Friday, November 28, 2008

Religion and me

It is the day after Thanksgiving. After enjoying a wonderful meal and the warmth of Beth's family and friends, I came home and cried - again. The same thing happened last year - well, no, not last year - granddaughter's schedule kept my immediate family in town, but the year before, and the year before that.

It's the season, pretty much, the 'holiday' - Holy day - season, although I'm sure there are many other aspects of my personal makeup and experiences that could easily be factored into the resultant equation of why I feel this way. Perhaps if I write about my feelings it will help to alleviate them.


My daughter and I have had kind of a rocky road of it, I think. Not unheard of, but this time of year is particularly hard on me.

She has many close friends, among them her cousins (whom she is visiting in California as I write). When she called yesterday afternoon to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving, I didn't have much to say after the first few sentences. She put her husband on and then my granddaughter. I had more to say to my granddaughter, becuz I had just sent her an e-mail that I thought she would have a lot of fun with when she got back.

Then DD came back on and I asked her if she wanted to talk to Beth. She said she did, and they had what sounded like a very cheery conversation for a couple of minutes. I tried to listen and pick up on something positive to say when the phone was returned to me. Nothing came. We ended the call with the usual expressions of love.


One of the weightier reasons this 'holiday' season is so hard on me, I think, is that Christmas - one of the most Holy of days - is just around the corner, and I am expected to spend the day with my family. I've had a lot of trouble with this in the past, but in the last year or two am doing a little better with it. At least I think I am! It's Thanksgiving that's the bad one.

Why would that be? Well, I have always believed that Christmas should have Christ as its center. If not at the very core of the celebration, certainly an integral part of it. However, I was 'instructed' years ago that Christ, or Jesus, is not to be talked about by me to my granddaughter.

That was a shocker. I asked why they bothered to observe Christmas at all! My mind has blocked out her answer. I developed terribly mixed feelings about these two holidays. Because I had such trouble resolving these feelings, in my mind I think Thanksgiving became even more important, but that's when they like to go to California.


I want my daughter to be independent of me - she is; be happy, fulfilled, and an equal partner in her marriage - she is; to have many interests and be recognized in some, even, as an authority - she is; be a good mother - she's a wonderful mother!

So what's the problem? It's me. Has to be. That's the only answer I can logically come up with. I have to continue to try and reconfigure my thinking.


Am I being judgmental? No, I don't think so. That's not it at all.

As a Christian, I was taught early on that only those who believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour will go to Heaven. Dr. James Wharton, pastor of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, of which I was a member for many years, often said he had trouble believing that the God he loved so much could be so narrow-minded (his exact words).

He often spoke of God's grace and God's love, and helped fill me with such joy that I wanted everyone I knew to come with me to church and hear this man speak so they could maybe capture a little of the wonder I felt. I took Ruth with me one time. She was a member of a Unitarian church and one of my closest friends. I asked her afterwards what she thought and she said, "If I were to try and describe him in just one word, that word would be 'non-judgmental'."

He had many friends, close friends, outside of the Christian faith, but within the church those who were aghast at what he publicly stated finally succeeded in removing him. He was too 'liberal' for them. In addition to their disagreements with his variant views, especially as they thought they were outside of what their denomination was built on and stood for, I think some of them felt personally threatened.

Dr. Wharton had a profound influence on me, and to this day - 20-some years later - I am often reminded of his stance on judging others when I find myself being critical.


I ran across just a beautiful saying that I'd like to share with you. I don't remember where I saw it or who originated it. Here it is ...

Treat the other man's faith gently; it is all he has to believe with. His mind was created for his own thoughts, not yours or mine.


And so I have a perplexing situation here. I don't want to foist my religious beliefs or opinions on my daughter, granddaughter, or anyone else, for that matter! I guess that makes me not a very good Christian. I do not like it when others try to impose their beliefs on me, and very much dislike it (usually) if/when I catch myself trying to do the same to others.

On the other hand, this is my immediate family and they matter more to me than anyone else. When I'm with Beth's family, particularly on Thanksgiving, their closeness brings out sad feelings in me. I know they have their own unique set of problems - every family does - , but my mind then creates this 'imaginary' utopia. Do you see how that might happen? I know it's confusing. It's certainly confusing for me!

My daughter reads my blog. I almost hope that she doesn't read this post. I wouldn't want her to 'pretend' something just to try and make me happy and feel good. I love her very much and am proud of her, of what she has accomplished and the life she has made for herself.


You know what? I do feel better! Thanks for listening. I'm really glad you were there.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My NEW NAME is Boobie Battyface

What's yours?


My dear friend Beth, who recently returned from her week-long African 'safari' - actually, it was business, shuckeydurn and dagnabit - sent me enough material today (not to mention yesterday) to last me for several posts. However, this one simply cannot wait another second without sharing it with you. It's just too much fun.

I promise - well, maybe only semi-promise - that tomorrow's post will be of a more serious nature, in keeping with Thanksgiving and what the holiday means (or 'should mean', imo). My Thanksgiving post is already on the back burner and is scheduled to be published at 12:01am Thursday, so I'm 'off the hook' there, thank goodness! Maybe!!


OK. Here's how you determine what your 'new name' is. Ready? ... ... Are you sure??

1. Use the third letter of your first name to determine your NEW first name ... ... a - snickle, b - doombah, c - goober, d - cheesy, e - crusty, f - greasy, g - dumbo, h - farcus, i - dorky, j - doofus, k - funky, l - boobie, m - sleazy, n - sloopy, o - fluffy, p - stinky, q - slimy, r - dorfus, s - snooty, t - tootsie, u - dipsy, v - sneezy, w - liver, x - skippy, y - dinky, z - zippy.

2. Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your NEW last name ... ... a - dippin, b - feather, c - batty, d - burger, e - chicken, f - barfy, g - lizard, h - waffle, i - farkle, j - monkey, k - flippin, l - fricken, m - bubble, n - rhino, o - potty, p - hamster, q - buckle, r - gizzard, s - lickin, t - snickle, u - chuckle, v - pickle, w - hubble, x - dingle, y - gorilla, z - girdle.

3. Use the third letter of your last name to determine the second half of your NEW last name ... ... a - butt, b - boob, c - face, d - nose, e - hump, f - breath, g - pants, h - shorts, i - lips, j - honker, k - head, l - tush, m - chunks, n - dunkin o - brains, p - biscuits, q - toes, r - doodle, s - fanny, t - sniffer, u - sprinkles, v - frack, w - squirt, x - humperdinck, y - hiney, z - juice.


Are you having fun yet? Let's see. Our President-elect's new name would be Dorfus Featherbutt. Mine I already gave you. Let's look at a couple more. How about Dwight David Eisenhower? Dorky Farklefanny. (Too funny! Had to stop just for a second because I was laughing too hard.)

All right. Let's continue with just one more. How about Audie Murphy, the most decorated war hero of WWII? Ready for this one? Cheesy Chuckledoodle. Lord love us! I have to stop now before I fall off my chair laughing!!


Enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy, OK? I will try, but don't promise, to be more serious tomorrow.


PS. For those of you who were expecting a post in re my trip to "Body Worlds 2" yesterday - and yes, I did go - it's going to have to wait until next week. I have to go back. Will tell you about it then. Hang in there!

WITS ... #1 ...

When I was driving a taxicab I read a lot of books - I mean a lot!

Cab driving took me everywhere, and as soon as I pulled the car out of my garage I was at work and very quickly would find myself miles away, not to return (usually) until very late at night. So, early on in my cab driving years I made it my business to locate library branches in those areas of Houston that I frequented the most.


I had three favorite libraries - Jesse Jones (main library, downtown), Jungman branch on Westheimer (not far from the Galleria), and the one on Park Place (close to Hobby Airport). There are two closer to my home, and every once in a while I'd stop at one of those if I was in the area before they closed for the evening.

The downtown location was my very favorite. Underground (paid) parking was available, which was handy during unfavorable weather conditions, and their selection of books was far and away the best in the city. However, they closed for remodeling a few years back, so you would then most often have seen me at the Park Place location.


It was at Park Place that I first noticed 5"x8" (I'm guessing the size here, because I don't have any with me just now) cards of varying colors near the checkout desk.

I picked one up and read what was on it. It was a poem. Written by a child. I thought, "Neat!" I thought these were something the Houston Public Library system must be promoting, and I made a favorable comment to one of the people manning the desk.

I was invited to take one of each to keep and share. I was told that there would be many more to come. I was really impressed with some of these poems, and my already frequent trips to the library became even more frequent as I didn't want to miss a single one!

I read many of them to Marvis, one of my cab-driving friends, and she just loved them! I gave the complete set to my granddaughter one year. They were quite special.


Well, as good luck would have it, I came across this site last week and thought, "Gee, that looks familiar!"

I went to their A Poem a Day location and understood why it had looked so familiar. I immediately called my daughter and asked if she still had that set of poems I had given my granddaughter. She said she did.

Hooray! So, all of you will be treated every now and again to one of these delightful poems. I will make no punctuation changes or corrections. The one for today is by Andrew, 6th grade - published November 18, 2008. Enjoy!!


Ode to the Wall

Thank You for being there
for me and protecting me
and having one near the
bathroom wall if there wasn't
it would be chaotic and if
there wasn't a wall in a house everybody
would say "hey, nice roof."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lighten up ... #1 ...

'Lighten up!' seems to be the catchphrase of the nearly three weeks since the election, and so I've been doing a little searching for things that make me laugh. Here's one (with a little zinger at the end that I saw coming - did you?).





And while we're on the subject of bowling, here's another!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deer season

Chuck's post of Friday, where he described his little group of hikers having to go all the way to Plan E because three other of their favorite hiking spots were "Closed for deer season" - Plan C was a breakfast stop - first made me laugh, but then I got to thinking about deer season as it was when I lived way up there on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

This was in the 40's and 50's, long before the Mackinac Bridge finally became a reality - opening in 1957.

Hunters from the Lower Peninsula would start lining up by the hundreds for a ferry to take them across the Straits as much as two days, sometimes, before the season actually started. Waits as long as 24 hours - particularly as the season's official beginning date grew closer - were not a bit unusual, and none of them wanted to miss the first hour of opening day.

[There's a really good shot of all the cars waiting for the ribbon to be cut so they can exit on the St. Ignace - Upper Peninsula - side of the bridge. I'll see if I can find it. Here it is!]


One year when I was in high school (early 50's) our basketball team qualified to go to the next level in Michigan's state competitions. A huge caravan of cars and buses carrying practically a whole town's worth of fans (I was on one of the buses) traveled to Petoskey in high hopes. A game later, we all returned back home with our tails between our legs. Lots of jubilant singing and shouts on the way down ... sadness and silence all the way back home.

I can distinctly remember how loud, joyful, and eager we were on the first leg of our trip. I have no memory whatsoever of taking the ferry across, altho we must have! It was the only way to get across the Straits at that time.


I don't know how many of you are even vaguely familiar with the configuration of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It extends approximately 300 miles from east to west, with a great percentage of the western side directly north of and abutting Wisconsin.

[There's an old story - don't know how much truth is in it - that Michigan and Wisconsin flipped a coin to decide which state would claim the peninsula. Michigan lost the toss.]


Before the Mackinac Bridge was built, the only way for folks to travel south by car from the UP - if they didn't want to wait for a ferry to take them across the Straits - was to go through either Wisconsin or Ontario.

I remember going through Sudbury, Ontario, more than once - what a bleak area! - on our way to New York. I remember thinking, as we got on the "King's Highway" for the very first time, that this would be a really neat thing. My imagination had it all tree-lined and filled with flowering bushes and shrubs. Ha! Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was pock-marked from years of heavy truck traffic with not a whole lot of regular maintenance, apparently, and only two lanes - one each direction.

We were driving a vehicle that could be best described as 'serviceable', and every once in a while I think of a truck on this one particular trip that we always seemed to easily pass going up a hill but then - coming back down, he'd be right on our rear end, pushing us to go faster. (Think our absolute top speed was around 80mph.) This went on for miles and miles and more miles, until - finally - we were able, inch by inch, to elude the monster.


I don't want to end this post without mentioning Mackinaw Island. You'll notice, if you investigate any of these links, that the spelling differs. That's because the 'c' in Mackinac is usually silent, except for the Straits of Mackinac and Fort Michilimackinac. There doesn't seem to be any uniform spelling code. Doesn't matter, really. Whichever way you want to try and Google more information about the area, it'll come up for you.


I was fortunate enough, as a member of Munising High School's marching band, to visit Mackinaw Island many times. Mr. Howlett was our instructor then. We were always invited to the island, where we stayed at the Grand Hotel, every June. Sweet, sweet memories!

[Did you know that the Grand Hotel's swimming pool was built specifically for Esther Williams' use in a movie? It was!]


Getting back to the main subject of this post, however - "Deer season" -, I spent an hour or so yesterday going back through many of my earlier posts trying to find one where I had written about Chuck Jensen. I couldn't find it. Thought sure I had already told you this story! (?) At the risk of repeating myself and boring you to death, here it is - hopefully not 'again'.


It was the first day of deer season. We never expected Chuck to be in class that first day. He lived out from town a few miles, and his folks always allowed him to miss the first day so he could try and get his buck. He was only given the one day. Then he had to go to school.

Well, it was the first day of deer season and there Chuck was, in class. He looked kind of embarrassed to be there, and we all wanted to know what happened! Why wasn't he out hunting?

It turned out that earlier than morning, Chuck had gone out into his backyard - armed with his license, deer-hunting clothes, and gun - and guess what he saw? A 10- or 12-point buck (I forget which) right in his back yard! Chuck shot him and his folks made him go to school.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Amen

I just finished watching "Lilies of the Field" (1963) - in black and white - forgot that little detail when I first saw it many many many years ago.

I am in such a good mood right now. Thank you, Lord, for Sidney Poitier. Thank you, Lord, for such a magnificently uplifting story. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to live long enough to view once again - after so many years - such a wonderful film. Thank you, Lord.

Amen.

From Moonrise to Sunset

Check out the Astronomy Picture of the Day's site for a glorious panoramic view of the city of Lisbon, Portugal. Many digital images were painstakingly strung together to provide the viewer with this visual treat.

Looks kind of cold, doesn't it? The city reminds me a bit of Corpus Christi, Texas, with all its white buildings. Lovely!

Ghost Whisperer update

Well, last night I watched the second complete episode of this series since it took such an extremely weird turn recently - on Friday, November 7th, to be exact.

Two paragraphs towards the very bottom of my post a week afterwards, "Idle thoughts ...", described how I felt about the turn it had taken. I wrote that I thought I might do a short post the next day describing the series for you.

I did, the very next day, after I had watched the night before. I wrote about how much I had loved the series, what it was all about - the premise of the story, the wonderful interactions between the main characters, and the intricately woven story lines.

I described how I felt this series had lost a fan, but thought I might watch 'just one more episode' to see whether or not I wanted to continue.

Well, I did watch - last night - and I've gotta tell ya, it's got me hooked but good again. It's kind of unbelievable how much they fit into just that one episode - convoluted as all get out - the ghost of the man driving the vehicle that was responsible for 'Sam' (now 'Jim') getting killed has refused to cross over because he blames Melinda for allowing and Jim for committing a 'theft' and interfering with a family's grieving process - Jim/Sam doesn't know who he is - Delia (Melinda's close friend) and her son are very much afraid that Melinda's in a lot of trouble, emotionally and psychologically - well, you get the picture, I'm sure.

Do you remember that I said I was a happy endings kind of gal? Well, I am, and last night's episode had some amazingly wonderful and goose bump producing resolutions! A real feel-gooder.

I don't want to say any more about it right now, just in case you are really intrigued and get a chance to watch last night's episode for yourself. I'm not even going to tell you what the ghost said to Melinda just before he 'crossed over into the light' and disappeared forever. How's that for a teaser? (If you want to know, ask me to tell you in your comment and I will.)

Meanwhile, I'll be watching.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Body Worlds 2, the Brain ...

... is the exhibit I plan on viewing this coming Monday.

I was just looking up more info on it via the Internet, and it appears as tho there is more than just a little controversy over this.

See this site for the latest info. I'll be keeping you informed as I learn more.

The only reason I'm referencing this today is because, as they say on the site, "A major contributor to this article or its creator appears to have a conflict of interest with its subject. It may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia's content policies, particularly neutral point of view."

I thought that those of you who might be interested in learning more about this topic as it's currently presented should have an opportunity to read this article before it's altered, if indeed it will be.

Playing by the rules

Yesterday, Tammy posted her most recent experience playing pinochle - substituting in a regular foursome - with some lol's.

From her descriptions, she was far and away the youngest person there ... I might even have been the youngest person there! LOL

It sounds like these gals took the game VERY seriously, indeed - far more seriously than my folks, brother, and I ever did years ago when we played! I don't mean that we didn't all play to win, but we never went 6+ hours w/o ingesting anything more than water!!


She said her blood sugar was 'in her socks' - don't you just love the way she phrased that? - by the time she got back home. Well, I guess! Anyone's would have been, I think - diabetes or no diabetes!!

(I wish I could link her post for you, but I don't think I can. Well, I could, but I don't think you'd be able to 'get on' - she's gone private.)


Anyhow, one of her commentors (my sp.) said that she and her significant other had been interested in learning the game a few years back, and they had found a 'friend' to teach them. I put friend in quotes because it seems that every time she thought she was really beginning to understand the game and used that knowledge to her advantage to try and win, her 'friend' would change the rules. (!?!)


Folks, it doesn't work that way. Rules don't get changed midway through a game - especially if you're trying to teach someone else how to play! Sure, there might be "house rules" - dictated by the host/hostess, but those are always announced beforehand.


There is - or used to be, anyway - a "Book of Hoyle" out there, listing the rules for almost every type of game imaginable, including exceptions (or 'house rules', if you would). My copy is ancient. Is it still available, do you know?


I'll never forget the first time I played dominoes with fellow cab drivers. They all played by the same rules, but they weren't the same as those I had learned! And not the same as those in puzzle books, either, I might add!!


I'm going to conclude this - my third post of the day, ye gods! - with a joke. Ready?

It seems that there was a bridge player who was just terribly obnoxious - criticized and belittled his partner, the opponents, and everyone within earshot. Nobody wanted to be his partner or even play against him, but there was no denying his bridge skills and so he was often seen (and heard) at the bridge table.

Well, as it happens to all of us sooner or later, he passed away. He had often been heard to say, "When I die, I'm going straight to hell." And everyone pretty much agreed. I mean, he was nasty!

When he was again aware of his surroundings, he was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone around him seemed to be playing cards. Not only that, but it looked like they were playing bridge!

He thought, "I must be in Heaven, but how could that be?" He tried to remember some nice thing he had done to be so rewarded, but failed.

Just then someone called out, "Hey! We need a fourth. Do you play?"

He couldn't believe his good fortune! He sat down and smiled at everyone in anticipation of enjoying his favorite game. The cards were shuffled and dealt 'according to Hoyle'.

He picked up his hand. All Aces, Kings, Queens, and one Jack. He opened the bidding "Seven notrump".

When the opening lead came down - the Jack of Kazorts - he realized where he was.

Foodies

Steven commented the other day that he was sure I didn't want this turning into a 'foody blog', but then asked me to shoot info for the cornbread and sausage recipe up his way, which I did. Hope he lets us all know how it turns out when he makes it. Says he and his son 'snaffle up' just about everything.

By the way, when I was at Kroger's yesterday I picked up the sausage, so I'm all set to go on that one. Will give a report when I make it, let y'all know if I like it or not. Not within the next day or two, tho - chili's on the menu for today.


Earlier, Tammy had asked for more info on the grape salad. I gave her the basic ingredients as I knew them, and wished her 'luck' because I didn't really know whatall else went into it. All I knew for sure was that it was delicious and palate-cleansing!

Well, also when I was at Kroger's I was able to pin down the fella who actually puts it all together. So, here you go, Tammy (and anyone else who might be interested in trying it).


Grape Salad

grapes - ripe, plump, luscious

walnuts - halved, quartered, chunks (but not bits & pieces)

Gorgonzola cheese - chunks, bits, & pieces (if you can't find Gorgonzola, blue cheese would probably do about as well)

Combine above in bowl and stir in to taste (keep tasting until it suits you) ... ...

light olive oil - vinegar - honey - cracked black pepper

This is not a 'soupy' salad! My personal preference is to have lots of cheese - walnuts not so much - very little of the black pepper, but you'll just have to fiddle around with it 'to taste'. Good luck!



Now, Whalechaser has got a three-part series of posts going about a cooking school she is currently attending. Part three will probably be out later today. It's a really good series! Here are the links for parts one and two.

I wonder if she has dared to step on a scale recently? These sound like all-dayers, and so there's no way she could be hiking six miles either before or afterwards to try and burn off all those extra calories she must be ingesting!


My culinary 'skills' are basically non-existent, but I found myself actually gaining a little understanding of some of the whys and wherefores of cooking.

Fun with word games ... #4

Cryptograms ...

Every time I try to bake a birthday cake the candles keep melting in the oven.

Money is worth so little now that it's surprising so many people spend so much time working for it.

Prodigy: a child who plays the piano when he ought to be in bed.

A dachshund is a dog who wags his tail by remote control.

He cut a hole in the top of his umbrella so he could see when it stopped raining.

Music is much more enjoyable if you listen to it with your eyes shut. It is also more enjoyable if the people sitting near you listen to it with their mouths shut.

In India, "a pot without a cover" refers to unattended business; but "a pot that has its lid" is a Lebanese expression for a well-matched couple.

A first kiss is something that comes only once in a lifetime.

Men and women usually win elections chiefly because most people cast their vote against somebody rather than for somebody.

The doctor gave me a prescription to take, and it was the worst tasting paper I ever ate.

The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life.
__ George Carlin

When it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing.

I'm in the printing business. Nobody can read my handwriting.



Syllacrostics ...

Humility is to make a right estimate of yourself. __ Harry S. Truman

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Playing catch up

It's amazing what a good night's sleep does for me - seven solid hours last night!

I've been feeling a little out of sorts lately. I haven't been able to get my naps in. There's major remodeling going on in my next door neighbor's townhouse - it's for sale - and the hammering is continuous from 8am on. Barf!


I don't like getting new neighbors - well, I should amend that by saying I like getting new neighbors only if the ones I currently have are noisy, obnoxious, rude, block your garage, and other unpleasant things I could name - Les has been my neighbor for quite a number of years now, and I really could not have asked for a better one!

But, he and his long-time girlfriend have decided to buy a house together in Clear Lake (SE, towards Galveston). "So you guys are getting married?" I asked, expecting an affirmative answer and ready to add my hearty congratulations. "No, no," he said, "Once was enough!" We both laughed and rolled our eyes at each other in complete understanding.


Anyway, after my really good night's sleep, I came in here to down my weekly pill (accompanied by lots and lots of water, as recommended). Am now drinking fresh coffee. Nice! Haven't looked at others' blogsites yet - spent about an hour and a half deleting 'junk' mail and 'unsubscribing' (where possible) to those that I had never subscribed to in the first place (!) - added a response or two to comments on my posts - I'll be ready to see what's going on with my fellow bloggers after I catch all y'all up on a couple of things.


What does "Eats fine" mean to you? DD said that she'd made chili the other day and sent me a recipe that she'd found online. "Eats fine," she said. I don't want to ask what she meant by that. Would take all the fun out of it, knowing the answer. I'd rather let my imagination run wild with possibilities.

Did she mean that, upon chewing, it didn't crack her teeth? Did she mean that it was a welcome relief from the rest of the stuff on her South Beach diet? Did she mean that it was fine to swallow - as opposed to gritty?

I don't want to know. Chili sounds good to me, however. Perfect for colder weather! And reheats very successfully. In fact, it's often better reheated. May decide to buy ingredients for that when I run over to Kroger's later. Am all out of grape salad (again!). Will check while I'm there to see if the gal really did order breakfast sausage, too, like she said she would.


Do you remember when I said I was getting really tired of the chocolate-flavored Viactiv? Thought I might even have to go back to pulverizing those enormous tablets with a hammer in a little baggie again for my daily calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Well, a few weeks ago I was in the vitamin section of a store when I noticed that they now had a caramel flavor, so I thought, "Hmmm. I'll try that. If it's gawdawful, I'll get the hammer back out." They were pretty good!

Then, day before yesterday I was in the market for a Viactiv refill and noticed that they now have a raspberry flavor. My goodness! Just expanding their product line like crazy!! Rrvit. Bought some more of the caramel for this time - will be interesting to see whatall they have come up with in another month or so.


Did you watch "Dancing with the Stars" either Monday or last night? I did. (Played hookey from the annual homeowner association's meeting to do so. Bad girl, bad girl!) Warren Sapp and his professional partner, Kim Johnson, made it to the finals. This is exciting! Three couples will be competing next week in the finals, all of whom are a real joy to watch.

I just checked next week's TV schedule - it's Thanksgiving week, so I thought perhaps the schedule would be changed. (Thanksgiving in this country is always the 4th Thursday in November, for those of you whom might not know.) It is, but only a little bit. Here it is ... Monday (24th) from 7-8:30pm CST ... Tuesday (25th) from 8-10pm CST - that's different (not the day, but the time - "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" pushes the final results show back an hour). I'll be watching!


On Monday next I've penciled in on my calendar going over to the Museum of Natural Science. I have a coupon for $7 off the general adult admission (courtesy of Kroger's, no less!) to "Body Worlds 2", an exhibit which has been there for several months now. I figure it won't be there much longer, and I'd better get my own body over there before it leaves. Will do a post, I'm sure, after I've seen it.


That's it for this morning. Now you're all caught up. Hope you're doing OK on this fine Wednesday morning. I'll be checking your sites in just a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prinderella

Do you remember, just a couple of days ago, when I was talking about taking one of my regular customers to the airport? She was going to Austin to see an opera with friends - she didn't know which one, exactly, but she'd tell me later that evening when I picked her up.

Turns out that the opera she saw was "Cinderella" - sung in Italian, which made no sense to her, she said - "Voices were only 'so so', but the stage settings and costumes were wonderful!"

We had barely gotten off the airport grounds when I just had to call my daughter, because I remembered an almost-forgotten rendition of 'Cinderella' taped by her at the age of eight - taught to her by her grandma Mary.

I share it with you now. My only wish is that you could hear my daughter reciting this ... it's absolutely priceless! And so here we go - 'Prinderella.'


Tonce upon a wime there was a gritty little pearl named Prinderella.

She lived with her two sugly isters and her sticked wetmother who made her pine all the shots and shans and do all the wirty dirk around the house.

Wasn't that a shirty dame?


Then one day the ping issued a croclamation saying that all geligible earls had to come to the palace for a drancy fess ball.


Prinderella's two sugly isters could go to the drancy fess ball because they had drancy fesses, and Prinderella's sticked wetmother could go to the drancy fess ball cuz she had a drancy fess!


But poor Prinderella! She couldn't go to the drancy fess ball. She didn't have a drancy fess! All she had was a rirty dag which fidn't dit.


But then Prinderella's gairy fodmother appeared. She changed hice into morses and a cumpkin into a poach. She changed Prinderella's rirty dags (which fidn't dit) into a drancy fess (which fid dit) and sent Prinderella off to the drancy fess ball saying, "Now remember, you must be home by the moke of stridnight."


So Prinderella went off to the drancy fess ball and she pranced all night with the dince.

On the moke of stridnight, she ran down the stalace peps. On the bottom pep, she slopped her dripper!


So the ping issued another croclamation saying that all geligible earls had to sly on the tripper.

Prinderella's two sugly isters slied on the tripper and it fidn't dit. Prinderella's sticked wetmother slied on the tripper and it fidn't dit - but when Prinderella slied on the tripper, it fid dit!

So Prinderella and the dince mot garried and hived lappily ever after. The end.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Playing 'tag'

Steven unofficially tagged me a couple of weeks ago, and Polimom made it official last Wednesday, so now I have to decide whether or not I'm going to play fair.


The rules are:

1. Link to the person who tagged you. (Already done.)
2. Post the rules on your blog. (Doing it.)
3. Write six random things about yourself.


It took me a while to come up with six that you might not already have known about me, but I think I've got some.

1. I can wiggle my ears.

2. I am deaf in the right ear. Presented a potential problem when driving a taxi. If there's a lot of extraneous noise around, nothing at all is clear. Ergo, no participating in a band or orchestra - not even a small ensemble.

3. I am an independent person. One of the most attractive features of cab driving, for me, is that you set your own hours and select the areas where you wish to work.

4. The thing that I miss the least about cab driving is having to deal with a few customers in an abrupt and unladylike fashion. One has to quickly - often within a split second - be able to recognize a potentially dangerous situation and either diffuse it or get rid of it. I think I lost some of my 'humanity' as a result of all those years in the taxicab business, altho I might be regaining just a little through blogging.

5. I have very fine hair. It's unmanageable long - absolutely refuses to stay in a pony tail and doesn't like perms, so I've worn it short for many many years. It seems to like it that way, and often shows its natural waves in appreciation.

6. My favorite color is now blue, but it was green for most of my life. Strange, huh?


4. (going back to the rules) Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. (This is where I'm going to start breaking the rules. Sorry, Polimom.)

I have bragged about and linked to others' blogsites 40-some times since I began this blog in January. I would be hard-pressed to name only six out of all the ones I have enjoyed (and currently am enjoying). SO, with that having been said, I'm going to take this opportunity to recommend one that I don't recall ever mentioning to you.

It is Eyes of Wonder, hosted by Jewels. I cannot find enough adjectives to adequately describe this blogsite - beautiful and inspirational are only a couple. You'll just have to click on to it and find out for yourself, I think.

It takes a few minutes for all of the pictures to download, so please be patient. Music comes on while you're waiting. If you don't like it, you can make it go away, but I like it - in fact, one night I just left her site on when I hit the pillow. I don't remember if I dreamed or not, but - if I did, I'll bet they were sweet!

Many hundreds - literally - follow her site. You should be prepared to go back in time some and lose yourself in thought and wonder. That's all I'm going to say.


5. (back to the rules) Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. Jewels doesn't even post awards on her site! Well, you'll see. I don't think she'd want to play this game.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. (Done.)


Thank you, Polimom, for wanting me to play your game. I hope you're not too mad that I didn't follow all the rules. (?)

Employee of the Month

I'm still having trouble trying to come up with six random things about myself that I haven't already blabbed about on my blog so that I can respond to Polimom's 'tag' of the other day. In fact, for today's post I was in the process of gathering all my thoughts and notes together for a different subject entirely when I came across this. Hope you get a chuckle or two out of it!


A young guy from Wisconsin moves to Florida and goes to a big 'everything-under-one-roof' department store looking for a job.

The manager asks, "Do you have any sales experience?" The kid says, "Yeah, I was a salesman back in Wisconsin." Well, the boss liked the kid and gave him the job. "You start tomorrow. I'll come down after we close and see how you did."

His first day on the job was rough, but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came down. "How many customers bought something from you today?" he wanted to know.

The kid says 'one'. The boss replies, "Just one?!? Our salespeople average 20 to 30 customers a day! How much was the sale for?"

The kid says, "$101,237.65."

"$101,237.65!! What the heck did you sell?"

The kid explains, "First I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fish hook. Then I sold him a larger fish hook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down the coast. I told him he was going to need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him a twin-engine Chris Craft. Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him over to the automotive department and sold him that 4x4 Expedition."

"A guy comes in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and a truck?!?"

"Well, not exactly," the kid replied. "The guy came in here to buy Tampons for his wife and I said, 'Dude, your weekend's shot. You should go fishing ...


I got this from Tish, who got it from Jules, who got it from ... ... ... and now you've got it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday morning

My day began with my subconscious waking me up three minutes before the alarm was due to go off ... nice! I lay there, all cuddled up and cozy warm in my blanketed cocoon, thinking, "I wonder what time it is. Is it time to get up yet?" And then tried to resurrect coherent memories of my just-concluded/interrupted dream. Forget it! All gone, but I think it was a good one!!

Came in here to check e-mails ... mostly 'junk', but each week I seem to be able to pare away a little more of the junk that I inadvertently signed up for many many months ago, when I was (quite literally) a non-savvy computer user. (I'm still not very 'savvy', but I'm getting better at it.)


I checked Steven's blogsite first thing (always!), and was really pleased to note that he was featuring a Clyde Beatty film. Boy, did that take me back! Fifty or more years, I would guess ... long before most of you were born, I betcha!

It runs more than an hour, so I thought I'd start watching it to see if I'd like to continue it later, and yes I would! I was only able to watch the first twelve minutes or so before I had to leave the house to pick up one of my personal customers to go to the airport, so I paused it to watch the rest later at my leisure.

I recommend it to you now (altho the rest of the movie has not as yet been viewed by me). I must warn you, however, that as soon as you click onto that link the movie will start. You'll have enough time, tho, to read all of Steven's prefacing remarks before the actual story begins (you know, intros and all that good stuff) and not miss anything, I can guarantee you that much.


I allowed extra time to get to Celia's (customer's) house because I knew that I had to put gas in the car. Stopped at the station closest to my home. Went to two different pumps. The first pump gave me fifteen cents worth. The next eighteen! I thought, "What the devil?!?"

I went inside to the clerk and asked, "What the devil?" He said, "We're out of gas." Isn't that 'cute'? (Can't put notices up on the pumps? What's with that?!?) So I continued on up the road and paid eighteen cents more per gallon for the 'privilege'. Yuk!


On the way to Celia's, I had the radio on. Man oh man! Jitterbug music!! My mind took me back to - centuries ago, it seems now - when I 'could have danced all night'!

(There'll be at least one post coming at you in the future on dancing. Meanwhile, are any of you watching "Dancing with the Stars"? Warren Sapp, a pro football player - and one who weighs in at something over 300 pounds, purportedly - is still in the competition!! Do you want to allow your face to just 'smile all over'? Watch "Dancing" tomorrow night from 7-8:30pm CST or Tuesday from 7-8pm CST for recaps of the dances from tomorrow night's competition [new this year - love this show!] followed by - if you have enuf time in your busy schedule - the results from 8-9pm CST. You might not be able to hold your breath long enuf between commercials and the extraordinarly long pauses before the final results are announced - it's the highest rated show on TV, and they take full advantage of the opportunity to build the suspense - a 'downer', in my opinion.)


I'm going to conclude this post by talking about one of Charles Osgood's features this morning. I must apologize to you by not being able to name the state (I missed the very first part of the feature). The name of the town is "Oxford" ... whether it's Mississippi or some other state, I could not begin to venture a guess. I have the feeling that it's a northern state, altho I cannot say for sure, but let me give you the story. You'll like it, I think.

It seems that there was a young photographer who had relocated to a town where - even after twenty years - he thought he would still be considered a 'stranger', an outsider, as it were. He really wanted to meet and get to know his neighbors better, and so he thought it would be a good idea to offer free photographs of everyone in the town.

He advertised. No one came to his free offering, so he took to 'waylaying' anyone and everyone he could (including small children) off the streets to snap their pictures.

Twenty years later - photos and negs still in his files - one of his associates asked, "Whatever happened to the 'Oxford project'?" as it was now known. Well, nothing had happened. All was lying dormant.

Associate then suggested that there has got to be a book here! And, of course, there was - going back and taking photos of the same folks twenty years later and getting their stories - a great feature. If you missed it, perhaps you can catch it on the internet? I don't know. It's a 'warm fuzzy'.


Hope all of you are having a warm fuzzy day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ghost Whisperer

This series premiered in September 2005, but I don't think I saw very many (if any) episodes until late last year when I quit driving a taxicab full-time.

The title certainly intrigued me, however, and I placed it in the back of my memory banks for a time when I could be home to watch it.


For the past year (and a touch more), I have had my television tuned in to CBS on Friday nights at 8pm EST. That's when it airs. I have loved it!

Wonderful interaction between the main characters, intricate and finely-woven story lines, and 'happy ending' resolutions. (I'm a happy endings type of gal.)


Are you familiar with the premise of the story? Melinda Gordon (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) has the ability to see, hear, and communicate with 'ghosts' ... people who have died, but who have been unable to "cross over" due to some sort or another of unfinished business. They come to her for help.


Last week Jim, her husband - a paramedic, was accidentally shot and subsequently died (a blood clot). They had an extraordinarily close and loving relationship, and had been recently trying to conceive a child. The episode was particularly shocking to me, and I didn't know if I even wanted to watch another!

Nevertheless I did - last night - watch when, at the very end of the episode, Jim (who doesn't want to 'cross over' and leave Melinda) 'jumps into' a just pronounced dead man's body (whose soul has already left him and crossed over).

I mean, how weird is that?!? I might watch one more episode next Friday, but I'm very much afraid that this series has lost a fan. It's getting too 'far out' for me!


There's a ton of information out there if you want to Google "Ghost Whisperer - TV" or look it up in Wikipedia.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Idle thoughts ...

... for a Friday.


Began my day very early this morning - too early, actually - by clicking on a couple of sites I haven't visited recently after first catching up with Steven's latest. He almost always posts shortly after midnight his time, and last night was no exception. I can look forward to something new and very different from what everyone else seems to be doing first thing each morning. Neat!

I made no comments except for Ellen's post. She was feeding M&M, Chuck's cat, spinach leaves in an attempt to train it not to beg for food. It was funny! She included a couple of cute pix, and I just had to leave a comment. I love cats!!

Kind of unusual for me to leave just one comment, but I'm a little gunshy right now after putting my foot in my mouth the other day and being somewhat careless and (I thought) intrusive with one of my comments on Craig's site. "It's all good," he says, but I'm having trouble getting over being mad at myself. I will, eventually, but right now I'm still kind of in the doldrums.


I reminded myself of Ann Richards who, when campaigning for re-election as Texas' governor in the mid 90's, made the statement about her opponent (who happened to be "W"), "Poor George ... he was born with a silver boot in his mouth!"

Die-hard Democrats and feminists loved it. The media were ecstatic and ran with it! Where was I in all this? I immediately lost all respect for that woman, and began paying more attention to "W".

I had trouble visualizing him as governor of our great state. I didn't much care for his laugh and facial expressions - looked a little 'smirky' to me at times, had some difficulty getting used to his inability to get his tongue around certain words that should have been easily pronounceable (imo), and thought his general 'folksy' demeanor would not be conducive to promoting Texas' image nationally.

He was elected, and I thought did a credible job. (But then, you have to keep in mind that I'm not nearly as involved in the political scene as I once was, so my opinion is probably worthless.) I was pleased, actually, when he ran for President and won.


I thought the media did their very best to try and elect Gore, trumpeting to the world that the State of Florida had gone to Gore when the polls weren't even closed there!!! I was incensed with rage, and wondered aloud to anyone who cared to listen how many tens of thousands of Florida voters who lived in a different time zone might have been on their way to vote, heard the 'news', and turned around to go back home. Talk about disenfranchised! Certainly we wouldn't have had any of this 'hanging chad' nonsense!!

I wonder how many of the voters in the rest of the country, who live in the same time zone as that of Florida's panhandle - Texas is in that same time zone, from here all the way up north to the Canadian border, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, Louisiana, etc. - the 'guts' of America, might have been on their way to the polls when the Florida election (mis-reported and highly distorted) 'results' were broadcast far and wide.

It wouldn't have been even close, folks! Now, there's no way I will ever be able to prove a statement like that, but I'm sticking with it.


Ann Richards meant to be unkind. Mean, even! Lloyd Bentsen meant to be unkind when he zapped Dan Quayle during their Vice Presidential debate with this zinger, "And you, sir, are no Jack Kennedy!" A low blow. Quayle left the door open for it, but ugly nonetheless. And intentional.


I was not intentionally unkind or intrusive, but I certainly was unthinking when I wrote my comment. I sometimes (maybe more than sometimes) put my foot in my mouth when speaking, but not usually when writing (unless I'm really upset about something - Tammy'll vouch for this).


When composing a post - especially on the computer where it's so easy to change a word here or a phrase there, delete a whole paragraph, even, or start over - particularly one like this where it's so full of feelings, I often spend several hours thinking, and trying to get all my thoughts together in some semblance of reasonable order. I often jot down little notes in case I get distracted.


After viewing a few blogsites, I worked the daily Sudoku puzzle. Fun! Tammy and I exchanged a few e-mails, I got the garbage all bagged up and placed outside for pickup, and then I took a nap. It's Friday, and there was shopping that had to be done. Yuk!!


OK. Awake, alert, dressed, and with list in hand, I headed on over to Kroger's to get my weekly 'fix' of grape salad, baked fish filets, mushrooms, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I had signed up to receive 'Allrecipes' frequent e-mails months ago and yesterday, after reading about a cornbread and sausage casserole, decided I'd like to give it a try.

I can just hear you saying, "Goldenrod, that's not on your diet!" I know it's not, but I've been a very good girl for a while, and thought I'd treat myself. The biggest problem was figuring out how I could cut the proportions! There's just me, and the recipe serves eight!! (I can always zap something in the microwave, but how many days in a row would I want to do that?)

So anyway I thought I had it planned out fairly well, but then there was the problem of finding the ingredients - now that was a less than pretty picture! All was finally in hand - or I should say in the basket, and my last stop was in the meat section. Guess what?

You guessed it. No ground pork, at least not packaged. My recipe called for 'ground pork breakfast sausage'. So I went to the meat counter, confident that the butcher would be able to fix me up. No could do. Kroger's policy is not to grind pork to order. It all comes pre-packaged. What's with that?!?

I left the store w/o all of the ingredients necessary to prepare this casserole dish that had sounded so enticing. What I'll probably do in the next day or two (perhaps Sunday, on my way back from taking one of my regular customers to the airport) is return the other stuff I bought to put in the dish. Maybe not. Haven't decided for sure. Right now I'm a little discouraged. The gal in charge of ordering said she'd put in an order for me, but still!


You'll never believe what happened after I had loaded my groceries into the car and was wheeling the cart over to one of their cart stands! There I was, minding my own business and doing a good deed by returning the cart to its proper place when I saw this large SUV-type vehicle backing out of its parking place and heading right towards me!!

I immediately let go of the cart, repositioned my body to a place of safety, and another shopper and I watched with some fascination as this woman (not a little old lady, either - didn't notice if she was talking on her cell phone or not) slammed her vehicle into the cart. Incredible!

It has long been my opinion that parking lots are very dangerous places. The ones who are leaving have concluded their business and are anxious to get on to the next place on their agenda. They simply are not completely focused on the task at hand, namely that of backing out of their parking spot without hitting something or - worse yet - someone.


I'm going to conclude my 'idle thoughts' with a comment or two on the CBS series, "Ghost Whisperer". Do you watch that, by any chance? Well, the series has taken a decidedly weird turn. Not sure I'm going to continue watching it anymore. I mean weird!

I might decide to do a fairly short post tomorrow for those of you who do not know very much about the show. Would you like that? That way, you can decide for yourselves whether or not you might enjoy looking in on an episode or two. Yeah, I think I will. Look for it, OK?


Meanwhile, I hope you all have had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. It's supposed to start getting cold here. Well, it's that time of year, what can I tell you? Talk atcha later!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembering Maxine

I was going through some of my older posts just now and one, where I described getting to a duplicate bridge game once in Lafayette, Indiana, by (literally) wading through high water, got my mind to wandering back through the years.

Initially, after re-reading this post, I thought I must have remembered the location wrong. Wouldn't it have been Columbus, Ohio, where we relocated after Purdue? But no, I was correct. It was Lafayette.

Don't remember who my partner was that night - a woman, for sure (don't recall any male bridge partners while we lived in Indiana) - can almost 'see' her, but can't pull up her name from my memory banks. Eric Rodwell and Jeff Meckstroth were students at Purdue at the time - young - new to the game - up and coming players who would go on to develop a formidable partnership. Played against them a bunch of times. Jeff is now a bridge professional ... don't know if Eric is or not. Kind of fun to remember some of those little tidbits.


From there my mind wandered to Columbus, Ohio. I was in the market for a bridge partner, so the first thing I did was look through the Columbus newspaper to see if they published high scorers from bridge games. They did! (I knew that the Lafayette newspaper did, but I was afraid that the one in Columbus might not - it was a much larger city, after all.)

I scrolled down through the list of names to see if one with an unusual spelling might be there so I could have half a chance of finding his/her phone number in the local directory. I knew I had no chance whatsoever with a Smith, Walker, Jones, Black, or Johnson, for example, and was delighted to see an "M Papurt" listed. (Only the first initial was given, but I thought the odds were pretty good in finding "Papurt" ... I mean, how many Papurts could there possibly be?)

The next question, of course, was would the number be listed? In those days (mid 60's) there were some who had unpublished numbers but not nearly as many as today!

There was only one "M Papurt" in the directory and I dialed the number. Didn't know whether I would reach a man or a woman. A woman answered. I identified myself, said that I was new to the area, was interested in finding a bridge partner locally who might be interested in a game with a complete stranger, and was she possibly the "M Papurt" who played duplicate?

Well, that was how I found Maxine. We scheduled a game within the next week and played together regularly for the next several years, until I left the area and came down here to Houston. After that, we corresponded fairly frequently at first, but then - you know how it goes - kind of 'lost touch'.


I tried to reach her by phone just a few years ago. Something had joggled my memory banks, and I got to wondering if she was still around. I was hoping she was, but knew she was closer to my folks' age and tried to prepare myself for the possible news that she wasn't.

[I had to interrupt this a few minutes ago to go back through all of my previously-published posts labeled "Bridge", because I thought I remembered writing about some of this before. I read them all. Couldn't find a previous reference to Maxine, so I'll continue.]

This was long before I had access to the internet, and so I started my search the old-fashioned way - through the long distance information telephone operator. There was no current listing for an "M Papurt" in Columbus, Ohio. I asked for a number for the local duplicate bridge club.

Dialed it. Person who answered (after I identified myself and the reason for my call) advised me that Maxine had passed away just a few years back from cancer - liver or pancreatic, one of the more horrible ones with usually terminal prognoses.

I silently said a prayer, even tho Maxine was Jewish. That's OK to say a prayer for a person of another faith, isn't it?


Then I asked whom I was speaking with, and the person told me her name. I couldn't recall the name from my 'Columbus, Ohio bridge memory banks' and asked, "How old are you?" (Is that an insane question or what, to ask a complete stranger over the telephone how old they are?!? But I did! I don't remember doing that sort of thing when I was younger - well, maybe occasionally. How intrusive!!)

She gave her age, somehow knowing that there might be a good reason for my question - I guess I'd been hoping that her name might ring a bell or that she might remember me. Turns out that she was like two or three years old when Maxine and I were regularly playing together - after all, this was many years ago!

She was very receptive to my call, and invited me to play at their studio 'the next time I'm in Columbus' - fat chance of that occurring, but the memory of our conversation is a 'warm fuzzy'.


Maxine was the one who taught me "weak twos" and opening 'light' in third seat, with partner (who has close to an opening hand but has already passed) being able to ascertain 3rd seat opener's (partner's) hand's actual values by means of an artificial club bid (alertable).

In those days - long before bidding boxes, which are in wide use today - all bids were spoken aloud.

This one time when we were playing, Maxine opened (3rd seat) and I responded "Two clubs." (I had a club suit with 10+ points.) Maxine said, "Alert", and I said, "Whaat!!" Well, I mean to tell you that the whole room absolutely exploded in laughter!


She was often bothered with 'hot spells' - was going through the change of life, and having a really hard time with it. Actually shed her skin during this process. Had never heard of that before - nor have I since! (When I went through the same process some years later, it was much different. I sometimes wish I had had 'hot spells' - I'm so often cold.)


One year we all went to Minocqua, Wisconsin, for their annual almost week-long sectional bridge tournament. (Unless you're a duplicate bridge player, you have no idea how unusual an almost week-long sectional tournament is.) That was always a good time! Most evenings would find me with a group around the piano singing the descant for "Tell Me Why."

It was during this trip - while Dad, Maxine, and I were busily smoking away and recalling the hands and events of the afternoon session - that Mom appeared from one of the back bedrooms, clad only in her top and panty hose (remember panty hose??), twirling her long hand-crocheted necklace around and strutting as tho she were a stripper. Oh Lord, was that funny! I mean!! Will have that picture in my mind as long as I live, I'm sure.


End of stories for this time. I miss you, Maxine! I miss your willingness to immediately accept and welcome a complete stranger into your life. I miss our friendship. I miss our bridge partnership. I hope that - wherever you now 'reside' - you are amongst friends, family, and loved ones. (And maybe even one or two - better yet three, so you could provide the 'fourthsome' - who play bridge!)

Why I Like Retirement

Chuck has kindly given me permission to use his post of just the other day. I might not agree with everything stated below - and wish that I could be enjoying mine as much as Ellen and he are enjoying theirs - but I nonetheless share it with you now in the hope that you will get somewhere near approaching 10% of the laughs I got when I first read it.


Q: How many days in a week?
A: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday.

Q: When is a retiree's bedtime? (This one's my 2nd most favorite.)
A: Three hours after he/she falls asleep on the couch.

Q: How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but it might take all day.

Q: What's the biggest gripe of retirees?
A: There is not enough time to get everything done.

Q: Why don't retirees mind being called 'Seniors'?
A: The term comes with a 10% discount.

Q: Among retirees, what is considered 'formal' attire?
A: Tied shoes. (My favorite ... rrvit!)

Q: Why do retirees count pennies?
A: They're the only ones who have the time.

Q: What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?
A: NUTS!

Q: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic, or garage?
A: They know that - as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

Q: What do retirees call a long lunch?
A: Normal.

Q: What is the best way to describe retirement?
A: The never-ending coffee break.

Q: What's the biggest advantage of going back to school as a retiree?
A: If you cut classes, no one calls your parents.

Q: Why does a retiree often say that he doesn't miss work, but he misses the people he used to work with?
A: He is too polite to tell the truth.


Folks, I just laughed and laughed and laughed some more when I first read Chuck's post. I hope you've gotten a kick out of it, as well.

He concludes with a really cute little cartoon, which I've tried to capture and include here but have been unsuccessful.

The caption reads (and it's a Garfield-type cartoon, you'll like it - I'll give you the link to Chuck's site in just a moment, so you can look it up and read it for yourself, OK?), "We all get heavier as we get older because there's a lot more information in our heads. So I'm not fat, I'm just really intelligent and my head couldn't hold any more so it started filling up the rest of me!"


Here's the link to Chuck's post (you might notice that I changed a word or two here or there). Meanwhile, back at our respective ranches, I know that both of us would appreciate additional input (particularly in re questions and answers) that might add to others' enjoyment of future articles/posts entitled, "Why I Like Retirement."

Please ... feel free to make your contributions, OK?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dancing in the rain

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.



Isn't that just beautiful? I found it on Damama's site earlier this morning.

We've had a goodly share lately - a few thunderboomers and some wind gusts now and again - mainly, tho, just a nice 'soaking into the ground' rain. Wonderful!



Changing the subject, a really yukky thing happened the other night. If I'd realized what was happening when it occurred, I could have avoided a sticky situation.

What happened? Well, I accidentally stepped on a big wad of chewing gum that someone had carelessly thrown to the ground instead of properly disposing of it, that's what happened. Yuk!

But I didn't notice, and it wasn't until a couple or three hours later - after sitting at the kitchen table for a while doing some paperwork and watching TV with a space heater blowing nice warm air onto my feet and legs - when I tried to shift my feet to cross my legs the other way, one of my shoes didn't want to come off the rug. I looked down to see what the devil was going on.

There was this blue gooey-looking substance sticking to the bottom of my right moccasin and trailing down to the rug, where I saw the rest of the blob. I reached down to try and extract it from the rug itself, but it was too late. Now what to do?

Well, the first thing I did - after the failed extraction attempt - was cover the offending object with a paper napkin. Then I tried to remove the gum from the bottom of my moccasin. Got most of it. At least what's left won't be sticking to much, if anything, in the near future. When it gets colder outside I can get the rest of it, or put some ice on it and scrape and dig the rest off if I get too impatient.

Next I put on a different pair of shoes and went out to the car to see what damage had been done to the driver's side floor mat. None. One piece of good news, anyway!

Meanwhile, I'm open to any and all suggestions as to how to get the glob of ick out of my rug. Should I just place some ice cubes on the spot and hope to be able to 'lift' the now ice cold blob out, or will I have to resort to carefully cutting and risk ruining an otherwise perfectly good pair of scissors? (It's an old rug. I'm more worried about my scissors!)

As I said earlier, it's a sticky situation.



New topic. I'm losing weight. Why? I don't really know, exactly.

I certainly haven't changed any of my exercise habits ... don't now, and never have had any 'exercise habits'! Basically, I sit on my duff. Did the same thing during my many years as a taxicab driver, too! So what's different?

It has to be diet-related ... at least, I think it must be diet-related. Either that or I'm ill. I don't feel ill!


A couple of things have happened, tho, within the last few months that might be contributing to my weight loss - one of the more recent, of course, would be Ike. I had to throw out everything from my freezer, which mainly contained ice cream. Now that is fattening, but boy do I love it!

I don't keep a lot of stuff in my freezer, generally - mainly ice cubes and oj (yes, I had to throw that out, in addition to a frozen vegetable pack and maybe a meat item or two, but I live alone and don't have the need to stock up large amounts of food items like many others). When I thought about re-stocking the freezer, I said to myself, "Self, let's not buy any more ice cream. You don't 'need' it!" And so I didn't.

What's in there right now? Mainly ice cubes and orange juice.


Another thing that happened - a touch less than a couple of months ago and after Ike - was that I had a 'run in' with the general manager of the Luby's cafeteria that I frequented with a "to go" order probably twice a week. Always got freshly-made strawberry shortcake with lots of whipped cream ... yummy! (Person behind the counter would begin fixing it for me the second she saw me come in the door!) Won't be back to that location again until they get a new general manager.

Finally decided to write Luby's corporate office - located here in Houston - with my complaint late last week, and got a very nice letter (I'm sure they write the same kind of letter to every complainant, but still it was a 'feel gooder') back already, saying it would be immediately investigated and blah blah blah.

I'll call that location every so often to see if the general manager has, indeed, been replaced. If he has, I'll go back (and probably regain a few pounds in the process). If not, I won't.

Meanwhile, what am I eating? Why, I'm eating strawberries, that's what I'm eating! Fresh, no cream or milk, no sugar, no shortcake, and most certainly no whipped cream ... delicious!!


A couple of other things that I've changed in my diet. I used to be just a terrible snack food addict - a lot of things with salt in them (potato chips, for example) - have almost cut those out completely. Learned, many years ago when I was pregnant, that my body has a tendency to retain water. There's a really good story that I don't remember ever sharing with you, but I will sometime, about the day my husband came home from work early - and after giving me the obligatory peck on the mouth, kept licking his lips and looking at me questioningly. I had just finished downing I don't know how many, actually, salted peanuts ... had intended to brush, floss, and all those good things before he arrived. So there you have it. Now I don't need to publish a post on my blog about it, right? You've got the whole story! (By the way, they were delicious!!) And I was guilty as you know what!

So what do I snack on now? Well, all the fresh fruit - watermelon & Bing cherries (out of season, pretty much, what a bummer!), grapes, strawberries, stuff like that - I can get my hands on. And cheese, but I'm careful now to buy only the 'low-fat'. Same thing with milk, 'low-fat'.

I've begun stocking up and snacking on Yoplait "light and fat free" yogurt items. They taste pretty good, actually. Wouldn't call them 'delicious' - wouldn't go quite that far, and they're certainly not 'filling' - but, after I've downed one I tell myself, "Self, you've just had a nutritious snack. Get over it!"


Now all I have to do is quit drinking (Chivas) and smoking (Pall Mall non-filters) again, exercising, and I can regain ten or perhaps fifteen years of my life!

Nah!! One has to have a few indulgences, right? (Just my opinion.)


PS. Almost forgot to mention. This weight loss is presenting a potential wardrobe problem. My slacks are loose! Perhaps it's only a temporary thing? If it isn't, I'm going to have to dig through some of my stacks of older and smaller sizes of clothing to see what will fit and is still wearable! Hmmph!!

PPS. I thought you might like to know what I weighed the last time I was at the doctor's office just a couple of weeks ago. Would you? 145 pounds was the figure. (If I get below 135, I'll begin to worry - and so will the doctor, I'll betcha!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Final Election Results ...

... from Rabbit Hash are in -- and have been since the 5th -- I just forgot to check the site! Uh oh!! Did you remember??

According to news reports, an estimated 215% of local registered and unregistered voters "swarmed" the polls before they finally closed on election night.

Although Travis, the lone cat, had been leading the race going into the final hours, Lucy Lou - a gorgeous border collie - won by a landslide, with Toby (Michael's favorite, I think) coming in 2nd, Travis 3rd, and Higgins (the donkey, my personal favorite) falling to 4th.

The one and only human in the race received no more votes than I last reported on 11/2 and conceded early.


I'm just going to have to try and save this post in my "Funny Things, Jokes" file for a day when I'm feeling a little 'down'. I'll betcha it won't be there forever!

Reflections

It's pouring down rain outside. From where I'm sitting, I can hear the wind blowing and drops hitting the roof and windows ... a perfect day for reflecting - leaning back, thinking, and remembering - reading other folks' blogs and enjoying, letting my imagination wander as I read what they've written. I'd like to share with you just a few of the many thoughts that have gone through my mind in the past hour or so.


Tammy, whose blogsite Sunshine Cottage focuses mainly on religion and family, has always been interested in history. Her latest post talks about a Civil War reenactment that her husband recently participated in, and she briefly discusses their reasons for wanting to continue remembering that part of history. I concur with all of what she said.

She didn't go into a whole lot of detail and included only one photograph, which allowed my mind to wander freely ... I was thinking about my many trips to Atlanta and my stays in a campground on Kennessaw Mountain, where I saw a lot of historical markers and read about some of the many battles during the Civil War in that area -- about my visit to Shiloh during the week one September and the eeriness of being one of the few visitors there and almost being able to actually see and hear the battle -- about the struggles for Texas' independence from Mexico - The Alamo, Goliad, San Jacinto.

I was reminded of the importance of not forgetting the past. I don't mean that we should dwell in it, but I think it's imperative that, particularly in this day and age of instant worldwide interaction and connectivity, we all retain our individual sense of self and place in history - our own very rich and distinct cultural heritage.


I went on from there to Michael's latest entry, Haunting Myself, a poem I found particularly lovely.

He's kind of a dreamer and questioner, and while reading this I was reminded of the beautiful love story in the movie "Somewhere in Time" (Christopher Reeve, I think, and I forget who played the female lead - I'd have to look it up) -- of the elusiveness of dreams, of trying to capture and retain a fleeting thought, event, moment, or feeling.


I checked out Polimom's blog, and was pleased to note that she'd included a photograph taken on one of her walks through George Bush Park in far west Houston. She's fast becoming known for her skills with the camera and all its various attachments and lenses.


That post reminded me of Steven's blog, which is here there and everywhere, but almost always in the pursuit of loveliness and beauty. And, when he finds something he considers absolutely delightful, he writes about it and includes a photograph or two. What I find delightful about his blog is his almost childlike reaction to what he sees and discovers, like he's seeing something really fascinating for the very first time and just can't wait to share it with everyone! I find his enthusiasm contagious.


I've had a very good start to my day. Hope you have!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More bits & pieces

What a week this last one was!


There was the election -- "There was an election?" you ask. "My goodness, I had no idea. Why didn't someone tell me?!?"


I thought about "My week so far", published just three days ago -- seems like last year! --, which included the fact that I hadn't gotten a very good night's sleep the night before due to a lot of extraneous noises.

I'm hoping that this will not become a common occurrence -- that of going to bed and then waking up somewhere between one and three hours later. Alas, such was the case again last night.

However, I will make every attempt possible to make this a coherent post.


No Charles Osgood recap this morning. I tried to stay awake to watch his program, but was unable to do so, and I have no earthly idea what it was all about. Sorry!


Have some interesting (and surprising) news to report in re the status of my passport application. Remember how I went on and on about the whole ridiculous process in this post?

Well, a couple of days ago I received in the mail a very official-looking envelope (only a 'teeny tiny touch' bulky) bearing the notice "OFFICIAL BUSINESS".

I thought, "OK, he alerted me to the possibility that I might have to do some research and provide more detailed explanations to some of the questions he asked. Go ahead, Goldenrod. Open it, and find out the worst."

And so I did. I opened it. Inside was my original (notarized) birth certificate, along with a card that said, "Your passport application has been approved & your passport has been issued."

I ****** near fainted, and I am not the fainting type!


Anyway, I now have a valid passport and nowhere to go. Is that 'wild' or what?!?


In this post I first told all of you of my interest in going to Korea to teach English in their 4-week winter program. I was pretty excited about the possibility, as a matter of fact!

I am SO qualified for this. I made my first inquiry online* -- BTW, my confidence in online applications has been greatly diminished!!!!! -- October 3rd ... followed up with the Korean embassy here in Houston a few days later (think I reported that contact in a blogpost) ... sent another e-mail directly this past week (and yes, they are still advertising for teachers!!??!!) ... tried their direct phone line (no answer).


There are only three reasons I can think of why I haven't heard back from them, even though their ad promises that 'someone will contact you within three days' ... ... 1) Applications/e-mails were never received. (NONE of them?!?) 2) I didn't include my 'resume'. (*DD tells me that one must include a separate resume even tho all of the info has already been included in the application itself. Makes no sense to me, folks!) 3) I am too old to be considered for the position. (Well, there's not one thing I can do to alter my age. Not a single thing. If age were to be a consideration, I think that should have been mentioned in their ad.)


I'll probably make another attempt this coming week. However, I am feeling more and more like I am (perhaps) being saved 'from a fate worse than death' here. I don't know what else to say about it. I really don't.


PS. Forgot to mention (at least, I don't think I did!) that I've never had a passport, never applied for one before, etc. Remember those two photos I moaned and groaned about not that long back? Well, the photo that appears in my just-issued passport actually is kind of 'age-forgiving' and I look like someone has just told me a good joke, but I'm trying not to guffaw. I wonder what it might have looked like if the pic had been taken by a 'professional' -- Craig, for example? (Probably would have been "too hot to handle".) lol

BTW, whatever happened to the second one I had to give them??

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bizarre coincidences

Some sources have been comparing President-elect Obama to John F. Kennedy, citing his youth and the Illinois connection, and suggesting a new 'Camelot' in Washington with his two children and a wife who certainly does remind one of Jacqueline.

For a most bizarre set of coincidences, have a gander at those below. I was aware of some of them, but nowhere near all.


Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both men were particularly concerned about civil rights.
Both of their wives lost children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.

Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by all three of their names.
Both names are composed of a total of fifteen letters.

Lincoln was shot in a theater named 'Ford'.
Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln made by Ford.

Lincoln was shot in a theater. His assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse. His assassin ran and hid in a theater.

Both Booth and Oswald were shot before their trials.

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A week before Kennedy was shot, he visited Marilyn Monroe.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"President Obama"

Every time I look at a site that shows photograph after photograph after photograph of Barack Obama with the caption "President Obama", I cringe -- literally, I cringe!


I think all y'all probably know that I was not an Obama supporter. I was not a McCain supporter, either, which makes almost no sense whatsoever!

When I went to the polls to vote Tuesday -- and I did, altho I didn't want to! -- I had just a terrible time deciding who the devil I was going to vote for for President of the United States. I'm not kidding you here, I had a gawdawful time!

Once I checked that little box, tho, the rest was easy!!


I left the polling place feeling as tho I had 'done my duty'. That's about it. And, oh yes, I felt a great deal of pride in myself that I had done my civic duty in spite of how I felt about the candidates in general.


What I really want to carp about today is calling Barack Obama 'President' before he is!!!

He is, in actuality, the "President-elect" and is scheduled to be sworn in in January ... then you can justifiably call him "President Obama."


Please do not 'jinx' him by calling him 'President' before then ... PLEASE!!


I guess it's some of what little I have of a superstitious nature (and I do have some, obviously) coming out.

Possibly one of the most flagrant examples that keeps coming to mind (nothing whatsoever to do with politics, aren't you glad?) is when Purdue was playing SMU (football) in the late 60's, I think. Purdue was ranked very close to the top nationally, if not #1, and the 'homeboys' were gloating over Purdue's wide lead in the first half. "Well, this game is all but over" type of crap. Purdue lost, and continued on to have a mediocre season.

Similarly with the Oilers (and I have yet to write about my rabid years as a diehard Oilers' fan) ... remember the game in Buffalo? Oh, my!


I sincerely hope that Barack Obama continues to pursue as tenaciously (when inaugurated as President of the United States) his stated goals as when he was running for the highest office in our land.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My week so far ...

... has been 'scattered', to say the very least!


On Monday morning, I received a call from one of my old-timey cancer patient customers, telling me he was arriving at Houston Hobby AP later that day, and could I possibly pick him up?

Well, of course I could, and I stopped by Kroger's 'on the way' to pick up a bunch of grape salad (for me) and a smaller container for him, which he loves but usually can't ingest because of upcoming or just completed tests.

It was so wonderful to see him again! Tall (6'1" or so), thin, and smiling as always, he presented me with a hardback copy of Nelson DeMille's latest tome (674 pages altogether), The Gate House.

There was a kind of peculiar look in his eyes as he handed me the book, so I asked, "Have you read this yet?"

[He and I have had many discussions over the years about books, hobbies, etc., and he has previously given me other hardback books that were downright gifts, but I just knew that this presentation was different!]

"No," he replied. "I'll need you to return it to me when I come back in February."

I'm on page 50, folks ... only 600+ more to go, and let me tell you, it's great!



I had a most peculiar night (just passed), sleeping-wise. I hit the pillow after 1:00 this morning, and woke up -- somewhat fitfully -- about two and a half hours later.

Siren noises, emergency/large vehicles backing up, etc. ... noises that shouldn't have been there, but were. My subconscious kept trying to incorporate them into a dream and failed.

I had to get up to see if there was anything extraordinary going on outside.

I peered through the blinds and could see several emergency vehicles, including fire trucks and an ambulance. I knew that I was not dreaming. This was actually occurring.

I unlocked the front door and walked up the street (perhaps half a block) ... could see three fire trucks, but no more ambulances at that time, thank goodness! ... saw water coming out of firemen's hoses onto a house (not one of the townhouses) that couldn't have been more than a block from me.

There was a fellow sitting in an idling pickup truck in our 'common driveway'. I asked, "What's going on?"

He showed me pictures that he had taken earlier of an absolutely raging fire! Can't believe I slept through almost the whole thing, but I did.


I don't like fires (unless I set them, as in a fireplace). I don't know the residents of that house, but it's been totalled. Terrible!

Too close for 'comfort'. All fires are abominable, imo, unless they're deliberately and carefully set, but this one really hit kind of close to home!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Medal of Honor

The highest honor that can be bestowed, there have been less than 3,500 awarded since the Medal of Honor's inception during the Civil War.

I watched a gut-wrenching, awe-inspiring, and very moving 90-minute presentation by PBS this evening that chronicled in detail a few of the recipients' stories. Some of the little more than a handful who are still with us appeared in personal interviews with their thoughts interspersed throughout the hour and a half program.


Here are just a few of their stories ... ...

Hershel Williams - 5'6" - turned down twice by the Marines - on Iwo Jima, was asked by his commanding officer if he thought he could man a flame thrower (all of those who had previously been manning flame throwers were dead) and destroy some pillboxes that the enemy was using to great advantage - he couldn't remember what he replied, but was later told that he'd said, "I'll try" ("That sounds like something I might say," he later acknowledged) - was 'escorted' by several men who were trying to protect him from being hit (when he got to the first pillbox, he discovered that he was all alone) - managed single-handedly to destroy seven (7!) pillboxes, using a total of six flame-throwers in all - asked where he'd gotten the other flame throwers, he replied, "I guess I must have kept going back down and getting another" (he really couldn't remember)

Mike Thornton - Navy SEAL - went back to get his severely wounded commanding officer (presumed dead and subsequently abandoned) - on the way back to the beach, found another comrade who'd been wounded and carried the two into the water - flotation of the other two was accomplished by the second one draping his arms around Thornton's neck and supporting the other who was unable to do anything to assist himself - two hours later, they were found and rescued by a search boat

Paul Smith - a career soldier (platoon sergeant, I believe) - died at Bagdad International Airport while staving off the enemy manning a 50-caliber machine gun mounted atop an armored vehicle (the previous gunner had been killed) - story told by the driver of the vehicle, whom Smith kept shouting at to "Get down!"

John Finn - Pearl Harbor - in charge of gun placements and ammunition - had futilely argued to have gun mounts constructed at the airfield - drove to the airfield the morning of the attack, dragged a large caliber gun out of a destroyed airplane, temporarily mounted it on a pile of lumber and began firing at as many incoming Japanese aircraft as he could 'bear on'

Tibor Rubin - Hungarian - initially rejected because he couldn't speak English very well - a Jew - concentration camp - freed by Allies - vowed to come to America and try to repay this country - was called upon to defend a hill all by himself (commanding officer actually said, "Get the funny talking son of a bitch") - left on top of the hill with lots of grenades and two guns - spent the night praying to God, Moses, Allah, Buddha, and everyone else he could think of in addition to spreading his weaponry around - "I have to make them think there are a lot of people up here" - attack by North Koreans came at 4am - miraculously, he held the hill for twenty-four hours

Alvin York - pacifist - declined the conscientious objector status achieved for him by his family's pastor "because my ancestors told me to go fight" - down to his last six bullets - six men coming at him - he shot the 6th one, then the 5th, then the 4th, etc. - said later, "It's like hunting turkeys. You don't want the first ones to know that the back ones are going down."


So many wonderful quotes, including a lot of humor, by these men. I couldn't take notes fast enough, I apologize, but here are three more ... ...

"I seen it was gonna be a bad day."

"My good looks are gone."

"What better place to die than in the arms of your comrades?"


None consider themselves 'heroes' and all who still wear the Medal of Honor wear it with pride for all those who didn't survive. Seventeen have received the Medal of Honor twice! (I can't even imagine such a possibility.)


The word 'fear' came up again and again. One said, "Fear can save your life, but you can't let it control you." "My anger became so great that I forgot to be afraid," said another.


Seventy-five medics in all have received the Medal of Honor, five chaplains, and included in this illustrious group of Medal of Honor recipients is an African-American soldier in the Civil War who took up a downed flag bearer's banner (dropping his own weapon in the process) before it could hit the ground.

Only one woman - a doctor - Mary Edwards Walker - Civil War - wore trousers underneath her skirt and was heavily criticized - made many trips to the Confederate side to treat wounded - believed amputation was a last resort - captured by the South and paraded throughout the streets of Richmond as a laughing stock - Medal rescinded years later because she was 'only' a civilian, but refused to give it up (in fact, she wore it every day for the rest of her life, or so the story goes)


I kept waiting for Audie Murphy's name and story to come up. It never did. He was one of my childhood heroes. I had always heard that he was the most decorated soldier of World War II. I thought, "What if he wasn't one of the most decorated?"

And so I went looking (on the internet, of course!) -- and yes, he was the 'most decorated'. There are so many websites that you can delve into at your leisure. It's incredible, actually! I'll get you started with one or two reference sites below, and then you can begin to lose yourself in many many many many hours of history.


As with life, the Medal of Honor's history is not without its negative side. I have chosen not to include detailed accounts of the one that was returned, nor the one whose recipient spent the vast majority of the rest of his life criticizing the United States for its 'imperialism'.

I chose, instead, to describe positives. That is the way in which I try to approach life. I am not always successful, but I try.

I am proud to be an American, and am even more proud of myself that I took the opportunity to vote yesterday! (And no, I did not write my own name in.)



This site has a few of the many stories of valor and was linked from pbs.org.

This one has the number of Medal of Honor recipients listed by 'conflict'. You will notice a huge discrepancy between the numbers issued during the Civil War (over 1500, nearly half of the total) and all of those afterwards. The explanation given, as I recall, was that soldiers who were willing to re-enlist were offered the Medal of Honor as an enticement.