. Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld…of the ones listed, your favorite long-running sitcom?

I’ve watched all of the sitcoms listed, but the one I like best is ‘Friends’.

6. What decision are you glad you made?

I’m glad I made the decision to marry Ed.  Forty-two years later, I wouldn’t change a thing!

7. In this month of ‘Thanksgiving’ what is one thing that’s different today than it was a year ago that you’re grateful for?

Our house!  For several years, we had an uncovered porch on the front of our house.  We had lots of trees all around it, so it didn’t really matter that it was uncovered–until we had our trees cut.  This spring, we had a roof built over our front porch, and I’m very grateful for the shade it provides, as well as the protection from rain. (Several of our cats are grateful, too.)

Random:

How can it be that every year thousands of non-veterans get Veteran’s Day off from work to celebrate, while thousands of actual veterans have to go to work, as usual?  In forty-two years, Ed has never gotten Veteran’s Day off from work!  This just seems so wrong to me.

Published in: on November 12, 2014 at 8:18 am  Comments (9)  
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Memory Monday ~ My Family

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

My family started out like any other family, with a husband, a wife, and, eventually, two children.  My brother was born first, followed–almost nine years later–by me. I always wondered why my parents waited so long to have me.

7-30-2011 8;26;31 AM Bruce and Jackie

Mama and Daddy ~ before children (cir. 1944)

In the early days, daddy had a good job, as a salesman, while mama stayed at home and kept the house running.  Daddy loved to fish and hunt, and mama loved to shop.  They had a nice home, filled with nice things. They had a nice car. Life was good for them. However,  somewhere along the way, things began to go terribly wrong.

The disease of alcoholism runs deep in the families of both of my parents, unfortunately.  While neither of my parents drank alcohol during their early years, eventually, both succumbed and began to drink, socially.  My parents’ drinking quickly escalated, and began causing serious problems.

My early years of elementary school were marked by lots of drinking, fighting and family instability.  My brother, who was only in high school, at the time, was often the one who bore the wrath of our parents during their drinking binges. Many times he had to be responsible for my well-being, as well. We had no other family living near us; our closest relatives lived in the next state.  It was a bad family situation, to put it mildly.

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My big brother and me (cir. 1956)

Long story made short, spring of 1963 was the last time our family would all live together.  My maternal grandparents  were called, by a neighbor, to come and get me (before Family & Children’s Services could remove me from the home).  However, my brother stayed behind [in Florida] along with my parents. He tells me that he stayed with one friend or another, for a while.  At some point, he quit school, and got a job.  In the fall of 1963, my brother asked his [recently graduated] high school sweetheart to marry him, and she said “Yes”. Both were only seventeen, at the time.

Meanwhile, I lived with my grandparents for several months, until my parents eventually lost everything they owned, and decided to come to Georgia, too.  By the time my parents moved to Georgia, I had already begun fourth grade.  My parents also stayed with my grandparents, for a while, but, eventually, daddy got a job, and my parents found a place to live. I went to live with them again, and life started over.  However, our struggles were far from being behind us.

Once a family loses everything, it’s tough starting over.  My parents struggled, financially, for many years, living in rental houses, driving worn out vehicles, living paycheck to paycheck.  We moved four times in two years!  My parents continued struggling with alcoholism.  There would be periods of sobriety, followed by periods of heavy drinking.

Praise the Lord, my parents finally stayed sober from 1966 until 1972, during my formative teenage years!  During those years, we actually lived like a normal family.  It was during those years that I met and married my husband, Ed.

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My family ~ during ‘the best years’ (cir. 1969)

By the time Ed and I got married, my parents were back on their feet, financially.They were able to purchase a new car, and some new furniture.  A few months after Ed and I were married, they were able to purchase another home of their own.  For the first time, in ten years, they were able to actually call a home ‘theirs’ again!  I’d like to be able to end my story here, and say we all lived happily ever after, but things didn’t happen that way.

Not too long after purchasing their second home, my parents began to dabble with alcohol, once again.  (When I asked them why, they said it was because they were lonely after I married Ed and moved away.)  They started out drinking a beer or two, which eventually escalated back to heavy drinking again.  The pattern of binge drinking, followed by several weeks of sobriety became the pattern of their lives, once again. More times than not, hospitalization was required to get them ‘dried out’ and sober.  During their times of sobriety, my parents were much like other normal, loving parents, then, without warning, they’d start drinking again–and all hell would break loose!

My parents never lost everything again, but they sure came close; but for the grace of God, they surely would have.  Daddy had  insurance on their house mortgage, that stated it would pay off the mortgage, in case of disability.  That’s exactly what happened.

Strangely enough, alcohol wasn’t the culprit which finally destroyed my parents, in the end, prescription abuse was.  During the 80’s, their drinking had ceased, again, but what we didn’t realize, at the time, was the alcohol had been replaced by lots of nerve pills and pain killers.

Toward the end of the 80’s, both of my parents’ health declined suddenly and severely.  Their bodies simply gave out.  By the time the time daddy was sixty-three, he was disabled, and in a nursing home.  Before that, he spent four months in the hospital. Daddy died shortly after his 65th birthday.

At age sixty-two, my mother found herself in a bed, right beside daddy, at the nursing home.  (The two shared a room.)  Mama spent many months in the hospital, too, but much of mama’s hospital time was spent in a psychiatric unit.  She suffered from severe anxiety, as well as manic depression (now known as bipolar disorder).  Mama also suffered a heart attack and a stroke in the years leading up to her death, at age 70.  I had lost both parents by the time my 43rd birthday rolled around.

Praise the Lord, my brother and I both married wonderful people, and have lived good, happy, and prosperous adult lives! My brother and his wife recently celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary!  They weren’t able to have a biological child, but they were blessed to be able to adopt a newborn baby girl shortly after they both turned 30.  They are now the grandparents of three!

Ed and I have been happily married for 42 years.  We were blessed to be able to have three children, a daughter, and two sons.  We are now the grandparents of four precious little ones!

My brother and I sometimes marvel at how blessed we’ve been throughout our adult lives.  We may have gotten off to a rough start in life, but God richly blessed us both with great spouses!  In case you’re wondering…neither of us has any desire to drink alcohol.

**I’m linking my story up for Memory Monday @ Retired-Not-Tired.

Published in: on November 10, 2014 at 12:08 am  Comments (10)  
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Friday Fragments From A Frazzled Woman…

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing went according to plan?  That’s the kind of week it’s been for me.

My body has been struggling, all week, trying to get adjusted to the recent time change.  As a result, I haven’t been feeling my best.  Then, Monday began with the death of my pet parakeet, ‘Tweety’, and the week quickly went downhill from there.  (Thought: Perhaps ‘Tweety’ didn’t adjust well to the time change either.)

Tuesday morning I heard noise outside, and looked outside to find a dear [male] friend of Ed’s and mine, who lives out-of-town, walking through our yard.  It was 8:30 in the morning, I hadn’t even combed my hair or gotten dressed, and yet I was about to have a morning visitor!  Ha!  He said he was just passing by, and decided to stop by for a few minutes.  He does that every once in a while.

On Wednesday, I’d planned to rake pine straw and work in the yard.  Instead, my daughter called, and I ended up going on a ‘road trip’ with her and granddaughter.  Not what I’d planned, but a heck of a lot more fun than raking pine straw!

Speaking of that ‘road trip’, two strange things happened during it.  First of all, we saw a woman, in the K-mart parking lot selling doughnuts.  The lady was a dead ringer for ‘Mama June’ off of the [now canceled] show “Honey Boo Boo”!  My daughter swears it was ‘Mama June’.  We do live in the same state, so who knows?!  Ha!

The second strange thing that happened on our road trip was when we passed a car with a live Christmas tree tied to its roof!  Really?!  It’s only the first week of November.  I can only imagine how dried out that tree will be by the last week of December! Speaking of the first week of November–what’s up with all of these Christmas movies and commercials already?  When did we start going straight from Halloween to Christmas, without celebrating Thanksgiving first?

As we all know, Tuesday was election day.  Our city keeps moving our voting place, so before every election we have to figure out where to go vote.  This was the third election I’ve voted in (within four years), and I haven’t voted in the same place twice!  We were told our voting place is going to be moved again, following Tuesday’s election.  What in the world?!  

Our weather is absolutely c-r-a-z-y!  One day it’s in the 60’s, two days later, it’s back near 80 degrees, etc.  Back and forth.  Thank goodness for the climate control on the central unit!  I go to bed with the air conditioning blowing, but wake up with the heat on.  Ah, the joys of living in the south!

I can’t believe it, but Ed will be 65, next week.  His birthday is next Thursday, but I’m waiting until next Saturday night to have his birthday celebration.  It’s a shame the government went and moved the ‘full benefit’ social security retirement age to 66.  Had it not been for that, Ed could be having a double celebration!  Instead, he’ll get on medicare, whether he wants to or not, and keep on working for a while longer.

Happy House Anniversary to us!  Seven years ago, today, Ed and I moved into our second house–the house Ed built [next-door to our original house] from the ground up, during weekends and after work. Sometimes I still wonder how he managed to do that!

That’s all I’ve got for today.  I hope to spend the weekend relaxing and continuing to adjust to the new time.  Monday will be here before we know it!

I’m linking my post up @ Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

 

 

Published in: on November 7, 2014 at 7:51 am  Comments (9)  
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‘Tweety’…

I wasn’t looking for a pet bird when ‘Tweety’ entered my life.  I’d owned four parakeets, over the years, and had enjoyed all of them, but I thought I was finished with the ‘bird phase’ of my life.  Little did I know…

The year was 2005, and I was still working at school, as a parapro, then volunteering at the local animal shelter during weekends and summers.  Everyone at school knew I was committed to finding homes for any animals who needed them–after all, I’d adopted over twenty of them during the past year alone!

I was in my classroom, working, when a co-worker stuck her head in the door and asked if I’d be interested in adopting a parakeet.  She said a pretty green and yellow bird had showed up at their house, under their carport.  She said the bird was relatively tame, so her husband had been able to capture it.  They had not been able to find its owner, and she wasn’t interested in keeping it, so she thought of me.  Without giving it a second thought, I agreed to take the bird.’Tweety’ came to me housed in a tiny pink mouse cage, which the teacher said I could have.

I quickly determined that it was a male bird, from the blue-colored area where its nostrils were located, just above its beak.  Judging from the ‘color bars’ still left on its head, the bird was still fairly young.  Probably under a year old.  I couldn’t keep a parakeet in a mouse cage, so I quickly found him a bird cage on eBay and ordered it. For some reason, I decided to call the bird, ‘Tweety’, but in later years,  I usually just called him ‘Tweeters’.

When I got the bird home,  he was wild as he could be, and flapped his wings every time I neared his cage.  It took weeks for him to calm down enough so I could feed and water him peacefully! I often wondered how in the world that teacher’s husband managed to lay his cap over that bird, in order to capture it!

I believe, Tweety’s previous owners had taught him to talk.  I could tell, because I once taught a parakeet how to talk.  They ‘talk’ in a certain pitch and tone, and you have to listen closely to decipher what they are saying, especially at first.  Listening to what parakeets are saying is often difficult because they do most of their talking when it’s noisy around them.

For some reason, Tweety liked my daughter, and did most of his ‘talking’ when she was around. We noticed, when she started talking, Tweety started ‘talking’, too, but we were never able to understand what he was saying.  If we got quiet and tried to listen, Tweety got quiet, as well.  (We did notice, recently, that Tweety had learned how to imitate the baby chicks who had been staying next-door, in the pool room!)

Tweety lived, in his cage, on top of my curio cabinet, which is located in a corner of the living room.  He seemed to like his ‘bird’s eye view’ of his surroundings, and I liked the way the decorative top edge of the curio cabinet caught all of the stray seeds and feathers, and kept them out of sight.  Birds are messy creatures!

I hung a two-sided mirror in Tweety’s cage, and he dearly loved it!  A little bell hung from the end of the mirror, too.  Tweety loved kissing and talking to his reflection in that mirror, and he loved ringing his bell!

The years passed, and I began to wonder how much longer Tweety was going to be with me. None of my other birds lived past the age of seven, and I was nearing the nine year mark with Tweety–not counting the time he’d spent with his previous owner!

A while back, I could tell that Tweety was slowing down.  He’d stopped using his cuttlebone to sharpen his beak, and didn’t ring his bell quite as often.  A couple of weeks ago, I noticed more changes, and I knew Tweety’s days were growing short.

Yesterday morning, when I got up, I immediately noticed Tweety wasn’t on his perch.  I looked in the bottom of his cage, and there he sat.  Tweety was alive, but I knew he wouldn’t be for much longer. Tweety quietly passed away a couple of hours later.

This morning the house is eerily quiet.  No sounds of Tweety hopping around in his cage, no sounds of his ringing bell.  Yesterday afternoon, Ed buried Tweety, along with ‘Ethan’, the dog, and ‘Della’, the baby chick, who died recently.  Our pet cemetery continues to grow.

It’s amazing how God’s creatures can enter our lives and become such a part of us!  I always begin to fret as my pets grow older (and I have a lot who are!).  It’s painful to have to say “good-bye”, but, in the end, I wouldn’t change a thing because of the joy they bring.

Rest in peace, dear ‘Tweeters’.  Perhaps we’ll meet again someday…

Published in: on November 4, 2014 at 10:38 am  Comments (5)  
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Memory Monday ~ First Friends

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Once again, I’m traveling back in time for Memory Monday.  Today’s subject is ‘First Friends’.  If I had to choose an alternative title for this post, it would have to be The Lindas.  As strange as it may seem, three of my earliest friends were all named ‘Linda’!

My first two friends, both named Linda, lived in Florida, and are the earliest childhood friends I can remember. One ‘Linda’ lived next door, while the other, who actually went by two names (Linda-Gay), lived a little further away, but still in the same neighborhood, I think.  My family and I moved away [out-of-state] at the end of my third grade year, but I still have a few memories of the Linda who lived next-door.  I don’t have many memories of Linda-Gay.

I can remember playing outside with Linda, from next-door. I remember our parents raking and burning leaves, then roasting hot dogs and marshmallows with us, once or twice.  My most vivid memory is the one of Linda accidentally sitting on her mama’s cake ( which was sitting on the back seat of the car) when our families once went on a picnic together!  The image of that pink frosting, all over the seat of Linda’s shorts, is forever ingrained in my memory!

I became friends with a third girl, named Linda, about five years after moving to Georgia.  I was a teenager, by then, and Linda and I lived down the street from each other.  We rode bicycles together, and visited back and forth at each other’s houses, especially during the summer.  Linda had a sister, who was a couple of years younger than her, and the two of them fought like cats and dogs!  There was a little brother, too, who was several years younger than the girls, who was adored and pampered by both of his big sisters.

About the time Linda and I turned fourteen, her parents got a divorce.  Divorce was pretty rare, back in those days, and it really bothered me when Linda’s daddy left her mom.  Linda’s mom was a short, sweet, hard-working German lady, named ‘Fannie’, who had a very thick German accent.  I always struggled to understand what Miss Fannie would say to me because of that accent.

When Linda’s daddy moved out, it left Linda’s family stranded because Miss Fannie didn’t know how to drive.  To remedy this situation, Linda’s daddy actually taught Linda how to drive a car at age fourteen. Somehow, he was able to help Linda get her learner’s license, a year early, so she could drive the family  where they needed to go.  Linda had her actual driver’s license by age 15, but she only drove when she needed to take the family places.

Linda and I continued to be friends throughout high school, although we each had other friends that we hung out with, as well.  Ed was in the army, our final two years of high school,  so Linda would often come to my house and take pictures of me, so I could send them to Ed, while he was stationed overseas.  When Ed and I got married, three weeks after my high school graduation, Linda was the girl who caught my wedding bouquet!

I sort of lost track of Linda when Ed and I married and moved away, but, occasionally, she’d stop by mama’s house when she noticed I was home visiting.  Linda ended up marrying a distant cousin of mine,  and they had four daughters together.  Linda’s husband, a volunteer fire fighter, actually had to stop and deliver one of their daughters on the way to the hospital!  Sadly, Linda’s husband became ill, and lost his battle with cancer, two years ago.  The two were married almost forty years.

Linda and I still live in the same town.  Linda is a phlebotomist, so she and I, occasionally, cross paths whenever I need to have blood drawn.  Whenever we see each other, we inevitably end up talking about ‘the good ole’ days’!  Linda’s mom, Miss Fannie, passed away a long time ago, but she never did learn how to drive.  Instead, she bought a bicycle!

I’m linking this post up with Judy @ Retired-Not-Tired, for Memory Monday.

Published in: on November 3, 2014 at 9:12 am  Comments (11)  
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