Wearin’ o’ the Green

Despite being over one-quarter Irish* I have nothing green in my closet.  So, to combat this problem, last year I knit a “St Patty’s Day Cowl” (above) which had at least some green in it.  Despite it being about 71º degrees on St Patrick’s Day last year, I wore it at least for a little while.  This year the weather is more accommodating, being less than 50º, but… I can’t find it.  :/  It’s not in the closet, it’s not on my dining room table (where I stage my photos).  Fortunately, I made another little scarf with some green in it last summer, so I’m wearing it today, along with a greenish wristband watch.

triangle-crop

The St Patty’s Day substitute

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Throwback Thursday

#tbt:  Apparently it’s quite The Thing on Twitter.  I’ve been thinking about reblogging some of my posts from The (Old) Stream of Conscience, and “Throw Back Thursday” seems as good a day as any, yes?

When deciding what post to reblog, I took a look at my 34 categories.  How to choose?  Why, my old favorite, of course, Random.org.  (I also used it to pick the style for this blog.)  It spewed out 14, which turned out to be the ubiquitous “Life & Musings,” i.e., pretty much any damn thing.  Since the blog covered 5½ years, there were 9 pages of posts to peruse; yet, the one I chose was on the first page.

It was written on December 8, 2012, in response to WordPress.com’s Daily Post challenge, which asked “What is your earliest memory?  Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.”  Mine was easy-peasy.  (I’ve edited only slightly.)

My Earliest Trauma Memory

And how appropriate for the season!

A two-and-a-half year-old me entertains Christmas visitors.

Entertaining visitors; permanent crisis averted

Harken back to a slower, quieter time: the mid-20th century, an age without digital cameras, when it took a few months to fill up a roll of film and get it developed.

Christmas day:  One 2½-year-old went to bed the night before, thinking of Santa Claus on his rounds, and worried she wouldn’t be able to sleep for all the excitement.

But I did fall asleep, which made the night pass more quickly.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

To celebrate, here’s a list of

Seven Mothers I Have Known and Loved

My mother holds Ted, her second grandson.

Grandchildren are joy.

  1. Of course the list begins with Marge Overholt, my own mother.   Because it can’t be stated too often, she was the nicest, kindest, best person I’ve ever known.  Ever!
  2. Cassie Clara Carter, maternal grandmother, middle name included for the lovely alliteration.   She once threw water on me while I was lying in the sunshine on the back stoop after lunch.  Yep, Grandma with ‘tude.  Nonetheless, if I’d had a daughter, she would have been named Cassie.
  3. Margie Overholt, sister-in-law.  Some people are born to be a mother.  Margie was one of them.  When my best friend met my nephews and niece for the first time, she said, “They really are as wonderful as you said!”  I credit Margie for that as much as genetics.
  4. Debra Overholt, “niece-in-law. ”  You know how there are some people in this world you just mesh with?  Debra was one of them.  A genuinely sweet and loving person.  She was a mother for only three years, but what a great mother she was.
  5. Christine Forsythe, sister-in-law’s sister-in-law.  Some bright and shining people leave a first impression that never fades.  That’s Christine.  I wish I knew her better, but her time has been dedicated to her children and family, as well it should be.
  6. Phyllis Nielsen, my best friend’s mother.  Like everyone on this list, she was highly intelligent, extremely talented, and most importantly warm-hearted.  She even let me have pecan pie for breakfast one Christmas!  (I was an adult, ok?)  😀
  7. Kristen Ireland, niece.  Oh no!  Mother’s Day snuck up on me and I forgot to get her a card!  Love you, Kristen! 
Honorable Mention:

The internet has given us a new kind of friend.  We may not know them in person, but through online contact, we come to know their essence, the person without the facade.  Natalie, you are one such person, and I cherish our friendship!  Happy Mother’s Day!

May Day: All Fun, No Distress

How do you celebrate May Day? Do you dance around a pole, intertwining streamers?  Or do you scratch your head and say “What the hell is May Day?”  Wikipedia says May 1st is International Workers Day, and celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere as a spring festival and (usually) a public holiday.

Glidden's Presbyterian Church features a beautiful round stained glass window.

Some things remain the same.

In the little town of Glidden, Iowa (at least in the 1960’s), May Day wasn’t celebrated by pole dancing (Hey, not that kind of pole dancing!) or days off from school.  Instead, we would make several little May baskets, and deliver them around town to our friends’ houses.

Our May baskets were much less skillfully made than those you’ll find with a Google image search.  They were made from colored construction paper, held together with a few staples or glue.   We then filled them with small candies and cheap little trinkets, and delivered tem to our friends after school.  You know, since it wasn’t a public holiday.  😉

But wait!  There’s more!
Glidder-Ralston Community School houses K-12.

Some things change a little.

In our little world, the idea was to place the basket at the friend’s door, knock or ring the doorbell, then run like crazy to the edge of the home’s property.  (Usually this meant the street.)  Meanwhile, said friend would be waiting inside for said knock or bell, and when heard would give chase to the basket bearer.  If you got caught, you got kissed.  I rarely made it to safety, but not for lack of trying.

Looking back now, I wonder why in the world would we run from a kiss?  Perhaps the more savvy girls didn’t run from the cool boys.  But I was much too shy and not that smart.

Glidden's pool is now an aquatic park.

Some things change a lot!

I thought everyone practiced this little rite of spring, but when I headed off to the University of Iowa, none of my friends had heard of it.  Perhaps it was a tradition limited to western Iowa.  Since it wasn’t known in eastern Iowa, I didn’t hold out hope for my Michigan State graduate school buddies.  As my horizons broadened to include the Navy and the world, I eventually gave up asking.

I haven’t been back to my home town in many years and wonder if they still celebrate May Day in the same manner. My guess, or at least my hope, is yes, since many of my school mates still live there, and have hopefully passed the tradition on to their children and grandchildren.

[All photos from City of Glidden’s web siteFrom the top, the First Presbyterian Church, Glidden Ralston Community School (serving grades K-12) and the  “new” aquatic center.  Each of them has a story to tell.]

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad

My mother and father were married during World War II.I could not have asked to be born to better people in the world.  You might not have been the best parents, but you were far, far, far from the worst.  You did the best you could.  I wasn’t an easy child to live with and train for the world, and for that I’m sorry.

Dad, you know how I feel.  I wrote a letter to you telling you just how much I loved and admired you before you passed away. I know Grandpa didn’t understand why I didn’t return home to take care of you after Mom died.  I’d like to think you understood, that you were proud I was serving my country, even after I left the Navy.

I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to walk me down the aisle.  For years I felt the pain of never finding someone who loved me, but now it’s more a regret that you didn’t get to experience it.  Maybe you were right.  Maybe I was looking for someone “just like my old man” (as you put it).  That person just doesn’t exist.

Mom, you had a heart of pure gold.  You were the nicest, kindest person I ever met.  I mentioned this once to Margie’s sister-in-law; she said Margie had said the same thing.  (And you thought she didn’t approve of you!)  You left a legacy of good works in our little town, often behind the scenes and without glory. When Dad died, a woman came up to me at the reception and said, “You had such wonderful parents.”  And even though you’d been gone for several years, she added, “Including your mother.”

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Adventures in Cooking

My sister-in-law Margie posed with her childern Ted, Rich, and Kristen before her untimely death.

Margie (top right) and her three wonderful kids, c. 1990.

My sister-in-law, Marjorie Forsythe Overholt (not to be confused with my mother, Marjorie Carter Overholt), was a terrific cook.  She claimed, however, all one needed was to follow the recipe.  I’m sure she was being overly modest; lots of people follow recipes without great success. (raises hand)

Margie had the most amazingly organized brain.  Being a math major and high school math teacher probably had something to do with it (or vice versa).  Once I opened a cupboard door in her kitchen to find a hand-printed calendar of evening meals planned out for the month.

My nephew Ted (top left) wasn’t quite so impressed, though.  He said she may have been a good cook, but they had the same thing again and again.  That may be true, but that’s how the majority of us live.  We have 20 or so recipes we use in a somewhat cyclical fashion.

For example, growing up, our Sunday dinner alternated between pot roast and fried chicken.  Then there were the standard meals in between.  The ones I remember most fondly are pork chops with rice and onions (possibly my favorite—besides my mother’s pigs in blankets 😉 ) and liver and onions (probably because I liked it, whereas my dad and brother did not).

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I watch as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean.

Another Cleaning Sunday Seven

I survived the home appraisal! To celebrate, I took a break from the decluttering schedule for most of the week.  But I did make a date for a couple to help me remove some of the larger, heavy items from my living room.

Yesterday I jumped back into my schedule of cleaning two rooms for 15 minutes each twice a week. You know what that means? More found surprises!

Seven More Items Found While Decluttering

  1. A pasta bowl set from Crate and Barrel, the kind that consists of a serving bowl and four pasta dishes. I don’t remember buying it and I’m not sure why I would. I already have a pasta set I love which I bought in Italy. Maybe I bought it for a wedding gift?
  2. More old Mary Kay cosmetics. I think I’ve now thrown out all of them.  It only took five or six large trash bags!
  3. A package of scrapbooking paper. Since I’ve decided to create some memory books of my parents, I’m going to see if anything might be useable.  If not, out it goes.
  4. A nearly full box of high-quality paper for resumes and cover letters. I’ve had the paper, and the matching envelopes, for over 20 years at least, possibly as long as 33 years—that’s ⅓ of a century!  They’re going out for recycling pickup.
  5. The board game Clue. I think I tried giving it to Goodwill once, but they wouldn’t take open board games. Since Clue is my favorite game, I’ve decided to keep it.  (For now.)
  6. A bag of yarn with a partially knit sweater on a broken needle, along with a book of sweater patterns.  Sorry, organization gurus, it’s staying.  I’ll reuse the yarn.  And I love knitting patterns—something I have in common with Albus Dumbledore.  😉
  7. A picture of me watching the sun set on a beach in Carmel, CA. My best friend took another picture with me facing the camera. It was a lovely photo, especially since I’m not particularly photogenic. I gave it to my parents who kept it by their telephone for many years.  After their deaths, I retrieved it and eventually gave it to a guy I thought might be “The One.” Turns out he wasn’t, and the creep didn’t return the photo.

And the list doesn’t include the several large cardboard boxes I broke down for recycling. I thought about keeping them to us for for hauling things to Goodwill.  But I’d prefer to just get them out of the house.

Tje Nautical Notes was an offshoot of the Newport Navy Choristers.

Sunday “Surprise” Seven

Decluttering uncovers loads of surprises.  Most are trash, some are treasures, and some (almost) defy description.  And all within 15 minutes!

Seven Interesting Things I Found in My Den

  1. A picture of the Nautical Notes, a select offshoot of the Newport Navy Choristers, a choral group I sang with during my Newport days.  I’m the only woman in uniform (Mess Dress Blues).
  2. A cassette tape titled “Sigel Overholt: the First 100 Years,” a biography my Uncle Rod put together for Grandpa‘s 100th birthday party.  It definitely needs to be transfer it to digital.
  3. My father’s trinket box, which I remember from childhood.  In it I found enough items for another Sunday Seven.  🙂
  4. Four USB cords to various small electronic devices (camera, GPS, etc.) and a synchronizing cable for a Palm organizer.  A Palm!  Are they even still around?
  5. A USB mouse, highly valuable for when the batteries in the wireless mouse die—which seems to happen much too often.
  6. A Motorola flip phone, pre-Razr. Geez, how many iterations ago was that?
  7. Two 8×10 photos of Benjamin Bratt, from the Web 1.0 days when I ran a fan site for him.  One is from After the Storm and the other from Piñero (autographed).  I have no idea where I got them.

And that list doesn’t include the boring things!

My Weblog Guru

Today’s Blog Exercise from Lorelle on WordPress is to write about someone who changed your life.  Lorelle herself shared some tidbits about her grandfather.

Lorelle on WordPress offers blogging tips, advice, and exercises.

Lorelle today

I thought I’d write about my grandfather.  I wrote an essay about him six years ago when I was taking a writing class called “Writing from the Heart.”  Or I could write a bit more about my father, copying a post from my previous blog.  But that would just be cutting and  pasting previous work, neither of which would flex my blogging muscles very much.

I’ve been following Lorelle on WordPress off and on for many, many years—so far back, she was still living in Israel and was using Rubric, one of the first standard WordPress.com themes (or was it Regulus?); back when WordPress.com didn’t have the option to customize themes and had only a million or so blogs—perhaps even fewer.

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Summer Blankets

NaBloPoMo prompt for the day:

What are your favourite family dishes?

Pillsbury's Pigs in a blanket call for crescent rolls.

Not my mothers Pigs in a Blanket.

Yesterday I made—for the very first time—what is possibly my ultimate favorite family dish, my mother’s famous Pigs in a Blanket  Famous because the recipe was published in Good Housekeeping magazine many years ago.  I’m not sure why I’d never made them before.  Probably because I hadn’t discovered Bob Evans mashed potatoes, and am too lazy to make them from scratch.

Mashed potatoes!?!  For Pigs in a Blanket?!?  Yep.  Mom’s famous recipe called for mashed potatoes and not crescent rolls.

I made them not because I’d planned it, but because it’s what I had and didn’t have on hand.  Had:  two hot dogs left over from Memorial Day; a package of Bob Evans mashed potatoes I hadn’t cooked heated yet; and some single-sliced, individually wrapped processed cheese-like product.  Had not:  any buns or bread to make a sandwich.

Since I never paid attention when Mom made hem, I had to wing it.  Here’s what I did:

Heat up Bob Evans mashed potatoes in the microwave.
Partially cook hot dogs also in the microwave.  (As a hot dog connoisseur, I prefer Nathan’s).
Slice cheese (or cheese food) into thinnish strips.

Slit the hot dogs lengthwise down the middle.
Stuff the mashed potatoes into the slit.
Top with cheese strips.
Broil the entire concoction on a broiler pan.  (I placed the pan as close to the heating element as possible).
Cook until the cheese melts.  Or if you’re like me, until the cheese is burned.

They tasted pretty darned good!  So good, I wish I’d  had more than two hot dogs.  And taken a picture of them.

[Photo credit:  Pillsbury]