Sunday Night at Home with a Movie

Today I’m taking my inspiration from my good friend Debi Walter and her wonderful blog The Romantic Vineyard. I’m not referring to Debi as my good blogging friend or Facebook friend. We literally have been friends for 40 years, and she is every bit as wonderful in day-to-day life as she is on her blog. Actually, she is more so.

In case you’re not familiar with The Romantic Vineyard, check it out here. It provides “a rich harvest of ideas to help your marriage grow.” It says so right at the top of the banner.

Debi and I are as alike as we are dissimilar. She writes a romance blog. I write a humor blog. Clearly that’s one way we’re similar. Okay, we both write. I’ll leave it at that.

When I read her Five Friday Favorites – At Home Meal and Movie Dates, I was inspired. I told Debi that I was wondering what I would serve for my home meal and movie date.  What would go with some of my favorite comedies? She told me to go for it, so here you are.

First, the disclaimer, Debi is a wonderful cook and she loves cooking. It is one of the ways she shows love. I view cooking as something that I have done more than enough, but I am willing to cook – if I have to. I’m even a pretty decent cook, but the thrill is gone. One of the ways people can show me that they love me is to cook for me. I’ll just put that out there in case anyone needs an idea. Already you can see why Debi and I have a well-suited friendship.

Favorite Comedies (not exhaustive, of course)

Movie #1 – RED with Bruce Willis – All this movie needs is a glass of red wine. That’s how I read the cover.

Movie #2 – Groundhog Day – This takes a little more planning. The night before, make a double batch of whatever you’re cooking and save enough to serve during the movie.

Movie #3 – The Help – I know this one is not a comedy, but it has its moments. It made Debi’s list, too. All you really need here is a big batch of chocolate cream pie served at just the right moment.

Movie #4 – Back to the Future – hamburgers, fries, and a Tab or something else without sugar in it.

Movie #5 – The Big Year – wings

Movie #6 – Fever Pitch – I try to watch this on Opening Day of Baseball Season. Hot dogs and beer with sides of peanuts and Cracker Jacks is perfect.

Movie #7 – The Court Jester – Perhaps my all-time favorite comedy. It doesn’t matter what drink you offer as long as it’s not served in the Chalice with the Palace. Try the Vessel with the Pestle instead, but be careful you don’t break it and have to use the Flagon with the Dragon.

 

Do you have any movie pairings you can add to the list? What are some of your favorite comedies?

 

This is Post #28 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

Jobs I’ve Had, The Early Years – The Loud, The Scary, and The Embarrassing

Image result for free images of roy rogers horse trigger

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

My first real job did not involve singing in front of people. But it had some of the same features. I worked at a Roy Rogers Restaurant. If you’re not familiar with the chain, it’s like an Arby’s except western style. They had great roast beef sandwiches and their Double R Bar sandwich was amazing. At least I thought it was when I was 16.

I don’t know how they make their employees dress now, but in the 70s I was dressed as a cowgirl. Cute enough uniform, but when you add the other requirements of the chain, it became downright embarrassing.

I ran the register and when someone came up to order, I’d have to say, “Howdy partner, can I take your order please?”

If that wasn’t bad enough, when they’d leave, I was forced to say, “Happy trails.”

I always thought of Roy Rogers as a sweet, caring cowboy. I guess this practice revealed his dark side. He would never have put Trigger through such humiliation.

Friends would come into the restaurant just to hear me say those words. That’s how you know who your real friends are – they’ll go out of their way just to mock you! I didn’t mind too much. At least there was no horse manure to clean up. That job didn’t last long.

I discovered I could make more money babysitting, so that’s what I did until I graduated from high school. Then I worked at various secretarial jobs including one on Andrews Air Force Base. At some point in this story, Bob and I got married and a year later moved to Florida where I worked for the Social Security Administration as a data review technician until I had my first child.

Related image

Teletype Machine – Photo credit: quora.com

That job was more like an editing job. I examined all the forms and made sure they were filled out correctly and then I would sit at a teletype machine and input the data. It was a loud room. As I typed, yellow punched tape would roll out of the machine. At the end of the day, I’d call the main office in Baltimore and send the tapes through. I quit just as computers were being brought in to replace those noisy machines. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my hearing.

Image result for fuller brush company free images

Photo Credit: americacomesalive.com

After two children had come along, I decided it would be nice if I could work from home and make a little extra cash. Somehow or another, I heard about Fuller Brush and became a door-to-door salesperson. I had a territory and on Saturdays Bob would stay with the kids and I would go knocking on strangers’ doors.

This was a little off-putting at times, but I sold a lot of brooms, brushes, and degreaser. I discovered that at times an unanswered door could be better than an answered one, because those opened doors could present opportunities that didn’t involve selling Fuller brushes.

The opened door of a small house which looked like it could use a lot of TLC was one such opportunity. Two small children answered the door. They must have been 3 or 4 years old. They opened the door and just stood there. I asked if their mommy was home. They nodded. I could see into the house. It was dark for a Saturday morning. All the shades were drawn but I could make out a figure of a person way on the other side of the house. It was as if she was sitting at the end of a long, dark tunnel with just a hint of light behind her.

She barely made a sound but I could see her raise her hand from the chair and beckon me to come in. I froze for a minute. It was like something out of a movie. Finally, she uttered the words, “Can you help me?”

This was way before cell phone days so I was on my own to stay or go. I’m not sure why, except it must have been the peace of God coming over me, but I entered the house. I gingerly walked over to her and she whispered that she was having trouble breathing. She could barely move and wanted to go to the hospital but couldn’t afford an ambulance and her husband could not be reached at work.

I used her phone to call my husband. I filled him in, loaded her kids and her into the car and took off for my house for Bob to watch the kids.  At the hospital they were concerned that she may have had a heart attack, but she was given a diagnosis of pleurisy.

Through this difficult day, she and I discovered that we were both Christians. Long story short, we spent several hours together at the hospital. By the end of the day she and her kids were back in their home with her husband.

How about you? When you think back on the jobs you’ve had, have you had any unusual encounters with people? Feel free to share in the comments.

 

This is Post #27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Crossing the Country with Four Kids

Bob and I have traveled a lot, but it took us a while to get to the point where we went somewhere besides visiting family. When you’re raising four kids you tend not to be able to afford hotels or to want to stay in them with your children. And I hate camping. That said, our first big trip was a camping event. Sort of.

We planned on four weeks on the road to go from Florida to Washington State and back with an intermission in the middle. At that point Bob would fly home and work a week or two, leaving me with the kids to have some sister and cousin time off the road. Then he planned to fly back to join us and resume the trip. This was back in 1995 before everyone used the internet.

We were closing in on our early June departure date when Bob got the word that his company was closing its Central Florida division and he was suddenly out of a job. We had purchased a used pop-up camper to pull behind our big blue Dodge conversion van. (This was as close to real camping as I was willing to go.) The front two weeks of our trip were planned and reservations made. We decided to proceed as planned except for the intermission, and why not make it a six-week trip.

Bob would be drawing unemployment and we could pick up newspapers as we crossed the country for him to apply  for jobs along the way. Aside from the obvious loss of income, it seemed like a pretty good plan.

Then things started to fall apart. Literally. First, our dishwasher broke. It was old and not worthy of repair. As we debated over spending money to fix it or not, the air conditioner in our house went up. There would be no debate. You don’t live in Florida without air conditioning. We had to replace the entire unit. Ouch.

I’m not one to look for signs, but we started to question whether or not this trip was a good idea. Both Bob and I had done similar trips as kids and we always wanted to do this with ours. Our kids ranged from 8 to 16, so we knew we were running out of time.

It was then that the freakiest thing happened, the metal standard that held up our basketball hoop and was cemented into the ground, fell over. Boom. Just like that. It looked like acid had worn through it. We blame this on our dog PJ. The pole was his favorite place to pee. We considered taking him to be checked out at the vet, but that would be another expense and how would we explain to our vet that the dog’s urine had eaten through a metal pole, so we left that one alone.

Ultimately we decided that since our window was closing, we better just make the trip before something else went wrong, so off we went.

I’m so glad we did. This trip remains a highlight of our life with the kids. We traveled through 22 states and logged 10,000 miles on our car. Our kids developed a deeper relationship with each other just at the point when they would be pulling more towards their friendships than siblings. It was a win in every way except for laundry. Doing laundry on the road was challenging but we managed. People have been using laundromats for years and when you can do several loads at once, it’s not so bad.

Our children are now all married. Our daughter definitely has the road-trip gene. She and her husband also have four children. Two years ago they traveled across country with them and when they came to the Oregon Dunes, she remembered being there as a kid. She remembered her brothers and her acting like they were lost in the desert as they climbed the dunes. So, she reenacted it for us. I hope you enjoy the picture as much as I do.

 

My four kids at the Oregon Dunes in 1995

 

Dena’s four kids doing the reenactment. She has three girls and a boy, just the opposite of Bob and me.

Have you ever done a long trip with your family? If not, you may want to consider it. It was a bonding moment and an adventure that we will never forget.

 

This is Post #26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

Six Weeks of Sisters

I have two sisters and so does Bob. Bob and I have been married for over four decades, so that makes one sister per decade. As I write, I realize that this could get confusing to me when Bob and I reach our golden anniversary. I’m not planning on adding any more sisters at this point in my life, so I’m going to let it go. I won’t remember the inconsistency when that time arrives anyway.

You may be asking – what does one sister per decade mean? Do different sisters represent different decades? Do I have a point here? The answers are – no and no. For some reason I just found it interesting that the number four repeated itself in this fashion. And, in case you have one more question haunting you, I don’t have any interest in numerology either. I’m just a little strange. That probably answers your next question.

None of our sisters lives in Florida. I see my sisters fairly regularly, largely because my mom lives here, but it has been four years since I’ve seen Bob’s sisters. That is just plain wrong, but that’s life in the big city. (Actually, one lives in a small town, but that’s life there, too.)

When you get to spend time with all of these sisters in a six-week span, that’s something to celebrate. The first to arrive was my younger sister, Linda. She came in mid-March and you can read about our beach exploits here (and I don’t care what Bob says, it still counts as a sting operation). Being as she is my only younger sibling, I have that big-sister thing going with her. Interestingly, whenever I’ve been talking to Linda, Bob can tell as I slip into mixing up her name with my daughter Dena’s name. I guess that’s telling.

Mount Dora Segway Tour

Allow me to segue, or should I say segway, to Bob’s sisters. They live up north so just being outside in the Florida sunshine was a treat. We did a segway tour of nearby Mount Dora with them. Bob and I have done this tour before and even with my lack in the coordination department, I have no problem with this. All of their concerns about riding one quickly went out the window. They had a great time. Bob’s younger sister especially – I thought she was going to try to abscond with hers. She had the kid-on-Christmas-morning look on her face – pure joy.

My older sister and her daughter are here with us now. They are doing the full tourist thing. We just returned from the beach today. We have family with us for 12 days in April. When the last of them leave on Saturday, I have big plans for a nap.

Daytona Beach

But, these six weeks of sisters have been the best. You throw a niece, a daughter, four grandchildren and a dog into that family from out of town mix, and it just gets better, though a tad bit crazy and crowded. It’s family. It’s all good.

 

This is Post #25 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

The Best Airport Pick-Up Ever

I managed to wedge myself in at the end of the Southwest Airlines gate while waiting for my sister at the airport terminal. I was right up against the curb with cones behind me and a sedan on my left front bumper area. I couldn’t go anywhere and that was okay with me. The atmosphere seemed a bit more casual than normal so I said to my daughter, “We might be able to wait right here for a while.”

While waiting we were entertained by the man from that car picking up three people. Everybody hugged and dumped their luggage by his trunk. I figure he must be the dad, because nobody tried to help him with anything. I imagine him to be the kind of guy who’d say, “I got this, just get in the car.”

Except he didn’t have it at all. He clearly was spatially challenged but he gets bonus points for tenacity. We watched as he took bags in and out of the trunk, turning them every which way. I was confident he was going to break a wheel off of a suitcase.

My daughter and I were laughing like crazy and had snapped about a dozen pictures of this when the security guy came to my window and said I needed to move on.

I pointed to the guy struggling with his bags and said, “I’ll pull out as soon as he moves.” Then I added, “To be honest, we’re sitting here laughing at this guy who can’t seem to load his trunk. He’s hysterical.”

To which he replied, “I get that. Have a nice day.” And he walked off with a smile on his face and left us there. Can you imagine that? I security guy at the airport with a sense of humor? It made my day.

Finally, the struggle to lug the luggage from the pavement to the trunk ended abruptly with a slam of the trunk and a suitcase shoved up against the two passengers in the back seat.

That poor man had spent approximately six minutes trying in vain to place three suitcases into his trunk. It was so sad. I think he needs to go home and brush up on his Tetris game.

 

This is Post #24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

A Letter of Apology to My Adult Children

Time to write a letter

Over the last few weeks, I have heard a few rumblings from my kids about my current rate of blog postings. I explained, in case they missed it, that I am doing a challenge. Here are some of the comments, which have fueled me to write a letter to my kids.

“Mom, once a week was fine. I am happy to read your WEEKLY blog posts. Weekly. Around Day 6, I knew I was in trouble. How long will this thing go on?”

“You’re killing me!”

“My in-basket is overflowing.”

“You’re thinking about blogging about (fill in the blank). I can see it in your eyes.”

“You’re obsessed.”

Alright, that last one was my husband, but you get the point. So, here goes:

 

Dear Kids,

I know this past month has been difficult for you. How challenging it must be for you when every day there is something to read that your mother wrote. Your mother – the one who loved you before you were born. The one who carried you for nine long months, six of which involved a lot of puking. The one who helped you with your homework and drove you all over town. The one who watches your children so you can go out with your spouse. Sigh.

I am sorry for the pain and suffering which this Ultimate Blog Challenge has caused you and I want you to know that I understand. You want to support me, yet you feel overwhelmed.

There is also the matter of the monthly test about my blog content which I require you to take. I know there’s a lot of pressure to do well, so for this month, and this month only, I will make your test multiple choice instead of essay. I will also give you an extra week to turn it in to me for your grade.

Happy Reading!

Love,

Mom

 

And, to my regular readers who have been with me for a while, thanks for sticking with me. I appreciate you.

 

This is Post #23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

I’m Just a Singer in a Living Room Band

I haven’t written any tell-all articles about my parents. This is the closest I’ll get to that.

I started life as a child of two performers. One was reluctant. One certainly was not. My mom was the former. She took voice and dance and piano lessons. She even performed on the radio when she was a kid. She has a great singing voice and she plays piano well, too.

Here’s the tell-all part – she pretty much hated every minute of it. She does not like the spotlight. Yet, when I was a kid, whenever we had company, my two sisters and I were rounded up to come and sing for them. Mom accompanied us on the piano. I guess she figured the focus would be on us, so she put her love of music in front of her dislike of performing in front of people.

Now, I’m not trying to get all Moody Blues on you, but that was my young life. My theme song was – I’m just a singer in a living room band.

Thinking back on it, I didn’t really understand her doing this to us until I factored my dad into the equation. Dad was a performer. He was a magician, and we were forever asking him to do tricks for our friends. It only stands to reason that he would rope my sisters and mom into performing, too. That combined with how much Mom loved to hear us sing – well, if we had still been in the era of radio, I imagine we would have been on it just like her!

I always tried to protest this coercion, but secretly I liked it. Singing was one of the few things I thought I could do well at that stage and I loved the accolades.

Mom and Dad 1966 or 67

I don’t remember all the songs that we would sing, but the set would always include, Take Me Out to The Ballgame. Mom was and still is an avid Baltimore Oriole fan, so this combined her two passions.

My older sister became quite accomplished on the piano, while I struggled along with the clarinet until the neighborhood took up a collection to make it disappear. I was terrible. My little sister found her love in gymnastics, which are hard to sing to.

What did I take away from that kind of childhood forced labor (of love)?

I became comfortable in front of other people. Even though they were family and friends, I would have to put away fears and nervousness. It was a tremendous help for my future, plus a love of music was planted in all of us. Being yourself in front of family and friends who love you was a good beginning to speaking in front of others. Having fun sharing your gifts with others as a form of entertainment was the best part.

After we’d sing, we were dismissed to go play with cousins or maybe if it was Sunday go watch the Wonderful World of Disney. One thing, on one screen, to watch together. It was a great childhood. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Last night before we turned in for bed after a long day full of family and fun, we had a performance in our living room. It was because my mom wanted to hear her great-granddaughters (my granddaughters) sing. Yes, she’s still at it! And, by the way, they were amazing.

 

My three granddaughters singing in my living room.

 

 

This is Post #22 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

Easter Weekend – Resurrection Day

Luke 24:1-3 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 24: 5-6a In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

 

Photo Credit: crosswalk.com

He is risen indeed! Happy Resurrection Day!

 

This is Post #21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Easter Weekend – Saturday

Matthew 27:62-64 – The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

Waiting for Sunday.

 

This is Post #20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Easter Weekend – Good Friday

Easter Weekend begins with the most somber of days, Good Friday. This is the day that Jesus gave his life for us on a cruel cross.

Luke 23:44-46 – It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica

But this was just Friday. Sunday was coming.

 

This is Post #19 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.