Thursday, May 28, 2009

California and Memories

I was thinking yesterday of the time I lived in California. I thought I'd document what I remember, just in case my kids/grandkids are ever interested. And in case I wind up with severe dementia or Alzheimer's. *grin*

My Dad was stationed at Camp Pendleton when I was in the fifth grade. We were living in Rison when he was transferred and it broke my heart to leave. I was in Gloria Faye Johnston's class and also took classes from Jack White. They were like second parents to me and I cried my heart out that last day. I can still remember Mr. White hugging me close and the pens in his pocket jabbing me. I didn't care, because I loved him and I was miserable. I honestly believe that if I had been able to stay, and be taught Math by Mr. White, I wouldn't be so numerically challenged today.

We traveled out to Oceanside by car. It took several days, as we drove through Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. I remember stopping along the way occasionally to get out and take photos, and because I ALWAYS had to use the bathroom. Something my parents got very very tired of. (Little did they know, I only had one kidney.)

My first view of the ocean was in San Diego and we all jumped out of the car and ran to the sand. Sister #1 and I were dressed alike and we were just standing there in the sand looking at the water like we had never seen anything so beautiful in our lives. And we hadn't. I remember driving over a crest and it coming into view. I still get that sensation from time to time when I crest a hill and expect to see the wide blue expanse. It's always a disappointment when it doesn't happen.

We lived in the on-base apartment type housing. There was a very small kitchen and living room, one bathroom and two bedrooms I think. There were six of us at that time living in that small apartment on the second floor. The first thing that happened after we moved in was that Sister #1's bicycle was stolen. She saw another kid riding it later, but Dad never really followed up on that lead.

The children in that area were absolutely horrid. I suppose it could be that they never were able to settle and have a "home" and that somehow colored their disposition. In my opinion, I believed it was because none of them were raised in the south, where manners were ingrained. There was always a drama going on in the neighborhood and battle lines drawn. I had a best friend named Rita Gerard. She lived with her Dad and little brother. I don't know where her Mom was. Right before we were transferred out, she and I had a falling out, (I don't remember why) and we never resolved it. I regret that now. It would be interesting to know where she is today.
There was a huge Great Dane across the street that all the children were terrified of, and rightly so. The owner wasn't worried about anyone's fears as I recall.

There was a large canyon a short walk from our apartment, and my brother and I visited it with some other kids one day. For some reason, I climbed down a path along with a few others and got stuck. The same way I got stuck on the top of the metal tower in an earlier post. It was steep, and extremely dangerous. I finally crawled my way back out and it terrifies me even today to think of it. I'm sure my Mother freaked when she found out. And I don't believe I ever visited that canyon again.

There was also a little mobile unit that we could visit to shop for little things like milk and bread, candy and cokes. I would walk there countless times with Rita. I remember vividly carrying my id card and shopping in that trailer, with a very stern young Marine watching us like a hawk. Not a very friendly person, but I suppose he didn't like the duty he had to fulfill.

I remember, or think I do, that my first visit to the movies was at Pendleton. It was Snow White and I was in heaven. If I had ever been to the movies before that, I can't remember it. We were supposed to visit Disneyland on my birthday, but Dad was called to guard President Nixon, who decided to visit San Clemente at the last minute. I was grown with two almost grown children the next time I had the opportunity to visit Disneyland. It was nice, but somehow I don't think I enjoyed it like I would have as a child.

Once, when my Dad's cousin Ken visited, we all drove up to a unique place called Calico Ghost Town. It was a replica of an old west mining town and we had a wonderful time. Either on the way, or on the way home, somehow we got lost and found ourselves in the mountains. The car we were in, was not made for that kind of terrain, and the huge boulders pushed up into the floor boards. Kinda scary. But, we somehow found our way.
I was terribly uncomfortable at school, but there was a Summer Fun program and I loved that. We could do school work, or just fun crafts every day. We could play tetherball, and often did there and at home. We'd tie a tetherball to the street sign on the corner of the street and play. My thumb stayed jammed constantly.

Even though I loved the beach, I was so very glad to leave California. On the way back to Arkansas, we stopped at the Grand Canyon
and Painted Desert. THAT was worth it all. How can anyone see these wonders and not believe there is a God of Creation?! I have many more slides but thought it too many to post and a slide show would just be too long. I'm so thankful I have those slides though. And thankful to Big Maburn for putting them all on a disk for me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Couple of Reviews

SR and I don't often rent movies, but this weekend, he ventured out to the local rental store and brought home a couple. Since I've been in a sort of funk lately, with nothing to say, I thought I'd just review these two movies for your reading pleasure. (Or pain) Kind of spoilers, so beware.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I had no intention of ever watching this movie, but SR was so proud of himself for bringing it home. He even asked the clerk if she thought his wife would like it. Sweet man.
Actors: Brad (Eye Candy) Pitt as Benjamin and Cate Blanchett as Daisy. Hmmm, starting out weird if you ask me.
Story line: A child is born physically old. His emotions and mind are correct, just his body is wrong. As he grows, his body regresses as his mind grows normally.
He meets the love of his life somewhere around the time his mind is seven and she is actually that age. The acting in the first half of the movie is not believable to me. Neither one truly captures being young, nor has a good grasp of a true New Orleans accent. Later in the movie when they are both at the same age in mind and body, they hook up. From there the acting improves dramatically. Problem is, the story begins to decline. He grows younger as she grows older. By the end of the thing, I was so distraught that I wanted to go to my bedroom and sob. This movie is dark and depressing from beginning to end. I don't like unhappy endings, unless there is something redeeming about the sadness. This was just sad period. I give it a thumbs down and would not recommend seeing it.

Actors:Liam Neeson as Brian and Maggie Grace and his daughter, Kim.
Story line: Brian is an ex-government agent who's career cost him his family. As his daughter is turning 17, he tries to reconnect with her, but ex-wife is not very cooperative. Against his better judgement, he gives his consent to allow her a trip to France with another 17 year old friend. After they leave, he finds out she is actually on a trip to follow U2's tour. As soon as the two girls arrive in France, they are abducted by men in the sex trade business. The rest of the movie is filled with drama and energy. Even as you see Brian's fear and heartbreak, you feel it, but it doesn't overwhelm you. He moves heaven and earth to find and rescue her. Happy ending.
I give this movie a thumbs up and would recommend it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Simple Pleasure

There really aren't a lot of interesting things to blog about when you are "retired". That is unless your spouse is also retired and you both travel or do exciting things. I have discovered that I am happy with simple pleasures. (Well, to be honest, I always thought I would be.) That is not to say I wouldn't love to do some traveling, but SR is not a traveler and is very content to spend his free time puttering around the house.

I have agonized over what I should do on a daily basis. I thought that if I was blessed enough to be able to stay home, I should be accomplishing some huge something. I haven't been able to do that, and for a while it really bothered me. After being here for a few months now, I find that it's ok if I don't accomplish something newsworthy.

I have learned to sleep in. It was unintentional, but it feels really nice.

I enjoy being able to spend quiet time with the Lord and not feel rushed.

I enjoy simply sitting in the yard and listening to the wind, and watch the birds.

I enjoy watching HGTV. Or most of it.

I enjoy reading.

I enjoy having supper done or nearly so when SR comes in from work. He, by the way, mentioned yesterday, how much he enjoys that.

I enjoy walking around the yard and looking at the blooms and plants I set out.

I enjoy sprucing up things in and around the house that need a little tlc.

I enjoy email (I always have) and I admit I am almost addicted to facebook. I'm trying to curb that. I also love reading blogs and check them almost daily. Another addiction to be worked on, I suppose.

I do get bored from time to time, and I also get lonely.

I found myself quite happy yesterday, to simply get out and buy groceries, run errands and go to the library. I stopped to visit with a couple of friends at their work places and was almost giddy. I know that sounds rather lame, but it's true.

There are always down sides to being at home, but for the most part, it's wonderful. It may be boring to anyone else to read, but it is what it is.

After thinking about it, I think I have accomplished something monumental. To myself anyway.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nothing Much Going On

I'm posting simply because I haven't updated lately. There really isn't anything much to tell. The rain has been unbelievable and no one can get out and do anything much. We finally have all the little things done on the flooring and I found an area rug at Garden Ridge that I liked, and could afford.... It's not what I had really wanted, but I believe it is a better choice after seeing it down. I wanted something a little more contemporary, since most of what I have is more traditional.

My brother's daughter is expecting a baby in November. We are excited for them but we know we will not get to see the little darling much. They live outside of Chicago.

I thought I might be working one or two days a week at the clinic, just to help out, but that didn't work out. That is both a relief and a disappointment. I'm relieved that I will be free as a bird, but disappointed that I will not have a way to make a little spending money, or have social interaction. It's all for the best though. God knows what He is doing and I trust Him.

Mom's referral to a spine doctor for her severe lower back pain did not pan out, so it's back to square one and back to her PCP to see if she can get some relief.

I've been touching up baseboards and doing a little trim staining of late. Getting back into the rhythm of having no set hours and no one to please but myself. It's nice. Planning on painting the front door and shutters if the RAIN ever stops.

So that is the mundane post of the week, gentle readers. Have a good day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Happens When You Google Your Memories

Sister #1 sent me a message today that tweaked my memory big time. And it reminded me of awhile back, when I tried to find the junior high school I attended while we were living in Bethlehem, PA. I found the school website, but there were no pictures of the actual school building on it. I was so disappointed, but I kept searching and finally found a small one.

And so I began searching for the apartment complex in which we resided while there. And what do you know? I found it as well! The time frame was circa 1970 and I was 11 and 12. I found some other photos of our family during that time and they are hilarious.
We were having a little play for the neighborhood. Cinderella to be exact and sister#1 was one of the stepsisters. I don't say "ugly" stepsister because I don't want to make her mad...
These are shots of the kitchen, dining room and bedroom in that complex. They are exactly as they were all those years ago, minus our personal furniture.

The difference then and now, is that our dining table was much larger, due to a large family, and the second of only two bedrooms was full of bunk beds for all four children. (Sister#3 was born after moving back to AR) Brother's little cot was set up in the walk in closet. (Believe me I know how weird that sounds, but it's true.
This is us in that dining room at Thanksgiving, thanking God for our blessings.

Here are some shots of us in the snow. And it snowed frequently. Once on Easter.

I got carried away with my little project, and went further back in my childhood and found a street view of the house we lived in when I was 9. We were in Shreveport, LA. I tried to copy or save it, but it cut the house off. I'll display it anyway.
I think my mother was happiest while we were living there. And she frequently begged my father to move back. I'm not sure why he wouldn't, but obviously, we never did. I'll have to dig into my mother's photo albums and get some pictures of us when we were there. I remember that house as if I saw it just last week. I had such a good time doing this. So many years ago....I'm very thankful for the internet today.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Long Awaited Before and After

I finally got some photos uploaded for your viewing pleasure. These are the before the laminate and after the laminate shots. Brother-in-law still has to finish the doorway transition pieces, but we are relieved to have the rest of it done. SR really picked out the color and it's darker than I expected, but I still love it.

I also had a very unexpected pleasure this morning as I walked around my yard. I found these beautiful blooms in the shamrock plant that has decided to live in one of my beds without any prior planting. I don't know where it came from, but I love it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Patience and Patients

The last week has been the most physically and mentally demanding in a long while. Sister#2's husband has been frantically trying to get our new laminate flooring down. Before he could begin, of course we had to demo the original vinyl and carpet. That was intensive, especially having to scrape the vinyl off the concrete floor. We lived with bare floors for a week or more before BIL could start installation. There was no place for the larger pieces of furniture to go, so we had to move it all to one side of the room, and as he worked we'd move the furniture back to the finished area. It was total chaos for what seemed like weeks, but the installation was actually only a few days. BIL works quickly and efficiently. At present, there are still a few finishing touches he needs to accomplish, but they won't take long.

During all of this, the clinic called me in to fill in two whole and two half days. Since I've gotten used to rest and relaxation at home, it was very hard on me. I spent the days working at the clinic, and the evenings working at cleaning up the installation trash, staining trim, and moving furniture around. When I woke this morning, I didn't feel as if I'd even been to bed. But, my floors are so bee-YOU-tee-ful! Funny thing last night is, we just couldn't figure out the angle in which the larger pieces of furniture rested. We are still tweaking that. As soon as we get everything situated, I'll post pics.

On a completely different vein.... I know we will be wishing for cool, overcast days come August and September, but it sure would be nice to have more mild, sunny days right now.