Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Thrifty Tabloid: 2015 Has Not Been So Thrifty!

I haven’t written much about thrift lately. To be honest, this has not been a “thrifty” year. We moved into a condo from a house. There’s nothing “thrifty” about a move.

We were blessed to get full price for our home in less than 24 hours. This alone made us feel like we were doing the right thing.

When you move, you want new stuff. I did get some new stuff, but I resisted the urge to go overboard. For instance, we lost a bedroom, so I insisted on getting a sofa-bed (and love seat). We were not going to live without a soft water conditioner. You don’t go 38 years and decide to get cheap on that!

As I was talking to the condo salesperson, she asked me if there was anything she could do to “sweeten the pot” as she knew we were looking at another development too (the prices were comparable). I thought a minute and said, “blinds” and it was done. She could get them wholesale and that saved us a bunch of money. You simply cannot have windows without something on them in a new home! I haven’t purchased anything else for window treatments, but I do plan on sheers for the living room early in 2016. They will come from Amazon and I will get points for using my Amazon credit card. The hardware I have to look at and touch, so that will be Lowes, most likely.

We were given an “allowance” and that’s an interesting way to find out where you, as a couple put your priorities in decorating a home. We were mostly in agreement. We did not get hardwood floors or granite counter tops. I found a counter top pattern that looks like granite from a distance. So, on the other hand, I was able to upgrade all cabinets in kitchen and bathroom, order a storage unit for the utility room that is just wonderful and install (kitchen) cabinets over my washer and dryer, a lifelong dream! We were able to have the openings to the den and sun room “trimmed out” which really adds class!

I went dark with the kitchen. I think my husband was a little wary, but by the time I had that all put together, he finally figured out that I missed my calling as an interior decorator. We have a canister skylight in the kitchen, an absolute MUST! Because I lost my desk space—previously in my bedroom—the builders made me a desk in the kitchen. I upgraded the appliances, but the jury is still out on this brushed aluminum. Ty Pennington never has to CLEAN them, does he??

We didn’t buy any new accessories and it was interesting to see how all of our stuff worked in the new place. We did purge before the move, and I had some ideas, but it was amazing to see how this didn’t work and that did! I reached back to two or three houses ago for some of my ideas. Jerry had an amazing eye! I never give him credit for that and he was remarkable in the placement of pictures and so forth.

I made do with my nine-year-old bedding, but I just treated myself to new after Christmas. Actually, it's on it's way! I didn’t buy any new towels or shower curtains, we just made do. They will wear out eventually, and I will get new.

The most important concept of being able to do all of this is that, because we have practiced thrift all of our lives, we had some resources to be able to do this.

I have never been happier in a residence! Now back to thrifty living. I want a big vacation in a couple of years.

Until we "connect" again......



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Hello.....

There’s a song that recently came out. It is selling a zillion songs. It must resonate for many people. Myself, I had good relationships and have no regrets. But I know it isn’t true for everyone. I understand that there are many people who do not want to return to a situation that might open up some of these feelings. It is my hope and prayer that after 45 years, experiences and making some wallops of mistakes, that we can let go. And experience healing.

This is another aspect of the song, the real one?


Hello, it's me
I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing

Hello, can you hear me?
I'm in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I've forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

There's such a difference between us
And a million miles

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore

Hello, how are you?
It's so typical of me to talk about myself, I'm sorry
I hope that you're well
Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happened?

It's no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time

So hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, ooooohh
Anymore, anymore

Hello from the other side
I must've called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I've tried
To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart
Anymore.
© Adele Adkins-Greg Kurstin 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Popularity

What does “popular” mean?

I've been giving this some thought lately. It was a term we threw around a lot in junior high and high school. (I think we lost it in college, thank goodness)

Miriam Webster defines it as this:

1 of or relating to the general public

2 suitable to the majority: as a) adapted to or indicative of the understanding and taste of the majority “a popular history of the war” OR b) suited to the means of the majority:sold at popular prices.”
3 frequently encountered or widely accepted “a popular theory.”
4 commonly liked or approved “a very popular girl.”
So the words that stand out to me are approved, majority, widely-accepted and commonly liked.
How does that relate to being “popular” in high school? It would be very possible to not even KNOW a person, so how to put oneself in the position of “commonly liked?”
Thinking back, I believe that the persons considered popular were “out in front.” That is, they were in some organization that many people were able to see. Things that come to mind in the 60's would be sports teams, band and auxiliary, musical organizations, drama (musicals) and anything else that was out there for everyone else to see.
The best performer in the debate team or chess club, participated in events that were not seen by most of the students. They might have been just as nice as could be, but they weren't “out there” for everyone to see. The administration of the school didn't include these victories in the announcements, the school newspaper (of which I was editor my senior year so I take responsibility for that) didn't report some of these things. They didn't make “Senior of the Week,” and well should some of them been recognized in that way. However, some probably became very successful attorneys.
But getting all that out of my head and returning to the present: I prefer the terms “well thought of” or when I get into my old-fashioned mood, “well turned out.” Because, after all, being popular in school does NOT guarantee success. When my daughter was a 6th grader, we were at a basketball game of my high school (not hers), and I was sitting with four of the most “popular” guys in my class. I liked them all, but didn't date any of them. After the game, I told her that these were among the most “popular” guys in my class, but at the time—things have changed—three of them were divorced and the fourth had not been married (has never been). I used this as a teaching moment for my daughter as we talked about what made good husbands. And certainly, this is not to say that these men are not good husbands today! But popular does not equal success, whether in relationships or careers.
As we return to our hometown, we simply must get this word out of our head as it relates to people. There may be a popular thought, political view, heaven knows what else, but it does not relate to people. Successful lives are NOT determined by money made! Lifelong marriages are becoming the anomaly, but it doesn't mean that those who have made some mistakes in relationships are not successful today.
When we reconnect, we are going to be surprised by the people we are genuinely attracted to, and by that I do NOT mean by their looks. There are some people that just radiate niceness, and I suppose in some respect it is attributed to their appearance, but for most of us, we have to dig deeper.
Everyone wants to see their best friends, myself included (although I manage that at other times than reunions), but don't overlook some of the other folk, that can really be quite interesting.
Popular is certainly not defined by number of friends on Facebook, although through that medium and our own web site, you can discern some of the interests of classmates you didn't know well at all. Those are the things that draw us together now: fishing, sports, quilting, crafts, music, (yes) faith and many other things.
I encourage you to look deeper. You may be pleasantly surprised.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thoughts on Knee Replacement

I was going to start this out as a Facebook status and it got too long for that. First of all, I do want to acknowledge that this conversation did not begin today. It has been going on for two years. During these two years, I have been having cortisone shots, finally agreed to arthroscopic surgery, which DID help the torn meniscus. We knew that. But we also knew that I had arthritis. Although new pictures will be taken before surgery, the two-year-old pictures showed that the left knee had moderate and the right knee had mild arthritis, we are going on the assumption that things have progressed from moderate-to-severe, and mild-to-moderate, from my description of symptoms and his physical examination. I will mention briefly that the symptoms of this showed up in 2000 when I was regularly lifting boxes of coin at the bank at which I was employed, so we’re on 16 years of this. All this is to say, this is not a new thing.

After Physical Therapy, and a vacation trip which I was in pain ALL THE TIME, I wanted to talk to the doctor now. Not two months from now, NOW! It is time to admit we have done everything we can do short of knee replacement surgery. This was not an easy thing. Jerry had the same arthroscopic surgery at the end of April that I had early July. It was apparent to me last week as he walked ahead of me that he was “trotting” down 5-6 stairs that I had to hold on the railing very tightly to do the same thing. We have said before: my left knee is not my right knee and neither can be compared to another patient. My decision today: two shots of cortisone, one in each knee.

I had several friends weigh in on my Facebook status and something interesting popped out at me. I have been guilty of this and I know others who have been also (who do not have these problems). If you would just lose weight, this wouldn’t have happened. Well, as I thought of my “friends” who weighed in—oh, that is terrible—they represented the full gambit of body types. It is time, my beloveds, to stop beating ourselves up over weight gain.

That said, I was able to lose 40 lbs. in late 2006-early 2007 without moving a muscle outside of daily activity. Come spring, I did begin to walk. I was employed by the Springfield Museum of Art and the Springfield Regional Medical Center was under “preparation for construction.” It would open in late 2011. I would walk a “city block” around the construction site and through the park that I worked in, every morning it was not raining. I lost this weight during my third bout with plantar fasciitis. So this can be done. However, the weight came back on and many symptoms reappeared. The plantar fasciitis has not reappeared, knock on wood. But I tore a meniscus in 2013 and the arthritis did what arthritis does…..got worse.

I have not been a cheap and easy date; beginning in 1981 when I had a cystectomy and found an extreme case of endometriosis in the process. I also got an appendectomy free of charge. It was time to poop or get off the pot, with reference to starting a family, and that took two years! In 1988 I had a caesarian birth with Mr. Refuse-to-Progress. In February 1996 I had a carpal tunnel surgery which involved 18 months of jumping through hoops when the Dr. and I knew what was wrong, before the insurance would pay for it. Later in that same year, in November, I had a septoplasty, which I honestly think changed my life the most. After all, this is every breath! And I was able to sing again.

In late 2002 I had to fight for the opportunity to have breast reduction. Our self-insurance with Jerry’s employer wouldn’t pay for it. It took what amounted to a class action suit against the schools from 7-8 families who needed various forms of treatment to get the go ahead. I had it in February 2003, three months before his retirement. We were not taking any chances. This operation was far more invasive than expected, but I still recommend it. We have the Internet now to double-check what our MALE surgeon is telling us! Take six weeks off, not three.

2013 brought cancer surgery, a lumpectomy. That surgery was fine and recovery normal. The radiation about killed me, but the surgery couldn’t have been more routine.

And this year, both of us took care of our menisci. It worked well for Jerry, not so much for me. As of 2015, that is.

So now the ball is in my court. How long will I let this go on? 2016 has some big events, the birth of a grandchild in June and my class reunion in late July.  Then there is FOOTBALL! I have made some pre-decisions: if this cortisone wears off say, mid-February, I am going in and say “do me!” That will have me up and around in May. If I get six months, I will get another shot and plan for late November or early December. Someone else will have to do Christmas, and that’s my final word on that. It’s not all about me, or rather it is! And Jesus.

I know that I could have taken diet and exercise more seriously over the years. I raised children and ran around too much to take time for me. However, my father had knee problems (operated at about 42 years of age), my brother Ben had knee problems and would not let the army touch him, so they were never reconciled before his death at age 51, and who knows what Loren would have had, since he was paralyzed at the age of 27? And son, you are not looking good at 27! Your day is coming. My daughter runs marathons, I don’t know how heredity and that will play together. That is new territory! Anyway, heredity plays a role and that’s simply all there is to it!

That’s why I say to myself, and to others, you simply cannot look at each other and go by their stories! Some have partials, some have totals. Their life previous to this surgery will be a factor. And as Dr. T. said, my knee isn’t Jerry’s knee and my left knee isn’t my right knee! I may have completely different stories as those operations play out.

We still have the conversation to have about partial vs. complete. The Dr. and I are not ready for that, but I know it will play a huge part in recovery.

If my readers want to give advice, I am open. Here is how I see what I will need in terms of help if we go sooner than later, and the worst case scenario. My husband, though he has his moments, overall will step up to the plate. He doesn’t cook and he doesn’t clean (he runs the sweeper but dusting affects his allergies), but he does laundry. However, he is quite able to go out for food, the down side is what kind of food, but we’ll get by.

  • Help me shower and make my bed. He just isn’t into showering with me and bandages.
  • Visit me if Jerry ends up going to help our daughter in March. Depending on these dates, I may need someone around just to be here “in case.” Maybe not. I will probably get some takers in the condo complex if that’s all I ask.

I am more than aware that my closest friends all have physical issues too. My daughter-in-law will be in her third trimester. That’s why there may be a lot of fast food for a time and the house may be a little dusty.

If I wait until late in the year—good financially because deductibles will be paid—this list will change. Jerry still won’t shower with me but Debbie and I have hilarious stories about my cleanliness and we’ll probably have more.

I’ll be back on this subject.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Ron (and Sherry)

My history with Ron and Sherri goes way back. I wasn’t friends with him in school, I may or may not have known who he was, I’m not really sure.

When I was first married, I decided to attend a church that was really close to my home. It was small and intimate and in time, I got to know just about everyone. Ron and Sherri and I were in the same Sunday school class. It was the “Young Marrieds” class, and we were all about the same age.

We don't even mind grandchildren at our
luncheons!
We had parties at each other’s homes, and we were all having babies. Well, I waited awhile, but everyone else was. I remember visiting their home when their second baby was born, and the first was less than two years old. We all just loved all the kids!

I left that church before my first was born, so we didn’t see each other anymore. We didn’t reconnect except at reunions, and when we started having luncheons. They came to the first one and have attended most of them since.

This past year or so they have been more involved with their family as their daughter had premature, identical twin boys, and they helped her quite a bit. That’s a stage of life and it was a matter of time that they would return to events.

This is a situation where I am as good a friend of the spouse as the classmate. She also knows her way around my kitchen! Of course, I moved this year, but they came over and I showed her around my new kitchen. I don’t know how much help I will need at the Christmas party! But I know Sherri will pitch in!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Derges' Digest 2015

Norah's first birthday party!
Another eventful year is coming to a close. The changes that this year has brought to our lives remind us of how blessed we are. 

If you had told me in January that we would move again, I would have said, “No freaking way!” which was my first reaction when Jerry brought it up in April. He was having trouble with his knees and was tired of the yard work and going up and down stairs. I mellowed some, and we had the conversation of what I would do, and what I would not do.

We ended up looking at two developments, one close to where Joel and Lindsey live, and one near our former home. The decision was easy, we are literally within walking distance of our physicians, two (grocery) stores, a drug store, and the bank. We are also close to my fitness club, but we have a fitness room in the clubhouse.

So, we decided we would do it, and I called our realtor. She listed our home on a Friday afternoon and it was sold full price on Saturday morning. We put in a contract for the condo on Monday, which gave the saleswoman the go ahead to order supplies. They build the condo to the drywall, and we choose the rest. The process takes about 6-7 weeks.

Our condo is 2050 square feet on one level; has two bedrooms and a den, as well as a sun room. The kitchen is huge, which is the family joke. I don’t cook (much). They built me a custom desk in the kitchen. We have an outdoor patio which overlooks the main area of the development. We have a large laundry and a large utility room. There is plenty of room for storage, although we still had to get rid of plenty.

In other spring news, Joel’s head coach resigned and Joel threw his hat in the ring and came out on top. He is now the head coach of Tippecanoe High School varsity football team. He is also teaching Special Education at the high school this year. His team won their CBC League title before moving to (another league which is larger) GWOC next year. They made the Division III Playoffs and played until Week 12 (the Regional Semi-finals). It was exciting and fun to see Joel and his team on TV, and regular articles in several publications. He coached a classy group of talented kids! He was also voted Coach of the Year for Southwest Ohio's District of Division III football.

Also during the early part of the year, I sang with the Springfield Symphony Chorale; in January we sang Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C major, and in April we sang the great Mahler #2 Resurrection Symphony the week after Easter. I was OK with Mozart’s Latin, but was unsure of Mahler’s German. By the time it was all put together, it was one of the most fabulous works I have ever been a part of.

Interestingly, the following week, my high school Choir Director was inducted into the Fairborn City Schools Hall of Honor, and although he was unable to travel, many students from over two decades came to honor him and we had a really good time ourselves!

In May, we had our darling granddaughters for several days while their parents celebrated Brent’s reaching ACAS (Associate of Casualty Actuarial Science) with a trip to Colorado. He achieved that mark close to Norah’s birth and they didn’t take the trip then!

Then, it was time to pack for our move. Jerry was recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and did well, but moving is a big job, no matter who is doing the lifting. Jerry and I, along with Joel and Lindsey, took the boxes over and we hired a truck for the large furniture. We moved June 1st. As our bodies moved slowly, it took time to settle in. We have enjoyed our “new lifestyle” as we met new folks, spent much time at the pool and go out to eat as a group once a month.

On July 7th it was my turn to get my knee fixed. I also had arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn meniscus that occurred in April of 2013. I recovered slowly; strength and endurance are the key words. I realize that I simply can’t do the things I want to do and must adapt. I have lost weight however! I did use the pool this summer for exercise. When I found that wasn’t “enough,” I went to Physical Therapy. I still continue with what they have told me to do.

Jerry continues to do his volunteering and moved UP to 5th place in hours worked this past year. I have a feeling, with taking off for the knee surgery and the move, he may slide next year. Hopefully he stays in the Top Ten.

This year in Bible Study, we studied Acts and Philippians. I also read a great deal about Tudor England, and studied the literature and life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The grandchildren continue to grow. Kyah is in Pre-Kinder and in gymnastics, soccer and AWANA cubbies. Norah is just her cute self. She turned one in October, and may just be the orneriest little person I know.

My mother is doing as well as can be expected. She had a stroke in January while visiting Loren, and the stroke took some of her eyesight. She gave the car to her nephew. She works hard to stay as healthy as she can, but at 84, she has issues. However, she’s still as sharp as a tack! She moved into another apartment in her complex, as they were renovating and she would have to move eventually, and this apartment was already “renovated.” Her sister, my Aunt Jo (and Uncle Jeff) moved into a condo about .5 mile from Mom’s. We “inspired” them.

Jerry and I went to Pittsburgh to see the traveling Broadway show “Beautiful,” which is about the singer and composer Carole King’s life. It was wonderful.

At the end of November, we are going to Nashville for a week to celebrate our 38-year anniversary and just to get away! The “Class of 71” Christmas Party will continue in our new home the following week.

We expect a wonderful Christmas as Loren is coming north for the first time in many years. Jerry will fly down and drive back with him. We look forward to a great time!

And finally, our most exciting news! We have just learned that Joel and Lindsey are expecting their first child in early June. We are very happy and looking forward to that time. Looks like 2016 will be exciting also!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Rick (and Debbie)

I didn’t even know who Rick was in school. He and I just didn’t run in the same circles. Maybe we were in a class or two together, required classes. I have no memory of it.

He married young and stayed in the area. His wife went to the "other" high school! I remember running into them at a baseball game at the high school once.  However, I really didn’t get to know him until we started having our luncheons. He always brought his wife and I got to know her and consider her as good a friend as I do him. (That happens frequently).

We attended the same church, but not the same service, so we saw each other once in a while when we combined services, or one of us attended the other service for some reason. When his mother passed away, it was a “church” relationship, not just a friend’s mom.


They began coming to the Christmas party, and she learned her way around my kitchen. I always appreciate help in the kitchen! We’ve been doing this for six years now and we’ve got a routine.

When I became ill, they sent cards…..regularly. So often, people send one card and that’s all they do. I probably got one about every other week from these folks. It made me feel special and loved.

I pretty much see them once a month and I look forward to it. We don’t always talk one-on-one, depending on who is sitting next to who, but we keep up. We know what is going on in each other’s lives. There’s always a hug from these guys, always.

He’s still working. She’s not. She is welcome to events when he can’t make it! I didn’t know him at all and she went to “that other high school!”


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dewey and Jackie

I couldn’t tell you when I got reacquainted with Dewey, or acquainted for the first time. Dewey was in choir and he sang bass, which is behind the altos. I knew him, but I didn’t really KNOW him. He’s always just been there.

He stayed in our home town and married young. Over the years, I would run into him here and there, and I knew his wife Jackie also. I like Jackie.

When I worked at a bank, Dewey was a weekly customer. This was before we did everything online, something that I would bet Dewey still doesn’t do much of. I have to be friends with his wife on Facebook, in order to get information to him. Technological he is not. Anyway, we tellers all loved to wait on Dewey. He sort of took over the place. He just has that kind of personality.

He started coming to our classmate dinners, and he has to be home at a decent hour. He’s up at 4:00 AM but we all know there aren’t too many more years of working left. As I write this, he is framing his retirement home. Literally, putting it together.

When he comes to the Christmas party, I ask him to bless the meal. Dewey doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve, but it’s there, quietly a part of his being.

He has served on the reunion committee several times. I don’t know what will happen when he moves north for good.

One evening that sets itself apart in my mind is a night Dewey and Jackie and a couple of other classmates came to dinner at my home. I wanted Jackie’s input also as someone who isn’t really vested. I was changing our web site and wanted to set priorities. We all worked together to come up with a way that would seem user-friendly to our classmates and guests.

I like Jackie as much as Dewey. I’m comfortable with her. It’s a good feeling. Although not rare, I don’t feel the same about all spouses of classmates. I’m glad they are BOTH my friends.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Connie

 I didn’t know Connie at all during high school. I remember the name, as likely as not she was in a class with me. I know now that she was on the same college-prep track that I was (we both started college the week after we graduated), so we may have been in something together.

I really didn’t get to know her until our 40th Reunion preparation. She joined the committee and brought some great energy to the group.

At the Summer Arts Festival
Connie has never been married, so when we realized that we both like to attend concerts that my husband had no interest in, there was nothing stopping us from going!

We enjoyed the concerts at the local Summer Arts Festival. When Carole King and James Taylor came to our state capital, we decided we wanted to go. Not an inexpensive concert at all, we ended up in the nosebleed seats in a basketball arena, but it was a GOOD SHOW. I felt that someone my age was the best person to enjoy this evening with.

Since Connie has never married, she is far more used to driving to places and figuring out where to park. I depend on my husband too much! Back in this day, neither of us had smart phones, but she was able to find good places. Both of us were not in any hurry. Getting there early and leaving late to avoid the worst traffic was OK with both of us.

Our biggest evening was going to see Sir Paul McCartney. The nosebleed seats were also pretty high-priced, but we had the opportunity to see someone we had been a fan of since we were 10. Since it was a baseball stadium, I had to wonder what people down on the infield were paying! I knew the traffic would be insane.

We went several hours early and parked under the stadium (my treat!) and then went to find a restaurant. We did find a very nice one that wasn’t too far away from the stadium. We enjoyed the concert with some exceptions of intoxicated “neighbors” sitting around, it was great music! I am just in awe that a 69-year-old man presents a three-hour concert—ok, there were some guitar and drum solos in there to preserve his voice—without a break. Again we took our pretty little time to get home from this concert. The entire downtown was full, and of course, the “home baseball team” was on the road!

Connie does a lot more with season tickets to our local university’s theater department’s productions. She has nothing but rave reviews for it. I would love to join her on some of them, but I really can’t commit to a series of anything.

It is good to have someone to call.

And I never knew her in high school at all!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What Did We Do Before Pinterest?

Why does everything need to be “perfect?”

I’ll admit, I like Pinterest and I get some very good ideas from it, and I am able to organize articles that I would like to revisit at some future time. For instance, I have a board for “Reunion.” That would be ideas for our 45th (and perhaps beyond) reunion. I have recipes, inspirational quotes, decorating ideas, and many of the things that other people do. I have a board for this blog, too, and I am able to extend my reach in that way.

When I was young, we cut out things in magazines and filed them in some fashion. I have always said, “Why didn’t I invent Pinterest and become a bazillionaire?” Not being the creative sort, I really love it!

However, I feel a downside to society in general, and it is reflected in Pinterest. Nothing can be just normal anymore. Every food item must have “presentation” and be “cute.” Every social event must be decorated creatively and the food match the “theme.”

I miss just getting together and not having it have to be “put-together.” Although I am more cognizant of what goes INTO casseroles, where is the lunch or dinner where everyone just brought a dish to share? I still like tablecloths of some sort on the tables, I do have my standards after all, but for me, it doesn’t all have to match.

I am reminded of the first bridal shower that I gave—for my cousin, who I served as maid of honor for in 1974. This was for our relatives and a few choice friends, but mostly family. I went to the bakery to pick up the cake and it said “Happy Birthday Mark and Robin,” instead of “Best Wishes” or whatever I told them to put. Now, Mark and Robin’s birthdays happen to be three days apart, but this was two months away! I just apologized and said I would not be buying that cake, turned on my heels and walked out. (Here I must interject that the bakery was a fine establishment. When I got married three years later, I had a friend lined up to bake my cake, and she came down with pneumonia on Tuesday of my wedding week. This bakery stepped up and baked my cake and didn’t overcharge me at all. They helped me out at a difficult time).

So, I came home and was all frustrated, and my Mom and I talked, and guess what, it was strawberry season, so I baked strawberry shortcake for the party! (I’m sure it was cheaper!) We didn’t have a meal, just dessert and punch and maybe nuts, I don’t remember, but we made do just fine! No one knew any different, UNTIL WE TOLD THEM, and we all had a good laugh about it!

Today, we would have an entire meal, some kind of dessert included, and we would have a theme! It would revolve around her “colors,” which uh, we wore prints with a deep yellow-beige background so I guess yellow was the color. Nice dresses, ugh for shower decorations.

My point is that we can’t have just “normal” anymore. It all has to be contrived and matchy-matchy. I miss not having people drop in and make do with what is in the pantry. My children will tell you there is no food in the house, but I will tell you that there is ALWAYS a reserve meal in the pantry or freezer.

Well, here is normal in my house. I had the kids over for birthdays this past weekend. I bought a pork roast (so I thought) and was going to make pulled pork sandwiches. Well, it was the wrong cut of meat, and while it tasted fine, it was not sandwich meat! I’ll make another meal with it. So I went out and got KFC. At least that’s something I knew that the little kids could handle. I didn’t want to imagine them with pork sandwiches. Whose dumb idea was that anyway? All this is to say, I am not perfect and sometimes I have to make do. And I don’t care, I don’t get upset about it.  I didn’t buy a cake, I made one and we had brownies and ice cream too. We used plain white paper plates, although we used silverware and glassware. I come from a generation that is “Pre-Pinterest.” It doesn’t have to be perfect.

This is not to say Pinterest is bad; just as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are not in themselves. Really, it’s about our culture, wanting everything to be just so for every occasion, and by implication, anything else is “less.” While I am talking about food, the same could be said for d├ęcor, holiday or otherwise, but this blog entry has come to an end.

I’d love to hear from readers on this. Is it more important to have everything be “just right” or are you comfortable with occasions that are imperfect?

Until we connect again…..

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sandy

This entry is about a person that I did know in high school, but only as a friend of a friend. Sandy was the friend of one of my close friends—who shall NOT be written about—so I knew her in that way. To be honest, they were an “odd couple” and I never knew what drew them together as friends. Sandy was very shy and Jean was well—not!

Actually many years went by and I became Sandy’s Facebook friend. I don’t really know why that happened as I really didn’t know her well. We wrote back and forth under the radar on Facebook and plain email. We found that we had much in common.

Sandy and her husband at
a fifties theme party.
Mostly we wrote about our faith and how it was a part of our life. We discussed how if affected certain decisions we made. She is so creative and I would drool over the creations she would take pictures of and put on Facebook. She lives in Mississippi now and lives a quiet rural life with her husband. Her children and grown and out of the house (have been so since we reconnected). She is a Grandma too.

I have had some struggles that I shared with her and she listened. There have been some phone calls. She has been a great support to me in some of my difficult times. These have been intimate conversations.

She decided that she needed to quit Facebook, and I do miss seeing her pictures of what she is doing. We email only now, and there is always a possibility of a phone call, but we mostly email. I would love to go south and visit her. With Jean in Florida now, we should arrange something.

And of course, I will encourage her attendance at the next reunion. I have room.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Libby

Libby went to the Catholic school for her elementary years and the “other” junior high for 9th grade. We weren’t even together until we went to high school in our 10th grade. I knew who she was, but we had friends of friends and we weren’t really friends ourselves. I remember distinctly when her mother died when she was 16. Things like that stick with you.

Here we are at the Fairborn Chamber Chat
held at Wright State University
Our lives took different turns after school. She traveled quite a bit with her husband. Eventually they would return to the United States, and they settled in the school system that I lived in. She had a daughter three years younger than mine, two years older than my son, and another daughter a year younger than my son. So, from 1983 to 1989 we were having babies.

Eventually, we would run into each other in school events and in the community. I don’t think we got together on a reunion committee until the 30th. That was in 2001. We started having our group lunches in 2006 and really ramped those up in 2010. She became a regular at the lunches. She and I had lunches and suppers at other times. It seemed those were the only times we were really alone and could talk about things.

Libby got me onto the idea of owning an iPod touch. Oh, wow, the things we could do with that. (We now both have smart phones) I got her started with Facebook. Her daughters were appalled at the time, but I think they’re OK with it now. They are sharing pictures all the time. I am friends with her older daughter, and we find that WE have some similar interests!

She lives three miles from me. Honestly, we could drop over all the time, but we have other things to do. Both of us have retired husbands, and her children and grandchild are close by, so she spends a lot of time with them. In recent years, she has had more than her share of tragedy in extended family, so she has had to attend to that.

The class activities keep us connected. I enjoy her company. I look forward to a day when things slow down a little.


My Fitness Journey: Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Treatment

It's "fall back" weekend!
It has been about two months since I have written about my Diet and Fitness Journey. When last I wrote, I had lost about 11 lbs. on The Virgin Diet. I have been able to keep this off, but am really stalled at about 13 lbs. I don’t understand this fully, as I am eating 80% right and I have completely cut out pop. I hear people say all the time “I lost five lbs. a month just by cutting out pop!” and this is NOT happening! It is very depressing since I have given up something that I really loved.

Now I know, that it’s not good for me anyway, so no matter what the scales say, pop is just an enemy of the human body. So I am behaving.

During these last two months, I have been doing physical therapy to strengthen my left knee and admittedly, my right knee also. After all, we cannot have a lopsided body here. I have been released from physical therapy. I have been able to lift 110 lbs. as I sit on a seat and push out with my legs. For me, I think that is pretty strong. I don’t have that machine, either at the fitness center or the workout room at our condo clubhouse, so I am going to have to figure out a way to maintain that strength.

At the same time, I have been working with a local chiropractor. I won’t name him. If you are reading this and you know what town I live in, you know who it is. He is a hometown boy who got his education and came home to practice. His mother was my son’s third grade teacher. This IS a small town!

Dr. has been doing decompression therapy on me for about six weeks now. It HAS helped my back. Right now we are only doing once a week and we’ll see how long that is needed. I don’t kid myself. He’ll be with me the rest of my life, to some extent. It’s OK. I’m getting older and my back is deteriorating, and we are doing the best we can to preserve what we can.

Walking is still difficult. My husband walks almost three miles at a time and I am jealous. But my husband does not have the issues that I do, and vice versa, indeed. No comparing, I just wish we could walk together. Maybe we will someday.

So…..I will continue to do my leg weights at home, every other day. (Oh, and naturally I bought new ones, only to find my old ones that I had “lost” through the move a couple of days later!) I will go to the fitness center for upper body weight work and riding the bikes. I can also ride the bike in the clubhouse if I just want to do that. I will not be attempting classes. They are too much at once. (within a 45-60 minute time frame)

Halloween is a few days away and the good news is that the condos don’t do Halloween (no one comes back here). But the other holidays are on the horizon and I really have to work at this! I’m in my older clothes and I am not letting them get tight again! I have work to do yet, but I am not going to backslide!

This has been a frustrating time. The knee had been bothering me for two years, since before my cancer diagnosis, and I don’t know which was worse, the pain or the “cure.” Well, the cure is going to work, eventually. It just hasn't come as easy as I thought it would.

I hope my story helps someone who is going through something similar. It may not be the same part of the body, but the feelings are the same. As I write this, the World Health Organization just announced that sausage and bacon are really bad for you. That is not a problem for this girl. Neither is red meat, although I like hamburger in my tacos. That is about all.

However, pumpkin pie; well, that’s another story……



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bob

I sort of knew Bob in high school, but not enough to have any real memories of anything we experienced together.

I've always liked this picture of Bob
and my son. This was taken in our
garage when we had a party.
Actually I can’t tell you anything about his life, except that he started coming to our luncheons. He’s retired, but he’s a musician, and honestly, he’s in four places at once and we can’t keep up with him! One of these days, I am going to see and hear (one of) his bands sing.

He comes to our Christmas party, and along with another fellow with a banjo, adds to the festivities. Nothing is EVER rehearsed! The first time Bob came, he didn’t bring his guitar and I got out my brother’s (who passed away in 2007) guitar and it had been tuned down (back), but when Bob tried to tune it UP, he broke strings. The next time he brought strings and set me up!

To know Bob is to know his music. Now that he’s retired, he can do whatever and how much of whatever he wants to do.

I always enjoy his company at our events. Sometimes he’s late, but it’s OK. We just love having him around!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Vicki

I knew of Vicki in high school. She was on the drill team, so she was a friend of a friend. Neither of us can remember being in a class together, but I find it hard to believe that we were not. With a class of almost 700, there just were times people did not run in the same circles, and this was one of those times. We were both in the Music Department, her with the drill team and one choir and me in the other choir.

Life went on and the old gang broke up and we went our own ways. Vicki was at the Tenth Reunion, but I honestly remember very little about that reunion. She came into our lives at the end of preparation for the Twentieth Reunion, jumping right in and helping. We considered her a “committee member.” (I just wanted to note that, so that individuals who decide at the last minute that they want to help, it is possible!) Vicki has been involved in every reunion since.

She works for the state working with developmentally disabled individuals. In 2016, she will retire with 30 years. She was married many years ago to a classmate for a short time (they remain friends) and had a long-term relationship with another man.

She also has health problems; real health problems! The short story is that she needs a donor heart.

Vicki at our 40th Reunion
But I start at the end: this did not happen overnight. Her heart problems began 25 years ago and life has been a roller coaster ever since. Vicki did not have a computer or email for the longest time, so I tried to remember to call her periodically, and I didn't do that very well.

Last year about this time, she had a major setback. She was hospitalized in our town, flown to the state capital to a specialty hospital, and eventually to Tennessee to live and hopefully recuperate with her brother and sister-in-law. I never expected to see her living in our hometown again. Many of our classmates sent cards, a few visited, and I was on speed dial of a friend of hers; who started out as a work companion, but moved on and they maintained their relationship. He, the other guy of the long-term relationship, and her brother and SIL were her main support system. She was very blessed by these people.

I thought she would sell her condo up here and settle in Tennessee and get on a waiting list for a donor heart. (They were working with a hospital in Alabama) She did not sell the condo, recuperated and returned to her home and job. We are all totally amazed!

Last month she came to a committee meeting and everyone wanted to hug her. However, this is not really possible. She wears several “machines” that are literally keeping her alive. I am not a medical person and this is a specialty I have no experience with, but imagine my thoughts when she told me that if I wanted to take her pulse, I would not find one.

Let that one sink in. Her life is being kept by machines and she has no pulse!

Obviously, we take into account her limitations, and that is good as it reminds us that we all have limitations. Her picture is just painted in much brighter colors!

Next year she plans to retire and get on a donor list. There is no guarantee that there will not be complications before that, but we hope and pray it all goes according to the best plan. 

Vicki is one big fighter! I am honored to consider her my friend!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bev

I knew Bev in school as we did have classes together, and we had an informal friendship. She married a classmate and had two children with him. Upon their divorce, she met another man and moved to the south to be married. I am not sure which came first: moving to the south and meeting him, etc. or meeting him and moving to be near him. I do know her mother lives close to them, so she might have moved first. I just don’t remember.

Our first luncheon together in
2006. I was considering letting
my hair go gray. That didn't last
long! Bev is second from left.
Bev always looked FABULOUS at reunions—I mean “I hate you” fabulous! It was around the 30th Reunion that we connected personally. She came into town and about 7 of us met at a restaurant at the mall area. I want to say Chili’s but I think that would be wrong. It doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that was the FIRST luncheon, which evolved into our pizza meals at Giovanni’s.

Bev and I talk on the phone regularly. She’s actually butt-dialed me and it turned into a great conversation, as always. We talk about our families, our moms, books and our faith. I consider her a dear friend.

As with other friends that I have mentioned, I can tell when it’s time for more than email. I just feel it and I think they do too.

Bev doesn’t get north often enough, but she does have grandchildren here, so there will always be some time! Her grandkids travel to see her too, so that’s all good.

Also, as with other friends, many of us are grandparents now, so that adds a dimension to our lives that we really never imagined when we were in school! However, it’s the most fun, and a reward for our toil in younger years.

I do not know Bev’s husband, so I don’t know if a visit would be welcome there, but we still have our telephones!  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tom

Tom was a guy I barely knew in high school. He WAS in my home room as our last names began with the same letter.

I really didn’t get to know Tom until we worked together on our 20th class reunion. This was before computers and we spent hours on the phone. Don’t get the wrong idea, I adore his wife and maybe I even like her better than him, but Tom and I would talk about every little thing. I don’t really know why.

We became close and I consider us still close. One day Tom said something like “Why didn’t we go out in high school?” and I had the freedom to come back with “Tom, you were a HOOD!” Whatever hoodness was in him, he outgrew and became a fine producing member of society. I like him very much.

Picture taken in 1996 (25 years). Again we are
side-by-side, because of last (maiden) names! Tom
and his lovely wife Mary Ann.
He moved to a town that was further away and made it pretty much impossible to join us in reunion committee work. By this time we had the internet, but we also had unlimited minutes on the phone plan. I hear from him about every 3-4 months, and you know it’s going to be a conversation—about work, the condo association he serves, retirement, family, and sometimes we do talk about classmates and reunion stuff.

The funniest story I can tell on Tom happened one summer day when he came to drop something off at my house. I don’t even remember what it was. He was coming to town to have dental work done, and stopped off while he was here. It was 90 degrees and he didn’t take off his jacket. My son was expected home any minute.

Finally he tells me why he didn’t take it off. He is carrying a firearm of some sort and didn’t have the proper “trunk” to leave it out on his motorcycle. There are rules about these sort of things. Well, I didn’t have a problem with it at all, although the household I was raised in and the household that I created have never had firearms in them. Ever. But I trusted Tom to be able to handle his weapon in the correct way.
I literally stole this from
Facebook! I loved it!

However, had my son or my husband walked in and a gun was lying on the couch, they would have flipped out! Of course, I told them about it later.

Time has marched on and Tom and I still keep in touch. I have hopes that he will join the committee again. Whether or not that comes to pass, we’ll see. It’s been entirely too long since we’ve seen each other.

And I miss his wife too!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cassie

Cassie and me at Class of 70 Reunion July 2015
We’re afraid to return to a class reunion unless our “friends” are there. It is natural to want to be with our old pals and spend a weekend reminiscing, laughing and crying. However, somewhere in our minds, there’s this thought that “I won’t have fun unless—fill in the blank—is there,” and friend, this simply is not so. People that you didn’t know well are interesting; they have done interesting things and they have interesting things to share. Some of these situations will take you by surprise!

Today I begin a series on relationships that I have developed since high school. Each of these people, I barely knew, but in the past 44 years have developed real friendships. We are the same people, we are not the same people. Our experiences have taken us many places in life, and somehow, we have meshed.

These will not be all female. (If I can get permission from the men) One thinks of becoming close to other women and that is certainly true, but there have been a couple of men who fall into this category. These are not filthy relationships and my husband is certainly aware of them. He may not “get” some of them, but nothing is withheld or secret.

The first one up is my dear friend Cassie. Cassie and I had no connection in high school; she was not in any of my classes and we weren’t in any organizations together. She did have a good church friend that was in my 8th grade class, but that’s the only connection we had.

Although we met during the 10th class reunion planning, we didn’t really connect there. It wasn’t until the 20th reunion preparation that we got to know each other better. We worked together on the 25th and the 30th and after that reunion, we decided to go to a Christian women’s retreat to do something “other than reunion” together. I believe this was very instrumental to us becoming closer.

We are both Christians, and that has always been. We do have a different Christian heritage, but are open-minded enough to accept those differences and rejoice with each other. I can’t remember who spoke at the retreat, but I do remember feeling closer to all the ladies that went.

At the 35th reunion, I needed a break. Cassie knew why, and I believe she’s the only one who knew why. Although I said it was because I was planning a wedding, it was not. There was something else going on in the dynamic of the committee and I needed to step away. Certainly, I was called to advise on something, but I turned over everything, only keeping a back-up database and some info from the 30th on my computer.

During that time, I found that my relationship with Cassie was NOT based on the reunion, but on US and the things we had in common. We started the lunches during that time. Our first one was a gathering because another classmate was in town. (That classmate will be dealt with later).

Cassie and I don’t “do” very much together as her world is in a different direction. Our husbands don’t even know each other.  She is my Mary Kay consultant and I see her for that. On occasion I visit her home and we try to have a visit, but for many years, she and her husband were babysitting grandchildren during the day and there could be as many as 5 or 6 there. By evening, she was too exhausted for good visits.

Cassie has worked in childcare for many years. I worked in childcare for 10 years. I can speak the language. We can relate. We have watched our parents age and lost other family members.

When it comes to a heavy situation and discussion, Cassie is the ying to my yang. We come to the same conclusion, but we look at it from different perspectives because we had different backgrounds. I think we are mature enough now to respect those backgrounds.

Both of us knew A LOT of people! But, you have to understand, that when we were growing up, there were two sides of town and they were literally divided by railroad tracks. There is an overpass now which changed our world. But there were several elementary schools that fed into two junior highs, before we joined together in one high school.

When we were freshman, at separate junior high schools, I was told we had 750 people in our class. We did not graduate that many, and some dropped out of school, but we are dealing with around 700 names, 60 of which are deceased (that we know of). So it helps that Cassie knows one end of town and I know the other. It just works in this situation. When we go to lunch, there are more people from her end of town that show up and we kid about it. (They may not live there now, but they are from her junior high school)

I LOVE the man she married! This is a relationship (Cassie’s and mine) that is not bound by awkwardness with the spouse. We’ve all had those and I won’t elaborate, but Cassie’s husband is the sweetest man, and I always feel completely comfortable in their home, no matter what I have interrupted. He is also an AWESOME cook, so I must remain friends with him/them.

I know her children, but not well. When her oldest daughter got married; she chose the church that I was secretary for at the time. I ended up acting as a liaison between church and actual wedding. It was lovely. That was 1996, the year of our 25th reunion.

Cassie is a person I text. This new communication with all the different types—some things don’t work for some people. I know that sometimes she is in a group—her family is large and I never know what they are doing. So I text and she returns the text. There are times it leads to a phone call, but it seldom needs to. We can be of few words, or we can talk all afternoon!

After our 40th reunion, which I returned to help with, we decided we wanted to meet monthly for lunch. We include our classmates and anyone who wants to join us, but if no one else shows up, we have lunch and catch up. We find that we need it. I have retired and she will within the year, so we’ll have more time—although none of us knows when we will have more family demands upon us.

I consider Cassie to be one of my closest friends, a sister-in-Christ, and someone I thoroughly enjoy being with. Naturally, during all these years, we have running jokes.

And, I never knew her in high school at all!




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The September Reunion Committee Meeting

We had a Reunion Committee Meeting last night and got much work done. We are doing things much simpler this time and by the 50th we’ll need more people, but this is going to be fine.

As I mentioned in my former blog, we have had to change venues. We discussed this some, but there wasn’t much to discuss. We are blessed to have Dave W. doing the music again for us. Remember: if you want to dance, he can just crank it up somewhat, otherwise, it will be background-talking music.

Becky S. R. has some projects she is working on, but she and I can keep in contact via email. It is not necessary for her to come to a bunch of meetings. Dewey is busy building a new house. FIFTIETH AT HIS HOUSE!!! HAHAHAHA! He won’t read this. All this is to say that we are to the point that we are not doing everything. Last time about killed me.

The venue is nicely decorated and we don’t have to decorate the room. However, as I mentioned before, it would be nice to have “organizations” (choir, football team) decorate the tables. The tables are only round 8 toppers, so not a whole lot of room! If we don’t get enough response on this, the venue has centerpieces, but I would like to do something else. Anyone with creativity in this is welcome to chime in, but we don’t have to worry until next spring. Donations for anything in particular are certainly welcome.

We are keeping the costs to the venue, food, postage, printing of postcards and really cute nametags to be reused (put in box as you leave). Unless someone steps up to go to businesses in Fairborn or nearby areas for donations, we won’t be having door prizes. (We may do a 50/50 for a specific organization in Fairborn TBD).

As mentioned before, all events will be casual. Casual means something different to everyone and I am not getting into it.

I hope I haven’t lost you. This is the most important paragraph. Sometimes other classes have a “motto” or some other moniker. If someone comes up with something; woohoo, but I don’t think it necessary. I just think that the Class of 1971 has some of the most remarkable people I know in it. They are generous, thoughtful and kind. They know how to behave. We were raised at a time when we were taught right from wrong. Many of us tested those limits, but have come out fine on the other side. We are big in numbers, but we do have ways to keep in touch these days. The Class of 1971 consists of wonderful people. I couldn’t be prouder to be numbered along with them.

So, what to expect now? Becky is working on quotes for her project, the very cool nametags. Once I know more about them, I will elaborate. Nothing is done without a reason. I will order the postcards in November, and we will buy forever stamps. I am planning on 400. There are many of us reading this who do NOT NEED a postcard! You are engaged and you know what’s going on. I am always but an email away.

The mailing will be in January. The dates, if you need to make work arrangements are July 29-31, 2016. Along with the mailing, I will have the registration page up on our web site www.fairborn71.com. If you are uncomfortable registering online, we will have other methods, I assure you. There will be a link to register for the hotel from our registration page. As always, you can call them.

Once registration is underway, we’ll be talking about the details, but it will be what we have money for or what someone will donate. At the meeting we were talking about other schools (not Fairborn) and the prices they charge!!!! BUT they have FABULOUS door prizes, which the classmates are paying for! We just don’t believe in that. We are there to visit and love each other. If door prizes are donated, great; if not, we shall survive.

At 63, my priorities are not things. They are people.

Until we “connect” again…..