Friday, January 30, 2009

Sign of Spring?

Just when I thought we would have snow and ice forever, a sure sign of spring appeared on the fence outside my Window on the World. Either that or they were trying to decide whether to go back South.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dress of White

My Tree in a dress of white. Snow, ice and more snow 28 January 2009.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Iced In View

The current view from my Window on the World, looking toward My Tree during today's ice storm. Notice the size of the tree compared to the townhouses beside it.

The street is solid ice and nothing seems to be moving. A good day to stay inside, read, rest and reflect.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

5 Things That Drive Me Crazy

Ok, this is a test. Can you name five things that drive you crazy?

After much ruminating, writing, crossing out and writing again, these are the top five on my list.

1. Drama Queens. I’m too old and too set in my ways to listen to the antics of a Drama Queen. Once upon a time we had a Drama Queen in our family (her name has since been deleted from the family Bible) who had the knack of turning the focus of every conversation to her likes, her dislikes, her job, her family ... her, her, her. Believe me, that gets pretty old after about 5 minutes. Take it elsewhere, sister.

2. The Sense of Entitlement. Believing that you should have a certain position, job or office since because of who you are or the social position of your family is so boring. Case in point: Caroline Kennedy seems like a very nice, likable woman who comes from a nice, likable political family. However, what are her qualifications for becoming a U.S. Senator from New York? Sorry, Caroline. It takes more to represent the public than service on boards of organizations and growing up listening to political discussions.

3. Big Hair. Ok, the ‘80s are over and done with. No more hair “jacked up to Jesus,” as my friendly hairdresser Neil would say. Lose the teasing comb and hair spray. No more blocking the view of moviegoers. Big hair is out ... well, maybe not in Texas, so I am told. While you are losing the big hair, throw out those pointed toe, 5 inch heels that often accompany the big hair. Passe, my dear. Natural is in.

4. Country Home Decor. Many folks like country and find it cozy. Sorry, but it is stifling to me. Too many ducks, bears, throw pillows, wallpaper and borders. Gone the way of the big hair and good riddance!

5. Lists. Don’t you just hate it when people make lists of their likes and dislikes; the most this and the most that; the things that drive them crazy? Who cares what they like or don’t like? Don’t they have enough to do without boring us with their lists?

How about you? What five things come closest to driving you crazy? I won’t tell anyone you are wasting time. Come on, make your list.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I'm sorry to say that I am at a loss for words right now. I'll be back as soon as a new supply arrives.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Grandma Again

In the best of years, January is a harsh month. In addition to the usual cold temperatures and gray skies, the days seem long and barren if care isn’t taken to fill them with projects and special outings. There was a welcome respite yesterday when my cousin/sister came to visit. It’s hard sometimes to schedule these all-too-infrequent visits but, when we do get together, it is worth the wait. I would tell you my cousin’s name, but it is so unusual and since she knows about half of the people this side of the Rocky Mountains, I’ll keep her name a secret to protect both of us. Plus she made me pinky swear not to give her name. I think she thinks I talk too much!

She isn’t a computer person and had never seen this blog so while she was visiting, I let her in on what I have been doing. The entry on Grandma and her fainting spells and “nerve medicine” brought a chuckle. She remembered the name of this magical elixir - Miles Nervine. According to Wikipedia, Miles Nervine was a success by 1890 in “treating nervous ailments, including nervousness or nervous exhaustion, sleeplessness, hysteria, headache, neuralgia, backache, pain, epilepsy, spasms, fits and St. Vitus’ dance.” There is no wonder we were feeling no pain after being dosed with Nervine! My cousin said that Grandma was looking for vanilla and somehow - by mistake or design - substituted Nervine for the vanilla the night we decided to make candy.

Grandma was well known for other talents too. She would often spend the night with my family or my cousin’s family. Before daylight, though, she was up and out the door and could be seen high stepping it down the street before the earliest risers had risen. She didn’t just walk down the street like most people, mind you. She walked down the middle, crocheting a doily all the while and talking to herself. To everyone else she was probably a bit of an eccentric, but in my child’s mind, she was simply Grandma.

Most children have memories of their grandmothers baking cookies or reading to them. As far back as I can remember, Grandma never baked cookies for anyone. Her favorite treats for guests were store bought canned peaches and those little hard, no-taste butter cookies that are still available in grocery stores today. You know the ones - on the bottom shelf that sit there until they are so hard they could double for rocks. Those little treasures were served up on a pretty plate and the canned peaches were presented in little glass bowls. This little scene was the height of gentility in Grandma’s world.

Grandma never read to us either, but she did tell the most delicious stories of her family. Most of the stories are tucked away somewhere in my mind where I can not find them, but I do remember her telling me that when she married my grandfather, she was dressed in blue - from the skin out. That little detail always fascinated me as I knew of no one else who wore blue underwear.

She also told about how her mother was the daughter of a man who was part of the class of gentry in England. She said he was sent to the United States for his health and should have inherited a fortune in the old county. I don’t know if Grandma really believed that story or if she was making it up as she went along, but on the truth scale with 10 being “right on” and 1 being “no way,” this story rated a minus 10. Good genealogical research does have a way of separating fact from fiction, you know.

I’ve done it again - started out telling you about my cousin/sister and ended up telling a tale on Grandma. But that’s what happens when she and I get together. Thank heavens for Grandma or we might not have enough to talk about!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Family of Herman R. Croft Sr.

My mother’s oldest brother died this morning in Salem, Livingston County, Kentucky at the age of 91 years. Only one of that family of six children is left. With the passing of each family member, the ties, but not the memories, to my childhood grower dimmer. I fear my cousins and I will soon be the older generation in this family. This is not a position I wish to have. In memory of my mother and uncles who have passed away and to honor the aunt who remains, I am posting this picture, taken probably in Salem in the 1960s.

Pictured above:
Sitting: Lavern (my mother), Herman R. Croft Sr. (my grandfather) and Melva.
Standing: Dennis, Herman R. Jr., James H. and Oakley. The lone survivor of this family is Aunt Melva.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pretty Hair Equals Trouble

I believe I know why Illinois' governor Rod Blogojevich was impeached. Aside from attempting to sell President-Elect Obama's former senate seat, that is. Why, you ask? Let me tell you. It's because of his pretty hair. Don't laugh; I am serious. Let me give you some examples.

Can you think of a recent President who also had pretty hair and was impeached while in office? Yep, Bill Clinton. He has a nice, distinguished silver haired do and look where it got him. Impeached! Get the picture?

How about Richard Nixon. Nice wavy locks and also impeached. He was not just impeached, but also scorned and ended up taking a flying trip home. That makes three examples.

Office holders are not the only ones who have gotten into trouble because of their pretty hair. No sir! How about John Edwards, the 2008 Presidential candidate. Didn't he pay $200 to get his mop of pretty hair cut and styled. Then he was caught sneaking into a woman's hotel room. With his pretty hair, it was bound to happen. No more politicking for Mr. Edwards!

Then there was Gary Hart, a married man caught with a model/actress on a boat called Monkey Business in 1987. There went his prospects for a national office. And my guess it was all due to his pretty hair.

See the pattern? I believe I've made my case. Pretty hair equals trouble. I don't think we need to worry about Barack Obama getting into trouble. His plain, no-nonsense do says otherwise.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Strange Name Syndrome

Don’t you just wonder what new parents were thinking when they named their children? Common names like John or Mary are not good enough for our offspring. Oh no, we have to choose a “special” name. Maybe the name of a favorite race car driver or favorite rock ‘n roll singer would work. Or how about choosing a name that describes the scenery on the day the child was born?

Does it ever enter their minds that choosing a strange name might cause irreparable harm? Who in their right mind would slap a name like Misty Sky or Chantilly Lace on an itty bitty baby girl? How about Dale Earnhardt or Elvis Presley for that favorite male child? Can’t you just imagine this scenario when those children are all grown up: “Mom, Dad, meet my teacher, Miss Chantilly Lace Jones.” Or how about this: “Mr. Smith, your surgeon for this procedure will be Elvis Presley Martin and he will be assisted by Dale Earnhardt Wilson” Now, really! Want to guarantee mucho headaches for your child? Give them a moniker to make most folks snicker!

I have to admit, though, that I’m almost as guilty as everyone else. Long before our Number One Child was born, her father and I discussed names suitable for the extraordinary person she was bound to be. Deciding that no common name was good enough, we were determined to create a name just for her. There were several Katherines in his family so we decided on a variation of this name. Well, I guess it is more like a variation of a nickname for Katherine. That’s how we came up with the name McKayla. Pronounced Ma-kay-la. Little did we dream that thirty years later every fifth girl child between Maine and Memphis would carry this same name, but spelled a variety of ways. So much for our creativity!

This Number One Child, who is all grown up now and teaches in a large southern city, once had a student named Unique. Unique! What sane parent would chose a name like that for their child. It seems to me this is a name that belongs on a can of furniture polish! She also had a student named Swantashia. Unreal!

Celebrities are also prone to the Strange Name Syndrome. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s child is named Apple. Why not Orange or Banana? Each is equally dumb and that poor child is going to be harassed forever. I do like the names carried by the twin children of Julia Roberts and Daniel Moder: Phennaeus and Hazel. Positively regal names, they are. (snicker, snicker!) George Foreman was very original in naming his offspring. He had ten children - five girls and five boys and, yes, all five boys are named George. And I worried about McKayla!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Breaking News!

There’s a crime wave in the city next to my hometown - not an ordinary crime wave, mind you. This one is different.

Yesterday’s Breaking News was about serial snake snatchers loose in the area - relieving pet stores of really repulsive reptiles. They entered the stores, spotted the prizes and, lickety split, the slithery things were hidden under their shirts, wrapped around their necks, concealed in a pocket. Then out the door they went.

Today’s Breaking News is that over 300 bras have been hijacked by bra bandits from Victoria’s Secret at the local mall. I am not kidding! What would you do with 300 bras, pray tell? Is there a demand for those uplifting utensils on the black market?

In Other News of the Area is the man in southern Illinois who reported to the police that a number of items had been taken from his home. Oh, and by the way, those stolen items included his stash of marijuana, the possession of which is illegal in Illinois. The victim swore the weed was for pain management, of course. No word on whether he recovered his possessions.

I can hardly wait to see what Tomorrow’s Breaking News will be!

Friday, January 2, 2009

I'm a Talker

You may think that because I occasionally take a time out that I am a person of few words. Just the opposite is true. If a story can be told in 10 words, I will tell it in 50. It has always been so.

I can start to tell a story about my brother's first date and end up telling you the names of everyone he ever dated, where they went to school and who they eventually married. Ask me how the weather is here in Newburgh and I will tell you what the weather was like on this date a year ago, if we are above or below average in precipitation and what tomorrow's forecast is likely to be.

My mother told me that I was born talking and it appears I haven't stopped. Being a talker comes naturally, though, as my mother suffered from the same malady. I have been known to say she could beat a subject to death with words. Alas, I have inherited that trait.

Being a talker does not come without consequences. My family rolls their eyes after a five minute marathon of talk, they get glazed looks on their faces and then come the sighs of impatience.

That's why I started this blog, you know. I figure there are so many words stuffed down inside me and this is the best way to get some of them out. If I talk/write too much, though, please don't roll your eyes, get a glazed look on your face or sigh. There's a whole more to be said.