Monday, November 30, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Retroblog November 27, 1981

Today is Sat, Nov 27, 1981 Time 1:15 p.m.

This morning started out like any other day, Get up, get dressed, have breakfast, then do some work, but because today is Sat we watch cartoon. We usally have to vacuum, but we got that done


I'm going to take my nap now. I don't know what will happen this afternoon.

Mom must have made us do our chores on Black Friday, so the usual Saturday activities were exhausted. Since she ahd originally planned for us to be in NC, we all must have been stir crazy by this point of the holiday vacation.

Too much turkey and togetherness must have made her resort to naptime for everyone in the house. Smart Mom. Sounds like a plan. I need a nap right now!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Retroblog November 26, 1981

Today is Tursday Nov. 26th 1981. Time 1:29 PM

My family was going to my grandma's for Thanksgiving, but something told dad that we shouldn't go. So we didn't I cried when he told us. I wanted to go so bad. I love my parents all they do to me.

I actually do remember this event. I did cry. We were all excited to go to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving, and were pretty much all packed for the journey. The prompting that Dad got was serious enough that we didn't go, at practically the last minute. He and Mom were really somber about it when they told us. I don't know if it was a gut feeling, a dream, foreboding, or what, they were freaked and not moved by the crying or whining of their kids.

This was back in the day when there were no cell phones, GPS devices, internet, CNN outlets, etc., plus there were no iPods, or electronic games to distract the three of us kids from the crowded conditions of the backseat. The drive from CT to NC was almost a whole day, with Mom and Dad trading off the highway driving, with napping and refereeing the three of us.

Who knows what might have happened? I don't remember there being any news of major accidents on 95. If Dad shared with Mom what might have happened if we took that trip, I've never found out. We went down plenty of times over the years -- even journeys that I undertook as a solo driver. It's a mystery I look forward to finding out the answer to. It's on my list of questions for "the other side."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Retroblog Thanksgiving 1981

Thanksgiving 1981

Here are some things that our family does to celebrate Thanksgiving.

X eats turkey dinner

__ has a family party
__ talks about what we are thankful for
__ watches the football games
__ visits relatives

Some other things our family does at Thanksgiving.

Stayes together.

I am thankful for alot of things.

The nicest thing about today was
that a parade was on.

Some many years later -- the family still eats turkey, and stays together, the parade is still on, and we're thankful for a lot of things.

We have watched football, visited relatives, had parties, and talked about what we are thankful for ... including that Dad doesn't wear Wild Turkey's Deep Woods cologne anymore.

Happy Turkey Day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vacation Setting

First Encounter Beach, Cape Cod c. 2008
I'm off travelling to the "wilds" of New England for the holiday.
Stay tuned for more Thankgiving-related retroblog postings ...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

Now, what is music? This question occupied me for hours before I fell asleep last night. Music is a strange thing. I would almost say it is a miracle. For it stands halfway between thought and phenomenon, between spirit and matter, a sort of nebulous mediator, like and unlike each of the things it mediates, spirit that requires manifestation in time and matter that can do without space.

We do not know what music is.

~ Heinrich Heine (1797-1856, German poet)
Letters on the French Stage
Quoted in Opera in America, by John Dizikes, Yale University Press, 1993.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Garden Views

I've know blogged about the view from my office windows before ... but recently there was a new development. We jokingly called this roof top green space "the grassy knoll," even before the sod was installed.
I guess this makes this guy "the lone gardener?"
From this angle, it looks like he's watering the lawn ...
in a very inappropriate fashion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Laughing at the LDS Lilies

Auntie Nettie took a nature walk recently and stumbled across these markers in a daylily grove. Although the thermometer read 70 degrees, the calendar read mid-November, so there were no "blooms on the rose," so to speak.
My fellow walker wasn't sure why the odd Mormon girl was laughing at these* (I guess it's one of those LDS things ...).

Luckily, the Interblogs and Webbynets are good for research, so I could see what the Spider and Soldier looked like in plant form.

Thanks to for this image of the Mormon Spider,
and to these guys (here) for the image of Helaman.

*I suppose I could send a pair of young men in suits and nametags to her door to explain the whole LDS humor thing to her ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Depth Perception

Whenever I am bored at work, or feel the need to be inspired when writing yet another proposal, I head up to the third floor and stare VERY intently at this wall.
Why? Why the h*** not, for one thing ... and for another, it's all a matter of perception. Look more closely, and you'll see that "behind the drapes" lies some of the great masterpieces of the English language. Rather than being completely weird, I'm actually being inspired by all the words of the Bard. Really ...
Mostly, it's ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote(s) of the Day

When you share an office with people, there are time when you inevitably overhear conversations that aren't work-related. For the most part, you pretend to ignore things, and maintain the "illusion of privacy" -- that tacit understanding that you can't/won't/haven't heard anything.

Sometimes, though, you just can't help but "tune" back into conversations when snatches of dialogue come floating across the room and over the cubicle wall.

Take this gem, courtesy of my boss:

" ... the delicious ambiguities that life sometimes offers ..."

Or my absolute favorite:

"Can’t you suck it up and be unhappy like most couples?"


Oh, yes. He really did say that (to one of his friends), and oh, yes, I really did start laughing, very very loudly.

I think that's the perfect saying for a series of greeting cards and/or to be needle pointed onto a pillow. I can even envision the marketing campaign, targeted at therapists, marriage counselors, divorce attorneys, and custody arbiters, not to mention as a series of anniversary or snarky cards.

Now, if only I could draw ...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Retroblog November 15, 1985

The United States Air Force Symphony Orchestra
Friday, 15 November, 1985 - 8:00 p.m.
Albert N. Jorgensen Auditorium, UCONN - Storrs
Haydn Sinfonia No. 86

Davidov Konzert No. 1 in B Minor, for cello and orchestra, Op. 5

Foote Four Character Pieces after the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Op. 48

Still Afro-American Symphony

This must have quite the impression, because I kept the program for all these years. Perhaps it was even my first symphony concert. Looking at it now, this is quite an evening of music. I'll have to find some audio clips to re-live the evening.

We were fortunate enough to live 15 minutes from the UCONN campus and my dad's office was in the basement beneath Jorgensen (near the shark -- not kidding!). As the cultural center of Eastern Connecticut, Jorgensen did, and still does, program a wide variety of events and presentations and I'm very fortunate that my parents recognized the importance of supplementing my exposure to the arts. It set me on the path I'm still wandering down.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Retroblog November 14, 1981

Today is November 14, 1983 Time 1:20 p.m.

Hi! Sorry I haven't written. In school I'm doing o.k. Tomorrow there is a big swimming test. I hope I pass. Report cards came out on the 14th of November. I got an B in Penmenship, but that figures. I got an
A* reading - A* Music - A* Art, A-math - A+* Science A+*P.E. - A-*L.A. - A* Social Science - A*Spelling.
Did pretty good I think.

Write Tommorrow!

P.S. It snowed a little bit 11/16/83

(*ahem*) NERD!

My "penmenship" is so bad, at first I thought I got an A+ in DANCE, not science, but I knew that that wasn't possible.

I must have passed the swim test, or they graded on a serious curve for effort in P.E.!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Retroblog November 13, 1981

Today is Friday, Nov 13, 1981 Time 6:17 PM

I'm very sorry I haven't written for a long time!

I have learned a lot of things since I last wrote I know how to write in cursive. I like to play.

P.S. I hope I will be be writeing soon. bye-now

I may have learned a lot of things, like how to write in cursive, but you could never tell it from here. Where is the evidence of the cursive? What did I learn? What did I like to play? Who was I writing to? What was the point of this entry?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Judging Books

You know how you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover?

I want to read this book, based solely on the title.

I Haven't Dreamed of Flying for a While
by Taichi Yamada

Doesn't it just make your imagination take flight?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

In this family, this means remembering to thank Dad for his service, and remembering the grandfathers for their service before, during, or after WWII. I also am reminded that my paternal grandmother should also be thanked for her service to this country, for her work as a "Rosie." (See this article in today's NYTimes about "Rosies." )

When that grandmother, Grandma Roa, passed a few years ago, I inherited the bulk of her vintage jewelry. In a small box, mixed in with assorted lapel pins, Boy Scout insignia, and sweetheart jewelry, there are various Naval items, from my grandfather's stint in the service. For various reasons, the meaning behind much of the memorabilia has been been lost, though the appreciation for the sacrifices that they represent--and gratitude that they were saved--remains.
I need to have the "stars and bars" identified, and then I need to mount and shadowbox these pieces for our family history. (If any Navy vets stumble across this blog and can id these for me, I'd be greatly appreciative.)

Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served and are serving our country, including those family members holding up the fort on the homefront.

Update: With thanks to Casey over at, I found out about's offer to let people troll through the military databases free of charge. After looking around a bit, I was able to discover that Grandpa J was on the U.S.S. Cowpens in July of 1944, plus his service number, and when and where he enrolled in the service. That's more information than I had an hour ago! Plus, I'm pretty sure I saw about four of my forefather's military records in there as well, but as I'm supposed to be oh, I don't know WORKING, I have to get out of personal research mode.

Awesome. Thanks Casey. Thanks Thanks also to all the Clydes, Horaces, Elijahs, Roys, and LeRoys!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Headline News

You know you've been watching too much Monty Python when ...
this headline makes you laugh for all the wrong reasons:

"Florida: Wild Pythons Are Caught "

In my brain, Eric Idle and John Cleese were doing the Silly Walks when they were taken down guerrilla-style!

"Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes? "

Monday, November 9, 2009

Least Favorite e-mail of last week

From a colleaque:

"Many of you have asked why the water cooler by my desk has been deemed “out of order” for the past week. Two men just came by and informed me that they found roaches both behind and INSIDE the cooler. The exterminator is looking in to the cost of replacing the unit free of charge.

I have not heard from building management about this, but it most certainly seems like a health concern."

You think?

Just when I was starting to drink water again, and weaning myself off the Diet Coke!

SOOOOOOOOO incredibly gross!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween Wrap up 2009

My oh, my there were some creative costumes worn by the nieces and nephews this year. Though I don't have photos of all of them, here's a few to enjoy...

My Magical Maine crew were decked out as Hermoine Granger, Captain Jack Sparrow (the early years!), Abby Cadabby, and Elmo. The Illinois Imps were a hair-raising bunch of Angels and Demons, with a Medusa there to scare you stiff. Finally, the unique Utah bunch decided to beard Papa in his den, so to help Auntie Nettie tease her bro!
As for Auntie Nettie, she played the role of antisocial, unphotogenic, grumpy, non-door-opening hermit to perfection!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

National Men Make Dinner Day

Where have I been?

The first Thursday of every November is National Men Make Dinner Day! Apparently there's a web-site and everything!

Created for: "a man who NEVER cooks " and is designed to assure "one guaranteed meal cooked by the man of the house one day of the year!"

There are rules too.

Recipes cannot include: "* chewing gum * cotton candy * take-out pizza * left-overs from last night * sandwiches from office vending machine * neighbors left-overs from last night * anything bar-b-qued!"

This is MOST excellent. I have to tell G-Dawg. It's officially his turn to cook. Now, if I only knew what he was up to!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Keys to the Stairway

If only Lincoln Center would incorporate this as part of the renovations. Or the MTA as part of the subway stations. .. wouldn't that be great!

If the up side was in Major, and the down side was minor, maybe people would use the stairs correctly?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Bro!

YO, Bro!
I'm so proud of you:
of the professional care taking side of you,
the provider and nurturer,
the patient (and impatient) teacher
and father,
the hugger,
the weird/scarey/goofy/loving uncle,
and patriarch of your own clan.
Have a happy birthday, "little" brother!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Horse Show and Tell

Beautiful Wild Horses

Some are black,
and some are red.
They are all very well breed.
They roam jut to find themselves a home.
I love the beautiful wild horses.

by Auntie Nettie age 9 1/2 4 Grade

A Portrait of My dream horse
(Which is apparently of the Godfather breed. And, oh, I'm so not a poet -- and I know it.)

Going through this old journal has reminded me of how horse crazy I was all those years ago. While I never had the "seat" for riding, some part of me is still that horse-crazy girl. When I saw that The "World Famous" Lipizzaner Horse Tour was coming to New York, you can just imagine. I had a little moment at my desk. I think I even squealed just a little bit.

There was a few tense minutes when I debated about whether to go or not, but then I remembered my resolution for the year: Life is too short, especially to pass up opportunities to try to do new things. I also realized that I am never going to get to Vienna to see the stallions at the Spanish Riding School. Plus, if I waited around to find someone to go with me, I'd talk myself out of the experience. Thank goodness I'm in New York, where no one looks at you too strangely if you go to events or restaurants by yourself. With the click of the mouse, and after slight inner battle about ticket costs, my inner child and I had tickets to the show at Madison Square Garden.

As expected, the crowd was predominately female of the pre-teen and teen variety, with some younger brothers and oh-so patient grandparents and parents to round out the demographic. The dad in the family unit next to me looked like he was a refugee from a hockey match, and seemed much relieved to be drowning his uncomfortableness in hot dogs and beer. I heard lots of stable and show talk, and saw lots of barn clothes and horse pictures on the cell phones that were waved about.
I was prepared to not be able to take flash photography during the show, so I was delighted when the emcee told us we could. I should have apologized to the people in front of me for the annoyance that I was about to become. Between the zoom and the flash, I'm glad I had back-up batteries in my bag, as I had to swap out part way through.
I wish I had been smart enough to sneakily and illegally videotape the opening number, with the presentation of the American flag and the singing of "America the Beautiful" and the National Anthem. The stallion was obviously not quite ready to go on, and although he quite patiently stood for "America," which was first, the rider had to check his pawing for the Anthem. I don't know if it was an American- or Austrian-bred Lipizzaner, but halfway through the "rockets red blare," a steaming pile of editorial statement was laid, right at the foot of the red carpet! It was priceless!
This American group is not affiliated with the Riding School in Austria, though apparently they have some kind of partnership now. Some of the stallions are from the European breeding programs, though there are some American-bred horses and some rescues now part of the act.
The show was great, and I was quite impressed that most of the riders were female. The oldest rider in the show was this 55-year old lady -- who had no problem with us knowing her age. I don't blame her. You have to be in shape to school these feisty guys. A combination of educational and artistic performance, the show was good for all kinds of horse enthusiasts. If you knew nothing about horses, the emcee was there to inform you about the history of the breed, the characteristics, markings, and brands to look for, and why only stallions are used and not mares. (Wouldn't you figure, it's a center of gravity thing.) One of the most obvious characteristics of the breed is that it matures slowly, lives a long time, and get more valuable the older and greyer it gets. (NICE! I only wish that was true for ladies.) There are rare Lipizzaners that never fade to grey/white and are prized as a sign of peace. The School in Vienna always tries to keep at least one of the rare dark Lipizzaners around. I wonder what happened during WWII, when the School was almost destroyed?

If you were a beginning rider, the emcee narrated the dressage techniques demonstrations, so you could look for them in the various "dances" that the horses performed. I tried to photograph the demonstrations of the flashy rearings and jumping techniques, but these are the best I got.
The ballet numbers were a gorgeous display of horsemanship and practice. Even if you didn't know how much work was going on between rider and horse, and how much "leg" and "arm" was required to communicate, it would still be impressive.
Although I was entranced by the show, I think the most charming moments were the ones I observed during intermission. I saw fathers playing "horsey" with their girls, carrying their little ones around on piggyback, while other little groups of children were playing around on the floor. No matter how much shopping the girls had already done at Macy's, or American Girl, or the Gap (and there were lots of bags to show for it), all they needed to see was a "real live" horse and rider and their imaginations took off. Despite the hawking from the vendors for shirts, programs, and stuffed horses, a lot of them were content to ride around to gallop around the floor.

[Of course, all I could think of was the Monty Python phrase, "you've got two halves of a coconut and you're banging them together." Clip-clop, clip-clop. That would be the inner imp part of me, not the inner child.]

Anyway, I'm so glad I went. That's another one of those "life list" items I can check off. Now my inner horse girl and I need to get to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, not to mention Prince Edward Island to find the Lake of Shining Waters.