Memories came to visit

November 2, 2013

About two weeks ago we got a call from Phil who had been one of Hubby’s classmates in the police management institute at Northwestern University in 1980/81.

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Hubby is on the left, Phil in the middle (obviously in a t-shirt given to him by one of his other classmates!) and their friend Tommy is on the right.

Phil is from New Zealand and retired a few years ago as the number two official in New Zealand’s national police department.

He and his wife Jackie were in the States for a month-long visit and had tracked us down (with the help of Tommy) so wondered if they could “stop by” to see us.  What an exciting opportunity for both of us!  We had never met Jackie since they had married “only” 21 years ago, but we had fond memories of Phil and his sons when they had come to visit us after graduation and before they returned to New Zealand

Image Phil at our house during his visit.

Image  Graham, DD, Nigel and Gunny.

So when Phil and Jackie got here a few days ago, we looked forward to meeting Jackie and renewing our friendship with Phil.

They could only stay a day, so we decided to eat our meals out so that all of our time could be spent visiting, and I have to say we crammed alot of that into a very short time.

Here is where I wish I was as photo-opportunity ready as I used to be because for lunch shortly after they arrived, we took them to a local Italian restaurant that is what we call “a hole in a wall” — a very unimpressive store front in the complex with a truck stop.  But we knew where the food was anything but common.  They loved it, of course.  Then we took a drive out into Amish country, because Phil wanted Jackie to see some of the sights he had seen when he was here before.  We went to the Amish store and the Grabill hardware, but of which they found fascinating, but the best part was that the Amish clerk at the store told us that her two brothers were plowing with horses not too far away (we had told her they were visitors from New Zealand, so I guess she understood they would enjoy seeing that).  We followed her instructions and found two teams of horses pulling plows in a field.  There were eight horses pulling each plow.  They weren’t harnessed straight across but with four following four.  Very impressive and oh how I wished for a camera right then.  But Phil did get a picture with his phone, so they will have something to show back home.

That was really the only sightseeing we took them on, the rest of their short visit was pretty much taken up with eating and talking!

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Image  That night we took them to our favorite Chinese restaurant.

Of course, even in so short a time, Jim and Phil HAD to go to the range to shoot.  So we just ate toast for breakfast and they took off for there.

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Jackie was such a nice surprise for me.  I don’t know what I expected, but when she left I told Hubby that I wished she could be my next door neighbor.  We got along great.

ImageJackie is a librarian by profession, so while the guys were shooting, we went to a bargain book store and browsed and bought some books for a dollar or less!  A treat for us both.  And we even met an “interesting” woman who was also shopping there who wanted to become “best friends” I guess because we were looking at books too!  After she had just “bent our ear” for a couple minutes, I suddenly noticed that Jackie had casually wandered (or maybe with intent!) and I was left listening to “gabby” — and you KNOW if I think someone talks too much, they really do!

I finally peeled myself away for my new “best friend”, and went and found Jackie wayyy at the other end of the store, enjoying looking at cookbooks.  Who knew she was a little sneaky like that!  That’s when I realized, Jackie would be a great friend to spend time with regularly.

After eating lunch at our favorite Greeks restaurant (yes, in just 24 hours, we had taken them to Italian, Chinese and Greek restaurants.  If they would have just stayed another day, I’m sure we would have gotten them to an American restaurant too!

What a great short visit.  We had the opportunity to re-live some great old memories with Phil, hear lots of interesting things they have done (they are sailors and spent six years sailing around the world — staying a month here and a month there and even flying home once when the weather where they were keep them from sailing for a few months) and making some nice new memories together.

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Note to readers:  Now I remember one of the reasons I stopped posting on my blog.  I edited this post just to my liking, but I have worked for an hour for it to accept that new version.  Not happening.  So in frustration I’ve gone ahead and posted the first draft, which is really rough, but it’s apparently my only option!!

Happy Saturday!

 


A week like no other …

October 7, 2012

My two sisters and my brother came for a visit a couple weeks ago.  For five days we visited, laughed, ate and played Yahtzee.

Betty is 82 and Martha is 79.  Maybe I’m biased, but I think they look wonderful for their age!

Hubby took a picture of the four of us right after Jimmy got off his plane  …

and a few days later, he took some at home …

but then he told us to look at each other so we would looked more “connected” — and looking at each other made us laugh.  So it did make for a good picture — smart Hubby!

We had a great time.  If you have siblings who are far flung, I definitely recommend a reunion like this.  It was a wonderful experience.

Betty, Jean, Me, Martha and Jimmy — Easter, 1948

The only thing that would have made it better is if our sister Jean, who passed away a few years ago, could have been there too. But she was there in our hearts and in many of our memories —  many of her were about her making us laugh.


A Very Surprising Visit!

August 27, 2012

Much of the time when I use my laptop, I sit in my comfy chair in the corner of our bedroom.  And much of the time, I’m already dressed and “made up” for the day — so, ready to meet anyone who might pop up unexpectedly. But, I have to confess, sometimes I look pretty darn ratty, especially without make-up, when I’m sitting at my computer.

Soooo, let me tell you what happened on Saturday that will make me much more careful in the future about how I look during those times.

I was sitting here (where I’m sitting right now and, I might add, fully clothed and made up) playing my favorite on-line game, Words with Friends.  When suddenly a blue box appeared in the middle of the screen that said, “Terry D____ is calling you”.  And there were two boxes to check — “Accept the Call” or “Decline”.  My thought was, “How in the heck is Terry “calling” me on my computer?”  (We went to grade school and high school together and see each other at class reunions.  He lives in Arizona now.)  So out of curiosity I clicked the “Accept” button to see what happened.

Wow!  Immediately my whole screen was filled with a video screen showing Terry sitting in a somewhat cluttered home office,  smiling at me and looking a little incredulous himself (he had just found the app himself).  And when I turned on the sound I could clearly hear him telling me “Hi!”.

I’m still not clear on how to do that computer-phoning thing, but it was fun to have about a 20 minute “call” with Terry.  And I’ve never met his wife, so when she came into the room, he introduced me to her.  How fun is that?

BUT, now that I know what it means when that little blue box appears in the middle of my screen, I will first give a thought to how I look, before I click “Accept”.

So, a word to the wise — beware the blue box.  Or you may get a surprise visit you aren’t prepared for!

Of course, now that I’m aware of this option, it may be ME calling.  In which case, go ahead and answer it.  I promise not to act shocked however disheveled you are.


I enjoy a Mac to go, but hold the fries!

October 29, 2010

I admit it took me a little while to get used to my first laptop, which is also my first Mac.  But I think our recent trip was a turning point.  It was sooo nice to be able to take my computer with me. I had no idea what I was missing before.

And at home, it’s given me such flexibility.  Before, when I wanted to write my blog, read e-mail, do my on-line banking, etc., I was tied to one place — the loft above the living room where our trusty Dell resides.

I’ve spent many enjoyable hours up there.

And, when I first got my laptop, I still had the mindset that a computer had to have a home.

So I decided that once again the TV cabinet in an upstairs bedroom, which had been adapted to first host scrapbooking, then sewing, would now serve a new purpose — it would be home to the new computer.

But it didn’t take me long to realize portable meant, well … portable!

I can sit in the living room and watch TV with Hubby while also playing with my computer.  (Sorry for the grainy picture. I forgot to use a flash.)

One of my favorite spots to use it is sitting at the kitchen island, as I’m doing right now.  There’s a power strip that runs under the overhang of the island — perfect for plugging it in.

But if I sit there too long and get uncomfortable without a back rest, I just move to the table in the eating area.

But my very favorite spot to use “Mr. Mac” is in my favorite reading chair.

Nothing feels better to a woman than multi-tasking, does it?  I can sit in this corner of our bedroom and watch TV, talk on the phone, do my knee exercises, read a book, work on my cute little computer … or any combination of those.  Perfect.

I’m still learning the ins and outs of my new computer, but I’m getting the hang of it.  And it’s definitely been worth the effort.

I just love a good Mac to go, but I’m dieting, so hold the fries!


Babs and Bons: The Cheerleading Challenge

August 15, 2009

 

talk smack (v) To talk trash … casting doubt on a person’s ability.  Ex: Before the fight, the boxers were talking smack to each other.

   100_4953xx    This is Babs.  Doesn’t she look dignified?  Of course, she can be very dignified, but she also has a hilarious wit.  She is married to a doctor and is herself a dialysis nurse, so obviously there are many times in her life when she has to be dignified and serious — but, when she is with friends, her wit is what you see.  And sometimes, she can even talk a little smack (all in fun, of course)! 

100_4973xs   This is Karen, the most popular girl in our class.   She was and is fun and witty, was a cheerleader and was elected prom queen (the epitomy of popular when we were in high school).  One of her “claims to fame” was her cheerleading ability … and specifically her jump.  She was one of those especially agile cheerleaders who could jump high in the air and extend her legs straight out to both sides.  But, Karen could and would take that one step further.  She would jump high in the air, do a perfect splits in the air and then maintain that pose all the way to the floor, landing in perfect splits.  When I would see that jump coming during a game, I would watch the fans on the other side of the gymnasium, because it was fun to hear them gasp and see them obviously talking about it after she had done that spectacular jump.  

Now, let me just say there is much of being a freshman in high school that I have forgotten.  But, I do remember that many of us (including Babs, Bons and me) had hopes in the back of our minds that we could be cheerleaders.  Never mind how realistic our hopes were (or how little our talent) there were many of us who tried out for cheerleading.

And then there was a reality check for most of us.  Even though many tried out, few were chosen.  With Karen, I’m sure, at the top of that list.  And no one could have denied that Karen was a natural at it, so we were all still friends.

Well, at the reunion Saturday night, Babs told me that it was time for a “wrong to be righted” — she was the one who should have been a cheerleader instead of Karen.  So, she and Bons were going to challenge Karen to a face-off.  It took me a while to figure out why Babs needed Bons to do it with her.

  100_5006x   I caught a picture of Babs talking to Kathy, Keith’s wife, who was a cheerleader a couple years younger than us.  Maybe Babs is asking Kathy for some “insider” cheerleading tips!?

 100_5005x    It looks like our friend Sue may be reminding Babs of the words to an old favorite cheer, “Go, Fight, WIN!”

 100_5013s    Babs told me that when the time came for the challenge, I should make everyone stand waayyyy back because she would need as much room as possible to do her cheer.  And then I asked her how Bons figured into the challenge and Babs replied that she was going to do the actual cheer, but she had appointed Bons as her designated “jumper”.  See Babs pointing at Bons?  And I think it’s pretty obvious from the look in Bons’ eyes that she’s thinking, “Like that’s going to happen!”

100_5028xz    While all of this was going on, if Karen was nervous that she was being challenged, she hid it well.  She did a good job of acting like she was having a great time, and wasn’t nervous at all.

100_5004xx   And then, just like when we were in school, there was a reality check.  I don’t know if it was something that Karen told her (maybe that she could still do her signature jump?) that made her drop the challenge, or if it was Bons’ laughing refusal to be the designated jumper, but Babs dropped it. (I suspect that was always the plan.)

This whole little Babs-created drama was a great sub-text to the reunion Saturday night.  I don’t think she ever really planned to do the challenge, but all of the conversation, speculation and laughs it generated were really fun.

Babs is a nurse at a location where kidney patients receive dialysis.  I’ve heard that people who have to do that regularly, not surprisingly, come to dread those visits.  But, if you had to have dialysis, wouldn’t it make it a little easier if you had a nurse like Babs?  Someone who always has a smile, a caring word and even a funny comment once in a while?

I’m sorry you didn’t get to do your cheerleading challenge, Babs, because I know it would have been memorable.  But, when you think about it, with your personality, I’m guessing you have been a wonderful cheerleader to all the patients you have taken care of over the years!  And, I’m also guessing, while some lifting and pushing might have been required, you probably weren’t ever required to do a jump!


The Reunion: Who invited all these “old people”?

August 14, 2009

 

… a memorable question from our classmate and reunion committee member, Jerry, when he walked into the last reunion!

Well, there’s just no getting around it, we do classify as “old people”.  But, that’s one of the nice things about a class reunion … when I look at these classmates (and sometimes their spouses!) I see the people they were when they were teenagers!

The two couples at our table:

100_4938    Lynn and his wife Barbara.  I didn’t know Lynn very well in high school and hadn’t talked to him since we were paired to process together at graduation.  He had been at some other reunions, but we just didn’t come face to face.  So, I was delighted we got to talk to him and Barb this time.

100_4940x    Ed and his wife Janelle.  I’ve seen Ed regularly over the years because we worked at the same company and also go to the same church.  But he and Janelle just married a couple years ago, so it was great to get to know her a little better. 

So, it was the six of us at a table, and the guys almost immediately found our that they share a love of history and that they had all read Steven Ambrose’ Lewis and Clark, so immediately they had a common interest to talk about, and it was interesting for Janelle, Barb and me too!

During the cocktail hour, I went around the room and took pictures.

100_4939x    I’ve known Terry since grade school.  Still a great guy,  who has lived for many years in Arizona.

100_4942   Barb, a committee member, and her husband Tom who still live here.  When Hubby was retiring as Sheriff, they thought he should run for mayor.  He wasn’t interested, but he appreciated that they were “fans”.

100_4943xx    This is Karen.  Her husband didn’t make it this time, but they have been faithful attendees at every reunion.  They now live in Vermont.  Karen was the “it” girl in our class … cheerleader, prom queen and all-around friend to everyone.  She was also funny as all get out.  And, as you can see, she’s still beautiful.

100_4951x    Barb, Me, Dixie, Cheryl, Kay.  We were all on the committee, except for Dixie who lives in Texas.

100_4953x    Babs, Jerry and Robyn.  Three truly funny friends yucking it up.  Jerry is the only man on the reunion committee — and the voice of reason.  When the talk gets sidetracked, he’s the one who smiles and says, let’s move on.  Bless him.  It’s not a job just any man could do, and still come out alive!  He’s also the one who made the “old people” comment.  A fun guy.

100_4954x   Sue and her husband Steve are regular attendees.  They live in Arizona.

100_4966x   Patty, Adele and Bob.  Patty was in our class only as a freshman, then moved to another school, but she and Adele (who lives in Oregon) have always stayed friends, so Patty came as Adele’s “date” since Adele’s  husband couldn’t make it this time.  And,Bob, who sat at their table, told us later how much fun he had, and I think you can see that on his face.

100_4955x    Candy and her husband John.  We don’t have a “chairman” of the reunion committee per se, but I guess Candy would be the one if we did.  We meet at her house and she always serves us wonderful appetizers.  She may be the single reason we continue to have reunions — her and her appetizers are the “glue” that hold the committee together!

100_4956x    Bons and her husband John.  They are realtors in Florida.  She is another classmate who adds alot of fun to any get-together!

100_4961x   Walt and his wife Sharon still live near-by.  He was one of the quiet guys in our class.  But, he did something at one of our reunions that I thought was so very thoughtful.  He brought a 1964 (the year we graduated) Kennedy coin in one of those little collector holders for each classmate who was there that year.  A really thoughtful gift to his classmates.

100_4985x    Chuck is a professor in Alabama.  He was in drama and speech with me in high school, and that is his field as an adult.  His dad, right up until he died a few years ago, ran a record store here that had every record you could think of — or, if they didn’t have it, they would find it for you!

100_4964x    The three amigos — Denny from North Carolina, Terry from Arizona and Paul from Florida.  Paul is another classmate who didn’t actually graduate with us because he moved to another school district, but these three have remained friends and used the reunion as a little mini-reunion of their own!

 100_4960x   Becky and Barb who are committee members.  Becky took over doing the little reunion yearbook last reunion.  A project that I had done for many years, along with Shirley who was also on the committee until she died.  And Becky does in two days what Shirley and I did over months — and cheaper.  This is one of those times I really miss Shirley because we would have such a good laugh over how much work we put into those little booklets — and then Becky comes on the committee and practically does it on her lunch hour!  I wish I could believe that’s just because technology has improved, but I’m afraid it’s that Becky is much more computer saavy than we were.  Humbling.  But, good for you, Becky!

100_4973xx   Jennifer (yes, that Jennifer), Cheryl and Karen

100_4968x    I had to put up this other photo of Jennifer, because I can just see the little girl giggle in this picture.  Still such a nice person and she has had such an interesting life.  I didn’t get to talk to her too much, but I do know that she  now co-owns an eco-friendly cemetary in upstate New York, and that there was one period in her life when she lived (I’ve been told for six years) in a teepee!

100_4970x    Kathy and her husband Gary.  She is a retired school teacher and an artist.  They live in Ohio.

100_4987x   Denny and his wife Suzan are still local.  He was one of the “cool” guys in our class, and a great fast dancer.  So, you can imagine how popular he was, but he was never stuck on himself.  Just a great guy. 

100_4988x   Keith and his wife Kathy.  They go to our church so we see them.  Kathy was a cheerleader, but she was a couple years behind us, just a “kid”.  BTW, this is the only picture I took that has Hubby in it, although inadvertent.  See him in the background on the right?  Just wanted you to know he was there too, even if his wife didn’t think to take a picture of him!

100_4995x    Kay and Jerry were both in the class, and many of us were surprised, to say the least, in high school when quiet Kay started dating “bad boy” Jerry. 

100_4996    But, they have had a wonderful marriage … and we’ve found out over the years that Kay can be a  “steel magnolia” when she needs to be and Jerry is really just a lovable teddy bear.

To my regular readers, thank you for putting up with a few posts that may not be of great interest to you.  But, the reason I did this is that, frankly, even with a couple of knowledgeable “helpers”, I haven’t been able to figure out how to put these pictures on my Facebook page.  So, I had to put them here so that my classmates could see them!

One last Reunion post tomorrow:  Babs and Bons:  The Cheerleading Challenge

 


Mimi Shares the Spotlight!

July 24, 2009

 

DD’s daughter, Mimi, is our youngest grandchild.  Consequently, she gets more than her fair share of the attention when she is around.

P1020198(1)  And it doesn’t hurt that Mimi (5), makes photography fun — she’s always doing something photo-worthy.  Don’t worry, the tattoo isn’t real.  She got it at an amusement park the day before.

But, when we were together on the Fourth, our oldest granddaughter was there with her husband and son, JJ (who is almost 2).  So, there was a new “star” … everyone wanted to play with and be around JJ.  And, we weren’t totally sure how that would play with Mimi.  How would she take to suddenly having to share the spotlight?

Well, we needn’t have worried:

P1020269(1)  First of all, she has a photo-worthy sense of style.  She can wear hair pretties and a girly dress, along with a tattoo, and carry it off! 

(btw, as you can see, DD and I sometimes get in each other’s way when taking our pictures.   She has a verrrry nice camera, that I’m hoping she forgets to take with her sometime when she’s leaving after a visit!)

P1020219  Anyway, Mimi is always ready to pose for a picture.  Here, when she paused for a “Kodak moment” before marching off to fish, she caught JJ’s attention.

P1020243(1)  Even though JJ had an appointment for a boat ride with his grandpa, you could tell this “big kid in the red dress” interested him.

P1020282  Their fishing and boat rides over, Mimi, looking a little the worse for wear (did the fish get your hair pretties, Mimi?), was ready to spend some quality time with JJ. 

P1020298(1)   Let’s go see what we can find to play with.

P1020310(1)   She’s using her “big kid” skills to show him the best way to play with his newest toy.

They played together great.

P1020388(1)  And, Mimi’s never going to have to worry about not getting her share of the spotlight as long as she’s such an interesting kid!

It was so much fun to have everyone together.  And, these pictures will always help us remember what it was like.  I am thankful for family … and photography!