Monthly Archives: June 2013

What’s the difference between 1950’s and today, you ask?

On Tuesday I mentioned the booklet of autobiographies written in my seventh-grade class.    Here’s a comparison–of course there are many but this is the one I’m going to pick up on.   In the seventeen autobiographies written by girls, all of them had wife and mother as future plans.  And in those seventeen autobiographies, I was the only girl who had any other vocation listed. 

I rush to say I have no problem with anyone who says that what they want to do in life is be spouse and parent.  Not a bit.   I accept that choice completely.    I also add that not one of the nineteen boys in the class listed as their one goal in life husband and father.  Not one of them listed that.   Lots of pilots and doctors and lawyers but not one mentioned a desire to be a husband and father.  Probably implied but not mentioned. 

This seems interesting to me because it points out how different the lives and choices of young people are today.   Both men and women can chose to stay home to care for family.  Both men and women can and do make plans to work, sometimes from necessity, sometimes because they want to.   Women today–and for many years–know that life is tricky.  They may not marry a man who can “take care of them”.  They may have to work for economic reasons and they may want to work because they know one size does not fit all. 

There!  That’s my sociological musing for today.

What did you want to be in seventh grade?

When I was in seventh grade at Border Star Elementary School in Kansas City, MO, my teacher had a class project:  we all wrote our autobiographies.   If you’re wondering, “What does a twelve-year-old have to write in an autobiography?” the answer is, not much.  

Nonetheless, we were all excited about this.  We typed one page, single spaced, which were all copied on something purple and, by now, nearly too pale to read.  We put the thirty-six pages together and bound them.  In the end,  we each had a hand-bound book with the story of everyone’s families and pets and vacations.   Believe it or not, many, many years later, I still have this.

The very last section of each autobiography was about our plans for the future.   What did I want to be in seventh grade?  I wrote, “I want to be a ballerina, author, and illustrate my own books, and, in my spare time I will write plays and act in them.”

How close did I come?  I realized very soon that I’d never be a ballerina:  I liked to eat and didn’t like pain,  Besides, I’m not the most graceful of people.  And, as much as I liked to draw, I always had trouble with noses in a frontal view.  This lack of skill left my people with oddly flat faces which left out illustrator.   I also learned that I’m not an actor.   I’m too inhibited to become another person and show their emotion.

However, I did become an author with ten published books and I also wrote an award-winning one-act play in college.   Two out of five–that’s pretty close.  

What did you plan to be in the seventh grade?  How close are you? 

What are the cutest cats in the world doing?

There are some women in the world who keep their homes immaculate.  I am not one of them.   I know women who say that they would be mortified if, after they died, people would come into their homes and find a mess.   I’ve never said that.  In the first place, I’d be dead and wouldn’t care.  In the second place, I would hope my friends wouldn’t either. 

But the cat tree was driving me crazy.  With two tuxedo cats–black and white–their fur shows up every place.  White on dark fabrics and dark on light fabrics.  The cat tree used to be light beige.  When I looked at it this morning, it was beige and black tweed.   I do have a limit with how much non-immaculateness I can put up with.   The cat tree hit it.

For that reason,  I pulled it from its corner, got a stiff brush out, and started de-furring–the cat tree not the cats.  That will come later.   Of course, as soon as the position of their favorite piece of furniture (after me) moved, both Maggie and Scooter had to come out and investigate.   They investigate by climbing up the cat tree and curling up on their levels.  As you may guess, this makes it much more difficult to clean.  I gave up. 

The picture at the top explains why. 

I never had a dog

I never had a dog growing up.  The family dog was given away when I was born–that’s in a much earlier blog.  I don’t know if my brother ever forgave me for that.  I wasn’t nearly as cute as the Scotties that were so popular back then.    My younger sister had a short-lived turtle named Tillie and a shorter-lived parakeet she named Budgie.  Miracle of miracles, I did get a cat when I was in    eighth grade but I never had a dog.

But George had grown up with dogs.  When he was in seminary, his sister gave him a puli, which is a Hungarian sheep dog.  She raised them.  Smart creatures, smarter than their owner plus prehensile paws.  She could wrap my arm in her paw and drag it to exactly where she wanted me to scratch.  She was grey and furry and just a darling.  (But she looked nothing like the gorgeous picture of a beautifully groomed  puli at the beginning of this blog.)  My first dog–and I had no idea what one did with a dog.  This is a picture of twenty-five year old George with his dog. 

Andy–her real name was something fancy like Andromeda of Sunny Brook Farm but she was just Andy, the runt of the litter.  Because I’d not had a dog before, I was amazed at her loyalty.  She wanted to go wherever I went.  She wanted to sleep with us.  She loved me unconditionally.

We had a double bed.  Andy took up a great deal of it.   One stormy night, Andy work me up.  I thought she needed to go out so I put on my rain coat, snapped the leash on her and took her outside.  She looked at me with confusion on her fuzzy face but did her business.    An hour later, she woke me up again.   The same thing happened: I got up, took her out, she looked confused but was a good dog.  I got little sleep that night because she woke me up every hour.  Remember, I had no experience with dogs.  I just knew I was worn out.  George explained the next morning that she was probably afraid of the storm.  She didn’t want to go outside.  She wanted to be loved and protected–inside but, nonetheless, she went out into the storm because I wanted her to.

Andy had one friend, a dachshund.  the two of them would run around the parsonage full steam.  However,   the dachshund had little short legs, so Andy would lap him.  I still remember Andy’s  romping,  happier than any creature who’s ever lived.

Being a lovely, sweet creature, she forgave me all my sins.  She adored me.  She followed me everywhere.  Since then, we’ve had Bridgette, Ginger, Pepper, Daffy, and Dream, but Andy was the first.  Now I live in a apartment and miss everyone of them.  I’ll be remembering them and sharing their stories every now and then. 

Do you have a story about a pet you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear it. 

What makes me cry

War for the sake of ego or profit makes me cry and also infuriate me.  The sight of draped coffins coming home to devastated families tears me up.  The memory of planes crashing into the World Trade Center makes me want to turn away but one can’t turn away from a memory.  One can’t ignore the sight of those throwing themselves from windows ninety stories up. 

Mistreatment of animals makes me cry.   The commercial showing the innocent cratures who’ve been mistreatment makes me furious at those who hurt them but makes me sob at how those cats and dog still only want love and care. 

The book The Yearling makes me cry.  The movie Brian’s Song–the first one with James Caan–always makes me dissolve in tears.

Racism and bigotry disguised as Christianity or patriotism makes me furious at the perpetrators and makes me weep for the mistreated.  

Rodney King’s words–“Can’t we all get along?”–makes me cry because I don’t know why we, all beloved children of God, can’t.   Thinking of the insults black men in the South had to put up with makes me cry which is why To Kill a Mocking Bird makes me sad–and angry and makes me do something!. 

Hearing that the tiny bodies of the Newtown children were so badly ripped up by the bullets used by the gunman that the grieving parents weren’t allowed to see them to ID them but had to identify their babies through photographs.  Then thinking about those parents  going home  do something with the Hannukah and Christmas presents their children would never open.

So many other things:  Nelson Mandella’s years in prison, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

And when events make me cry, then angry, I have to do something.  These emotions should kick me into action to change things.

What do you think?

What makes me laugh

I love to laugh. Imagine you do, too.   I’ve heard it’s good for one’s  health.  When I feel down, I watch one of the fifty-five episodes of the Big Bang Theory I have recorded.  What else makes me laugh?

On television, I love the  Headlines segment on the Tonight Show which shows funny headlines or newspaper stories.   My favorite was from many years ago.   Before he showed the newspaper clipping,  Jay Leno said, “I think the word they were looking for was Geritol.”   The newspaper story said that after the wedding reception for his daughter, the father of the bride reached for his genitals.  I always wonder what the reaction of the father of the bride was when he read that, poor man.  Hope it made him laugh after he got over the initial shock because I still enjoy it all these years later.   Also on the tonight show, I enjoy  most of the Photo Booth and Crime Blotter episodes.

Movies that make me laugh:  The original The In-Laws with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk.   I can recite the funny line like  “Serpentine” and “Mosquitoes the size of condors” and am hysterical when I remember  the flames on the side of the up-tight dentist’s car.   I love the movie American Dreamer about a romance writer with amnesia in Paris .  No one else has ever heard of it.   Almost anything John Cleese  makes me laugh.  John Oliver, too.

I’ve Got Friends in Low Places,   Itsy-bitsy, Teenie-weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,   Love Potion Number Nine and Surfin’ Bird always make me smile.

 What else?  Books by Kristen Higgins, Janet Evanovich, Jane Graves, and Candis Terry.  Friends who support and care–well, they don’t always make me laugh but they make me feel good,  My sister-in-law Diane who has the most wonderful and outlandish adventures.  The sounds of a small child’s or children’s laughing fills me with delight.  I can’t help but  join them.

And the pets, of course.  My cockatiel who sat on my shoulder and shared my scrambled eggs at breakfast;  Mr. Scooter, the tuxedo cat who just hid on the table where he know he’s NOT supposed to be but the rattling of the pile of papers he’s on gives him away;  Maggie when she looks around to make sure no one is watching before she plays with complete abandon with a catnip mouse;  Ginger, the sociopathic cocker,  who ate purses to get to the candy inside; Daffy, another cocker,  who pranced and smiled when George did the dishes because she knew he’d give her scraps.   What would we do without our pets who make us laugh?

What makes you laugh?  I’d love to know. 


I’m late with this blog.  I had one all ready.  Pictures, spell checked, etc.  I worked ahead on Tuesday evening so I could just click it on.   Then I had guests for dinner and had to clean off the dining room table where I keep the old. slow computer which is also the one I use for my blog because I still haven’t figured out everything on the iMac.  

Odd how guests seem to assume they won’t be eating with a computer taking up most of the table.

I carefully put the mouse “some place”, you know, some place I’d remember, some place that would be obvious, some place I could easily see it.   This morning, I put the computer back on the table but–you guessed it–no mouse!   I looked all over.  I knew it couldn’t scoot away.   I could not  find it.  Until I did.  This evening.  In a drawer.  I don’t know why.   A little late to put a blog up.

A new one Tuesday and Friday of next week!  Sorry.

The day a ship almost ran over me–a HUGE ship

I was incredibly lucky growing up.  My mother loved to travel and took  me to Europe twice while I was in high school.   I believe this changed me, made me a more open person, realizing that Kansas City, Missouri–as much as I loved growing up there–was not the center of the universe.  I also had several very funny incidents there.  Here’s the first one.

When we got to Lucerne, we visited all the great spots, my favorite the 170-meter-long  covered bridge.    Then we went to our hotel which was not in Lucerne but on the lake with beautiful views of the lake and the mountains from our rooms.    We saw paddle boats on the lake and decided to get one.  Mom and I pedaled out and away from the shore, the wheel our pedals turned rotating strongly and quickly behind us.  We enjoyed the breeze and the view, laughing and having a great time–until we both looked up and saw a huge ship bearing down on us.  I have googled “ships on Lake Lucerne” and don’t find freighters listed but this is my story and, as I remember,  that ship was an enormous freighter.   And it headed directly toward us!

Aware that the ship didn’t slow or turn, Mom and I started pedalling backward.  When that didn’t move us fast enough, we turned the tiny boat around and pedalled until our legs were weak and barely made it to shore.  But we survived, didn’t even get wet.

Many years later, George and I headed from West Texas to Denver.  He wanted to take the “scenic” route which means bad roads and few filling stations, but it was scenic.  At noon, in the middle of a broad valley with no town or businesses in sight, we saw a rustic restaurant.   Once inside, I discovered a picture of the covered bridge in Lucerne on the wall.   The owner/cook came from Lucerne–I have no idea how he ended up in this barren part of Colorado–and told me the bridge had burned down but was rebuilt.  Then I told him about my adventure on the lake to which he said, “Lots of tourists get killed that way.”

I’m not sure he was kidding.