Thursday, June 30, 2005

Storm and Eclipse

It is hard to take a photo of black cats, especially when you are an amateur with an automatic camera.

I got these two from my daughter, who got them when they were two years old. The family they had been with since birth decided they didn't want them anymore - they wanted to raise dogs instead. If they were bad cats with nasty habits, I would understand. But these sisters are 2 of the nicest cats I've ever had, and I've had at least 10 over the years. When my daughter got them, one was named Storm and the other was Monica. This was about the time that the Lewinsky scandal hit the papers, and my dughter declared she didn't want a cat named Monica. So I suggested another weather-type name - and we came up with Eclipse, whom I call Clipsie. You would think with all that black fur, that they cannot abide the heat we have been having, but they seems to prefer it to the air conditioning. They will lie in the sun for hours, and when I touch them, their fur will feel as though it is ready to catch fire. At night, they wait for me to settle into my recliner, so they can nestle along side or on my lap. Lately, they have been denied that access, since I am on the computer so much. Wait until Big Brother starts next week, I tell them. Then we will have snuggle time!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Goin' to the Chapel and We're Gonna' Get Ma-aa-a-ried

Some of you here it is. This is the Hub and me after our wedding. Sadly, this is the best photo taken that day. If you have questions, read my post titled "The twenty-minute wedding" on May 30th, 2005.

Note: I have tried to visit the site of everyone who commented on my blog while I was Michele's Site-of-the-Day. I have not been able to leave comments for a number of people. On some blogs, I could type my comment, but it would not post and I'd get an error message. I know that Haloscan is having some trouble, as some blogs say no comments and when I check - there are many comments (such as Hoss's). Oddly enough, one site I visited today - on which I am seldom able to leave a comment - I got into easily (did you notice that, Raehan?) Please know that I do try to return the favors of reading and commenting; each and everyone of you are appreciated more than you know.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

#66 and beyond....continuing the story

# 66. I was a hat model. The photo above was one of four in our local paper in January, 1960. I wish I still had those eyebrows!

# 67. I am the happy owner of a new mouse pad, thanks to none other than Rosie O'Donnell! If you go to her site and sign up, you might get one too. It's bright yellow and it says:

Go blog

#68. I was a member of the Rainbow Girls; the young women's arm of the Masonic Order.
#69. I didn't see the ocean until I was sixteen years old.
#70. Drawing and painting are some of my favorite things to do, but I never have time for it any more.

Hurray, hurray, I'm Michele's site of the day!
Thanks, Michele, for choosing my site and thanks to all of you who stop by here. Come back soon, ya' heah?

Melange's Musical Meme

I was tagged by SRP at Melange

to do this meme about music. This is hard for me, because most of the music I am familiar with is from an earlier era than most of you will know (all except MizPeg, Hoss, Millie and Maria). But I shall try, and if I nail it for you - so much the better.

Directions: Pick 5-10 bloggers, and dedicate a song to them. The people to whom you dedicate are considered "tagged" for the meme.

NOTE: If you have already done this meme, or if you'd rather not (Hoss, I know you are in that category), just feel free to skip right over the task!

I'm dedicating an ALL BEATLES program to:

Michele: - Real Love (Hah! fooled you didn't I?)

Hoss: - Got to Get You into My Life

Brenda: - Your Mother Should Know

Poopie: Ain't She Sweet

Vicki: Blackbird

Carol: - When I'm Sixty-four

Angie: - Strawberry Fields Forever

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Four Freshmen, circa 1962

I wrote about meeting Paul Anka, and Maria at countered with her introduction to her idol Johnny Ray. Now I'll tell you about meeting The Four Freshmen, who when I met them were not nearly so "fresh" as they once were, but still popular. Side note: I just spent an hour looking for the autographed photo card that they gave me, and I cannot find it. Oh, well.

In 1962, when WV was preparing for its Centennial, they had to have a telethon to raise money for the celebrations that would take place all over the state. They hired Dave Garroway (first host of the Today Show) and The Four Freshmen, a singing group that had been popular for about 15 years. The story is that they actually did begin to sing together when they were freshmen in college, but by the time I met them, the bloom was definitely off the rose! Garroway was the emcee of the show and the Freshmen sang a number of songs off and on for about 12 hours, I think. They also had a lot of local talent performing for the telethon.

A good friend of mine was an assistant to the head of the Centennial Committee (or someone like that) and she was asked to provide some people to help with the show. I was to help draw backdrops for the show, as well as to sit on camera and answer telephones, taking pledges. It was not exactly a high-budget event, so we drew ladders, cameras and other studio paraphenalia on huge rolls of white paper provided for the project. The show was live, so I didn't get to see how it looked on camera (nor how I looked either!). I guess it was a success, because the following year the Centennial parties took place.

After the show was over, we were all invited to a big party in an old mansion beside the river. Drinks were flowing freely, and I was not a drinker by any stretch of the imagination. Dave Garroway offered to get one for me, and since I had no idea what to ask for, I just said "I'll have what you're having". I think it was Scotch, and the first sip I took nearly removed my nose from its moorings! I just held it for a time, and when he looked away, I tossed it into a potted plant. I swear. I did. Just like in the movies. He tired of me after a while (I was so young and tender then) and one of the Four Freshmen took over. His name was Bob Flanagan (he was their bass player), and he had a daughter who was about 14 at the time, and very tall. He spent the evening asking me how to make his daughter understand that it is a good thing to be tall. I think I said something wise and wonderful, like "It's great to be tall when you're watching a parade". Don't you know he was impressed with that scintillating dialog?! We did talk a lot throughout the remainder of the party though, as well as the other three Freshmen.

Sometime in the late 1980's, the Hub and I were in the airport in Savannah, awaiting a flight back home. There was some commotion in the terminal, and I checked it out and lo and behold, there stood the Four Freshmen - except it was not all of the original members. Two of them were new (to me at least). But Bob was there, looking not a whole lot different than he did in 1962. I debated going over to him and re-introducing myself, but I demurred. Since I figured he wouldn't remember me or that telethon, I didn't want to embarass myself. In retrospect, I should have said something.

Check them out here:

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Around the World in Eighty Days

While I was in high school, the movie "Around the World in Eighty Days" was released (the original 1956 version). One of our local theaters decided to do something special to advertise the movie, which was supposed to be a blockbuster moneymaker. They hired students from my school to act as ushers for each night and weekend showing of the movie, for two weeks. They contacted the Principal, and were given a list of the "best" students (ones who they thought could take the time to do this and still make good grades!). We had to wear costumes, one from each of the countries that were visited in the movie. My costumes were that of a Japanese Geisha girl and a Spanish dancer, and I could alternate them. The black fish-net stockings were a big hit with me!

The theater immediately increased its attendance by at least two people per student, as our parents all wanted to come and see us in costume - even if they didn't really care about the movie. You might have thought we were all in show business, with the care we gave to getting ready for each showing. Hair and makeup were of the utmost importance - our public was going to be watching! It was a good experience for us; we all got to tour the theater which had been built in 1920 and was a burlesque theater before it changed to a movie house. It had loges and several balconies, and wonderfully fanciful decor. We also got to go backstage and see the movie from the rear - which was exciting at the time - though now I cannot imagine why we thought so. I was sad to hear that the building was razed in 1980. It should have been brought back to its former splendor and placed on the Historic Register. Far too many beautiful old buildings are being torn down to make way for ugly offices, don't you agree?

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Sweetest Child Alive

TA-DA!! Look what I just learned to do! When I have time to search for some old photos, you can see what I looked like back in the day.

This is someone very close to my heart! Isn't she a dollbaby? She had just cut her hair (note the bare chunk in the middle of her forehead) and her mom had to take her to the hair salon to remedy the chop-off. She is 5 1/2 and we love her very much!

Meeting Paul Anka

Erica at asked me to elaborate on the time I met Paul Anka, so I will, though it may not be all that interesting. A girl I knew in high school, with whom I was not really friends, called me one night and said that she had been given two tickets to attend a local "rhythm and blues" concert at the local civic auditorium, and asked if I would like to accompany her. I wondered why she was inviting me, since we did not hang around together, but she was a majorette, so I was somewhat flattered by the invitation and excited to see all the singers on the program. I can't remember them all (it was 47 years ago) but some of them were: Duane Eddy, Lloyd Price, Annette Funicello and Paul Anka.

At intermission, we were asked if we would like to meet the "stars". Of course, we said yes, and we were ushered backstage. At that point, I was wondering who or what she knew that could get us invited backstage, but I was marvelling at my good fortune, so I didn't ask. The promoter introduced us to Paul, and I was flabbergasted at how small he was. I am 5'10", and he would have had to jump up to reach my chin. I guess he had no interest in tall girls (which was fine with me); but he did like my short, blond, curvy companion, and promptly invited her to an after concert party. Slowly, it dawned on me why she was there. I still didn't know why she had brought me along. We were introduced to the rest of the cast, and it was uneventful, except Annette kept hanging around the guy's neck as we were being introduced to him, and I can't remember who he was. I think it was the guy she starred with in "Beach Blanket Bingo"(Frankie Avalon?). Soon it was time to go back to our seats and see the second half of the show.

It was the first time I had seen live acts on a stage (I had a sheltered upbringing!) and I was impressed with how good the show was, even if some of the acts had never been heard of before. After they were all done, the promoter told us where the party was (a huge old local hotel). We went to the lobby and waited there until the show people appeared. She went off somewhere with Anka and I sat in the lobby, foolishly expecting her to return for me. I was so naive (I am ashamed to say). After about 45 minutes, I realized she wasn't coming back anytime soon, so I called a taxi and went home. I didn't tell my Mom where we went after the show. She would have skinned me alive!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Continuing the Story.....

The continuation of my 100 things - although I am beginning to doubt I will reach 100:
53. I was once called to testify in court, against a man who had committed indecent exposure to one of my children and two others.
54. Reading other people's blogs is becoming a habit. One problem is that I add to my list almost daily. I suspect I am not alone in this problem.
55. Optimism is what I strive for, but cynicism sometimes rears its ugly head.
56. I deplore getting the news that a good friend is moving 2 and 1/2 hours away, even if it means a better life for her family, and that her husband won't have to travel extensively any more.
57. I am a most fortunate woman; I have good friends, both in person and on the web.
58. I hope I get to meet some of those web friends someday.
59. Writing is proving to be one of my great pleasures, and getting nice comments about my posts is so affirming. I'm trying not to be vain about it.
60. The older I get, the more I realize that owning "things" is less desirable. The more I own, the more bogged down in details I become.
61. My favorite place is in Kauai, on top of Mt. Weialeale.
62. I would like to take a train all across the US and then across Canada.
63. I have a desire to witness a volcano erupting.
64. Two of my favorite books are: Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen and The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.
65. My most recent favorite books are: Three Junes, The Good Earth and
Deception Point.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Old Hollywood Squares

I hope you hadn't noticed, but I am in a dry spell (creativity wise) and grasping at straws for interesting posts. Hope you enjoy this one; another email gem from a friend:

If you remember the original "Hollywood Squares" and its comics, this may bring a tear to your eyes. These great questions and answers are from the days when "Hollywood Squares" game show responses were spontaneous and clever, not scripted and (often) dull, as they are now. Peter Marshall was the host.
Q. Do female frogs croak? A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough. Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be? A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.
Q. True or False: A pea can last as long as 5,000 years. A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.
Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman? A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake!
Q. According to Cosmopolitan, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married? A. Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.
Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older? A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.
Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"? A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.
Q. What are "Do It," "I Can Help," and "I Can't Get Enough"? A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.
Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking? A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.
Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather? A. Paul Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.
Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year? A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.
Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score? A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.
Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other? A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.
Q. During a tornado, are you safer in the bedroom or in the closet? A. Rose Marie: Unfortunately Peter, I'm always safe in the bedroom.
Q. Can boys join the Campfire Girls? A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out
.Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do? A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?
Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to? A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.
Q. According to Ann Landers, is their anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people? A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.
Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it? A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.
Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do? A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.
Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant? A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?
Q. When a couple have a baby, who is responsible for its sex? A. Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car, the rest is up to him.
Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they? A. Charley Weaver: His feet.
Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed? A. Paul Lynde: Point and Laugh.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

And in the Same Vein

I received this list in an email; the author was not credited.

An Old Farmer's Advice:

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered . . . not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Food for Thought

I have mentioned before that my mom was a pack rat in the extreme. I found this piece of advertising in her desk; I had framed and it hangs in my kitchen. It is titled "Food for Thought", and it was printed for Judy's Locksmiths in Charleston, WV. I don't know its age, but I suspect it is from the 1950's:

The greatest sin..............................Fear
The best day...................................Today
The biggest fool.......The boy who will not go to school
The best town..............Where you succeed
The most agreeable companion.....The one who would not have you any different from what you are
The great bore..............One who will not come to the point
A still greater bore........One who keeps on talking after he has made his point
The greatest deceiver..............One who deceived himself
The greatest invention of the devil........War
The greatest secret of production.........Saving waste
The best work.................... What you like
The best play.......................Work
The greatetst comfort.......The knowledge that you have done your work well
The greatest mistake..............................Giving up
The most expensive indulgence.......................Hate
The cheapest, stupidest and easiest thing to do.......Finding fault
The greatest trouble maker................One who talks too much
The greatest stumbling block.....................Egotism
The most ridiculous asset.......................... Pride
The worst bankrupt................The soul that has lost its enthusiasm
The cleverest man..................One who always does what he thinks is right
The most dangerous person...........The Liar
The most disagreeable person.......The complainer
The best teacher...................One who makes you want to learn
The meanest feeling of which any human is capable......Feeling bad at another's success
The greatest need...............Common sense
The greatest puzzle................Life
The greatest mystery..............Death
The greatest thought..............God
The greatest thing, bar none, in all the world.................Love

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Six Months on the WWW

I was so busy this week that I neglected to mention I reached my six month anniversary of writing this blog on June 16th. When I began, I had no idea that I would post frequently, and I certainly didn't expect to get many readers or comments. So imagine my surprise, after installing a stat-counter on June 3rd, to find that I have had in just 16 days, over a thousand visitors. Sure makes me wonder how many there have been over the course of the whole six months!

It has been very rewarding to read the comments on my writing; whether serious or funny. Those of you whom I read everyday, and some I visit often through Michele's Meet n' Greet, have given me hours of pleasure, hours of reflection on my childhood and the person I am, greater insight into current events and social issues, and I appreciate the forays into your lives and memories. It all serves to prove how very alike we all are under the skin, even when we disagree.

I give thanks to all of you who stop by here, whether often or sporadically, and I welcome you back anytime. Thanks for providing me (with your writings) a respite from the chores of everyday life, a balm to my soul and hope for our future.

And a wonderful Father's Day to all you guys!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

An Ode to Girlfriends

Here is another gem I received in email; the guys may want to skip this one:

When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend, and then I started to become a woman. And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends. One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man. Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom. Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be. One friend will say let's pray together, another let's cry together, another let's fight together, another let's walk away together. One friend will meet your spiritual need, another your shoe fetish, another your love for a good laugh, another will be with you in your season of confusion, another will be your clarifier, another the wind beneath your wings, another your mentor. But whatever their assignment in your life, on whatever the occasion, on whatever the day, or wherever you need them, whether to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back, or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself, those are your best friends. It may all be wrapped up in one woman, but for many it's wrapped up in several from 7th grade, one from high school, several from the college years, a couple from old jobs, several from church, on some days your mother, on others your sisters, and on some days your daughters. So whether they've been there 20 minutes or 20 years, pass this on to the women that God has placed in your life to make a difference. Time passes. Life happens. Distance separates. Children grow up. Love waxes and wanes. Hearts break. Careers end. Jobs come and go. Parents die. Colleagues forget favors. Men don't call when they say they will. BUT........... Girlfriends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach.
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it for yourself, your girlfriends will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you. Or come in and carry you out. Daughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, aunties, nieces, cousins, extended family, and friends bless our life! The world wouldn't be the same without them, and neither would we. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still. Pass this on to the women who help make your life work.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Finally, some definitions that make sense.........Someone had to do a lot of thinking to come up with these.

ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.
BEAUTY PARLOR: A place where women curl up and dye.
CANNIBAL: Someone who is fed up with people.
CHICKENS: The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.
COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.
DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out.
EGOTIST: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.
INFLATION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.
MOSQUITO: An insect that makes you like flies better.
RAISIN: Grape with a sunburn.
SECRET: Something you tell to one person at a time.
SKELETON: A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.
TOOTHACHE: The pain that drives you to extraction.
TOMORROW: One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.
YAWN: An honest opinion openly expressed.
WRINKLES: Something other people have. You have character lines.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My Computer Has a Mind of its Own - and Other Stuff

My computer definitely has a mind of its own. Since I started putting various blogs and web-sites into my favorites folder, they were added in a sort of random order. Some of them were alphabetized - and some were added at the bottom. I never knew why it happened that way, but I was cool with it. Today, I was gone for a while, and on my return, I saw that my previously helter-skelter favorites list had decided to alphabetize itself, without asking my permission. Now I am somewhat disoriented; my usual reading order has been discombobulated! I suppose I will get used to reading the blogs in the order they are now listed, but it will take a while, and I may have to skip around a bit in the beginning. Funny how little it takes to mess up my world, isn't it?
Another thing that confuses me is in writing these posts, I try to leave spaces between the paragraphs, and I check them in the preview pane but as soon as I click "publish", the spaces vanish. What can I do to assure spaces between the lines?
A message left in my comments recently referred to my screen name, and the writer thought I was Japanese. I did Google that name not long ago and I was surprised to find that it is a very common name in Japan. The way I decided on the screen name was a method I had read about somewhere, and it involves using the first three letters of your last name and then the first two letters of your first name. The "ken" in Kenju comes from my maiden name, and obviously, the "ju" is for Judy. I suppose that some people's names would not translate well to that method, but mine seemed easy, and it sort of rolls off the tongue for me. Believers in reincarnation would probably say that my connection to that name - even though it is "made up" - is karmic, and they might suppose that I had lived at least one previous life in that country. They could be right, as I do have an affinity for most things Asian, though I have never been able to link it to a particular culture or country. If I had been consciously thinking of a name to link me to a karmic past, I would be Hatshepsut or Merit-ankh or something similar. Somehow, Kenju seems a better fit at this point.
Speaking of Japan, has anyone seen any Japanese beetles this summer? Ordinarily, by now the rose bushes are full of them. This is the first year in recent memory that they haven't made lace of the leaves and blossoms by the first week in June. I detest the little buggers. My usual method of getting rid of them is to drown them in a plastic bucket of soapy water, but I have been bold enough to crush them in my bare fingers. The best way is to hold the bucket under the bush and shake it. The beetles fall off into the water, though some are smart enough to fly away. I get them the next time!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Is There Anything that Smells as Good as......

Is there anything else in the world that smells as good as a tomato plant? A friend gave me two plants this morning and I was nearly drunk with pleasure at the aroma. I have not grown any vegetables since we moved to this home; there are so many tall trees around that the only sunshine that reaches the ground comes between 11 am and 2 pm, and that is not really enough sunshine for growing most veggies, I think. I transplanted them into two terracotta pots and now they sit proudly on my back deck. I may have to move them around all day, chasing the sun, but if they produce any tomatoes it will have been worth it!

My first vegetable garden was fairly large for a beginner: 40 x 40. Some of you will be laughing at that, but I thought it was a big plot. We carved it out of virgin woodlands, and removing the stumps and roots was very hard work. Then came the rocks; every rain uncovered a new layer of rocks, which had to be carted away. Luckily, there were no rocks too big to lift. Finally we planted; Big Boy tomatoes, summer squash, cukes, zucchini, eggplant, half-runner beans, leaf lettuce, spring onions and potatoes. I cannot begin to stress how much produce we harvested that first year. We couldn't give it away fast enough, and my family could only eat so much! I tried my hand at canning green beans, but gave up after that first summer. It's a good thing I wasn't born into farm life, I would never have made it. I counted tomatoes that year; we had 447 tomatoes from 14 plants. The next year, we planted about half as much as the first year, and we had a gracious plenty to eat and still had some to share with friends and neighbors.
My favorite tomatoes grew in Ohio, at the family home of a friend. They took me with them for a family reunion, and I learned that they grew tomatoes for ketchup production. I don't remember what varieties they were. One morning we went into the fields armed with a salt shaker and a knife. There were irrigation faucets in the fields, so we chose a tomato, washed it off, sliced it open, salted it - and bit down into the red, juicy lushness that is a freshly picked tomato. By the time we finished, we had eaten enough to last through two meals and our mouths were sore from the acid and the salt. They were truly the best tomatoes I have ever eaten.
Come to think of it, I do have a little more of a garden than I've led you to believe. I have rosemary and in a small flower bed in the front yard, I have a parsley plant about 3 feet tall that is about to bloom. It looks sort of odd in that bed, as it is the tallest thing in it and it's not centered within the plot, but I don't have the heart to move it or prune it until after it blooms. I always forget it's there, so I have not used any of the parsley yet. How dumb it that? Will you remind me next week to use some parsley?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I've Been Tagged!

The Weary Hag at has challenged me to answer the latest meme, which is to tell about five things you miss from childhood. Since I just wrote a rather long post about childhood memories, and I don't wish to be repetitive, I'll try to come up with something new.

The rules:

Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; add your blog's name in the #5 spot. You need to link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross-pollination of your chosen blogs. Since I don't really know how to do that, I am just going to write their url's, and hope it works for you.

1. BTW
2. Soliloquy
3. Lyvvie's Limelight
4. The Cerebral Outpost
5. JustaskJudy

Next: select four new friends to add to the pollen count. (No one is obligated to participate).
I'd love to see what these people have to say about it:

1. Angie -

2. Colleen -

3. Gene -

4. Melinama -

Now, please write about five things you miss from childhood. Here are mine:

1. I think everyone misses his/her mother's cooking, and I am no exception. I have written previously of my mom's prowess (and my dad's too) in the kitchen. Her chicken gravy was the best anyone has ever made. Don't be trying to tell me your mom made the best - because I won't listen! Daddy made the best French fries and the best apple pie in the world, too. I know this is repetitive, but necessary, as it is one of the most missed.

2. I miss my grandmother and greatgrandmother. They were farm wives; and back in the day they started cooking on a coal-burning stove at 4:30 am to feed the farm hands as well as their families, and as soon as breakfast was over - they started on lunch. The thing I miss most about being with either of them is their overwhelmingly positive attitude about life, especially when neither of them had it easy, either physically or emotionally. I also admired my greatgrandmother's insistence that just because she lived on a farm, and had to work hard, she shouldn't take good care of her appearance too. She never left her bedroom in the morning until she had completed her "toilette" and donned a dress, stockings and jewelry. This was after the farm had become somewhat mechanized and she didn't have to get up so early to cook anymore. When she died, they had been married for 73 years. He died 3 months later and he couldn't wait to be with her again in Heaven.

3. I miss my dad taking mom and me to Dairy Queen almost every night in the summertime. Soon after dinner, he would round us up and we'd get in the car for the short trip to sweetsville. I remember being enamored of pineapple-nut sundaes back then, and I must have eaten a mountain of them, because it was all I ordered one summer. Then I moved to butterscotch sundaes, which were even better. When we came back home afterward, we'd listen to the radio; shows like "The Green Hornet", "The Shadow Knows", "The Great Gildersleeve", "Amos and Andy" and others I can't remember the names of right now. There were great music shows too, such as "Your Hit Parade". I miss those radio shows; they were good in a way that TV will never be, because they allowed you to use your imagination.

4. I miss my childhood innocence; I miss the times when I didn't know anything about war or hunger or child abuse or tsunamis or cancer.

5. I miss school, believe it or not. Oh, I complained about it, just like every kid did. But I enjoyed studying and reading and school plays and fund drives and assemblies and winning awards at the end of the school year. The only things I don't miss are gym class and math. I used to say that as soon as my children were all in school I would go back for a Master's Degree. But I never did and it is a moderately big regret for me.

That ends my current list of things I miss from my childhood. If you were tagged (or even if you were not and would like to be) please write what you miss the most and let me know when your post is up.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Our Own Bee Season......edited below

Some years ago, I noticed swarms of bees around the back corner of our house every morning when I opened the window blinds. We watched them for a few weeks, and upon closer inspection, we discovered that the bees were going under the siding on our house, where it overlapped the brick. They left every morning in a great exodus and they returned throughout the day in a steady stream, and then returned in a swarm about dusk. About the same time, I discovered a discoloration in the corner of the ceiling in my guest bedroom downstairs. At first, I thought it was a water leak, but it was darker and seemed sticky. It took a few weeks for the realization to set in; we were infested with bees.

The pest control people wanted to kill all the bees, but we couldn't let that happen, so we located a bee keeper, who would remove the bees and take them to a hive far away.

He came with his "bee vacuum", his gloves and hat veil, and his smoker. First, he had to expose the bees. It had been determined that they were located in the space between the upstairs master bedroom floor and the ceiling of the guest bedroom below. He moved the furniture, peeled back the carpet, removed 2 layers of subfloor and lo and behold, there was honey as far as the eye could see, and the hum of the bees was so loud you could hear it 15 feet away! The joists were 7-8" deep and the bees had built between the sections of joists about 5 feet square in all.
The smoker makes the bees sort of sleepy, and they won't attack. After he "smokes" them sufficiently, he uses his specially altered vacuum cleaner to suck up the bees into a vented box, which he uses to transport the bees to their new hives. He knows approximately how many bees he is able to get, because the box is supposed to hold 90,000 bees. Believe it or not, when he finished with our house, he had over 300,000 bees, in 3 boxes.
Then came honey removal. This honey was very dark - almost mahogany colored - and very bitter. The bee man said it was because of the types of pollen they gathered. He removed five, 5 gallon buckets of honey, and sad to say, none of it could be eaten. The honey was so heavy; it is a wonder that the ceiling downstairs didn't cave in with the weight of it.
He replaced the subfloor and the carpet, and he caulked the opening outside along the siding where the bees had first gained entry. We thought that would be the last of the bees. Boy, were we wrong.
Four or five years later, it became obvious that bees had once again found an opening into the subfloor. The bee man explained that once the honey had penetrated the surfaces, no matter how well it was removed and cleaned, a residue of honey would always remain for bees to smell. This time there were many fewer bees and much less honey to deal with, since we had noticed them early on in the process. We had to go through the removal process again, and though it was easier this time, it was still a hassle, not to mention the expense. The newest point of entry was located, and it was behind a downspout. That was an area that the bee man had not been able to get the caulking into the first time, due to the awkward position. But this time, he forced it in. So far, we have not been infested again - but from time to time - I see bees investigating the area. We sure do hope they don't find their way into the house again.
Note: my husband says I made an error. The bee boxes each hold 25,000 bees and we had 4 boxes, for a total of about 100k.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bogged Down in Blog Land (with apologies to Hoss)

My clothes are wrinkled, and I need to here I am..........blogging.

The garden needs weeding, I really should sweep......but here I sit...........blogging.

I need a shampoo, and my nails should be clipped...........and still I sit............blogging.

The pillows need fluffing, there are flowers to arrange......and yet I am..........still blogging.

I've dinner to cook, the cat litter's dirty.........but I cannot stop....blogging.

The pantry is bare and the cupboards are too...........we've nothing to snack on........How about you?.............. Are you blogging too?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Summer Memories

The wonderful writer at asked for summer memories from when you were a child. I love recalling my favorite summer memories; evoking warm and wonderful feelings of times spent in nature, solitary and carefree.
As a youngster, summers were spent riding my bike, playing tag, hide-and-seek, and all the other games that kids play. Catching lightning bugs was a favorite pasttime; I loved going out at night after dinner and feeling the warm breezes on my skin, while running through the yards with a mason jar looking for bugs. Since there was no TV yet, we spent a lot of time in a porch swing, talking about the day, remembering the past, and discussing family issues. It was in that swing, at age 6 I learned that I was adopted , "chosen" as they called it. It was where I heard that my favorite uncle was going into the Navy and from that swing, we heard the neighbors fights, other mother's admonitions to wayward children and the sounds of piano practice.
At age eight, we moved, and summers were spent mostly in the woods around our new home, near a recreation site for the families of Union Carbide employees. We were the last house on the street, surrounded by woods and animals and wildflowers. I loved nothing better than going into those woods day after day, seeking new critters, bugs, flowers, seed pods, creeks and rocks to look under. My mom was so paranoid about most things, that I still cannot fathom why she was so agreeable to seeing me (at ages 8-11) go off into the woods every day. I was warned to run home if I smelled watermelon; it is supposed to be the predominate smell when there is a copperhead snake nearby. I saw many a copperhead while growing up, but none on my jaunts into the woods. The smells of deep woods; leaf mold, clear water creeks and wildflowers haunts me even now. I can still conjure it at will. I found many crayfish, fishing worms, crickets, tadpoles, frogs and the like - and they all made it home with me at one time or another. I also picked up a few ticks along the way, but they were removed with no ill effects when I got home. One year a group of teenagers decided to dam up the small creek nearby, to create a swimming hole. I helped them locate and carry rocks for the dam, and they barely tolerated my presence, except for the help I was so willing to give. Eventually they created a swimming hole of about 4 feet deep, enough to float in, if not really swim. It was cool, clear running water and good for the soul. I spent many an hour there, surrounded by tall trees and dappled shade. I was once in a seminar, in which the leader asked us to get still and "go back to your favorite quiet place". I knew immediately where I would go and with the snap of a finger - I was back in those woods, with only the trees and breeze for company.

In my area, we had a huge swimming pool complex that had been built into the side of an old rock quarry. Virtually everyone went there on weekends, as it was one of the few public pools around in those days. They had the big main pool, baby pools, a games area and a dance floor, and they always played the current popular songs for our "dancing pleasure". And dance we did; as the sun burned brightly and tanning or swimming became boring, we piled onto the dance floor like sardines in a can. It was heaven. If your current boyfriend was not in attendance that weekend, there were always scores of others waiting in the wings. And don't get me started about life guards; they of the bronzed bodies and rippling biceps. It was every 15 year old's dream, even if the guards were far too old for us.

During the week, my girlfriend and I would walk about a mile every day to the local dairy store to have a Coke and an order of fries. We told our mothers that the reason for this daily foray was our friendship, but we were not completely truthful. The route we walked was guaranteed to take us by the homes of some boys whose attention we coveted, and some days we were rewarded with a wave and a hello or maybe conversation, if we were very lucky. I don't know if they ever realized our motives, but we were so obvious I don't know how they couldn't have.

Summers in later years were not as idyllic, since I had to work and save money for college. Those were good experiences too, of course, but the best summers were spent in nature, sitting on a rock or turning it over to see what was underneath.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Compliment Gone Bad

Michele Agnew posed an interesting question today, asking people to recount the backhanded compliments they had received. I told one or two of mine, and decided I should elaborate here.

Shortly after my husband and I married, I had to travel to DC to take a certification exam in Cytotechnology. Hubby had gone to school in DC, and many of his friends were still based there, so we made plans to meet some of them for lunch after my test. There was one couple whom I had not met. When we pulled up in front of the restaurant, and I got out of the car, their faces broke out in huge smiles, and so I thought to are approved......they like what they see. (Back then I cared about such things; now I am a bit more laid back about approval!).
We had a very nice luncheon, full of talk about getting together again and perhaps vacationing together. I left for the rest room and of course, you know she went with me, since young women can never manage to go to the rest room alone. While freshening our make-up, she said to me, "We were so happy to see that you were not pregnant. Since you are from West Virginia, we thought you might be". After 'picking myself up off the floor', I regained enough of my voice to ask "Why would you think that?" She answered that the only girls she had ever known from WV had been unmarried and pregnant. At that point I knew she didn't merit any further conversation, but to be polite, I continued on as though she had a brain.
Over the years, we saw this couple at school reunions, but while I remained polite, I could never quite warm up to her again. When I heard that they were separating, my comment was....."What took him so long?".

Did'ja Miss Me?

The worst thunder and lightning storm in recorded memory hit us yesterday about 4 pm, and I stupidly forgot to unplug the computer. It knocked out my cable modem and kept me off-line for about 16 hours, producing the worst withdrawal symptoms you have ever witnessed. Thankfully, I got a new modem before the DT's took hold! Rest assured, the next time it even hints of thunder, I will run to unplug everything electrical in the house.
There were some very good plusses to not being on-line last night: I did watch some TV, I read magazines dated this week (not last) and I completed a couple of crosswords. Well, I didn't complete them, I just went as far as I could go. I got into bed before midnight and was able to read several chapters instead of a few paragraphs. The best part was being able to get out of bed before 8 a.m. I am ashamed to admit that I have been sleeping in quite a bit lately, since I spend so much night time on the computer. The man who lives here tells me I am addicted - as if I didn't know it already!

I picked this up somewhere several days ago. If I got it from you - thanks - and I hope you aren't mad I stole it.

Sow happiness in your neighbor's field and you'll be surprised to note what the wind will produce in your own.

Juliette St-Gelais

Juliette was pretty smart; but it's just another way of saying "What goes around, comes around".

I'm thrilled to be back on-line, so I hope you're happy to have me.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Will You Help A Damsel in Distress?

Please help Queen Brenda with her problems; Princess Sparkle and her suitor, Bitchard, are always together, and the Queen wants to know how to get some time alone with the Princess, without banishing Bitchard (thereby making him all the more appealing). You are all so wise and wonderful; won't you please advise her as to how she may accomplish this?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Audrey Hepburn's Beauty Tips and Other Words to Live By

This is a lovely poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her "beauty tips". It was read at her funeral years later.
a. For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
b. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
c. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
d. For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
e. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
f. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
g. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.


An Old Farmer's Advice:

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
* Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God

Sunday, June 05, 2005

My Grandson's Essay

My grandson, age 11, spent the weekend with us. His Mom sent along this school essay for us to read:

"The best part of Thanksgiving I think is going to my grandparent's house for the day. I enjoy hugging my grandparents, making boats and going to the movies. I think it is the best time of the year.

When I got there I was so happy to see my grandparents because it has been so long. I ran right into their arms to hug them. My cousins had just gotten there too, but they were supposed to get there the day before.

We all ran for the closet to get the arts and crafts box. I got the egg cartons to make boats for the summer, so I can have races in the pool. I think that is fun!!!! Sometimes I just make a sword or planes to throw or I just make up thingamabobs to keep people out of the club. The club is where I keep all of my best inventions saved to use when I need them, like the toy helicopter that doesn't fly.

I always seem to do this every year, which is to go to the movies. It is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. We always get our popcorn and large drinks before the movies start. I always sit in the middle row to get the best view of the movie. After the movie, I always eat the most for for Thanksgiving dinner out of anybody, and I eat it all. The food is so good, I can resist it, but I don't.

That is my annual Thanksgiving for every year and I hope it doesn't change. Now what is yours?"

A note of explanation: I keep a large box of art supplies, paper, markers, crayons, scissors, rulers, ribbons, old greeting cards, etc., as well as oatmeal boxes, egg cartons, small boxes, gift wrap and the like for the children to play with when they visit. This boy likes to make boats out of the egg cartons and because he has the mind of an engineer, he makes fairly elaborate ones. You might be amazed at what he can do - I know I am!

Blogs I like.....and You Might Too This is one woman's story about growing up in the depression years, and it is most interesting. Sallie has not updated since December 2004, but the story is complete and you may enjoy reading it - as I did. In fact, I really wish she would write regularly! Brenda is in fine comedic form today, as she posts on the rumored dalliances of some Hollywood types. You'll laugh, I promise. This guy lives in Kauai (Paradise, I have called it) and occasionally posts great photos of the island and other spots in Hawaii. He doesn't update often enough for me - but I enjoy looking at his photos and reading about his family.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm Tired - and Uninspired

A friend sent this to me via email and I hope you will find it amusing, in lieu of a real post, I give you:

The Computer Swallowed Grandma

The computer swallowed grandma
Yes, honestly it's true.
She pressed "control" and "enter"
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely
The thought just makes me squirm,
She must have caught a virus
or been eaten by a worm.
I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind,
I've even used the Internet
But nothing did I find.
In desperation I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine,
The reply from him was negative
Not a thing was found "on line"
So, if inside your "inbox"
My grandma you should see,
Please "copy", "scan" and "paste" her
And send her back to me.

Author Unknown.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Girlish Crushes.....and Some Recent Ones

I popped into MommaK's a while ago, and a post on girlish crushes got me to thinking about the ones I had. Most of you (except Hoss) are too young to remember the people I had teenage crushes on (so Google 'em). Heck, I am too old to remember most of them, so bear with me as I toggle the old memory switch.
1. Montgomery Clift was a sad-faced, neurotic acting dreamboat way back when; a favorite friend of Elizabeth Taylor. He was certainly eye candy, though, no matter what his sexual orientation, and a heck of a good actor.
2. Rock Hudson. Talk about eye candy! I loved him in all those Doris Day movies; romantic formula comedies where the guy always gets the girl at the end of the movie, despite the tribulations they have in the middle of it. I will never forget when I found out he was gay. He was such a good actor I had never even imagined that. Note: I was told in 1962, by a member of the Four Freshmen (look 'em up) that Rock was gay. I was flabbergasted! It didn't become common knowledge - outside of Hollywood - for quite some time after that.
3. Tony Curtis, when I was feeling in an ethnic mood. He looked every inch an Italian, but he was really Bernie Schwartz from the Bronx (I think it was the Bronx). Brenda
recently discovered Tony and was blown away by his dark good looks. All you younger women should rent some old movies and see real men in action.
4. Cary Grant, who was not only easy on the eyes, but suave and debonair to boot. I always imagined him to be really intelligent too, since the parts he played usually portrayed that.
5. Omar Sharif - dark and handsome; though I don't know about his height. Don't see how it would matter, though, if we were lying about on Persian rugs in a tent pitched beside a Saharan oasis! I've always been a sucker for anything Egyptian.
6. Johnny Carson always rang my chimes too; handsome, suave, smart and funny all rolled up in one package. What's not to like?
7. How could I leave out Robert Redford and Paul Newman? Both are still nice looking men, but back in the day they could really make every woman's hearts flutter...and....make some other parts react too.
8. Sean Connery.......As James Bond, the only Bond in my book. Pure sex appeal, and the old guy still has it.
9. A more modern list would include Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Al Pacino and Tom Selleck, some of whom have stood the test of time better than others. I have to quit writing about this parts are fluttering.