Friday, December 30, 2011

Mama's New Year's Day

I figured since I've written about Mama's Easters and Christmases I should write about her New Year's Day as well. It was also a lot of fun. It is not something we've ever done in our house but it was fun when I was a kid.

New Year's preparations started the day after Christmas. The entire house had to be cleaned from stem to stern because she didn't believe in starting the new year with the dirt from the old year still hanging around. So she pressed Daddy and me into service. I won't bore you with the details but I will let you know that she stopped short of hauling all the furniture out into the yard so we were spared that. 

After the house was cleaned we went to the grocery and she bought all the food and drink for her New Year's Day spread. We celebrated New Year's Eve at midnight by toasting it in. My father would pour a glass for all three of us, even me no matter how young I was. Even if we had continued with the New Year's traditions we would leave this out as we no longer drink. Right after that we went to bed because she rousted us out early on New Year's Day to begin preparations. 

Mama's New Year's thing was to make a GIGANTIC spread of food to feed anyone who showed up. She would put both of the leaves in the table and there wouldn't be an inch of it that was uncovered and sometimes there was food on the counter as well. The TV would be blaring in the back room so we could hear the parades while we were working in the kitchen. Daddy would sit in there with his coffee and toast and periodically he would holler out to us to look at something and we would scootch over to the end of the counter and watch it through the doorway. Mostly though we just listened to the parades because there was too much work to do. I was usually set to slicing cheese, cutting celery and stuffing it with cream cheese, preparing the green onions, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, carrots, etc. Mainly the piddly stuff that I could do without too much supervision as she was extremely fussy in her kitchen. While I was doing that (I was slow) she would get out all the dishes, make dips, make her punch, and get the crock-pot going. She made the best punch. She made it non-alcoholic for the kids (spiked for serving to the adults) and it was delicious. I'm not sure what all was in it but I do know that there was ginger ale and orange juice and there was rainbow sherbet floating on top. There was more in it than that but it's been over 30 years now so I don't remember. In the crock-pot she would either make chili or chicken tortilla casserole. I personally preferred the latter even though her chili was delicious too. She also made egg salad and potato salad. When she was ready we would start setting all the food up on the table. She would direct me in arranging the cheeses and cold cuts on the plates. I would put several types of chips into the bowls she had that had little dip bowls that attached to the sides and she would instruct me as to which dips went with which chips. Then there were crackers and bread to arrange on plates and pickles and olives to put in the lazy susan. And of course, all those veggies I had sliced up had to be arranged on their tray as well. There were also cookies from the Christmas baking that went out as well. None of the holiday-specific ones, just the Tollhouse, oatmeal raisin and my favorite raisin-filled. 

After it was all set up they started appearing. I have yet to figure out how they knew when it was ready but they did. Smoke signals, perhaps, I don't know. No invitations were sent or anything like that. It never failed though. About 5 or 10 minutes after we were done the doorbell would ring and people would start appearing. "Hi! Just wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year!" "Happy New Year to you as well! Please come in and get a plate of food and something to drink." All day long this went on. Mama's friends, Daddy's friends, kids from the neighborhood, you name it. The men would gather around the door to the back room and watch football with Daddy and eat and then when they finished their plate they would leave and somebody else would be there to take their place. There were only two chairs in that room and none of them would sit in Mama's chair even though she wasn't in there. They'd either hold up the door frame, sit on a stool or squat on their haunches. It was pretty funny to watch, actually--which I did from the kitchen area since I was the beer-runner unless I was outside with the kids. Then they were on their own. Mama would host the ladies in the living room and they would sit there and chat for awhile and, like the men, it was a steady stream. As far as the kids, we would just sort of hang out around the food or make a sandwich and go ride our bikes and wreak havoc throughout the neighborhood before returning for more food. 

It was fun to start the new year with our house full of friends like that. Normally it was so quiet and still in our home but at the holidays there were always people and talking and laughter. It was wonderful. Only hitch was that it all had to be cleaned up that night. No big deal though because I would eat leftovers while we were cleaning up and Mama would let me have a glass (or two as I got older) of punch spiked with the Vodka the ladies had been spiking theirs with. We all sort of weaved down the hall to bed on New Year's night.

I hope you've enjoyed another holiday flashback from the corner of the world where I grew up and I hope you all have a wonderful New Year in your corner of the world.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Childhood Christmas

The other night Sean was asking me about Christmas when I was a kid. As I said at Easter time, Mama was Mrs. Holiday so we had fancy holidays in my childhood home. Daddy always teased her that she was partial to Christmas because her name was Mary, even though he rarely called her that.

In our house, Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving. My parents were teachers so they had Thanksgiving, the day after and the weekend off every year. Friday morning after breakfast Daddy would go out to the shed and start carting in the boxes. When they were all in he would dig out the lights that he hung across the front of the house. After testing them inside he would go out and climb up on his rickety old wooden stepladder balanced in the stones of our front yard and hang them. We always kept an ear out waiting for him to come crashing down since ladder-climbing + paralyzed foot = recipe for disaster but he never did, thankfully. He would also hang the wreath on the door. After he came inside he would switch the toilet seat in the front bathroom to the Christmas one. Then his work was pretty much over and he would come park himself on the sofa and supervise us while he tested the lights for the tree. My first job was to build the tree. We had a great tree. It was about 6 1/2 feet tall and it was really thick and bushy. After I got it built Mama would hang her pearl garland on it. Then Daddy would nestle the Good Luck Elf in the branches where he was safe from falling. After the Elf was settled Mama would start with the lights while I started sorting ornaments. We had all sorts of ornaments. I still have some of them that we used. There were felt birds that Mama had made back when they were first married, the standard store-bought ones of the era like the little drummer boys who look like their heads are ping-pong balls, beautiful bead bells that Gram made, ornaments that I had made in Sunday School, my Snoopy and Pooh Bear ornaments from Sears, ornaments that were gifts from people over the years, and later there were Hallmark ornaments. There were certain ornaments that I looked forward to every year like Mama's Holy Family ornament that still goes up on our tree. After we got them all up Daddy would bring in the afore-mentioned rickety wooden stepladder for Mama to put the angels on the top of the tree--they were short so a ladder was a necessity. He would spot her while she was on there, all the while cautioning her, "Be careful, Al. This thing isn't too sturdy." I always thought that was kind of funny since he had been on it in uneven rocks with no spotter but I knew better than to point that out. *grin* We had three angels on top of our tree. They were very small and they were tied on with pipe cleaners which were attached to their backs. The one at the very top was about the ugliest little thing you've ever seen. She had a cardboard head with some sort of weird curly blonde hair and she was holding a little cardboard violin. She was on the very first Christmas tree they had together in 1951 and she was on every tree they had after. There were two others who had made their appearance later but had existed my whole lifetime. They were also fairly ugly but not quite as bad as she was. They had plastic heads and one had a harp and one had a trumpet. All three of them had white gauzy-type robes with wire to keep their shape and they had gauzy wings as well.

This is me with our Christmas tree. I was maybe 16 or so.

After the tree was finished Mama would start putting out the rest of her Christmas decorations. She had so much stuff. One of my favorites was a Santa Claus music box. You wound up his base and, if I recall correctly, it played Jingle Bells. She also had a beautiful ceramic angel dressed in a lovely golden robe that she put on the shelf in the corner. (Daddy's beer steins were relegated to the storage boxes for the duration.) Then there was the Santa climbing into a chimney that held candy canes. One year she made a macrame Christmas tree with red wooden beads decorating it that she hung in the living room. There were little things with jingle bells on them that she hung around all the doorknobs. Drove Daddy crazy with the jingling but he was a good sport about them. She also had a plastic light-up Santa that she always stood underneath the tree. He was about 18 inches tall. Kind of like a miniature of the ones people put in their front yards now. The tablecloth on the table was changed out for one with holly all over it and she had decorations that she attached to all the plant hangers throughout the house.

While she was decorating the house I set up the nativity. It was really cool, at least to me as a kid. She had bought it for $3 at a flood sale one year at Ward's. The stable was a really thick cardboard and the front folded down to make a corral area. There was straw glued to the roof and she had a bag of straw that I would scatter on the floor of the stable. The figurines were ceramic and one year the black wise man (can't remember his name) had gotten broken. She replaced him but he wasn't quite in scale. Daddy nicknamed him Wilt since he was so much taller than the others. There was an opening in the back at the top with a light so it looked like starlight shining down on them. The only fault with it that I could ever find was that there was no way for the angel to be in the air and so I always had to stand her behind the Holy Family. Oddly enough the figurines that John got me when we were first married are the same design as hers were except they're made of resin and my Mary wears pink and hers wore blue. Pretty cool, huh?

Decorating was all finished on Friday. Baking was done on Saturday. After the kitchen was cleaned up from breakfast she and I started in on the cookies. Nothing out of the ordinary there. She just made standard cookies but dang, they were good. She always made Tollhouse for Daddy since they were his favorite and oatmeal raisin for me. Those weren't unique to Christmas though. She would make those periodically throughout the year as well. We had Christmas cookie cutters though and she made cookies that we cut out and decorated. There were trees, Santas, bells, angels and stars. It was my job to do the sifting when she was mixing them up. After she would roll the dough out it was my job to cut them out. I remember I always tried to use every inch of the dough from each rolling by fitting the different shapes together like a puzzle. Weird, I know, but it was fun. After they cooled we would frost them and put sprinkles on them to fancy them up. My personal favorites though were her raisin-filled cookies. They only appeared at Christmastime. She used the same dough as for the ones we decorated but they were cut into circles. Then she would put this delicious raisin-filling on them and fold them over. They were DELICIOUS. I can taste them just thinking about them.

Throughout the Christmas season we would have people in our house a lot because my mother was in a bridge club and her hosting night was always the first Thursday in December. She was also in a teacher's sorority and a university women's group and they both had progressive Christmas dinners during December and our house was always one of the stops on the route. I was allowed to answer the door to let the ladies in and then I was banished. I always sat in the dark at the end of the hall by my room where they couldn't see me and listened though. Daddy retired to the back room and never appeared until they left. He hated having those get-togethers at our house because of the smoke. He never did smoke and Mama had long since quit by then (officially) so he wasn't too wild about it. After they left he would open all the windows and complain for at least two days that the place stunk to high heaven.

As far as Christmas itself went, there were always lots of presents under our tree. Most of them were nothing major but Mama was from a large family so she liked to see lots of gifts under the tree. We would do funny things to make it seem like there were more gifts than there were. For example, one year she got Daddy a pair of dress shoes and a pair of sneakers. She wrapped each shoe separately in different wrapping paper so it was like four gifts under there. Stuff like that. It was also a tradition that I got one gift on Christmas Eve. I usually spent Christmas Eve in my parents' bed since I was generally sick as a dog that day. My gift was almost always a brand new flannel nightgown that my mother had made for me. I loved them. They were floor-length with long sleeves (think Little House on the Prairie) and I could wrap myself in them completely and be so comfy. The year I was 8 I got a really special Christmas Eve gift though. I was especially sick that year and old enough that I felt bad to be sick on a holiday so they gave me something really special and it made me feel a lot better. It was a beautiful Madame Alexander baby doll that I had fallen in love with at Steinfeld's. I was never much one for dolls but she was just so beautiful and I would stand there and stare and stare at her in the store. She was on a high shelf and I knew better than to reach up and touch her but she was just gorgeous. On Christmas Eve she appeared on the bed. I named her Charlotte Anne. She actually already had a name but I didn't know that and I would have never called her "Pussy Cat" anyway as that is a silly name. I was so surprised and so happy. I also got a new nightgown as well and Charlotte Anne and I curled up together in their bed and slept really well.

This is not actually my doll. Mine had a blue gingham dress and blue ribbons in her hair. She wore the same booties though. When I turned her over she said, "Mama." I loved her to pieces.
On Christmas morning we had stockings on Mama and Daddy's bed first thing. Then we had breakfast. That was always the same. Mama had a giant electric skillet that she would use and she would make us scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hashed browns and toast. After the kitchen was cleaned up we went to the living room for presents. I dressed up as Santa and handed out the presents. After they were all handed out we would open them one by one. Sometimes we would go round-robin and sometimes we would have one person open all theirs and then the next person. Just depended on the mood we were in. However we did it, there was no wrapping paper clean-up to be done afterward as Daddy came armed with a garbage bag and as each present was opened the wrapping was handed to him to be disposed of. Bows were attached to him so he wound up looking like a giant present by the time we were done. Unfortunately we never got a picture of that.  I'm not sure what Christmas dinner was. It might have been turkey or it might have been ham. I honestly can't remember. For some reason it just doesn't stand out in my mind. While we were cleaning up after the meal Daddy would go out to the shed and bring in the boxes. When we finished in the kitchen he'd say, "Okay, gorillas, time to get to work" and we'd reverse the process from the day after Thanksgiving. By nightfall our house was 100% back to normal. That is a tradition that we have continued in our house.

If anyone actually made it this far, I hope you enjoyed reading about Christmas in the corner of the world where I grew up. I hope you have wonderful Christmas memories from your corner as well.

Merry Christmas to everybody!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I suppose I really should write on here more often as it's been a solid month. Maybe I should make that a New Year's resolution, even though I don't make New Year's resolutions. First time for everything. *grin*

Not a whole lot has been happening here really. I've just been enjoying life. I have a friend living downstairs now and our sons have become friends as well so that is VERY nice. We also have other new neighbors as well and they are friendly too. Our little corner of the world has gone from being rather lonely to being almost like a little piece of paradise. It's very nice.

The boys are out of school until January 3 and they have been together a lot. It's nice to have them running in and out. I can't begin to explain how nice it is when your son's friend lives actually in the same house with you. It is so convenient. They can just run upstairs or downstairs if one of them forgot something or whatever. And it definitely makes delivery and retrieval easier. :)

Speaking of Sean, we got his school report in the mail yesterday and he did well. He got A in Math, C in Science and B in Humanities, Guitars and Media Arts. The Science and Guitars grades were pulled up from D's a month ago. We're extremely pleased with how well he's doing in school. He has decided he wishes to stay in Guitars. He had wanted to get out of it for the second semester but I think it's finally starting to click so he's decided to stay. I doubt he'll ever bring his guitar home and actually practice it but that's his choice.

In other news, John is still fighting this head cold/allergies/whatever-the-heck-it-is that he's been fighting since mid-November. He had a course of antibiotics that started on his birthday and it seemed like he was just getting over it. On Thanksgiving he had maybe a day and a half of them left and it suddenly hit him worse. He's just up and down with it and it's really wrecked his sleep cycle which is crazy anyway since he works the overnight. He seems to be doing a bit better right now so hopefully he won't relapse tonight with the start of his work-week.

You're probably wondering why I haven't said anything about what we're doing for Christmas. That's because we don't really do much. Sean put our tree up a few weeks back and also put out our mangers. As far as gifts, this is the year of the iPod touch so he is not getting anything else--well, he's getting a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste in his stocking, but nothing else, major or minor, under the tree. We don't do Christmas baking either because he doesn't eat that type of cookies so it's pretty much a waste of energy to even try to get him interested in it. We pretty much just pass the month of December as though it were any other with the exception of the fact that we go out at least once to drive around and see the lights. We also like to go to the mall at least once to watch the frenzied people bumping into one another. We opted out of the frenzy in 1992 and haven't regretted it for a minute. I know people think we're nuts but truthfully we've been much happier since then. We just make sure Sean has his gifts and that is that. I do not judge others for how they spend the month of December but it completely confuses me to hear people complaining about all the stuff they HAVE to do and all the gifts they HAVE to get. If it makes them so frustrated and stressed and unhappy, why continue to do it year after year? People don't care about the stuff. What they want is YOU. Spend time with them or give them a call if they're not nearby. Of course, there is the chance I just don't understand this and people LIKE to make themselves feel this way so they have something to complain about. Me, personally, life's too short. Live in the minute and enjoy it with the ones you love. After all, isn't that what it's all about? To quote Burton Hillis: "The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in one another."

Merry Christmas from our corner of the world to yours. Smile and enjoy your day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

60 Years

November 21, 1951. The day my parents married. It was an interesting day from all the accounts I've heard of it. They married in the Methodist Church (father's religion) in Wattsburg, PA, and had their wedding dinner next door in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church (mother's religion). These two churches looked basically identical except for the sign out front.

They chose this day because it was the day before Thanksgiving. My mother was a teacher and my father was doing his student-teaching. Therefore, they would have the next two days plus the weekend off for the holiday. So they worked all day and got married at 7pm. That in itself would make it an interesting day for me. I can't imagine working all day the day of my wedding. That, however, was just the beginning of a very interesting evening.

There was a blizzard that night and the minister who was marrying them lived in another town. He was worried about being able to make it home as the storm worsened. He basically bailed as soon as the service was over. It wasn't until the next day when my mother asked to see the license that they realized he hadn't signed it before he left so they weren't legally married yet. They were married in the eyes of God on November 21, 1951 but it wasn't legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until November 26, 1951.

Another funny story from that night was Uncle Seth and the potatoes. He got caught by a mobile weigh station carrying about a half-ton overload. He had two choices: dump them and get to the wedding on time but probably get fired by the farmer he was driving for OR stand out there and try to sell about a half ton of potatoes by the side of the road. He chose the latter. He didn't make it to the wedding but he made it to the dinner. Not sure if he managed to sell all the potatoes or not but I do know that later when he had his own farm he and the farmer he had been working for opened a potato chip factory together so it must have had a favorable outcome.

The funniest story I've heard from that day was told to me by my cousin, Ronald. He was considered by my father as his baby brother rather than his nephew--I didn't even know he was actually my cousin until I was about 10 or 11. So here's the wedding day story. I'm not sure how old Ronald was at this time. I'm guessing he was maybe 11 or so. After the wedding dinner when my parents were getting ready to leave on their honeymoon he threw a royal fit and insisted that he was going with them. He was afraid that my father would never come back because the last time he had left he went to fight in Korea and was gone for a year. Ronald didn't want to take any chances on his big brother disappearing again. Nobody could get him to stop. His mother couldn't, my grandmother couldn't, my father couldn't. So, Ronald and my grandmother wound up climbing in the car with them and going with them to the hotel where they spent the first night of their honeymoon. He told me that he wouldn't even stay in a separate room from them. So their first night married was spent with mother and younger brother in the same room. The next day my uncle picked them up and my parents continued on their honeymoon. I truly can't imagine Ronald pulling something like that because he is so calm and laid-back but he told me that's what happened and I have no reason to doubt him.

The saddest thing about this day that I've heard was from my mother. She got scared in the bride's room and told her father she couldn't go through with it. She was 24 and she was used to being alone and she didn't think she could handle it. He told her she wasn't going to shame the family by standing her groom up at the altar and led her out there and marched her down the aisle. Of course, it turned out well but it could have been a disaster.

They were married just a few weeks shy of 54 years when my mother passed away six years ago. They had their ups and downs like most couples do but I think for the most part it was good. I know that I, for one, am extremely glad that my grandfather marched her down the aisle when she was having her doubts because if he hadn't done that I wouldn't be here.

Happy Anniversary, Mama and Daddy! I hope you're having a nice celebration today. I'll be thinking of you. I do that every day but today I will be remembering it as your special day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There Truly Are Angels Among Us

Sean's birthday is coming up on the 23rd. We decided to celebrate it early tonight since tomorrow is payday and the money usually goes in early and can be accessed by 7PM. We waited until 7 and headed over to Toys 'R' Us to get the things that were on hold for him. They went in and I waited in the car since my face was hurting really badly and I wanted to relax a bit. They were gone for awhile and then my phone rang. It was John and he said the card had been declined so he couldn't get Sean's stuff. I heard him asking the lady to put the stuff back on hold until tomorrow but, amazingly enough, I didn't hear Sean in the background. They came back outside a few minutes later and Sean got in the car. He was disappointed but not acting how he acts. John said he was going to call the bank and was standing behind the car talking to the man on the phone. I was sitting in the car but had the door open so I could hear what he was saying. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a woman walked up to me. She was well-dressed but I was fully expecting her to ask for something. Instead she said to me, "Excuse me but I was behind your husband and son in the store. I felt so bad when he couldn't get his stuff. Would you let me purchase it for you?" I just sat there with my mouth gaping open like some sort of goof. John told the man on the phone that he would call back and came over to talk to her. She explained that she had been behind them and felt so bad, especially because the boy took it so well. She said she had stopped into the store on a whim to pick up a gift for her granddaughter. After John left the counter and went to get Sean she had gone to look for them and her heart sank when she couldn't find them. Then she saw John standing by the car and came over to us.  By this time Sean was looking at me with a "what's going on here" look on his face. John told her it was $80 and asked her if she would give us her name and address so we could return the money to her and she refused. Sean got out of the car and John told him it was okay to give the lady a hug since she was buying his gifts for him out of the kindness of her heart. John asked her if the Lord was directing her to do this and she said she thought so. She finally told us her name, but just her first name, Dolores, and that she goes to Pantano Christian Church. We all walked into the store. I couldn't even talk yet because I was about to burst into tears. While we were standing at the courtesy counter waiting for the girl to wait on us I said to Sean, "Take a good look at this lady, Sean. You are looking at an angel." She smiled and said, "Thank you." After the purchase was made she handed Sean the bag and told him, "Happy Birthday" and we all walked out of the store.

Here is the strangest part and the reason why we truly believe this woman was an angel. John took her hand and he said that it felt like there was very little bone structure in it and Sean said that when he hugged her she just felt soft, not bony like I do--and, trust me, she was not as heavy as I am by any stretch. Also she did not come out from the store because I was looking in that direction and nobody came out. She just suddenly appeared about 10-15 feet away from our car. It wasn't like POOF!! or anything, just suddenly there was a woman walking toward the car. We watched to see where she went when we separated and she walked in the direction of a silver SUV but then when it pulled out there was only a man in it and she was nowhere to be seen in the lot and there were no other cars with people in them. Also, she was NOT carrying a bag with the gift she had supposedly stopped there to buy. And the number one reason: There was NO ONE behind them in the store. They were the only people in the line. The whole thing was very strange to us. 

Sean has always had a strong connection to the angels. I asked him if he thought she was one and he said yes. For some reason the veil didn't drop over him until he was almost four (probably because he didn't talk) so until a couple of years ago he still had vague memories of actually seeing angels. We're thinking that maybe his Uncle Peter sent her to give Sean one last birthday because every year he sent Sean at least that amount of money to go to Toys 'R' Us and get whatever he wanted. Whatever the case may be I choose to believe that she was an angel sent to us.

So that is what is going on in our corner of the world. I hope things are going well in your corner of the world and that you are all as blessed by the angels as we have been over the years.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Really Still Here

I really haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Truly! I'm still here. Not much has been going on and I just haven't felt like writing much. I probably better put something on here though or people will start to think I'm gone.

Just a quick update as to what we've been up to:
  • Sean got his report card in October. He did fine. He got an A in Math, C in Science, B in Guitars and Media Arts and P in Humanities. They didn't have a teacher in Humanities so they just did pass/fail since they only had substitutes for a couple of weeks and then had no Humanities class at all for the majority of the quarter.
  • Sean's friend Lawrence had his annual Halloween get-together on October 29. The kids are all in different schools now so they had great fun getting together. There were two new kids there from L's new school. None of us were too impressed with them and I was WAY less than impressed with their mother. 
  • John has a mild case of the crud. He's been coughing for a couple of weeks but he seems to be getting over it. Nothing that's kept him down. He's been able to work through it so that's good.
  • It has finally turned cold here. We have had a little bit of rain and are supposed to get more tonight and tomorrow. They finally turned on the heat in the apartments the other day. We were all very excited for that.
  • We're all looking forward to Thanksgiving. We've been invited downstairs to Thanksgiving dinner with the family who lives downstairs. It will be us, the three of them and his mother will be coming over as well. We've been trying to get the boys together but they're both a bit shy about it. We got them together the other night on the balcony and they had a good time though. I think Sean was nervous to talk to Ray because he's in 8th grade and Sean's just in 6th. He found out that Ray is only 11 months older than him though and that they like many of the same things. We had been telling him but you know how it is, you can lead the horse to water but you can't make him drink.
  • As far as me, nothing new or special going on. Just the usual.
That's about all that's going on in our corner of the world. I hope all is going well in everybody else's corner of the world as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Curious Who's Visiting Me

A couple of weeks ago I got one of those Feedjit widget things that tracks when and from where there are visitors to the blog. It's interesting to watch. I don't have a lot of traffic, which I knew, but I am curious as to who some of the visitors are. I know who is visiting from RI--Hello, Karen; from Seoul--Hello, Carolyne; from the Phillipines--Hello, Rovie; from Kentucky, Hello, Uncle Al; from Washington, Hello, Mel and Josh and from FL, Hello, Katie. There are a couple that have me wondering though. Albuquerque, NM, is one. There are several people I know in NM but I am curious as to who it might be. Please check in and let me know. You're a regular visitor and it would be nice to know which of the NM people I know is stopping in. Another place that has shown up once or twice is Latrobe, PA. I have relatives in PA but as far as I know, nobody in the Latrobe area. If you see this, please check in and let me know who you are. I'd love to know if I have cousins stopping in. It would make me very happy--and VERY surprised.

Nothing of note going on in our corner of the world, other than curiosity as to who is visiting here. I hope everyone is having a nice week in their corner of the world.