Thursday, September 27, 2012

Amazing? And, Colorful Too!

Earlier this evening, Kurt was busy at the dining room table with some construction paper and crayons. Eventually, he flitted into the living room and flashed before me the fruits of his labors.

Seems he'd just completed making a special birthday card for his little buddy, Ryan, my son's girlfriend's younger son, who will be having a birthday party this Saturday to celebrate that he'll be 4 years old!

The card was pretty simple -as greeting cards go. Across the top, in bold print and each letter a different color, was his name -"RYAN: and under that, in a little smaller print, it said "Happy Birthday."  Good job in that he had all the important commodities showing. The fun part was first that he read it to me and in Kurt's way, it read "Happy Birthday, Ryan." Although, if you or I were to read it, the way he has it set up, it reads "Ryan. Happy Birthday."

Not a big deal there -just a matter of semantics, isn't it?

But after he showed his production to me, Kurt then turned to me and asked me, "Am I amazing?"

Why yes, my little sweetheart, yes indeed you are.

Then he had one more question for me. "Am I colorfull?"

Yep, Kiddo! That too!

Which got me to thinking about some other things around that are amazing as well as often colorful too and I thought for a change of pace, I'd show you some of them!

Here's Kurtis at our Sunday School Rally Day Carnival about 2 weeks ago after having had his face painted - a big yellow truck on one cheek and I think maybe he had a dinosaur or something along those lines painted on his other cheek. Definitely amazing and also, a bit colorful, don't 'cha think?

And here's Maya, watching with an eagle-eye as the Sunday School Director (Danielle) gets just the right color of paint to draw a lovely butterfly on Maya's face!

Here's Maya and Kurtis -and Kurt's TSS in the center there -enjoying the activities on Labor Day at the one and only, Labor Day Picnic that's been held out at Cooper Grove in Drifting (a tiny village that is really the "blink and you missed it" kind of place) and this event has been an ongoing thing since back in the late 1800s around these hills!

Here's some evidence that the Labor Day (or Cooper) Picnic offers a little something for everyone and every age range too as these two ladies were volunteers for a magic trick done by the gentleman in the center. The two women? Well they just happen to be two people who were members of my high school graduating class -Carol (Folmar) Nadzom and Betty (Samansky) Danko -who were the good sports to participate in this little bit of fun!

This is Kurtis in a shot that -for him -is truly amazing in that he isn't acting like a little clown and making all kinds of funny faces at the camera. This is him showing his best and sweet, loving side!

And finally - here's one of Maya holding our sweet little kitten -Tavia! Nothing extraordinary about this other than the smile on Maya's face shows quite well I believe how much she loves this kitten!

I had some other photos I planned to put in here but then Blogger began to act up on me and was very contrary so, I'll save them for another time when I'm in the mood to show you some more things that -to me -are both colorful and/or amazing!


Sashaying Around!

Does anyone out in my reader's world do any crafting -like say, knitting or crochet?

If so, do you just love to look at, touch and feel, yarns and ok, let's be honest, drool over them? Or am I somewhat of a lone ranger with this fetish of mine?

Odds are though if you are into any kind of crafting you know exactly what kind of reaction I'm talking about here though, don't 'cha? Come on, be honest, you know you do all of the above and also, you know the temptation is there too regardless of how much "stuff" (Yarns, fabrics, kits) you already have on hand in your private little (or large) stash, you know it's difficult to look at these things and walk away without adding oh, just one more piece of material or a couple skeins of this yarn, or whatever the craft is that pulls at you unmercifully!

True confession time here now as I will 'fess up to what constitutes my own "stash."

I used to sew -a lot -lately, not so much but I still have my sewing machine and I have about 3 fairly large boxes filled with patterns I could use and I also have at least 3 large plastic tote containers too, each filled to the brim with fabric pieces I have collected over the years -some probably dating back as far as when my youngest was a toddler I suppose. Yes, I bought fabric like an insane person for many years with big ideas and plans of what I would make from this or that piece for myself, for one of my kids, for some other person or special occasion and of course, kind of like that proverbial child at the dinner table who's eyes are bigger than their stomach, I didn't get around to making a damned thing with the coveted fabric I just had to have!

The same applies too with yarns as I have at least 2 other large tote containers filled with yarns purchased with the same general plans for using that stuff as well. Until of course, I ran out of ideas, energy or time -which ever came first -and then the yarn sits and still waits for me to get a really bright idea, some energy or time -none of which seem to be forthcoming anymore most of the time.

For the past 3 years or better I have expanded my crafting medium over to now include embroidery and I have yet another large tote packed to overflowing with embroidery kits of all different types but mostly they are kits for tabletoppers or table cloths, although I sometimes do venture into doing tea towels or pillowcases and occasionally, even cute little trivets. There are a few kits of the counted cross stitch variety too but not very many of those as much as I love to look at counted cross stitch, it wearies me to do it and usually makes me feel like I am going crosseyed in the process too.

A while back -oh probably about 6 weeks ago now -I ventured into the crafts section over at the local Walmart and what did I see there but some new type yarn along with a display scarf made of this new yarn and that scarf was really intriguing me too!

This yarn is called Sashay and when one works with it -to make the scarf on display -it works up into a creation of ruffles upon ruffles -really pretty (my opinion there anyway) and very feminine. Hmmm. I eyed up the yarns available -the colors -and tried to imagine making one of these scarves, all the while, praying silently to "Please let me walk away without purchasing this stuff!"

On that occasion, my will power held out and I selected then a skein of some other yarn -called "Spirit" yarn, and I got it in two colors (in one skein) that had been part of my alma mater's (high school) colors -red and blue! It was only $3.99 a skein and the Sasay was $4.99 a skein so the base price plus the fact I hadn't a clue as to how to work with the Sashay stuff told me I could make more use out of the Spirit yarn. And I did that too. I made -crocheted -4 hats using that yarn -one was in red and blue and the other three, I added in some white yarn to make those three hats (little beanie type things) into a tri-color striped hat of red, white and blue -our school colors -and at our "night before" event over our class reunion weekend, we raffled off those four hats to some "lucky" classmates.

About a week later, I found myself back over at the good old Walmart and there I was, staring lovingly once again at the display of the Sashay yarns. This time the will power went right down the drain and I came home with a skein of the pink variety of this  yarn,

I tried to figure out from the instructions on the package how to use this yarn, how to knit with it, but to no avail so off I went to the computer and looked for some videos on Youtube showing how to knit with this stuff. Finally, I found one and using that, figured out then how to knit a scarf with this yarn that I thought was just so darned pretty!

Six days later, I finally finished this scarf!

Keep in mind that was six days of working on this item for anywhere from 1 to 3 hours, off and on, daily and it still took me 6 DAYS to finish it! Sheesh! I can take a skein of the Furry boa yarn and in 4-6 hours, tops, whip out a scarf even longer than this ruffly thing is!

My final conclusion then -I've had my fill of the Sashay yarn and never again will I indulge in purchasing that stuff.

Enter here a fellow classmate -who now lives in Colorado and with whom I communicate fairly frequently. She -like me -is one who is a crafter with a stash like you probably wouldn't believe too! And she loves yarns too -just as I do. And she had the nerve to send me a message on Facebook making about my love of crafting and how it led her down the garden path and how she felt compelled to buy and try making something too with this Sashay yarn.

However, in her hands, the yarn apparently just fell into place nicely, easily for her -unlike with me where the needle kept slipping off and away from the yarn causing me to drop stitches, I couldn't find a comfortable way to hold the yarn to make the knitting a trifle more comfortable to my purposes and thus, make the work a little easier.

Where I had come to the conclusion that I would never again be tempted by this yarn, my friend had succumbed and was now the proud possessor of at least 4 skeins of good old Sashay and was merrily working her way through scarf after scarf of this yarn.

My theory there?

My friend has just proved to me that she is, by far and away, totally insane!

But insanity or not, she knows I understand completely how she got sucked in to loving the finished product!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Told You It Was Good!

Supper -any meal here for that matter -often is a fight as Mandy and I both try to convince one or both of the kids to try something different, some food prepared a little differently from what the kids are accustomed to eating.

Once in a blue moon, those meals meet with a modicum of success -usually the success is with Kurtis but more often than not, anything new on the table is  met with lots of disdain and refusals to even taste it by Miss Maya.

To say she is stubborn, especially where food is concerned, well that's more than a bit of an understatement I guess!

Tonight, was no different from the norm with respect to a new type item on the menu.

I had fixed chicken-flavored rice-a-roni -which both the kids usually will eat without too much prodding and had corn for our vegetable du jour, along with applesauce -all three of those things are generally acceptable to both kids.

For our main dish though, I had fixed chicken -making my own chicken tenders and browning them and that too is usually an okay substance.

Tonight though, I added a little something to go with the chicken from a recipe I found called Chicken ala orange or something like that. All it consisted of was the chicken tenders and a sauce made from a little bit of orange marmalade mixed with corn starch, a little orange juice from a can of mandarin oranges and then, add the mandarin oranges in till just heated through a bit and serve to be spooned over the chicken.

Well, Maya allowed us to put a couple tenders on her plate but the sauce -there was no way that was going to come near her lips! Kurtis, on the other hand, allowed me to dribble a tiny bit of sauce over his chicken -which his sister, Kate -who is visiting here for a couple days -had cut up for him.

The rest of the meal consisted of Kurtis eating all around the chicken and every 2-3 minutes or so, he would ask about the chicken and the sauce, asking if the sauce tastes like mandarin oranges, if it was made from mandarin oranges, if it looked like mandarin oranges -you name it, if he could think of a question to ask and include about the mandarin oranges in it, he did that!

All the while, he still was avoiding tasting the chicken. He asked each of us at the table if the chicken tasted like mandarin oranges -which it didn't unless you put the sauce on it, ya know -and also, he would ask if he liked that.

We each kept reinforcing his questions by telling him to just taste it and he would see what it tastes like and that he would find it to taste good too.

Finally, after what seemed almost an eternity, he did get around to taking a small bite of the chicken and getting it in his mouth.

Slowly -very, very, slowly -he began to chew the chicken and then, took forever to swallow it too then but once he managed to do that he put his fork down, looked directly at me and announced, "See, I TOLD you it was GOOD!"

Needless to say, his wording there completely cracked the rest of us up but he did go on to finish eating his chicken tenders complete with a little dabble of orange sauce on each little bite of the meat!

The things one has to deal with to get a little bit of a healthy meal into a 6-year-old-system, huh?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Flight of Time....

Time flies, doesn't it -especially when one is having fun. Or so goes another old adage of which I tend to quote a lot of those from time to time.

Well, once again, time sort of got away from me -fly right by and didn't even wave a hello! How about that for some nerve, huh?

I really wish I could explain what I have been so busy doing that I forget to write posts to my blog, forget to make phone calls I should make, forget I have appointments on certain days and then, make another appointment virtually for the same day, same time and not realize it until the last minute.

And people wonder then why I say I must truly be getting senile because on the surface, it sure doesn't look like I have all that much to do but yet -somehow -I keep managing to fall further and further behind!

Take this past weekend for an example!

Mandy and the kids took off Friday afternoon and went down to Lebanon, PA to visit with her best friend there. On Saturday, she and the kids visited another old family friend -Amie -and her little boy, Payton plus they managed to squeeze in a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield and a stop at Hershey, PA as well before returning home Sunday evening.

So, that meant I had the house all to myself -nothing to do for anyone except for me, and the ability to do whatever I wanted to do -be it baking or cooking, sewing, embroidery, crochet, knitting or reading -all of which are some of my favorite things to do and all of which I'm often complaining because I don't have enough time to do any of these things anymore -or so it seems.

So what did I do most of the day Saturday?

I SLEPT! Yes, talk about a wasted day, I sure blew that one away big time just by napping every time I turned around -or so it seemed.

Did I get anything accomplished?

Well, around 11 p.m. Saturday night, since I had nothing to show for my day, I did manage then to sweep and then mop the kitchen and dining rooms floors anyway!

And it was kind of nice in that the floors actually stayed clean then too for about 18 hours until -of course -the family returned home. And even then, they stayed pretty clean then too until late Monday afternoon when I noticed a couple of spots on the tile but got them "spot-cleaned" then so as of tonight, the floors still are looking a little bit on the decent side anyway!

Last night though, after supper, I sat down in my lovely old recliner and before I knew what was happening to me, boom -I was out like a light, just like almost always seems to happen to me lately. Tonight, a rerun of last night except that my nap Monday night only lasted about 15-20 minutes whereas tonight, I slept for about 2 hours! And to add insult to injury, I had even taken a nap this morning after the kids left for school too!

What is it about this sleep thing that I just can't seem to get enough of it?

Ya know, sometimes I really do think my need for sleep, more and more and still more sleep, is my body getting itself conditioned now -early preparations maybe -for a really big long sleep coming towards me as I watch the time just whiz past me now!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Famly Photo Fun!

This past weekend, from Saturday evening thru Sunday evening, the older grandson was here with us. Always nice to have him be able to come up and spend a night with us now and again -not near frequently enough but at his age, he's also involved in a lot of other activities so we're just happy to get him here for a night and most of the next day then ya know.

Often though when he does come up here, it's because Aunt Mandy has made arrangements with him to help her do some things around the house that would be more than a bit difficult for her to manage to do alone.

And this Sunday -her game plan, with Alex to help her -start working on cleaning out the basement!

Now, in my opinion, the only job worse than this one here would be cleaning out the attic! Oh wait -we did that back in June in advance of the workmen from the Community Action program arriving here to put all kinds of insulation in the house from the attic right on down to the basement! And, a lot of the things that were taken out of the attic and which we still wanted to keep around for oh, another generation to worry about whether they were good or important or not, ya know are still tucked away in the bathroom, the hall closet out off the sunporch, in a corner of the dining room and oh yeah, in the basement too. They can't go back up into the attic until we get a couple sheets of plywood I guess to put down over the rafters there so any stuff we put back in the attic then isn't going to be sitting, resting, directly on the insulation!

So, the end result of Sunday's work then was a nice big bonfire Mandy and Alex did manage to have in the lower part of the back yard.

Last night though, Mandy showed me a couple of things she came across in the basement that she saved from destruction -thankfully!

One was this little tiny book containing a different fortune for every day of the year, that had been published in 1938, and given to my Mom's older sister apparently as a little birthday gift from a friend of my Aunt's in 1939! That was neat to look up different people in our family's birthdate and read what whoever had put the book together felt was a reasonable fortune for anyone born on such and such a date. And my Aunt had penned in by many of the days in that book, the birthdays of this or that family member. Brought back a lot of memories then reading the names of family members, remembering then oh yes, this was Uncle Oscar's birthday, cousin Karen's, my Mom (okay -I remember when her birthday is without that reminder, I'm not quite THAT far gone on the senility trail -not just yet, anyway.

Along with coming across that little book, Mandy also stumbled upon a fairly good-sized box too filled with -of all things -old photographs too!

Now that was a nice discovery she made there in my mind! There weren't tons of pictures dating back to the early 1900's of ancestors who were unidentifiable to me, thankfully. But there were a goodly number that seemed to start in the late 30s and worked their way up to about 10 years ago!

And they were a nice mixture of pictures too -some of cousins of my Mom's, some of Mom's siblings, my children too when they were growing up as well. And in looking at some of those pictures -of myself when I was preschool age along with several photos too of my older daughter, it reminded me once again, how much my older daughter looked like me when she was little -as well as how much Miss Maya looks like her Aunt Carrie still today too!

I scanned a good many of these old photos last night and tried to match some of the pictures of me by age to a few of the pictures of my daughter at about the same age -did them side by side, ya know -so I figured I'd show you a few of those picture here tonight. I haven't gotten around yet to looking through pictures of Maya at the same ages yet -mainly because there are way too many pictures of Maya to even think about getting that done in a matter of a couple of hours time!

So ready or not -here goes! (Keep in mind, these are old photos and some aren't the best, for sure, but they are clear enough I think that you can see the likeness in each one fairly well anyway.)

First off -the picture on the left is me when I was probably 8-10 months old. The photo on the right side then is my daughter Carrie, sitting in my Aunt Ethel's lap and was taken at our family reunion probably in 1968, when Carrie was just a little over a year old. (The lady beside my aunt is a cousin of my Mom and my Aunt but who was referred to by my kids and me as "Aunt Dee" although she is not really an aunt to us.)

In this picture above now, that's me on my tricycle taken in 1946 -when I was almost 2  years old and the picture taken of my daughter -standing near my old Chevy Nova -was taken of her when she was just over 2 years old. A whole lot of looking like there are clones involved there, right?

And then in this one, the black and white picture of me on the left, holding the cat I had back then -with the really original name of "Blackie" (he also had a playmate too -called Whitey, but no photos of that one. Both cats mysteriously disappeared sometime about that year and my Mom told me that they had run away from home because they didn't like the big dog we had then -a collie/shepherd mix, also with a very original name too of Lady. I was in my 30s before I learned my Mom had actually given those two cats to a neighbor and had asked him to get rid of them for her! We won't discuss here exactly how naive I was nor how nasty I thought my Mom had been when I learned what had really happened to those two cats. I'm thinking though she probably did that on orders from my grandmother who was very far from being a cat lover!)

Anyway -back to the photos -the one of me was taken when I was 4 and the one of Carrie -well not exactly sure if she was 4 on that photo or 5, but in that general age range anyway.

And the last photo I'm going to share tonight though is one of my daughters, all three of the grandkids around their grandfather -who they rarely see but who happened to come east when Maya was about 4 years old or close to that age, Kurtis was just over a year old and Alex -the older grandson, was then 10.
I do happen to like this picture of at least my girls with their Dad -a rare thing to have of them together! But anyway, that Mandy on the far left, holding Maya, Kurtis is sitting on Poppy's lap, then Alex and finally Carrie. Too bad my son, Clayton wasn't present then too so we could have had a full family photo then! But if you look at Maya on this picture, you can see how much she looks like her Aunt Carrie there and look up at the photos I posted above too at Carrie at ages 2 through 4 and you can see the look -a-likes there then too. And Alex, my older grandson, looks very, very much too like his mother -more so it seems every day!

Want to know something else I find fascinating but can't locate the picture of this right at the moment to share it is a photo that was taken back in 1918 and it is of my Dad, standing behind an old sled with his baby sister seated on the sled. My Dad was 16 or 17 years older than his youngest sibling so on that particular photo, he is about age 18 and my aunt, only a year old and on that picture of her, if you  were to compare it to any photos we have of me at that age, my daughter Carrie at that age and of Maya and Alexander too, you'd definitely be able to see in each baby photo, the resemblance that is/was there. What's more, on that picture of my Dad, his stance, the way his hair is combed but falling sort of in his face, the way his shirt even isn't quite tucked in to his pants the way it should be and the look on his face -if compared to a photo of my son at about the same age or actually, many even more recent pictures of Clayton, you can definitely see how much my son looks like my Dad's side of my family! And yet, in many of those same things I mentioned, one can also see that my son looks very much like his Dad too!

Gotta love the way genes show up in each of us don't you? It's a process that totally amazes me, for sure!

As I have time to post more old photos on here, I'm going to try to share more of the old pics we came across because seeing so many of them last night, really took me back to times in my life when I always felt safe, secure, with so many of my Mom's cousins, my aunts and uncles and my first cousins -all frequently around me, keeping me in such a great frame of mind. Seeing so many of those old pictures brought out the realizations again and again too of how much I miss each and every one of those individuals who were all so important in my life for so many years too.

Not enough years though -but then, is it ever enough?


Learn Something New Every Day!

Been busy for way too long here and not having time to post on my blog like I really should be doing. I thought once I got through the madness of my class reunion planning and the event itself, things would settle down, but guess I was wrong on that count!

Last week, I was supposed to do something really simple -like just make a couple of phone calls and wouldn't you just know it, I forgot to do that too! Finally, late last night, I remembered I should have called this one lady from church about some important stuff, and again, had forgotten to do that, but then, I remembered something about her. Hey! She's on my Facebook so I could then send her a message via Facebook and thus eliminate -maybe -for a little while the phone call, plus I could send that message to her at 2 in the morning and definitely didn't have to worry about waking her up.

Of course, there's another side to that issue too in that I don't know how often she checks her Facebook so I suppose I should try to put her back on the "Please call as soon as possible list" just to be on the safe side, shouldn't I?

Going back in time a bit -to try to get up-to-speed with a lot of things -I was telling Mandy today about a conversation I had with the lady I normally go to when I need to get my hair cut, trimmed, a perm -you name it! She and I are old friends from way back so she knows too that it is rare that I will call her for an appointment a while in advance of needing said appointment. Nope! When she hears my voice (or sees my name/number on her caller ID) she probably immediately starts thinking of when she has the earliest possible opening available that she can then fit me in.

Yeah and that's exactly what happened to me the Thursday night before the weekend of my class reunion as I called her about 9 p.m. that night to ask if she could squeeze me in sometime Friday -preferably -but if not then, at least on Saturday the latest!

Lucky for me, she wedged me in to a slot at 1:30 on Friday afternoon so when I went to our class "Night Before" event then on Friday night at the Moose, I had a brand new look via a new hair cut as well as a perm! And, I gotta say, she did a bang up job on it/me too!

Anyway, we got to discussing -my hairdresser and I -about a lot of things -some serious, some not, some stuff I never thought about at all before but somehow, they came up in our chat that day.

One of those things was about the tanning bed she added into her shop a couple years ago. I haven't even a clue now how that came up for discussion but it did and in the course of that, she said about tanning bed supplies and how many things along those lines she now has to stock for that part of her operation! I didn't believe her but she told me to look it up on the internet so I did and by gosh, by golly, she was right on about that for sure! I had no idea that so much stuff was available and that you really should have this, that and some other things -a bunch of those other things! Darned good thing she has a really good sized house with a full basement she can use then for storage for that along with her supplies for her hairdressing needs too!

See how you can learn something you never thought about before just on the spur of the moment some days!

And while I'm on the subject here of learning things every day, tonight I had the pleasure of working with Kurtis to help him with his homework. Tonight, that involved reading and he had this little book he was supposed to read. Well, it wasn't until after we'd gone through the whole darned book -all 8 pages of it -that he then whips out this piece of paper that I had to sign, swearing that I had witnessed his doing the reading ya know. And as I signed the paper, I saw that apparently he was supposed to do the reading of this book -actually, I'd call it a booklet rather than a book, based solely on the size of the thing. But anyway, we were supposed to be doing the reading in segments -one specific area tonight, another tomorrow and a third area then on Thursday so all those things would then all be done by Friday of this week!

Boy, sure do wish he'd shown me that paper earlier this evening!

Do you have any idea how difficult it can be to get kids his age to simply focus on the task at hand and also, to remember how to break a word apart and sound it out!

I had forgotten completely about that part of the learning to read process so by the time we finished working on this booklet, reading those 8 pages, it had us close to 90 minutes to finish that project!

Stop and go. Stop and go! Every word -very slow!I know with him, part of the issue is his comprehension of the procedures at times and once it does settle in and he understands things, then he surprises the heck out of you because it seems like he just learned it right then and there.

But let me tell you this, I am hoping his comprehension of sounding words out, step-by-step, kicks in pretty quickly because ya know, I'm not all that patient a person about some things!

I know it will come -eventually -but I want it to come to him now and for him -hopefully -to get a good grasp on those principles of reading and learn to love it and to love books too like I always did! Actually, he does love books already -just doesn't like to do the work to learn this process called reading!

And I know that how? Because tonight, he had been reposing in my recliner earlier, a nice book in his hands and leafing through it, in a very nice, rather loving manner as he scanned over the pages and pictures and such. Later, while we were working together on his reading assignment, I caught him not even looking at the words but rather studying the pictures in the book -which I didn't want him to get involved in the pictures until we had read the paragraph on each particular page. I could see he was often just glancing at the first letter of a word and then, just tossing out a word he'd seen earlier that started with the same letter -but not being the same word. So I called him out on that and asked him if he was trying to play tricks on Grammy to make her think he was really reading.

His answer to me? "Yes, I am, Gram!"

Well you little stinker! Not nice to do that to me Kiddo!

Oh and one more thing before I go to bed tonight too and along the learning something new every day line. Come February, Mandy is going to be a stepgrandmother and I'm going to be a step-great-grandmother -to a baby girl!

It's official now from the ultrasound Katie had done today that the baby is a GIRL! Kurtis is rather nonchalant about this coming event but Maya -well Maya has already found a website -on her own -with names -I think it was called "Naming Your Baby" or something like that and she has been sifting through that site, writing down on a separate paper the names she likes now to give to Katie so she will have a good selection of names to select from for her baby!

Can you tell she is quite excited over the prospect that she will have a niece?


Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Here!

This is going to be the shortest blog post I've ever written!

I just wanted to share one particular picture with you from my class reunion last Saturday.

This photo was taken by the husband of one of our classmates and he has also taken the group photo of our class at each and every one of our other reunions except for our 35th when for some odd reason, we didn't get a group photo.

But anyway, this picture arrived in the mail yesterday and I wanted to share it as soon as I could because I really liked this one of our class.

I'm not going to go into major identifications here -just first names only.
Starting with the bottom row, L-R: ME, Denny, Patsy, Claudia, Kate, Lori, Carol and Jean.
2nd row: Art, Joe, Nancy, Bernie, Betty, John and Ernie.
3rd Row: Susie and Mary.
4th Row: Cheryl and Rose
Back row: Charlie, Tom, Durv, Betty, Arlene, Doris, Herb, Harold and John.

Those of my class I talked to yesterday after they had received their copy of this photo too and I decided that we definitely have the best class ever in all respects -looks, brains and personality!

No conceit in our group at all, is there?

Who's Who?

Last Saturday, as I was gathering up the things I needed to take over the the Elks Club in Clearfield -where my classmates and I were to gather that evening to celebrate our 50th Class Reunion -I hauled out -among other stuff -a photo poster board I had put together five years ago on the occasion then of our class's 45th Class Reunion.

When Maya saw me dragging it into the dining room, her interest level rose and she asked me "What's that thing, Gram?"

So I explained to her that it was all kinds of pictures of the people I had gone to school with -some pictures from back in our elementary school days, some from high school and even some from since high school that many of my classmates had been nice enough to respond to my request for pictures of themselves or other classmates for this project.

At first glance at the posterboard, Maya lost interest quickly saying "Oh, I don't know anyone on there."

Au contraire, my dear! Yes, actually you do know some people on there I told her and then had her look closer and see if she didn't see some people she knows.

That was a hard job for her to do though because she's not knowledgeable enough just yet to look for ways to tell if this picture of a little girl might be Grammy or maybe Kate or Rose, two of Grammy's good friends that Maya knows. So I decided I'd help her out a little bit and I pointed to a photo of my friend, Rose and her husband, Durvin, on their wedding day. Maya knows both of those folks plus neither Rose nor Durv has changed all that much in appearance over the years -other than one losing a little hair and the other, having a few streaks of gray that make for lovely accents!

When I showed her that photo and she studied it very closely -things registered with her that these were not current pictures and that she had to think about what people look like today and make the connection but she was able to do that and she then told me "Okay, that's Rose and Durb." (That was her mispronunciation of Durvin's nickname -being "Durv" not "Durb" as Maya had said it.

But anyway, I was pleased that she had figured that out so I told her to look at some other pictures and see who she could identify. Pretty soon she had spotted several other pictures of Rose plus quite a few of another classmate -my good friend (forever), Kate! She was on a roll then for a while but then, the fun for her petered out when she thought there was no one else on that board that she knew.

So I pointed to a photo at the bottom left hand corner -of a couple that she'd met exactly twice before and she took a look at that and immediately turned to tell me "That's Donna and that's Herbie!"

Boy, this kid is never gonna let me forget that slip-up I made the first time I took her with me down to the office of my classmate, Herb's fuel oil company when I had referred to him, jokingly, as "Herbie-Baby!" At least this time, she left of the "Baby" with his name though!

Here's some pictures of the photo posterboard so you can get an idea of what Maya had to look at!

And yes, a whole lot of work went into putting that masterpiece together but the reception it got at our 45th reunion was so good that my friends I was working with to put our 50th reunion together felt it deserved another viewing by the classmates.

See anyone you know on there?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter? NOT!

Lots of things happening around here of late. So many, it's kind of difficult for me to decide where to begin and equally hard to find time to do anything of consequence too. Or so it seems.

So, I figured tonight maybe I'll just start with the most recent and try to work my way, in and out, backwards, then maybe forward again. Oh, who knows! Whatever comes to me that I can find a way to write it up I guess.

Let's see now -the events tonight actually began right after the kids returned to school and Maya brought a paper home for Mandy to read and sign -allowing Maya to sign up for JV Cheerleading lessons!

Say what? JV Cheerleading? Holy rip, the kid is only starting 3rd grade; she'll be nine in October. Isn't that a trifle young for cheerleading lessons?

Apparently not because Mandy signed the sheet and Maya was enrolled! They have practice two evenings a week from 5 p.m. until 6:15, learning how to clap their hands properly, how to move in cadence with arms waving, hands clapping and certain foot movements that go with the counts too.

Initially, Maya liked this because it gives her a chance to do some of the dance moves and splits she has learned to do -practicing in the living room -by watching various videos of things from ballet to current dance moves. That she can do a split absolutely amazes me because when I was a kid, it totally hurried me to try to touch my toes with my fingers. Know what I mean? No, I was definitely not the most coordinated kid on the block, that's for sure.

Mandy was pretty shocked at Maya's abilities and interests in dance steps as well as cheerleading too -none of which was ever something high on Mandy's interests lists. Especially not the cheerleading stuff because Mandy pretty much disliked that aspect of school life plus -she never held any interest at all in watching high school football games either -and for that matter, neither did her brother. (Although Clate would insist on attending those games -strictly so he could walk around the perimeter of the football field in search of good looking girls he could maybe meet and hopefully then be able to pick up!

But anyway, here's Maya now at this young age all gung-ho on learning cheerleading stuff.

Well, for the first week she really liked it. This past week, when I picked her up from practice on Monday, she informed me that the boys had it better than the girls because all the girls have is cheerleading and all they get to wear that is special for that is a red tee shirt that says "West Branch Warriors!"

But the boys -well they have it made in her opinion because they get to wear these great big things on their shoulders and these heavy pads on their legs and a helmet and these special shoes even that have cleats and all that, ya know!

Hmmmm. Wonder what she's getting at there?

Thursday after practice though, as Kurtis and I were walking back to the Jeep with Maya, Kurt asked me "Can boys be cheerleaders too, Gram?" Sure they can, Baby -no problem! But Maya told him in no uncertain terms then and there that when he is in the 3rd grade, he will be able to play football then and wouldn't he like to do that?

Kurtis just gave her a look that pretty much said he thought Maya was nuts!

But moving on, tonight was Sports Recognition Night at the the High School Football game which entailed recognizing apparently all the various school sports group and that included the kids in the JV Cheerleading group as well. So, those young girls were all to be at the school by 6:15 p.m. (game time I think was 7 p.m.) so their coach could get them all lined up because -are you ready for this -they had to run out onto the field -through the tunnel, ya know -and each one of these kids also then had their name called over the PA system too!

Mandy said later that when they called Maya's name, it brought tears to her eyes hearing that and then watching her baby run out onto the football field to be introduced then to the parents/grandparents/fans/students,etc.

Here's the picture Mandy got of Maya -all ready to roll for her big intro!

Yep -that's my little Maya in the middle there. She's not so little anymore, is she?

Tomorrow should be interesting though to see how well her interest in cheerleading -or even football -holds up because she's supposed to be up at the school at 11:45 for the JV game which I think starts at noon and the weather forecast for tomorrow -Colder, with RAIN!

I don't know about her but that's about enough to dampen my spirits.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Over and Done With!

I know for the past so many months now I've been rambling a lot about the big 50th Class Reunion some of my former high school classmates and I have been working on putting together but now, finally, you can relax -along with me -as I tell you the big event(s) came and went this past weekend!

However, considering the fact that I alone too 76 pictures at the reunion only -don't expect that this post will actually be the end of the tales from our big get-together!

I will however make this a fairly short post tonight and will reserve other posts in the days to come for stories and photos from this auspicious occasion.

Suffice it to say tonight that it was a great night spent at the Clearfield Elks Club with 28 of my former classmates and 18 guests. At least, I think that's the final tally anyway. And thus far, all the comments about it have been that everyone totally enjoyed the evening!

We had two gatherings -one on Friday night at the illustrious Moose Hall here in the village where I live -good old Grassflat. Some folks initially didn't like the idea of having our "Night Before:" party there mainly because the building -inside and out -doesn't really look all that much different today than it did back when I was just a child! In appearance, it is a bit on the frumpy looking side. However, just like with people and their appearances, that can be a bit deceiving, can't it?

The young woman who is the manager of the place bent over backwards to see that whatever I wanted or needed for our group was available! Her sister, who does the cooking most of the time did a bang-up job with the food items that those who ordered dinners or just sandwiches were well satisfied.

My good friend from our high school days and with whom I have remained close over these 50 years and her husband got one of the big meal surprises of the night when Mitch ordered the daily special -which was chicken and waffles, mashed potatoes, gravy, a vegetable, tossed salad and rolls and butter. Sounds like a rather simplistic meal, doesn't it? Well I wish you could have been there to see the look on his face when the waitress delivered to him a very large platter, filled completely to the brim with the waffles, mashed potatoes and a huge serving of chicken gravy that was loaded -and I do mean LOADED -to the gills with chunks of chicken! The old expression "his eyes almost popped right out of his head" definitely rang true of the look on Mitch's face, for sure! I didn't check back to see if he managed to eat all of the food on that plate by himself but he did remark the next day that it was "very good!"

Unfortunately, I won't be sharing any photos with you from that particular event though because, in my infinite wisdom and due to a case of nervous energy that just wouldn't quit, I went to the Moose with my camera in my purse and was having such a great time visiting with those classmates who attended that party that I forgot completely about having my camera with me. Apparently I was not the only one with a severe case of forgetfulness though because no one else thought to take any pictures that night either! Crazy, huh?

Saturday evening the hall where we had our reunion looked great -very pretty candle arrangements on the table gave a nice cozy atmosphere for us to start out the occasion.

We had the best time meeting folks as they came through the door -sharing hugs and even kisses too with people who we hadn't seen -some not since we graduated in May of 1962! Laughter began almost immediately to fill the air and that ambiance remained throughout the entire night there!

The food was very good -no one had any complaints about that which is always a big relief considering one reunion we had a few years back, many of us still talk about how terrible the food as well as the room we had to use that night were!

Finally, the time rolled around to where it was time to do the "program" -if you want to call it that. I couldn't talk anyone of our classmates into being the Master of Ceremonies and I suppose because I had been the one who had the honor (not sure my classmates would have called it that) of doing that job for our last two reunions, this year I got to try and be informative without being totally boring.

This year though, one of our classmates offered to handle the sound issues for us and as a result, he had a laptop connected up to the sound system at the Elks along with a couple of wireless microphones that he had borrowed from the church he belongs to so with that setup and using a cd that a friend of mine had given me with a recording on it of the school band -which, by the way is an award-winning marching bad in this region -when I gave Ernie the signal, he put that CD on and the music began to play of the Band doing our school's Alma Mater!

I had copies on the tables at every other place setting with the words -all four verses -of the Alma Mater and told everyone that they had to join me in singing along to the music! I also added that if I saw anyone who wasn't cooperating, wasn't singing the words, I was going to take notes and write down names which I would then, the next day, be out in search of the grave of our high school Algebra teacher who was a fanatic about the student body learning the words to the Alma Mater and I would put my list on his grave then so Louie could come back and haunt anyone who didn't join in and sing along.

This in itself marked a first for me as for openers, I had never used a microphone before in my life much less trying to sing into it too. But, I gave it my best shot in hopes that whether these were blue microphones or not, I couldn't tell you but all I know is the alto voice I once had sure isn't exactly up to par these days! Probably from way to much use and abuse from yelling at my kids and now grandkids or too many beers and cigarettes over the years as well!

I was so busy with the mike I had in my hand, trying to remember to keep it fairly close to my mouth without shoving it in there and to keep my hands still, I forgot all about watching to see who was singing along with me and who wasn't so anyone who didn't go along with that part of the program -well, they can rest easily because no names were taken!

Our Reunion bagan at 4:30 in the afternoon -dinner was served at 6:15 and by 10:30 that night, it was all over but the shouting! All the things my fellow planners and I had put together were loaded up and out the door and away we went, content in the feelings of so much goodwill that was passed around the room on a very steady basis that entire evening and that everyone was leaving with smiles on their faces and a whole lot of great memories of an evening very well spent!

I got home shortly after 11 p.m. and the first thing I did then was find my tube of BenGay which I then used to slather it on my feet, legs and back because that many hours in which I was on my feet for 90 percent of the time had those areas of my body aching like toothache! Apparently the BenGay did what it was supposed to do though because when I awoke Sunday morning  I was actually able to move and to WALK too!

And I don't regret having acquired a single one of those aches and pains as the good vibes, the happy faces, made that all very worth while!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Soft Kitty...

Considering the popularity of the tv sit-com, "Big Bang Theory" I'll wager I am far from being alone when I say I really do like this show. Be honest now and 'fess up if you like this show even a little bit or perhaps, as much as I do. I try to catch the regular weekly broadcast and I think I know just about every other channel on our cable system that carries reruns of this program too -and I try to watch most of those shows as well.

Face it -I'm as addicted to this program as I was -okay, still am -to Law and Order too! Just ask my kids and they'll tell you that if either one of these shows is airing, odds are that I have my tv set tuned into that station at that time.

But neither of those programs really has any bearing on my post here tonight. Well, Big Bang Theory sort of does because of course, there's that song about the "soft kitty" that Sheldon always wants Penny to sing to him in his moments when he feels the extreme need for comfort of some type.

And right about now, as I am trying to type this post, our newest addition to our family here -a sweet, fluffy, adorably loveable little kitten -which the kids and Mandy named "Octavia" but who gets called "Tavie" -a name which, of course, she pays no attention to being addressed and just goes her merry little way, bouncing around from one piece of furniture to another, antagonizing the dog into chasing and playing with her, pestering the other cat -Miss Pearl -who is the ultimate in regal attitude and elegance and extremely adept at totally ignoring the antics of this kitten -little fool is probably how Pearl regards Tavie.

Well tonight, after almost upending me out of my computer chair while I was going down through Facebook postings by jumping up on the back of the chair and I was sort of leaning back in the seat at that point in time and well, it jerked the chair and I almost landed upside down with the chair on top of me and the kitten being the potential cause of it all. Fortunately, I regained the balance and equilibrium with the chair and didn't get tossed to the floor as I had thought initially was going to happen to me.

No, I sat here and the kitten squirmed around behind me, sharing the seat of the chair for a while until she managed to get around to my front and decided she wanted to be sweet and loving and needed a nice, fairly large, very soft (apparently) place to lay her head and go to sleep and to her, it is pretty safe to say that she found my bust to be just the ideal spot to repose!

To top it all off, the darned kitten also decided now was a really ideal time -and place -to do a little bit of kitten stuff -kneading!

And all of her actions, nice and sweet as she must have thought she was being to me, really weren't what I was wanting at that point in time.

Especially since as I was rubbing the back of her neck and top of her head, I felt a couple tiny but tell-tale kind of lumps indicating she had other friends she was bringing along to our little nestling party here.

Yeah, the poor kitten has fleas!

So, at almost 1 a.m.  I decided now was as good a time as any to give her a dip in the tub and a little rubdown with some good old flea shampoo.

Because our other cat, Miss Pearl, the queen of the household, responds totally differently to getting a bath -she will stand perfectly still in the tub and wait and watch while whoever is bathing an animal at the time gets through with the shampoo and rinse of the dog -or another cat too, if that were the case.

But little Miss Tavie not so docile! Matter of fact, she squirmed and scratched at me, at the rim of the tub, fought me tooth and nail,she did but I finally did get her wetted down, shampooed and when it came time to rinse, she was a mite calmer. Once out of the tub and wrapped in a big old bath towel, she was pretty quiet and seemed to hold no grudges against me.

I let her go and since I had the tub half-full of luke warm water and had the flea shampoo out, I decided the time had come -actually it was very, VERY overdue -to give Sammy, the little mutt, a nice flea shampoo bath too.

Now Sammy's response to a call to come get a bath is such that nowadays, he tucks his tail between his legs and tries to slink off, looking for a convenient place to hide where whoever wants to dunk him will have issues trying to reach him. Tonight, he apparently thought by going into my bedroom where there was no light shining directly down on him, I wouldn't think to look for him there but too bad, so sad,sorry for your luck there, Sam!

He forgot I can still pick him up and carry him into the bathroom which is what I did.

It used to be he would come willingly into the bathroom and once in there, after having his collar removed, often he would just hop into the tub of warm water simply because it was there,waiting for him. Not so tonight. Although he didn't fight me, I did have to lift him up and deposit him in the water. However, once I got him well-soaked and then lathered up, he stood very still and allowed me to give him a really good "rub-a-dub-dub:" and hopefully, got rid of a few of those darned pesky little fleas that have been causing all kinds of itching on the poor little guy.

So I got him out of the tub, tried to towel dry him a bit in between his decision to do a crazy race and chase routine in the bathroom, as he ran from one place to another and then would race back to me and do the whole racing/chasing routine all over again. It was more than obvious that he felt pretty good about his nice clean appearance and maybe even was already feeling a mite of relief from the damned old fleas too.

So, with both those animals all nice and clean, I decided I would play a couple games on the computer while waiting for my eyes to get heavy and be able to go to bed without worrying about being unable to fall asleep.

I was busy playing this one game I like -where you hit a ball and try to break all the different colored bubbles -when lo and behold, here comes the kitten again!

Only this time she immediately jumped up on my chest, did a couple little twists and turns to make darned sure her tail was waving ever so nicely directly in my face, right across my glasses as a matter of fact -and totally obscuring my vision!

I tried to get her rearranged so that  I could have a little bit of a sighting of the balls I wanted to aim at, but after several tries to get her to move with no success, I ended up unceremoniously dumping her little butt off my chest and on to the floor.

Only to have her immediately take up her old position on top of me all over again.

And that's exactly where she's been laying now -ever since I started to type this piece! Just snuggled up as nice as can be,with her backside tucked ever so nicely directly under my chin.

Yes, Tavie -you are a nice kitty, and most definitely, right now, a very soft kitty too,as a matter of fact.

I wonder now if she will maintain this pose after I go out to my room and crawl into bed?

Probably not! She'll probably launch directly into her "flying cat" routine that she likes to do when jumping off my bed in the middle of the night!