About Alice

Grew up in Florida where I was born; only left because the man I married insisted he was a scientist, not a farmer. Over the years lived in Pittsburgh, Pa., Windsor (Hartford), Ct., Grove City (Columbus), Oh., Knoxville, Tn., Las Vegas, NV.; Now retired and currently living in Utah with husband. My biggest accomplishments were two daughters, who both earned Ph.D.s and became professors of academia (Psychology & English). I have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl, who are not only good looking but, like the people of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wabegon, are both way above average.

Happy New Year – 2019

It’s amazing what old age will do to you. For the hubby and me, it means you find yourself addressing “Christmas cards” on New Year’s Day. Somewhere around December 22nd, the hubby and I realized we weren’t going to get the Christmas cards out on time after all. So, because there was little other choice, we decided to purposely wait and make them a “Seasons Greetings” as soon as we could in the new year.   

Much of the year was spent keeping doctor’s appointments and “having procedures.” In March my “routine mammography” became anything but when, instead of being called in and blessed with the “You can go home now, everything looks normal” reply I’d expected, I was led to a quiet side-chapel room to await a private talk with the oncologist. Yep, it was the old “lower case c” announcement every woman dreads. This time, instead of a recurrence of the 2010 non-Hodgkins lymphoma found in a lump in my breast, it was a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in the other breast. Then came the usual procedures including another colonoscopy and endoscopy to make sure it hadn’t spread. Then the lumpectomy, and hopefully all the affected skin cells duly removed–all with waiting periods in between. Then another three weeks of daily radiation, and it was determined that I had at that time “no (further) evidence of the disease. From now on I’ll face each mammography I have with dread. During this time, I had to twice reschedule a complete knee replacement we had expected to do in April much later than expected. 

I finally got the new knee in August. You’ve probably heard the old adage. My version goes “surgery went well, but  the patient almost died due to complications from low sodium and bad reaction to pain medication. It’ll make a good story if you like that sort of humor.

Now, four months later, I’m beginning to feel it might have been worth it. I walk well now, and that means there may be more travel possibilities in our future. Hubby’s bucket list is very long, so we’re hoping for a good year in 2019 that may include some travel. During this down time, and so much time on the couch during the various recovery periods, we made a new best friend of Netflix–who was always there for us. We both got hooked on NYT crossword puzzles. Even though I know many words–I have the very best words–Hubby is so much better, but I’m getting better, both health- AND word-wise.  In spite of all our bad new habits, we hope to get better organized in 2019 and do everything on our “must do” list on time. We’re grateful we’re ending the year better than it began. It’s all in the attitude. For now, we’ll just raise our virtual glasses to wish everyone a Most Healthy and Happy New Year.

wine glasses

 

 

 

 

 

A Thomas Crapper Original

I’m not sure if the power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely, as Louisa May Alcott once opined, but I know some of the simplest things make me happy. Like the hand painted picture of three little pink piggys trying to nose their way out the barn door that I have hanging in my kitchen. Matching towels and pretty commodes. It may just be my way of making up for the chamber pots and outdoor privies suffered in my youth in the unplumbed south. This was originally posted exactly 10 years ago. I still like it. Hope you do too.

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Over the years while traveling, I taught my daughters the cardinal traveler’s rule, “you go” when you have the chance.” I was reminded of that rule often during our recent road trip. In fact, that rule led me to a discovery of sorts that now makes me almost want to re-do my bathroom at home.

We were in Seattle and had decided to walk from our hotel to the waterfront and downtown, taking public transportation as and when needed. They have a great public transport system and even offer free bus rides to everyone within a designated area of old downtown, and a transfer pass can get you in and out within a certain period for $1.50 or $1.75, depending on whether it’s “peak rush hour” or not. Our onfoot foray was to turn into a daylong adventure, and I was often reminded of my traveler’s rule.

Since we’d read drastically conflicting reviews on the underground tour of Seattle, we were resting our tootsies sitting on a bench in Pioneer Square and trying to decide if the underground tour of Seattle was worth the ticket price of $12 for seniors. Anyone who knows me also knows my seriously weird, some might say “warped,” sense of history. The more ridiculous or seedier it is the better I like it, and my head is full of useless facts about various things. I was very curious to learn more about the seedier side of the old underground city destroyed by the fire in 1889 that gave Pioneer Square the reputation that eventually gave rise to the expression “skid row.”

We more or less had decided to give it a go and learned that there would be no sitting down for this tour. Turns out we’d be on our feet for a full hour and a half or more–depending on the verbosity of our actor guide–so we decided we weren’t quite up to it after walking all those blocks already. Since we were already inside and nobody seemed to be kicking us out, we opted to have a look around first in the attached Rogue’s Museum and antique shop instead.

Soon I noticed the sign that pointed to “Women’s” and automatically turned to go in since all I’d seen so far were signs in every storefront saying “wash rooms are for customers only.”

The “facilities” were so pretty that I just had to take a picture to remember. Even the wash basin and the matching backsplash were pretty.

Back outside in the museum, one of the first exhibits I saw was either “the” or “an” original toilet designed by Thomas Crapper. While propriety or a certain sense of decorum prevented me from photographing the interior of the toilet above, this one was fair game.

Aren’t they pretty? I found you can order one for your own bathroom from the U.K. at a ballpoint figure of $1,000 American dollars. Guess I’ll be keeping our old crapper toilet instead. By the way, in doing all the research about Thomas Crapper, I found out that he really wasn’t the “inventor” of the modern flush toilet after all. I just may flush out this story more fully in a future post, but for now I hope you like the pretty toilets.

Drinking and flying don’t mix!

I pop in today after a long silence to bring you this timely message. An uninvited “visitor” flew in for the season last night and unfortunately met with great misfortune. Her tragedy does make for a timely message however.

Happy Halloween from Hubby and me at Wintersong. And don’t forget, stock up on treats and keep a watch out for nasty tricks.

IMG_0162 drunken witch

P.S. What was she doing flying on that manufactured broom anyway? She should have known only “natural” works for real witches!

Forgetting Milestones . . . does it really mean anything? Or just no-nevermind as long as it still works?

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When I married my husband in the last century, he was officially 10 months younger than I, not too much, but still beyond the “ideal” marriage-age-gap of the southern culture I grew up in.  So, even though he was very handsome (for whatever reason I never saw that as important and besides I thought good–i.e., faithful, men always wore thick glasses and eventually went bald–I couldn’t imagine my  life with anyone except him because he was very intelligent, and he laughed at my jokes! With all the strikes against us, my being from the south and he being slightly tan and from a maybe at-one-time s***hole country according to “some people”. I figured we’d need a good sense of humor and turns out I was right!

To get directly to the “meat” of this conversation, you’d think being 10 months younger, his memory would be better than mine! Au contraire, mon ami! We BOTH went through the whole day with our normal retirement routines–he to the gym and me to the hair salon, then home for lunch, and a little news to make sure we weren’t at war or that we hadn’t missed an important announcement from the justice department. I’ve found the drone of cable news becomes a great source of white noise to take small naps with. Dinnertime came. Still there was no thought whatsoever that we could have been out at some nice place having a gourmet dinner and drinking anything stronger than my usual  southern “sweet” tea as we relished leftovers for dinner.  

This morning as I was enticed from my bed with a strong coffee aroma drifting into the bedroom, I heard a voice coming from our office opposite the kitchen. “Happy Anniversary” Laughing at our forgetfulness later, Hubby messaged our daughters “Hey, it’s okay that we forgot our anniversary (49th) yesterday, but not okay that you two forgot also. Dad”

Wedding anniversaries are pretty big deals back home, especially milestones ones. I was thinking at the time we married that we were both too old (I’d just turned 27, and he was technically younger at 26) and that we’d probably never live long enough to celebrate the “really big ones of 25 and 50.” I felt so old and wise at the time, and quite certain I wouldn’t last as long as I have. Now here we are, just one year away from the really BIG one! (Note to daughters, this is the one where you are to collectively send us on an exotic trip since neither of us have nearby family to come and throw us a big party and celebrate in style! ) God willing and the creek don’t rise we’ll both still be around for number 50. However, I’m counting on HIM to remind me . . . after all he’s 10 months younger!

 

 

hubby’s new hero

pasu with former cia director john brennanIn the interest of self-restraint, as well as fulfilling a duty to my health to control my blood pressure, I’d decided not to get into politics in my blog posts, but dammit! All the events of the last few days (or year and a half–or all preceding campaign years, what the hell)  have conspired to make me assert an alternative: I will only resort to politics to reassert my freedom as an American–because I still can! Can’t be sure that will be true much longer!

Last week the hubby and I had the good fortune of attending a world leaders lecture forum and dinner with former CIA Director John Brennan, pictured here. As it turns out, Mr. Brennan seems to be one of the few in Washington who dares to speak up in rightly criticizing the worst President (and I cringe as I type the word) in my personal memory. Not only is he hubby’s new hero, but mine as well. I also applaud Republican John McCain for his comments too. How many other Republicans will stand up for Country ahead of political gains.

On a more personal note, hubby’s hair is much longer lately. He’s elected to grow it
long to donate to an organization specializing in providing wigs for children temporarily bald due to cancer treatment. He still has a very long growing season ahead to provide at least 7-8 inches. Ideas for strategies in maintenance are welcome.

 

 

Where’s my old dust rag?

alice current 2018I’ve been poking around in here the past few days. It’s made me sorta miss coming here. Wonder if I should might start coming here again once in a while. At least that way anyone who happens by here will know I’m not dead yet. Hummmmmmmmm !  Where’s my old dust rag I wonder . . .

making wise choices . . .

Every once in awhile, Hubby does or says something that confirms the validity of the life altering decision I made all those years ago when I decided to cast my lot with him “from this day forward, ’til death do we part.” I saw an email he’d written, and was so proud I told him I was going to steal it and post it as “my” blog. He gave full permission:

What the hell is wrong with India? I just finished reading a book called Pink Sari Revolution: A tale of women and power in India and I was beginning to think that some changes may be possible. And then I read this article in today’s news on the internet. I hate to think that this case makes India as bad as [terrorist organization] regime or worse. It seems that the police or the politicians don’t care.  Why aren’t the general public outraged by this?

He was referring of course to two prominent and recent headlines from around the world:  Indian Woman Gang-Raped By 13 Men On Orders Of Village Court In West Bengal: Police  and Danish Tourist Gang-Raped, Robbed And Beaten Near Connaught Place, Indian Police Say . . . . It was enough that he was concerned enough and cared enough to defend these women, but when challenged that it wasn’t  India but the fact that women were afraid to report these incidents (until recently of course), thereby implying that the fault lies with the victims (now where have I heard that before?!), and that in reality–and especially when or if you considered the population numbers, percentage wise India was doing much better than the U.S. in such matters–his reply was:

I am sorry, I don’t agree with your statement “there is nothing wrong with India”. Even if there is one incident of gang rape of a woman or a young girl, it is one too many. When you read that the local panchayat ordered the gang rape because she was seen with someone from another tribe, this borders on barbarian practices. The Taliban routinely kill the women in these cases. I am surprised that the elders did not order stoning to go with it.

Population sizes, the reporting frequencies, and we are no worse  than other places etc are totally irrelevant.  In fact, I believe that the number of cases reported to police are miniscule as the police usually blame the victims. For a country that brags about being an ancient civilization and more civilized than the Islamic fundamentalists, assault and gang rapes on women should not be acceptable at any level. Add to this the so called “honor killing of women”, it gets worse.

When women are treated as less than equals and this is socially and culturally accepted, there is something wrong with the country.  See the following headline from the Hindu:
Hundreds of Indian election candidates accused of sexual violence – Figures released by the Association for Democratic Reforms show that hundreds of election candidates had allegations against them – as had scores of those in power.

When politicians get elected in spite of their sexual crimes against women, it says that there will be no laws created to address the problems.

Yes we know that rape happens in all places, but no where else [do] the village elders order it.

By the way, a “panchayat” is an elective village council in India, usually made up of five “wise and respected” elders chosen and accepted by the community who traditionally settle disputes between individuals and villages. The response from one of our daughters to her dad said simply “that was awesome. you’re the best.” The other followed with, “Ditto!” So as not to be outdone, or left out of the conversation, I responded to both daughters with this simple truth: “You may thank me for choosing your papa wisely! Mom” Young single women should take heed and remember the man they’re thinking of choosing to marry will (likely) be the father of their future children.