Thursday, June 30, 2005

Easy - Week #12

I was just at Kelly's journal and decided I needed a pick me up after reading the latest about Adrian.  So I'm following her advise.  I know things happen for a reason, but...

Anyways, this week, Kelly asked...

Tell me......

"What is your favorite kind of ice cream?"

Good old-fashioned vanilla...French Vanilla if possible.  Why?  Because I can make it any flavor I want once it's in my bowl.  The toppings are endless...chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, strawberry, orange marmalade, sprinkles, peanuts, cookies, M & M's, brownies, hot fudge, Root Beer!!!!   It's the best of both worlds!  What more could you ask for in an ice cream?

Monday, June 27, 2005

They are out to get me!

They are!

I swear it.  Either that or I'm losing my mind...which is highly possible, all things considered lately.

Who are they?  Those pesky grammar gremlins who keep changing words in my journal, that's who.

A couple of seconds ago I was going back over a previous entry (the One Word entry), and I noticed I misspelled the word 'temptation' (I already corrected it so don't bother looking).  Now I know for a fact before I posted that entry, I spelled the word correctly.  See, I always go back and re-read/review my journal entries before I click on 'Save.'  Always.  At least two or three times...sometimes more.  I am a tweaker.  And I can't leave well enough alone, so I review my work.  Reviewing gives me the chance to edit, spell check, tweak, etc.  And I know I spelled temptation right the first time.  I know I did.  But, in the past month this is the second time that's happened and I'm starting to get a bit worried.

There's got to be a way to catch them.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Ignorance is the enemy

Heads Up!

I'm sitting here watching a C-SPAN rebroadcast of Ashley Judd speak at the National Press Club in DC about the YouthAIDS efforts and her experiences as the Global Ambassador.  Ashley addressed the NPC last Wednesday, June 22.

For those of you who followed her journal 'A Journey of Hope' earlier this year, you may recall she mentioned a documentary about her...and India.Arie's...journey in Africa being filmed by VH1.  VH1 will air the documentary on either August 21 or August 23 (or both?).  Hard to tell which date, as Ashley mentioned both dates in such a way that at first I thought the first date was a mistake and second date is correct.  I checked the YouthAIDS website but the only mention of the documentary was the private screening held on June 23.  Right now, the VH1 website has nothing on the broadcast schedule for the month of August.

Just thought you might like to know.

And in case you were wondering I generally do not watch C-SPAN, but I was channel surfing and when I saw Ashley, naturally I put the remote down.  :)  Earlier today I purchased her movie 'De-Lovely' and plan to watch it later tonight.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Easy -- Week #11

This week's question goes hand-in-hand <grin> with last week's.  Now Kelly wants to know...

Tell me......

"What is your favorite thing to drink on a hot summer day?"

I figure we better get some drinks going with all that food we're grilling, right?


Most days it is


Occasionally it is

Red beer  - OR -  gin digger


One Word

Feeling: Curious

The past two days, in my travels through J-Land, many have posted a 'game' of sorts.  Temptation tickled me, yet I resisted.  Today, alas, my curiousity bested me.  So...

Please leave a one word comment that you think best describes me.

It can only be one word.  No more.

Then copy and paste this into your journal so that I may leave a word about you...

Stolen from Secret Garden.

...and then I stole it from Sorting the pieces !

And I stole from Midnight Diaries....

And I stole it from SheetGuyKarebear, karensull12 ,et all.

Sisters and Teenage Drivers

Comment Added
A comment has been posted to the Journal:
Blue Skies...Gentle Breezes...and Storms
Your Monday Photo Shoot: Sentimental Gifts
Comment from: chrismlt
"Dona, I can't express enough to you how much this means to me!  After all these years, I thought I was the special one!  You've given me so many ornaments over the years which are my treasures.

Love ya!

Your sis, Chris

Aw, Chris, what can I say?  Other than it looks like we got ourselves a little sisterly love fest going on!
Of course you always knew you were the special one...after all, who did I wake up at 4 in the morning all those times I was craving hot cocoa and butterhorns at the Westbank?  Wasn't Jayme...she couldn't keep her mouth shut about it to Mom.  But I knew if I told you not to say anything, you'd keep it to yourself.  ;)    And while we're keeping secrets...don't tell you-know-who about my you-know-what, 'k?
Oh, and, I hate to nag, but....where's my disk?
Love ya, too!
Okay, now that I've had my little stroll down memory lane, I have an announcement to make.

****** A T T E N T I O N ******
All drivers in the central Georgia area.  Be advised of a recently licensed driver now loose on the roads.
Name: Beth aka Helen Wheels
Age: A lady never reveals her age.
Sex: See above
Hair: Yes
Height: Hmmm...taller than me!
Weight: I guess...she's weighted for everything else.

Congratulations Beth!  The summer of 2005 is rapidly becoming a memorable one for you, isn't it?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Sentimental Gifts

For the subject of this week's photo shoot, John Scalzi asked us to share a photo of a treasured gift.  After giving it much thought, the choice was obvious. 
The figurines below are all from my sister, Chris.  Silly as it may sound, I treasure each one, and they mean the world to me...because they are from her.  The oldest is the little girl hugging a bird, with the word 'Love' written on the base.  If my memory serves me right, Chris gave this to me sometime between 1982-1984.  Next are two cats from Avon, which she gave me in 1986, the year we fulfilled a childhood dream of getting an apartment together.  And last, but not least, is the pair of jumping dolphins, which I believe she gave me about ten years ago.

I'm not really a nicknack person, but I love these.  And with the exception of a small chip on the Siamese cat's ear, I've taken extra good care of them over the many years.  There was one other gift Chris gave me many years ago, for Christmas in 1978, the year our mother died.  It was the first Christmas we ever spent apart.  For years it was my most treasured gift ever and I had it for almost 30 years.  But a few years ago it was accidently destroyed.  It was a simple small plaque, with a color drawing of a little bunny sitting in a witch's type kettle, over a raging fire, with a very worried look on it's face.  Next to the drawing were the words, "I'm in a stew without you."  I loved it, because I felt the same way.
To some people, they are just junk.  To me, these simple gifts are a token of my sister's love and appreciation...for who I am, what I am, and what I'll always be, to her.  They are me, and they serve as a constant reminder of the memories we've made together over the years.  Whether together, or apart.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Twinkle Toes? Me? Not Today!

A couple of weeks ago I had a hellava laugh thanks to E! (My Elegant Chaos).  While admiting she has mastered the craft of fallin' up stairs, she reflected back to an experience she had on Capital Hill a couple of years ago.  She's always got great entries, but this one quickly became a favorite of mine.  Got a minute?  Ever fallen in a public place?  Go read will not be sorry.  I promise.  It's that good.

So anyways, I was teasing her about being clutzy and falling and getting older, etc. etc. etc.

When will I ever learn?

Today, while walking down three (count 'em, three) stairs, I did the banana peel thing and BAM! down I went.  Fortunately, both my funny bones broke the fall.

Yeah.  I'm gonna need a little more sympathy than that!

It was one of those moments when I know I firmly placed my left foot down on the second step.  My foot made contact with the solid step and the next thing I knew that same foot was moving in a direction unbeknowst to me.  Funny, I didn't tell it to move yet, it just acted on it's own accord.  It was like I just stepped in a snare and someone had jerked on the rope to pull my foot out from beneath me.  I remember seeing that renegade foot slide down and bounce off the third step just seconds before my other foot decided to join in the fun.

Oh no.

I'm going down and there ain't nothin' I can do about it.

In a feeble attempt to break my fall, I put both my hands down.  Wrong!  The precise moment my brain sent those instructions to my hands, my butt was nearing touchdown on the second step.  The only place for my arms to go was at my side, and just as I jerked both arms down, my elbows and my back smacked the edge of the upper step.  And I mean smacked.  I sat momentarily stunned before I was able to get to my feet.  Both my elbows are humming and vibrating with pain, the right one is starting to bleed and the left has several angry red scrapes on it.  That's gonna leave a mark, and some very nasty bruises.

This all happened on my lunch hour which is now over (literally), and I have to go back to work.  Long story short, I returned to the office, cleaned and licked my wounds, grabbed a couple of bandaids and returned to my desk.

That was almost twelve hours ago.  My left arm is a tad bit sore right now, and I know when I wake up tomorrow morning, I'm going to feel it.  My back doesn't hurt, but the smacked spot is very tender.  I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me in later years.

On the positive side, there was no one around when it happened, so no one saw me fall.  That's always a good thing.  No witnesses who will someday feel compelled to remind me that 45+ years after I first learned to walk, I still haven't mastered that craft.



Los Lonely Boys  : Los Lonely Boys  : 'Heaven'

Got Ronnie Milsap and Los Lonely Boys playing together on CMT 'Crossroads.'

  (c) Country Music Television

Oh yeah!  Ronnie is rockin' the house! 

So far CMT has always hit paydirt on the pairing of country and pop artists featured on this show.  I don't know who makes the picks (artists? CMT? management?) but they've been spot on every time.  Since the show began I've seen

* Martina McBride and Pat Benatar (my favorite)
* Brad Paisely and John Mayer
* Emmy Lou Harris and Dave Mathews
* Wynonna and Heart
* Kenny Chesney and John Mellencamp
* Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow

I know there's been more and I've missed them, but the ones I have seen provided me with great entertainment.  The behind the scenes footage showing how they decide which songs to sing, the rehearsals, the time they spend sharing stories about the songs they's all good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

June's Artsy Essay

This month, Judith asked us to write about our favorite color.  The shade, the why, the how.  Until today, I have shared this story with a handful of people.  Now, I'm sharing it with all of you.  I hope you enjoy it.

In every life there are simple moments, moments we will later recall with crisp clarity in our reflection back to that time and place.  For me, there are many of these moments, and I pray these memories never leave me.  One such memory is the day I decided sapphire blue was the most beautiful color in the world; through the years it remains my favorite.

It was the first crayon I picked up to color with, and I wanted coloring books with lots and lots of skies and oceans.  My people always had blue eyes, blue clothing, blue shoes, blue houses, and blue pets (it drove my older sister crazy!).  I was a 'color my world blue' child.  Now you know what, here's the how and the why.

The yearis 1961.  It's February, I'm three years old and terribly sick with pneumonia.  My mother is a single parent in Los Angeles raising two young girls.  Mom has finally landed a day job as a secretary, and placed my older sister and I in day care.  As the pneumonia worsens, staff at the day care refused to take me, informing my mother that I am too ill for them to care for and I should be left home until I recuperate.  Mom stays home with me for a week, but my condition does not improve.  She must return to work or she'll lose her job, so she contacts her mother in Washington, and my father as well, and explains the situation.  Arrangements are made for me to fly from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, where my father will pick me up.  From Portland, he will drive back to his home in Lewiston, Idaho; there I will remain until the end of August.

To this day I remember seeing, for the very first time, the big silver bird at the airport.  I remember holding my mother and sister's hands as we walked through two large glass doors toward the bird.  The sun was out but the air was cool and a breeze tickled my warm cheeks as Mom led us across the tarmac toward a group of people standing beside a set of metal stairs leading up into the bird.

At the bottom of the stairs, Mom began to speak to a woman dressed in a dark, heavy coat.  The woman was a chaperone hired by the airline to accompany me on the flight.  I didn't like the lady; she frightened me and reminded me of a very cruel person who once took care of me.  I didn't want to leave my mother and I didn't feel very good.  I was tired, and cranky, and cold.  Mom kneeled down to my level.  She told me I needed to go with the lady in the heavy coat.  The woman held out her hand for me, but I resisted, preferring to bury my face into my mother's arms while clinging to the security of her warm body.

With her gentle, caring tone, Mom convinced me not to be afraid, that everything would be all right.  Slowly, I pulled my face away from her body.  She looked deep into my eyes, and softly stroked my cheek.  I felt safe just then, no longer frightened.  Then she persuaded me to release my grip from her clothing and to take the hand of this stranger and follow her up the metal stairs into the belly of the giant silver bird.

I did what my mother told me to do.  Reluctantly, I stepped away from my mother, and took the hand of the waiting stranger, who led me up the stairs.  I wanted to look back at my mother, but the height of each step forced me to concentrate my attention on bringing my short legs up high enough to reach every step.  Only when we reached the top, just before we stepped inside, did I turn around for another look at my mother and sister.  They seemed so small and far away, standing there waving at me.  I didn't want to leave them there, but I believed my mother's words.  Mom was always right.

I followed the woman down the aisle to our seats and she let me sit by the window.  From my seat I watched my mother and sister walk slowly toward the glass doors of the terminal.  Soon, the giant silver bird roared to life, then it began to move.  Through the window I watched the scenery pass by.  I asked the woman when I would see my mommy again, and she replied she didn't know, but I needed to take a nap.  I was tired and didn't feel good, but I refused to sleep.  This woman wasn't my mommy and I didn't have to do what she said.

Within a few minutes, I felt a lurch as the giant bird launched into the air, but I never took my eyes off the window.  Just then I saw the most beautiful thing ever, through the glass.  It sparkled and twinkled in the sunlight.  Quickly I leaned in toward the windowto get a better view, completely in awe of the deep blanket below me.  Through the window, the Pacific Ocean stretched out, forever.  Never ending, it was everywhere.  It was beautiful.  I asked my escort what color it was.

"Blue," she replied.

Blue.  It even sounded beautiful.  Blue.  It was the same color as my eyes.  I no longer felt sad.  I no longer missed my mommy or my sister.  I no longer felt tired, or afraid.  I felt...happy.  I liked this color.  I felt good looking at this color.  With my tiny nose pressed against the window, I sat entranced by the magic of blue.  It was so relaxing, so right.

Suddenly, little puffs of clouds streaked by the window, then I lost my view of the big blue glittery blanket as the bird climbed higher and higher, immersing itself in fluffy clouds.  I was still trying to get another look at the ocean below, when we reached the top of the clouds and I saw the pale sky.  It too, was everywhere.  This blue was the same color as my mommy's eyes.  I sat back in my seat, never taking my eyes off the window.  I asked my companion if that was blue, too.  With a quick nod of her head, she confirmed it was.

With total fascination, I gazed through the window at the blue sky, thinking of the ocean and the billowy soft clouds just below me.  Through that window, everything was beautiful, everything sparkled, everything was right.  That day, just before I fell asleep inside the belly of the giant silver bird, I fell in love with the color blue.

That day, I fell in love with clouds, too.

Monday, June 20, 2005

For My Sister


I miss you, too!

Hey, when the days get heavy, remember this...

Music Archive Videos <---Click

On A Positive Note...

Smoke-free...7 months and counting.

Do I miss it?

Strangely, no.  I spent more than half my life smoking, and I don't miss it one bit.  I will confess I did break down during my visit to Chris & Vic's last month.  The night Beth graduated, after those shots of tequila I was feeling particularly bullet-proof (which tequila tends to do to me) so I conned my younger sister into giving me a cig.  Immediately, the smell, the taste, the bitterness, reminded me why I quit in the first place.  BLAH!  :::shiver:::  Once in a while I think about cigs, but that thought always evaporates from my mind.  Best yet, haven't gained a pound or even an ounce since I quit.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I lost 15 pounds.

Go figure.

P. S.  Speaking of Vic, did y'all know he dropped by and left me a comment?  :)  It's in the last Georgia entry.  I'm so lucky to have him for my brother!  Although I do think he needs to update his profile, as he retired from the military in 2003 (hint, hint).


The radio station just announced the line up for this year's Hot August Nights, which takes place at the end of August.  Friday night, Lou Graham from Foreigner, and Saturday...drum roll please...the one and only Temptations.  Oh yeah!!!!  Last year it was Loverboy on Friday night (missed that one) and Saturday night Peter Noon of Herman's Hermits, who really put on a fantastic show, actually.  I was amazed and impressed.  An aging rocker he is not, at least not that night.  He was in fine form and quite a showman (but then, maybe I've been out of the entertainment loop for too long). ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge

Today's been an emotional day full of highs and lows. Spent the first couple of hours this morning at the athletic club. Got there right after the doors opened at 8:00 a.m., so the place was quiet. Took my turn on the stair master, then the treadmill, then into the equipment room. Next stop was the pool for a very relaxing, leisurely swim, followed by a quick sit in the sauna, then the jacuzzi, and a shower.

On the drive back, the emotional part kicked in. Two weeks ago, my kitty companion Sassy disappeared. She's 11 years old, and I now fear the worst. Cats are very independent and Sas was no different. At first I thought she had just gone off on a little feline adventure and I'd see her in a few days, lounging about as she pleased.

But it has been over two weeks, with no sign of her, anywhere.   Sassy has never been away from the house for more than one day.  I fear I must now deal with fact that she is gone and has crossed the rainbow bridge.  I had Sassy longer than any other animal companion.

I brought her home in June 1994 when she was six weeks old, and in no time at all she earned the nickname 'Monster' for the way she raced around the house.   She was fascinated by the television and especially computer screens. 

Anytime I got my suitcase out, she made it clear to me that I better be taking her with me.

She spent the last five years of her life outside, when Sam put his foot down about having cats in the house. During the past few years Sassy became a bit of a slobber puss, drooling everywhere when she was happy and content, which was all the time.  Never had a cat do that before. She was my constant companion, friend, and trusted confidant. I will miss her, deeply.

Right now I'm just too sad to write anymore.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

She cracked it!


Here I was, delighting in the pleasure of having all of you puzzling over the photo and reading all your guesses.  Relishing in the thought that no one would ever figure it out, and I could be smug with my little secret for at least a week.  That didn't last long because today someone nailed it.

And that someone is Gaye!  She put several guesses out there, and she got it right!  Behold, the subject of the Monday Photo Shoot, third car back. 

The photo in the prior entry was taken last April, during the Dogwood Festival at Lewis-Clark State College.  I snapped a closeup of the right front fender, with reflections of the college library windows on the right and the raised hood on the left.  This car had what car buffs call fat-i-tude, and reminded me a bit of Dad's 1946 Nash Coupe aka Lady in Red.

Here's another one, just for fun.  See, it's true what they say about black cars.  You can see every speck of dirt, dust, lint, hair, etc.!  If that red car had been as dirty as this black one, I think you all would have known what it is.

But, that is a mighty fine paint job, isn't it?  So deep, I can see my reflection in it (and that stupid flash, too).

Gaye, girlfriend, you got it goin' on!!!!!  Your first guess was right on.  They say your first instinct is always right, and you proved it today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Monday Photo Shoot: Red


John's put a challenge up for this week's Monday Photo Shoot.  Says John...

It's late spring, almost summer, and the world (my part of it, at least) is awash in all the verdant shades of green that there are possible to see. So, of course, what better time could there be to focus on that color's chromatic opposite?

And how could I pass up the opportunity to post this photo, which I took earlier this year and have been trying to come up with a fitting entry in which to feature it.  Gee, thanks John!

Can anyone guess what it is?

I'll be back in a week to tell you, unless someone can correctly identify the subject. ;)


Graphic courtesy of Photoshop.

Misty blue
Rain sprinkled colors
A-washed in spring
Streaks of life
Reflect the day
Light and dark
Corners of my mind
Await the days of summer.


For some reason last night, this poem wanted to be written and would not leave me alone.  Half an hour after I slipped beneath the bed covers, I found myself sitting at my desk, my hand scrambling to keep up with my head.  With the words put to paper, then and only then, could I return to my bed and fall asleep.


With an invitation to experience
Good people
And a long awaited embrace.


No poem is ever truly finished, until I say it is.

Now this one is finished.

Wrappin' Up Georgia

Trip to Georgia - Days #4 - 6

The last three days with Chris and her family were basically uneventful.  Monday morning Mathew (the youngest) had an orthodontist appointment in Augusta, so we all piled into the Expedition for the hour long drive into town.  Once Mat's braces were checked, it was off to the Augusta Mall (aka the Butterfly Mall) for a little shopping, as I had given Chris and Beth gift cards from Bath and Body Works.

Now, I've always known my two nephews are like night and day, but as we milled around the store the differences emerged like never before.  James is 16, Mathew is 13.

James: Why do women spend so much time here?  They're just wasting their husband's money.

Mathew:  Do girls really like this stuff?  So, if I brought a girl to this store, would she like that?

Reply to James:  Because we like it and men like us to be soft and smell good.  Besides, some of us have our own money (big mistake...this just opened up the floodgates for a debate).

Reply to Mathew:  Yes. If you bring a girl to this store, she will love it!  Take notes young man!

I think we can all see who the charmer in this family is...

More later.  Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go!

After surviving almost an hour in B&BW, the boys are relieved when the girls finally make their purchases and we depart from the dreaded warehouse of feminine wiles.  A quick bite to eat, a stop at Wal-Mart and we return to the house to find Chris' hibiscus has bloomed.

Seeing this hibiscus brought back childhood memories of lazy summer days in Southern California, where a massive hibiscus shrub flourished in our front yard.  My older sister and I spent many a day picking the blooms and savoring the tiny drops of honey like nectar within; it was like having a candy shop in the front yard, and the candy was free.

Speaking of sweet, every now and then, we all get to experience karma at work, in the form of paybacks.  Paybacks we have waited many, long years for...and oh, they are so very sweet!  Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.  I'm still laughing over this one.

Chris and Mathew are in the midst of a mother-son talk at the dining table, the topic of which escapes me right now but the gist of it has Mathew developing his negotiation skills.  My sister has just presented her case to her youngest son and is briefly enjoying the momentary victory of silence as her words sink in.

Suddenly, Mathew leans across the table toward his mother and blurts out, "But, dude!  Can't I just--."

My sister's back stiffens.  "You did NOT just call me dude!"

"Yeah, I did," he replies, somewhat innocently.

My hand goes to my mouth to prevent a sudden outburst of laughter from escaping.

"Mathew!"  Mom is not amused.

Seeing my reaction, Mathew proceeds with a shrug.  "Okay, then...what should I call you, dudette?"

Okay, now I'm wetting myself.   My younger sister is shooting me a look to wilt any flower, and I am so enjoying this.  All those years when she was young, and I swore, someday...

That day has arrived, but I have to remove myself to the front porch, lest I really sink myself deep into my sister's bad side.  Parked on a chair, there I sit, snickering at the memory of a few moments ago. 


The remaining two days were spent just relaxing and enjoying the simple pleasure of doing absolutely nothing.  Wednesday came and it was time for me to catch the noon flight out of Augusta.  Just before I disappeared into the security area where only passengers are allowed, Chris got a photo of me and the kids.

L-R: Me, James, Beth, Mathew.

I'm feeling very short right now...and I'm 5' 6".  Am I shrinking...or are kids today just getting taller?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Easy Week #10

10 weeks of Easy, sounds like the life to me!  Where do I sign up?  I think Kelly's on to something here.

So, this week Kelly has posed the following to us here in J-Land...

Tell me......

"What is your favorite food to eat off the grill?"

How much time do I have?  Off the grill...oh boy, don't think I can chose just one food.  Asparagus, brisket, chicken, filet mignon, halibut, stuffed mushrooms, pork ribs, roast, salmon, and of course, burgers, hot dogs and steaks.  I know I forgot something...oh well.

That's me.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Happy Birthday, Dad!

In between the hours of my father's death and his funeral, I wrote the following poem for him.  My father was not a religious man and did not attend a local church.  So while my uncle asked his clergyman to preside over the service, I couldn't bear the thought of someone who didn't even know my father deliverying his eulogy.  He deserved a heart felt tribute from someone who knew him...someone who loved him.

So on that day many years ago I stood before a standing room only crowd, and shared a story about a man and his daughter.  A story many people in the room had never heard. 

Holding In My Heart


I'm not sure how to start this out

But I have a story to share and it's all about

A man, who I as a child was denied the right to know

And he carried in his heart for years, a father's love he could not show.


          With a child's love I remembered him, that I was holding in my heart

          Many hours found me wondering, why must we be apart?

          For my mother truly believed that her way was really best

          While other children held their daddy's hand, I knew I was different from the rest.


There were so many unanswered questions and unfulfilled needs

For years I wanted to know,  and to my mother I would plead

Who is he?  What's he like?  And do I have his eyes?

But she stood firm, and for whatever reason she believed she had

My Mom would never discuss anything with me about my Dad.


          I know how much she loved me, I felt it each time she stroked my face

          And for my benefit she soon married and put another man in Daddy's place

          But by the time I turned 15 their relationship sadly changed

          And once again I found my life would be suddenly rearranged.


Mom became a single parent, but the pressure became too great

When I was 21 she died, and I thought now it is too late

For me to ever know all the secrets I had buried deep with her

Dad, I knew you were out there, somewhere, but what you felt for me, I was never sure.


          Then deep within my darkest hour, all alone with a pain I felt I could never bear

          When I really, truly needed someone, I looked up and you were there

          We talked and we laughed; soon it no longer mattered what had ever been

          With that little girl's eyes I looked at you and I smiled when you said,

          "Honey, I've fallen in love with you all over again."


From that day on you filled my life with the special things we shared
I'll remember fondly forever, Dad, the way you told me you had always cared
A little girl's broken heart you healed that day and I knew that it was true

Because there wasn't a single day that passed when I wasn't thinking of you, too.


          The years rolled on, the days passed by as our lives became a connected motion

          While I learned from you what a Daddy is, I was touched by your endless devotion

          I may have lost my mother, but you gave me another family

          Who welcomed me with open arms and loved me, oh, so very tenderly.


Somehow you always knew just how to make my blue eyes shine

During all the years that followed, Dad, I never dreamed there would come the time

When you would bring to me the news that I could not bear to hear

The day you told me there was a chance you may not always be here.


          You fought that battle, so brave and strong, you had so much to give

          You kept all of us going with your remarkable will to live

          You touched so many people with your easy going way

          You even amazed your doctor with how you kept that cancer at bay.


Each day became moreprecious, each moment brought something new

Little things that I somehow missed before, I suddenly saw in you

And as I grew to know and love the man who forever changed my life

I also found my mother in the woman he chose to be his loving wife.


          Of all the things that I could do to show for you I care

          It was in your final hours that I knew I must be there

          And though it was the hardest thing that I could ever face

          I know deep in my heart thatnow, no one will ever take your place.


And now I stand here to face this day, but alone I will never be

For I will always walk faithfully with the love you gave to me

With each new day, you are by my side, we will never be apart

You will always be the part of me, I am holding in my heart.


Thank you God for choosing this beautiful man to always be my Daddy.


Somehow, I made it through the entire poem without breaking down, but there were a couple of moments where I came close.  During those times, I paused, took a deep breath and cast my eyes upward, drawing strength from above.  But as I walked away to rejoin my family, the tears finally came as the opening chords of "The Dance" by Garth Brooks began to play.

Later, at the fellowship dinner, my former boss told me she saw two angels standing by my side while I spoke.  My cousin said he couldn't believe how long the poem was, and that I kept going and going.  My uncle asked me if I would write and deliver his eulogy.  And a friend said I made her husband their 40+ years of marriage, she had never seen him cry.

Even after he was gone, Dad continued to touch people.  Or maybe he just passed that ability on to me.

Monday, June 6, 2005


World's Top Oxymorons


After 720 hours of intense computations on our ultra high powered 286 computer, we have come up with the world's top oxymorons for your enjoyment....   So enjoy. ;)


Act naturally
Found missing
Resident alien
Advanced BASIC
Genuine imitation
Good grief
Same difference
Almost exactly
Government organization
Sanitary landfill
Alone together
Silent scream
Living dead
Small crowd
Soft rock
Military Intelligence
New classic
Sweet sorrow
"Now, then ..."
Passive aggression
Taped live
Clearly misunderstood
Peace force
Extinct Life
Plastic glasses
Terribly pleased
Political science
Tight slacks
Definite maybe
Pretty ugly
Working vacation
Exact estimate
Microsoft Works

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Another easy Sunday

Trip to Georgia - Day #3

Early Sunday morning I was awakened by the sound of Vic and Mathew leaving the house to take the pig to Vic's parent's home.  They needed to get any early start on cooking the pig if it was to be served by mid-afternoon.  Chris, Beth, James and myself got ready for the day and headed over to the local grocery store for a few extra things.

We arrived at the house around 11 o'clock.  Virginia had everything under control in the kitchen, so Chris and I headed outside to check on the progress of the pig.  I've been told, when roasting a pig most people leave the head and feet attached, but fortunately, Vic does not (that would be a bit much for these eyes, you know).  Vic and my step-Dad, Jim were cooking the pig with a combination of hickory wood and charcoal briquettes.  So far, so good.


It was time for Chris and I to kick back and enjoy ourselves, poolside.  :)  As we settled in, Chris disappeared into the house and returned moments later with two Bloody Mary's.  It's only eleven...but hey, it's five o'clock somewhere!

Okay, if my sister can get me drinking before noon, then I think I owe her, you know.  And I always make good on my debts.  Ever heard of an Ugly?  Maybe that's a dumb question, but it's not that kind of Ugly. An Ugly will cure whatever ales...ails you. :)  Seriously.  And they are delicious!  Easy to make, too.   All you need is your favorite beer, Snappy Tom juice or Spicy Hot V-8, and Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt or Lawry's Season Salt.  Pour about two or three gulps of beer into a glass or cup, tilt the glass/cup and slowly pour about two tablespoons of Snappy Tom/V-8 down the side so it forms a red glob at the bottom of the glass (if you did it right, you know why it's called an Ugly), add two shakes of the salt.  Next, gulp it down. :)   Chris isn't a beer drinker, and neither am I unless it's got tomato juice in it, but I love Ugly's.  And now Chris does too.

So we each slowly finished one can of Ugly beer a piece and Mathew decides to go swimming.  And I have to as well.  I love swimming in pools, especially if a diving board is present.   I grew up in Southern Cal in a swimming pool with a diving board, and in no time at all Chris was calling out for me to do several different dives.  It was almost like the old days of our childhood.  Almost.  There is one dive I didn't do, as I haven't done that dive in years, since August 1977 ;), and I'm way too old to even try it now.  I'd probably break something, like my neck!  So I stuck to the safer dives and showed my young nephew a trick or two.  Although, I do think his underwater somersaults need some work.


Wanna know something funny?  This is the first time I have ever seen photo's of myself diving.  Really!  Before these shots were taken I had never seen my diving form.

After spending an hour in the water with Mathew, I returned to my chaise lounge and the Ugly's.  Chris and I were putting them down pretty fast, Vic's dad thought we were nuts (them crazy Yanks!), and the pig was doing fine on the pit.   Don't know what it is about being around my sister, but when we get together we just get silly.  Case in point below.

Think we have a head for beer?  Notice that I can balance two cans on my head, and Chris can barely keep one in place.  Although I must say, my sister must be really strong, cuz it's looks like she's actually balancing thathuge piece of wood on her index finger.

Vic's dad has a pool table as well (I really like going here, they have pool x 2) and I soon found myself playing a few games with the guys.  Made the mistake of leaving my camera outside and I will never do that again!   It's amazing what some people will take photos of when given the chance!  Especially if it is someone elses camera.  They all got deleted, straight away.

The pig finished cooking by four, and it was wonderful.  Dinner consisted of roast pig (either plain or in a yummy bar-be-que sauce), hash, rice (I like my hash over the rice, yum), macaroni salad, cole slaw, potato salad, rolls and three different cakes.  Lip smacking, finger lickin' good.

After dinner Beth opened her presents...there were so many, and she received some very wonderful gifts and was a very, very happy graduate, beaming with joy.  Her favorite was the laptop, bar none.  By eight we took our full bellies back home, exhausted, but completely satisfied with the memories we made of the day.


~~We must always have old memories and young hopes. -Arsene Houssaye~~

Easy - Week #9

Sunday means one thing -- Easy time.  This week Kelly says...

Tell, this time......Show me.......

"Your favorite picture of a child"

My favorite photo of my younger sister, Chris, in 1967.  Between her hand pressed against the surface of her reflection, and the look on her face, this photo holds a special place in my heart.  I remember the day it was taken, and earlier I showed you a photo from that same day of me reading a book to her.

I have many favorite children, and I know you all must be wondering why a photo of my grandbaby isn't here.   I'd really love to post a pic of her (I have a new one of her sleeping that is just soooooo darling), but I respect her parent's wishes to not post photos of her on the internet.   

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Saturday Sod and Southern Hospitality

Trip to Georgia ~~ Day 2

Woke up early Saturday morning, with no hangover from the tequila of the night before.  Interesting...but it was only two shots.  After a quick shower, I noticed everyone had disappeared outside.  Went outside to investigate and found them busy unloading sod off a trailer.  Vic's brother Jaime works at a local landscaping/nursery company and he was able to get Vic and Chris a great deal on the sod as it was just beginning to turn yellow.  It took us about two hours to unload two pallets of sod.  The other two pallets belong to Jaime.

The sod crew L-R: Beth, Jaime, Mathew, Vic and Chris.

Once unloaded, we took a little lunch break to cool off, as it was now approaching noon.  After lunch we headed back outside.  I only lasted about 45 minutes in that hot Georgia sun, and had to go back indoors.  Actually, I was sent inside by my younger sister as I have two bad discs in my neck that require surgery.  I don't fancy the idea of anyone touching my spine with a knife, so I've been avoiding surgery for three years now.   After all the problems our mother had with her back, Chris didn't fancy the idea of me over doing it.  First time my younger sister ever bossed me around!

Later that afternoon, Chris and I headed over to her in-laws home to help prepare for Beth's Graduation Party the next day.  Vic's mother, Virginia, is a true southern lady who puts her guests at ease with the grace of her southern hospitality.  Chris had just parked the car, I was outside unloading grocery bags, and when I turned around, there stood Virginia beside me with open arms, welcoming me to her home.  The last time I was in Georgia was five years ago.  I got a long warm hug before we made our way to the kitchen, where Virginia was in the process of grinding the meat for hash.  I love Virginia's hash!  When I was a child, my Mom made us hash on a regular basis.  But I don't remember Mom's hash ever tasting as good as Virginia's hash (sorry Mom).  And when Virginia makes hash, she makes enough for an small pots on the stove in her home.  No siree!  After helping in the kitchen and getting most of the prep work complete, Chris and I returned back to her home for dinner.

In Georgia, every home has a porch and on that porch are chairs.  Sitting on the porch is a part of everyday life in the South.  So, naturally after dinner we retired to the front porch with our sweet tea, where we were treated to the song of a nearby whip-poor-will and the lazy dance of fire flies.  Sorry, no pics of the fire flies :(.  We don't have fire flies in the Northwest, and watching these little guys is always one of the activities I look forward to when I plan a visit to my sister's home.

When the kids were younger, we'd spend hours watching them catch the fire flies in jars, then dash to show us their prize, eyes wide in excitement.  The kids were allowed to keep the flies in the jar for a short time before setting the flies free.  Sometimes the flies were so thick, the children caught seven or eight in one jar at a time.  Personally, I could spend hours watching them; after all fire flies are nature's fireworks ;).  And fireworks hold a special place in this daughter's heart.


~Play is for adults; for children it's serious business.~


Friday, June 3, 2005

A More Enlightened IRS

This morning while perusing the ‘Special’ June edition of Employee Plans News, published by our gentle friends at the IRS, I found myself laughing out loud.  Not that I find the topic of our retirement benefits funny, mind you.  On the contrary.  It's the quality of the people behind the scenes within our government.  Day after day I get exposed to these individuals and for the most part, I have confidence in many of them.  But the rest...well, after years of banging my head against many walls, I have learned to appreciate the humor in it all, for the sake of my sanity. Seems these individuals are finally getting things figured out…sadly these are the things the rest of us have known all along.


The first line of the article reads, Good news: After more than 20 years of statutory and regulatory changes, the 415 rules will all be in one place.  All in one place…wow!  It only took them 20 years to figure that out.  It gets better.  Containing all of the rules on maximum benefits and contributions, the proposed 415 regulations –when finalized – will provide the benefits community with a one-stop resource for their questions on this oft confusing section of the Code.  Oft confusing section of the Code?  I hate to burst your bubble guys, but the entire Code is confusing!!!  Have you ever read it?


And here we havea fine example of the minds at work within the IRS.  The Employee Plans News was fortunate to spend some time with Marty Pippins, Manager of EP Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance, and get his insights on the new regulations.  With regard to amendments, Mr. Pippins said, “Generally, plans will have to be amended to reflect the new regulations once they’re finalized.”  Amended once they're finalized…ya think?  As opposed to what they did before?  Frankly, I'm not so sure the words Quality Assurance and insights should be used around Mr. Pippins.


Here’s the kicker.  Under the newsletter name are the following words: protecting retirement benefits through educating customers.  They are educating us.  Scary thought, huh?


Our government has entered the age of enlightenment folks.