Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Cappella #9

I couldn't stand it one more minute!!  That yellow background with the red and brown circles was really getting on my nerves.  It had to go!  So it did!

Hope this is a little better for a while!   :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Cappella #8

Well, I actually reached and passed my 65th birthday.  I never would have believed it, really!  All my life I was pretty sure (and afraid) that I would die fairly young.  I kind of picked it up from my dad, I guess.  He thought he would die fairly young, because his mother died at age 55 (I think).  When my dad died he was 3 months shy of his 60th birthday, still on the young side and only 5 years older than his mother.

After dad died, I was even more convinced that I would follow the pattern and definitely die before I hit 65.  Well, surprise, surprise on me!  I find this pretty remarkable because not only am I still living, I am in VERY good health (knocking on wood!)  I think my grandmother had a number of strokes and heart problems several years prior to her death.  My dad also had a stroke and several heart attacks before finally succumbing.  So that was part of the pattern, I thought.

So here I am 65, no history of strokes, not one heart attack....b/p, cholesterol, thyroid, weight, all under control.  Well, so, what do I do now??  :)

This whole dying thing would bother me in spurts.  I wasn't totally incapacitated, sitting around waiting to die, but it wasn't ever too far from conscious thought and the littlest thing could bring the worry and fear right back to the forefront. 

It was annoying to my friends and family.  They all poo-pooed the whole pattern thing and said I was (dumb, stupid, crazy, ridiculous....pick-one, I heard them all) for worrying about it.  And of course, that annoyed ME!  It's not like I wanted to spend time worrying about when I would die.  But if there is one thing I have learned in my 65 years, it is that you feel what you feel!  No one else may understand it, and they may all think you're nuts, but my emotions and worries are as real to me as their's are to them!

So, like I said, here I am 65 years old, and still breathing!  I have to admit that's a pretty terrific birthday gift, maybe even the best one I've ever gotten! 

I guess it's time to go with my back-up plan.  I just won't die at all!  Yeah, that's the ticket!  There, it's settled.  What a relief! 


Oh, by the way, if by some chance despite my good health and amazing longevity so far, I actually do die within the next year, that cackling and shrieking noise you hear in the background will be me, laughing from the great beyond somewhere, all the while yelling, "See, I TOLD YOU SO!"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"The Best Is Yet to Come"

In approximately 5 hours from the time I am writing this, a milestone will occur in our house.  It will be the anniversary of my birth.  I will reach 23,741 days on this earth!  Funny, it seems longer than that!  A person should be able to accomplish great things in 23,741 days.  Looking back I accomplished many things of which I am proud.  I tried many new things, I've made mistakes, had successes, survived failures, and endured loss.  I learned a lot of interesting facts,  met a lot of great people, plus a pretty fair number of real stinkers!  I have been blessed with many good friends, even several BFFs!

Over the years I have explored my talents, recognized my weaknesses, even tried to improve a few.  I've held responsible positions in an industry where the focus is on caring for others.  I've worked for and with people I deeply respect and admire.  I married, kept a house, raised a child, tried a hobby, kept a secret, written letters, read books, sang songs, and enjoyed much  of what I encountered, tolerated parts of it, and got the hell out when I needed to!!. 

I have loved a lot of people and lost many of them.  I have the best relationship a mother ever had with a daughter who is my greatest joy.  I have kept the same husband for 45 years, even though some days we both wondered why!  We laughed together, cried together, got mad together, made up together.  I learned to love dogs and love them I did!  I found joy in performance through singing, dance, acting and directing for the stage.  I have been a part of great shows, and awful shows, but I learned from each one.

I have laughed until my stomach hurt, I have cried until my stomach hurt.  I  have cooked and cleaned and nurtured, and planted and then I did them again and again.  I have had repetitive tasks done a million times and once in a lifetime experiences. 

I have had happiness, wealth, sadness, boredom, financial shortfalls, misery, thrills, fear, relief, worry, stress, challenges, simplicity and complexity.  Good, bad, right, wrong, joy, grief, treasured moments and moments to forget.

Yes, 23,471 days to my life....so far.  Like everyone else, each day brought another 24 hours to the sum of my life.  65 Years!  Impossible!  Where have they gone?  It's been a blink of an eye.  How many more will there be?  I don't want to know.  I just want to live them, share them with those I love and hold on to the idea that maybe,  just maybe, "The Best Is Yet to Come"!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Gotta Dance"

My mother told me that as soon as I was able to stand on my own, I would bounce and sway in time to whatever music happened to be on the radio.  It made me happy and I would smile.  As I got older (and steadier on my feet), I would move and twirl and kick.  I loved music and I loved moving to it.  Even though it was planned or very pretty I was dancing and I loved to dance!  Of course, I found out later on, that almost all babies bounce and move to music, but by then it was too late.  I had already decided I loved to dance!

Way back during the glory days of television, i.e., the 50s and 60s,  there were an enormous number of "variety" shows on the schedule each year.  Every network had several programs hosted by name artists like Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Ed Sullivan, Garry Moore, Carol Burnett, Tennessee "Ernie" Ford, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Judy Garland, Red Skelton, Jackie Gleason all the up through Andy Williams, Sonny and Cher, Glen Campbell and The Smothers Brothers.  I think just about every music-making "star" had their own show at one time or another.  Some were very successful and were on for years!  Others were a flash in the pan that barely lasted one season and are best forgotten.  (Which I have done!)

Every single one of them had some dance as part of their format, some of the dancing was so great, that I bet these names will sound familiar to anyone who watched those shows.....Ernie Flatt, June Taylor, Peter Gennero and others.  They were the choreographers who put those dance routines together each week!  Then there were the couples Marge and Gower Champion (prior to his directing success), Vernon and Irene Castle, and of course, Fred Astaire and any man, woman, chair, or prop he ever danced with!  Does anyone remember "Dance Party"??  Maybe if I give you the names it will come back to you.  Arthur and Kathryn Murray!  Need I say more?

As much as I liked the June Taylor Dancers or the Ernie Flatt Dancers, I loved watching all these couples dance even more, especially the women with their gorgeous, flowing dresses with full chiffon skirts that floated around them like their own personal cloud.  I would watch and dream that one day, I would dance in a dress like that with a man as sophisticated and talented as any of the men who danced in the movies or on TV.

I had one tiny little misconception about dancing. Believing that all dancers just went around humming, "Gotta Dance", I thought it was as easy as they made it look.  It. Is. Not. Easy.  Not at all.  I didn't know about the years of  lessons in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and every other genre of dance there is.  I didn't know about shin splints, or leg cramps, or bleeding feet, or knees that would scream with pain.  I didn't know about dance shoes actually falling apart from wear! I didn't know about the hours and hours of class every day, even when you were a working dancer.  I didn't know about living on lettuce sandwiches or worrying about a quarter pound of extra weight.  I hadn't heard of dance instructors that would drive you beyond your level of endurance.  I didn't know that every one of them went through this no matter if they were good, great, or terrible.  I didn't know they went through this agony for only one reason,  "...the chance to dance...."
While I loved to dance, somewhere along the way I realized that I wasn't humming "Gotta Dance"; I wasn't going to follow that path.  I didn't have the burning need to dance.  I didn't want to work that hard and I knew that I wasn't talented enough  to be a professional dancer and I certainly didn't want it badly enough to dance until my toes bled!!.

I moved on and kept music in my life through singing.  It wasn't until I was married for a long time and a mom of an 11 year old, that dance re-entered my life.  The opportunity to be part of community theater and to do the musicals that I loved, popped up and without a backward glance, I was off and running.

In community theater (actually in most theater) those cast do double duty when necessary.  You may have seen a show where the butler in the first act, is the same man as the policeman in the second act, and the doctor in Act III.  The singers are dancers and the dancers are singers.  Just about everyone except the leads do double or even triple duty.  If they didn't casts would have to be three times the size.

Anyway, I got a chance to dance!!  Most of the musicals I did, had "chorus" and "dancers", even though there was cross-over, only the best of the dancers were used in the "dance numbers" and the chorus stands in the back and sways!  I did a little of both, but mostly I swayed!

There  were three tiny little reasons why I wasn't always dancing. 

1.  It took me forever to learn the combinations and the routines.  I usually got there in the end, but it was a  painful process.

2.  The second problem was that I have a very poor sense of balance.  That can cause hesitations and falls!  And I did hesitate and fall and when I fall, I usually break something....like an arm!  Neither one of which helps one make a splash as a dancer, except in a very bad way.

3.  I just wasn't good enough.  Period.  End of story!

Still the story has a happy ending.  I did get to dance on stage some, and I still loved it!  I did learn one thing, however.  On stage, I make a better swayer.  Off stage, at a couples dance (i.e., your everyday Elks Club dance, or a New Year's party), I am better!  With a partner, I have someone "leading" and if I start to lose my balance or fall, my partner will hold me up!   So I got a chance to do just enough dancing to make me feel like Ginger Rogers' clumsy sister!

The only thing I really missed getting was one of those floaty chiffon dresses!   Just as well, I guess.  I probably would have tripped over it and broken my other arm!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Blogger is seriously pissing me off! I wrote a big long post last night. It wasn't on a very important subject or anything, but still, I spent time on it. It was late when I finished it and I decided to wait until today to edit it before I published it and I distinctly remember saving it! I wasn't that tired!
And today?? It is gone, disappeared, vanished, swirling around in cyberland somewhere where I cannot retrieve it.
I know I saved it. So if it isn't there it's BLOGGER'S FAULT!
I hate re-writes, they are never as good as the original.

Trust me, this does not make me a happy camper.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"My Daddy is Only a Picture"

I don't normally write twice in one day, but last night when I was doing the Sunday Steal, I forgot about this being Father's Day.  I wouldn't want to skip right over it, 'cause Daddies deserve their day!   Happy Father's Day to all rhose marvelous Dads out there!!

Another thing I don't normally do, is actually include the song whose title I use to name my post.  In another break from tradition, when I came across the title, "My Daddy is Only a Picture", I had to include the lyrics too.  I've never heard the song but it was written by Frank Loesser ("Guys and Dolls") and recorded by Eddie Arnold.  I don't know when it was written or recorded, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was out of the WWII era.  But it doesn't need to be about a soldier, any child who has lost a father at any time can feel the sadness in the same way.  It's pretty maudlin, but it touched a chord in me, and I thought it might touch you too!


I asked a little boy to call his daddy
He said he couldn't and sighed
And when I asked him what was wrong
here's what the little boy replied

My Daddy is only a picture, in a frame that hangs on the wall
Each day I talk to my daddy, but he never talks at all
I tell him all of my secrets and all of my little plans
and from the way he smiles at me, I know he understands

The angels took Daddy to heaven, when I was just goin' on three
But I'll bet they never told him - how blue and lonesome we'd be
I try to cheer up my mommie, when the tears roll down her face
My daddy is only a picture, but I'm tryin' to take his place
Isn't that sad?  I was a lot older than 3, but I know just how the little boy felt.

It has been 33 years since my dad died.  Like everyone he had strengths and weaknesses.  He was kind of a lost soul in that he never really discovered a purpose in life.  He was just a man trying to get along, support his family, and enjoy the people he loved.  He wasn't the greatest dad in the world by any measure you could name.  He never played with me that I can recall, except for an occsional board game.  For most of my growing up years he worked evenings or nights, so he missed just about all the school events or church things I might have been involved in.  We never spent a lot of time together by ourselves.... no Daddy-Daughter dances, no going out to dinner, just the two of us.  Our conversations were at the dinner table, with Mom and later, Little Sis, then Mikey, and Ratchlet in attendance.

Back then, I never thought much about whether he was a good dad or not.  We didn't think much about those kinds of things when I was growing up.  He was there, he loved us, he was working, his salary supported us, we could make him laugh, he could make me mad.  He was my Dad!  That's all.

But now all we have are memories and even they are fading. That's hard, I miss my Dad, and without the memories, all I have left of my Dad are a very few photographs.  So just like the song, "My Daddy is Only a Picture." 

Now this photo came from a slide which has been badly damaged.  With a little manipulation of color and exposure, this is about as good as I can get it.  I'm sorry it is so hard to see.  Obviously, it is my mother, me, and my dad.  I was about 13.  Normally, I would NEVER show this photo to anyone but family, because I am in my bathrobe, my hair is uncombed, my mom's hair looks funky, yada yada yada....

But if you look at my Dad's face.  He is looking at my mom and me with a big smile.  I look at him and I see my Daddy, who was so proud of me....and I miss him.

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Seriously Random Question Meme

1. What is the last thing you spent money on?

  • Some red, white, and blue stuff for a 4th of July-themed mantle.
2. Do you think you gained or lost weight this past month?

  • Gained, but only 1 lb., I checked!!
3.. Crunchy or Puffy Cheetos?

  • Crunchy, love those orange fingers!!
4. What are you craving right now?

  • What do you think??? Some of those crunchy Cheetos!
5. When you buy something and your change is 2 cents, do you keep it or tell the cashier to keep it?

  •  I keep it....every little bit helps, you know!
6. What color is your tissue box?

  • White, how boring!
7. Do you have a ceiling fan in your bedroom, and if so, is there dust on that fan?

  • Nope, no fan, no dust....at least not in the bedroom!  But you didn't ask about any other rooms!  :)
8. What was the last voicemail you received about?
  • Having Father's Day dinner with Ratchlet, T.A., and M-t-G
9. Have you ever blocked someone on Facebook?

  • Yes, I don't "friend" people I don't know!
10. What kind of car do you want?

  • I'd really love to have my little red Fiero back!  I just don't get the same feeling in my Kia!
11. Have you ever had a garage sale?

  • Yes, several.  Made money too!
12. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had?

  • Compari and tonic with lime, but just a sip!
13. What is your favorite thing on your key chain?

  • A great photo of  M-t-G at age 5!
14. What is in your pocket?

  • Lint, no doubt!
15. Who introduced you to your bf/gf/husband/wife?

  • No one, we were never introduced, we just got married!   :)
16. Has someone ever made you a build a bear?

  • No, but M-t-G made one for her Poppa!  She wrote him a poem too!  I clearly come in a slooow second!  LOL!
17. What’s something fun you did today?

  • Shopping for the red, white, and blue stuff!  Mostly thrift shop finds too!
18.  What is your favorite aisle at Target?

  • Things for the home!  Their stuff is always colorful and stylish.  Even if I don't buy, I love browsing.
19. How many states in the US have you been to?
  • Around 35, I think!
20. Who was the last person you went shopping with?
  • Ratchlet
21. Do you have the same first name as one of your relatives?

  • No, and I'm really glad....my family is filled with weird names that I could have been saddled with!!
22. Are you wealthy?

  • HA, HA, HA, HA, hahahahahahahahahahahahha....deep breath.....hahahahahahahah!!!!
23. What famous person do you look like?

  • I have been told I looked like Tippi Hedren, but not anymore!  I never could see it!
24. Does someone like you right now?

  • I am never sure about that.
25. Favorite pop-tart flavor?

  • I haven't had a pop-tart in about 50 years and there's a reason for that!
26. Do you know anyone in jail/prison?

  • Not currently!    lol!
27. Who was the last person you sent an instant message to?

  • Like I even know how to send an instant message!
28. Last restaurant you went to?

  • Rudino's (yummy sub sandwiches), I go there for lunch a lot.
29. How many hours did you sleep last night?

  • About 6, I think.
30. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?

  • I seriously doubt it.
31. Have you ever changed your clothes while in a vehicle?

  • Not recently!! I'm pretty sure I'd break something!.
32. What is your ringtone?

  • "When the Saints Go Marching In"  It was the only song title on my phone that I recognized!!
33. What were you doing at midnight last night?
  • Same thing I do just about every night....planning, writing, editing, or reading BLOGS!
Stolen from:     http://sundaystealing.blogspot.com/

Who stole it from:   http://ptlawmom.com/2009/04/seriously-random-questions-meme/

Who probably stole it from:   ?????

Cheers to all of us thieves!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear So and So.....

Dear So and So...
I'm a day late again!! Darn!
 I am sorry!

Dear Amazon,

OK, I admit it I like my Kindle.  But that doesn't mean it couldn't be improved.  Like navigating through the reading through the selections for instance.  I sure hope that somebody somewhere is working on a better method than just one page at a time, from the beginning.  Some of the genres show over 30,000 (or more) titles.  I can flat out guarantee  you I'll never buy item # 29,628, because trying to get there from book #1 could take the rest of my life!  The farthest I've been willing to get through is only about 350 titles!! Of course, by the time you fix it, I'll probably be to old to read anymore anyway!

Wishing I knew what #29,628 is!!

Dear Favorite Authors and others,

I admit to being amazed that I like using the Kindle (for the most part).  It great for exploring writers new to me.  It's portability is wonderful!  So lightweight!! I would like to assure you however, that when I see a new book from you, I want it in hard cover.  Immediately! 

Most of my favorites are my favorites because their books are treasures and I want to hold them close and experience them in the old-fashioned way....in a chair, by a light, with a beverage, and a great book clutched in my hand, reading away into the night. 


Dear Authors and publishers (not necessarily in that order), 

When it comes to  pricing books for e-copies like Kindle, I think you are making an enormous mistake!  Many books available for sale, have a disclaimer from Amazon (I guess) stating that the "Price has been set by the publisher."  OK, I don't have a problem with that, the seller always sets the price.  Nevertheless, when I come across a book that is over 5 years old (and there are many), the price can range all over the map....including the same price as a brand new release by the same author.  This makes no sense to me.  There are used book stores all over the place, none of them still sell old books for the full price unless they are antiquarian selections!  Maybe I'm missing something here, but I really don't think that's fair.


Dear Everyone,

I buy biographies of famous people.  Not all of them of course, just those I admire or am curious about, or feel drawn to.  Covers a broad spectrum too!  I buy bios of both living and deceased, they can be actors, or politicians, or historical figures.  When I see one that sparks my interest I buy it.    I try not to flip to the photographs first, but I usually do anyway.  The photos are usually from private collections or family photos so they probably haven't been published before.  I enjoy seeing family members, candid shots, and hearing little tidbits of things that lead to making their lives what they are (or were).

However, I have a...(ahem)...teeny, tiny confession to make!  I rarely actually finish the biography. It varies by book of course, but I usually get about 2/3 to 3/4 through and lose interest and I never go back to it!  Makes no difference if it is a light-hearted romp through a movie star's early career or the tragic story of loss , pain, and death.  Either way, I get to about  the half-way mark and I start to get antsy, wanting to "get on with it".  I know that the end is near!  Not the author's ending, just the ending of my attention span.  I feel bad about it, but I guess there is a reason that most of them weren't famous for their writing skills!

With apologies to those I have purchased in the last couple of years and didn't finish....including Martin and Lewis, Andy Williams, Dwight Eisenhower, Dick Van Dyke, John Adams, Abigail Adams, Gene Wilder, Michael Caine, Mary Tyler Moore, Julie Andrews, Patti Lupone and others.  Though I guess they would rather I buy and not finish than not to buy at all!  :)


Dear Barnes and Noble,

I have a feeling that the "race" between  the Kindle and the Nook is a foregone conclusion.  I really don't see much of an advantage to your gadget except of course, for color!  I don't particularly need or want color.  Book print has always been black on white anyway!

My condolences,

Dear Kindle,

I really DID NOT NEED games on Kindle!!  In the first place they are slow, hard to see, difficult to play on those tiny little letter keys.  Besides which I really DID NOT NEED to be lured off to play yet another round of blackjack when it isn't even real money and it's 3:oo in the morning!!!  Thanks an whole bunch...NOT!

And another thing, magazines and newspapers on a 6" screen??  Really??  Why???  You don't even have color!  (Print may be black and white, but photos???)  Who wants to try to read Vogue or House Beautiful on a Kindle???  And trying to see the tiny print from a magazine even smaller on a Kindle....darned near impossible!  I will not ever purchase a magazine for a Kindle!  It's just a dumb idea!


If you like Dear So and So, and want to give it a try, just pop over to Kat's Place at Three Bedroom Bungalow ( http://3bedroombungalow.blogspot.com/ ), hook up with her Linky and add your own! It's a great way to blow off steam, and you can read lots of other letters!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


There was further information in the Austin American-Statesman, on the fatal accident Monday morning just outside our development.
The man who was killed was apparently a runner of some note in the Austin area. He ran daily and was well-known and well-respected among the running community. There has been an outpouring of shock and regret at his loss.

The article stated that Police have determined that the driver of the car had a green light and, thus, the right-of-way was his. There was a photo of the car; it was heavily damaged. According to the article, the runner was trying to cross the street and ran in front of the car. The driver of the car stopped and attempted to give aid, but the runner died at the scene. No charges will be filed against the driver of the car.

In addition, the article provided a lot of information and comments relating to the victim's running career. But there was also a paragraph that said some of what I said yesterday. I would like to paraphrase it here....

Leaders in the running community said that in order to stay safe while training, runners should:

1. Wear brightly colored, high-visibility clothing.
2. Always assume the driver of a motor vehicle is distracted.
3. Avoid crossing against traffic lights at intersections.
4. Avoid jaywalking.
5. Run on a sidewalk if possible.
6 Run against traffic in order to see what's coming.

To some extent that is a slanted list. Assume drivers are distracted???  “Avoid” crossing against the light?? “Avoid” jaywalking??? Run on a sidewalk, “if possible”?? Those items are already matters of law and ARE illegal.

These are a few things I think should be added to that list and every family with a runner, or bike rider, or pedestrian needs to make sure these rules are followed by everyone who is ever out on public streets!

1. Follow all applicable traffic and pedestrian laws.
2. NEVER attempt to "beat" traffic or a stop light.
3. Do not assume that you have the right-of way at all times!
4. PAY ATTENTION!! Don't get lost in "the zone", always pay attention to automobiles, motorcycles, bikes, pedestrians, and your surroundings in populated areas.
5. Use common sense and do not expect others to watch out for you! Your safety? Your responsibility!

There are plenty of articles and opinions about auto drivers not acting responsibly to respect pedestrians, runners, bike riders, etc., etc., and to keep them safe. It is time for those pedestrians, runners, bike riders, etc., to act responsibly and respect motor vehicles too! I’d like to see these rules published in every paper, magazine, blog, and newsletter in this area! Maybe everywhere!

Keeping people safe, uninjured, and living while on our roadways and in our neighborhoods is the joint responsibility of us all! Nothing less will work!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"A Cappella"

I have come to believe that the most dangerous road  in Austin is right outside of our development.  This morning there was yet another auto accident resulting in a fatality on that road (RR 2222).  That makes eleven deaths on a seven mile stretch of road that connects two other heavily travelled roads in town, FR 620 and Capital of Texas Highway, 360.  Eleven deaths!!  All involving one, two, or more vehicles.

These eleven deaths have occurred over the period of 10 1/2 years we have lived here.  I don't even know if this is all there have been, but these eleven are just the ones I know about!!  There could be many more of which I am unaware.  They keep building in this area and the more building, the more traffic increases on all the roads around here.

This morning's accident was between a jogger (who lived in our development) and an auto.  The jogger died at the scene.  The details are sketchy, but it appears that the jogger was heading North and attempting to cross 2222 from the entrance road of our development (the only way out of here).  The auto was heading east on 2222.  There is a stoplight at the intersection, but it is unclear who had the right of way.  Either way, my sympathies go out both to the jogger's family AND to the driver who will have to live with the memory of that young man's death forever. 

Let me assure you, however, that I am NOT making any statement or judgement of fault about the situation this morning.  I wasn't there, and as I said the news release was sketchy.  However, eleven deaths along one small stretch of road, all involving at least one motor vehicle is obscene!

There are over 400 homes in this development, so I did not know the jogger, nor did I know anything about him. There are many residents who can been seen out exercising on the roadways within our development.  There are walkers, joggers, runners, rollerbladers, and bicyclists.  There is a bike lane and there is a side walk on at least one side of each street, plus there are several jogging /nature trails throughout the development.  Moms or dads with a dog, or a baby, or toddler in a stroller are out there as well.  There are serious exercisers and not so serious folks just out for a walk.  All of them out exercising for good health, just like their doctors and others tell them to.

Very few of those runners actually use the sidewalks.  They mostly all use the bike lane and run on the main road in and out of the development.  The road that carries nearly all vehicle traffic up to the entrance/exit of the development. There are laws governing which way one is to face when running or walking, or biking alongside or in a road.    Bikes should move with traffic, i.e., face the same direction as the cars do.  Those on foot should move in the opposite direction of the cars on their side of the road, i.e., facing into traffic approaching you.  In addition, there are cars in and out of here all day and late into the night. The rules make perfect sense and give people the best chance of seeing what is happening and staying safe.  From their behavior, I'm not sure everyone knows those rules!  People seem to walk, run, or ride wherever they feel like. That makes it extremely dangerous for those on foot or bikes as well as those in cars!!

The road that runs E/W in front of the development (RR 2222) is a four-lane, 60 mph limit roadway, with multiple stop lights, and carries very heavy traffic in both directions, particularly during rush hour.  The road originally was just a small country road, which was meant to be a direct access to Lake Travis and points west of Austin.  As Austin's population grew and expanded ever more westerly, 2222 became a major road carrying the bulk of commuters heading east or west on the northwest side of town.

I don't know if it is true everywhere, but Austin seems to have an ongoing war between autos, trucks, bikers (both motor and not), runners, and walkers.  Each is convinced that the road belongs to them and they are in control and will be able to react appropriately in any situation.  Many are stubborn and refuse to yield or even slowdown!  Most of them are wrong! And some of them die!

Motor vehicles are huge when compared to a jogger or a bicycle.  They can weigh multiple TONS.  The laws of physics dictate that a human being on a bike or running, or pushing a stroller, can never win against a moving vehicle weighing tons.  Those laws also dictate that two or more such vehicles crashing into each can lead to serious injury or death. Why doesn't anyone believe that??  Why do so many people refuse to consider the consequences of poor driving and stubborn behavior??  How many more of those small white crosses must appear alongside our roads, before people begin to realize that motor vehicle accidents can be lethal and one of those crosses may someday be erected for them??

For you see, no matter how much we may wish it, Death NEVER takes a holiday!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Things I Couldn't Say" aka Dear So and So

Dear So and So...

I love the Dear So and So meme started by Kat at http://3bedroombungalow.blogspot.com/   It is the perfect vehicle for all those little irritations of life that you wish you could complain to someone about.  I can't write one every week because I don't have that much in my life that irritates me (no matter what some people might think!).  So when I rack up enough irritations, I write to Dear So and So.  Kat runs the meme on Fridays, but it rarely works out that I can manage to get the timing right to post on Fridays.  Sooo, I've decided I'll post a couple of days late if I need to.  Hope nobody minds too much! 

Here we go with my latest batch to Dear So and So.....

Dear Walgreens,

Today in your store, I had a purchase in the Pharmacy and a purchase at the front register.  I used a debit card for both.  Can you please explain to my why the credit card swiper-things were NOT the same??  In the same store??  Two different styles, two different patterns, two different processes.  In the same store??? Not 100 feet apart????? It's bad enough that every business in the whole world uses a different type of swiper, but to have two different types in the same building is absurd beyond belief!  Using a standard type in all your stores would be great, using a standard type in the whole building would just be mind-bending!!

Mel, a loyal, but disbelieving customer


Dear Weatherman,

I'd like to thank you for the recent warm weather we have been having.  Of course, no one else likes it, but don't listen to them.  They're just a bunch of wusses.  So what if it hit 103F today?!  How hot can those complainers get walking from their air conditioned car to an air conditioned building?  It was only 103F for a little while in the mid-afternoon.  The rest of the time it was much lower than that and once the sun went down it was positively balmy outside.  Ahhhhh, my favorite kid of weather.

Could you please make summer go year-round?

Sweater-less Mel


Dear Blogger,

Whatever that you do that keeps changing the look of my posts, could you please cut it out??!!!!  Presentation is important to me.   I type with bold, with italics, with color, with certain spacing then I hit "publish post" and all that disappears!  Where did it go?  Why did it go?  Would you stop messing around with my hard work.  I'll be my own editor, thank you very much!

Mel, the Blogger Diva


Dear Left Eye,

Ok, you have been diddling around for the last five days, being red, itchy, irritated and uncomfortable.  I. Am. Done.  Knock it off!  I'm tired of eye drops and having my eye making its presence known every minute I'm awake!  I want to go back to taking my comfort and vision for granted without having to fuss with you!  This is your last warning.  Shape Up!!

Blinking Mel


To the Grim Reaper,

Other than relatives from the previous generations,  I have not yet lost someone who is important to me to death.  But it's getting closer.  Last week a woman I knew from high school died.  She was not a very close friend, but she was someone I liked and have good memories of.  She was a fun, lively, and beautiful lady with lots to live for.   She was also a year younger than I. 

I realize that my contemporaries and I are getting to the point in our lives when we will begin to experience more and more of these losses.  What would you say to going on an extended vacation?  You know, one of those Death Takes a Holiday kind of things.  Not forever, just for 20 or 30 years!  That's all.  What do you think?  You could probably use the rest, right?  So what do you say, huh?  I know a lot a people who would be really grateful.

Wishful Mel


Dear Big Guy,

I'm very sorry you had to buy a new computer.  Spending all day running around to different retailers trying to find the best price for exactly what you wanted was very tiring, I know.  It's really good that you were able to finally track down a decent deal and I'm glad for you.   I certainly hope that the transfer of files and information goes well.  (Perhaps an unrealistic hope, given our history with computers, but one can dream!)  And I REALLY hope you go a good long time without any further problems and you can get back into using your computer to your heart's content.

Your spouse, Mel

P.S.  Uhmm....Could you try real hard NOT to spill coffee (or anything else) on the new one, please?


Dear Blogland,

If you like Dear So and So, and want to give it a try, just pop over to Kat's Place at Three Bedroom Bungalow ( http://3bedroombungalow.blogspot.com/ ), hook up with her Linky and add your own!  It's a great way to blow off steam, and you can read lots of other letters!

Your friend, Mel

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Too Much of Nothing"

Nothing very interesting happened this week in my world. So how come I feel like I've been through the wringer?  Maybe if I take it day by day, it will become clear.


**I went to a baseball game.  Not usually an activity that draws me.  It was a Minor League or Farm Team or some such thing game where the Round Rock Express played the Albuquerque Isotopes. Who??  Still, not usually an activity that draws me.  So why did I go??  The Austin Girl's Choir sang the National Anthem and that's the choir that M-t-G is in.  It was kind of neat and they sounded great.  Even though it was an evening game, and we were sitting in the shade, it was HOT out there and everyone was a little cranky because of it. The heat even hit me, which is unusual. We only stayed at the game for an hour, but with the travel time and getting there early to avoid rush hour traffic, and the drive back home, the whole endeavor took 5 hours!

**I woke up with a swollen, puffy, red, itchy, sore, and irritated left eye!  No idea why, it just was.  Very annoying.  Nevertheless, I had other things to take care of first. 

**Like going to the dentist!  Had to get yet another filling.  The dentist and I agree that I do not have very strong teeth and every so often another one needs attention....no matter how well I try to take care of them.  I don't like going to the dentist, even though I have the best dentist in the world!  Since I discovered Nitrous Oxide, I am no longer terrified, but I still don't like it much....especially when my eye is itching like crazy and I can't even rub it a little because of all the dental stuff in the way. 

** Left the dentist and went directly to my eye doctor.  Luckily they were able to squeeze me in, although not with my regular doc.  I had to go through the tests for eye pressure, vision, a million questions and she finally decided it was an inflammation of some part of the eye that I had never heard of (and can't remember the name of).  She gave me a prescription for something to soothe the eye and advised cold compresses.  She said I would feel lots better the next day.  Cold compress felt great!


**Woke up, eye did NOT feel "lots better".  In fact, it was a bit worse because it had developed into a sty.  Still itchy, swollen, sore, hot, and generally uncomfortable.  Called eye doctor, she said come back and pick up a different medication, and switch to hot compresses.  It was a sample med, so no charge, and would make me feel "lots better" by the next day. I should still use the first med too.  Got home, tried to use new med, could only get a little bit out of the bottle.  Looked at box....expires 6/11.  I guess when it expires, it all goes at once!  Practically completely crushed the little bottle trying to squeeze out another drop or two. Too late to go back to eye doctor. Hot compress was useless.


**Eye a bit better, swelling down, no longer hot or sore, still red and itchy but not as much.  Decided to just wait and see how it went.  Couldn't go back to eye doctor because I had another appointment with my....

**  Primary care doctor!  No problems, just needed new prescriptions.  My doc writes scrips for a year, but then requires blood tests (I did that last week) and an exam.  No bad news!  Yay!  Labs came back great, weight lower than last time (135 lbs!!), heart good, no problem.  Suggested having a pulmonary (lung) function test because I am a....(shudder)....smoker!!  There are some meds that can help improve lung function to help counteract effects of smoking, sort of an early intervention kind of thing.  Had test, lung function perfect!  No restriction, no reduced function.  No need for intervention.  (I laughed all the way to my car!)


**Eye a little better, continuing with wait and see attitude!  I have a follow-up with eye doc on Tuesday, so if it's not gone by then, we can move on.

** Had a lovely 30% off coupon from Kohls (usually only get 15%).  Decided I couldn't pass that up.  Spent 2 1/2 HOURS at Kohls trying to find things I wanted!  Frustrating!  No great things I couldn't live without.  Darn!  Kept at it, I was not going to waste that discount!  I did finally find some things I liked or needed and ended up with 3 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, 2 bras, and a sweater, and saved nearly $80!  That's great, but except for the sweater, nothing that thrilled me very much.  Still $80 is $80, so I guess I'm not exactly complaining....much!


**Eye better!  Still a little red and itchy, but tons better than it has been!  Progress is being made!

**Big Guy is working today.  Ratchlet and family busy with the gazillion things they do on the weekends. Nobody to play with.

** Bored and very tired of "Too Much of Nothing"!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Bits and Pieces" (update)

Just a little bit of this and a few pieces of that to take care of some odds and ends....

**** I would like to assure everyone (just in case anybody cares), I am not all melancholy and wishing I could change my life, despite writing for the last two days about things that happened nearly 50 years ago!  I am approaching a rather large milestone in my life, and that is making me somewhat introspective and wondering where the years have gone. 

At the time when I was 16-17 my life took a significant jog to another path than the one I had been on and I resented it for a long time.  1963 was the worst year in my life, but it led me to the life I have lived for the vast majority of the years since.  Without 1963, it is extremely doubtful that I would ever have gotten many of the gifts that life has given me.  Without the events of 1963, I wouldn't have the Big Guy, or Ratchlet, or Maddie-the-Great.  I wouldn't have the confidence that I found that year, nor would I have ever had music become such a large part of my life.  I wouldn't give up any of those things, not for anything on this earth!! 

The first 17 years of my life were kind of rocky, with lots of ups and downs.  At the time I had a lot of things to be upset about; but now, looking back I know that I was blessed with challenges to help me grow and learn and become the person I was always supposed to be.  Sometimes I wonder about the "what ifs", I think everyone does from time to time.  I am honest enough to know that had things never changed for me in 1963, my life would have been quite different and most likely would not have been for the better.  It would be hard to top some of my life experiences and I truly would never want to try.  Like I said yesterday, life happens the way it is supposed to!

**** I don't know if you noticed, but my post on Monday was post #365!  That is a full year's worth of writings.  Some posts were a lot better than others.  My favorites were not necessarily the ones that got the most comments or the most hits.  Some of them happened pretty early into the game, but the ones that came out well were the incentive to keep writing on days when I had to work at it.  I never know what is going to touch the heart or funny bone of a reader, some I thought were terrific, didn't catch the attention of anyone....and vice verse!  Still, 365 posts is a lot of writing and I am happy that I stuck with it, even if nobody else cares much!  lol!  Those 365 posts took me about one month shy of two years of blogging; which means an average of writing every other day!!  That's a pretty good record, don't you think?

**** Today was the last day of school for Austin schools.  I always loved the last day of school!  Summer had arrived and we had weeks and weeks to enjoy being a kid.  I don't think the kids today are one bit different!  "School's out, school's out.  Teacher let the monkeys out!"  I hope all the little monkeys love every minute!!

**** There is a lot of building going on in and around Austin.  Mostly commercial things like offices and stores, but there is a bit of residential building too.  When the construction industry picks up that usually mean things are on an economic upswing.  That would be great.  There are way too many folks still struggling to find work and make ends meet.  This current economic climate is not following the usual patterns though (i.e., good financial picture but still not hiring), so who knows what the increased building means, if anything.  There are a lot of empty or nearly empty office buildings and stores and that doesn't bode too well for the success of the new buildings going up!  These things usually go in cycles, and most of us are really ready for some good news on the economic front.  Wouldn't it be great if it really was finally turning around?

**** I don't know about you, but I can generally get two years out of a pair of summer sandals, sometimes three if I don't wear them often.  Austin has a LOT of summer though, so I wear my sandals a lot.  This year I need to replace a pair of navy blue sandals.  I have been looking for two months (trying to get a jump on the season rather than waiting until July like I sometimes have in the past.)  Well, it appears not to matter.  Navy sandals are in short supply, in fact, nearly nonexistent.  I've hit the Internet and a ton of stores, but those all-powerful "they" have decided that navy is not a hot color this year.  Even the shoe store staffs agree that there just isn't much out this year in navy.  I have moaned about this before I think, but it just irritates me to no end.  One little pair of navy sandals that fits and doesn't cost the national debt really doesn't seem like too much to ask!  Truly!

****  I had a hard time deciding to let my hair color go "natural".  After decades of coloring my hair to cover up the grey that started appearing before I was 30 (!), about a year and a half ago I thought I'd give it a go.  To my great surprise I liked it!  There was a nice mix of grey, silver, and white and it actually looked kind of pretty.  I got a lot of compliments.  Well, it's probably my imagination, but since I got my last haircut (at the beginning of April), all of a sudden it seems to me to be coming in DARKER!  Is that even possible??  From the front I can't see very much white or silver, it mostly seems like a boring, nondescript, non-color....kind of brownish but  not really.  Am I going to have to go back to color???  What the heck is going on??  Has anybody every encountered that??

**** Austin has definitely moved into the summer temperature range.  Daytime temps in the mid-90s or higher.  Not unbearable, but definitely warm!  That makes me happy, but the Big Guy?   Not so much.  Soooo, it's back to the thermostat wars at my house.  Can't pack away my sweaters, I still need them at home!  Arrgghhh!

That's it for this time!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Achey, Breaky Heart"

I'd like to preface this by saying that I firmly believe that things happen for a reason and we all live the life we are meant to live.  Even if we don't understand how or why until years later, if ever!  But there are certain times in our lives when nothing seems good, nothing gets better, and we are completely unsure if we will ever survive.  We usually do survive and go on to bigger and better things but at those times you can't help but feel that all you have is your "Achey, Breaky Heart."   Fair warning, though, this is a very self-indulgent foray into the trauma of my youth and it will more than likely be a really long post.  I'm sorry, but it's a complicated story.

When you live in a small town and you are anywhere between 12 and 18, your entire life revolves around school.  Your activities are pretty much run by either the school or your church.  Your friends are part of your school life.   And everything important in your life revolves around those activities and those friends.  And during teen age years, there is nothing else that matters.

As I mentioned multiple times in past posts, my family moved a lot when I was growing up.  The longest time we ever stayed in one place was four years, from the time I was 13 until I was 17.  Each year we were there my confidence grew, my friendships increased, I became involved in lots of school activities and I loved it.  By the time I was a Junior, I was looking forward to finishing high school and going off to college, probably with some of the friends I had made.  I was making good grades, I was in several  activities. I fit in.  I was even a cheerleader! And I had a new boyfriend!! I was happy.  And then 1963 hit.

1963 was the worst year of my life.  In hindsight, there were good things about that year, but for me it was just one upheaval and misery after another.  In February (I think), my parents informed me that we were moving!  Dad had taken a new job in an even smaller town about 90 miles west of the town we were in. 

NO!  NO!  Not again!  I didn't want to move, I didn't want to leave my friends or my school or this town.  I finally felt like I was a part of things, they couldn't make me leave NOW!  I was going to be a SENIOR next year!!  I ranted and raved and begged and cried pitifully, but ultimately I was shot down by that impossible to fight, parental authority.  They were leaving and I was their daughter, so I was leaving too and that was all there was to that!  I was miserable, angry,  and broken-hearted, but when the time came, I went.

So yet again, for the gazillionth time in my life, I was the new kid.  Only this time it was worse, high school kids are not notoriously welcoming to new kids.  They watch, they ignore you, until bit by bit, you begin to find a friend or two. It was horrible and I hated having to go through it again.   For me, the saving grace was the choir in the new school.  It was a smaller choir than I had been in previously, but that led to fitting in sooner and ultimately, led to one of the most important events of my life (I wrote about it here:   http://mellodeemusings.blogspot.com/2010/07/thank-you-for-music-part-ii.html ), but that came later. 

I owe a lot to Miss Jones and that choir.  They helped me through a difficult transition and I began to fit in.  The school was going to present "The King and I" in the fall of the following year and Ms. Jones gave the role of Anna to me!   I was thrilled and we started to work on the music for that show.  Summer came and Miss Jones even had a summer music program that included an opportunity for me to be one of the featured soloists at the end of summer concert.   I sang a duet with a nice boy, who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, but still, it was a first for me. My mom and dad came to see that show and it was the first time my Dad had ever heard me sing in public. 

School started up shortly thereafter, and we began to work seriously on preparing for "The King and I".  I began to look forward to the rest of my Senior Year.  But 1963 wasn't done with me yet.

Two weeks into the school year, one afternoon I came home from school and my mother told me that my Dad had left.  Left!  As in left town, left her, left us!!  What???  I felt as if the house fell on me.  My heart which had begun to heal nicely was split right down the middle....just like my parents' marriage.  Oh. My. God.  What would we do now?? 

Mom had no car, no job, no income, no prospects, no money, no nothing!  She tried to find a job to support us but it was a very small town and no jobs were to be had.  I wanted to go back to the town we had left in February.  We had friends there and it was a bigger town and she might be able to find a job there.  But Mom didn't think that was a good idea.  She made up her mind that the only logical thing to do was to move back to Chicago.

Chicago??   We hadn't lived in Chicago since 1953!  We didn't know anyone there.  We didn't know the city.  Chicago was huge!  And cold! It wasn't safe, bad things happened in a big city like Chicago!!  And how could she get around in an even bigger city?  I didn't want to go to Chicago!  I was a small town, Florida girl, at the start of her last year in high school.  I would be miserable in Chicago! 

Well, of course, all my objections were just about me!  Mom did have friends and family there.  She grew up in Chicago and knew her way around.  There was a massive transit system with buses and trains to get around. There were many neighborhoods that were just as safe as anywhere else we had lived. There were good schools for Little Sis, and apartments to rent that we would be able to afford.  And she would have no trouble finding a job there. 

I was still pretty much in shock that Dad was gone, but I soon realized that Mom was right, it was the best thing for us to do.  Just being close to her family again would make life easier. Mom was doing her best.  She was taking care of us.  We wouldn't ever starve.  So I sort of shut up and tried to be a little more positive.  It was hard for me though, I was incredibly angry that I would have to go through all the problems of moving and being the new kid and not having any friends yet again!  Would this never end?

So there we were in Chicago at the start of October.  We stayed with my aunt until Mom found a job.  It didn't take that long, and then we found a small 3 room apartment we could afford.  My grandparents only lived about two blocks away and they took care of Little Sis (who was 5 and in kindergarten) after school. And the new kid went off to yet another new school.

My cousin, Pam, was in my class at the new school which helped a bit, at least I had someone to have lunch with!  But the school was enormous, there were more kids in my graduating class, than there had been in my whole high school back in Florida.  I was overwhelmed and I felt like a fish out of water.  I didn't even try very hard to fit in or make friends, I just wanted to finish the year and graduate.  I thought I would probably go back to Florida after I graduated.  At least that was my plan, even though it never happened.

But 1963 had one more knockout punch to deliver.  If I mention November 22, 1963, I imagine you will all know what that punch was.  That's right, as I came into my American History class that day, the teacher was sitting at her desk crying!  That was mind-blowing.  Teachers didn't cry!  After the bell rang, she looked up at us and said, "Please, just sit quietly at your desks.  We won't be having class today.  The President has been shot!"  And thus ended Camelot, and the innocence of youth, and the world was never the same.

Yes, 1963 was the worst year of my life.  Just one long "Achey, Breaky Heart" indeed!

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