Weather it’s nice or not

I love learning something new, not matter how trivial.

Trees are blooming in Washington, DC.

Beautiful to look at, but difficult to breathe.

Today I learned the AccuWeather app on my iPad can do more than help me plan what to wear.   I discovered several tabs I’d not noticed before.  So of course I checked them out.

Today is an Excellent day for all sports.  Well, except skiing.  That’s poor.  (Hee.)  It’s also a Low Risk day for most health concerns, except the one that concerns me the most—sinuses.  Even that isn’t too bad, being just Moderate.  That’s pretty good for this time of year considering the trees in Northern Virginia are starting to blossom.

Donald Trump has a Bad Hair Life, too.

Well, at least it’s not this bad.  I think.

But the best tab is the Outdoor tab.  Today’s an Excellent day for barbequing (which I plan to do this evening), walking the dog, and mowing the lawn.  And it’s a Low Risk day for Hair Frizz.  Yes!  It tickles me that the possibility of having a Bad Hair Day is important enough for AccuWeather to note.  Of course, it doesn’t matter to me.  I have a Bad Hair Life, so every day is a Bad Hair Day.  It’s what happens when you have 7 cowlicks.

Thanks, Mom.  You gave me your long, shapely legs, but also the crazy hair.  Not to worry, I still love ya.

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Childhood Revisited

My Earliest Memory

And how appropriate for the season!

A permanent traumas was averted

Entertaining guests. Permanent trauma averted.

Harken back to a slower, quieter time:  the mid-20th century, an age without digital cameras, when it took a few months to fill up the roll of film and get it developed.

Christmas day:  One 3½-year-old went to bed the night before, thinking of Santa Claus on his rounds, and worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep for all the excitement.

But I did fall asleep, which made the night pass more quickly.

As usual, I was the first one awake Christmas morning.  But I had orders not to go downstairs until my parents and older brother woke up.  It’s amazing that such an unruly, difficult child would obey.  But Christmas was special, and waiting just prolonged the happiness.

When the time finally came, we rambled down the stairs.  The (colored) lights were twinkling on the Christmas tree, and several presents which hadn’t been there the night before beckoned us.  My mother put on a pot of coffee for the grown-ups, but we kids didn’t need any additional stimulation.

One medium-sized box was the last to be opened—a Jack in the Box!  I put my face close to the lid and turned the handle.  A familiar tune played.

All around the Mulberry Bush
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought it was all in fun.
POP!…

It’s the devil!  Right in my face! 

…goes the weasel.

It scared the living daylights out of me!  I began to sob and continued for an indeterminate amount of time.

Eventually I calmed down and took a closer look.  It wasn’t the devil, it was a clown.  In my defense, though, it was a pretty ugly clown.  And a little scary, especially when one’s face was just a couple inches away.

Turns out it was a pretty good present.  I played with it for hours that day.  Not too many months later, the clown’s felt hat had been torn off, but the music still played, and the clown still popped out on cue.  It continued to entertain me for a very long time.

When I look back, I’m always amazed that, even at that young age, I knew about God and the devil, and the true Christian meaning of Christmas.  It’s something we tend to forget in this modern era of materialism and over-commercialism.

[This post was written in response to a prompt from your friends at WordPress.com’s Daily Post.]

The Write Stuff

The Writer’s Center‘s fall schedule of courses (and newsletter) arrived last week.  Every season I go through the schedule and indentify several courses I’d like to take.  This season is no different, except that I might actually take a course this time.  Now that I have some time, a-once-a-week trip to Bethesda, MD (approximately 60 miles round trip), is doable.

I took a Writer’s Center course a few years ago called “Writing from Life”  and  enjoyed it tremendously.  During the course we wrote several essays about various topics from our life, including favorite people, events, food, and more.  (I had planned to post the essays here, but never got past the first one, which was a bit too fan-girlie” and embarrassing.  Perhaps if I can get on a writing schedule, I’ll get the others posted.)

My  goal is to write a memoir about my parents.  (In fact, the reason I started blogging was to tell my nephews and niece about their paternal grandparents, whom they never got to know very well.  But along the way, it turned into a hodge-podge of posts.)  I grew up with stories of the Great Depression and World War II.  At the time, I thought their experiences were the norm, but it turns out my parents’ stories, are as unique and interesting as they were.

Happy June!

Eight years ago today I was in New York City, Manhattan, to be exact.  My niece and her long time boyfriend got married.  A wonderful time was had by all, including me.

We stayed the Regent Wall Street in lower Manhattan.  It was the fanciest hotel I’d ever stayed in.  They had these huge soaking tubs, and I think I used it every night.  It was even used as a back drop for a Law & Order scene with Lennie Briscoe and Rey Curtis.  (I cant remember the episode other than it was in season 6, Benjamin Bratt’s first year on the show.)

My souvenir of the event was a fluffy hotel bathrobe.  No, I didn’t steal it.  I actually paid (a lot of money) for it.

I understand the hotel’s been sold and it’s a shell of its former glory. 😦  Bummer.

I wonder if the niece and nephew-in-law are celebrating this evening.  Both of them work pretty long hours, have a 2½ year old girl, and are expecting a baby boy any day now.  Whew!  I’m pooped just thinking about it.

Note to self:  load some damn pictures from the wedding!

Three for one

It’s  a new month, a new week, and a new time zone.

Last Sunday I woke up around 7:30 feeling terrific.  Wow, I could get a lot accomplished in the morning.  Then it dawned on me.  My alarm clock had set itself back to standard time.  So it was really around 9:00 by the time I figured this out.

I bought this cool alarm clock/radio/cd player a few years ago.  It has a little chip in it that keeps track of the time, even when the power’s out.  So when the power’s restored, I never need to reset it.  And, it self adjusts for daylight savings time.  Or rather, it did before Congress decided to change DST start and end dates.  So now, instead of never having to reset my clock, I have to change it four times a year.  At least this year I realized I could simply change the time zone, rather than the time itself.  Much easier.  But still, it’s the principle of the thing.

And of course, it’s the beginning of NaBloPoMo.  So, instead of working on a blog post this morning, I passed the time creating my own little NaBloPoMo badge.

It’s been one of those morning’s that my dad always longed for on Saturday; to wake up and hear it gently raining.  Then he could just lie in bed and listen, perhaps drifting off to sleep again.  He said it didn’t work for Sunday, because he had to get up and go to church.  But our church service never started until 10:30, so I don’t know how late he was planning on sleeping.

The rain has made the birds very happy.  They’ve been chirping all morning, thoroughly entertaining the cats.

Of taxes and Dad

Tax season has me thinking a lot about my dad.  He was a lawyer who provided tax services to the community.  Living in a rural community, that meant he had to contend with not only April 15th, but also the end of February, which was (still is?) the deadline for farmers to  file their tax returns.  So he had to deal with us procrastinators twice during the season, working long hours and weekends to get everything done.  (Thank goodness tax time didn’t interfere with the football season!)

I remember him leaving church on Sunday and walking directly to his office to work.  (My sister-in-law once told me she didn’t want my brother to become a lawyer because she didn’t want him putting in the hours my dad did.)

When I was in the Navy and still a resident of Iowa (even though I lived elsewhere), Dad would do my taxes for me.  Those were the days before I had a mortgage, so the taxes weren’t that difficult.  When I’d get the forms in the mail for signature and filing, the cover letter would be on his letterhead.  The letter would be typed (by my mother, who worked for him) and professional, but at the end, he’d sign it “Love, Dad.”

I like having a plan!

Earlier today it suddenly dawned on me that today is Friday, and I hadn’t yet planned any meals for the upcoming week.  Then I realized, Yes, I had! Last week, when I sat down with the Five Ingredients·15 Minutes cookbook, I’d made plans for the entire month!

Of course, it’s much easier to do that when one is cooking only on Saturdays and Sundays and then eating left-overs the rest of the week.  I seriously doubt I could plan a month of meals if I had to cook every day.  My sister-in-law Margie could do that, but she was 1) a terrific cook and 2) remarkably organganized.  She’d create a 7×4 hand-drawn grid, fill in what meals she’d make on which days, and post it on the inside of a cupboard door.  So simple, yet so functional and so smart.  Just like she was.