Tag Archives: friends

Cha, cha, cha changes

Mirror quote

How many of you look in the mirror and think, boy, do I look great or what? Oh, I guess it would depend on when you look in the mirror. Frankly, in the mornings when I first get up and my hair is really going every which way and my eye bags are in full bloom, I look like a deranged chicken. But, once I’ve gotten the coffee ingested and the blood flowing I get a bit better. Then after a good face splash or two and make up on and  my hair more or less styled, I think, not bad, not bad at all. And once I get dressed and accessorized then check the view, it’s darn, I’m smoking hot. That feeling will last until I run into a mirror outside of my house (or any form of reflective glass). Suddenly, I’m faced with a stranger.  Who is that person wearing my clothes.

For a while on my Facebook page I had my Senior High School portrait (for you younger people, that would be a Senior Picture, we were much more formal then).  When I look at that girl, I think my, what a pretty girl she was. Look at that innocence; you can see her hopes and dreams just shining from her eyes.  When I look at pictures of my friends and classmates from that period, that is what I see in everyone.  We were beautiful children, every single one of us.  Oh, we laugh at our hairstyles and fashion choices of clothes, but that does not hide the beauty.

At that stage of our lives, we had not faced the losses and pain that would come in later years.  We girls had not borne children that gave us so much joy but wrecked havoc on our waistlines and tummies. Boys still had full heads of hair and only the beginnings of beards that would soon turn to comb-overs and fuzzy ears.  Our physical selves were at their peak or were soon to be.   Oh we whined about pimples, greasy foreheads and braces, but I think deep down in our barely formed psyches we knew we were all that and then some. School, ballgames, practice, date nights and all that goes with teenage years were embraced without a second thought.  We were young and we would always be young.

Young adulthood did not change us that much.  We got jobs, went to college, got married, had babies, joined the military, but did not grow older.  Pictures from those days still show young, beautiful people with their whole lives ahead of them.   We did have worries now other than grades and game scores, but the biggies were still ahead of us.  I look at pictures of me with Amanda and Luke as babies.  I was just a bit more than a little girl at that time, but I felt oh so adult.

In five short years, we had high school reunions.  Some of us were married and settled into what we thought would be our lives for ever.  Others had just graduated from college and were sure their future was a shining star just waiting to be reached, while still more of us were in the Adult World of Work and beginning to see what our parents had told us about real life.  But, still we were young and beautiful and could honestly tell each other, “You haven’t changed a bit!”

I’m not sure when time started to catch up with us.  That intriguing white streak that was so sexy in younger days became a full out epidemic converting our once lush  hair into a gray dull mess.  And that was if you were lucky enough to still have it.  Those healthy tans were no longer healthy looking.  That five pounds turned into five more and five more and well, you know the rest.   Those of you who have followed for a while remember our trip to Galveston.  Nort was telling one of our friends about it.  He said that one of the men said he was so disappointed when he first got there.  Instead of seeing a bunch of his 19 year old  buddies, there was a bunch of old fat men.

I think we have all at one time or another ran into some one we haven’t seen in years and wondered, boy does he/she look old.  What in the world happened?  I look so much younger!  Ooops.  If we could see into their minds, guess what they are thinking?  Yep, we really look old to others.

And then, just when we least expect it, guess what happens.  WE START GETTING YOUNGER AGAIN!  Yes, it’s true.  Think about it.  We are starting out on a new adventure!  So much to see, so much to do.  The Golden Years are called that for a reason.  Our children are grown.  They are adults now and while we will always love them and worry about them, the pressure is off.  If their behavior is not what we would like it to be, it is because of their choices. Job not great?  Who cares, going to retire soon anyway.  Never going to fit into your cheer leader outfit or your old Army uniform again?  Do you really want to anyway.   Should I care if purple eye shadow is not stylish, heck, I’ll wear it anyway.  Want to binge watch something on Netflix instead of mopping the floor.  Go ahead, your friends are doing the same thing.

One of the things I loved best when I turned 50 was realizing there was so much I didn’t have to do if I didn’t want.  I don’t have to answer the phone if I don’t feel like it, and I don’t need an excuse.  That is so liberating!  We can spoil our grandchildren (and who doesn’t) and not have to worry that we are going to make them horrible adults (that is their parent’s worry).  Laura and I were talking to our precious doggies (really, they are horrible doggies) in baby talk.  We never did that with our kids.  I commented on that.  Her response was “I don’t have to worry about Lucy having a speech problem because of how I talk to her.”  See, how much fun is that.

I have always loved to color, but there was frequently just too much that I HAD TO DO to be able to just sit down and color until my fingers cramped.  I even used to feel that I had to be doing something else while I watched television so that it was not time wasted.  Well, Laura got me a beautiful coloring book and guess what I do now.  Yep and I don’t make any apologies for it either.

Which, brings me back full circle.  Is there anything more beautiful than a face that has lived?  Our skin is softer and clearer than it ever was and wrinkles just show how much we have laughed over the years.  While our eyes may be behind bifocals, they sure do sparkle with remembered joys.  Bodies are now just perfect for cuddling little ones, be they human or furry and our laps are where children want to be.  We can embrace our salt and pepper or silver hair or we can go wild and crazy.  In fact, right now I am rocking a wonderful violet color that is just too much fun.  And don’t even pretend that a silver beard is not a thing of beauty.

Now when I see my family and friends I marvel at how beautiful they are now.  I don’t see years added, I see years lived.  There is not the self doubt and fear that seemed to develop into worry lines once we grew up enough to know there was so much we didn’t know and how scary the world can be.   Our lives have reached a point where they are OUR lives, not a life yet to be and that in itself is a beautiful thing.

This year I firmly resolve……

New Year

Hello 2016, good-bye 2015.  It is a New Year and time to start making all sorts of positive changes in our lives and get rid of all the negatives and bad habits.  This year (as in every year for way too long) I resolve to lose weight, get fit, control my spending, make a budget, be nicer and on and on and on.  Are you with me on this?  Why do we do this to our selves?  Yes, it is a new year, but what has really changed since December 31 other than the year number?  Did we become new people at the stroke of midnight?  Why is January 1st so magic and not March 1?

The arbiter of all knowledge, Wikipedia, says this about New Year Resolutions:   A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.  

I love that phrase “something slightly nice”.  I could probably stick with being slightly nice.  I do open doors for people and hold them open for those following me.  Wow, I’m ahead of the year already!

Our Wiki friends further tell us that this form of self abuse has been around for a long time, to wit:  Babylonians made promise to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.  In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season  each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.

I have never personally met a Babylonian, Roman or knight and understand that they are no longer around so I am not sure if they were any better at keeping their resolves back then than I am today.

Studies have shown that the most common reason for 35% of NYR (New Year Resolvers) failing is because of their unrealistic goals.  Also 33% of NYR  didn’t keep track and 23% forgot about it.  I don’t know about you, but I fit into each category.   I always resolve to do something that I know darn well I won’t, I never really write my resolutions down and then I can’t remember what they were to start with.  Really, I shouldn’t feel too bad since  I also found this nugget:  A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.

Now don’t you feel better?  Granted, I don’t know where in the world the University of Bristol is to start with and they may all be slackers anyway, but if the majority of 3,000 people don’t keep their resolutions, then I can’t consider myself a lone failure.  After all, there is comfort in numbers and who really wants to be out of the mainstream?  Don’t you find people who do keep all their resolutions  to be just a little bit sanctimonious?

There have been years that I have kept my resolutions for three or four months.  Want to know my secret?  Just morph your resolution into Lent.  Want to drop some weight?  Give up doughnuts.   Of course the year I gave up doughnuts for Lent was a lesson in what not to do.  My office was right next door to a small town mom & pop bakery and I had been in the habit of popping in a couple of days (5) a week for a doughnut or six.  They were just these little circles of heaven but they certainly had a way of making clothes too tight.  So, that is what I gave up.  However, I did not give up maple bars, bear claws, cinnamon twists etc.  Guess who did not fit into her Easter dress?  But still, I did sort of keep a resolution.

I think the best thing it is to not call them resolutions and try not to be too broad.  (Although I do have to be very broad regarding what I give up for Lent, since obviously I cheat.  Henceforth I give up all Fried and Baked Sugared Breakfast Pastry.)  Setting a goal is somehow a little more manageable.  Having specific end date helps too.  I don’t know about you, but I have trouble seeing more than a month or two ahead.  Doing something specific for a real length of time is just beyond me.  Oh, I start off well and can usually end up in pretty good shape, but it is the middle that does me in.  Take getting the house under control.  I joined a Declutter in 365 Days group and rocked it for about three months.  My cabinets were works of art, my drawers so very neat and my pantry actually organized.  Then I didn’t make my menus and master grocery list and the CDs never got organized and let’s not even talk about the coat closet.  But come November and the holidays are looming, I found the declutter calendar pages I had ignored and actually got November and December’s done (I’ll work on April – October this year, maybe).

One of the best resolutions I’ve heard is to make no more resolutions on January 1.  Frankly, November 22 makes more sense to me.  My birthday is November 21 and if I am going to make some big changes, it should be at the beginning of MY new year.   So in a way, that lets me off the hook (for 2015 anyway).  And even better, it gives me plenty of time to think, really think, about what I want to do or accomplish for my next year.   There are some things that at this age I should not even consider.  Really, I’m not going to EVER get back to what I looked like thirty years ago, either in weight or fitness and that’s just fine.  If I haven’t mastered the art of magazine pretty housekeeping by now, I’m not going to no matter what I resolve.  And I’m just too darn lazy to cook healthy, nutritious meals every night.  (After all, I am the mother that set three different kinds of cookies on the table along with a gallon of milk and called it dinner.)

But I do want to be more patient and helpful, I do want to make the world a better place even if it is just my own little corner, I do want to be healthy so I can have a long life with Nort, and I do want my family and friends know just how much I love them.  So maybe that is what I will resolve on November 22, 2016.  After all, I have eleven months to practice so I can get it right.

 

It’s fair season Part II

 State fair

After the county fairs, there are the regional fairs followed by state fairs.  I truly loved the Arkansas/Oklahoma fair which did run for a full week.  There were of course the exhibits I loved, a wonderful midway with games, rides and fair food and music.  Each night featured a different musical event.  One year a friend and I bought full pass tickets for every night.  It nearly killed us.  Not only did we work all day, but went to the full fair every night.  Each night we did a different exhibit hall, hit the midway for a different fair food experience, then headed to our third row seats for the music.  Country, rock, pop, gospel, it was all there.   By Saturday night, I was so tired of fairs!

That brings us to the STATE FAIR.  The smack daddy of Arkansas fairs is held in Little Rock, the state capital.  For a small town girl, this was the big time!  When I was a teenager, my best friend (who lived in another itty bitty town) and I would meet in Little Rock for a long weekend at the fair.  I would board a bus at Daddy’s drug store, she would hop on a bus in her town and family friends would pick us up and more or less keep an eye on us.  Their house was our home base even though all we did was sleep there.  In the morning we were dropped of at the gates when they opened and at night picked up there when they closed.  Now, you must remember this was a loooonnnnngggggg time ago.  A much simpler more trusting time.   I think that now our parents would be thrown under the jail for allowing two teenage girls to ride a bus that far alone, not to mention allowing us to spend an entire day alone, unchaperoned, unsupervised and among heaven knows what kind of weirdos.

In 1964 Elvis Presley had a movie, Roustabout, where he play a “carnie”.  This made carnies intriguing and romantic, or at least they were to a couple of teenage girls. I remember them all as young, well built and cute.  When I close my eyes I still see blue eyes in a tanned face, hair just long enough to be rebellious and killer smiles.  Not a toothless, creepy old man among them.  We batted our eyes, giggled and practiced our flirting skills.  Sure enough, we were almost always rewarded with a smile, wink and an extra long ride.  Now, we did have enough sense to not try this at any games, these guys were out for our money.  No, we left the games to the boys.  Where did we get boys?  The livestock barns of course.

Imagine all these small town, 4-H country boys in the big city for the fair.  There was only so much grooming and showing of livestock they could do in a day.  Usually there was a father or big brother along because they were small town, 4-H country boys in the big city.  While we did go to look at the beautiful cows and huge pigs, fluffy sheep and goofy goats, we also went to look at the cute boys.  And practice our flirting skills.  It was a rare trip through a barn that did not result in at least one father telling his flirting back son, “Here, take the girls for a ride or win them a teddy bear.”  Off we went and being young and healthy country boys, we usually got a stuffed animal or two.

One year, my friend (oh, let’s call her Jana) and I figured out that if we were so successful at the fair with just our natural beauty and wit, how much more so if we were foreign!  Bear in mind, this was in the 60s and the height of the British invasion.  We knew all the British slang and had perfected the ultimately cool Cockney accent.  Now I don’t really remember who thought up this great idea or whether it just happened, but for an entire day we were no longer from Mulberry or Aubrey, Arkansas, we were worldly British citizens.  Who knew, maybe we were actually friends with the Beatles or Dave Clark Five.  People stared with amazement at the two young women from London who had come to the fair; how brave they were to come all this way for the fair!  We got even more long rides, extra cotton candy, bigger corn dogs.  4-H boys fought for the privilege of escorting such rare birds (Cockney slag for girls you know) to the midway.  Well, that is how it appeared to us anyway.  Hind sight does tell me otherwise and I’m pretty sure my hillbilly accent diluted the Cockney.  But let me tell you, it was FUN and even today makes me laugh.

The State Fair also had the best sideshows.  We saw fire eaters, sword swollowers, elastic men, and bearded women.  Somehow we even got in to see Little Jessie Jane And Her Chest Full Of 44s (they didn’t check ages back then).  There was Pop-Eye who you guessed it, could pop his EYEBALLS OUT! So cool! But the very, very, very best was the gorilla girl.  Yes, a girl who was also a gorilla!  How could anyone resist?  One year we had a third fair goer, let’s call her Arbutus, just to protect me.  She was as eager to see the gorilla girl as we were.  For those of you who have never seen this amazing show, let me tell you how it went.

You went into a good sized tent which had a stage with a big iron cage.  In the cage was a beautiful young woman wearing a leopard bathing suit.  Her hair was wild and she looked deranged and dangerous.  Her handler (a man in safari garb) told us how he had found her in the deep dark jungle where she had been held captive by an insane witch doctor.  He could put her into a trance and she would turn into a gorilla RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES!  Yes!  We want to see that!  A few words of mumbo jumbo then the girl closed her eyes started murmuring,  Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla. And suddenly, SHE WAS A GORILLA!  She rattled the cage, it sprang open, she jumped into the crowd, and we ran!  Oh the excitement, oh the thrill.  Worth every penny.

End of the story?  Hardly.  Sooner or later, all good things must come to an end and it was back home and back to school.  Now Arbutus had a very good imagination and she had been really impressed with gorilla girl.  One day she was in a class which was very, very boring and since she sat at one of the back tables, she decided to see if she could turn into a gorilla.  I’m not sure if she did the mumbo jumbo (I never asked), but she did close her eyes and mummer, Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla.  Maybe she didn’t mummer as softly as she should have, because her teacher heard her and went back to see what was going on.  Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla. ” Arbutus!” he said, “Arbutus!”  No response. Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla,Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla.  “ARBUTUS!” he finally shouted, fear in his voice.  “Oh, my God!” screamed Arbutus, “I’ve turned into a gorilla!”

I don’t know if the other students ran screaming from the class room, but parents were called.

 

Make new friends, but keep the old…

Friendsquote

Lo many years ago, when I was a Girl Scout, one of the first scout songs we learned was Make New Friends, But Keep the Old.  We sang it with gusto (some of us with more gusto than tune) in a round.  I think it was Mother’s favorite.  As a kid, making new friends came easy and we took them for granted.  Friends came, friends went, some came back, others left.  I had Girl Scout camp friends that I only saw at summer, but during those camp days, we were best of buds.  I had friends that I met at other types of events like cheerleading and Rainbow Girls.  Growing up in a small town, school friends were also neighbor friends.  We had packs of boys and girls that morphed and changed as we grew older and developed new interest.

Mother taught us more than the song, she taught us how to value friendships.  She was an only child and while she a some cousins, it was her friends that were her siblings.  Until she died, she lunched regularly with her high school friends, The Nifty Fifty.  Her colleagues  at Arkansas Tech were cherished as friends and family, not just work buddies and her RV women friends were held as just as dear.   She instilled in Laura and me that we were not only sisters, but best friends.  And Laura is my most beloved sister and friend (remember that when I piss you off).

I met my very best and longest friend in grade school and even though she moved off, our friendship never wavered.  Jana and I would spend weeks at each other’s house in the summer and sometimes other times of the year.  Her parents were parents to me and mine to her.  She got pregnant and by golly, so did I.  My Goddaughter Shannon was my daughter’s first friend.  We had them together as soon as I could travel with Amanda.  They didn’t have a choice to be anything other than friends.  To this day they are still best friends and Lord willing, their kids will always be friends.  I cannot imagine my life without Jana and her family.

Over time I have had so many friends.  That is not bragging, it is actually uttered in some bit of amazement.  How did I get to be so lucky?  Some friends are as close as family for a season, some as close as family now.  All my best stories and times involve friends as well as family.  Friends in some ways form us as much and sometimes even more than family.  I’ve often read that friends are the families we give ourselves.  My friends have made me so much (for better or worse) who I am today.  Now, Nort, Luke and I are in Mississippi far from our families still in Arkansas.  But you know what, we have found dear friends here and created a Mississippi family.   We share birthdays, holidays, victories and failures with them.  What would we do without them.

Thanks to the internet and social media, High School friends remain close to me and I love that I get to follow their adventures even though we are miles apart.  And there is such a trill when someone from the past, that your conscience mind has forgotten pops up with a friend request.  Wow!  I remember you!  I know that there is the perception that Facebook friends are not “real” friends, but I disagree.  While it may not have the physical touch of sitting in one another’s house neither does the telephone or a letter.  These school, sorority, former co-workers and former neighbors are my friends and I cherish each and every one.

And now, I get to make new friends.  The internet brings people from all over the world together.  Need someone to explain a fine point on a wooden boat  you’re building (like my husband), there is a guy in Norway to help out.  Need support for some rare disease that is threatening your child, you have support any time of the day or night.  And no matter what anyone tells you, these people are your friends.  Now, I would be remiss if I did not point out that not everyone is who they appear to be on line.  But we are adults here and have learned a thing or two by having been around the block at least once.  Just as we do in “real life” with potential friends, we should do in “internet life”.   Don’t get into a car with a just met “friend” for a road trip (especially if it means traveling a dark, lonely road) and don’t send money to a web friend (especially if they are a deposed member of royalty).

I have found some bloggers that although I don’t actually know them yet, I am planning on them becoming my friends.  I am awarding them the Liebster Award because  I think these are really great people.  Or at least their blogs make me think that.  These are people that made me want to come back and read more and even more important, thought that you, my very discerning followers, would want to read.  Tanya of Tanyas101 thought this of me (see my response here).

Jennica.   I dare you to read this post and not laugh out loud.  How can I not love this woman and want to be her friend.  She has such a great out look on life.  And, she lives on a horse ranch!  I want her to invite me for a visit.  Jennicaspeaks.

Amanda.  I have a very soft spot for anyone named Amanda.  While this Amanda is way young, she has such a delightful out look and I see such potential for a wonderful mature adult (cough, age of grayer).  Her take on ballet exercise programs is pretty darn funny.  Whoaskedheranyway.

Lora.  What a great outlook she has and I want to be friends with anyone who likes to travel.  And share pictures. And cook.  And have fun.  Maybe if I ask real nice, she will hop in her RV and come to Mississippi.  Shotsfromtheroad.

Mary Grace.  I really didn’t want to like her because I am so jealous.  She has a boat.  She gets to go places on that boat.  Her pictures make me want to run away.  Oh, wait.  If we are friends, maybe she will let me go somewhere on her boat.  Okay.  I like her.  Helialetitbe.

Andrea Marlene.  I really, really want to go to Canada so I need to make a friend there.  And, I just loved her post on Facebook fights.  She is so right on.  It is good to see a sane voice on the World Wide Interweb.  Also the name of her blog is just great.  Bumblebirdblog.

As a winner of the award, there are certain responsibilities; answer eleven questions, give eleven facts about you and award your own Liebster Award to five fellow bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  (Google it for better explanations) So, here are my questions for them.  I am so looking forward to reading what they have to say in response to the questions and their eleven things about themselves.  And I bet you will too.

1. What do think is your greatest strength?

2. What are the  things your spouse/partner/significant other says about you?

3. Where do you go to find comfort?

4. What is your favorite thing to wear?

5. What are the first three things you would do if you won a million dollars (or the equivalent )?

6. Who is/are your hero(s)?

7. Book then movie or movie then book?

8. Why do you blog?

9. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?

10. What was the best piece of advice you have been given.

11. What are the top three things you like to do?

Okay now.  Let all give each other a great big group hug and be friends!

Even better than an Emmy or Oscar!

Liebster-Award-Button-Image

Wow.  This is not going to be the post I was planning on doing (don’t worry, I’ll get back to normal) since I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Tanya De Kruijff of Tanya’s 101 (click on her name to check her out).  So, you are wondering just what in the world is a Liebster Award.  I belong to an amazing group of bloggers and had seen where people had received this award.  Then Tanya said she was going to nominate bloggers who had less than 200 followers and that was me!  She checked my blog out and found me worthy.  (While I treasure each and every one of you, family and friend alike, there are not 200 of you following me.) Thank you so much for the kind words Tanya.  It means so much to me. The Liebster Award is an award given by a fellow blogger for an up and coming blogger.  As Tanya says, “It is basically a pat on the back.”  She gave us nominees eleven questions to answer and then we are to add eleven random facts about ourselves.  Then, I’ll nominate other bloggers.  It is a nice way to promote blogs that might otherwise not be seen by people who really would enjoy them.  So, here are my answers and facts.  I’ve tried to not sound too lofty but some of her questions are really deep!

1.  What do you want to achieve by blogging?

Hmmmm.  We Baby Boomers are the largest generation and are reaching this advanced age of gray (see how clever I was) in unheard of numbers.  I find us fascinating.  We have seen so many unbelievable things in our lives and we are still seeing more.  I want to share some of those memories and create more.  I want us to remember just who we are, how we got here and what we have done.  I want to grow older without being old.

2.  Which blogging achievement are you proud of most?

Why, being nominated for the Liebster Award of course!  Actually, getting the wonderful, heartfelt comments of my family and friends.  I love that my Aunt Bobbie is pleased with my my tales of my father and that my sister is not insulted when I write about her.  I love that my daughter and husband have passed my blog along to their friends.  It is so exciting that people find my ramblings worthy of their time.

3.  What does your perfect day look like?

Thanksgiving Day.  I love Thanksgiving and always have.  It was a High Holiday in my family.  I so miss the big day of my youth (especially the year of the sock hanging and missing the parades because we were polishing silver) and get all misty and weepy at least once during the day.  But I love the ones we have now, with friends and family.  I use real china (mine and my mother’s), real silver (mine and my husband’s) and if I do say so myself, set a beautiful table.  Add food and wine and you have a perfect day.

4.  How do you describe home?

Oh Tanya, what a question.  Comfortable and full of love and laughter.  Sounds trite, but that is home to me.  I was raised in just such a home  and strove to provide that for my children.  I love my house, it fits us. It is not big nor fancy and always need straightening.  Just about all of our furniture has history, from my parent’s first piece of furniture (original butterfly chairs from 1951) and his parent’s chrome dinette (same era) to my great-grandmothers dining set.  Most of all, I get to share it with my husband and son and our pets.

5.  If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Flight.  I love to travel and flight would make it so much easier.  I do love road trips, but some places I want to go are either through country I’ve seen so much I’d rather just get to my destination or too far away for road trips.  I want to see Europe, more of Mexico, South America, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and I just can’t figure out how to drive there.

6.  Write down the lyrics of a song which describes you today.

Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies.  (No, I did not first hear it in 1926, I’m not that old)

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Bluebirds
Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds
All day long

This has been just about my favorite song of all time for more years than I can count.  It has also always been basically my outlook on life, and on days I only see gray clouds, this song pops into my head.  It is the one ear worm that doesn’t drive me insane.  (Yep, singing it now).

7.  What’s your favorite book of all times? Why?

Although I have so many “favorite” books from different stages of my life, I think that would have to be the Secret Life of Bees.  It is one that I have passed around, given away and repeatedly read.  Each time I read it, I find something new.  I love the hope and optimism of the characters.  The language is just so beautiful.  Now, as soon as I finish what I’m currently reading, I must read it again.  Thanks!

8.  If you could make the travel of your dreams, where would you go?

No question.  Egypt.  It has fascinated me for so many years, ever since I was a little girl.   I was totally enraptured with the Ramesses the Great exhibit I got to see in Memphis, Tennessee (the Memphis in Memphis exhibit) and some day by golly, I’m going to make it.  If I ever win the lottery (highly unlikely since I virtually never play it) that is the first place we will go.

9.  Name five goals you want to have achieved one year from now.

(1) Be a better wife.  I’ve too frequently made my poor dear husband feel like I don’t appreciate him. (2) Do a better job of keeping up and staying in contact with people I love.  I’m just too lackadaisical and rely on good intentions instead of action. (3) Be more patient with my children.  Even though they are grown, I’m pretty prone to feel like I have to put my two cents in. (I see a blog on that, hmmmm). (4)Take better care of my spiritual life.  Such an important part of life somehow seems to end up getting shoved aside. (5) Improve my blog and reach out more.  I want it to be a fun place to visit.

10.  What is your most important life lesson so far?

When I was in High School a couple of hundred years ago, a friend and I found a poem somewhere that had a line that just resonated with me and made me feel so sophisticated.  Funny thing though, it has stayed in my mind all these years and I find myself thinking it often, especially when I’m feeling really weighed down.  It comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s A Psalm of Life. It goes, “Life is real! Life is earnest! and the grave is not it’s goal”.  That’s it, life is life and meant to be lived.  Heavy, huh?

11.  Which dream are you planning on achieving?

To live a long (but not too much past 100) and useful life.  To have people remember me with fondness and leave a positive legacy.

Now, here are my eleven facts about me, in no particular order, just as they popped into my head.  Some are not surprises to those who know me and those who don’t will find some of them just too weird, but here goes.

1.  I have a very deep and abiding faith in God, his love and grace.

2.  There is a certain color of blue that scares me.  Totally gives me the creeps and I just can’t stand to be around it.

3.  I come from a long line of deep sleepers and can go to sleep at the drop of a hat and sleep through anything.  I slept through a big fire in my apartment complex.  Never knew until the next day when I could not get past all the fire trucks to get to work.  Sort of scary.

4.  I can literally list on one hand the things I will not eat.  I have a great relationship with food.

5.  I am probably the world’s worst singer but sing with gusto at every chance I get.  (Just ask the people in front of me at church).

6.  A friend’s husband called me either the most naive person in the world or the stupidest.  I prefer to see the best side of things.

7.  I love very, very deeply and am very loyal to my family and friends.

8.  I love to laugh and am basically a very happy person.

9.  I am nurturing and supportive.

10.  I am in reality a slug and have to force myself to be active.  Give me a good book and a place to sit and I’ll not move for hours. (Fell out of a tree one time reading and forgetting where I was).

11.  My very favorite creature is a frog.  They just make me laugh.

So, there you have it.  I am going to nominate five bloggers and ask them some questions so do come back for the very exciting nominations.  I encourage you to check out their blogs since I’ve found something in them that speaks to me and I of course have excellent taste.

How to return to your twenties.

My husband graduated from Louisiana Tech in 1976.  He and his fraternity brothers and other college friends were in their early twenties in the 70’s.  There is a group that have remained friends and in contact over the past decades.  If one does the math, it is pretty quick to see that if they have not turned 60 by now, they are going to soon.  A couple of the guys decided that such a mile-stone must be celebrated, and celebrated BIG.  After all, with all they did then and have done since, it is a miracle that any of them have reached the Age of Gray.  So, thanks to the modern marvels we have embraced,  emails flew,  Facebook pages boomed and calls circulated.  Before you knew it there was a plan.  And oh what a plan it was.  Tom (and his lady Laura) offered his lovely Galveston lake house for a gathering place.  Another took on the task of moderating available dates.  One plotted and planned what to eat.  Still another knew there needed to be music.  Now, none of these guys are slackers when it comes to pulling something like this together, they have had years of practice (ask about Brian and Lane’s other birthday parties).  Finally, the weekend came, June 4 thru June 7.  I have not seen Norton so excited in years.  He was online e-chatting, texting and old school phoning. Days off work had been cleared since the first mention of the Bacchanalia on the Bayou.  Attire had been planned and replanned with appropriate hats selected.  Finally, the big day was here.  Our luggage looked like we were headed for the grand European tour.  The camera was fully charged and loaded with two cables for recharging as necessary.  Routes and alternate routes (lots of rain in Texas remember) had been selected and the GPS hooked up just in case.  The car was cleaned out and healthy as an aging car can get.  I grabbed some knitting (since I am a grandmother and it is illegal not to have knitting on a road trip), gave last minute instructions to Luke and the dogs and we were off.  Texas, here we come.

The trip was perfect.  The weather and traffic cooperated like it knew how important this journey was.  We talked all the way down as Norton tried to explain the “family tree” and it’s many branches.  Who was a fraternity brother, who was a roommate, who was a dorm buddy.  Who had moved where and who was married.  There were going to be people he hadn’t seen in too many years.  There were going to be people I’d never met, but felt like I knew due to all the stories I’ve heard (many ended with… and then we took Jerry to the hospital).  As we headed to the Bolivar/Galveston ferry, there were signs to expect a 45 minute wait.  I was not sure Norton would be able to wait that long, but again, fate smiled on us.  We pulled up, got in line and promptly boarded.  [Now this is where I got excited.  My sister and I loved going to Galveston and I think the high point was always the ferry ride.  Getting on the ferry, I was as giggly as Norton had been for weeks.]  Then we were there.  We got out of the car and were nearly to the door when we heard voices from the back.  I wish I could describe the joy I saw on my husband’s face when he said, “I hear them.”

At first there were gentlemanly hugs and handshakes.  There was a chorus of Man You Look Great; a quick refrain of What Happened to Your Hair; and a snappy riff of I’ve Put on Weight Since I Saw You Last.  Drinks were poured and gumbo dished out.  Everyone talked at once telling where they lived and what they were doing now.  Then another couple arrived and it began again.  Pictures of children and grandchildren were exchanged.  Wives were introduced and greeted like old friends.  Plans were almost made and then shelved until everyone arrived, with the exception of a fishing expedition the next morning.  Finally, sometime around 1:00 everyone ran out of steam and those of us staying “on campus” headed to bed.  [As an aside, we had the cutest bunk room provided by a neighbor.  This room was done up in beautiful beachy colors and sported three sets of BUNK BEDS.  There is a reason that plump sixty(plus) old women do not as a routine sleep in the top bunk.  Middle of the night potty breaks are dangerous.  Just sayin.]

By the time I made my way to the coffee the next morning, more friends had arrived and the whole song and dance had begun again.  There were homemade biscuits, jalapeno deer sausage, maple deer sausage and much more for breakfast.  Tom and Lane manned the outdoor kitchen and grill like professionals.  Then it was time for some real talking and story telling.  Every  “Do you remember when we…..” was met with an equal tale, which brought on another story which begat an even wilder one. And even more people arrived. Same song, second verse.  There were boat rides, Seado rides and kayaking in the marsh.   All that whetted appetites so red beans and rice made an appearance.   And more drinks and more food.  Again, Tom, Lane with Jerry acted as chefs.   Fajitas on the grill and crawfish.  The Kahlua and pound cakes did not last long.  There were freshly made tamales, red fish and some blue crab.  At some point there was even pizza . People got in the pool and others got out.  Drinks were poured and annuals passed around and someone even brought an old photo album.  (How some of those pictures were developed back then and not  confiscated is a mystery to all of us)  Somehow, it was 1:00 again and still the only plan made was another surf fishing trip to the beach.

On Saturday evening, we did make it out of the compound for cocktails and appetizers and headed to a great place on the lake.  Some left by boat and some of us by vehicle.  Waterman’s is a very cool place with a loyal following.  Consider me a convert.  Downstairs is the screened/open bar area that is super casual (good for us slugs).  There was a country/Texas band that rocked and a few of our members did “cut a rug”.  Rumor had it that the sunset was spectacular from the upper deck.  Not to miss a great sunset, some of us headed up for the viewing just as the appetizers made their appearance.  Even though I really needed to eat some more, I went up for the view.  It was all it was billed to be, beautiful.  (Don’t worry, we did make it down for wonderful snackys).  For a couple of hours we drifted in various groupings up and down the stairs.  Upstairs we could look off the upper deck and watch the fish in the underwater lights and take in the view.  Downstairs was the band and an equally great view.  No matter where one was, there were even more stories to tell.

People gathered in Galveston from Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Virginia and other parts of Texas.  Charlie brought his girl friend from Germany.  How brave was that!  She had only been in this country about a week and her English was spotty.  Jerry’s wife, Cheryl had some friends from Alabama join us so new friends were made. At best count, at least thirty people congregated at the Cabin on the Bayou (we have t-shirts to prove it).  Greg traveled the farthest from Connecticut and Gary and Debra made it even though Debra was still recovering from surgery. The first of the group started at LA Tech in 1973 and by 1978 most of the group had graduated.   Many different fields were represented in our bunch, from lawyer to engineer to forestry to nursing.   While I refer mostly to the male friends, Wanda proved the exception to the rule.  She was in the thick of it from the beginning and remains so now.  Since she and Reid are core members of the gang, it is a beautiful thing to see them together as an old married couple (with grands!) sharing stories of their youth.

Guitars, drums, microphones and amplifiers also appeared.  Brian, Lane, Ed and Reid still rock. They sang original songs and Led Zepplin.  There were heart felt ballads and raucous guitar solos.  And oh the free form jams!  (I played my painted frog and sang along with gusto). Old men became boys as they  sang and played like they had nearly forty years ago.

When we arrived, there was a group of older, gray haired men and women sitting around reconnecting after too many years.  But with each story told, each song sang and every laugh shared, I watched years fall away, until there was only a group of kids laughing, teasing and loving each other.

Good Times, Good Friends
Good Times, Good Friends
Sundown On The Lake
Sundown On The Lake
Crawfish!
Crawfish!
Jam Session
Jam Session