Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Toy Society -- Drop #411

This was the second drop that Auntie Nettie participated in for The Toy Society.

The Toy Society spreads the love throughout the streets of the world. Nothing to it really, just a bunch of handmade toys looking for a nice home.

What started as a small street art project in Australia is slowly spreading around the world. Should you come across a member of The Toy Society on your travels collect them up and take them home with you!

But don't forget to let them know about it here: thetoysociety@gmail.com

Dropped: Snow Park, Saint George, Utah, USA

Number of toys: 1

Made by: Auntie Nettie

Dropped by: Auntie Nettie, with valuable assistance from nephew

When: Monday, June 8, 2009, 12:30 p.m., after the lunch rush

And Auntie Nettie says: My nephew was invaluable in preparing the note and in scouting out the location for this drop. We both hope the bear finds a good home.

Stay tuned at The Toy Society for updates.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Blooming Basil

Monday, June 22nd
It smells so good.
Another couple of weeks, and I'll be able to make a sandwich

Retroblog June 29, 1983

Today is Wednesday, June, 29, 83 Time 8:10 p.m.

What fun we are having. Audrey is staying with us until we down her off at her grandparents house (in Penn) The 24th of June we went to Boston, and the 25th New York City (places of paper.)

I think I am going to get my period. Clue my moods are changing (I think!!) **

Yesterday I saw the Return of the Jedi!***

[places (ahem, pieces) of paper]
Boston Mass. Places we went. 6/24/83
1. gas station
2. parking garage
3. Quenncy Market
4. Paul Reverve House
5. Old North Church
6. Old North Church Museum
7. Codd Cemetery
8. USS Constitution
9. Ice Cream
10. Quenncy Market
11. parking garage
12. Pylmom Museum
13. Lobster Pound
14. Home


New York New York Places we went
1. Grocery Store
2. Gas Station
3. parking garage
4. Central Park
5. Parking garage, bus/ferry
6. Statue of Liberty
7. subway
8. Empire State Building
9. subway
10. parking garage
11. (illegible, probably parking lot)
12. Carnegie deli (yum)
13. parking lot
14. home

** I think this was one of the first movies I saw in the theater. I remember that Dad took us. I also remember that this when I got my first crush on Harrison Ford. That Han Solo. What a dreamy guy.

*** I did warn you that girls at that age talk about changes of life. I wish I could tell the younger me to chill out and not hope for the onset of the monthly loveliness. She's got decades of dealing with the monthly loveliness to torture her yet to come. Why rush it?

I'm glad I found this entry. I couldn't remember when I had been to the Statue of Liberty, because I remember climbing up the claustrophobic stairs, but I couldn't remember when exactly. We probably got to go up to the crown and torch, pleasures that are just now coming back to New Yorkers after all the restrictions.

This wasn't my first trip to NYC. Mom often acted as a tour guide. I do think this was one of the most jam packed trips. Doing the Park, AND the Statue, AND the Empire State Building, AND Carnegie, AND driving the three hours down and back ... is a LOT in one day, especially after a full day in Boston earlier that week. With house guests in residence and a trip to pack for to North Carolina, how did my poor mother survive?

(Cheesecake from Carnegie probably!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Elle sings the lunchtime blues

Elle likes to sing to herself. She's got the lunchtime baby blues.

(Pay no attention to the background conversation, the bad lighting, or the pushy director!)

Look at her try to multi-task.

Sorry kid. You can't sing with your mouth full. That's one the first rules of singing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Note to self

Never play poker with family.

They will lie to your face!

Sneaky monkeys.

Amazing Adventures of the Shushing Librarian

S.L. here,

Auntie Nettie is letting me take over today so I can tell you about my vacation out West. I tagged along like I usually do and got to do lots of exciting things.

First up, I was totally dehydrated from the plane ride, so I had to gulp down a large jug of water, from “well….fleet.” Sadly, the water wasn’t from a well.

Then I took a few moments to get to know the locals. This little bird’s nest is about the size of my space in New York.
I tucked myself in a pocket so I could travel around. I was perfectly situated at little people’s height. Do you realize how many knees that meant I had to see? Trust me. There are some UGLY knees out there.I shared an enormous picnic lunch with the kids. The kids and I saw eye-to-eye on the importance of carrots in our diet.
I also did a bit of gardening while I was there. These are some ginormous tomatoes.
Drew invited me to go play in the backyard. This was actually an excuse for him to try and bury me in the dirt. Thanks Drew.
I thought Drew was my biggest fan. Turns out my biggest fan and I aren’t such a good match for each other. I suffered a fall from grace and was injured.
My arm is very broken, and is now in a sling for a long time. I thought I should tell you how I felt about it.
But didn’t let that stop me. I still went on some interesting adventures. For instance, I went for a walk through a cactus forest,
where I was set upon by a hungry and annoyed rattlesnake.
Needless to say, I froze. It’s a good thing I did. Some of the visitors to the forest didn’t quite make it.
After this adventure, I went out for a much-needed meal. I thoroughly enjoyed chips and salsa, some chili verde, some hand-made tortillas, and some carne asada tacos at Los Lupes.
The next day, I tried to go kayaking, but between my arm and being landlocked, I didn’t get anywhere.
Instead, I set up my sign …
and provided directions for a lost praying mantis.
I was so successful, that I was crowned queen of information professionals.
That’s right folks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Subliminal Advertising

My name is Auntie Nettie and I am a victim of subliminal and “bliminal” advertising. Do you know how hard it is to see thousands of hours of ads for restaurants that are nowhere NEAR my locations? Say, like all the Sonics? And those burgers at Red Robin?

Curse you advertising agencies. Curse you cable channel ad buyers.

So, given my recent proximity of both of those chains, and hungry and famished family members, do you think that Auntie Nettie couldn’t NOT visit them?
Red Robin (yummmmmm!)

Yummy burger. GREAT camp fire sauce. Excellent crayons and placemats for those that are young at heart. I have a feeling that this crew will be back for lunch very often.


So I hit up the Sonic twice.

My first time through I was on a deadline, so I just grabbed one of the famous lime-aids. I highly recommend the Cranberry Lime-Aid, but man, seriously, that sucker was TART! Just be warned. They are TART!

Trip two was with was with a very cranky little person. We could have eaten in the car, as it’s known for being a drivethru, but it was a beautiful cool day (for the West), and Drew didn’t need to be cooped up any more.

I think that eating outdoors is a new experience for Drew. Given the opportunity to eat either in the car, or outside under umbrellas, I can see the appeal for families. The regular menu items are fine, but Sonic probably won’t be a family favorite like the Red Robin.

As for me, I’m seriously a victim of advertising overload. Next time out West, I have to go back to the Sonic, get another lime-aid, or try a shakes or slush. I DEFINITELY HAVE TO HAVE a Molten Chocolate Bundt Cake Sundae.

Darnit Sonic. Those improv actors have gotten me hooked ... on the ads, anyway.
Curse you advertising agencies.

Hey, um ... You want fries with that?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Retroblog June 23, 1983

Today is Tursday June 23, 1983 Time 8:43 p.m.

Today my best firend Audrey Derr came from Utah with her family.
What a joyous ocaccion! What fun we are having. She gave me some candy and a pin. We got to stay up to 9:30 pm. The bag she gave me the pin and candy is inculed.

The bag is still in the journal, wouldn't you know it.

I had to replicate the multicolored pen that I used for this entry. You know, one of those clicky pens where you got to change the color?

So explanations. Prior to the age of eight, I wasn't a Yankee. I was born in Utah and had all kinds of friends and family there before we "escaped to Connecticut." My world was pretty insular. Aside from two-hour trips to Grandma's house in the car, most of my life was within a few square blocks. We walked to school. We walked to church. We could walk to the grocery store. We walked to my mother's aunts' houses. We walked to friends' houses. I even walked to dance class ... alone. Granted it was the 19X0s, the time of the original oil embargo, and a simpler, more safe time, but it was still pretty insular.

When my parents announced we were moving to Connecticut, my first reaction was, and I quote from family lore, "I don't want to move there, they talk funny." (Tawlk aboud ironic!) Honestly, I didn't know WHERE Connecticut was; I didn't know how to spell it. It could have been Timbuktu for all I cared. I was 8. I didn't want to move. I didn't want to leave my friends. I was not pleased.

This entry is about a momentous trip by Audrey's family to the East Coast. It'd been about three years since the big move by this point, (pre-cell, pre-e-mail, pre-Internet), so it was a big deal that they were coming out. The house was crowded with people. I think my brothers got to sleep outside in the back in the tent. If Audrey's cute older brothers came, they were outside too, though I can't remember how many of her siblings came on the trip. I remember that we girls got to stay down in the basement where it was relatively cooler, and, as you can read, got to stay up LATE for me at that point. 9:30 p.m. I vaguely remember that there was a lot of girl talk about boys, the many life changes that are due for 10-13 year olds at that age, where we were in the midst of those changes, catching up on the news about childhood year mates, etc. And we ate a LOT of candy.

As we got older, Audrey and I inevitably lost touch. I believe that we tried to write for a while, but it must have petered out. Our lives were beginning to diverge so much, and on so many levels even beyond the basic cultural, education, and religious ones. Mom still keeps in touch with the family through our relatives still out West and they visit from time to time. I think Audrey has kids that are now older than we were in 1983.

Darnit. Now I feel OLD!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Letters to Loved Ones

Dearest nieces and nephews,

I don’t think you will ever know how much I enjoy our time together. I don’t know how much you’ll remember these visits when you get older. I hope you can look back at this blog and see a record, however imperfect, of the time we spent together. Maybe it can be a way for you to know how much I treasure each of you, and our infrequent visits.

Your smiles, infectious giggles, exuberant hugs, sloppy kisses, “bumps, props, and magic fingers,” our picnics at the park, car rides, dining with your parents, our solo outings to the Golden Arches, snuggling up for stories, many, many games of Candyland, I Spy, and yes, even those temper tantrums, poopy diapers, and sassy moments … I enjoy them all.

Watching you learn to scoot, stand, walk, and then run, baby babble, communicate through grunts and signs, and then talk a mile a minute, how you “read,” mimic your Mamas, and then assert your feisty independence ... I marvel at your growth. Witnessing these milestones with my own eyes means the world to me, and makes me realize, once again, that time passes too quickly.

I am so happy that you’re getting old enough to spend alone time with your wacky Auntie. I appreciate your parents letting us have quality time together. They may think that I’m helping them out, by taking you places and offering to baby-sit so they can run errands at nap time or go on a date. Really, I was being selfish. I know you’ll soon to be too old to think I’m any fun at all, or you’ll be busy doing your own things and you won’t want to have anything to do with me. I’m storing up quality time together now before it’s too late.

Know that, even though I’m far away and you don’t see you too often, I love you beyond the restrictions of miles, time, and space.

All my love,
Auntie Nettie

Favorite Quotes of the trip:
Hey … um … Grandma? ~ Confused Drew
I don’t want to see you anymore. I see you too much when you are here. ~ Cranky Drew
I am not a kid. I’m a children. ~ Emphatic Amber
Poppa? ~ Very Confused Elle

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Retroblog June 20, 1983

Today is June 20 1983 Time 4:30 p.m.

Today Dawn asked me to go swimming, I couldn't believe my ears. Dawn didn't like me cause pestered her to go swimming. But had a good time anyway. This afternoon she asked me to go again I couldn't go. So she came over and played What fun!!!!

Dawn was a local neighbor girl that my parents did not particularly like too much, partly because of that pool, but partly for other reasons which became clear as we got older. She wasn't quite fond of my parents' authority over my brothers and me, especially the fact that we were made to do chores. After expressing her "opinion" of us being forced to work like slaves in front of my mother one time (with me pantomiming the "stop now while you're ahead" rapid shaking of my head behind my mother's back), Dawn was summarily dismissed from our house. Dawn wasn't seen at our house or in our yard too much after that, nor were we really friends for too much longer. The transition from elementary to middle, and then high school, had something to do with that, as did popularity issues, etc. I can't remember when Dawn moved away finally. I can't even remember her last name.

This documented period of my life was probably the last time I was happy about going swimming. Adolescence and body image issues were looming on the horizon. Swim suits are still my least favorite articles of clothing, and I don't even own one now. I love the beach. I HATE beach wear.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Editriss at Large

Maybe I should join the TEAL (Typo Eradication Advancement League).
I seem to find typos wherever I go.

Should let them know about the business I saw in St. George call “Russ’s”?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ramblings from the Road

Vacation/Retreats are so important. I knew that. Honestly, I did. But this time ... I really understood the importance.

In my normal urban environment, there is so much hustle and bustle, and a lot of stress. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize quite how tightly I was coiled and how much I ached from all the hunching, until I could retreat and unwind. Aside from the mountains miles away, there is nothing looming overhead and no tunnels to crawl through. The open empty spaces help you to drop your defensive body postures. You can lie out in the sun and let the heat bake the ache out of sore muscles and bones. The quiet allows you to empty your mind of negativity and anxiety. The disconnect from your regular environment, and from electronica, allows the brain to slow down. Sleeping also helps heal the body and calm the soul. Dreaming becomes more vivid, as the natural sleep cycle isn’t interrupted by alarm clocks or the noise. (I'd rather look at this versus this!)

Sometimes in New York, it’s so noisy, you sometimes cannot hear yourself think. I needed to go somewhere quiet. Out West, at the retreat, there were few, if any sounds. No highway noises. I almost didn’t know that the neighbors were there. There were no electric pulsing guitars underfoot. There was no building-shaking stomping neighbors overhead. There was no apartment-rattling slamming doors. There were no street sounds, no garbage trucks, no sirens, and just a few yipping dogs. Most importantly, there was no need to have the television or radio on all the time to drown out the background noise. It was so blessedly quiet, I could literally hear the ringing in my ears.

Vacation helps you to sloooooooooooow down. You need to remember how to work on a different speed. Instead of rushing to catch trains, subways, meet deadlines, rush through lunch, rush to the next thing, it was important to sleep in, enjoy the time difference, be lazy, and depending on the days’ activities, learn patience.

When vacation means spending lots of time with little nieces and nephews, you learn to have slow down and make plans only in a general sense. You learn that it may take twice as long to do things, especially with independent little ones who
“can do it MYSELF.” You learn to have patience to deal with all of their questions, tantrums, pouts, snits, potty trips, and their vastly variable speeds, from dragging their feet at new situations, to their darting quickness, especially in parking lots. You learn patience at meal times, when kids will take forever to eat their food, but will scarf up their treats as soon as you turn your back. You learn patience because the nieces and nephews will try new stunts with you, because they think that Auntie doesn’t k
now what their rules are. (Oh no kiddies, Auntie Nettie knows your tricks!)

You learn to treasure the little moments and the unedited childlike reactions—like Drew’s “non-reaction” when I showed up.

No really, kiddo, I loved the fact that you were like so what?! “But Moooom. I can’t find my shirt!” That was more precious to me than a faked reaction. You have family dropping by all the time. Why should Auntie Nettie’s appearance be any different? I loved all my time with you. I love how you get endlessly amused at bad chicken crossing the road jokes, the laughs at McDonalds, and how much fun you had at the arcade just putting tokens in the slot machines, not to mention all the games. For me, spending time with you was fun just being with you, and, strangely, for the deja vu. Sometimes, it was looking back in time and playing with your father again at that age. If you ever saw me laughing at some thing you did or naughtiness you pulled, I couldn’t help it. Because I probably had seen it before, or was the instigator, like I was 30 some odd years ago.

Amber, my little chip off the old genetic block, I’m so happy that you were happy to see me. Last time I was there, you were still so shy and uncertain about all kinds of strangers. To have you give me a hug right off the bat, and to eventually clamber up for snuggles and a story, was just as wonderful to me as having you be sassy and then get in trouble with your Momma. (I know that Momma may not agree about the sassiness.) You are quite the limber little monkey.

My little Ellebelle has probably changed the most since I saw her last, and, happily, is not a bit shy with strange aunties that show up at her house. At 14 months, you can tell that part of her wants to be just like her big sister. She’s running to catch up, and her communications skills,
verbal, visual, and non-verbal are great. I love how you can just see her processing new information and figuring things out. We had a few minutes alone together one day after her nap, when we
were sitting together alone on a couch, and she was staring at me with the most quizzical look on her face. Elle kept going “Poppa?” (Close, honey, but not quite.) You see Amber, their Dad, and I all have the same features, and now all of our hair is about the same length, texture, and color. No wonder the kid was confused.

Now the kids’ strange Auntie Nettie needs to learn how to internalize all the lessons that she learned on this trip. From how to find the quiet moments in a hustle-bustle noisy environment to de-stress; how to listen to the still quiet voice within; how to find the absurd silliness in bad classic jokes; how to play well with others even when you can’t understand while they can’t catch up; how to communicate better when my interpersonal and verbal skills aren’t that good; and how to patiently wait until the next time I can go on a much-needed retreat.

Sadly, I’ve been back a few days now, and can already feel the vacation relief wearing off. My tolerance level for the grime and noise has to be built back up, and I can already feel the defensive hunch coming back. The first days of work, the commute, and the adjustment to the time change was really a test of my patience.

Thank goodness it’s only a four-day week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

International Vacation

Originally my vacation plans included spending time in only three Western states. However, due to an unexpected abduction, I was transported to many international destinations.

Abduction? Why yes! I was in Nevada after all.
One day I looked up and was blinded by a shiny white light.
The next thing I knew, I was in Tuscany, looking at the grape harvest.
I must have imbibed too much grape juice (or something),
because I remember visiting ...
Ginghamburg (it's in Germany)!

I woke up in London, in a call box ... which I really thought was weird.

(at least it wasn't a Police Box/Tardis)

The best part of the international excursion?

Finding my Knight in Shining Armor (in a British TJ Maxx of all places!)

Sadly, our romance was cut short when the alien space craft beamed me back up.
What a wonderful trip, and
I didn't need my passport or anything.
No TSA people. No customs agents.
I knew there was a reason I like those aliens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Random Retail

I was going through the phone book out West looking for another listing entirely, when I stumbled across this one.

Surely, it couldn't be real. Right? What kind of random retailer specializes in these three things. Much hysterical laughter ensued, resulting in a stitch in my side, and my sister-in-law agreeing to accompany me on a recon mission.

It's real. There are delivery vans.
Only out West, folks. Only out West.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Somewhere under the rainbow

Vacation was so lovely. As a special treat there was a wonderful series of thunderstorms through the mountains by Zion, which not only cleared out the valley, but my lungs. As the storm cleared, we were all treated to a rare full double rainbow.

My poor camera wasn't wide enough, so I pulled out the video function. So beautiful.

More updates soon.

Monday, June 1, 2009

















Breathing Space


Call it what you will.
I'm gone.
Stay tuned for new entries later in JUNE!