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Monday, December 31, 2012

ANOTHER AULD LANG SYNE

Two things I don't do:

1. Go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.
2. Go out on New Year's Eve.

I always laugh and say, "There are AMATEURS out there!" suggesting that I am a PROFESSIONAL!

I used to be among the crazy people lined up at the Downtown Lazarus store to get whatever "Lazzie Bear" was being given that year. On December 3, 1979, the tragedy of eleven people being crushed to death at The Who concert in Cincinnati happened. The next year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I was in a crush of people at the air door at Lazarus, and a woman stumbled in front of me and I stumbled onto her back. Visions floated in my head of being crushed at that air door, like the people at the concert. I was able to keep from being injured and I turned around and left and have never again gone shopping on the day after Thanksgiving!

I don't drink and don't care to be around people who don't know how to drink! My usual New Year's Eve excitement includes: watching a movie; then turn on the Times Square coverage at 11:45; kiss Gerald at 12:00; have a cup of eggnog with Les, listen to Dan Fogelberg's classic song Another Auld Lang Syne and return to my movie!

And you say there's no excitement in my life!



See the article about the Cincinnati Concert HERE.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

AGATHA


When my mother was in school, there was a girl named Agatha in her class. Mother told me that Agatha's parents had seen the name Agatha in a story, but had never heard it pronounced. They thought the pronunciation was "UH-GATH-UH". When the girl went to school a teacher told her that the proper pronunciation was AG-UH-THUH.

My mother told me that she was ridiculed in class because she pronounced the name Deborah as "DUH-BORE-UH". Mother also told me that when she was in school, she thought it would be nifty if she spelled her name as "Gladace" instead of "Gladys". Her teacher returned a paper to Mother with "Gladace" crossed out with a red pen and then ridiculed Mother in class and imperiously told her that Gladace was properly pronounced with a "long a". When my friend Bobbi heard that story, she immediately started calling my mother "Happy Butt" (GLAD ASS)! Mother actually cherished that nickname.

One time, when I was in school, we were reading aloud in class. When it was classmate Charlotte's turn, she read her section and the name "Leonard" was in it; Charlotte pronounced it "LEE-UH-NARD" and the name was contained three excruciating times in her reading. Surprisingly, the teacher did not correct her and none of the fellow students laughed, but to this day, whenever I hear the name Leonard I think of Charlotte's pronunciation.

It was common when I was young, for girls whose names ended in "y" to change the "y" to "i" (such as "Sandi" and "Patti"; we even had a boy change Larry to "Larri"!) I remember that it was newsworthy when Luci Baines Johnson changed the spelling of her name from "Lucy" to "Luci".

I wonder why parents give their children names with unusual spellings. It just makes the lives of the children difficult. My husband's grand niece is named Stephenie instead of the usual Stephanie or Stefanie. She said that she's never been able to find anything with her name on it and her name is never spelled "right"! I just gave her a charm this year with "Stephenie" on it. Her sister plans to name her baby "Ethen" instead of Ethan. Why give a child a strike against them?

Of course, I've written about Gerald's name. (see last year's BLOG article HERE)


Saturday, December 29, 2012

A LESSON TOO LATE FOR THE LEARNING

I was watching a recording of Brian Williams' 30 Rock and he told that a simple "tweet" on Ann Curry's "twitter account" had gone "viral". I thought, "Last year, I would have fast-forwarded through this segment, but since I like Ann Curry, I'll listen." Ann Curry told that she "tweeted" telling that she was going to perform 26 Acts Of Kindness to honor the victims of Sandy Hook and that the response had been phenomenal. I told Les, "That's something I would like to do."

In fact, after hearing the story, I HAVE done several acts, but one must never become "too full of oneself", to wit:

A friend called to ask if I knew of any way to help her neighbor who had had her water shut off. I asked what steps the neighbor had taken and she said she'd called Community Action and was told they had no funding. I asked when the water had been turned off and she said three days before. I was exasperated and said, "So, she waits until the afternoon of the 21st to try to get some help?" Irate, I continued, "It's Christmas weekend; she's had to have known for TWO months; why didn't she do something in those two months?" I said that I would see what I could do, but as I hung up, I knew that I was not going to do anything!

I started grousing about being bothered with this and I said to Les, "How the Hell am I supposed to get anything done? It's the Christmas weekend, for crying out loud!" I continued complaining.

Les asked, drily, "So how's that 26 Acts Of Kindness going for you?"

He started singing an old Tom Paxton song A Lesson Too Late For The Learning. He is always my conscience!

I recalled that at my Continuum Of Care meeting that week, that a participant had said that the Ministerial Association sometimes helped with utilities for needy people. I called him and he said he would take the information but doubted that he could get anything done before Christmas.

With a little humility, I called back to the friend and relayed the information and said to let me know if it didn't work out for her neighbor.

The Ministerial Association Representative called back and told me that they were able to get to the Water Department before closing time!

Less grousing, more kindness, Sue! So, the lesson is NOT too late for the learning.


Friday, December 28, 2012

WRITER MANQUE


I noticed in the local newspaper that a local attorney/farmer was having a "book-signing" of his recently published book. I know several people who bought the autographed book and one had exclaimed that it was "wonderful". As I do not know the attorney, I had no interest in reading it until someone mentioned that there was a chapter about a notorious, local, former judge who had been named "The Asshole Of The Month" by Hustler magazine in the 1970s. Although I was hopeful that the chapter was about that episode, it wasn't, but I was still interested when I saw that the chapter was about a different, although equally ignorant, decision by the judge.

In leafing through the book to find the chapter about the judge, I noticed the word "suspicioned". I thought, "OMG, Miss Digman would turn over in her grave at such usage!" [Miss Digman was one of my teachers in high school.] I then saw "council" when it should have clearly been "counsel"; the Supreme Court was not capitalized; and there were numerous errors of syntax, grammar, ellipses, and punctuation. The most glaring example is on page 173 where he wrote "This house saeft....." I screaked, "What the Hell is THAT?"

A friend said, "I guess that's the problem with vanity press books." I was shocked to see in the acknowledgements that there had been an editor! I said, "Surely the people who wrote the blurbs could not have read the book prior to its publication."

I laughed when I told a person who had recommended the book to me that the book would have had just a few pages if the author had not used "Mr." for all the white characters. The black characters, a custodian and a busboy, are not given the "Mr." honor! I cringed when I read the description of a black man as having a "shiny black face" in THREE separate places! No other person's facial characteristic is mentioned in the book. When quoting the black characters, he attributed "them" instead of "those"; "cause" instead of "because"; "I give you" instead of "I'll give you"; "I been watching " instead of "I've been watching" and "I see 'em" instead of "I see them"! I seriously doubt that all of the Misters he quoted used impeccable grammar and speech patterns, but ONLY the blacks are relegated to using that vernacular! [At least he didn't commit the usual faux pas and write that they were "articulate"!] Having lived in Fayette County all of my life, I have heard "prominent" people pronounce Washington as "WaRshington"; use poor grammar; drop the "g" on being, and going; 'cause for because, but one wouldn't know from this book as all the white people have good speech patterns and the blacks sound like Stepin Fetchit! It's astounding that the author could recall the exact speech of people from fifty years ago.

I'm surprised that the author didn't injure himself -- patting himself on the back -- for being such a magnanimous friend to black people! His self-congratulatory, self-aggrandizing, posturing is embarrassing. I wondered how he had been such a successful attorney/farmer/businessman, but I believed it after I learned that he was able to convince people to pay $14.95 for the book!

Another person told me she'd heard that the writer manque was going to do a follow-up book. I said, "Perhaps I should ask him if he'll hire me as a proofreader and editor!"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DISCOMBOBULATED


A friend called and asked, "Are you O.K.? You haven't written anything NEW for Christmas!" A number of people have noticed that my BLOG since December 10, has consisted of RECYCLES from last year.

I am known to have the best memory and to be the most organized person in the universe, but this past month I have been discombobulated. Frankly, I was so concerned I actually asked my doctor to be tested for Alzheimer's! I know that OLD people do not adjust well to change, but, after all, "I am understated, yet a woman of the 21st century." (to quote my friend Margie) and should be able to adapt!

It all started because of my cell phone problems! I had accepted an "upgrade" to a SMART PHONE. After a few days, I was very unhappy with the phone, and within the 14-day limit I returned it, wanting my flip-phone back. I had to pay a "re-stocking fee" and when I had my old flip phone activated, I had lost all my numbers in memory! That was disappointing and I set about resetting those numbers. I was receiving calls but I did not realize it, until my brother called me on my home phone and asked why I wasn't returning his calls. I said that I hadn't received any messages. I returned to my phone representative. I had two weeks of messages built up; how the calls went to message and how I could not retrieve them remains a mystery. Several calls were concerning orders which I could have filled; a couple were from friends I'd disappointed by not following up on plans. I'm changing my phone company in February when my contract expires.

And then, I learned that my Christmas card list was misplaced. That didn't seem to be a be a big deal to anyone whom I told but it was extraordinarily troubling to me. I have always kept the list ("the SACRED list", according to Les!), with left-over cards in the chest on the right side of the couch in the library. It was my usual practice to get out the list the day after Thanksgiving, go to the post office, purchase my stamps, and begin addressing my cards. After all, when one is known to be the FIRST to send out cards, one must not disappoint!

My niece Tracey has been creating my Christmas cards for several years and although the pictures for this year's card were taken LAST year, I just wasn't "up" to making a final selection. Prior to Tracey's creating my cards, I used to send "special" cards: brother, sister, niece, nephew, friends, etc. One of Gerald's nieces told me that one of her cousins asked her, "Does Aunt Sue send you a SPECIAL niece card or am I the only special one?" After Tracey began making our cards, I send only those cards. Simplify!

I know that I should have computerized the Christmas card list, printed labels, and done everything that a 21st century person should do, but then, what about my tradition: red ink in my Waterford ink well, green ink in my other ink well, using my Mont Blanc fountain pen for the red ink, my antique Waterman pen for the green ink, Christmas stamps, address labels? YES, it was a BIG deal.

Les said, "No wonder you're CRAZY!"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

STRAW MAN


I was taking my usual short-cut -- the alley beside the South Side Church of Christ -- because I always like to look at the live-animal manger scene there.

Half-way down the alley, I saw a young male carrying two large, white bags and I thought he'd probably been to the convenience store across the street. I stopped the car and asked, "Do you want a ride?" He agreed and when he got in the car I said, "It's so cold out there!" I told him to put the bags in the back seat. I saw that there was straw in the bags and I immediately realized that he had TAKEN the straw from the manger scene. I asked where he was going and he said, "Hickory Street." I said, "That's not very far." When I turned onto Hickory Street he said, "It's the last house -- it's where there's a big Santa."

I said, "I don't see a big Santa," but the boy said, "It's the last house." I said, "Oh, your dog's outside." He said, "I brought him inside for a little while last night but my mom won't let him stay inside; that's why I needed the straw." I thought, "The dog probably needs the straw as much as the animals at the manger."

I noticed that the inflatable Santa was on the ground -- deflated -- and I suddenly felt DEFLATED.

When I got home, I told Les about the incident and he said, "I'll bet the Baby Jesus didn't mind."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

MY BROTHERS' SNOW-WOMEN


When I was a kid I actually went OUTSIDE and played in the snow, but now I am perplexed as to WHY because there was always television to watch and books to read. It was probably just to be with my brothers and their derring-do. They built snow forts and had snowball fights, lobbing the snowballs over the fort walls. The snow would always drift in the driveway and they would dig a tunnel to the road! We played "Fox and The Geese", made snow angels and ate snow cones!

The brothers built snow-women and all of them would have ridiculously large bosoms. They would put pieces of coal to represent nipples and a mop head to represent hair! I wish I had pictures of them!

Mother refused to let the boys use any of her "brassieres" (as she called them), but one day we saw a red brassiere adorning a snow-woman! My mother rushed out to snatch the bra from the snow-woman! I didn't even know she owned a red bra!

Later on, after seeing the red bra, we noticed the "Frederick's Of Hollywood" catalogs and brown packages marked C.O.D. arriving. Those catalogs rapidly disappeared and yesterday my brother laughingly told me that the catalogs were all lovingly maintained at their fort in the woods!

When I was grown up and my mother came to live with me, she was unpacking her "unmentionables" to put in the dresser drawer. There were some beautiful pieces of lingerie. She said, wistfully, "I don't know why your daddy bought all this stuff; he hardly got to see me wear any of it!" The items are still in the drawer, but it taught me a lesson: I wear all of my "unmentionables"!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CHRISTMAS COLLECTIONS 2

As a kid we had one of those god-awful aluminum trees with the color wheel. That's why I've always had a "real" Christmas tree in the living room. Two years ago we bought an artificial tree and I hate it!



Last year, an acquaintance came to the house, and not knowing that I decorate every room, said, "OMG, I used to say that I thought the Grinch lived here because you don't have any Christmas decorations outside!" I said, "I have the sleigh on the porch and wreaths on the doors--I don't have time to do any outside decorating!"


Last year I promised that I would ONLY decorate the downstairs but Les caught me decorating the bathroom at 2:00 AM! He tried to extract the promise from me this year and he said he's calling Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Dr. Kildare for an INTERVENTION!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

CHRISTMAS COLLECTIONS

As Les looked at the table with more than 50 Santa music boxes on it, he let out an exaggerated sigh and said, "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing!" as I'd quoted Mother's "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well!" earlier in the day.


My sister-in-law Sheila used to say, "There's no such thing as too many Christmas decorations!" Les and Gerald disagree, especially after toting down more than 100 tubs from the attic and a dozen more from the basement. [No, sadly, I am NOT exaggerating; Les said he quit counting after 100!] The family room is the Santa Room, the laundry room is the Nutcracker Room, the kitchen is the Oreo tin room, the hallway is the Holly Room, the dining room is the 12 Days Of Christmas Room, the living room is the Sleigh Room and the library is the Coca Cola, Elvis and Train Room! Mother's room is the Cardinal Room, the bathroom is the Christmas Seashell Room, the hallway is the Basket Room, the spare bedroom is the Poinsettia Room, our bedroom is the Miscellaneous Room and Les refuses to have his room "decorated"!


There must be a tree in every room! The Santa tree fell over yesterday because the ornaments weren't well-distributed. The "Button Tree" is decorated with buttons collected since childhood with the top button being the cabbage rose from my wedding gown! The Nutcracker Tree sets on the hamper in the laundry room and I hear Les' grumbling about it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday because those are laundry days. I reminded him that there are only 4 weeks left until Christmas! On the kitchen table I have the Cookie Cutter Tree. The dining room has the 12 Days Of Christmas Tree; the library has a Coca Cola tree and also an Elvis Tree; the bathroom has a tree decorated with seashells. The living room tree has the Waterford ornaments in the front, Gerald's Star Trek ornaments on one side and my Wizard of Oz, Crayola, etc. ornaments on the other side. (Les said, "Sides? A tree doesn't have sides!").




Monday, December 17, 2012

MY ELVIS SHRINE (U. S. 53310761)


As a teeny-bopper, I was the world's most devoted Elvis Presley fan. When I was thirteen, I even went to the beautician Evelyn Evans to have my hair cut like Elvis'. My bedroom was completely covered with Elvis Presley pictures. Every time a new song was released, several of us Elvis fans would listen to the record over and over to be able to write down the lyrics to be able to sing along. My greatest artistic achievement was to sing along and gyrate as Elvis did when he sang "Trouble" from the movie "King Creole". As the years passed, I would always watch his god-awful movies and buy whatever records were released, and I never lost the love for him, but by the sixties I was "into" folk, protest music, and jazz and although I went to see him in concert in 1973, my passion had subsided. I attributed it to "growing up". In 1973, we went to Graceland and stood outside the gates and took pictures of the gates, but this was before his death and the tours; after the tours started we went to Memphis to see inside Graceland. I was disturbed because his grave marker has "Elvis Aaron Presley" and I know that's wrong because it's really Elvis Aron Presley as the Aron rhymes with the middle name of his twin Jesse Garon Presley. I bought the commemorative stamps and sent out "first day cancellations" on January 8 to my fellow Elvis fans.

Several years after Elvis' death, my brother called me on January 8 and said, "Hey, they're having an Elvis trivia contest and you should call in and win." I tuned in and one had to be the 3rd caller; the questions were very easy but I couldn't get through to answer. Then a question came which nobody called to answer. I dialed the number and answered the question, "What was Elvis' serial number in the Army?" I answered, "U.S. 53310761." The DJ asked, "How on earth did you know that?" I told him that after Elvis was drafted, there was a girl group--The Thirteens--that had a song entitled "Dear 53310761" which I have and then I proceeded to sing the song! I also told him that there were at least 25 songs recorded ABOUT Elvis. I also told him that it was "U.S." rather than "R.A." because "U.S." is used for draftees and "R.A." is used for enlisted people. I think that was entirely TMI as he then told me about my prize and shut me down.

What did I win? ALL of Elvis' records! Of course, I already had all of Elvis' records. I gave them as a present to my brother who is also an Elvis fan.

Now I have an "Elvis shrine" at Christmas: I have a tree full of Elvis ornaments which I surround with Elvis collectibles. This past Christmas my friend Arminta gave me an Elvis Christmas stocking which is shaped like Elvis' white satin jumpsuit pant leg and boot. It has a button when pushed plays "Blue Christmas". I send Elvis Christmas cards to all of my friends who are also Elvis devotees. I'm just sad that I never met him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ANOTHER 365 THANK-YOUS

I read a new book by John Kralik: "365 Thank Yous" and the book relates how at the lowest point in his life the author decided to concentrate on thanking people; he decided to focus on what he had rather than what he didn't have; for an entire year he sent out a thank-you card each day. More importantly, the book tells of the rewards he received; the subtitle of the books expresses everything: "The Year A Simple Act of Gratitude Changed My Life".

I thought, "I'm going to give it a try." I usually write thank-you notes after Christmas; in the the book he wrote that writing thank-you notes for Christmas was how he began, but subsequently he began to write thank-you notes not just for gifts received, but for gratitude for the kindnesses of others, some family and some strangers.

I think this will be interesting and reflective for me! So far, I've sent seven. My husband and brother have placed secret, sealed, wagers, betting how long it will last! The first thank-you card I wrote was to a friend who has done so much for me, in addition to giving Christmas presents.

As I was "rummaging" around, cleaning up after Christmas, and "making room", in my mother's room, I found some post cards with 5-cent postage on them (I have no idea how old they are, but post cards cost 28 cents to mail now!), I used one of the cards to write a thank-you note to friends who'd sent a Christmas card with old Christmas stamps affixed. I thought they might enjoy seeing the old postcard. At a dinner party, I had mentioned how much I liked the old stamps and he told me that they had belonged to his mother. They brought a basket of fruit as a "hostess gift" to a dinner party we had before Christmas. I wrote the "thank you" for that gift and they called today and thanked me for the thank-you card.

Today, I had lunch with several Water Aerobics classmates and one said, "That was the nicest thank-you card!" This lovely lady had called me the week before Christmas and asked if I knew anyone who needed a twin-bed; I told her that my friend's grandson was crying for a "big boy bed"! Gerald and I picked up the like-new mattress, box springs, and frame and delivered them. The little boy jumped on the bed, screaming, "I have a big-boy bed!" I sent a thank-you card, because she did not even know the person and just gave from the goodness of her heart.

Being THANKED for thank-you cards is a joyous experience. That's double-gratitude!

When I told an avaricious acquintance about this project, he said, "Man, that's going to cost $160.00!" I answered, "A cynic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." It's a favorite Oscar Wilde quote. He asked, "Are you trying to say I'm a cynic?" I laughed and answered, "Oh, no, I'm not TRYING to say anything--I AM saying you are a cynic!"


Saturday, December 15, 2012

CAN'T HAVE ENOUGH CHRISTMAS MUSIC

There are two kinds of people in the world: those, like myself, who can't get "enough" of Christmas music, and the others, like Les and Gerald, who get so tired of Christmas music that they threaten to blow up the stereo! To keep harmony (PUN INTENDED) in the family, I compromised several years ago and agreed to have no Christmas music in the house until the day after Thanksgiving. Gerald got in my car BEFORE Thanksgiving and Barbra was singing "Silent Night". He said, "I thought....." Before he was able to complete his sentence, I interrupted and said, "I only agreed about IN the house; the car is my domain!"

My brother Bode and I loved to sing Christmas carols and it was usually to the embarrassment of everybody else! One of my favorite stories: we were visiting Bode and family in Florida during the holidays and we went into a Mexican restaurant and over the loudspeaker was playing Bing Crosby's "When It's Christmas in Killarney". Bode looked at me--I looked at him--and we joined arms and started singing, at the top of our lungs! The other family members with us slunk away to a table in the hope of other people not knowing we were related. Bode went to the Manager and asked to have it played AGAIN! Bode said that if people couldn't appreciate the exquisite irony of "Christmas In Killarney" in a Mexican restaurant, then they were hopeless!

Bode and I had our definite favorites: ONLY Nat for "The Christmas Song"; ONLY Bing for "White Christmas"; ONLY Elvis for "Blue Christmas; ONLY Judy for "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"; ONLY Harry Belafonte for "Mary's Boy Child"; ONLY Darlene Love for "Baby Please Come Home"; ONLY Vince Guaraldi for "Christmas Time Is Here"; ONLY Gene Autry for "Here Comes Santa Claus": ONLY Burl Ives for "A Holly, Jolly Christmas"; ONLY Perry Como for "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays"; ONLY Peggy Lee for "I Love A Sleigh Ride" ("Jingle Bells"); ONLY Nancy Wilson for "That's What I Want For Christmas"; ONLY Giselle Mackenzie for "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas"; and only ONLY Rosemary Clooney for "Suzy Snowflake" (which Bode always sang to me since I was a little girl!).

Friday, December 14, 2012

MY MOTHER'S BUBBLE LIGHTS



My family's bubble lights are my favorite Christmas decoration. I had always thought that they were in the family from before my birth because they are part of my earliest memories. However, I recently researched bubble lights to find replacements for ones which have quit working and I learned that Noma (our brand) only began producing bubble lights in 1946. My father must have bought them around that time. My earliest memory is the birth of my brother Duke in 1947 and when I asked both of my older brothers about the lights, they also recall the bubble lights as among their earliest memories.

The bubble lights were always on the tree at home, but it was always difficult to have them arranged so they would "bubble" successfully. Gerald's solution was to stand them upright along the stairway and cover his elaborate mounting process with garland. It makes a beautiful display and warms my heart.

They remind me of Hanukkuh candles.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I NEVER SAW A PURPLE COW


I miss my sister-in-law Sheila very much. Each Christmas season for years, we would go to downtown Lazarus for a shopping spree. We always made sure to go to the sixth floor because of all the wonderful toys.

One time, when I was thirty, she dared me to sit on Santa's lap which I did. Santa was very accommodating and asked, "What do you want for Christmas, little girl?" I said, with a whimper, "Santa, I never did get that Lionel train I always wanted." Santa didn't miss a beat and answered, "That's because you weren't a good little girl!" I jumped off Santa's lap and he gave me a pat on the tush!

On the same day, "Mr. Tree" was there and there were about twenty kids sitting on the floor and "Mr. Tree" was entertaining."Mr. Tree" started to tell a joke and I blurted out the punch line. "Mr. Tree" said, "Hey, Lady, get outta here and don't step on my punch lines!."

Another time, as we alighted from the escalator, there was an enormous, stuffed, purple bovine creature with horns. The creature was so tall I could walk underneath it. Much to Sheila's embarrassment, I began reciting Ogden Nash's "Purple Cow":

"I never saw a purple cow
I hope I never see one,
But I can tell you this right now:
I'd rather see than be one.

Ah, yes, I wrote "The Purple Cow"
I'm sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you anyhow
I'll kill you if you quote it!"

As I walked underneath the bovine creature, a little boy asked his mother in awe, "Mommy, what is it?" His mother said, "It's a purple cow." I said, "Nope, it's a STEER." The little boy asked, "Mommy, what's a steer?" The mother turned to me and said, good-humoredly, "You telll him, Smarty Pants!" I said, "Well, you see, this a boy cow who doesn't have any girlfriends." The mother was laughing, shaking her head. Sheila walked over, grabbed my arm and announced, "I can't take her ANYWHERE!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SUZY SNOWFLAKE

My brother Bode used to sing this to me--that's how I got the spelling of my name--Suzy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

LOVE DARLENE LOVE

Les and I look forward to this every year on Letterman!


Monday, December 10, 2012

MY BROTHER BODE


I can't imagine having a better older brother than my brother Bode. He was the role model for the rest of us and no matter how the rest of us feel about each other, we all feel the same way about him. He always treated us as peers and never as "kids". He was thirteen years older and when I look back, I wonder why he and I were so close, not only because of the age difference, but also because we disagreed on nearly everything: politics, literature, music, art, and philosophy. I now realize it is because he allowed it. Politically, the rest of us always say he was to the right of Attilla the Hun. He was an unrepentent atheist. Of course he had faults and he was a mass of contradictions. He was loyal and judgmental, he was tactless and kind, acerbic, brutally honest, with an unwavering certitude that he was right about everything and he didn't suffer fools gladly. He loved the rest of us unconditionally.


He was also the most loyal and generous person in our lives. How could someone so generous be--oh what's the word--oh, I know--CHEAP! Even though he was an atheist, he went along with his family's desire for Christmas. He couldn't understand using wrapping paper ("What a waste of money!") and much to his wife and children's chagrin, every Christmas, presents would be wrapped in the comic sheets from the Sunday newspapers (yes, he saved comic strips all year long). If he wanted to talk to me, rather than paying for a long-distance call, he would call, ask a question (e.g. "Walt Disney's middle name?") and then quickly hang up, because he knew that I would call him back, just to show-off, that I knew the answer and he'd made me pay for the phone call!


We spent twenty years going to Florida to visit with him and his family at Christmas. The unrepentent atheist had the greatest time at Christmas. He always told the story that our own father would go out on Christmas Eve, shoot the shotgun, and come back in and say that Santa had committed suicide. Of course it wasn't true, and when he would tell the story, he was so believable, that someone would invariably ask, "Really--your father did that?" Bode once produced a scavenger hunt for the Christmas presents and after my husband had gone all over Pensacola looking for clues, the last slip of paper directed him to return to Ohio where Bode had hidden his present earlier in the year.

While there we would always go to his favorite Mexican restaurant. Bode and I would sing together at the drop of a hat. We walked into the Mexican restaurant and what was playing but Bing Crosby singing "When It's Christmas In Killarney". Not a word was spoken between us, but we immediately joined arms and began singing along at the top of our lungs. The rest of the family (my mother, husband, sister-in-law,niece and nephew) slunk away in embarrassment. As Bode and I literally waltzed to the table, he said, "I can't believe they don't understand the exquisite irony of "Christmas In Killarney" in a Mexican restaurant!"

One time, when I was a teenager, during the summer, we were in his old Chevrolet station wagon with no air conditioning and we were playing my mother's song-game. [my mother's song game: start to sing a song and end on a word; the other player must start another song with a song with that sameword in it, but if the person stops on a word and he doesn't also have another song with the word in it, and if he's challenged, then he's penalized] Unlike most of us, Bode would not stop the song quickly but would sing practically the whole song prior to stopping on a word. As we came to a stop light, people in the car next to us looked over just as Bode was lifting up his arm to emphasize a high note while singing "Onward Christian Soldiers": "Sol---ol-ol-diers!" We all screamed because he had ended on "soldiers"! Think of another song with soldiers! Of course, in the game one is
penalized if one sings a song and doesn't have a song with the word in it to counter attack. We knew Bode would always know the word and we'd lose a point if we challenged. In those days, it was "caissons" and not soldiers, so I couldn't respond with the Army song! Damn! Another point for Bode! Guess what? None of us challenged--of course we were afraid to challenge--so he had bluffed us and he gloated that he hadn't had a song with "soldiers" ready!

One evening he had taken us to the Fayette Theater for a movie and when he returned to pick us up, SHE was in the car. I always sat in the front with him and although SHE invited me to sit with them, I jumped in the back with three other brothers. We had never had to share him with anyone. SHE tried to have conversation with us and I was so upset because my brothers were answering all of her questions as if nothing were wrong. Of course, when we got home, I ran in to tell my mother that he had had a girl in the car with us. Two weeks later, SHE was my sister-in-law and I was nine years old.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

BET YOU CAN'T DO THIS!

FROM PATTY BURCH


Get A Glass of Red Wine & Watch the video to the end.

My doctor recently suggested that I take up the hula hoop for a good type of cardio exercise.

She also advised me that it was not as easy now as it was when I was 15.

I quickly informed her that I couldn't hula hoop even when I was 15.

So, the next day I went to K-Mart and bought a hoop.

It's true, I STILL can't master the darned thing, try as I might.

Then, lo and behold, this video was sent to me today.

I now have a purpose for honing my hula hoop skills (although I don't think this is exactly what she had in mind).

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

I've got the wine part down pat, however.

It gets better and better! JUST WAIT TILL THE END.

CLICK HERE to watch.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

HANUKKAH BEGINS


Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.

In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.

Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, then eat the flesh of a pig – both practices that are forbidden to Jews. A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to acquiesce to their demands, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and offered to cooperate on Mattathias' behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them.

Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans.

Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day's worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.

This is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil that is celebrated every year when Jews light a special menorah known as a hanukkiyah for eight days. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and so on, until eight candles are lit.

Friday, December 7, 2012

DID I READ THAT SIGN CORRECTLY?


TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW

In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT.

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

In an office:
AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD

Outside a secondhand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

Spotted in a safari park:(I sure hope so)
ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR

Seen during a conference:
FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR

Notice in a farmer's field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS

On a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!

And the winner is....
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

THE FIRST FAMILY'S CARD


After I opened this year's card from the First Family, Gerald asked, "So, just HOW much money did we have to donate to get THAT?" I laughed and said, "The same as the last THREE cards we've received!"

Les said, "Don't let any right-wingers see the card or they'll accuse the President of being part of the plot to destroy Christmas!"

I said, "OUR President realizes he's the President of ALL the people and his card SHOULD be ecumenical!"

My message is the SAME as his: "This season, may your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I LOVE NEW WORDS


Loving words as I do, I read an article in THE WEEK, an online media that outlined the "19 outstanding words you should be working into conversation."

I didn't know most of these words, but I'll no doubt throw some into conversation!

I have used "badinage" numerous times in my life.

I like "perichor" very much!

I knew glabella--just as I know philtrum (it should be on the list!).

CLICK HERE to read the list and learn.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

CORRESPONDING MONTHS

September and December always start on the same day of the week as each other.

The term "corresponding months" refers to months that begin on the same day of the week within a particular year. The only corresponding months in both common years and leap years are September and December. During common years, January and October; February, March and November; and April and July also correspond. In a leap year, January, April and July; March and November; and February and August are corresponding months.



Monday, December 3, 2012

BEA


In the Arthritis Foundation's Low Impact Water Exercise Program, the ages of the participants range from people in their twenties to the nineties. Two older women came together and one of them, Bea, was in her 80's, the other, Martha, was in her 90s. Although Bea had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she still drove and Martha, who was legally blind, was "sharp as a tack". One day Bea and Martha did not come to class and we learned that there had been an automobile accident and Bea was injured. Bea was away from class for awhile and although the accident was not her fault, she no longer drove.

Agnes, another classmate, said that she would bring Martha to class and I volunteered to bring Bea and take her home as she lived in my neighborhood. Each day, I would drive up in her driveway, and Bea would be waiting; I would alight from the car, grab her satchel and off we would go to class. After class, I would take her home and I would get out of the car and make sure she was IN the house. She had a garage door opener in her bag and she would open the garage door and I would accompany her through the garage to her kitchen. I noticed Post-It Notes on the stove, refrigerator, table, etc. One day, she forgot the garage door opener. She said, "I have the code in my wallet." She handed it to me. I felt strange, knowing the code to her house. I thought to myself, "I wonder WHY none of her children has gotten in contact with me? I can't imagine that I would have allowed a stranger to have such access to my mother!" Agnes said that I was an overly suspicious person! I answered, "This is how elderly people are taken advantage of, swindled, and scammed."

Each day, during the 7-8 minutes I would spend in the car with Bea, I "interviewed" her. Although losing her short-term memory, her recollection of by-gone times seemed quite keen. I learned that she grew up in Minnesota; her father was a butcher who died when she was thirteen; her mother ran the butcher shop after the death of Bea's father. Bea met her future husband and they married and moved to a farm. They eventually moved to Ohio; she was the mother of five children and was a widow.

One day the attendant at the pool reminded Bea that she needed to pay her fee. She said that she would have to get her son to write a check. When we got to her house, I asked Bea if she wanted me to write a note to her son. I put the note on the refrigerator, with my name and telephone number. She brought a check with her the next time.

One day, during a conversation at the pool, someone said that she was "an old farm girl". Bea piped up and said, "I was a farm girl too." I said, "Bea, NO you weren't; you grew up in town; your dad was a butcher; he died when you were thirteen; you helped your mother at the butcher shop and when you got married you moved to a farm." Bea giggled, sheepishly, but asked, incredulously, "HOW do you know all that?" Agnes said, "Bea, if you wanna know anything about yourself, ask Sue; she interviews everybody and she doesn't forget anything!"

I am still stunned that none of the members of her family had ever gotten in contact with the STRANGER who was with their mother three mornings a week for nearly a year. At Bea's funeral, I introduced myself and one of Bea's daughters asked how I knew her mother!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

YOU HAD TO BE THERE

Les and I were watching Jeopardy! and the Final Jeopardy category was "Religious Symbols". The clue was: "The rooster atop many church weathervanes is there to remind us of a story involving this apostle?"

I said, confidently, "It's Saint Peter." Waiting for the music to stop, I continued, "The cock will crow three times....." My voice trailed off as the first contestant's question revealed, "Paul." I said, "No, Paul wasn't an Apostle--it's Peter, dummy--Paul was on the road to Damascus!" [It is NOT unusual that I'm known to talk to the television!]

Les said, drily, "Maybe it's John, but Paul was the cute one!" I did a spit-take when I realized that he was referring to the controversy when John Lennon said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and in describing the Beatles, McCartney was usually labeled the "cute" one!

The second contestant answered correctly with "Peter", but the third answered incorrectly "Paul".

Les said, "Paul is still the cutest!"

In retelling this to friends today, I received a blank stares as they obviously did not grasp why I thought it was funny. If one must explain, then it is lost!

I guess you had to be there!



Saturday, December 1, 2012

WORLD AIDS DAY 2012

IN MEMORY OF OUR BELOVED LONNIE!


A large red ribbon was put up on the front of the White House Friday for the World Aids Day Saturday.

The United States has announced a plan to significantly reduce the global spread of AIDS. Advances in research and treatment of the disease has many officials feeling hopeful.

According to the United Nations, about 34 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and 2.5 million were infected last year alone. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control says there is an alarming rise in the spread of HIV among teenagers and young adults, with 1,000 new infections each month. Yet public officials and health care workers say the world is nearing a turning point on AIDS, the disease caused by the HIV virus.

In advance of World AIDS Day [December 1, 2012], U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined a plan calling for global efforts toward improving treatment and preventing the spread of HIV.

"We can reach a point where virtually no children are born with the virus. And as these children become teenagers and adults, they are at a far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today," said Clinton.

But for every person who receives treatment, two more become infected. Only about 8 million HIV patients in developing countries are receiving treatment. The United Nations' goal is to have 15 million people receiving treatment by 2015.

But experts say that testing and education also are crucial. The CDC recommends routine testing for everyone.

Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the Centers for Disease Control spoke to VOA via Skype. "HIV testing should be as common as cholesterol screening," he said.