Shine

I was born in California, but my father (from Texas) and mother (from Oklahoma) uprooted the family just after I’d turned seven. We were one of the tumbleweeds rolling southeast on I10 in 1964, complete with a Dachshund named Blacky. Perhaps you saw us blowing through New Mexico, ’53 Chrysler station wagon pulling a cute little camper?

Guess they relocated for the same reasons as other people – be closer to family, maybe have a better life? Instead of renting a nice house in La Puente, they bought a run down shot gun shack in Conroe – but it came with land.  They had friends and frequently threw parties in California, but all that changed after we moved. I don’t know why. Children don’t think about those things until it’s too late to ask the reasons. Or maybe that’s just me.

I missed those parties, because they always let me stay up to partake of the festivities. I don’t know if my brother still has them, but there were reel-to-tapes of the fun. I always think of them while listening to Dave Brubeck. My favorite people were always there; Irene and Nadine, the lesbians who gave the best gifts… and the Mexican woman who lived on the next street… whose name escapes me.. that wonderful lady cobbled together the best meals of anyone, anywhere.

So now you know: It’s all about the gifts and food.

Well, poo. This is not about my family. I only started with the move because that’s how I came to live in Texas, about 40 miles north of Houston. That’s where, in second grade, I met one of my best friends.

Her name was Gwen and she and I struck up an instant friendship, as little girls are wont to do. We chased boys on the playground, ate honeysuckle off the vines on the fence and often had sleepovers at each other’s homes.

4th Grade
4th Grade First row: ‘boy’, Gwen, Pam

I went through high school with these people, yet I can only name three of them. Too much time has gone by…

Gwen… and my natural urge is to wax rhapsodic here, about her fire red hair and indomitable spirit… was just another little girl of course, but she and I went through much together. The highs and lows of growing up.

She dropped out of high school in our sophomore year and I saw less and less of the still red hair. I heard things, but discounted any rumor I couldn’t substantiate.. but it was distressing.

I went my way and she went hers. Hers included drugs and motorcycle gangs while my way was all about school and jobs. She did get clean, years later, but the hard living had taken a toll on her health.

I went to Texas in November 2005, right before my mom passed. My brother took this picture of us. I’m on the left. Of course our hair isn’t light blonde and fiery red anymore.

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Almost immediately after this, her first foot had to be taken off. Then the second.  It’s been such a horrible, pain-filled life since… in and out of hospitals, almost dead several times… until she passed recently on February 20th.  I miss her.

I hope she’s running through a vast, lush playground, tasting honeysuckle and chasing boys…

OH, people called her ‘Shine’ later in life, but she’ll always be Gwennie to me.

Blackout

car

I’m on a social media blackout for Lent, so here is Mike’s little car, taken with my phone, through the front window.

It’s our dry season, so I’ve been working in the yard. Just cleaned this mess up:

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Needed a palate cleanser. Anything would do, really.

Playing

Playing with lights, that is. I have a weakness for fairy lights and even though the holidays are behind us, have them everywhere.

My Lampe Berger. Much too fancy for me, but wot the hell.

lampe

 

AND my sugar bowl, a gift from Oldest Daughter.

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Joanie! Don’t you love the bokeh on the counter?! It just kills me. 🙂

 

Two Cakes

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is upon us once again. Gifts have been sent and received, but this year I’ve opted out of a tree.

charlie-brown-christmas-treeNo idea why. Just too lazy, probably. It’s just the man and I, so why bother? Last Christmas was overly emotional for me, so perhaps abstaining from a freshly cut fir is more about my mental health than anything else.

I would like my creche out, but again… too lazy to look for it.

Not much has happened since I wrote about the crazy people, who are luckily giving us a wide berth.

After 7 months and several ridiculous meetings, the new windows have the stamp of approval from the city. Never mind some of the sills remain broken… and one won’t open. I was just so ready to get on with it. Now we turn our attention to doors.

I’ve made two cakes within 30 days… that should say something… scream, actually… about my state of mind. Still working out, but let’s get real – there are only so many calories I can burn in one session. Plus, this lazy thing is really putting a damper on life. I’d rather be curled up in bed that anything else. And no, I don’t think I’m depressed.

So there it is: Two cakes and Christmas.

Happy Holidays.

 

Puppy in a Box

Or ‘Emotional Roller Coaster’

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It’s been an odd month. I’ve deleted and resurrected this post three times, trying to wrap my head around recent events…

 

Not sure where to start, so it will begin where I did: California in 1956. Young woman becomes pregnant with spawn of cad and a couple takes the baby girl (me) at birth. Young woman then marries and a couple of years later has another little girl, which she keeps.

I’m the puppy in the box, the one she gave away.

I’ve known my adopted status for most of my life and have felt every emotion you might expect.. especially gratitude for having the parents I did, even though everything wasn’t always perfect.

Well, not long after I found my half-sister on Ancestry, I also discovered a picture of my birth mother. Taken in December 2015, she is standing next to my half-sister and they’re both smiling.

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The Why

Tabi Bee wrote a lovely post (the only kind she does!) about blogging ideas and of course it got me thinking.

One of the post ideas is why you started blogging. So simple an idea, but based on who you are and why that first post appeared… well, it could get complicated. Which is why it’s such an inspired idea!

I started blogging October 17 2001 on blogger. Though I’ve moved the blog to and from many platforms and hosts, back then most of us started there.  And every move the blog was wiped clean and started anew. Most people ported their archives, but what I had to say seemed to mean very little in the long run.

Perhaps because I started talking about politics early on, trying to understand events -it was right after 9/11- and went on talking about them for over ten years… until I burnt myself out. That’s why mostly pictures now, I think. They’re peaceful and people don’t call you names because you post them.

I actually went back to the original blog and deleted many of those posts and put pictures up instead, not that there were any hard core political screeds there… Maybe it’s my age, but there’s a calm that comes when you turn off the tv, don’t pay attention to the politics of the day and focus only on what is truly important.

So that’s the why I started… but why don’t I just let this thing die a graceful death? Hard to tell, really. Maybe I’m just clinging to it out of nostalgia.

 

Lady

I’ve been thinking about Mrs. Strauss.

Margaret Strauss was a intelligent woman with common sense and a spartan style in both speech and design.
A formidable force in my narrow young world, her friends called her ‘Lady’,a gift from her Papa after the early demise of her mother.  She carried that name throughout her life but I never called her anything but Mrs. Strauss, no matter how old we both became.

She and I first became acquainted when my mother went to work at her daycare center.  Childless, widowed, a retired school teacher as well as former legal secretary, she decided to open a daycare where children would be properly cared for as well as started on the right road to learning.  Forever into a project, She purchased and renovated a house across from the local grade school for her dream of the perfect early learning environment. She also lived in the house directly behind the school, her way of being close .  The whole deal was revolutionary in our small Texas town and quickly drew many parents wanting an alternative to the norm of daycare as they knew it.
The Carousel Child Care Center was open for many years, but I think ultimately she lost too much money just trying to do it right.
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