Then and Now: 1958 and 2010

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Then and Now. Last week it was Collages.

I missed last week’s Spin Cycle. In fact I have missed a bunch of week’s ya’ll. I’ve been in a funk like that. This whole blogging thing is inconsistent for me. I’ve noticed a whole lot of blogs (that I used to follow on an admittedly inconsistent basis) have completely turned off the lights. Gone away.

But I digress. This week, I am participating, hopefully not too late. And I’m going to present a couple of collages here too, for good measure! You can click on the collages to make them bigger.

 

This is a Collage of a bunch of very old pictures. In fact, over fifty years old. This is me, back when I was little and cute:

My granddaughter, Freya, is about the same age now, that I was over fifty years ago. This Collage is of her:

Am I the only one here who thinks she looks like me?

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Our Harrowing Drive to Raleigh, Being Chased by a Dragon

This week’s Spin Cycle is our favorite posts. Mine was actually one of a series, called The Ordeal of a Lifetime. I really enjoyed writing about the cruise we took for my 50th birthday. Getting there was definitely NOT half of the fun. But, it’s makes a pretty darn funny story when I retell it, y’all.

I chose this third part installment, because it was one of the most looked at blogs, according to my blog stats. Sadly, my most popular blog of all time is Red Toes for Ruby Tuesday, which is basically a picture of my feet, and can’t in any way be attributed to my writing skills.

Another thing I have to add about this series: the whole thing was originally written for different Spin Cycles. My hat has to go off to Sprite’s Keeper, Jen, for coming up with such challenging and inspiring topics every week.

Please read The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part One and The Ordeal of a Lifetime, Part Two before reading Part Three. This is for this week’s  Spin Cycle topic, Quirks.

When my husband took me on a cruise, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I ignored the advice of  every professional travel planner on the planet,  did things my own way, and in the process, managed to survive The Ordeal of a Lifetime. This is Part Three of the  story. It is true, y’all.  Every single detail of it.

Now, I had managed to live 50 years, without ever going on a cruise. Kinda like I think I might be the last living native Wilmingtonian, I think I might have been the last living woman, born before 1960, that had never been on a cruise. My mom, for example, has been on so many cruises that she’s on first name basis with the cabin attendants on Norwegian’s  Cruise Line.

100_0171The weird thing about all the cruises my mom has been on, is; she has no pictures. None. I’m not kidding. She and her husband, Bob (lovingly referred to as old fart stepdad number three) only bring back the solemn looking, 8 by 10  “pose”on Formal Night, that the ship’s photographers try to force on you complimentary shoot when you’re all dressed up for dinner.

I asked them about this. I said, “Mom, why don’t y’all take a camera and get some pictures of your trip?”

To which she replied, “Oh, Sweeeeeeetie. We don’t have time for all that mess! We’re too busy “doin’ stuff”  to fool with takin’ pictures!”

Well. I figure I must have a quirk about this. Let’s call it a camera addiction. I have to take pictures at birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, when the flowers bloom, when frinds come over, when the dog looks cute, when the cat looks annoyed, after Jeff cuts the grass and whenever we put our “dressy” clothes on, y’all. I wasn’t about to go on my first ever cruise and not take hundreds of pictures! How was I going to bore entertain all my internet friends ad nauseum for many enjoyable years to come, without a pictorial diary of each and every day’s activity?

Unlike my mom,  I’m too busy takin’ pictures to enjoy what I’m “doin’”, I guess. Needless to say, our camera was the most crucial part of our trip. Without it, well, we might as well have just stayed home.

After we survived the longest cab ride in the history of the world with that Dragon character, and woke Klinton up, surprising him with the news that he was going with us to Raleigh, I hurried into the kitchen to make a sandwich and a glass of diet coke. My stomach was growlin’, and I was feelin’ weakish, y’ all. After all, it was almost noon. By this time, I had planned to be relaxin’ on the deck of our cruise ship, enjoyin’ a nice buffet and comparin’ toe nail polish with my new internet friends.

Suddenly, I heard screaming from the living room. My very Yankee husband was screaming a very Yankee expletive that proper, southern-born gals from North Carolina also frequently say after they’ve been married to a Yankee for a while would never dream of typing, much less sayin’:

F**K!”

I dropped the bread and rushed into the living room.

“What’s wrong now?” I cried.

F**K… F**K… F**K!!!” was his answer.

I LEFT THE GOD DAMNED CAMERA BAG IN THE GOD DAMNED F**KING CAB!!” he screamed.

Poor Klinton came running out of his room, half dressed. “What’s going on?” he wanted to know.

“Jeff left our camera in the cab,” I explained, trying to remain calm. Going on this trip without our camera? Not an option.

Jeff already had the phone book out. “I’m calling the cab company!” he said.

The cab company’s receptionist was organized and efficient. She said she knew right where Dragon was, and promised to page him and have him call us back immediately.

“Here,” Jeff said, handing the phone to me. “When Dragon calls, tell him to turn around and bring our camera back! To save time, I’ll take the car and get it filled up with gas!”

Five minutes later, the phone rang. It was Dragon.

“Yes, yes, Ma’am. I have camera!” he said, triumphantly. “I bring back to you! As soon as I get back from driving another paying fare to Raleigh! I bring camera later today!”

At this point, I think my head almost exploded.

NOOOOO!!!!” I screamed into the phone said firmly.”Listen to me! WE have to go to Raleigh!! We have to leave NOW! We CAN’T WAIT!! WE NEED our camera!! You HAVE to bring it to us!!”

“OK, no problem,” he said. “I meet you at airport in Raleigh and give you camera.”

“NO! NO!” I was panicked. “We can’t meet you in Raleigh! We’ll be on too tight of a schedule! You need to bring our camera NOW!”

“I bring camera to Raleigh.” Then, unbelievably, he hung up on me.

I stared at the phone in my hand, as the call ended. I was thinking that I was going to make it my life’s work to have this Dragon fired. At that moment, Klinton, bless his heart, came out of his room and sensed that I was about to snap.

dscf4055“Mom,” he said, soothingly, taking the phone from me. “Calm down. Just  get ready to go. Let me handle this.  I’ll talk to the cab driver. You have his cell number in your cell phone now. His name’s Dragon, right? We’re all going to Raleigh. I’ll have him meet us on the road, somewhere between here and there.”

Mutely, I handed the phone to him. As I made myself a glass of diet coke on ice, I overheard Klinton talking to Dragon.

“Hello? This is Ginger’s son, Klinton. Yeah. We’re driving to Raleigh, too. Can we meet up somewhere and pick up our camera? Where are you right now? Which mile marker? OK. Call me back.”

dscf3896Soon, Jeff had returned and we were on the road. Klinton, in the back seat, was enjoying his role of mediator, in constant contact with Dragon. Jeff , in race car driver mode, was staring at the road, steely-eyed, while he gripped the wheel and drove down I-40 at 85 miles per hour. I was sipping my diet coke and chewing my nails,  hoping that we didn’t get pulled over for speeding, hoping were going to make it to the airport in time, hoping this was all just a bad dream.

Dragon claimed to be only a few miles behind us. Klinton made arrangements with him to meet up at a large rest area on I-40. We pulled into the rest area and waited. And waited. And waited.

We had about 40 minutes to complete our drive into Raleigh, find a place to park at the airport, get our five suitcases, camera bag, laptop case, pocketbook, incredibly heavy golf club bag which was stuffed with two sets of golf clubs, plus our shoes and a bottle of Peach Schnapps, and my itinerary into the airport, through security, and somehow onto the plane.

We waited for so long that we each had time to make a dash to the restrooms, one at a time. As we waited, Jeff kept threatening to leave, and Klinton kept promising that Dragon was almost there.

Then, Jeff said, “I think I see him!”

Sure enough, it was the taxi driven by Dragon, turning into the rest area. His window was rolled down and dangling out of his hand, looking for all the world like Michael Jackson’s baby, was our precious camera bag!

“He’s not gonna stop!” I cried. Jeff got out of our car, and stood alongside, waiting. Dragon drove by, barely slowing down, and tossed the camera bag at Jeff.  In his front seat, I could see a very flabbergasted and harried looking female passenger.

As Jeff jumped back into the car and we raced out of the parking lot, Klinton, always the optimist, said, “Well, at least now you have your camera back.”

But…..would we make it to Raleigh in time to catch out flight? Would we survive the stress? Would we ever get a bite of food? Would we be further harrassed by the airport security?

To be continued….

Part Four: Can a Can of Pringles and a Bloody Mary Be Classified As a Gourmet Meal?

Part Five: Another Cab Cab Driver Takes Us For a Wild Ride

Part Six: Did We Break The Sound Barrier?

Finding Love the Second Time Around

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Love and Valentine’s Day.

This is a picture of my husband, Jeff, and I on our wedding day. It was a second wedding for each of us, and we are now coming up on our ten year anniversary. Jeff likes to say that, between the two of us, we had forty four years of marriage experience, and that we both at least knew what we didn’t like.

He’s real romantic like that, y’all.

I’ve shared a lot of my grandmother’s poems on here, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared on of my own – until today. I thought this would be an appropriate way to wish my Babe a Happy Valentine’s Day.

And if you’re lonely, and single, and wondering if you’ll ever find the right person for you, I hope my poem will give you some hope today.

My Prize

He’s the Promise my heart’s been expecting

Half my lifetime to happen to me.

He’s my fantasy, more than I’d longed for,

Or dreamed could possibly be.

My greatest hopes and deepest needs

Are met when I look in his eyes.

He is my wonder, he is my fortune, he is my prize.

His touch is like silk in the morning.

His smile fills my thoughts through the night.

For so long I have dreamed that I’d hold him

And our toubles would melt out of sight.

His face with its changing expressions

Brought the sunshine to light my dark skies.

I’ve found my friend! I’ve found my lover! Iv’e found my prize!

I had searched high and low for his presence

From a lonely and cold distant land.

I have bloomed in the shade like a flower

From the kind, gentle care of his hand.

He must know how much he has changed me

Oh, if I could help him to just realize

That he is my Prince. He is my Hero. He is my Prize.

I’m not sure he believes that I love him.

He’s been hurt and it rips me apart.

I know deep inside how he needs me,

To mend all the dents in his heart.

So I’ll hold on and wait; he will let me

My faith is this man will survive

He is my Darling. He is my Angel. He is my Prize.

And I thank God above that I’ve found him.

It was worth all the years on my own.

No more waiting in pain and frustration,

No more living without, and alone.

For I am so thrilled with my treasure

His love is the greatest surprise,

It’s always with me. It is my comfort. It is my prize.

So, How Does It Taste?

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Pet Peeves.

Whoopi Goldberg summed it up well, y’all. She said, “I don’t have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritation.”

There are a lot of things that people get peeved about. Getannoyed.com has a list too long to read. I read through about half of the list, found out that I agree with most of it, and that I am probably guilty of being somebody’s pet peeve, myself.

But I didn’t read the one thing that gets to me most of all; intrusive servers.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I go out to a restaurant, I’m there for two things, and two things only. To eat (obviously) and to enjoy the company of whoever I am with.

So, waitresses and waiters all over the world: Please try to understand this simple, obvious idea. I am not there to be entertained by you, become your new best friend, listen to your life story, share you with my husband, give you advise, help you do your job, be interviewed by you, be in awe of your cleavage, or your cute little behind or your too-tight, ultra short shorty pants or be astounded your vast wine knowledge.

When did all the rules change? Remember the good old days, when waiters were tall, silent men in white gloves and tuxedos? When serving you unobtrusively and silently was almost an art form? Nowadays, all we get are a bunch of half dressed, chatty twits.

So here are my ideas of what makes a good dining experience:

Don’t stoop down next to me to look over my shoulder and talk into my ear while I’m reading the menu. Not only does this invade my personal space, but it creeps me out.

Don’t lean over towards my husband suggestively, giving him a free peek at your practically falling-out-of-your-bra boobs. It you want a good tip, honey, quit acting like a slut and just take the damn order.

Don’t tell me your name, what you like on the menu, your favorite special, which wine you prefer, how long you’ve been working here, or how much I remind you of your mother because I DON’T CARE. I’m there to eat, not to get acquainted with you, no matter how nice a person you might be. Get it?

If we order an appetizer, don’t, for The Love of God, bring it with, or worse, after the entree. You forgot about it. I understand. Just deduct it from the bill and apologize. Thirty minutes after we’ve finished our meal and are ready to go is not the time to be presented with the long-forgotten bowl of French Onion Soup, OK?

Don’t interrupt us nine hundred times during our dinner conversation with stupid, annoying questions. It’s alright to cruise by, make eye contact, smile and murmur, “Everything OK?”

It is NOT OK to ask me, “Would you like more coffee?” ( Um, my cup is still untouched.)

“How is everything this evening?” (It would be just fine if you’d stop interrupting us.)

“Are you ready for your salad?” (Yes, just bring the damn food and quit asking so many questions.)

“How is everyone enjoying their meal?” (LEAVE US ALONE!)

“Are you having a good time?” (After being pestered to death? You’re kidding, right?)

“Can I get you more bread/wine/french fries/another napkin/anything else?” (If I needed something I would have told you the first five times you rudely interrupted my first chance all month to visit my mother.)

“How are you doing with that entree? Isn’t it wonderful?” (It would be wonderful if you’d march your little fanny back into the kitchen.)

The ONE time you need to ask a question (and usually don’t)  is before you try and take my plate away, when I’ve still got food left on it. You’re really lucky I didn’t stab you with my fork, instead of shouting, “Hey! I’m not finished with that salad!”

But the question I hate most of all, is the dreaded, “So? How does it taste?” I hate this question so much that my husband has gotten into the habit of bribing telling the servers not to ask it, if they want to avoid witnessing a menopausal meltdown want to get a good tip. To me, “how does it taste?” is so…intimate, so personal.

It’s just rude, y’all. My hairdresser doesn’t ask me “How does it feel?” while she’s shampooing my hair. My bank teller doesn’t ask me “How does it smell?” when she hands me a crisp stack of new bills. It’s none of their business how my body is responding to stimuli and I’m not going to tell them either, if they ask. Which they won’t because, unlike dingbat servers like you, they know and respect the boundaries of human decency.

Why do you want to know anyway? What is the point of the question? Are you going to bring me another dinner if I say it tastes awful? I doubt it. Everyone knows that everyone has different ideas about what tastes good. What might be too salty, or spicy, to me, might taste great to my husband.

I think the reason you ask me “so how does it taste” is to appear to seem interested, and at the same time, avoid asking something helpful, such as, “can I bring you anything else?” I know this because of all the times I’ve had to finish chewing, swallow, smile through gritted teeth, say as politely as possible, “it tastes just fine, thanks” and then have to shout at your retreating backside, “BUT COULD I PLEASE HAVE SOME KETCHUP?”

And if you ask me, “How does it taste?” before I’ve even actually had a chance to taste it…well, you ain’t seen rude, sweetie, until you see the measly tip you’ll get from this emotionally over-wrought menopausal southern lady, and I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie!

I know, I know. There are whole blogs out there devoted to the Pet Peeves of hard working servers. And I’m sure I’ve made the top of somebody’s list.

Want to find out what peeves somebody besides me? Check out the Spin Cycle at Spite’s Keeper.

How To Make A Dog Happy

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Happiness.

“Dogs are obsessed with being happy”
–James Thurber

“I lie belly-up In the Sunshine, happier than
You will ever be.”
– Author Unknown

Thank God we have a dog, y’all. What else would we do with ourselves on an unexpectedly warm day in the middle of January, if we didn’t have this 105 pound pile of constantly shedding black hair rottweiler following us around with this look, which we call The Look,  in her eyes:

…which obviously says, “Are you Freaking People EVER going to take me for a walk?”

It was crappy day, after all. Which means we had just worked four, twelve hour night shifts in a row, so we were feeling like, well, crap. Poor Hannah had spent all four nights curled up in her chair, alone. I figured after four nights of torment, the three of us would enjoy a little fresh air and sunshine. Plus, she was giving me The Look.

It’s so easy to make a dog happy, y’all. “Do you want to go for a ride in the truck?” gets this look of joy. You can’t see it in the picture, but she was actually trembling with joy.

And that makes me so happy, y’all.

Hannah has bad hips, so getting her into the back of our SUV is a bit of a project. But she is very patient with Dad, as he lifts her up. She does her part, of course, by flailing around like an octopus falling out of a tree.

“OK, I’m all in, let’s go! let’s go! let’s go! I’m ready to splatter your windows with slobber and bark at all the other cars!”

“I take back everything bad I said about you guys. I love you, Mom.”

So, without further ado, I give you Hannah’s Trip To The Beach…

“Dogs are our link to paradise.”
— Milan Kundera

“All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.”
—Franz Kafka

“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”
— Samuel Butler

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
–Aldous Huxley

“She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader. She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart.” –Author Unknown

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
– Milan Kundera

“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semihuman.The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”
—Edward Hoagland

“If the are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went”
–Will Rogers

I hope y’all all got happy on this little virtual walk with Hannah. I’ll leave you with just one more thought…

“Today I sniffed
Many dogs’ behinds. I celebrate
By kissing your face.”
–Author Unknown

He’s HERE!!!!

This week’s Spin Cycle topic was Thankful.  Who, or what we are thankful for. A few days ago, I wrote that my three sons are always what I am most thankful for. After that, I am thankful for my marriage to my second husband.

This past year I became a grandmother, which adds a whole new deminsion to  life. When it comes to being thankful, grand babies are in a whole other category, y’all.

Last Wednesday was especially poignant because it was my nine year wedding anniversary and that  morning, my oldest son called to tell me that his wife, who had been in the hospital with pre eclampsia for six days, was being induced .

We rushed to the hospital, sure that our anniversary was also going to be our grandson’s birthday. But I guess it was not meant to be. Even though Erika exhibited the strength and patience of a true heroine, the doctors made the painful decision late Thursday night to do a Ceasarian Section. And so, at 11:04 pm, on Thanksgiving Day, we had a Thanksgiving baby.

I know I’m coming in a bit late for the Spin Cycle, but I wanted to share this wonderful news.

The Pearls I Could Not Buy

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Thankful.  Who, or what we are thankful for. My three sons are always what I am most thankful for. After that, I am thankful for my marriage to my second husband.

Today is especially poignant because it is my nine year wedding anniversary and my oldest son just called to tell me that his wife, who has been in the hospital with pre eclampsia since Friday, is being induced today.

That means, with any luck, y’all, my anniversary is also going to be my grandson’s birthday!!

You are the trip I did not take;
You are the pearls I cannot buy;
You are my blue Italian lake;
You are my piece of foreign sky.

My oldest son, Kyle, was born on October 19, 1978. I wrote the above verse in his baby book. Then I went on to have two more boys. They were all precious to me then, and they are still precious to me now. They have been, and always will be, the loves of my life. I knew when I first held Kyle in my arms that I was never going to be rich, never going to be famous and never going to be able to see the world.

I also knew that looking into his little eyes, and feeling his little fist curl around my finger, was far more rewarding than anything else would ever be.

Today, Kyle is going to become a parent. In a few hours, he will know the secret that the rest of us parents know. That nothing else he has done so far in his life can compare to this. And that from today on, his life is forever changed. Continue reading