dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

This is always a fun day.  I have never gone out and celebrated the day with a bar crawl or anything, but it is still a great day.

I was born into an Irish family.  Our family really hasn’t been in America that long.  I love that fact.  We were raised to be proud of our Irish ancestry.  And, we are.

In our small town there was a north side, south side and the east and west end.  The ends we didn’t pay much attention to, but the North side hailed a few more Irish families and the South side more Italians.  I was raised in the Catholic faith, went to a Catholic school for the first eight years of schooling.

There were three Catholic schools in our town.  There was one on the south side, and two on the north side of town.  From what I have just said, it seems the Italian kids went to the school on the south side and that left the rest of the Catholic kids to the other two schools.  One of the schools was in an area called Palace Hill, we had another name for the hillside, but, I won’t write it here.  This hill was inhabited by mostly Polish families.  It was a wonderful place, and the food that you could smell and get there, Wow!

Anyhow, I digress.  The other Catholic elementary school was St. Joseph’s.  Or, as we called it, St Joes.  It was where the ‘Mick’ kids went.  I went there, for eight years, some wonderful, some, well let’s just say, below par.

Today, I thought of all of this.  I do every year.  We did not grow up in a generation that pinched you if you did not wear green on St. Patrick’s day.  Then, only the Irish wore green.  It was not  a national thing for everyone and their brother to wear green.  So, each year, with my navy blue wool uniform, I would don a pin or a green sweater and knee socks and head to school.  The Polish kids always wore red on St Patrick’s day.  So, at lunch break, here I would be, in my green at my Irish school.  You could always pick me out. I was the tall Irish girl standing in the middle of a sea of red, with my closest friends by the last names of Dolecki, Brzezinski, and Zimoski….  Those are my fond memories of St. Patrick’s day.

I leave you now with my favorite version of the Irish Blessing:

May the Road rise up to meet you.

May the Wind be always at your back.

May you be in Heaven a half hour before

The devil knows you are dead.

Have a wonderful day today, DAF

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Happy Birthday Mom…

Today would have been my mother’s birthday.  She would be in her early 90’s.  She died 49 years ago this year, I was 11.

I can remember many things about her, but what always comes to mind, besides her being in the kitchen and singing  and me being underfoot a lot, is sitting on the back porch with her and talking.  I can remember when I was in fourth grade and told her I wanted to become a nun.  Don’t laugh, I really was serious.  I can remember her saying that she would be proud if I did such a thing.  I can remember talking to her about marriage, and her telling me how important it was to marry in the faith (I didn’t), and how she really did not like people who used the local colloquialism of ‘yunz’.  To her, it showed ill breeding.  I chuckle each time hubby says it.  I can see my mom rolling over in her grave.    Many years after her death, I was asked to write something on mother’s for the church’s bulletin on Mother’s Day.   When I was beginning to pack for our move, I found a file of old writings I had done.  I reread what I wrote for the bulletin and decided to share it on her birthday.  So, here is a blast from my past.

 

A Mother’s Gift

Twenty three years ago, I sat in a classroom watching all the other children make Kleenex carnations for their mothers.  I tried to laugh away the hurt of not having someone to make a flower for, and on the surface, I succeeded.

Years passed, along with my childhood and the ritual of drawing a picture for my father while the familiar carnations were made.  By the time I was an adult, Mother’s Day could pass with nary a thought of it’s importance.

When my children arrived, the day took on a whole different meaning.  Receiving my share of paper flowers in a bouquet or glued lovingly in a card, I would gently caress them when no one was looking and think of the many years that I had longed to make them.

Each year I miss my mother more.  Often I think of gifts I would give her if I could.  Funny, when I was younger, I would always dream of giving my mother a mink coat, believing that somehow that was the epitome of a gift.  Now, when I think of the gifts I would give her, I dream of a conversation over a cup of tea, a hug, or even reprimanding her for spoiling her grandchildren.

After my reverie, what lingers is the fragrance of my mother’s life, cherished lessons that are with me still; a gift of laughter in the face of hardships, a song sung from her heart when times were stressful, and memories that cannot be erased. If I can impart these to my daughters and remember that the gift of motherhood comes from children, then I will count myself blessed.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF…

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Discoveries…

It is always interesting when you begin to go through closets and drawers.  I am beginning the chore of packing for our move.  It is something I really don’t mind doing, especially when I am not rushed in doing it.  We have several weeks and I have made a good start. I am a bit stiff, but, I am using muscles that have been dormant for a couple of years. Today was an interesting day.  I unearthed unexpected things.  I was surprised by what I found, and laughed at some of the discoveries. I found brochures from various venues and caterers for my daughter’s wedding that never was.  I have moved since  her wedding was called off, and I was amazed I still had the information that I will never use.  I stacked them and then pitched them.  Thinking about it, I was glad my daughter is where she is in her life now, and relieved that this wedding did not happen.  A good reminder. I found a folder of my older writing samples.  I had not read my writing in a while.  I was pretty impressed with what I had done so long ago.  I have toyed with posting some of it here.  I once more was able to see a copy of the short story that was published.  It was a reminder of times when I worked harder at writing than I do now.  A kick to maybe be that diligent once more. After Christmas this year, hubby and I searched the house and garage for a box to put an artificial tree in.  The tree goes in our guest room each year and after Christmas, the box was nowhere.  We searched for days, each of us wondering why the other threw the box away.  Two days ago, I looked at the tree hanging out without a box in a closet.  I grabbed a large box and put it in.  I put in other Christmas decorations that were stragglers.  I resigned myself to never finding the box.  Today, I groaned loudly when I saw the box.  It must have concerned hubby because he immediately asked what was wrong.  I walked to where he was with the box.  He started laughing.  So, the box that should have the tree in it, now has Christmas linen in it.  I figured I would keep the season at least correct.  Plus, I know when I open it next November I will laugh that I did this. I now have two room almost completely done.  I am moving ahead each day.  Yes, I will be glad to have it over.  But, I confess, I am finding it interesting what I have where…  I sometimes make no sense to myself. Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Remembering…

When hubby was towards the end of his Navy career, he attended a course taught by a former Naval pilot.  It was a course that meant  a lot to my hubby, as he was chosen to carry out the subject matter in the course into his command.  He did it well.

When hubby retired from the Navy, he set out to find his next career.  Before he went back to college, he was contacted by the retired Navy pilot. He had watched hubby’s career.  He knew when he was retired.  He offered hubby a place in his consulting business.  He was thrilled that hubby was going to college and told him that they would work around his schedule, but, he definitely wanted him to work with his group.  It was a wonderful venture.  Hubby learned much from this man and a friendship grew.  He was instrumental in introducing hubby to the company that he eventually worked for after graduation.

The pilot’s name was Gerry.  We received a letter today from his wife.  Gerry died in late November.  We saw them before we moved, and in the past two years, we had lost contact with them.  We knew something was wrong.  This year I sent another Christmas card to them and a note expressing our love and concern for them.

The letter today was a short one and a very sad one.  Since then, I have spent my time remembering Gerry and his wife.  They were the most fascinating couple I have ever met.  She is the epitome of graciousness.  She is intelligent and fun to be with.   They owned a sailboat and often in the summer we would get a call to go sailing.  Gerry was older and so, hubby would take over the helm and guide the boat across the water in San Diego.  We would have ‘snacks’ , a bottle of wine, crackers, cheese, fruit.  We would laugh and catch up and talk about Navy life.  Gerry’s wife would recite poetry from memory.  Long poems, beautiful ones.  We would be enthralled.

After sailing, we would head to their home and have dinner.  Take out from a local restaurant.  We would sit on their patio or in their home and we would continue the evening.  The pace was always slow, the conversation quiet, and the laughter, well, it was the way laughter is supposed to be.

I know the next couple of days will be filled with memories of Gerry.  He was one of the best!  A fighter pilot in Viet Nam, a decorated officer, and a true gentleman.  Our lives were enriched in knowing him.  Hubby lost not only a mentor and friend, but also a father figure.  Rest in peace my dear friend.  I look forward to catching up in eternity.     DAF

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Some Days…

Some days it is cold and rainy.  It is dreary and gray outside.  The rain beats steadily down on the roof and the birds stick close to the remaining foliage on the trees.

Some days it is nice to sit wrapped up in a blanket and do nothing.  Chat with friends from long ago, online.  Catch up on the little things in life.

Some days it is nice to have some soup to simmer on the stove and look forward to a bowl for dinner.   Then add some girl scout cookies for dessert.

Some days are like this.   Rainy, damp, cold outside.  Inside a nice blanket, warm soup and a nice bright fire in the fireplace.

That some day is now and I am enjoying a quiet and peaceful day today.  How about you?

DAF

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Sweet Overload…

I have spent many hours this week on that addicting site called Pinterest.  I have looked and pinned several things I am dreaming of for our hopeful home.  I have had a wonderful time looking, pinning and dreaming.  It is a great filler before I start to pack and clean and all that fun moving stuff… but, I digress.

Today I went on Pinterest to look for comfort food recipes.  It is a brisk, damp, rainy day here and I wanted to make something different for supper.

I found a recipe for a soup that I had had this summer and enjoyed thoroughly.  Decided that was our entrée, and I had crusty rolls in the fridge, so that was taken care of.  I knew I would head to the store and made a list of what I needed to get.  Then, in those wonderful  pictures that cover Pinterest, I saw our dessert.  I started to drool.  I knew I had to make it.  I added those ingredients to my shopping list and off I went.

The soup was wonderful.  Hearty, thick and hot.  We are looking forward to round two of it tomorrow afternoon, knowing it will taste even better the second day.

Our dessert?  Butterfinger hot chocolate.  It is made in the crock pot and takes over two hours to make.  Hubby and I have each had one cup.  We would love to have a second cup, but know we would go into a sugar coma and either fall asleep immediately or (and most likely, me)  start bouncing off the walls while talking at the speed of light.

I usually do not fall prey to pretty pictures of desserts.  By that, I mean, I usually drool, but don’t make.  I must have been very weak today.  I went to the store, bought the ingredients and then caved and bought two boxes of girl scout cookies on the way out.

Today, I need to be locked up.  Or, as one of my dearest friends would remind me, a prayer I once prayed in her presence, “Lord, please bless this sugar!”

Amen, I mean, thanks for stopping by, I have a wall or two that I need to bounce off.  DAF

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On Moving… Maybe…

Almost 32 years ago we moved into our first home that was our own.  It was a terrifying and wonderful experience.

I bought the house.  I say I, well, because, I was the only person who was in town to do the work.  We bought our first home with the help of my in-laws.  They needed a tax deduction at the time and we needed the financial help.  It was a win-win situation for all of us.

They gave me a power of attorney and I had the legal right to sign their names and make the decisions.  I also had a power of attorney from hubby, who left a couple of months before we moved into our home.

We opened escrow in late June/early July time frame.  We moved all of our worldly possessions into the garage of the home we were buying.  We drove to New Mexico and visited my sister and brother-in-law.  We were there for about a week and came home and stayed with some friends.

Now, the one detail I have left out is that I was seven months pregnant with our youngest daughter and our oldest was four and half years old.

Hubby left on July 15th for a six month deployment that turned into an 8 and half month deployment.  When he left, he thought we would be moving into our home at the end of July.

The escrow was extended several times and we did not move in until September 2, 1983, nine days before our daughter was born.

That time was very stressful for me.  I had to sign everyone’s name on several documents all followed by this phrase, by power of attorney, and then sign my name.  Everything was sent snail mail.  No over night mailings, no faxes, nothing like that.

I remember that time so clearly.  It stands out in my mind.  The heat of the summer, which was an incredibly hot summer with triple digits for the months of July, August and September.   A car that was temperamental to say the least.  It broke down weekly and repairs were always the same as the national debt.  A four-year old who loved her daddy so much and reminded me daily of how miserable she was without him.  A husband serving his country and being in the places that the news men were opening their shows with.   It was a stressful time.

In the years since, I have thought that those months were a fond memory.  A time that now serves as a good story.  I haven’t thought much about any of this until a week ago when we put in an offer for a new home.

Then, it all came flooding back to me.  Hubby is doing the bulk of this escrow.  I appreciate that.  But, I marvel at the changes that have come in this area.  Documents are now emailed.  Electronic signatures happen.  You hit a button, and you are signed.  When hard copies with real ink signatures are needed, then you overnight them.

There is a part of me that is resentful.  But, it is only a small part.  I am too excited, too hopeful that this may be my forever home.  There are still inspections to be done, and those inspections will let us know if this will happen or not.  So, I hold my breath, and I pray that in a few months I will be done with the unpacking.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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House Hunting…

I was going to title this post, “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”, but figured ugly doesn’t describe it and bad is just too nice.

Hubby and I are house hunting.  Today we spent two hours poking around a house and a property that we are trying hard not to fall in love with.  Since that is not working, we will take some time, pray hard and hope we hear what our next steps should be.

I can tell you what our next step won’t be.  It won’t be the second house we looked at today.  We have found this listing online.  It had the usual set of pictures and we could tell the outside was a little rough around the edges.  But, with our budget, we are expecting a little roughness.  We looked and decided to see the inside.  We thought that if the inside was great, we could work with the outside.

We opened the door.  The entryway was an odd color, but, paint isn’t expensive.  We wandered inside, that is when I could swear I was hearing eerie organ music in the background.  The front door kept swinging shut and reopening.  Yes, it was a windy day, but for where the door was positioned, that should not have happened.

I went into the master bedroom.  I was two steps inside it and turned to hubby and told him I would go no further.  We quickly left that room, walked out to our realtor and said, we are done.  We don’t need to see anything else.

Right here is what started to remind me of several ‘B’ rated horror movies.  Key the creepy organ music.  Key the axe murderer lurking behind the doors.  Hubby out the of blue suggests that we take a look at the basement.   I know….  isn’t that when the girl starts to scream and you see blood gushing all over?  Then, our realtor, for some unknown reason says, “Sure, we’re here, why not check it out.”

I looked at them.  I hear the front door slam.  At this point I know the house has just now taken us captive and the axe murderer is waiting for us at the bottom of the basement stairs.  But, being the big chicken I am, I go down with the men.

Downstairs there was an air hockey game, a pool table, and a ping-pong table, which all conveyed.  There was a brightness down there and actually, the room that should have been the most terrifying was the most welcoming.

Our realtor told us a joke while giving us a visual with the pool table.  We all laughed and then high-tailed it out of the creepy house.

Yes, house hunting is an adventure, and after the last place, I am just hoping I don’t have nightmares tonight.

We should have looked at it yesterday, Friday the 13th…  No, that would have been too creepy.     ~DAF

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Sisters…

I am a middle child.  I have stated that before, so it is nothing new.

Yesterday I turned 60.  A milestone for me, and my sisters celebrated me in a great way.  We don’t live near each other.  I am in South Carolina, my older sister is in Illinois, and my younger sister in Maryland.  We don’t see one another enough, and it makes us sad at times.

In the past two weeks I have gotten three boxes of presents from my sisters.  Not a box that holds a single gift, but three boxes that were filled to the brim with gifts.  60 of them, in fact.

When I received my first box, I opened it and read the card on the top.  I texted my sisters to thank them and tell them how blessed I was and how crazy they were to send me a box of presents.  The card was actually signed by both of them.  Their handwriting and seeing that, I cried that they could arrange something like this.  Shortly after texting both of my sisters, my older sister called and told me I was not allowed to open one gift until the 11th.  I told her I would obey, and we continued to talk for several minutes.

She told me not to think that these gifts were going to be earth shattering.  I was just amazed that they had sent me a box of gifts.  It was during that conversation that I found out that there would be two more boxes arriving.  I was overwhelmed.

More presents arrived and I spent a few hours yesterday unwrapping the gifts my sisters sent me.  Some were silly, some were things that made me smile.  I was amazed at how well my sisters knew me.  I laughed and even cried a bit.  I called my older sister while opening some because I knew she would be home, having retired recently.  I waited until after school to call my other sister, since she is a teacher.

The gifts blessed me in many ways.  But, as I have looked them over today several times, I realized that it wasn’t the gifts that blessed me, but the love and the care my sisters gave me.

I am fortunate to have two sisters who care.  They are fun to be with, and yes, we can drive one another crazy, but they are my fiercest defenders and will be there at a moment’s notice if need be.

I smile as I look at a frame that has our names etched into it.  In the center of the frame is a photo taken when my youngest sister was a baby.  She is propped between my older sister and myself.  It occurred to me today that that picture was taken so long ago that it could be considered an antique…. I guess that is what happens when you turn 60, right?

So, thank you my dear sisters, I am so lucky to be between you.  Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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A Walk on the Beach…

This afternoon, hubby and I headed out to do some errands and after finishing them up, we headed to the beach.  No, not to sit and sun, but to walk, and blow the stink off.

We walk on the beach often, it is a place that relaxes hubby and he unwinds.  This leads to great conversations that somehow don’t happen other places.

The sky was overcast when we arrived and the tide was out, which is our favorite time to walk there.  The huge expanse of sand that is firmer is easier to walk along.  We walked for about a mile.  The wind was brisk and I found myself wishing I had brought some gloves with me.

As we walked along, we saw some cute dogs with their owners.  They would bound over and we would love on them.  In the distance we saw a couple walking a puppy.  As we got a bit closer we realized it was a Shiba Inu, which is what we have.  The puppy was off leash and started to run towards us.  Of course, we encouraged him to keep running to us.  He arrived in a flurry of excitement, tail wagging, tongue lapping and jumping and nipping.  He was precious.  The couple rushed over, apologizing as they came.  Then they realized that we were loving our time with the puppy.  We looked up and told them what a beautiful shiba they had.  Immediately, we were friends.  They asked us so many questions about the breed and we talked for several minutes.  I should clarify, they talked with my hubby, me?  Well, I was too busy playing with the puppy.  I had forgotten how playful Shibas are when they are puppies.  I forgot how furry and soft and fun they are.  Our poor old pup is past the playful stage.  He sleeps most of the day and sometimes it is a chore to walk to the door to go on his walk.

On the way home I kept thinking of the puppy.  I also started thinking of how we are when we age. We don’t feel any different, but, we do start to move just a bit slower.  We don’t play as much as we used to.

We arrived home.  Came in, dropped the mail on the table and our dog came trotting out to meet us.  I looked down just as he dropped into his playful pose.  Nah, he isn’t as old as I think he is…

As I think about it now, there’s still some puppy in both of us.

Thanks for stopping by.  DAF

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