Saturday, February 20, 2010
Saw several herds of antelope. Only other wildlife was huge ravens. Didn't mention the baby calves we saw in TX yesterday. They were so cute as only baby calves can be. One little white faced black one romping and kicking up his heels.
Now I'm whirlpooled, showered and relaxed. Went to sleep too early last night and woke up at 5:30. Going to try to stay awake later tonite but doubt that happens.
We'll be at Lorrie & Kevin's by tomorrow afternoon. Hope they'll understand when all I want to do is mellow out.
Friday, February 19, 2010
We have stopped for the night in Shamrock TX, so we should definitely see Amarillo in the morning. The plan is to stay on I-40 until Flagstaff then head south to Phoenix. Tonight's weather channel tells us Flagstaff is to get 6-10 inches of snow. I thought we were leaving that behind!
In the meantime, Kari is talking about gardening this weekend in Portland. No wonder. They just showed the temp there and it is 55. Maybe we should have headed NW instead of SW? Should we duck south at Albuquerque tomorrow or stay on 40 to Flagstaff? Stay tuned.
Good news is that Shamrock now has some nice new hotels to choose from instead of the very old one when we were here last time.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Perhaps age has something to do with being happy. We want so much when we are younger. When we are older, we want/need less. This was proven to me when I purged at least three-fourths of my 'stuff' before moving to Creston. I am so much happier without that baggage. I love having cupboards and closets that still have room. I did not/do not need five sets of dishes and every item of clothing I had bought in the last 25 years.
There is an expression about "finding your inner child" which has some truth to it. I have discovered that some of what makes me feel happy today are the same things that I enjoyed in childhood. I distinctly remember a time in my late 30's when I was at Mom's, possibly when we were doing the chores when her hand was hurt. I had started the pump to fill the tank and went out to check on it. It was early morning, there was a light rain falling. The tank wasn't quite full so I stood there watching and waiting for it to fill. I was absolutely overcome with a feeling of such immense joy just standing there in the rain. I could trace it back to playing in the rain as a child.
Our middle years are so crammed with work and responsibility it is hard to carve out time for oneself. Which is probably why it is easier to be happy as we age - we have time for ourselves. For me, being outside in nature brings the most contentment.
I hope all of you can find your own "happiness from within".
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The kids started school and I started job hunting. I finally got a position as secretary/bookkeeper for a small printing company. The pay was only $200 a week - hardly enough to pay our apartment rent. It was obvious I was going to have to find a higher paying job or another part-time job.
After awhile I got acquainted with the other employees. One of the guys worked on weekends painting for a man who owned several office buildings. I finally asked Chuck if he could get me a job painting, too. I told him I had done a lot of painting, papering, cleaning, etc. where I came from. Luckily, Alan Z. said he would give me a trial so the next weekend I met Chuck at the building Mr. Z was currently updating. He had just purchased twin office buildings on Linden St. near downtown.
I had always considered myself a very neat painter - not a perfectionist - but nearly so. I had no idea what perfection was until I painted for Alan Z. He would come in in the morning, tell us what he wanted done and leave us to do it. Later he would come back and check our work. There could not be so much as a drop of paint on the woodwork or a run in the paint on the wall. But the pay was good.
When Bud moved to WDM to live with us, (25 years ago tomorrow) he found some temporary work through Manpower, but nothing full time. So he started painting with Chuck & me on weekends. By then Mr. Z had bought a large building in Highland Park. We met him there on Saturday morning. He came in and said, "Now boys and girls, here's what we're going to do." "WE??"
Eventually I found a better accounting job at Wright Tree Service. And with Bud working and helping pay the rent, things weren't so tight. At some point we gave up working for Alan and started our own company: "B & R Painting Plus".
There's a house at 22nd & Ashworth in which we painted every room. I still remember taking wallpaper off the walls so we could paint. What a job!
I think the last official job B & R did was wall papering a kitchen in one of the Normandy Terrace apartments. What should have been an easy three or four hour job took all day. The paper the woman chose had a pattern of squares which I was determined to make match up perfectly (even though she told me I didn't have to).
Since then I've only painted and papered for myself or family or friends. Whenever I do, I am reminded the next day that it's a young person's game. I'm going to tackle the guest bedroom this spring. But I'm taking my own sweet time doing it.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Or hear your song run through the fields like yon mountain stream.
Your ship waits on the western shore to bear you o'er from me;
But wait I will till Heaven's door-my fair-haired boy to see." (From a song set in the 19th century during the Irish famine telling the sorrow of parting.)
Preston was my fair-haired boy though he was born with coal-black hair. Among the black was a spot of silver the size of a half-dollar. When his hair grew back after he lost his baby hair, it was the most amazing golden blonde. (I can't find the picture I want showing this. On the right above he is learning to walk at age one with the help of Kari & Doug. On the left he is standing behind me on the porch at Tuck Corner when he was seven.)
I was reminded of Preston's hair while watching the Ellen Degeneres show last week. She has a segment where she shows embarrassing pictures from childhood alongside what the people look like now. One of the pictures was of a man when he was two or three years old. He had three older brothers and his mom wanted a girl when he was born. She let his hair grow long, put him in a dress and had his picture taken.
I am guilty of doing something similar - although not for that reason. I did it for $$$ and because of being a 'stage mom'.
I was working at Thomas Wolffe & Assoc. Advertising Agency when Preston was a baby. Tom was filming a tv spot for the Iowa Bankers Assoc. They wanted to represent a young family with a baby just learning to walk. They wanted a little girl but hadn't found the right toddler.
In addition to being golden, Preston's hair was also curly. It was so pretty. I just couldn't bear having it cut. He was a little over a year old and just beginning to take his first steps. Perfect for the tv ad, but, alas, a boy. Hold on. I still had his older sister's clothes.
Yes, in my little boy's first tv commercial he is wearing a red velvet dress which perfectly highlights his lustrous blonde curls. If we had a clip of that commercial, we could see him toddling toward his 'parents' - taking his, oops, her first steps.
Fortunately Preston was too young to remember any of this. The only pictures I had were slides and since we didn't have a projector, he never saw them. i.e. I didn't damage him for life. (I hope!)
My fair haired boy has grown up to be a son any mother would be proud of. He has always had a tender heart. When he was little any news stories of people suffering affected him deeply. (There is a German word for this: Weltschmerz-- sadness over the evils of the world.) He may try to hide it, but a mother knows the true heart of her children.
Preston always loved being outdoors. I suspect that even though he is not a hunter - an outdoorsman - he still feels most connected when he is in a field or the woods or walking along the shore.
My baby is helping raise five of his own. His first born is graduating high school this year. As Ki goes out into the world, I know Preston will be remembering his own first year of college - the excitement and the fears. He wasn't able to go right through college in four years, but he set a good example by going back years later to get his associate degree and then his bachelor's. That couldn't have been easy. I don't think I ever told him how proud I am of him for doing that.
Oh, my fair-haired boy, how glad I am to see you walk the meadows green.....
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Still the one -- that's my better half; We're still having fun -- And you're still the one. You're still the one that makes me strong -- Still that one that I want to take along -- We're still having fun, And you're still the one..."
Happy St. Valentine's Day Everyone.
Bud gave me the lovely roses a week ago and they are still gorgeous. This morning he gave me the card - even after we said, "No Cards!" Lovely sentiments outside and inside the card, but the most meaningful are in his handwriting: "You're still the one."
So now I'm waiting until he gets home to see the snow heart. The message that goes with it: "Be Mine. Nothing more. Nothing Less." It was the best I could do on such short notice - that and the bag of chocolate hearts candy I gave him last night.
Wednesday will mark the 25th anniversary of our being together. In November we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. He's already promised my choice of a cruise or a trip to Cancun. (How lucky can one woman be?) In the meantime, we are finally going to get out of this snow and cold for awhile with a trip to the SW.
"I looked at your face everyday
But I never saw it 'til I went away
When winter came, I just wanted to go
Deep in the desert, I longed for the snow..."
Changing, our love is going gold,
Even though we grow old, it is new --
You're still the one" (Orleans)
I don't think we will be longing for the snow when we get to the desert next week. I think we will be enjoying the sun and warm weather and being together on yet another of our road trips.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I wonder if that is the same thing Mom was doing when she used to say, "Go outside and run around the house and let the stink blow off."
I don't think her problem was getting us to play by ourselves; I think it was getting us to help her with the work.
The article listed ideas for different ages. Of course we didn't have a lot of toys when I was a kid. One of the things I remember doing at a young age was stringing empty thread spools on a shoe string. That was when thread came on wooden spools. Another variation when we were a little older was stringing buttons. Mom or one of the grandmas would give us her button jar and a threaded needle. We would string buttons until the jar was empty - sometimes unstringing them and starting over.
Playing dress up was another fun activity. I have Mom's picture of Betty and me and our four Roberts cousins all dressed up. Aunt Evelyn must have taken a picture of us too because Glenna asked me not long ago where my Mom got all the hats, as Mom wasn't much of a hat wearer.
I remember using our allowance at the dime store to buy paper umbrellas, paper fans and birthstone rings. I think the fans were five cents and the umbrellas and rings were ten cents each. Of course the paper accessories soon got torn and the rings got lost, but they added to the dressing up.
Do kids still make mud pies? Betty and I could spend hours baking our mud pies and decorating them with leaves or flowers. Coffee can lids made good pans because they were shallow and the pies baked fast. We also used jar lids for smaller, but deeper pies. Hay making time was a good time to make mud pies. The dirt in the barnyard was as fine as sifted flour where the hay sledges were pulled up under the hay mow for unloading.
Even though I had a little sister and sometimes an older brother to play with, there were still times when I strayed off into my own little world. It might be out to the barn to play with the kittens or just putzing around the farm making up stories in my mind. And maybe that was the key to learning to play alone - we were allowed to.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It has been at least two weeks since I drove my car. It sets outside in the neighbor's carport so we always take the garaged car. (Bud's Honda) I had an appointment this morning so before Bud left to go to Corning to see his Mom, I went over to make sure my car started. It did. I set the emergency brake to leave it running for a while to warm up.
When Bud left, I moved my car into the garage until time for me to leave. I had a heckuva time getting it out of the carport. I thought it was just spinning on the snow and ice even though I never have had a problem with it going in the snow. But there have been other times when it hasn't been driven for awhile that it takes a try or two to get it to reverse.
By the time I was halfway uptown I knew I had a brake dragging. But I made it to my appointment and I made it back home. The problem occurred when I pulled crossways on the street to back into the carport. I couldn't go forward or reverse. A neighbor tried to help push the car. Even that didn't work.
Luckily Bud got home before I had given up and called a tow truck. I told him the rear brakes were locked. He thought the emergency brake probably froze on when I set it, so tried to disconnect the cable. Then he realized only one rear tire wasn't moving. He got a hammer, took off the hubcap and banged on the brake drum a few times. That was all it took. I backed into the car port and he put the hubcap back on.
It's nice to be married to someone who can fix anything. He says, "All you need is a hammer and duct tape". I really need to get a different car though, even if duct tape does match the color of mine.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
I vaguely remember when Corning had one or two black families in residence. The first time I remember meeting and talking with an African-American was when we went to visit Grandpa Ridnour when he was in the hospital in Omaha in 1956. One of the cleaning women was a cheerful, loquacious extrovert who brightened his days. She called everyone "honey", including Grandpa - even when Grandma was in the room.
When I was in highschool, I went to a MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) picnic with my friend Donna. It had been arranged to meet with a group of Black MYFers from Des Moines in the Winterset City Park.
Growing up I remember hearing stories about Ku Klux Klan activities around Corning in the 1920's which I always dismissed. But looking back in online Free Press archives, I find that those stories were true.
I also heard Bedford and Villisca referred to as "Sundown Towns". When I understood the meaning - that no Black person should be in their towns after sundown - I felt kind of proud that Corning wasn't a Sundown Town. Villisca especially was inhospitable to Blacks because for a time it was rumored that a Black man was responsible for the ax murders of eight people in 1912.
What I wasn't aware of was that Black History Month began in 1926 as Negro History Week. It was changed to BHM in 1976. Carter G. Woodson, an educator and historian chose the second week in February because of Abraham Lincoln's and Frederick Douglass' birthdays occurred then.
I've seen many changes during my lifetime in the way African-Americans have been treated. I'm proud to have voted for this country's first African-American president.