Do You Remember These?

Linking up with today’s Daily Prompt to chronicle three unforgettable moments in my life.  In no particular order, here are three of the ones that I thought of right off the bat. 1. The day my father told us that he was leaving our mother.  I found out later that mom had told him that he if wanted to leave, he had to tell us himself, she wasn’t to going to do it for him.  I was ten, and it was the night of the last day of school.  Dad put us in the car and we were going to go play Putt Putt and see Empire Strikes Back.  We were so excited, as we hadn’t seen dad much over the past several years in general, and six months in particular, and this was a night out with just dad.  JUST dad.  How cool was that? On the way to the golf park, dad said that he should have never been a parent and he wasn’t very good at it, and that he was moving to Washington, DC.  He was moving out on June 17th.  It was Father’s Day.  D and I were, of course, crying, as back then people didn’t get divorced.  And if you happened to be a child of one of the rare divorced people, you were then ostracized by your friends as their parents didn’t want you them to play with kids from broken homes.  (My own included until she became the head of a broken home herself.)  We played golf, and went to the movie, and barely remember much about that night we were so upset. Continue reading

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Nostalgic thoughts

1. When the children of today grow up, what do you think they’ll say about this period in time? What do you most hope they remember?
That we tried.  That we tried hard to make a difference.  Tried hard to change the world for the better.  Tried to leave the world a place that they would be proud of.  Tried to fix the mistakes of our parents without making too many of our own.

2. National Teacher’s Day is celebrated in the US of A on the first Tuesday in May, this year May 7th…share how a particular teacher positively impacted you.
Oh so many.  Ms. McCreary in elementary school, who was an awesome first grade teacher then moved to third grade so she could have our advanced language arts class again.  Ms. Mann, who was my fourth grade math teacher.  Ms. Frasier, sixth grade English.  Ms. Ragsdale, tenth grade Algebra II and senior year calculus.  Pat Robertson, the nations foremost scholar on Civil War history.  But most of all my friends.  I have so many friends that are teachers, and I’m so proud to know each and every one of them.

3. What’s a dish your mama made, that if set in front of you today would whisk you right back to childhood?
Rice.  My brother and I were talking about this just the other day.  No one else we know has ever eaten it the way we did for breakfast growing up.  It was a special treat–to be had at Christmas or if we were sick.  We didn’t ask for pancakes or eggs, we asked for rice.  Hot, with milk, butter, and sugar.  Almost like a cereal, but warm.  Oh so good.  Still a comfort food to this day.

4. Mother May I was a game we played when I was growing up…no pieces, parts, or plugs required. What games from childhood do you remember loving that were also pieces, parts, and plug-free?
Across the street there was nothing but woods behind the houses.  We would tromp through the woods for hours.  Up to the railroad tracks, to the campground a few miles away, making forts and gymnastics equipment out of the trees that had fallen.  And playing categories.  Awesome days.

5. Besides your own mother, tell us about a woman who influenced you as a child?
When I was a teenager, we had Acteens in my church.  I started in grade 7 and went through until I graduated from high school.  I met so many women through that who were icons in the missions world.  Mary Saunders, who brought the plight of starving children in Ethiopia to the world.  Kitty Walker, whose son was serving in Taiwan.  Julie, who was the first person I knew that was married but kept her maiden name.  Such a cool lady.

6. Mamma Mia! What’s the best play or musical you’ve ever seen?
Ohmygoshtherearesomany.  Cats was great for being the first one I ever saw on Broadway.  Lion King was absolutely stunning and so ground breaking visually.    A Chorus Line was the first one I got to see on my own by choice.  Les Miserables was the first I became obsessed with.  Will Rogers Follies was the first one I got to work on backstage (and onstage too, for that matter!).  Rent was one of the first ones that I felt spoke to my generation.  25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was just pure fun.  Avenue Q was the first R rated show–with puppets even.  Book of Mormon was R rated as well, but the first seen on Broadway since I was 13.  Musicals speak to me, in various ways.  I’ve seen plenty that weren’t spectacular or weren’t moving, but the music was fantastic.  Jeckyll & Hyde before Lisa became Emma.  Side Show (Virginia girl made good!).  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Miss Saigon.  Wicked.  Billy Elliott.  The Secret Garden.  Seen some that were just clunkers, in my opinion–The Wedding Singer.  The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Once on this Island.  South Pacific.  Paint Your Wagon.  Because I live in an area that doesn’t get A-market shows often, and when they do they run to death (Wicked is coming for the third time in four years, making the total running in town eight weeks.  While I’m thrilled that Riverdance isn’t coming for the thirtieth consecutive year, it would be nice to see something new!), I don’t get the opportunity to see many, if any, plays.  But two years ago, some friends and I took a day trip to NYC.  Saw the evening performance of Book of Mormon (where I alternated between laughing hysterically and thinking ‘I’m going to go straight to hell for finding this funny’) we also saw a matinée performance of The Normal Heart.   It had only been running for a week.  And a cast that wouldn’t quit.  (Ellen Barkin, the sole female, won the Tony for best featured actress that year, as well as a host of other awards for the show.)  There were four of us that went, and at the end, three of us needed to go shopping for tissues and a new shirt because we had cried so much during the show.  So powerful.  So moving.  And while not necessarily the best thing I’ve ever seen on the stage, it’s probably the most meaningful, most heartbreaking, most thought provoking thing I’ve seen ever.

7. What are three smells that make you feel nostalgic?
A new jar of Play-Doh, because it instantly takes you back to age seven.  Jergens hand lotion, because that cherry scent reminds me of the instant that Nana finished washing the evening dishes and then coated her hands with the stuff to avoid dishpan hands.  A combo of freshly shaved wood, motor oil, and aftershave–the smell of my Papa as he worked in the shop after a day of work.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I’ve been lax in my linky parties lately.  I had some life to take care of for a bit, and then just didn’t get back in the habit.  I apologize for being absent, as I do enjoy them.  I’m off to bed this evening, and if last night is any indication, I will be possessing about six inches of my king size bed as the dog, who at the age of 2 has learned to jump up to spend the night (seriously, he was so proud of himself.  He used to be terrified of the bed, now he looks at me every night as if to say ‘can we go to bed yet?’.  Too bad he can’t figure out how to get DOWN in the morning yet.), and became the biggest bed hog I’ve ever seen.  Night night y’all!

The deep dark secrets . . . .

I’m falling behind in my linky parties.  I just got so busy!!!  But I liked this week’s Tuesday Topics, and considering how long I made last week’s entry, I know I need to keep this week’s list short!  Here we go:

The Austin Family Diary

  1. I was legally blind when I was 10 years old.  I got contacts at 13 because the weight and size of the bottles I had to wear was giving me migraine headaches.  At 20, my dad had to wear glasses for the first time ever.  He called me up saying “Good grief Kelly, this sucks!  If you could ever have that surgery that would fix your vision, I would totally pay for it”.  The week after I graduated from college I held him to that promise.  It’s been 18 years.  I still wear glasses at night, but it’s so worth it!
  2. I love to fly stunt kites.  One of these days I’ll get up the nerve to compete, but for now it’s just a heck of a lot of fun.
  3. I used to do costume work for the theater.  I was a union member (IATSE #55!) and worked backstage while in college for some great tours that came through–Les Mis, Cats, Roy Rogers Follies–and some not so great ones–Sesame Street Live, anyone??  Still I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.  What a fun time.  I almost joined a national tour of Oliver! but didn’t because I knew if I left college three weeks before graduation I’d never finish.  But I still love the theater.  I volunteered at a local theater at 15 years to see things for free, like Rent, Wicked, and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee.
    spelling-bee
  4. I know there’s a fourth that’s interesting, but I can’t think of what it is.  So I’ll resort to my stupid body tricks.  I can make my eyeballs move independently of each other.  Kinda freaks the kiddos out! 🙂

Year End Survey for 2012

On LiveJournal I was challenged to complete this for 2011.  It’s probably the best version of “answer-these-random-questions-about-your-life-for-strangers”, as it actually requires some thought instead of just ‘favorite color’ kind of responses, so I thought to make it an annual thing.  Since I have all of five posts on LiveJournal in three years (and the only other people I know over there have left), I’ve moved it to this little blog of mine.  Here is the survey for 2012.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
I have been staring at this question for about an hour.  I’m sure there was something, I just cannot think of it off the top of my head.  Edit:  A-ha!  I thought of something!  I experienced a derecho.  Freak storm here the end of June, lost power for a week with 100-105 degree temperatures and added a new word to the local vocabulary.  We stood in the corner office (made of glass) and watched the storm while the rest of the non-idiot thinking people we work with huddled in the middle for safety. 

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I rarely make them, however I did make them for 2013.  So I guess the answer is not applicable, and yes.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Several coworkers, and my youngest cousin but we’re not close any longer.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
For the first time in a long time, no family member or someone I worked with/spouse of passed away.  Yay 2012!

5. What countries did you visit?
Can the other side of the river be counted as another country?

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Security.  Decent health insurance.  A dinner date.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
2012 was not an unremarkable year, I swear, but I can’t think of anything noteworthy enough that I remembered the date for it!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Continue reading

Hodgepodge to start off the new year

Hope you all had a safe and merry holiday.  Off to the Hodgepodge we go!

1.  How did you ring in the new year?
This year I stayed at home.  I went out to pick up a prescription and get allergy shots during the day, then that night I played with yarn.  I just wasn’t up to being with other people (which is a different story all unto itself).

2.  What is one thing you are looking forward to in 2013?
Contentment, stability, peace, etc.

3.  Steven Spielberg is quoted as saying, “All of us every single year, we’re a different person.  I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.”  What say you?
I sincerely hope this is true.  I have been a person I don’t want to be again.  I have learned things that hopefully make me a better woman.  I have grown, and would like to continue that process.

4. The Pantone color of the year for 2013 is emerald green. Like or dislike? Do you already own something this color?  Will you add something in this shade to your home or wardrobe in 2013?
I love jewel tones in any of the shades, and very much like Green.  I think I might have a tanktop that qualifies, but not a lot of green in my wardrobe.  Lots and lots of black.

5.  Speaking of emerald…what’s your favorite gemstone?
My birthstone is a diamond, so I do love those.  Especially blue ones.  Like the ring Princess Diana got from Prince Charles (now worn by the Duchess of York).  I have a pair of stud diamond earrings, and as a college graduation gift my mom had the diamond my father gave her reset into a pendant which I have since had fused with my cross that I wear. But my favorite, absolute favorite?  Probably a toss up between opals and pearls.  That light of fire is just so beautiful.

6. Share a favorite book or movie from 2012.
Yesterday I finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  I realize I was late to the party, but what a fantastic story.  I hope the family feels that the have some sort of closure at this time.  I also got suckered into the Divergent series (along with the sequel Insurgent) for good brain bubble gum that requires no major thought.  Kind of Hunger Games-esque, but good.  Movies?  There were quite a few that I loved in 2012.  All fluff, come to think of it.  The Avengers was stellar.  I saw The Hunger Games three times I think.  But one of the cutest movies I saw this year was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Awesome movie.

7.  What is something you want to tell yourself at the start of this brand new year?
Lighten Up.  Don’t take it so personally.  Now we just have to see if I listen….

8.  Insert your own random thought here:
Tonight was the celebration for my stepfather’s 75th birthday.  We all went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, it was yummy.  And right now I am so stinkin’ full that I am highly uncomfortable.  But it was a great time, all four kids with the spouses for the other three, and T is a very healthy and happy 75.  More power to him.  Here’s to at least another decade of continued good health.

That’s it for me this first Wednesday of 2013.  Back to work I went today, and it’s as if the long weekend never happened….

Wednesday Hodgepodge: From the archives

Since I am a little late to this party, and the weekly Hodgepodge is on Christmas break, I figured I’d pull an old Hodgepodge from the archives and answer while I’m sitting at work, twiddling my thumbs, nasty rains pounding the window outside . . . .  (Seriously.  I am the only person in my quadrant of the building.  There was another guy, but he went home already.  And the one employee not on vacation in New Business has to fill in at the receptionist’s desk as she called out sick today.  There is NOBODY here today, and I am alone in my dark and gloomy cave!)

So without further ado, I bring you Hodgepodge Vol 97, originally from 10.10.2012:

1.  In what ways do you indulge yourself?
Sleep, as much as I can.  Yarn, when I can afford it, and spending as much time as possible with my friends. 

2. Have you ever taken a cooking class?  Any interest?  What type of class would you most like to try?
I thought I had, but the more I think about it no I don’t think so.  Sure, sounds like fun.  I love to cook, and so I’d be game.  There was a Living Social deal just a few weeks ago for a Mixology class in town, and one of my close friends had mentioned that she wanted to take a bartending class, so we’re going to go together sometime next month.  Should be fun.  I love learning, though, so any type of school would be fun.  I’m up for just about anything.

3.  What does it mean to be a good citizen?
My first response was, “ah, this must be from the pre-election Hodgepodge choices” as my immediate answer was “you vote”.  But then this morning I was reading an article about a neighborhood association with a twist.  A section of town that has a wide age range–young professionals with veterans that have lived there for fifty years or more–has put together a list of services that people are willing to provide for those that cannot.  Changing lightbulbs.  Raking leaves.  Getting groceries.  And really, isn’t that what citizenship is about?  Trying to help your fellow neighbor?

4.  ‘Tis the season of the political advert…do these ads influence your vote?
Not in the slightest.  I am by no means a political junkie, but I do think I follow up a bit more than others do.  I do believe that the debates are the best way to get true readings on the ideals of a candidate, as they are the only time the candidate is put on the spot and thinks for themselves.  Speeches are scripted by others, press releases and ad campaigns are developed by those that know how to spin, but the debates are the one place that you get a true answer.  Just look at the whole Big Bird fiasco.  And if nothing else, there are always good drinking games that can be played with the oft-repeated catchphrases.  Not that I would ever do such a thing . . . .

5.  What’s something you see today that makes you wish you were a kid again?
For the simple reason that it meant two or three weeks off this time of year, the alarm clock off switch.

6.  What’s your least favorite cliché?
When God closes a door, he opens a window
And yes, I realize that this is not a cliché in the actual sense, but it’s the first one I thought of.  Look, I am a Christian woman.  I absolutely believe in the power of God to do things in my life both great and small.  But when you’re staring at that closed door, the last thing you want to hear is that there is a window open.  Especially when that window is at the end of a hallway with a myriad of twists and turns.  I spent two and a half years unemployed, and not for lack of trying for positions.  I was given this platitude over and over and over during that time, and I was ready to wring someone’s neck if they said it to me again.  I realize that it’s the perfect thing to say when you can’t think of anything else other than “I’m sorry”, but really sometimes it truly is better to give a hug, cry a little, and just move on.

7.  What percentage of your Christmas shopping has been completed?  How does that make you feel?
Seeing as how it’s December 26, I’m hoping all of it! 🙂

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
This rain is making me sleepy!  Right now, I want to go home, curl up on the couch with the dog snoring at my feet, pick up some yarn, and just ply away the afternoon!

Well, that’s it for the out-of-order Hodgepodge!  See you next Wednesday!

New Wednesday Feature! Hodgepodge for 12.19.2012

So I was randomly searching through some knitting blogrolls, and landed across the website for AuburnChick.  And I discovered that she’s part of a wonderful link party that is:

So why not.  I love listy things that make you think, but are also rather short.  So here goes!

1.  How will you spend ‘the night before Christmas’?

Ever since my brother got married our usual traditions have been shot to hell.  Which also makes me think that expression isn’t the best to use when referring to Christmas Eve, but I digress.  This year, I have managed to anger my brother by asking for a time to gather for Christmas, as I had friends that wanted me to do other things and I needed to know what time to block out in order to be at family events.  I did not say this in a way to mean that family wasn’t important, but I know him, and his silence for the rest of the day meant he was fuming and that is how he took my request.  Is it too much to ask to simply know ahead of time when the family is gathering?  Or we could be like my sister and call at 5 and say ‘dinner is at 630, are you coming?’.  Forgive me for not wanting to spend Christmas alone and contemplating offers from bloodless family* relations. 

Sorry, digression persists.  Christmas Eve.  Right.  Well, traditions of old had me going to moms house and preparing the breakfast casserole while she went to her church for the service then my stepfather went to midnight mass at his church and my brother picked one or the other.  My church does not have a Christmas Eve service, just open hours between 5-7 when you can come for communion and a small devotional with one of the pastoral staff.  I sometimes go, sometimes don’t, for me, after working years in the corporate side of retail, Christmas Eve was all about finally having time off.  So this year?  I don’t know.  I think at this point I might be going to the movies and dinner with a bloodless family member, and if the timing works out, we might make that communion service after all!

2.  What is something you are not?

Motivated to clean my home.  I have been home all of about three nights since Thanksgiving, and it’s a disaster.  Might be easier to just torch it.

3.  Fudge-are you a fan?  Your favorite flavor?

I used to love my Papa’s fudge.  That stuff would melt away if you looked at it.  But he’s been gone over five years, and it’s been almost a dozen since he did anything in a kitchen.  So it’s a fond memory.  Every now and again I don’t mind a bite, but I’m more of a fruit-dessert person, not a chocolate-sweet person.  But when I indulge, no nuts!  No peanuts, no pecans, and most importantly NO BLACK WALNUTS! 

4. Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December?  Do you prefer homemade goodies or the more professional stalls?  Are you giving any homemade gifts this year?

There is really only one big craft show here in December, and the schedule didn’t match up for me to go with the church production this year.  Church was more important!  Plus lately the only thing we’ve done is get food and skip the crafts . . . .

I did make an afghan for my future (now known to be a) niece and gave it to my SIL at Thanskgiving.  I have a Noah’s Ark blanket going on that she doesn’t know about (Shhhh!) and will finish it in time for the shower in late February/early March.  I was on a roll at Thanksgiving, then the production ate up two and a half weeks, and I’m out of rhythm!  I’m probably about 80% done.

5. What’s your favorite type of holiday gathering?

I love just getting together, hanging out, and GAME NIGHT.  I come from a tradition of card (NOBODY knows how to play Rook anymore!) and board games for entertainment (hey, it was cheap!) and it has continued into adulthood.  I am fortunate that most of my bloodless family have a few that they love as well.  My Nana, who is 84, still gathers with the ladies in her complex to play Dominoes, Phase 10, etc.  So that’s it–low key, food, fun, and COMPETITION BABY! 

6. We’re approaching a new year…what’s going to be different in 2013?

I am not a big resolution fan, especially in January.  Always made more sense to me to make them in September with the start of the school year instead of halfway through.  But in 2013?  I hope that worry is less, work is as increasingly profitable as 2012 was to 2011, and that financial stability starts to poke its head out of the fertilized soil.  It’s there, just lurking around . . . . 

7. Share a favorite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace.

“Peace is when time doesn’t matter as it passes by.” ~Maria Schell

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It occurs to me reading over this that it’s a bit morbid.  It’s just how I am at the moment.  Slightly wallowing in aloneness.  I will be better tomorrow.  Right now, though, I need to be content with what I have, the dog that is licking my toes in his sleep, and White Christmas on TV.  It’s the little things.

*Bloodless family: The family you make on your own, regardless of actual relation.  Sometimes a better family to you than the one you were born into, sometimes not.  But just like the natural one, they are always there for you.