Category Archives: Life

A Mother’s Day Tribute: All About Doris

I would like to wish all my mom friends out in the blogosphere a very happy Mother’s Day. I think we can all agree that being a mom is the most wonderful, challenging, frustrating, agonizing, amazing, and rewarding job there is! Sometimes all in the same day!!

Since I am no longer able to celebrate this day with my own amazing Mom I thought that in her honor I would share ten fact about her that helped make her so special.

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Mom with her brother Bobby in 1936 and as a 16 year old just after she met my Dad.

  1. Her name was Doris Mae and she was born in Camden, NJ in 1930.
  2. Doris went to 10 different schools in 9 years. This was because her father, a master plumber (someone who installs plumbing systems in ships or large office buildings) had to move around a lot for his work. She often returned to the same school district a few years later, catching up with old friends. Her oldest friend, Ruth, was an eighth grade classmate who became a life long friend. After my dad passed away they bought neighboring condos and continued to watch out for each other.
  3. Because of all this moving around, school was a challenge for mom so at the age of 16, she dropped out and started her first job as an elevator operator at Strawbridge and Clothier in Camden. She also worked for them as a phone operator, a waitress and a personal shopper for people who would call in with orders (she always said this was her favorite job!)
  4. Her two favorite fashion accessories were high heels and lipstick which she always made sure she had on whenever photos were being taken.
  5. She met my dad in 1946 when she was 16 by way of her best friend Gertie who happened to be my dad’s cousin. He was 23 at the time and fresh out of the army. I remember telling her that she would have locked me in the closet if I had tried dating a 23 year old When I was that age. Her response: “Things were different back then. He was a friend of the family and I was much older at 16 than you were.” Probably all very true.
  6. She became a mom at 20 when she gave birth to my sister Linda, a name she picked out after hearing a coworker by that name. She said it was very original for the time. Linda was followed by Patricia 18 months later, James three years after that and then (surprise!) me 8 years later.
  7. She loved to socialize and always had many friends spending time on the telephone or chatting over the back fence with the other moms in the neighborhood.
  8. Her cocktail of choice was a Fuzzy Navel: peach schnapps and orange juice. I still have a bottle of peach schnapps in my pantry that we kept on hand so she could have one at our holiday gatherings.
  9. She and I took a road trip to Florida in 1993 because she wanted to visit Universal Studios. She was afraid of flying and my dad hated to travel so since I was single and was driving a pretty reliable car at the time she offered to pay for the trip if I would be willing to drive there. It was a fabulous vacation and I’ve never laughed do much in my whole life. We made a detour to Clearwater on the coast so she could visit her cousin and made of point of borrowing a swimsuit so she could swim in the ocean, something I never remember her doing when I was growing up.
  10. By the time she passed away, in 2015, Doris had been blessed with 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and countless other “adopted grandkids” that lovingly referred to her as MiMom, a name chosen by her first grandchild. This aspect of her life was by far her most favorite. 

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I could go on. There are so many more memories I could share. Maybe I will make this an annual post. For those out there who are also missing their moms on this special day, maybe you should take the time to make your own list, even if it’s just in your head and your heart. It’s a great way to remember those ladies who helped make us who we are.

Thanks for reading.

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Share Your World -Week 1

This is the first time I’ve taken part in Cee’s Share Your World Challenge  but it looked like fun so I thought I’d give it a try.  Here goes…

What one word describes you best? 

⭐️me·thod·i·cal : A person orderly or systematic in thought or behavior. (Yep, that’s me.)

What is set as the background on your computer?

My daughter took this after the last snow fall and I just think it’s so pretty.  It’s also my blog header for the moment.

If you have been to a foreign country name those you have been too?

My husband and I took a cruise to Canada a few years ago. I’ve also been to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands but I’m not sure they count.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week

Nikki from A Texan’s View of Upstate New York inspired me to try this challenge!

Saying Goodbye to Sue

Posted on writer Sue Grafton’s Facebook page Friday December 29th…

“Hello Dear Readers. This is Sue’s daughter, Jamie. I am sorry to tell you all that Sue passed away last night after a two year battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family, including her devoted and adoring husband Steve. Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast. She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly. Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice. Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”

The first Sue Grafton novel I read was “D is for Deadbeat.”  It was around 1989 and the book came as part of my new book club offering.  For those who are unfamiliar (or are too young to remember books before the internet), mail order book clubs would gain new members by offering a number of books for a dollar if you committed to joining the club and purchasing 3 or 4 other books at regular price within the next year.  I was always part of at least one book club then and often surfed from one to another collecting my discount novels.  Usually they were books that were left from previous years.

It didn’t take me long to get hooked on Sue and her character Kinsey Millhone.  I went through letter “D” pretty fast and then immediately fulfilled my membership agreement by ordering “A” “B” and “C”! I was 27 years old in 1989 and reaching the end of my first marriage. My life was in a place where Kinsey’s independence and moxie appealed to me.  I wanted to live in a converted one car garage and run my own private detective agency.  I wanted to make all my own choices (good or bad), drink wine and eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches instead of figuring out a grocery list and doing laundry. Kinsey rocked, even if people did occasionally shoot at her.

Over the next twenty something years, my life included some big changes but Sue and Kinsey remained a constant.  Every year I looked forward to the next letter, the next novel, to see what they were up to.  Surprisingly, even after so many books, Sue was able to keep the character and the stories fresh and interesting.  In some of the more recent novels she began writing entire chapters from a different characters point of view, or taking the reader back in time to the original crime and then switching back to Kinsey’s take on the situation. Another quirk about Kinsey’s world that appealed to me was that she was still still living and detecting in the 1980s, each of her stories moving just months beyond the one before.  This meant she didn’t have cell phones or the internet and had to solve her mysteries using good old fashioned brain power aided only by library cross reference books, microfiche, and what ever info she could get out of the witnesseses.  She also had a habit of keeping notes on 5×7 index cards that she could shuffle and rearrange to see if a pattern appeared.

I was already a dedicated fan and quite in love with Sue Grafton by the time “X” came out in 2015.  We had a relationship dating back years and I had my favorite books and characters already but this novel quickly became the most favorite because on the beginning page of a chapter half way through, quite by happenstance, Sue used my son’s full name for a minor character.  Seeing his name in print was pretty cool and then when I glanced up at the number of the chapter, I realized it was also my son’s favorite number, the number he wore on every sports jersey through out high school because he considered it lucky! It was a weird enough coincidence that I was compelled to send  a note to her Facebook page. I explained what a big fan I was and how she had simply made my day with this happy accident.  Two days later I received this reply:

“What a lovely surprise for you. Can’t remember where I came up with the name. Maybe a spirit visit in the dead of night. Tell him he’s now been immortalized and not even as one of the criminal element. Thanks for your note. What a hoot.”

I regulary go through my Messenger account and delete messages so the fact that this note is still on my feed should tell you what a big deal it is to me!

Now, sadly, there will be no more Kinsey.  Her story and the stories of all the other characters  Ms Grafton so lovingly brought into existence are now in limbo.  I suppose that its up to each of us, those readers,  who have invested so much in Sue’s world to finish their stories as we see fit.  It will never live up to the endings she would have chosen but I’m just happy I was along for the ride.  For me, personally,  my thoughts and sympathies go out to Sue’s family with love and appreciation for all the enjoyment Sue Grafton brought to me and to all the other countless fans of Kinsey Millhone.   For us, as her daughter so perfectly stated , “the alphabet now ends in Y.”

–Respectfully submitted,

A Fan

The Weekly Smile…Sage Advice From A Senior Cat

Live each day like a cat in a sun spot;

Relaxed, content, and totally in the moment.

~Jack

🐱🐱🐱☀️☀️☀️☀️🐈🐈🐈🐈🐱🐱🐱☀️☀️☀️☀️🐈🐈🐈🐈

The Weekly Smile is brought to you by Trent’s World. Stop by and check out the rest of the smiles and maybe leave one of your own.

If We Were Having Coffee…Remembering 2016

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Good morning! Welcome!

If we were having coffee…I would fill your cup and offer you an Entenmanns donut (one of our regional bakeries). We have the kind with the cinnamon crumble on top. We also have lots of left over Christmas cookies if you prefer. According to an Internet meme, “If you eat it in the morning with coffee then it’s breakfast.” That certainly works for me!

Before you arrived, I was sitting her contemplating the fact that this is the last Coffee Share and, indeed, the last morning of the year. Where oh where did 2016 go!? When my children were younger I kept a yearly Christmas book in which I pasted a family photo, a copy of the Christmas card we sent out, and then wrote in some of the highlights of the past year. When we unpacked the book a few weeks ago, Miss Dee was going through reading aloud each year’s events. It was fun to remember all the details of what went on. Somewhere around 2006, I dropped the ball and stopped filling out the pages. I wish I hadn’t because then maybe it would be easier to recall exactly how we spent our days in 2016! Mostly, it’s a blur.

Of course I recall the big events like Miss Dee’s high school graduation, Mr D turning 21, and the birth of two different nephew’s baby girls, but the little things have slipped away. I suppose I was busy, mostly, with the business of living, everyday things like laundry and paying bills and such.  I’m sure there were trials and problems to work out and days I just wanted to get through. But, there were also many, many days shared with loved ones, cheering on my kids, snuggling with my husband, days filled with excitement, anticipation and lots and lots of laughter.

That sounds just fine.

For 2017, I think I’ll just wish for more of the same.

Let me leave you with this thought though, a little mantra I posted on Christmas Eve last year. It’s a good way to start the day.  I think this year we might need it even more.

🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

Today I will be kind.

I will not judge,

or assume.

I will help when I can,

and learn from my mistakes.

I will appreciate the uniqueness of those around me,

and try each day to leave the world a little better than it was the day before.

🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

Happy New Year and thanks for stopping by.

The Weekly Coffee Share is brought to you courtesy of Diana at Part Time Monster. Click here for more coffee shares.

A Christmas Memory #1…Holiday Goodies

Last year in honor of my favorite season I embarked on a daily Christmas Postathon. It was a great way to maintain my holiday spirit but to be honest, the pace nearly did me in! So this year I’m going for a looser, more laid back version.  Periodically I will pull out a Christmas memory or favorite to share. Feel free to join the party! I would love to reminisce with all my friends.

Today’s topic is…

Favorite holiday treats

As we slouched around the remnants of our Thanksgiving dinner this year, the conversation turned to all the special treats that made our childhood holiday seasons so memorable. Goodies like Christmas cookies and egg nog jump to most everyone’s mind but each of us had our own personal treats, those things that brought back that rush of Christmas feelings from our childhood.

imageMy sister and I compared notes and decided that we always felt Christmas was upon us when the bowl of mixed nuts appeared. They occupied a special cut glass bowl my mom saved for such delicacies with silver nut crackers tucked in beside them. We knew we couldn’t eat them all at once because they were an extravagance and had to last till Christmas Day. Back then I preferred walnuts and loved cracking them open and then digging around with the little silver pick trying to get every last piece from the broken shell. Today I’d happily dig into the almonds, filberts and pecans as well.

imageMom also splurged on a big box of Whitman chocolates each season. The box she purchased was called the “sampler” because it contained an assortment of every sort of filled chocolates they made. My favorites were the caramels. In fact, they still are. After we were grown and out on our own, mom still gave my sisters and I a Whitman Sampler each Christmas. I usually had to stash it away somewhere safe or it would be empty in no time.

imageAnother special Christams treat I remember from my grandmother’s house were ribbon candies and chocolate filled straws. She was very fond of hard candies  and usually had some type around her house but those two were reserved just for the holidays. To be honest, I only sucked on them for a minute or two before I spit them out to try another flavor! I wonder if my grandmother ever noticed all those half eaten candies in her trash? She always offered me more so I guess she didn’t mind!

imageNow it’s your turn. What are the special treats you remember from your childhood Christmases? I’m sure the there are local and regional goodies that are unique to certain areas. So many confections, flavors and tastes but the feelings of joy and warm memories they bring are the same no matter where or when you grew up.

If We Were Having Coffee…10/22/16

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If we were having coffee…I would invite you in out of the crisp fall weather and pour you a steamy cup of French roast. We also have tea or hot chocolate if you prefer? There is also some cake left from my husband’s birthday celebration today. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind sharing. The D-man’s actual birthday isn’t until Monday but we had his family birthday dinner a little early because his dad and stepmom are leaving for a trip to Disney World on Monday. This will be their first trip there together. She goes every year with her mother and brother but my father-in-law isn’t much of a Disney World fan. He enjoys trips that involve hiking and historic sites more than rides and musical shows. It will be interesting to hear their critique when they get home.

If we were having coffee..I would tell you that D-man was pretty excited to receive an official Carson Wentz Eagles football jersey as part of his birthday gifts. We can only hope that the Eagles can win some more games just to make that jersey worth wearing! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow afternoon’s game. Our home is a much happier place when they win.😊.

If we were having coffee…I would ask you how thing have been in your world? Are you enjoying the fall weather? Are you in an area where you can experience the changing colors of the season. I can’t believe Halloween is just around the corner although the children at school are more than ready. The fact that it falls on a Monday is down right painful for those of us working in education. “Why?” you might ask. Because that means that on Tuesday morning we will be dealing with hyped up, sugar overdosed, overly tired children with lunch boxes full of left over candy. It will take us until at least Thursday to regain control. 😳 I wonder if we could get a law passed declaring  Halloween must always fall on a Friday?

Anyway, if we were having coffee, I’d thank you for stopping to chat and for listening to me ramble on! I would wish you a week filled with great moments, good thoughts, and happy people. I would also suggest that you stop by Part Time Monster and catch up with some of the other Weekend Coffee Share posts.

Wedded Bliss

The invitation

The invitation

This Sunday my family and I were invited  to witness two amazing young people begin their lives as husband and wife. I will admit that I am a bit of a wedding junkie. They are by far my favorite social outings.  I think it’s because, barring any family drama, weddings are such incredibly happy events filled with promise and excitement. Plus I get to dance with my husband, always a treat. I would guess I’ve been to (attended or been part of) maybe fifty weddings in my lifetime but there was something special about this one, the ceremony especially, that made my heart extra happy, both for the couple and for those of us lucky enough to share in their special day.

Miss L, the bride, is a very dear friend of my son’s and has been a fixture in our home since grade school. She and Miss Dee played tennis together all through high school and her little sister attends third grade at the school where I work. We were all so excited when she and her young man Mr L, also a friend and classmate of  Mr D’s, became engaged last year and even more excited when we found that we were all invited to their wedding.

The Bride

The Bride

Sunday morning arrived dark and stormy thanks to hurricane Matthew, which had been dumping rain on us for two days but, miraculously, by afternoon the clouds had parted and the sky was a bright, clear blue. We arrived at the venue around four o’clock and discovered that, dispite the wet ground, the ceremony would be held on the wood lined brick patio around back. I was told by her grandmother that when the family arrived, the staff had been setting up inside but Miss L had nixed that insisting that the ceremony had to be outdoors. On my way to my seat, even as my heels sunk into the earth, I looked around at the green lawn, baskets of flowers and autumn foliage  and thought “Good call.” The setting made it all so much more perfect.

Turning in our seats as the music began we saw Mr L, who is now a new Marine, just finished his basic training walk up the stone path looking very handsome if a little nervous in his dress blues. He was accompanied by the minister. They were followed by his brother and six groomsmen, four of which were in uniform as well. As they took their place at the front, under a white pergola covered in climbing vines, the ladies entered. First came her little sister dressed in cream colored lace scattering  pink rose petals, then the bridesmaids in soft blush dresses each wearing a ring of flowers in their hair.

The wedding favors

The wedding favors

The music changed to Beethoven’s Cannon in D, my all time favorite wedding music, and we stood to watch Miss L enter accompanied by her mom on one side and her dad on the other.  All brides are beautiful, and she was no exception but it was so much more than that. Her gown, a simple off the shoulder ivory lace with a full ballgown skirt made up of yards and yards of tulle drifted around her and her mass of auburn curls tumbled beneath a veil crowned with pink and ivory flowers. She was breathtaking! A woodland princess about to marry her prince. I think what made her look so perfect, so magical, was that she stayed true to who she is, a very wholesome sweet girl without a lot of glitter and glitz.

And finally husband and wife

And finally husband and wife

I turned and caught sight of her groom and I couldn’t help but choke up. The look of absolute love on his face, his eyes glistening, seemed to caused quite a few sniffles among the guests. Since we were seated in the back row much of what the minister said during the ceremony was lost on the wind but watching those  two young people standing hand in hand against a backdrop of  green, gold and red trees, the lovely maidens on one side, the military men standing tall on the other and the sun glowing above us all, was enough to make my heart swell with happiness for them. When it came time for the vows and the rings, the bride and groom’s voices came across loud and clear and even though the breeze kept them from officially lighting the unity candle (they faked it for the photographer!) the ceremony was lovely. They kissed, we applauded and they danced back down the aisle ready to enjoy an evening of celebration as husband and wife.

On Monday morning the couple left for their honeymoon and in a few weeks they will pack up and move to South Carolina where Mr L is stationed. I’m going to miss having Miss L around all the time but I’m so happy for her and her new husband. When I first found out they were getting married I worried that they were so young and that they would be starting out their marriage so far from friends and family but after seeing them on Sunday and feeling all the love that surrounds them I’m convinced they’ll do fine.  This was just the start of an amazing journey that will last a lifetime, their lifetime.  I’m really glad I was there to see it all begin.

 

The Tale of the Red Dress and the Broken Glass

Recently, on Facebook one of those “get-to-know-you” lists was circulating. It had about 50 life events that you were just suppose to answer “yes” or “no” to, (been scuba diving, watched a baby being born, visited all 50 states, etc). One of the things on the list that I was able to answer “yes” to was “rode in an ambulance.” Usually, this would be a serious or sad event but my ambulance trip was more of a strange and embarrassing ride and, as it turned out, a really lousy way to meet men. Who knew, right? I hadn’t thought about that night for many years but it’s a pretty funny story so I thought I would share.

 

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To begin this story we must first time travel back to the year 1983. My friend Patti  I, two twenty-something singles females, were heading out for a night on the town. I was feeling pretty fancy in my favorite little red dress with matching red heels, my brown hair permed to within an inch of its life. Patti was sporting a silk blouse with shoulder pads and high waisted pants with pleats (1983, remember).

The club we went to had a DJ and a dance floor and catered to hip young singles like us. By ten o’clock it was pretty packed. We staked ourselves a spot at the bar and I had struck up a conversation with a really nice looking blond guy that I’ll call “Doug” (because I can’t really remember his name but I think he looked like a “Doug.”) I was drinking a lite beer and Doug had a scotch on the rocks in one of those really heavy bar glasses, the kind with the thick bottoms. Somehow, during our conversation, as he leaned over to shout something in my ear, (the music was very loud), the glass slid out of his hand, hit the tile floor bottom first, and shattered into a million pieces.

The infamous red dress on another occasion

The infamous red dress on another occasion

Everyone in the immediate area jumped back, stunned looking down at the mess on the floor. The tiny chunks of glass looked a bowl of diamonds spilled across the floor. It was really quite beautiful. Then we noticed that there was blood mixed with the diamonds. At first we checked Doug’s hands and arms but when I looked back down I realized that I was the wounded one. Apparently there was a cut on the inside of my right ankle just above the shoe line because every few seconds a little stream of blood would shoot out all over the floor and down the inside of my opposite calf. This was  both worrisome and macabre. I wasn’t in any pain but I obviously couldn’t stand there bleeding all over the dance floor.

The music was still blaring and most of the crowd was totally unaware that anything was awry. The area around me,however, was pandemonium. Patti came rushing over, a nurse in the crowd took charge and the bartender hopped from behind the bar and kind of pushed/carried me through the nearest door into the kitchen prep area. All the while, “Doug” was beside himself appologizing, hands waving around trying to figure out what he could do to help.

He followed our little group into the kitchen where the nurse quickly propped my foot up on the stainless steel counter putting pressure on the wound with a bar towel.  I lean heavily against Patti, balancing on one heel, trying to keep anyone from seeing up my skirt. The club manager appeared from somewhere, took stock of the situation and, against my protest, called for an ambulance. I suppose they were worried about a lawsuit.

The next thing I knew, two very efficient EMTs were strapping me onto a gurney, my ankle covered in gauze. Before they wheeled me out, Doug pushed a napkin and pen in my direction, asking me to please write down my phone number. “Okay,” I thought, “This would be a really interesting story to tell our kids someday” so I quickly jotted my number, pulled the sheet over my head and tried to make myself as invisible as possible while they took me out of the kitchen, across the dance floor, out the front door and up into the waiting ambulance. The EMTs and Patti hopped up beside me.

It was close to midnight by the time we got to the closest hospital. I was feeling pretty foolish as I sat waiting in the emergency room cot. Even though my left leg was covered with splatter blood, the cut on my right ankle which was no more than an eight of an inch had stopped bleeding before we left the club. The doctor that looked at it said that the glass had probably nicked an artery explaining the spurting effect and the amount of blood. (Ewww!) He poked around making sure there was no glass in the wound, cleaned it with some antibiotic cream then covered it with a tiny square of gauze.

The drama could have ended there except that as the doctor was signing the release papers, we realized that we couldn’t leave the hospital because Patti’s car was still at the club. Neither one of us was going to call our parents at that hour so the most sensible option was my sister Linda. She wasn’t crazy about coming out in the middle of the night to rescue us either and she was even more ticked when she saw the size of my band aid!

Epilogue….By the next morning my ankle was slightly bruised and tender to the touch but otherwise fine. My stockings and shoes were history but the red dress survived to party another night. And what about Doug, you might ask? He did call the next day but only to make sure I was okay and to apologize yet again. I guess he didn’t feel that our shared experience was enough of a basis for a relationship.

I don’t know if this story has a moral but I do know that my sister loves to bring it up at family gatherings every so often just to remind me that I owe her. 😊

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Dixie Deadzone Diners

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Originally posted on The Nugget Life:
This weekend I attended two of three of Dixie’s, yes the paper product company, Deadzone Diners. In case you’re asking yourself the same question I asked myself when I first heard of them, “What…