Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sunday Favorites #41 --- Myrtle Marie

Sunday Favorites is a meme hosted by Chari at Happy to Design. Chari asks us to drag one of our older posts out of mothballs and repost it. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again.

You can check out this Sunday meme by visiting
Happy to Design. Heck, you might find some great stuff and be inspired to join the fun and repost some of your favorites that have been long forgotten.

My repost for this week was originally posted in June 14, 2007

Myrtle Marie

While cleaning out some old word files today I came across this one that I had written several years ago about my Mother-in-law. I use to be very active on a website that had some lively message boards and one night the ladies were really ragging on their mother-in-laws. So I posted this notice about mine to prove that good ones do exist, and I had one of the best.

Mom this one is for you.


My Mother-in-law was one of a kind. I have never known another woman like her. From the first day I met her until the day she died I never once heard her raise her voice, ask anyone for help or make a move without getting her husband’s permission first.

I once heard her referred to as a throwback to the last century. What people never understood was that due to the time and place where she was born she really was a 19th century woman. Her name was Myrtle Marie and she was born in 1910, the youngest of six children of a 60 year old father and the only child of his third wife, a 43 yr old former spinster. She married at 18 and had six children spaced over 20 years. Five of her six children born at home with the help of a midwife. She never held a job, drove a car, wrote a check or saw a dentist. She received her first pair of slacks when she was in her seventies. She never traveled more than 100 miles from the place she was born and what little schooling she got happened mostly around the kitchen table. She was 4 1/2 feet tall, wider then her height, had a lazy left eye, a very pronounced limp from a childhood accident and epilepsy since the great fever outbreak of 1915.

She would box the ears of her grown sons as if they were still children. No one dared swear or show disrespect within her hearing. Her feelings were hurt if you did not ask her first to baby-sit, and she always sent you home with at least two containers of leftovers from Sunday dinner. She waited on all the men of her household as if they were royalty, never set two plates on the dinner table with the same food and kept her household money tied in the toe of an old sock hidden in a Karo can in the back of the cupboard.

She was a wonderful and caring person who showed me nothing but love, respect and kindness. From the minute she realized her son was in love she adopted me as her daughter and I could do no wrong as long as her son was happy. She made sure I learned to cook all his favorite meals, passed down all the frugal household tips she learned during the great depression and tirelessly tried to teach me to crochet.

My mother-in-law was someone I admired, respected and loved. I do not recall ever having a cross word with her and she never once tried to interfere in anything that happened in my married life unless we brought it, uninvited, into her home.

By the time her husband died from a stroke she was advancing into the black void of Alzheimer’s. The progression of her illness caused a reversal in her personality and she was starting to get sharp tongued and testy when suddenly she was gone.

It was certainly a strange situation for her three daughter-in-laws when they went into her home to dispose of the material accumulation of sixty years spent in the same small five room bungalow where nothing was ever discarded and many nice things were stored as a hedge against the worst tomorrow that never came.

Mom only had two Sunday dresses and three for everyday. The daily dresses were threadbare and patched but we found her closet held at least 10 that were waiting to be moved into the rotation as her Sunday best moved into the daily lineup. In going through her things we soon learned that each pocket would be a mini filing cabinet or savings account, holding papers and small collections of coins or a few folded dollar bills. In each drawer we would find some small container filled with coins or a pencil size roll of bills tightly tied with twine. Apparently the fear of being without, learned from the great depression, had never been put to rest.

In the end, this lady who had always managed to make do with nothing was laid to rest in the family cemetery beside her husband on a shady hilltop in the middle of a pasture overlooking the farms and valleys that were her playground as a child.

Rest in peace, Mom, I will always love you.

Footnote: In the years since my mother-in-law's burial three of her sons (my husband among them) have been laid to rest beside her on that shady hilltop. I have remarried and sadly will never get to know the Old Salt's mother except through the family stories and the legacy of stained glass windows she left in churches and public buildings across this country.

Recently, the Old Salt expressed a desire to also be buried in that small family cemetery on that shady hilltop. We have since purchased our final resting place just a dozen spots over from the woman who gave me so much.

Round Robin Photo Challenge and Weekend Reflections --- Water --- Water

Welcome to this week's edition of Round Robin Photo Challenge and the Weekend Reflections meme. Round Robin is a Saturday meme that comes around every other week and this weeks theme of "WATER" was suggested by Angela of "Chocolate Soup for the Soul." Weekend Reflections takes place each weekend and is hosted by James at "Newtown Daily Photo."

I came across the perfect photo in my archives for this weeks theme at Round Robin. It just happens to also be perfect for a new meme I came across called Weekend Reflections. We don't have to go far to see the country's second largest population of bald eagles. Just about an hour north of us on the Great River Road (Hwy 100) between Alton and Grafton, Illinois. Each year, thousands of eagles migrate to that area. They come for the fish found in the cold waters of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The birds begin arriving in late December and stay until March, so there's plenty of time to do a little eagle watching.

My entry today is a photo taken from the Illinois side of the Mississippi, looking across to Missouri, on a frigid New Years Eve Day in 2005 during a trip to watch the eagles.

To check out all the great water shots visit Round Robin Photo Challenge. To enjoy all the wonderful reflections visit Weekend Reflections.

Pink Saturday --- 1st birthday

Welcome everyone to this week's edition of Pink Saturday, hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

This week I would like to share a photo of one of my adorable nieces as she celebrated her first birthday. There was certainly no shortage of pink at her party.

To join in the fun or just visit the pink post of others visit Beverly and her friends at Pink Saturday.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Maxine on Saturday #4 -- It's so cold

"Maxine on Saturday" a new meme started by Mary over at "Work of the Poet" and dedicated to one of my favorite ladies, Maxine. Maxine is someone you either love or hate. She is a gal I can't help but love and who makes me wish I had the chutzpah to copy. After all, we all think like her but usually just don't have the nerve to say it out loud.

If the weather in your part of the world is anything like what we have been having here in the midwest than you are longing for some sunshine. So, I figured this was a good time to see what Maxine has to say about the weather.

c John Wagner
Hallmark, Inc.

To post your favorite words of wisdom from Maxine, or just to check out others favorites hop on over to Mary's blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Loves Surprises

Have you ever had one of those days where something sneaks up on you from out of the blue and gives you a right cross upside the head followed by a left jab between the eyes. That sort of thing has happened to me more times then I care to remember, and usually the underling reason is never anything good.

Well, a couple of nights ago I got blindsided by the Old Salt and it sure felt as if I had been given one of Cassius Clay’s (sorry, he will always be Cassius Clay in my mind) best knockout punches. The slap in the face had me crying like a toddler who dropped their ice cream cone in the sandbox; and, all because he did something very sweet, loving and unexpected for me.

What with moving and all the related work trying to get one house on the market and the other in a fit state for entertaining family for our usual Christmas Eve celebration. The Old Salt and I did not have time for all of the little holiday traditions that I so much enjoy. During a conversation earlier this month, I happen to mention, I never wanted to move again; and certainly not at holiday time, because I felt cheated out of my own sense of enjoyment of the season.

We both enjoy watching movies and have established a routine of using the long cold winter nights (and a steady stream of Netflix movies) to catch up on all those great flicks we missed in the theater over the years. The Old Salt is the one who usually keeps the movies queued for shipment but I will on occasion go toss in a surprise or three on him.

I have gotten to the point where I don’t bother to even ask what the selections are, until the disc is placed in the player, and not always even then. So I am the one getting the surprise most nights.

Now, back to the reason for my post. The other night I settled in for our nightly movie and was surprised when a Christmas comedy came on the screen quickly followed by the dimming of lights and holiday appropriate snacks and lighting.

I turned to the Old Salt and ask what was going on. His reply “just making up for one of those missed holiday traditions this year.” Well, I started to blubber like a baby.

I have spent 40 years of my life married, and until I married the Old Salt I was never treated to such consideration and so many expressions of love.

Isn’t it amazing how once in a while right in the middle of and ordinary life you get blindsided when love gives us a fairytale.

Frank, you are the best, and I love your great surprises. Honey, I love you too.

Thrifty Thursday #50 --- butterflies and stripes

Thanks to my friend Chari over atHappy To Design I have discovered a new meme. Thrifty Thursday takes place each Thursday and is hosted by Leigh at Tales from Bloggeritaville, and is a "show and tell party". dedicated to all those treasures we bring home from flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales.

Now, all of you who know me, know that this is certainly something that is right up my alley. For my online friends let me explain. Besides being the daughter of an auctioneer, my parents owned and operated several of what is known in our area as junk stores. The kind of thrift store where everything is piled from corner to corner and from floor to ceiling. The kind of place that required getting your hands dirty, climbing around under and over furniture to root through battered boxes filled with an endless supply of unrelated castoffs. If it was ever made then it was possible that with enough time and patience it would be found hidden somewhere amidst all the clutter of "Pop Knights" shop.

It is a very rare occasion when I go out and purchase something new without first making sure the needed item can't be found on the resale circuit in my area. This was not the case for the Old Salt. Being from southern California he was use to just walking into a store and taking home what ever he liked and wanted, and most of the time without giving the price tag a second glance. This has made for some interesting conversations and shopping trips as we purchased our first home together and began merging our very different decorating styles. I am happy to report that after three years with me he is now almost as excited as I am when he unearths some fantastic find at one of our local resale shops.

Today I want to share two of my recent purchases. First we have a brightly striped cookie jar. This was the perfect pop of color to add to the bland white kitchen in our new condo. As you can see from the photo it still had the original price tag from Home Goods and I picked it up for $2.99.

Next we have a set of colorful butterfly plates I purchased to give to my butterfly obsessed daughter. If it does not have a butterfly on it she just does not want to own it. These perfect condition plates were just seventy-nine cents each.

Now jump over to the party going on at Bloggeritaville and see what great thrift store finds are on display this week. While you're there sign up to show off a few of your treasures as well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The economy is so bad that.....

Received this in my e-mail from a friend and decided to post it in case you needed a few grins today. It is actually kind of sad but funny at the same time!!

The economy is so bad that.....

I ordered a burger at McDonald's and the kid behind the
counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEOs are now playing miniature golf.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call
them and ask if they meant you or them.

Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

McDonald's is selling the quarter ouncer.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and are learning their children's names.

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.
The Mafia is laying off judges.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

Congress says they are looking into this Bernie Madoff scandal. Oh
Great!! The guy who made $50-Billion disappear is
being investigated by the people who made $1.5-Trillion disappear!

And, finally... I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy,
wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I
called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan , and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

Wordless Wednesday--- Liberty

To see if you can hear what is not being spoken visit the other participants of Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday #53 -- around town

MellowYellowMondayBadgeWelcome everyone to this weeks edition of Mellow Yellow Monday. This week I want to share some yellow shots captured during outing around my town

I spotted these words of wisdom mounted into a new concrete retaining wall beside the steps leading up a steep hill to the house at the top.

While waiting to pick up a student at the local Catholic high school I spotted this stained glass window. The schools sports teams are known as the Knight's. But, it caught my eye because it seemed out of place in a round window that looks like a porthole in the side of the building.

I captured this well used, or at least well battered picnic table parked in the grass on the side of the dead end road that leads up to our towns recycling center. Seems like an odd placement since there is no other buildings on the road and the recycling center has very few employees.

Have a good week everyone. To join in the fun or visit other Mellow Yellow participants just clickhere

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Favorites #40 --- If you Forget

Sunday Favorites is a meme hosted by Chari at Happy to Design. Chari asks us to drag one of our older posts out of mothballs and repost it. After all, only so many posts can be on the first page and once they move down the stack they are seldom ever looked at again.

You can check out this Sunday meme by visiting
Happy to Design. Heck, you might find some great stuff and be inspired to join the fun and repost some of your favorites that have been long forgotten.

My repost for this week was originally posted in September 23, 2005.

If You Forget

The subject of the worst gift you ever received from a husband or boyfriend came up today on a message board I frequent and I was reminded of this story and decided to share it here.

My sister and I share the same birthday, July 7th. My first husband and I were married on Aug 5th. My first birthday after the wedding was my 21st. Naturally, I expected either a house party or a bar hopping party (like all my friends had) to celebrate the big 21. Despite large notes on all the calendars and discussions about sending my sister a birthday gift, my birthday came and went without a word from my husband. My best girlfriend kept calling every half hour to see what he gave me and at 10pm when the answer was still "not a word" she came and took me out for the prerequisite first drink. I was too hurt to say anything at the time, so I just sulked for a week, and even that seemed to go by unnoticed.

The next month our first anniversary came and went the same way. Not a word. No card, gift or anything. So I was fuming. I called my Aunt for advice and she said that you have to "never allow a precedence to get started because then you have no grounds on which to object. If you allow something to be repeated without taking issue then you have no grounds on which to complain about being unhappy the next time it is repeated". She said to nip it in the bud and let him know what was expected.

When I discussed it with my sister-in-law. I learned that Christmas was the only day celebrated in their parent's house and therefore birthdays, anniversaries and other holidays were just not considered important to my husband and he had no way of knowing or understanding that I grew up in a family where everything was celebrated to the hilt.

I had always wanted matching wedding bands and he had given me a very gaudy set of wedding rings I hated. So I went to the jewelers and ordered a ring to match his and that night I set him down and gave him the bill and explained that the ring was going to be my combined birthday/ anniversary gift and that I expected him to remember both dates in the future and I would settle for a romantic card, but, if he forgot then I was going to buy the most expensive thing I could find and send him the bill.

The next year my birthday was again ignored so I went out an bought a sofa and sent dear hubby the bill. A month later our anniversary was also ignored so I purchased matching chairs and end tables for the living room and sent him the bill. When he hit the roof I quietly stated "If you remember these dates it will only cost you a twenty-five cent card (price in 1968). If you forget them then it is going to cost you the most expensive thing I can find to buy.

Well it took him 5 years, and many expensive items we could not afford, to realize I was dead serious. When I awoke on the morning of my birthday the sixth year there was a card hanging from the ceiling by a string only inches from my face. For the next 32 years, until the day he died, I never received a birthday or anniversary gift but there was always a mushy, romantic, and often ridiculously expensive card within arms reach when I awoke. Once when I was pregnant and had to sleep on my back I found the card actually standing on my stomach when I woke up.

He defiantly took me at my word.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

color Carnival #34---Louisville Gallopalooza

Color Carnival is a meme celebrateing all the colors in God's rainbow.

The idea of creating colorful and interesting statues, and placing them on the city streets, was initially born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1998 when they decorated cows. Chicago retailers were the first to bring the concept to America, and by the year 2000, approximately two-dozen cities across the US had adopted similar public art projects. It has become a popular thing to pick a favorite animal for a town, have companies sponser statues, deocrate the statues, then auction them off to businesses to raise funds to support artistic projects or local charities. I was visiting in Omaha a few years ago when they had statues of the letter O decorating the city. We saw the letter O made into all kinds of creative sculptures and many charities benefited. My home town has done the same thing with chairs. Every few years they will action off a group of chairs that prominent local citizens have decorated for charity.

My color carnival this week is about the Gallopalooza project in Louisville, Kentucky. For Louisville, the Horse rules the day. All around the town these colorful creatures can be found brightening up the city streets. Louisville held its first Gallopalooza project in 2004. They just held their second auction last November. My photos for todays color carnival were taken during a visit to Louisville in July of 2004.

Many of the 2009 entries can be seen Here.

To join the fun or to check out all the colorful entries of other players, visit Martha and her friends at Color Carnival.

The Five Second Rule

Growing up in a large family I have been hearing the five second rule all my life. For all of those who may wonder what I am talking about Wekipedia defines it as a popular polite fiction regarding the eating of food that has fallen to the floor or ground. The origins of the rule are unknown. The substance of the rule is that if food falls on the ground, it may be safely eaten as long as it is picked up within five seconds.

I have read dozens of reports on studies done to test this rule over the years and it was even featured on an episode of the Discovery Channel series MythBusters. Recently, I came across this diagram and found it very interesting so I thought I would share it with all of you. It should solve the confusion over the five second rule once and for all.

Maxine on Saturday #3 -- a little extra

"Maxine on Saturday" a new meme started by my friend Mary over at "Work of the Poet" and dedicated to one of my favorite ladies, Maxine. Maxine is someone you either love or hate. She is a gal I can't help but love and who makes me wish I had the chutzpah to copy. After all, we all think like her but usually just don't have the nerve to say it out loud.

© John Wagner

I thought I would let Maxine give you a few of her little extras this week.

Meet John Wagner. The guy behind it all.

Maxine is one of those gals that not matter what her age she never seemed to a change.

Now for Maxine's advice of the week

To post your favorite words of wisdom from Maxine, or just to check out others favorites hop on over to Mary's blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Living in a River Town

I live in a small riverfront town in the heart of Missouri wine country. This is what we have been looking at for the last week or so when visiting the riverfront. I happen to live just a few blocks from where this was taken.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ruby Tuesday and Rednesday --- chili peppers

Tuesday is the day that Mary at "Work of the Poet" hosts Ruby Tuesday. Rednesday is a Wednesday meme hosted by Sue at "It's a Very Cherry World."

I have decided to combine both of these great tributes to the color associated with love, beauty and passion into one post. My selections this week are full of of spice and fire and some would say they are red hot. Here is my tribute to New Mexico and their love of chili peppers. These photos were taken during my first visit to New Mexico last fall. It may also turn out to be my one and only visit, but I will always remember the love the citizens of New Mexico have for chili peppers. Not only were chili's included in almost every dish we ordered but they were part of the decor in almost every home and public building we visited.

To join the fun or just check out what Red others are excited to share visit Mary and her friends at Ruby Tuesday and Sue and her friends from Rednesday

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday #52 -- Del Mar

MellowYellowMondayBadgeWelcome everyone to this weeks edition of Mellow Yellow Monday. This week I want to share some yellow shots captured at the beach in Del Mar during our travels last fall.

If you click to enlarge this shot you will find that the tree is full of yellow surprises.

Have a good week everyone. To join in the fun or visit other Mellow Yellow participants just clickhere