Quick Update…

…alive and well!

Alphabetical Post Q

When last I left you, I was waiting for a new floor and furniture for our family room. The floor has been installed and the furniture delivered. I did some Black Friday fabric shopping and scored two fabrics I intend to include in the room.

Here is a peek:

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I think I am truly in love with the new floor. We had a wall to wall berber prior to this, but I love the look of wood.

The art work which I will frame for a spot in the room, is a painting by a local artist. It features the Domino Sugar plant whose lighted sign greets incoming ships and visitors to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. Hubster and I have a long running joke about this sign. When we were dating in college, we would go out downtown. Free parking was limited so often we would find a spot a long walk away from where we were going. One night a friend of Hubster joined us and stated he knew of a perfect free parking place…it indeed was a good, free parking spot illuminated by the Domino Sugar sign; however it was over a mile from our intended destination. Today, if we don’t find a parking spot within close proximity to where we are going we laugh and say, ” I guess were stuck under the Domino Sugar sign.” While not hysterical, it is a fond memory.

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I have to leave you here dear readers because at this point, I need to work on my own outdoor lighting for the holidays, not one hall has been decked, nor are the stockings hung by the chimney with care. Also, it seams seems the fabric will not sew itself.

Have a great day!

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Publish or…

…Perish

Alphabetical Post P

The pressure to write a post has been weighing on me heavily.  Although I work in the world of academia (elementary school teacher) I don’t have to worry about losing my position here at AMD (A Milkman’s Daughter) because I own it.

Hubster and I have been busy in the home remodeling mode. It all started back in mid-October when I decided we needed new family room furniture. I really made the decision about the furniture two months years ago. (I wrote about it here, but the link to the video in this post is no longer available.) We went to the “More than One pay Check for a Sofa” Store, but managed to find a reasonably priced sofa and love seat. Naturally, the furniture you want is never available in a quick turn around so we are waiting the 8-12 weeks in limbo.

The new floor is supposed to go in on Monday. Right now our home seems to be in a state of “abandoned home meets back room at the home improvement store”.

Needless to say all of this has had us consummed…painting, new light fixtures, vent covers, etc., and Hubster’s dream of having a light post out at the end of the driveway has come to fruitition…cue the hallelujah chorus.

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This is not our light post, but you can bet that our new light post will be adorned this holiday season. This light post is from Pinterest.

In addition to the above light, I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with this project. I am crossing my fingers and toes that the furniture makes it here before Thanksgiving.

Have a great week!

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One Word…

…TV

Alphabetical Post O

Technically, TV is exactly two letters, but since it is my blog I take creative control and deem TV, one word and an official O post.

I have been coming home from school everyday with a major curriculum headache. I will not digress about the crazy math problems, testing, data, ya-da, ya-da…

The one respite has actually been TV. At present, Hubster and I are in the midst of a family room makeover. Got Junk? came and took away our 18-year-old family room sofa and love seat. While they were heading out the door a quarter fell from one of the cushions. I quickly picked it up and explained to Hubster that the cost of the new furniture was now 25 cents less. (I am not being paid by Got Junk?, but I have to say it was quite painless. Also they donate what they can or attempt to recycle so hopefully our old vintage stuff doesn’t end up in a landfill.)

For now, there is no furniture in the family room except for the TV, two end tables, and two chairs taken from other rooms. We have been watching TV much like….

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No cigars for Hubster, but this is pretty much a dead ringer.

There have been a few programs that we have actually been enjoying…first on the list and mentioned by other bloggers… THIS IS US….so far I have cried during each episode.

 

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We are still Survivor watchers even though we know we would never cut the mustard in those challenges. As of yet, the new season of Amazing Race has not come back; that is a game we believe we could win.

 

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This is the Millenial Tribe on the current season of Survivor…ask them about their day jobs…nevermind, I think only one of them actually goes to a job.

 

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If only our pesky day jobs would permit an extended 39 day vacation…we could be contenders.

BULL has been on our radar, but we are not convinced this will last. Apparently, this character is loosely based on Dr. Phil.

 

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One last word about TV…Goliath, with Billy Bob Thorton and William Hurt. In our two lone chairs, we have binge-watched the entire season on Amazon.

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Spoiler alert…Billy Bob does not play the Goliath character.

Ok so I lied, two more words about TV and  neither word begins with O; The Crown, on Netflix starting November 4th. I have a slight infatuation with crowns. I believe I was born with one on my head (just ask my siblings or Hubster or my two Son-sters or my college roommate or my students).

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I can’t wait!

Our new flooring, paint job, and lighting will begin this weekend. If you’re the praying type, please pray that our new furniture arrives before Thanksgiving. Yes, my new chair is a throne, thanks for asking. 🙂

Report card comments, also known as “creative writing brain drain”, starts this week. I hope to do everything in my power to write a P post as soon as the creative writing comments are done.

Have a great week.

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Nothing, but…

…nonsense, numbers, nuns, and names

Alphabetical Post N

I must admit, I have indeed neglected my duties here at AMD (A Milkman’s Daughter). I guess, to be truthful, neglect may not be the true term; rather, it’s been in neutral. Once again I started and stopped…stopped and started…Null, may be the best term.

A post about neon fashions was quickly nixed. Neon and my pale complexion are not a good combination.

neon-shoes

I know what you’re thinking…“You mean you had a $10 coupon at DSW and you didn’t buy these?” My loss!

Next, I started a post about my neighbors…I decided that since they are not always on the pulse of my blog it might be better to remain neighborly. Afterall…

WWMRS

(What would Mr. Rogers say?)

 

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I do love a cardigan, so I’m going to continue to nurture my neighborliness.

I know a set of newlyweds, but they may not want me to share their nuptials until the professional photos are released.

wedding-sign

Recently, I read that chalk signs at weddings are “so 2012″…as a teacher, I am a sucker for a good chalk sign.

Indeed, the above, is all nonsense…so let’s get started with the real content of the post.

Numbers

As time would have it, Hubster added another year to his age. His sister, KM and her husband, Waterman, paid us a visit from Maine to celebrate his birthday weekend. Typically, we do not celebrate Hubster’s birthday for two and one-half whole days, but this year we made a weekend of it. I was utterly exhausted by the time it was over because during the school year I hit the mattress no later than 9:05 pm and start snoring sleeping by 9:06 pm. I stayed up until midnight one evening and 11:45 pm another. My youthful glow and mutlitple bubbly personality has been running on half power for the last two weeks. Numbers will do that to a girl!

Nuns and Names

I received a Catholic education for 16 years (that’s right, grade 1 all the way through college). On the first day of first grade, all of us were placed in one first grade classroom and told to stand against the wall. Needless to say, as my age group was still considered part of the Baby-Boomers, there wasn’t enough wall space.  Sister Noreen* and Mrs.Buckland* told us to listen for our name to be called. Sister Noreen said if you hear your name take a seat at one of the classroom desks. She read very quickly and students began sitting. She didn’t seem to take notice when she called “Ba’mae” P., that it produced no student taking a seat. When she was done, Mrs. Buckland told the rest of us to follow into her classroom. I followed Mrs. Buckland. She told us to stand against her wall because she would seat us in alphabetical order.

While this process was taking place, I continued to stand long past the letter P., which was the first letter in my last name. Suddenly, Sister Noreen appeared at the classroom door. It seems she was seating her students in alphabetical order and she was missing someone from her list. Mrs. Buckland and Sister Noreen looked to the last two girls standing … “What is your name?” she sneered.

Afraid to answer, I let Madonna Wallace* go first. When she said her name, Sister Noreen looked at her with a frown and advised, “You’d better live up to that name.” (My Madonna Wallace went on to earn a full scholarship to UMASS…the real Madonna, the one I think Sister Noreen was talking about, went on to earn millions singing; however not acting, “Like a Virgin”).

Then Sister Noreen looked to me….I said my name Beemie P. (Be Me)* and she challenged, “That is not how you say your name!”

I replied with the confidence of a precocious child who spent two years in kindergarten perfecting the art of coloring inside the lines, “Oh yes, it is. It’s my grandmother’s name and that is how my parents say my name.”

“You are not pronouncing your name correctly and since you don’t even know your name, you can stay with Mrs. Buckland.” Sister Noreen and her sensible shoes trotted out of the room.

Sister Noreen’s First Grade Class

classroom 1st grade (1)

She was a tough cookie…that “Obey” bulletin board was looming over their shoulders all year.

Mrs. Buckland then looked at her list and asked everyone after Soledad Peron* to move back one seat. This produced a few grunts and groans, as well as a disapproving look from the teacher who was presented with the gift of a new student on her list.

“Ba’Mae” P.

Beemie...a childhood nickname

Beemie…a childhood nickname: The name I use on my blog and for creative purposes in this post.

Mrs. Buckland’s Classroom

teachers desk revised

I am just out of camera range in this photo, but the portrait I created of Soledad Peron has quite a prominent place on display.

While having my name mispronounced for the first few years of school was a bit annoying, those who really knew me pronounced my name the way it was intended; those who didn’t went with Sister Noreen’s version. By high school, I began introducing myself with the Sister Noreen version of my name. At the time, it actually seemed, “Cool”. I watched as a few of my female classmates began using their own imaginative spelling for their names or a new nickname to seek an independent identity.

I never felt robbed of my identity because Sister did not pronounce my name correctly, if anything I believe it provided me with a “thick skin”When I introduce myself today with the version my parents intended, I often have those who revert to the Sister Noreen articulation. I have an acquaintance who I would see out & about, and occasionally at social events over the course of 28 years. I realized that for as long as I have known her, she never called me by my name. I sensed she did this because she was afraid she would say it incorrectly, so I inquired. She told me that I was correct, she didn’t want to mispronounce my name. Having no identity, honestly stung a bit more than having my name mispronounced.

I usually do not correct people attempting my name because I find that I am creating an immediate barrier to getting to know someone. Many times I have those who use the Sister Noreen version and ask why I never corrected the pronunciation…

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…names can never hurt me.

See what I mean, sucker for a chalk sign.

Until next time…

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*names changed to protect the innocent

 

 

 

 

 

Multitasking…

…respect for my colleagues.

Alphabetical Post M

 After my first career in human resources, I was an at home mom for 20 years, taking care of my own humans. When I started my teaching career back in the fall of 2009 at the ripe age of 20 30 40-something, Son-ster #2 had just started college. I was once again working for humans who do not belong to me and my nest was empty.

One morning early on the start of that school year, I gazed into the empty kitchen sink and shouted to the Hubster as we were both about to leave the house, “Come here quick, look …the sink is empty. When we return home it will still be empty.” It was an early Christmas miracle that September morn.

sink

Not my sink, but playing my sink on the blog today.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t sad about my boys off in college and living away from home. My experience going away had been so remarkable and life changing that I was thrilled for them to go live their lives. When they called, mostly for funds and food, they were for the most part, enjoying college life. The actual going to class, studying, writing papers, and making the dean’s list, sometimes interfered with the intended goal of a four/five-year education vacation. When they came home for breaks and holidays, they were better friends than they had ever been as brothers growing up in the same house. Maturity had replaced rivalry. (Son-sters, if you’re reading this, don’t let your heads get too big, you still do a few things that your father and I question.)

We can go from this:

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to this:

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after just one phone call about your latest and greatest life endeavors. I digress…

Those early weeks months years now of my career, let me just say, “I still am was in way over my head.”

Talk to any teacher who is in the public classroom today and you will get an earful. I will spare you the details, but a few other job titles we hold…nurse, counselor, advocate, detective, banker, decorator, actor, travel agent (think field trips), dietician, custodian, technical support specialist, data collector & analyst, bathroom monitor, and so much more. Sometimes we are so flexible with our job titles, we can’t believe we actually earn a paycheck every two weeks.

Just take a look at how flexible a teacher can be…

flexible

I must confess, teachers in my building do this without a ball and usually wear more clothing over their leotards.

Everyday I work with a remarkable group of teachers; mostly women, younger than me… with husbands, school age & early college age children… 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 children. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it. They arrive early, work all day caring for and educating those who will take care of us in our retirement, and when school is done for the day, they are still there…preparing for the next day.

Typically, after an evening home with their families, I may hear a story of them aiding their own children with homework, sports practice, doctors appointments, drivers ed, nevermind dinner, baths, and bedtime. I am humbled and in awe of their dedication toward others who are not their own blood. They share materials, resources, time, an ear, and most importantly a tissue for tears (especially my own, but I have one colleague and she knows who she is, who wins in the tears department).

In honor of their spectacular ability to be masters of multitasking (mother-teachers); this post for the letter M is awarded to them. I hope they and you have a laugh with all the Pinteresting ideas to those whose multitask with grace, common sense, and tissues.

multi-girl-by-tree

multi-car

multi-calm

In addition, her phone is probably blowing up with text messages that her own child is sick.

multi-brain

This happens at least once twice three times per week.

 

multi-lunch

The above is just as glamorous as it sounds…YUM!

 The Multitasker Mother-Teachers of C-Wing

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Their students and their families are lucky to have them.

One of my C-wing colleagues is a part-time teacher with full -time home obligations as a wife and mother.  I was able to catch her while she was enjoying her 12 minute duty-free lunch.

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There are more mother-teachers in my building; including one who will be a first-time  mother any day now. I’d like to offer all the mother-teachers in my building a luxury vacation…,

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Can’t you just picture yourself here, instead of standing outside the boys and girls restrooms.

but it seems the best I can do is suggest…

multi-shower

Have a great weekend!

I have one more M word to remember, my Milkman father would have celebrated his 97th birthday last weekend. If interested read about him here.

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Love Letters…

… and loved letters

Alphabetical Post L

The school year started without a lot of fan fare, but plenty to do. I will try not to dwell on my level of insurmountable “busy-ness”.

Earlier in the summer, I made a request of my siblings to take possession of the last of the “courting” letters written by my father and mother from January, 1943 to April, 1945. Currently, I have only a handful of the letters.

One of the letters…

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I first discovered these letters when we were cleaning out my parents home in April, 2008. My brother, Heir*, was in the attic of our childhood home. He discovered a box of letters and cards. As I began to peruse the box, it occurred to me that this was truly an untold story. While I knew my parents loved each other, it was hard for me, the youngest, to imagine them young and smitten, for a life filled with responsiblity had replaced many of the “wooing” ways. Because the job of cleaning out a 14 room house was a challenge, the majority of the letters went back into a box. Some are still unread.

When my sister, Susan, passed away in June, I started to think about her story and about those letters. I do not want their story to go untold , so the letters will soon be mine to read, organize, do some research, and eventually write their story. Even if my siblings are the only readers of this story, at least we will know the life before us.

Speaking of letters…every year as the school year comes to a close, I start a project with all the 5th graders. To be honest, it is a project intended to keep the students busy and engaged during the last few days in elementary school. Most of the students love this project and get very excited when it is finally their turn to get started.

The project starts with letters, specifically those cut from magazines. The students are charged with creating a collage of every student in their class. I take a class photo on the playground. During any down time on those last few days the students busily cut and paste these “loved” letters to spell names of their classmates. Most are so excited to complete the project and take it home, but often I wonder; “is it worth it” as there are times it is a battle down to the last-minute to help some students complete the keepsake. Usually, I can be heard down the halls proclaiming, “You are going to love these letters…they will hang on your bedroom wall like art for the rest of your life!”

The Hubster reads In-Fisherman and has his own Kindle... the rest are my choices.

Some of the magazines that go into creating the keepsake.

Typically, I hang my previous class project (the one I create as a model) on my classroom wall until the following spring. Rarely, does a student question the “art”.  At the end of the day on Friday, one of my colleagues had to leave immediately when the bell rang. She asked if I could take the last of her bus riders who were waiting to be called. One of her students came to me to let me know that his brother had just entered high school. I had been his brother’s teacher . The younger boy was looking around my classroom when he spotted the end of year project. He said, “Hey, my brother has that same picture hanging in his room.”

Next, one of my own homeroom students who was waiting for her bus stated the same thing about her brother. She said he yelled at her when she tried to look at it one day because he stated it was a “fragile memento”.

Finally, I have a student intern in my class. I taught her my first year of my second career. She is currently a senior in high school. She was approaching me to sign her time sheet when she overheard the two students. She said, “Oh I still have my project hanging on my bedroom wall. My friends always ask me about it. They want to know how long it took to cut out all those letters.”

To be honest, the exchange made my day.

“Loved Letters”

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It seems my labor of love has been worth it!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

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*see Who’s Who page

Keeping up…

…with a kaleidoscope of K’s.

Today is the last day of my summer vacation. I return to school for a week of preparation for the coming school year.

back to school

This is what I will look like in the mirror tomorrow morning.

When the school year ended in June, I was in a state of sadness because of my sister’s untimely death. My class last school year was probably one of the most delightful groups I ever had as a group. They were supporters of each other, cheerleaders for every effort, looked out for each other when others were less merciful with words and actions, and above all, kind. As I tried to keep a stiff upper lip about my sister’s passing, they turned their support toward me. One morning while driving to school on those last days, I heard a song performed by Tim McGraw. It was and still is a message for them and everyone else.

Listen to the song by clicking on this….

humble & kind

Speaking of school, (Ugh!), clothing comes to mind. I spent the majority of my grade and high school career Wearin’ O’ the Plaid

My school changed uniforms after my first grade year. This is the only photo I have of me demonstrating this Oxford intelligence flare. Also note the circles under eyes...still have skin of an eight year old...amazing.

Grade school plaid jumper

 

 

days gone by

High school kilt …all the rage!

I still like some plaid, but kilts are not on my radar. I happened upon an adorable video that I tried & tried & tried to embed in this post, but alas I could not. Here is the link and you don’t need to be a member of Facebook in order to view.

This kilt baby from Pinterest is cute, but this one cracks me up!

baby in a kilt

On my last days of freedom, (rather than clean the house) I have been spending some time doing something I have a bit of a knack for…sewing. Several years ago I read the book Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan…a really good read. There is a character, Anne Marie…her nest becomes empty so she takes to collecting doll house miniatures. I am fearful that I have become a kindred spirit to Anna Marie’s character for this is what I have been sewing (and getting really excited about) for a couple of lucky daughters of colleagues.

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Hey, it keeps me out of the bars and a key to mental health!

Well that’s it for Tuesday…kudos to all the Olympians, the USA is killin’ it!

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Jubilation…

…thrill of victory & agony of defeat.

 Alphabetical Order Post: J

The summer Olympics have returned. At one time in my young life, I actually thought I was going to become an Olympic athlete… had killer instinct in competition been the only requirement then yes, “I coulda been a contender.” Lack of money and the realization of waking at pre-dawn hours for 365 days per year quickly woke me from that dream. (I suppose true Olympic talent would have helped.)

As you may recall in my last post, I mentioned I had returned home from two weeks at the beach. Well, I turned around Wednesday to go right back for several days. Jackson*, Peggy Anne’s #2, was not in attendance for my two weeks because he was busy with his summer  vacation internship in Spain. He returned to the states Sunday night after I had left; devastated that I would not be at the beach with him, he requested I come back. Who am I to say no to the beach  Jackson.

On Thursday, Jackson and I built an impressive shamrock in the sand. My photo does not do it justice.

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Ernie*, Jackson’s college roommate (also a guest at Jackson’s request) noted Jackson and I employ a thrill of victory attitude toward the sport of sandcastle building. On Friday, Ernie asked if he could join our sandcastle team. Naturally, there was an interview process (which he nailed because he was able to text his mother for a personal reference) and we asked to see his resume. Stating he usually doesn’t bring his resume to the beach he offered this…

jeep shovel

He put his money where his mouth is…so we said, “You’re in!” The Dream Team was complete.

For the record, these are our shovels…

sand shovels

Ernie, did his best to control his envy for our plastic and wood “proprietary” sculpting tools.

To demonstrate our Olympic spirit, our “Dream Team” spent two hours with no breaks manipulating sand, sweat, sunscreen, and water to erect our tribute.

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Jackson earns all the creative praise, as he requested we construct the Olympic rings. He implemented the use of Google to be certain the rings were equidistant …as the tide went out he was quick on defeat his feet to advocate for use of wetter sand to contrast the Rio 2016 logo after noting the NBC logo to the left seemed too similar in color to stand out in the sand. (L-R) Ernie, Jackson, me.

In my mind, We received a gold medal in Olympic sandcastle building. Ernie earns the team spirit award for running back & forth for more water, limiting his creative suggestions to one, and laughing when I recommended we forego the Copacabana Beach dress code of Speedo for them as rumor had it the young men had skipped their appointments for a “Bro’zilian” prior to the trip. The man sitting under the umbrella (not in our beach group) was sorely disappointed with the news as he realized I would also pass on going topless. Ever a team player and knowing there is no I in team, the rest of the beach applauded with jubilation at my team spirit.

This was the last day on the beach. Friday evening, we returned to the condo for dinner, Opening Ceremony watching, and closing ceremonies cleaning after 3 consecutive weeks in Olympic Beaching.

Peggy Anne and I are quite the task masters when it comes to cleaning the condo which is returned to her good friends after our use. According Hubster, Peggy Anne’s sons, Ernie, and my own Son-sters; Peggy Anne and I resemble the individual below when cleaning the house.

clean up

Click here to view….it’s worth it! 

Go USA!

Have a great Monday!

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*names changed to protect the innocent (Peggy Anne & Jackson in WHO’S Who)

 

Infectious…

…disease and Tricia Nixon.

I have just returned home from two weeks at the beach. My blog celebrated two years while I was away…cue the non-partisan confetti and balloons.

confetti and balloons

 

In past years when I have taken this lengthy “rejuvenate the child-bride within me” vacation, I usually had one or two posts waiting in the wings. This year, I let the ball drop (much like the confetti and balloons above).

In part this was due to the lack of good ideas for an “I” post in my quest to complete 26 alphabetically ordered posts. A few I’s that were tossed around were a post about Instant Gratification and Instagram. As you can tell by the title, there was no instant gratification with infectious disease and since I don’t follow Tricia Nixon on Instagram, you may be wondering how I make the connection with the two topics.

Here goes…

I love being on the beach. It has been many years since I was a sun-bather; rather I spend the majority of the day on the beach sitting under an umbrella with at least 30 spf sunscreen protecting my delicate skin while reading a book. I do enter the ocean provided the waves are not too rough and the child in me cannot help, but build a sandcastle.

 

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Not my best work, but this “hexa-pus” did score a few head-turns. Thanks to all my “likers” on  Instagram.

 

I suppose it’s rather strange to see a 40 + 10 + a few more years-old woman building a sandcastle on the beach, but to me it’s relaxing. Also, once I have sand on my legs I feel obligated to enter the ocean, only to return to my umbrella shelter and book. (I finished Girl on a Train and The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son On Life, Love, and Loss…both great reads.)

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While sitting on the beach, I tend to be a “people observer”. Let me just say, I don’t wear a bikini (you’re welcome). I used to wear a bikini as seen here, but no longer as my body has become older and wider wiser.  Since my last several swimsuits have been ordered from Lands’ End, I am curious if there are no mirrors in brick and mortar stores that sell bathing suits for I cannot believe that people actually thought that some of the suits they were wearing fit properly. I don’t just mean too tight or too small;…a few suits were too large. I saw more “full moons” than Neil Armstrong when ill-fitting swim suits were swept off bodies during the crest of a wave.

Warning: You may not be able to “unsee”!

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I did not take this photo…it was borrowed from the internet. Credit

In addition, I observed many young families making memories. This of course had me longing for the days when my Son-sters were a part of our  beach vacations.

Ocean City, 1996

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Son-sters used to gather little shells with holes so that I could insert on my gold chain.

In the evening, the Hubster and  went out to dinner most nights. As we pondered the menus of our various dining locales, usually bay side, I once again was a“people observer”. Mostly, I was trying to determine what they had ordered for dinner to see if I wanted to copy their choice.

Seafood Nachos

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This was delicious…not sure what the little green sauce was, but yummy!

One night, we sat next to a family with three daughters. As they were looking at the menu, one of their daughters (a preteen) complained in the most articulate way possible that she “despised” everything on the menu. She wanted to leave. Her parents were offering every option they could think of in order to coax her to stay, including stopping at the golden arches after they finished their meal. She was having no part of it. She complained and complained until they finally left. Hubster and I were shocked at her behavior…Hubster texted our Son-sters to thank them for their good behavior while growing up and going out in public with us.

Unfortunately, this whole scene was somewhat of an embarrassing déjà vu for me. Way back in 1971, shortly after school was out for the summer, my parents packed Baby Boy, Keary, and I in the Milkman’s 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass for our annual trip to Canada.

SainteAnnedeBeaupré, 1971

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A photo from this trip taken by Keary… (L-R) The Milkman, my mother, Baby Boy, Me.

We usually drove a direct route up the portions of I-95 that were complete and then cut across the backwoods of Maine to Jackman and on to the Canadian border. I was never consulted about the route; however I was an observant; even at a young age.

I’m sure we left at the crack of dawn. I am also certain that had I not had impetigo covering my nose, I would have been sitting smack in the middle between Keary and Baby Boy. Instead, due to the infectious disease on my face I sat between the Milkman and my mother in the front seat. (Infectious disease be damned, my parents were going on vacation.) As they were teens, Baby Boy and Keary were absolutely mortified with my scaly nose. They stated they would not sit near me, nor would they sleep in the same bed with me as sharing beds was typical on a family vacation. Keary lost this battle because as the only other same-sex sibling on this trip, she would sleep with me. At the young age of 8, I was a pariah in my own family. The photo of my family at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré is one of the few from that vacation…all taken at a safe distance from my nose.

Our trip took us from Boston up I-95 and into Bar Harbor, Maine. It seems my mother had other plans for the first day of our vacation. The date was Saturday, June 12, 1971 ( I had to Google the exact date).  Tricia Nixon, daughter of then President Richard Nixon, would marry Edward Cox in a televised ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House. My mother, insisted we stop at a motel with TV. It was probably about  1 pm when we stopped. My mother wanted us to eat “lupper” (lunch & supper) before the wedding was to be aired so we drove into Bar Harbor proper. A thrifty seafood meal was intended, but I had other plans. I complained about every menu choice my parents suggested. Given the infectious disease growing on my  face, my parents did not want to make a scene. Trust me, I did not get away with this kind of behavior ever, but for some reason my scaly nose, whines of a finicky eater, and exhausted parents caused my parents to choose a rather fancy restaurant. I don’t know what I ate, but it was probably fried. When the check arrived the look on my parents’ faces were of shock.

Close-up of a carton of french-fries and chicken

I know my mother had budgeted $400 for meals for our two-week vacation for five. (She was quite an economist when it came to eating.) You’re probably wondering how an eight year old knew the budget. Well, about a week before we left for vacation, my mother and I were walking to my dental appointment. On our walk and only two blocks from our home, my mother was mugged…she screamed; I holding her hand turned and screamed as well. She would not let go of the purse. The young man picked my mother up and threw her into the street. She released the purse and I ran screaming down the street. When the police officer questioned us, my mother told the officer that she had $400 in cash in her purse because she had withdrawn that amount for food for our upcoming vacation. As it turned out my mother had forgotten that she changed her purse for the walk to the dentist. While this event still impacts some of my behaviors today, at least the money she had saved all year was not stolen.

Anyway, back to the shock and awe on my parents’ faces…the check was $42, more than one-tenth of the designated allowance for food. I never lived it down and meals were strictly budgeted for the rest of the vacation. The impetigo on my face, would not be the tour guide for the rest of our vacation.

For the record, my mother and I watched Tricia Nixon marry Edward Cox on the motel TV while the Milkman, Baby Boy, and Keary swam in the motel pool. I was banished from the pool due to the infectious disease.

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Have a wonderful week!

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Homework…

…not an “old school” h word

On June 23, 2015 our little neighborhood in Maryland was struck with a catastrophic hail storm. We were home when it hit. At first, we thought it was quite a spectacle to witness. We took some photos and Hubster ran out to grab a couple of the pieces of hail.

Hubster’s Hand Holding Hail (4H)

(I couldn’t resist the “H” alliteration)

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He only did that once because as soon as he got out there the hail took a turn for the worse. It went from golf ball sized to tennis ball sized in a blink. Suddenly, the sound on the roof became a parade of elephants trampling across rather than the pitter-patter of pesky pecking pigeons.

More 4H

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View from bedroom window

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By the time it was over, we actually felt like all was well until Hubster looked at his car. Pockmarks graced the hood and roof. My car was parked safely under the humongous oak tree which provides afternoon shade for our driveway. The tree, which we typically curse in the fall due to the amount of leaves that blanket the lawn, suddenly became my car’s protector.

Hubster’s car was 13 years old. (We tend to drive our cars for a long while.) Anyway, he thought about getting it repaired, but instead opted for a shiny new vehicle. My car was two years old so I offered to switch his new car for my more classic vehicle. This option was nixed.

About a week after the storm, we had another thunderstorm; only this time, torrential rain. Rain cascaded over our storm gutters. The next day, Hubster decided the gutters must be clogged. He took out the trusty ladder. Once he reached the gutters, he noticed the screens which are supposed to protect the gutter from getting clogged were all bent in from the hail storm the week before. He also noticed the roof was pitted. Ugh!!!!!!

We had to get a new roof, rain gutters, and down spouts.

Roof being delivered last August

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Since we were getting a new roof, I determined other outside “homework” (the school teacher in me) must take place. I did the hard work of choosing the shingle color and popping over to Home Depot to choose the new siding, shutter, and door paint colors.

Hubster completed the majority of “homework” by painting the entire house late last summer.

I chose the new light fixtures as well. He acquired the electrician to install.

Our neighbors were quite impressed with “our” homework. Many inquire if we are moving…No, we are not moving.

Home, Sweet Home

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It was worth all the work…please, no more hail.

 

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My little annual garden by the mailbox always brings a smile to my face.

Have a great day!

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