Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Back from Berea

Hello, dear blogfriends. I'm finally back in the blogosphere after a wonderful weekend out of town with husband, daughter, and granddaughters celebrating Abandoned in Pasadena's big birthday. We had a great weekend and we enjoyed visiting with everyone. There were presents, songs by two little angels, many enjoyable meals out with family, and a very entertaining mariachi band. The highlight was the birthday girl having a sombrero plunked on her head while being serenaded by four singing mariachis. A fun time was had by all.

After the birthday party, some went to get their hair cut, some went to play with computers, and Sandy and I visited all the Old Town craft shops. Even though it was her birthday, guess who received a present?

This little beauty was a custom stained glass panel created by a lady in Winchester, Kentucky. We were informed that this was the last piece she created and she is now no longer working with stained glass. That makes this piece entitled Ocean's Breeze more valuable. I think it is very beautiful and I will cherish it forever.

Thank you, Sandy, for the lovely present. We had such a wonderful time visiting you and it was a joy sharing your birthday.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Countdown to happiness

Preview of coming attractions in May 2007

It's too early to tell if it's a boy or a girl, but grandma's happy. I guess I will have to move to a bigger house to accomodate alipurr's expanding family.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Getting nostalgic

Husband and I went out to eat lunch on Monday at one of our favorite restaurants where we played tourist for a while. We felt just fine eating amongst all those out-of-towners who came to eat at this famous tourist stop, and we enjoyed listening to their conversations as they oooh'd and aaah'd over the food. We had been there many times so we knew what to expect. The best time of year to eat there is at Christmas because of all their elaborate decorations, and reservations are required because they are booked months in advance.

Following lunch, we spent some time in the gift shop. They have an ecclectic variety of goods and we had a fun time picking out some things for someone special. Along the way, I found a booklet entitled 1942 Remember When . . . A Nostalgic Look Back in Time. This was the year I was born, in a different time and dimension.

To give you younger folks a little background, the world was just recovering from a decade-long economic depression never before experienced. Europe was being overrun by the Nazis and the United States had only become involved in the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. By the time I was born in April 1942, the world was a changed place, teetering between prosperity for those lucky few and hardship and sacrifice for the rest of us.

In 1942, things cost a lot less than they do today. For example:
  • New house, $3,775.00 (compared to about $225,000.00 today)
  • Average Income, $1,885.00 per year (compared to about $50,000.00 today)
  • New Car, $920.00 (compared to about $30,000.00 today)
  • Average Rent, $35.00 per month (compared to about $1,000.00 today)
  • Tuition to Harvard University, $420.00 per year (compared to about $60,000.00 per year today)
  • Movie Ticket, $.30 each (compared to about $10.00 today, or $5.25 for the early bird special)
  • Gasoline, $.15 per gallon (compared to about $3.00 per gallon today)
  • United States Postage Stamp, $.03 each (compared to $.39 today)
  • Granulated sugar, $.59 for 10 pounds
  • Vitamin D Milk, $.60 per gallon
  • Ground Coffee, $.45 per pound
  • Bacon, $.45 per pound
  • Eggs, $.20 per dozen
  • Fresh Ground Hamburger, $.30 per pound
  • Fresh Baked Bread, $.09 per loaf
We experienced shortages and rationing of goods. My parents had a corner grocery store so we were never hungry. I can remember, however, long lines outside their store as people waited in line to get items that had just arrived. Lucky Strike cigarettes were $.14 per pack and there were always rumors of neighbors hoarding food and other goods when hoarding was discouraged.

Some of the other events and changes that occurred that year were:
  • January: Henry Ford patented a method of constructing plastic auto bodies
  • February: The "Archie" comic book debuted
  • March: General MacArthur vowed, "I shall return"
  • April: A nightly "dim-out" began along the East Coast
  • May: New York City ended nighttime baseball games for the remainder of WWII
  • June: Capitol Records opened for business
  • July: The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps began first basic training at Fort Des Moines (Iowa)
  • August: U.S. bombers staged the first independent raid on Europe, attacking Rouen, France
  • September: "Rosie the Riveter" became a national symbol for women entering the workforce
  • October: The National Boxing Association froze titles of those serving in armed services
  • November: The U.S. began the rationing of coffee
  • December: George M. Cohan, Broadway's "man of genius," died in New York at the age of 66
Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and Henry Wallace was vice president. Life expectancy was 62.9 years, and auto makers stopped producing cars to turn production to war materials. The next new car in the U.S. wasn't made until 1945. Gas rationing went into effect and the draft age was lowered to 18 years of age. The most notable event was this was the year the Manhattan Project began. It only took three years to develop the means to nuke the enemy to kingdom come thus ending World War II.

Remembering all this has made me nostalgic for family and friends who are no longer with us. I remember a place out of time that only lives in my memory. I remember the things we did, the people we knew, the clothes we wore, the places we went to, the music, the movies, the books, the sights, the sounds, and the events. We were a different people then with different values.

Would I go back to 1942 if I had a Way Back Machine? No, I don't think so, because you wouldn't be there.

There are places I remember all my life, Though some have changed
Some forever, not for better, Some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments,
Of lovers and friends I still can recall

Some are dead and some are living, In my life I loved them all.

-- The Beatles

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Being a woman

Hello, dear blogpals. I have been thinking about you all a lot this past week. I have had a mild summer cold and have refrained from blogging during this time because my head felt like a stuffed melon. I am feeling much better today, thank you very much.

During this past week I have read all your blogs and have commented on several of them. I noticed this morning, however, an interesting, recurring theme pertaining to our sex. (No, I'm not referring to S.E.X, but to our gender. I might get to talking about S.E.X a little bit later, though, so stay tuned.)

What I'm referring to is what makes us unique as females. As I was cleaning my kitchen this Sunday afternoon (while husband sat in his La-Z-Boy watching NASCAR), I thought about the differences between the sexes. I also thought about two comments I read on two blogs. One had a picture of a homily that read "housework is evil". The other was a comment on a favorite blog about how it's the woman's responsibility to pass along a family's history. You can see where my mind is headed. The more I thought about the differences between the sexes, the more annoyed I got. I decided that the only way I could get rid of my hostility was to blog about it to the women I know, and that means YOU. So, let's discuss what makes us unique.
  1. We make ourselves attractive for one purpose -- to get a mate and propogate.
  2. Once we get that mate, we do everything in our power to keep that mate.
  3. While we have that mate, most of us have kids (we also get to menstruate for most of our lives and bear the children in pain because of Eve and her temptress ways).
  4. It now becomes our primary responsibility to take care of the kids, including educating them, cleaning up after them, and all the disgusting bodily fluids that come out of them, and doing their laundry.
  5. Speaking of laundry, it is our primary responsibility to know how the washer, dryer, dishwasher, mop and bucket, refrigerator, and vacuum cleaner work, and how to take care of them.
  6. For most of us, it is our responsibility to know how to manage our finances, balance the checkbook, pay the bills, make the deals, be the purchasing agent, be the human resources liaison, be the pacifier/peacekeeper, and be the good neighbor.
  7. For most of us, it is our responsibility to shop.
  8. For most of us, it is our responsibility to be the nurturer.
  9. If anyone in our family becomes ill or disabled, it is our responsibility, because of our gender, to be the caregiver, again cleaning up all those disgusting bodily fluids.
  10. It is our main responsibility to ensure that our houses are clean, the clothes are clean, the refrigerator filled, the meals cooked, the floors swept, vacuumed, and mopped, all the while dressing nicely with sexy clothes on.
  11. It is our function as a female not to complain about our lot and to be charming and witty.
  12. We bear our children and we raise them, through thick and thin, until they can survive on their own.
  13. We are the archivists for our family -- taking, retaining, and catalogueing the family's history through pictures, videos, scrapbooks, and mementos -- and it's our responsibility to ensure that future generations are made aware of who those people are in all those photo albums (or in piles like at my house).
  14. We are the cheerleaders for our husbands and children.
  15. We are the supporters for those people outside our immediate family members who need financial aid and moral encouragement.
  16. We are the party planners and the ones who ensure those attending the parties are having a great time (we are also the ones who get to shop for and clean up after the party).
  17. We are the gardeners and florists.
  18. And, finally, we are the sex goddesses for our mates whom we wish to keep at all costs.
Item number 18 is probably the most important item because without this attribute we wouldn't be endowed with items 1 through 17.

All the while we females are accomplishing these tasks, we sometimes forget who we really are and what aspirations we may have had growing up. Some of us worked during our adulthood, in addition to being a wife and mother, and some of us have been stay-at-home wives and mothers. One thing is clear, however, and that is we have all had full plates over the years.

There used to be an old television program, back in the day, called Queen For A Day. Some lucky lady would be selected as queen after the studio audience voted for her because of her sad story. She would be awarded something she wished for, like a new washing machine so she could wash more clothes more efficiently, and they would plop a crown on her head, place a bunch of red roses in her arms, and wrap a cape over her shoulders. All the while she would be crying like she was crowned Miss America. It was truly sad.

Women of the world, we should be crowned Queen For Life because of everything we do. Would we change anything in our lives? Some may say yes, and others would say they have the perfect life.

One thing is abundantly clear -- without us, life as we know it would not continue. Men would be lost without us. They would be wearing one brown and one black sock or no underwear because nobody washed any. There wouldn't be any food in the house and they wouldn't have any television because the satellite or cable bill had not been paid. Men would have to find someone else to listen to their stories and there would be no one to bicker with. In addition, making disgusting bodily sounds wouldn't be funny anymore because the wife wouldn't be there to listen to them.

So, women out there in the blogosphere, if this is your lot in life, be assured that you are not alone. That's why we blog, so we can commiserate with others who have to clean up disgusting bodily fluids and listen to bodily sounds when we would rather be getting a massage at a day spa from some sexy hunk like Fabio.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sitting pretty

I walked into the kitchen very early this morning and this is what I saw.

I was afraid to startle darling little Tiger Lily, that bad little kitty, so she wouldn't jump down and knock my antique bowl over onto the tile floor. My sister, mrsgreenthumb, sent me that beautiful bowl several years ago for my birthday and it is one of my prized and favorite antique glass pieces. I have collected several other amberina pieces (there are more behind little kitty).

Can you see my Kitchen Witch whispering to Tiger Lily not to break my bowl?

I got her out of the bowl without breaking it (after I managed to get a couple of shots of her looking so innocent). I proceeded to place a cup with pointy things in it in the bowl to discourage her from returning to it.

My friend Rosa down in Tennessee posted several photos of her kitties sitting in unusual places on Sunday. You should check it out.

How can you be mad at something so cute?

Monday, September 11, 2006

An auspicious anniversary

Today not only marks the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but this is also the one-year anniversary of my first post. Last September 11th a nom de plum was born and she is Motherkitty. This also marks my 139th post.

When I first started this blog, at the insistence and urging of my husband and daughter, I had my doubts. Who in the world would be interested in what I had to say? And, what on earth would I talk about?

Well, I have learned some valuable lessons this past year. I learned that my writing ability has improved over the past year. I learned that people were actually interested in what I had to say. I learned not to be so critical of others. I learned to love not only myself, but also those I'm in contact with. I've made some remarkable friends. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE so I won't embarrass anyone by inscribing any names here. (Just look on my sidebar and you will see what I'm talking about. Which reminds me. There are names that need to be added but I've been busy with tributes and things. It's on my to-do list.)

I've learned how to do things on the computer that I didn't know before. I also learned that there are so many lovely, interesting, intelligent, nice, gentle, loving, caring, and wonderful people out there who have so many varied views of this world. I correspond with lovely people all over the world. I can see how they live their lives and they can see how I live mine. I have met their families and they have met mine. We've shared recipes and we've even shared some joys and sorrows.

What I've learned most from blogging is that I need you all so very much. You are important to me. So, I want to thank you all for a most interesting and enjoyable year of my life. I have been changed by you and I will never be the same. Blog friends may come and go, but this experience will remain with me forever.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My tribute to Cynthia Wilson, WTC Hero

September 11, 2006

Monday marks the fifth anniversary of a day that will live in infamy in our country, the horrendous attack on the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City. This attack has become known by the shorthand use of 9/11. If you say 9/11 today, everybody knows what you are talking about.

In honor of this solemn occasion, I have chosen to participate in a special project called the “2,996 Tribute Project” which is a dedication to those 2,996 souls, of blessed memory, who needlessly lost their lives in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11 by terrorists from the other side of the world. Their weapons of choice were not bombs, but huge flying projectiles filled with delicate human beings and thousands of gallons of jet fuel.

A total of 2,995 other bloggers from around the world have chosen to participate and are submitting their tributes to one of the 9/11 victims on their blogsites. I am proud to say that I am one of the 2,996. When I signed on to participate in this project, I was assigned to write an honor tribute about one of those lost souls, a person I had never met and for whom I had never heard her name mentioned. I proceeded to find out what I could about this total stranger so I could write a simple tribute to her. Here’s what I learned.

Her name is Cynthia Motus-Wilson. She was born on October 18, 1948, in Iloilo, Phillipines, the oldest of seven children. Cynthia emigrated to this country with her family in 1986 in search of a better life. She was married to Bill Wilson and they later had a daughter. At the time of her confirmed death, Cynthia was 52 years old and working as the head receptionist for the International Office Centers whose offices were located on the 79th floor of the WTC Building One. This is the first building struck by the airplane at the 85th floor level.

After the plane hit, Cynthia did four things. She determined that she would be unable to get out of her offices because of a collapsed wall that blocked her exit. She called her husband to tell him that she was trying to get out of the building. He told her to cover her face with a wet cloth and that he loved her. She called and left a frantic, tearful message on her daughter's answering machine. Finally, she called her uncle who was watching CNN as the attack was taking place. During this call, Cynthia said, "Please pray for me. We need your prayer." The line went dead and Cynthia's uncle screamed as the tower disintigrated into a cloud of thick grey dust and debris.

Cynthia's body was never found. The final remnant of her life is a cherished answering machine tape of Cynthia's frantic message to her daughter. The family was able to obtain a vial of dirt from the building site. This vial was placed in an urn which was subsequently buried on October 5, 2001, at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery at Valhalla, NY. The following inscription was placed on her tombstone, "Don't grieve for me, but remember me with laughter." Cynthia would have been 58 years old this October 18th if she had lived.

I would like to think that when the two towers collapsed, and the dust billowed out into the atmosphere, the bodily remains of these 2,996 souls were absorbed and ingested by everyone on Earth so that they are still part of every living thing. Cynthia lives on because we say she lives on, not only in our hearts and minds, but because she is part of us all.

We will remember Cynthia Wilson from now on, not with sorrow, but with laughter. She was able to come to this country in search of a better life, just like my grandparents did, and she was able to find her happiness and the American Dream. Her dream will live on in her family and they, too, will remember her with laughter.

Other tributes may be read here.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Can you feel the love?

As I sat at my keyboard early this Sunday morning, I felt as if someone or something was watching me. This is what I found sitting on the edge of the computer table as I typed.

This is my good friend, Alleycat. She likes to walk back and forth across the keyboard or sit in front of the screen as I try to read blogs or type. She is trying to get my attention and wants me to stop what I'm doing rather than play on the computer. Right now, she's sitting next to my right arm watching me type this post.

Alleycat is my oldest cat. My son found her in the alley in back of my parents house in Northern Indiana in July 1993. My mother had just died and we were about to return home to Kentucky. She was about three months old when we found her. We decided to name her Alleycat. We brought her home with us and she has lived with us ever since.

As you can see, she is what is known as a tuxedo cat because of her white markings. She is very sophisticated and finicky. She only wants to be petted when she decides she wants some loving. Otherwise, she likes to bite the hand that feeds her.

Alleycat has lately decided she wants to sleep in bed with me. Normally we find her sleeping in some high spot such as a filing cabinet or bookcase. (She is now lying on top of the filing cabinet watching me type about her.) Thirteen years is quite a long time for a cat to live. Alleycat is in terrific health and we expect her to live quite a few more years.

When I was growing up, I had a cat named Smitty the Kitty who I found when I was five years old. Smitty was my pet until I left home at age 18. Even after I left, he lived at my parents' house until he died at age 22. All the time I was in school, he would walk me to the corner of our street in the morning and would meet me at the corner to walk me home in the afternoons. This is a picture of me, Motherkitty, and Smitty the Kitty, circa 1950, in front of our house. Even after I left home, he remembered me whenever I came to visit. What a good cat he was. We all loved him and mourned him when he died.

Alleycat is a constant reminder to me of my parents. They took care of Alleycat's mother who was a stray living on the wild side in the alley behind their house. Dad would put food and milk out for the mother, so he was happy that we decided to keep this cute little kitten. He knew that at least one of the litter would survive.

It will be a sad day for us when it is Alleycat's time to go to kitty cat heaven. She's my husband's favorite cat. We know she had a good life even if she had to put up with my many other cats all these years. We should have named her Miss Priss because she always has her nose up in the air. We all love her anyway and will mourn her when she dies.

Goodbye to a friend

I was saddened last evening when I went to check on a blogfriend's site and found that she had signed off for the last time on Friday. No place to comment, so I sent her an e-mail. I have not heard from her yet.

I will miss this friend as she was so talented, bright, friendly, unusual, and most importantly, nice. She never posted anything that was mean or controversial. She loved her family and her friends and she wasn't afraid to tell you what she thought or how she felt.

Manababies, you will be greatly missed. I hope you find happiness in your new house, new state, new town, and new friends. I will miss you and your smiling face.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blackbird Pie

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing,
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the King?

Blackbird Pie

12 Granny Smith Apples
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 stick butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Peel, core, and slice apples. Place in large bowl of water with 1/2 cup lemon juice to keep from turning brown.

In separate bowl, mix sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Drain apples and place in large mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients and thoroughly toss apples with hands to coat with dry mixture. Place coated apples in large baking dish. Dot with butter.

Cover apples with pie crust. This recipe can be made with a pie crust on the bottom and top. Slice several vent holes in crust. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in a 450 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for two hours. Allow blackbirds to fly away, then serve in bowls with vanilla ice cream.