.....and other random stuff......

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Wishing you a healthy, happy, art filled, everything good  New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Spiro T. Agnew

My mother wasn’t much of a critter person. She didn’t pull the wings off flies or kick cats or anything. She just wasn’t cuddly with critters.

I had a hamster and a chameleon as a kid but until BigBrother brought a dog home from college we didn’t have any ‘real’ pets.

My father named him Spiro, after our then governor Spiro T. Agnew, because he always had his foot in his mouth (just like the Governor.)

My mother wasn’t very happy about this new addition to our family but she allowed him to stay.
With certain rules.
He was only allowed in the kitchen and family room.

It was really very amusing.
  
The way the house was configured the kitchen had two doorways.
One led into the dining room and one led into the hallway.
Spiro was quite bright. He soon learned the rules and would walk right up to the edge of the doorway, but never put a paw into either the dining room or hall. He would stand there and stick his head out and peer around the corner looking longingly to where he wasn’t allowed.
We never put any barriers across the doors. He knew his limits and stayed within them.

Or so we thought.

The house had a long gravel driveway.
A loooong gravel driveway.
There was no way anyone could sneak up. It made too much noise.

Spiro soon learned that when we left he could hear us going down the driveway. He also learned when he heard the crunching noise again it meant we were coming back and that was his signal to get back to his bed in the family room.  

We would have never been the wiser except…….as he got older he must have started to lose his hearing.

One day as we came into the house here came Spiro, down the stairs, hell bent for election, into the family room and towards his bed.

Busted!

Turns out whenever he was left in the house alone he would go upstairs and hop up on BigBrother's bed for a nice comfy snooze while we were gone. As soon as he heard the crunching of the tires on the gravel he knew we were fast approaching and that was his signal to race back downstairs to his own bed!


Did I say he was bright????? I think that may be an understatement.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Punny Monday

What happened when Santa's cat swallowed a ball of yarn? She had mittens.

Friday, December 26, 2014

'Twas the Day After Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurting -- even the mouse.

The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while
Upstairs the family continued to snore.

And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
Went into the kitchen and started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an oversized mirror.

The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said "U.S. POSTMAN."

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.

Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:

"Now Dillard's, now Broadway's, now Penny's and Sears
Here's Levitz's and Target's and Mervyn's--all here!!

To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall,
Now chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!"

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.

He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,
"ENJOY WHAT YOU GOT ... YOU'LL BE PAYING ALL YEAR!"

Author Unknown




Thursday, December 25, 2014

Throwback Thursday/Merry Christmas

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Best Christmas Card This Year

And the award goes to........
(and I love that he's taken to referring to himself as 'BigBrother'!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I learned a lot about interpersonal relationships from watching my parents interact with their parents. 
It was a far better learning experience than any college psychology course I ever took.

My father called his parents Mother and Dad. It was all very formal and polite. As were all dealings with his side of the family.

On the other hand, my father called my mother’s parents Mom and Pop. Things were much less formal in my mother’s parent’s home. They were always laughing and joking and had a twinkle in their eyes. (And Grandma always looked suspiciously like Mrs. Santa Claus to me!)

But I digress….

My father was always respectful to his parents but I got the feeling he didn’t exactly believe in the things they taught him. (They were quite the bigots, among other things.)
I only saw my father show anger towards either of them once.

It was Christmas Eve. I was five or six. I was excited beyond measure.
It was CHRISTMAS EVE and MY GRANDPARENTS WERE VISITING.
I was having a really hard time getting to sleep. I kept coming downstairs to tell my parents I couldn’t sleep (probably every five minutes.) My mother would gently scoot me back into bed and try and calm me down.
On my last trip downstairs to say I couldn’t sleep my Grandmother lost her patience and yelled at me, “Santa is NEVER going to come! You’re a BAD little girl! You’ll never get ANY presents EVER! Now go to sleep! (She never pulled any punches!)
I was so stunned I actually backed up against the wall. I couldn’t have been more surprised if she had slapped me!

My father was across the living room when she yelled at me and in the blink of an eye he was at his mother’s side.
He grabbed her upper arm, spun her around and with daggers in his eyes said; ‘Don’t EVER talk that way to MY children. EVER AGAIN!

I was agog.
I had never seen my father do anything remotely like that before.
Have I mentioned that my father was the MOST non-violent person I have ever known in my life? He didn’t even believe in spanking us, so for him to actually grab Grandma in anger was beyond anything I’d ever known him to do.

In later years I think I came to know why he was the way he was.

Growing up all I ever knew of my father’s parents was what a milquetoast Grandpa was. How Grandma emasculated him. How she was always picking on him and belittling him in front of people.
Then my father told me a story that happened when he was sixteen. His parents were having a fight and Grandpa hit Grandma.

Yup, Grandpa used to beat Grandma up on a regular basis. My father decided he’d had enough. So on this particular occasion, as Grandpa raised his hand to hit Grandma my father stepped between the two of them and said, “Don’t you hit my mother!”
To his great surprise and amazement it was his MOTHER who turned on him and said, “Don’t you ever come between your father and me again!”
He was shocked that he was being berated for trying to help her. And he said he never tried to intervene again.

I think that was a very formative point in his life.

And I could understand why he was such a pacifist.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Punny Monday

A man walks into a cafe desiring breakfast. The waitress seats him and he asks what the specials are. She tells him the Christmas special is Eggs Benedict. He orders the special. A little later, the waitress comes out with the Eggs Benedict, served on hubcaps. Surprised, he asks why the hubcaps instead of regular plates. Her response? “There’s no plates like chrome for the Hollandaise.”

Friday, December 19, 2014

Part Three- Closing

Another bump....
The day before the closing Mister lawyer was riding his son’s bicycle, fell and broke his arm.
Turned out his father was also a lawyer and agreed to step in.
Problem solved!

Monday morning came, Lawyer Dad called us a few hours before the closing to check and see if we had all the necessary papers. Did we have the proof of insurance?

WHAT?

So two hours before the closing we went scrambling to find an agent to insure a house we didn’t yet own……. 

Now, I moved quite a bit growing up and my parents brought me with them to the closings so I would to get an idea of what it was all about.

Mostly you sit there quietly and get writer’s cramp from signing endless checks for things you never even considered…like the half tank of fuel for the oil burner that has probably gone bad from sitting stagnant for two years since the old man who owned the house died and his estate went through probate…..huh?

But I digress.

We sat at the large conference table not knowing anyone there, I, clutching my little checkbook, ready to write out all the required amounts, fully confident that we had enough money to cover everything.
After all, we had checked, double checked, TRIPLE CHECKED and over estimated what we would need.

I started to write….and write….and write…..
At this point you have to know that when I write a check (or debit anything) I immediately reconcile the amounts in the check register. I’m anal that way.

So as I wrote I did the math.

Then the lawyer for the estate asked for one last check…..and I looked at the balance in the register and realized I didn’t have enough to cover it!

Panicked, I leaned over to lawyer Dad and told him I didn’t have any more money. He coolly whispered out of the side of his mouth, “Just write the check!” as he smiled at the others.

For the first time in my life I wrote a bad check!

Finally it was over, they handed us the keys and it was ours!


To this day I can’t recall where we got the money to cover that last check.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday

BigBro.....prom night! Dig that Beatles haircut!  ;)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Part Two- the Saving

We found the house Thanksgiving weekend.
We had no money for a down payment.
From that moment on, until we moved the following April, we scrimped and saved and took every minute of overtime we could.

We no longer ate out for any meal. We brown bagged our lunches.
As a matter of fact, each of our families pitched in and invited us to eat several times a week to help out. When we didn’t go to ‘mom’s’ for dinner we ate hogs.
LOTS of hot dogs!

Our only form of entertainment was staying home watching TV on our 13 inch Sony.
Rolling coins we had collected in our large plastic water jug (stolen from work) and going to the house to sit on the steps of the back porch discussing and dreaming about what we were going to do when we moved in!

But it all worked out.
With only a few minor bumps along the way.

We found a young lawyer to represent us.

The closing was postponed, once…… twice….. three times.
No biggie, more time to save.

The drawback of the postponement was the interest rates on mortgages at that time were climbing in leaps and bounds. The last postponement was from a Friday to the following Monday and over that weekend the interest rate went up two points to thirteen percent!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

50 E Jackson Avenue—Part One, the Discovery

I have very fond memories of that house. It’s where I started my (official) married life. Where I had my babies. Where we poured blood, sweat and tears into making it a home.

When we first found it I was trying to convince Husband we could afford to buy a house.
He was……skeptical. We had been living the high life in our apartment. Traveling and being frivolous.
We hadn’t saved a dime.

I, ever the optimist, (read: blissfully ignorant of any reality concerning the purchase and upkeep of home ownership) just kept telling him we could!

So, we went looking.
The first stop was to a realtor my parents had used when we first moved to the area.
When she found out we weren’t married she proceed to tell us it was illegal to sell to an unmarried couple!

Moving on…..

We used to hop in my little blue Pinto and drive around in neighborhoods we liked.
Then one day it happened.

As we drove past the little cottage, the heavens opened, sunlight poured down upon the house bathing it in golden rays, choruses of angels began to sing…..and we fell immediately in love.  

We wrote down the realtor’s number and so began our odyssey into home ownership.
The first good sign was the couple who owned the real estate office weren’t married either!

Even though they were an ‘older’ couple. 

Stay tuned for the continuing saga............

Monday, December 15, 2014

Punny Monday

Where did the mistletoe go to become rich and famous? Holly-wood.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I Love Surprises!

I look forward to the mail this time of year because not ALL the envelopes are bills!
But this was a total surprise!

My ├╝ber talented friend Ann Hyde sent me not one but TWO original watercolor paintings of William the Lurcher her wonderfully comical Lurcher sight hound!

Apparently he has his own business card as well as his own blog!
And Ann has a two blogs of her own. 
One dedicated to the adoration and sketches of William and one where she shares her travels and wonderful watercolors.
Her sketches are nothing short of brilliant! 
With a single brush stroke she can say so much! 
Hop on over and take a peek, you'll be glad you did!
I am thrilled to have such talented and generous friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday

BigBrother & our mom dancing at his B'day party circa 1960.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WOYWW

♪♫♪♫♪ Text blocks drying by an open fire....♪♫♪♫♪
♪♫♪♫ Jack Frost nipping at your nose.....♪♫♪♫♪
(and he really IS! It was 43° this morning!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's Official

I should hope the f**k I am! I've paid into it for some 30 odd years!!!(This has been going on  for almost three months now. I worked. I applied. I get benefits! What was so hard about figuring it out???)  
Why no, I'm not frustrated, why do you ask......?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Punny Monday

There once was a Tsar in Russia whose name was Rudolph the Great. He was standing in his house one day with his wife. He looked out the window and saw something happening. He says to his wife, “Look honey. It’s raining.”  She, being the obstinate type, responded,” I don’t think so, dear. I think it’s snowing.”  But Rudolph knew better. So he says to his wife,” Let’s step outside and we’ll find out.”  Lo and behold, they step outside and discover it was in fact rain. And Rudolph turns to his wife and replies,” I knew it was raining. Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!”
                                                           

Friday, December 5, 2014

Success

You know what the hardest part about our artistic journey is?
Trying to top our last success.
I’m not talking about penning the’ Great American Novel’ kind of success. I just mean the last thing you did/made/created that you were totally satisfied with. Even when you went back to it the next day. LOL

I feel that pressure all the time but it really ramps up this time of year.
Christmas.
It used to be I had to top myself with the gifts. Then it was how to be original and creative with the wrapping.
We don’t ‘do’ gift giving anymore so I’m off the hook in that department.

Now the pressure is all about the Christmas card.

I admit it’s self imposed, but nevertheless the pressure is there.
I also know that no one waits with bated breath for my yearly missive to brighten their mailbox, but again….nevertheless.

In the fantasy world that is my mind, I think the recipients of my cards see the return address and their hearts beat a little faster and the smile starts at the corners of their mouths even before they rip open the envelope.
(It’s a fun world, my mind……)

I have been agonizing over this year’s card. (I really liked last year’s.)
I’m stressing to come up with something as good.

Of course waiting until three weeks before the big day isn’t helping......

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WOYWW

Not really on my work desk......just considering for the shop...what do you think?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Acclimation

It’s a bitch. 
When we first moved here, and being the hearty northerners we were, we used to poke fun at the natives when the ‘cold’ weather hit.
They would bundle up in their fur lined parkas, mittens and earmuffs as we strutted around in our tee shirts and Bermuda shorts.
Wimps! 
Now that we’ve become acclimated….or old…depending on how you look at it, we have joined the legions of the bloodless.
The thermostat reads 71° and I’m donning my sweatshirt, muffler and slippers (and I HATE wearing slippers!)
I’m even considering ordering a down comforter for the bed!
The light cotton summer blanket no longer cuts it for us.
We end up tugging and pulling it away from one another in our sleep in an effort to keep warm at night.

Nice guys finish last….or freeze to death in their sleep!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Punny Monday

  An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.