Sunday, January 1, 2012
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
- Although Bill was born in Newton, Iowa, he moved to Staunton, VA when he was 10. He therefore considers himself a Virginia gentleman, a loyal member of the ACC conference, and still likes to go around saying annoying things like "save your Dixie cups, the South shall rise again."
- So, it was with great anticipation that on our way to visit Colonial Williamsburg at the beginning of Oct. 2010, we planned to spend the night in his old home town. We arrived around 6 p.m., checked into a "been there since he was a kid" Howard Johnson's (are there still HoJo's?) and took off to see his old house, church, and Staunton's community park before it got dark.
- I have the feeling that Staunton has been a town of between 20-25,000 all its life (about 1757), but I'm probably wrong on that. But a nice, small town with some interesting buildings. Bill's father worked as an engineer/director at American Safety Razor while they lived there. There's an extremely interesting article about Staunton in Wikipedia. It seems that it was much more than just the place where Nina Wilson went during the summer following her senior year of high school to visit a friend and in the process met Bill VandeWater, a friend of her friend's boyfriend. Imagine that!
- It was home to a resort-style lunatic asylum which later became a regular asylum which later became a men's correctional facility which is now being turned into condos. Oooooow, no thanks. Bad karma. It was the first city to practice a city manager form of government. Home to President Woodrow Wilson. Home to Staunton Military Academy; home to an expensive girls' college called Mary Baldwin; and some 200 buildings designed by architect Thomas Jasper Collins (1844-1925) whose firm is still in business today. Not to mention all that important Civil War stuff. It even has an Amtrak station which is more than I can say for Nashville!
- It didn't take Bill long to find the old house on Oriole St. It looked exactly like it had some 45 yrs. ago with the exception of some new concrete/stone to build a retaining wall, replacing the former railroad ties. Oh yes, and the "End the War" homemade/hand-lettered sign in the front yard.
- Next, we headed to the 215-acre Gypsy Hill Park where Bill played little league baseball and went swimming and had lots of boy/teenage adventures. If you don't have a park like this (golf course, swimming pool, ball fields, tennis courts, basketball, bike path, dog walking, picnic tables, etc.) in your home town, you have missed out and should start whining to your city council. Bill had a sparkle in his eyes when he talked about the fun he had there. If I've heard the story about how their senior class took a lighthouse from the senior prom decor and put it out on the little island in the middle of Gypsy Hill lake, I've heard it a dozen times. One of those glory-days memories that never gets old like we do.
- We then headed to the Main Drag where we had been told there would be restaurants and were told by a man exiting one that we should eat there, it had been "really good." So, relying on the kindness of strangers, we did. It turned out that it was one of these new-fangled restaurants that deal in green grocer food or in regular English, food from local growers. So, Bill had a local goat and I had local (I'm guessing not) tilefish. Both our dishes had lots of gourmet roots and veggies that as a child you would definitely have foregone dessert not to have had to eat them. And I like veggies! I don't recall seeing salads on the menu nor was bread served, making it a rather expensive, strange little meal. The tilefish was very salty. I don't know if it comes this way or the cook was a little wayward with his seasoning that night. Anyway, we didn't stand on the sidewalk afterward and encourage people to go in for a delicious repast.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
One couple married with children, 3 married without children or spouse, and 1 w/o spouse or children
Monday, November 2, 2009
- I guess we had a pretty "cool" Halloween here on our cul-de-sac. This is not a neighborhood with very many children, so one is not going to go broke handing out the goods. This year I found packages of pretzels for the older and pkgs. of teddy grahams for the younger trick or treaters and some candy if that wasn't enough and to have for the biggest trick-or-treater at my house (hint: not Mojo).
- I haven't carved a real pumpkin for years, probably since they hit $5-$6 and I had a nice electric one that smiled himself silly and then got carried back up to the attic each year. But this year, we bought one for $2.50 at Aldi's since I got a hankering to do a real one. All my pumpkin faces look the same since I have no carving tools and cannot do curves. Maybe one day I'll catch a Martha Stewart on TV when she shows how to carve a really neat pumpkin face and I'll get better at it. Not likely, though, since they took Martha off and put that silly doctor show on which tells you what is going to help you out because it's being developed, but it's still "many, many years down the road." Well, that's one too many "many's" to help me.
- We had 57 ghouls and no ghosts. I remember a ladybug and a bumblebee, a cheerleader, and a pirate, and just things, really, that kids have been "being" for years. Now isn't that nice?
Monday, September 28, 2009
If you read about my older brother Mike in the last post, then you know that I am next in the pecking order. Following me is a brother, Steve, who is 5 years younger and my baby bro', Bruce, who is (ye' gods!) 10 years younger. OK, that being said, Steve and wife Patti's son Greg and fiancee Jamie (nee Cox) got married Sept. 19, 2009 in Euclid, Ohio. Our son Grant was in Milan (yes, Italy) on a business trip, but Bill and son Dave and I drove the 9 hrs. to my parents' home in Mentor, Ohio. My parents are now 85 and 87 but plan on staying in their home forever (as well as living forever - my mom anyway, and she may). But that is another story as the saying goes.
It was a wonderful wedding. I'm not being cliched here; OK, maybe I did chose alliteration. But, you decide. Filet mignon at a sit down dinner and a dessert table to knock your eyeballs out. Too bad I had already had them knocked out by the free-flowing spirits and didn't think to take a picture of it. Actually that's not true. It wasn't until the end of the wedding that I found out they had a price per person, and here I had been trying to take it easy on my brother with the cosmo's and wine. David may have put the Pine Ridge Country Club out of business on that front however. Maybe together we broke even along with Bill who was our designated driver.
But, back to the 4-day weekend. We drove up on Thursday afternoon, arriving just after 10:30 p.m. My parents are night owls so that time is not a problem. They also don't ever get up till after 10 a.m. On Friday my mom and I got our hair and nails done and we all even snuck in a trip to Malley's (for ice cream sundaes) after the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal was at a place called Cabanas, but I have no idea what 'burg we were in. Very fun. Always good to see the nieces and nephews. And hadn't seen Patti's 2 sisters in years. On Sunday, we drove home through at times torrential downpours and at other times just rain. Not so fun. They didn't let me drive, but they made me ride shotgun. I think that was because they wanted access to the car's DVD player in the back seat. I handled the torrential downpours and riding shotgun with a little clonazepan. If you don't know what that is, you are blessed not to have an overactive fight-or-flight response. Seriously, back in the tribe, I would have been put on sentry watch for the tiger.
As I said, weddings are so much more fun than funerals. They are additions rather than subtractions. I always cry at weddings of family and sometimes relative strangers as well. But printed inside the program of this wedding was the following:
The candle on the alter burns for the loved ones we have lost. They are forever in our hearts and always in our thoughts. We miss and love them all.
There were 3 families (or more?) that had suffered significant loss at this wedding. But, one father, who will be 90 in Nov. (and lost his son who was in his 20's or 30's at the time) got out on the dance floor and jitterbugged with his wife like he was 40. Now that looked like a blessing to me!
Pictures: Big Dave (my dad) and Little Dave (my son); Patti and Steve; Greg and Jamie; flowers our table (I love to look at flowers and I would love to have lots in my yard if I had a gardener!)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- And so the summer from hell ends. Bill and I flew out to Palm Springs on July 11 and back home on August 10. Michael died of AML leukemia (and/or pneumonia) on July 27. I was both privileged and devastated to be there and to have spent 2 weeks living in the City of Hope Hospital and taking care of Mike for those 2 weeks. Nurses may have changed the drip bags full of chemicals to stream uselessly through his body and to painfully turn his body so that he wouldn't get bed sores, but we fed him, sang to him, and held his hand.
- And, oh, we thought he would live. We thought he was getting the "super chemo" that would get his blasts back to the point where he could get a stem cell replacement. I don't think I even knew that this might not work, just that the super chemo might kill him, not that it might not kill the blasts. But, it evidently did nothing, and in a very short time we were telling his brothers and parents that if they were coming, they better hurry, which they did, arriving first-class from Cleveland in 2 days.
- I just wish we could have had a few years post retirement to have had a little fun together - the 4 of us. It is what we had planned. And, oh, I could write so much more, but I am still a little angry and depressed over the whole thing - I even called it the City of Hopeless yesterday because there's a part of me that thinks they could have tried harder or did something differently. I haven't looked up the stages of grieving yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm not through them yet. There is just an innate sense that we all ought to get to play by the same rules in life. It is so hard to accept the whims of the world. But I will make my peace with it (if it kills me)!
- I'll just say as a tribute to Michael that, while he had his faults, he was always my big brother, born just 2 yrs. and 3 mo. before me. I followed him around as a small child and I followed him off to Ohio State when my close friends were going to Ohio U. He was in retailing for years but then found his true calling in becoming first in graduating from his police academy class when he was 44. Thank you "no age discrimination" in California. He had 2 squad car partners that were straight guys who still loved Mike and he them and who called him at the hospital and wanted to come down and see him. But he wouldn't let anyone see him while sick. And he had already had to retire early from having kidney cancer in 2001, so he knew what it was to be sick and then in chronic pain from that operation. So, his skills as an authority figure and his intelligence made him an outstanding officer and a great big brother. He was my earpiece always.
- No, I don't think I want to step to the head of the class. The shoes are too big to fill.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
MCNAIR SLAIN scream the headlines of today's Tennessean newspaper, McNair being our Titans' quarterback for 9 years, the franchise's for 11 and then 2 more with the Baltimore Ravens. He considered Nashville home, and, indeed, this is where he died yesterday, shot multiple times. He died too early at the age of 36.
- He grew up poor in Mississippi and went to a small college when no other large universities would offer him the quarterback position. But he was impressive enough at Alcorn State to be 3rd pick for the Heisman Trophy and to be drafted by the pros. He took our team to the Super Bowl the 3rd year in town ('99). He was considered a warrior, a strong scrambler, able to play through pain and injury. He always took a nap right before game time, lying down on a training table wherever. Adults looked up to him. Little boys too. But especially to the black community he was another example of someone who had made it. In his own words, "you don't think about playing on TV . . . or the money. You just want to be able to go back home and have those folks say 'Hey, Steve did OK for himself. He did us proud.' That's good enough for me."
- I think that when we have so much pressure on us in one area of our lives, it some way releases itself in disfunctional ways in other areas. He needed to strive for perfection as much in his personal life as he did in his professional life. But, as I said, we are all flawed. He paid the ultimate price for his flaw. It can happen. Be advised. I think McNair would want you to take something away from this.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
- We even took our umbrella, our new folding, camp UVa lawn chairs, and books to read and wait for about 2 hours - or so we thought. When it began to look ominous, around 8:15, they began the fireworks, which was an hour early. But it was dark and presumably they hoped to beat the storm. But it was already drippy and halfway through our beautiful display (top 5, I've read 3rd in the nation, but maybe 4th), the skies let loose.
- Not the best of 4th of July firework displays, but one of the coolest's. When I got home I had hot chocolate. Now that's saying something for July 4th in Nashville!
- Our hearts still go out to the boys in Iraq - I believe 5 were killed there this week. Brave, brave men and women.
From the book I'm reading now (fiction):
Breathes there the man so dead
Who never to himself hath said,"This is my own, my native land!"
- Wouldn't it be nice if we all could be at peace in our own native lands? I have a dream about that!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
- Grant took a trip to Napa Valley a over Memorial Day weekend. We had the pleasure as always of babysitting Magi, the grand-dog. He had a great time. I'd say the weather was delightful since it was northern California, but actually because it is inland it was warmer than San Francisco (with the added bonus of sunshine). No - it was a little unseasonable Nashville temp: 90! But, to the point, he went to several wineries, his favorite being one on Sunday, arranged by his wine tour guide of Saturday. The owner set aside 3-4 hours for an individual tour and lots of food and wine. Grant loved it! So much that he joined the winery (Tres Sabores) "wine a quarter" club and would really like to go out again for their yearly party.
- So, on Friday night, Grant came over after dinner to drop off Magi for us to dogsit on Saturday and brought over one of the bottles (red) that he brought home from Tres Sabores. Together we drank the bottle and watch a Netflex movie we had called Children of Men. It's a utopian piece that was originally a novel by the well-thought-of mystery writer P.D. James. Grant and I recommend it and Bill thinks it's too depressing. But all 3 of us agreed on the wine : winner!
- The next morning Grant ran in a 5K race in which he had raised over $500, enough money to send 25 kids to school for a year in Kenya. That actually ties in well with the movie.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Why do we say Happy Memorial Day . . . happy that we are free, but, why must we take up arms to keep the world at peace?
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
- his jockey is wearing green, my favorite color
- he isn't one of the horses that has only run on a synthetic track; it is a sloppy track today
- his pedigree is down from Seattle Slew, a Triple Crown winner
- his trainer was the trainer of Eight Belles, the filly who broke her legs and had to be put down immediately following the Derby last year; Larry Jones has also already announced his retirement after this year's Derby; the jockey, Gabriel Saez, rode Eight Belles and Jones has stuck with him which shows a lot of character to me as well
- he's a pretty horse :>
Happy Derby Day to all!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
It's going to take a lotta $$$ to CURA our ACURA because she's'a pretty sick'a puppy after being smacked in the fanny last night on our way to Bridge Club.
This is the 7th time we've been hit since we moved here in 1991. This time was 5 minutes from home, yielding onto Cool Springs Blvd. from Carothers. Only the 21 yr. old girl (with her friend) in her 2-month-old Jeep didn't yield. She hit us pretty hard; her car did a 90-degree turn and sustained a pretty decent amount of damage to her front end (driver side door wouldn't open, etc.). When I originally got a cell phone, I immediately programmed every police force nearby into it and since we live by the mall, the Franklin police came within 5 minutes. It still took 50 min. to get us back on the way to bridge club. Lucky for cell phones, I could call our hostess and tell her why we would be late. Also lucky for cell phones, the driver called her mom, and she came to give her daughter moral support (hopefully not holy hell).
The nice thing is Bill had previously encountered a woman in a grocery store parking lot, resulting in a small, no-fault dent in the bumper of the Acura which we didn't want to pay for because it would have cost $1000 (since that's the least you can pay for body work these days). I had just said "wait, we'll get hit." So, last night, 1 second after impact, I didn't ask Bill if he was OK, I just said "well, you just got your bumper fixed." Not the best way to do it though.
But, we're in good hands, the girl - Kelsey Owen - she has Allstate.
Friday, February 6, 2009
- I got my hair cut yesterday at our favorite low-price shop, Great Clips, because we are so much poorer than our children (not) who would never get their hair cut there. Of course, I do appreciate it when they look good as they do when they have full beards or are clean-shaved.
- At any rate, this little story is about AML (acute myeloid leukemia) cancer, which her daughter had when she was 15 (she is now 23). As Wikipedia defines it:
- Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a cancer of the myeloid line of white blood cells, characterized by the rapid proliferation of abnormal cells which accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age. Although AML is a relatively rare disease, accounting for approximately 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States, its incidence is expected to increase as the population ages. The symptoms of AML are caused by replacement of normal bone marrow with leukemic cells, resulting in a drop in red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells. These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, easy bruising and bleeding, and increased risk of infection. Although several risk factors for AML have been identified, the specific cause of AML remains unclear. As an acute leukemia, AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.
- My stylist, Debby, told me they took her to St. Jude's and they believe that hospital is why she is alive today because in the year they were there she could have died 4 times. She went into remission quickly but then took 164 days for her immune system to come back. During that time she got aspergillus (fungal) infection in her right lung, which was lucky because you have three lobes on the right and only two on the left. So I guess they had to remove one. Anyway, my mom had an aspergillus lung infection a couple of year's ago.
- Another at any rate, MDS, myelodysplastic syndromes (formerly known as "preleukemia") are a diverse collection of hematological conditions united by ineffective production (or dysplasia) of myeloid blood cells and risk of transformation to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Anemia requiring chronic blood transfusion is frequently present. Myelodysplastic syndromes are bone marrow stem cell disorders resulting in disorderly and ineffective hematopoiesis (blood production) manifested by irreversible quantitative and qualitative defects in hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells. The median age of diagnosis is between 60 and 75.
- As thankful as we are to places like St. Jude's, and M.D. Anderson, and UCLA, who work so hard to save lives, I am so glad that we now have a president in office willing to make stem cell research available. Onward into the 21st centure - if the cure doesn't come from the United States, it will come from Europe, and with our economy at such a low point, we need any leg up that we can get.
- Obama, if fact, recently told Democrats at a private meeting that he will sign an executive order to reverse the executive order signed by George Bush in 2001 which limited embryonic stem cell research. He told House Democrats he wants to work with the House and Senate to ensure his executive order on stem cell research has teeth. "God gave us (the) power to make smart decisions to cure diseases, to alleviate suffering," the president said.
- I know that I have signed my driver's license to donate my usable organs when I die. I think that if I was a usable embryonic stem cell that no one wanted to parent, I would want to be a part of curing someone's disease. Wouldn't you?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
That is the post that went out this morning on Craigslist.
I suggested to Grant last night that she spend the day with us, people she loves and who love her rather than home alone while he works and so she is here. She still wants to play ball but seems a little more tired than normal and has not played with Mojo as usual. Grant said she was smelly so we have given her a bath. That is the royal we. Bill is the bather in the family. I am the blogger. And now it's time for me to get something other than blogging done . .
Bill and I had a wonderful time with Dave and Erin at Erin's parents, Roger and Muriel Pfaff, in Marietta, GA. We drove down on Sunday and spent 2 nights at a Drury Inns & Suites, but ate all our meals (except the free breakfast at the motel) with the Pfaff's. Erin has one sister, Alison, and her boyfriend, Mike, were also in attendance. Mike is a med student at MCV, where Bill's brother Jim went (a few year's ago!).
We got hooked on dominoes, which we played when we weren't eating one of Murierl's wonderful meals. Of course, when we played we ate homemade cookies and candy, made by Erin and her mom. Dinner Sunday night was a wonderful chicken dish over pasta; Christmas Eve was 2 kinds of hearty homemade soups and homemade rolls; and Christmas dinner was prime rib. Wow! Were we impressed. Best thing to me: sticky pecan rolls at Christmas breakfast. Super yum.
On Christmas Eve we went to a candlelight service at 11:00 p.m. at the Pfaff's Lutheran church. It felt very similar to our Methodist candlelight service. I think the big Christmas present was something called a Wee, an interactive games thingy played on your TV. Like all playstation things, it's beyond me.
Book Links from Nina the Librarian
- Amazon - Still the best due to reader's comments
- Fantastic fiction - Check out series order; some author personal recommendations
- Mystery fiction - mystery, crime, thriller, spy and suspense books
- New York Times Book Review - can keep you so busy you may not have time to read
- Overbooked - Who says reading is dead?
- Reading Group Guides - for book discussion groups
Media Quotes from the inimitable Bill VandeWater
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Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind . . . . . . . Dr. Seuss
The truth knocks on the door and you say, 'Go away, I'm looking for the truth,' and so it goes away . . . Robert M. Pirsig "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret . . . Henri-Fredric Amiel
What worries you, masters you . . . . Haddon W. Robinson
When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience , so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape . . . Louise Erdrich in The Plague of Doves