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.