First December Post

Casey had a birthday last Friday, his 64th.  I usually post something mushy about him, so if you are interested in knowing just how much I appreciate him read here and here and here ….just go check all the November archives!!!

This year’s celebration involved the traditional gifts of underwear and socks, but instead of a flannel shirt I found a shirt just like the one I gave him 10 or 15 years ago, the one that is really ragged now, though it pops into his clothing rotation every so once in a while.  I don’t imagine he’ll actually toss the old one, but I can sneak it into the rag bag soon.

After piano lesson on Saturday, Olivia and Samantha came over to put the decorations on the tree for us…

I’ve been shopping and I still need to do more shopping and it’s awfully tiresome.  I do make friends standing in line, and always chat up the cashier, so it has its fun moments.   When I got down my Christmas-y clothes this year, it was sad and pathetic, so I’m on a quest for some Holiday togs.  This week-end is Olivia’s Piano Recital at EMA and in just a week we’ll be flying into NYC for our Christmas celebration with the Jose’ Family, so I must have all my frocks in a row.

I’ve traced my genealogy about as far as I can go using the free library version of MyHeritage, so I decided to sign up for a 2-week free trial.  It’s true that Ancestry has a larger database, but I see many of my family folks are on MyHeritage, so I think that’s the way to go.  Except…I don’t have time for it right now.  I think it’s going to make a great January hobby…

I’m within 1 book of meeting my goodreads challenge for the year, cruising through some old-time mysteries by the likes of Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey (thanks, Sippora!)

I managed to write for an hour every day in November, but I can’t brag about how much I accomplished.  I’m stuck in the middle of the beginning of the Grandmother story, so I left it and did some editing of some old stories I’d forgotten about.  I found a poem that I wrote on our trip to Brown County and it wasn’t too bad, so I fixed it to  good.  Overall, I think I’ve gotten a habit going…just in time to break it for Christmas..!  I don’t think I’m good for routine much longer than 30 days anyway, so I really don’t mind at all…

Peace

 

The Thanksgiving Edition 2018

I started in on Casey as soon as we turned the calendar into November:  What do you want to do about Thanksgiving?  I don’t feel like cooking this year.  Should we take a trip?  We’d better figure out what to do before it gets here, ’cause I hate just it when a holiday becomes just another day…

You see, we have no regular tradition to celebrate the 4th Thursday in November.  Back when everybody was still alive, we blithely went from one big meal to another, savoring the kind of cooking that is the stuff of legend.

In the years since Melissa moved to New York, we’ve bounced around, even visiting for the Macy’s parade a couple of times.  She hasn’t been home at this time of year for at least a decade now and isn’t in New York, either.

The Regional Oirachtas, a very big deal to an Irish Dancer, takes place in Philadelphia over the holiday and that is their tradition now.  Michael’s wife still has a grandma who lives up in Dale, so they always go up there with her family.  That’s an evening meal, though, and I have occasionally done up the turkey-dressing thing for them at lunch.

So it was that I found myself going into a rather bitter rant at the dentist’s office Tuesday.  All the poor girl did was ask what our plans were and I announced that my theme for Thanksgiving was “blank Thanksgiving”…I carried on a little ways about not having any family to celebrate with, not liking to have to make so much food for just us…She suggested a turkey breast and I sort of snapped at her that it sounded like a TV dinner…I went on that not every family was a Rockwell painting, when I caught myself, moved by the crestfallen look on the face of my sweet little dentist.

I’m a pro at turning it around, so I changed my vibe to Every Day is a Day to Be Thankful, and I’m thankful for you all…and I thanked my way out of the office, beaming gratitude throughout and into the waiting room…  When I got to my car, I gave myself a stern talking-to…

Just what is this all about?  Are you sabotaging your own happiness?  Why the griping and complaining?   I won’t take you through my entire process, but it was clear that I needed to plan a Thanksgiving Day Celebration, and my favorite part of Thanksgiving, the part that has always been a constant as I’ve forged through the day, is the Macy’s Parade.   And what’s the best part of the parade?  When the Real Santa and Mrs. arrive at the end.  So what do I need?

I need a little Christmas Now…  With that song as my theme, I swept in and announced that we’d be having a little Thanksgiving Day luncheon, Wolf’s BBQ and some sides;  that Olivia and Samantha would be spending Wednesday night so that we could get up and watch the whole parade together;  that then we would haul out the holly and put up the tree before my spirits fall again…

So That’s what we are Doing!!!

We’re up to catch the Parade, eating cinnamon rolls that PawPaw baked, drawing pictures and singing songs….  Who could ask for more?  I can, so we will facetime Emma and Eliza later and I can watch the kids share the cousin love.

After Mr. & Mrs. Claus have arrived, we can start the decorating…   I’ve been playing We Need a Little Christmas on piano, but remembered a small part that is only in the musical, Patrick says something like, but it’s a week before Thanksgiving…and The Great and Wonderful Auntie Mame says…

Well, once I taught you all to Live Each Living Day…

Live Every Day like it’s Thanksgiving Day…

Live Every Day like it’s Christmas Day, too, but maybe not so much tinsel…

Peace

 

 

 

 

Another Birthday Day…

It was on this day in 1928 that Mickey Mouse was born when the first sound-synchronized cartoon to attract widespread public notice, Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” premiered in New York at the Colony Theater. The black and white cartoon featured Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pegleg Pete and lasted seven minutes. With Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey, the cartoon met with great success. … from Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac…

I grew up watching The Wonderful World Of Disney (started in 1954 and ran under various names until 2005!!) every Sunday evening, featuring Walt Disney as our host.  Walt introduced the feature film each week and there was always a lesson in there somewhere.  There was Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, and a lot of real-life animal shows, and sometimes some “Silly Symphonies”, but Mickey cartoons were not the main feature.

The Mickey Mouse Club, with Annette and the gang, ran from 1955 to 1959, with reruns shown every day right after American Bandstand…I was there.  Mickey always hosted, of course, and often one of the Mousketeers would go to the Vault (Meeska, mooska, mousketeer…mouse cartoon time now is here) and we’d be treated to a Mickey cartoon.  Still, the members of the Club were the stars, and though I wore my mouska-ears, it was Karen and Cubby that I came to see.

(To be honest, Mickey and his friends Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, Pluto and all the rest, were not my favorites.  In the 60s I was an avid fan of “The Bugs Bunny Show”, loving on Bugs, Daffy, Wile E. Coyote, and my particular favorite, Pepe LePew. )

Walt Disney World in Florida opened in 1971, but our family didn’t make it down there until 1984, and that’s when I Really fell in love with Mickey.  The Disney Channel debuted as a premium cable channel in 1983, and now Minnie, Mickey and the gang are good friends with my grandchildren.  Our family has been to WDW over a dozen times and we’ll be back in March, 2019.  For us, the Magic is Real…Every Time.

It has always been the Man himself, Walt Disney, who is my Hero.  What a legacy this guy has, and what an inspiration to us all.   Yet he gives all the credit to Mickey Mouse, so I will, too.

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!  See ya real soon!

Peace

 

 

 

 

HB, Prince Charles !!

When I was 10 years old I saw a picture in the newspaper of Prince Charles…he was attending Gordonstoun, and I think he was wearing a kilt..  Nonetheless, I immediately fell in crush.  It seemed clear to me that the Royal Family needed an American to add some colour..(way ahead of my time).  I started a scrapbook, combing the magazines and newspapers for more pictures,  reading and writing up bios on every member of the Windsors.  I can still tell you, from memory, that his full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, that he is the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, the blahdy blah of blah, etc.

During the summer of my 11th year (1964) I wrote him a letter and asked him to be my pen pal.  I wrote lots of letters back then, but this one my Dad thought was so funny.  In it, I lied about my age and told him I was 12 !!!   While I was visiting Grandmother, he mailed the letter without my knowing.  A few months later I received a letter, on Buckingham Palace stationery, from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting, expaining to me that the Prince would not be able to correspond with me.  I still have the letter and scrapbook here somewhere.  I was so excited!  A few years later I discovered Real Boys, but always kept a keen interest in Charles.

Anyone who knew me back then was aware of my crush and I planned to go to England as soon as I was old enough. (unfortunately, that did not happen and I still haven’t visited)

Anyway, after the whole Di thing, I have been steadfastly defending him.  I think he accidentally married a young lady who had serious mental health problems, ignoring his heart and being faithful to his “position” as the future King.  Everything good about the Princes William and Harry has been attributed in the press to their mother, and I’m not going to try to malign her mothering.  However, Prince Charles started the Prince’s Trust way before he married her and has always been a true “working” royal.  His relationship with his sons appears to be strong, proven because they make fun of him like any adult child does, and also because they give him a lot of credit for the people they are today.

I still follow the Royals very closely.  BBC has been showing a lovely documentary that finally gives Charles his just desserts.  He and Camilla share loving looks and it’s quite clear they are still very much in love with each other after all these years.  I approve…but always did want him to be happy, since it didn’t work out between the two of us.

Dear Prince Charles,

Today is your birthday #70.  Geez, PC, we have grown old together…

Love, Peace, and Happy Birthday Wishes…

From your Loyal Fangirl…

Dance like nobody’s looking…

Peace

P.S.  I wrote about this in 2012…  if you are counting…

Delay Tactics

Okay, I admit it…I’m procrastinating again…  I picked up a book,

…and decided I need to read up.  Here’s what Amazon says about the book…

 In Process, acclaimed journalist Sarah Stodola examines the creative methods of literature’s most transformative figures. Each chapter contains a mini biography of one of the world’s most lauded authors, focused solely on his or her writing process. Unlike how-to books that preach writing techniques or rules, Process puts the true methods of writers on display in their most captivating incarnation: within the context of the lives from which they sprang. Drawn from both existing material and original research and interviews, Stodola brings to light the fascinating, unique, and illuminating techniques behind these literary behemoths.

Oh, I wanna be like them!  Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, F. Scott Fitzgerald…not Hemingway, though.  (hemingway was an ass)  The author goes through each individual’s process, many of whom procrastinate like crazy before they finally sit down and put pen to paper, so I feel like I’m in good company.

Nearly all of the more current authors have methods to keep themselves from falling into the black hole of the internet.  Zadie Smith first used apps to monitor her time online and eventually withdrew completely.  Margaret Atwood has two computers in her office:  one with internet, one without.  She allows herself 10 minutes each day on Twitter, which she thinks is the best social media platform,  and is involved with some online writing forums, but otherwise has disciplined herself to look away.

It covers a lot of oldtimers, too. Edith Wharton famously wrote in bed every morning, tossing each full page of writing on the floor for the help to pick up and take to the typist.  F. Scott wrote for $$ and revised or even rewrote when Max Perkins suggested.

Fascinating stuff, I tell you, and a perfect way to avoid writing, but hey, Toni Morrison usually has most of her books written in her head before she sits down to write.  Yeah, I’m just like her.

In the guise of research, I have googled 1890s and 1900s so often that Mr.G blithely fills in the blanks for me:  fashion, morals, entertainment.  I am immersed in imagining life at the turn of the 20th century, what they wore, how they traveled, what music they listened to…   It’s a sure-fire distraction, as I sit tapping my foot to Ragtime…

But ultimately, people are people in every decade or era.  They grow up to be products of their culture, but inside they struggle, just like me, to figure out how to rise above their circumstances.

So, I gotta get back to the actual writing…or maybe dance…

Peace

 

 

challenges, challenges

Every January I sign up with the Goodreads book challenge and Every November and December I find myself frantically reading books to meet the goal.  I was up until very early doing “easy” reading, stories that are sort of romantic mysteries.  I have searched for Kindle singles and have hope that I can get these last 6 –yes, six– books read.   I read from a kindle or a nook, mostly, but since I need to catch up quickly, I’m heading over to the library to find some nice mystery series that will keep me interested…or that’s the plan, anyway.

We didn’t get any snow, though I understand that the State was on alert for flurries.  The rosebushes are ready for anything, though…check it out…

We’re doing some experimenting in the conservatory.  When the sun is up, the temps stay about 10degrees above the outside.  At night, there is little difference between inside and out, so with lows in the 20’s, I want to add some heat.  We have a couple of space heaters for now, but I don’t want to see my electric bill go crazy, so we’re thinking a kerosene heater would be nice.  So far, everything is doing real well out there…

Those low temps bit the leaves right off the trees that were so beautiful just day-before-yesterday…

It feels like a day to make some soup and curl up with a book, or two…  I hope you are warm and cozy this lovely Sunday…

Peace

 

Playing the role of Grandmother…

I don’t know if I should call this the genealogy project anymore.  A better moniker might be Who were my grandmothers? Something new that generally contradicts the stories I’ve been told pops up with each of them.

I started life with 5 grandmothers:  Mom’s grandma, called Little Grandma; Dad’s maternal grandmother, called Gainsey; Dad’s paternal grandmother, Grandmother Mayne; Mom’s mother, Grandma Eaton; and Dad’s mother, who my brother named Plain Grandmother, P.G. for short.

I have focused on Grandmother Mayne because that’s who I’m writing the story about, but I am constantly sidelined by looking at records of the others…

Then there’s the pictures.  I have a plethora of photographs that go back to the civil war and possibly before.  This picture of Grandmother was my first clue that she was not a concert pianist.

A girlfriend whose family had owned a photography shop over in Illinois pointed out to me that this was a “performer pose”.   My great-aunt Bernie provided another clue when she gave me this little flyer.  The year 1900 written on there is my grandmother’s handwriting (I can tell because she wrote me letters).

If you could look closely, you’ll see that this is not a concert pianist performance.  I’m more impressed that she had star billing and ran the show!  She sings, plays mandolin and piano and it’s all “pop” music of the day..!  Probably there was some dancing.   Add that my great-grandmother was born Olive R. Kinkade and “changed” her name to Kathleen, and it doesn’t seem to me that she was a prim, college-educated concert pianist.

So, back to the train.  Ben L., the handsome county clerk, was also a teacher in the Browns School District, living with his mother and sister in Albion.  He took his bride home and that’s where my grandfather was born 9 months later and where my great-aunt Bernie was born 14 months after that.  According to Aunt Bernie, grandmother insisted on “having her own home” when Bernie was 2 or 3.  This picture was taken in front of that house.

 

No doubt Grandmother had to re-invent herself again when she married into the Mayne Family.  They were rather snobbish and would not have approved of her background.  As a result, I rarely heard much about her childhood and only knew for sure that her mother had died when she was 6 months old, she had an older sister named Anna, and that her step-mother had not been kind.  Bernie said that the Kinkades were “poor”.

It is hard to tell what is “poor” and what’s not, but I’ve discovered just who they were, and who my grandmother’s mother’s family (McWilliams) were and that tells a story much different than what I expected.

Having spent the week being JoJo the grandma, it is easy for me to imagine how much my grandmothers enjoyed being around me and my siblings.  Double that to a great-grandmother and it must be twice as joyful, especially if you are able to play with them and teach them.  I learned so much from my great-grandmother Mayne, more than from any other grandmother.  She taught me to love poetry and playing piano, and she had large closets full of books to read.  She tried to teach me to embroider and crochet.  We helped her bake pies, rolling out the dough and slinging around the flour, and she would save a little bit of the piecrust and bake it just for me.  She put butter on her crunchy peanut-butter sandwiches and used Roman Meal bread.  We played Chinese checkers and she didn’t let me win.  She wrote us letters and had Thanksgiving at her house, Christmas at ours. I spent a couple of weeks each summer at her house getting spoiled and doted on.

Grandmother visited us in 1957 when we lived in Gary, Indiana.  She insisted on going up to Lake Michigan, where she took off her shoes and waded in…

That’s me holding Grandmother’s hand, I’m 3, she’s 81…

She has rather haunted me all these years, compelling me to tell her story, and I will.  However, the other grandmothers are clamoring to be heard, too.  As I uncover more secrets, I am mesmerized at how strong my foremothers were.  I hope my grandchildren look back and remember me the same…

Peace