Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lucy, Flea and Poetry

I recently took Lucy to visit my Father. When we arrived, we discovered that he'd bought Lucy a new toy, named Flea. Boy, does Lucy love Flea! Lucy mailed Grandfather a thank-you card, complete with this picture and this poem:


I love Flea!

Flea loves me!

Flea’s the best pal

That ever could be!

I like to play rough

But Flea’s so tough

Flea never says

“That’s Enough!”

Flea doesn’t mind the pool

Flea’s ok with my slobbery drool

Flea tolerates it all

Flea is so cool!

Flea’s body’s fat but that’s not a bother

Since he’s got six legs, he simply flies farther

Yeah, Flea’s great but mostly ‘cause

I got Flea from Grandfather

Lucy H. B

Today, Lucy received this response in an email:

i was up all the night
getting wording just right
to answer, honestly,
your note about flea.
as dark became dawn
and i muffled a yawn
i tried to compose
some elegant prose
and somehow respond
to my favorite blond.
i hope you and flea
share great revelry
you give me much glee;
you're top dog with me!
grandfather h...with help of timmy timmy and porter.

Fun, fun!

Mrs. B

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Dad

My dad had planned hip replacement surgery today.  It's been a long time coming, let me tell you.  It was originally scheduled for late 2010 but he had other health complications at the time that made the surgery impossible.  The surgery was  rescheduled for 2011, but then my mom had a serious health issue that had to be addressed first.  So, finally, today was the day.

Dad, in true dad fashion, was ready to go.  He'd done his part; kept his weight down, exercised as much as he could, continued on with life even though he really was in dreadful pain.  They were here in Florida until early April doing their best to enjoy their retirement in the sun but, of course, always with this pain in the background.

Anyway, even though this is a very common procedure now a days, it's still unnerving and scary when someone you love goes under the knife.  For me in particular, having lost my step-mother last year and just recently my father-in-law, I was pretty skittish today.  I prayed; I asked my church to pray also, and I felt a lot better but still and again, I wasn't totally relaxed until my brother sent me a message just before 2:00 that dad was out of surgery, he'd done great and there were no complications.

While sitting here earlier today thinking about my dad; thinking about everything over the past almost 45 years, I wrote this little piece.

Love you, dad.

Mrs. B

My Dad
Made me crowns from chewing gum wrappers
Took me on bike rides with me sitting behind him holding on for dear life
Liked to listen to me read out loud from my Laura Ingalls Wilder books
Helped me with my stamp collection
Carried me everywhere for three weeks when I had a case of trench foot
Taught me how to keep score at San Diego Padre base ball games
Let us have a cat even though he really didn’t like cats
Was a firm but fair disciplinarian
Knew the importance of staying at a motel with a pool
Taught me how to pitch a softball and coached my team for several years
Was never too tired at the end of the day to help me with my homework
Forgave me when I dropped a tent trailer on his hand
Was the only person brave enough not to give up on teaching me how to drive
Rebuilt the engine of my 1968 Karman Ghia (even though he’d told me when I bought it to take it back)
Was a hard task master but always provided cold beer and good food at the end of a hard day of physical labor
Because my older sister inherited my mom’s, he built me the most beautiful cherry Hope Chest (as well as other handmade items)
Makes a killer margarita
Taught me to never underestimate the power of curry; especially in egg salad
Although he doesn’t always know what to say in times of trouble, he’s always there in times of trouble
Is man enough to allow himself to be called Pop-Pops
Let me sleep in while he walked my dog
Never gives up


Friday, April 20, 2012

Climb. Beer. Wind.


This free write is a continuation of what I began in "Type. Window. Comprehend".

And, so, one moment The Fate Scheduler had been in his kitchen thinking of her, The Girl Who Smelled of Pine; the next, he was standing in what appeared to be a huge gymnasium full of people who were wandering about any which way. He blinked, looked about him, and then blinked again; attempting to make sense of what had happened. It was a futile effort, as there was no sense to what had happened. Those in the room seemed to be in a state of total confusion; as if everyone had just been snatched from somewhere else and had absolutely no idea why they were now there. Since that was exactly what had happened to him, staying put seemed to be the thing to do. Maybe in another eye blink, he’d be back in his kitchen. It wouldn’t do to move from this spot, only to become even more lost and befuddled, like the majority of the other people in there seemed to be.

As he stood there in observation, he confirmed to himself they were indeed inside a huge gymnasium; there were the basketball end boards and hoops; looking, he noted, a bit ratty and tatty as their nettings were torn and hanging down in places. To either side of him against the walls were wooden bleachers; and, his sensitive nose was telling him, the place smelled like decades of sweat, stinky feet and bubble gum.

Watching the people roam about, it dawned on him that he was reminded of the several times he’d been in a similar place registering for college classes. There was the same sense of almost panic, of not knowing what one was supposed to be doing. Buoyed by a bit of confidence that perhaps he’d figured something out, certain details of his surroundings began to make themselves clear. First off, over towards the east side of the room, there was a long row of tables, behind which sat a group of people; each wearing a somewhat bored expression on their face. In front of each person’s section of the table was a large placard with a letter of the alphabet clearly printed within its center. “A” was on the far left, next was “B”, then “C”, and so on, with “Z” on the far right. As he watched the tables, he saw the person sitting behind “T” lean over to the person sitting behind “S” and whisper something. “S” nodded and stifled a huge yawn. Well, then, obviously, this was some sort of registration center, and yet, not one of the others in the room were approaching the tables.

The Fate Scheduler was uncertain. He thought perhaps he should walk over to the tables and go up to his letter; in fact, he was sure this was what he was supposed to do, but he held fast to his position because he hated being the first to do something in case it was not the right thing to do. This trait was one of the reasons why he’d never made much of a name for himself at his firm; he was not destined to climb the proverbial corporate ladder.

He shifted his gaze from the tables; eyes darting about the room, searching for something that might provide an answer as to what he should do. As he did so, he heard a loud BANG coming from the side of the gymnasium opposite from where the Alphabet People were sitting. He craned his head around in time to see the large, multiple doors being flung open, one after another, each with such force that it bounced off the interior walls. Streaming in through the doors was a massive crowd of people; easily the same amount as which were already inside the gym. He noticed that, while the people already in the room were in a state of confusion, those coming in appeared to know exactly what they were doing, with each one of them approaching one of The Confused with outstretched arms and welcoming smiles on their faces. Slowly, slowly, awareness dawned on the faces of The Confused as they each in turn recognized the person advancing towards them. Then, shouts of joy echoed throughout the room, accompanied by a rush of almost incomprehensible conversations of which he could only make out snippets of “Oh my God! Oh my God!; and “MOM?”; and, “Take it easy, there, Cowboy, it’s all going to be okay now”; and “Holy shit! I need a beer and I need it NOW!”

In this midst of this cacophony, a new emotion; The Fate Scheduler was bereft. No one was singling him out. He was totally alone. On the heels of this, a glimmer of hope. Maybe this was a mistake and he wasn’t supposed to be here after all. Perhaps this was, in fact, a quite nasty dream. With this in mind, he immediately began to pinch himself. When he didn’t awaken, he went at himself like a man gone insane; pinching every skin surface he could reach, wrenching the flesh this way and that in his agitation, aware all the while that this was both futile and he must look like a total fool, but unable to stop himself all the same.

Then came another loud BANG from the other end of the room; the door with this one opening with such strength that it brought with it a whoosh of strong wind similar to those that swirl around you and blow grit in your eyes and deposit bits of trash at your feet. Except this wind brought no dirt or garbage, it brought his third grade teacher, Mrs. Sippy. He stopped pinching himself and gaped at her.

“Well then,” she said eyeing him. “You always were an unusual child”.

Mrs. B

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Weekend Pictures

Here are a few pictures from our Easter weekend/visit from Mom B. and Aunt Judy:

Aunt Judy treated us to dinner Saturday night. We tried a new place near home called Truman's Tap and Grill. They've got a few kinks regarding service to work out, but the food was pretty good!
Sisters again! Easter morning on our way to church. Lovely sunny day!
With two of his favorite ladies
Mark and Mom B
I feel sorta tall...
Mr. B with another favorite lady (I'm guessing :-) )
Jack's Easter Lily
Grandma W's. She LOVED Easter
The yum-o ham. Seriously, whomped all over Honey Baked

Mrs. B

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy First Date Day!!!!!

Here is a repost of one of my favorite montages!
Mrs. B

Mrs. B's Brilliant Blog: Amy and Mark: It WAS a long time coming, too! Make video montages at

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Remembering the Titanic

100 years ago today, just before midnight on the evening of April 14th 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. A scant few hours later, she was lying at the bottom of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The unthinkable had happened, the Titanic, the unsinkable Titanic, had sunk. Between her death spiral and the embrace of the frigid water, some 1500 souls perished. In a misguided attempt to make a record trip across the Atlantic from Southampton to New York, another ghastly record was set instead.

"Remember the Titanic!" People have said over the ensuing 100 years. And, remember her we have. Truly, is there any cognizant person alive today who does not recognize her name and know, at least somewhat, her sad, sad tale?

My personal interest in Titanic began long before Leo DiCaprio infamously shouted "I'm King Of the World!" in the 1997 blockbuster movie "Titanic". It was another movie that started it all for me. I was in 8th grade and it was early in the school year of the brand new Jr/Sr High School in Tierrasanta (near San Diego). For whatever reason, a bunch of us were rounded up and brought into the administrative offices to watch "A Night To Remember", a 1958 black and white film based on Walter Lord's book of the same title. Like the James Cameron's 1997 version, "Night" depicted the events after the ship struck the iceberg and its eventual sinking in pretty much real time. Us tweens watched the movie over the course of several days, though, and by the time we reached the end, most of us were riveted. I know that I was hooked, and have remained so ever since.

Why do people remain fascinated with the Titanic? Everyone has their ideas but I think it's a combination of:

  • People are morbidly interested in tragedy, especially one involving the division between wealth and glamour and servitude and squalor.
  • We can look upon what happened in hindsight and wonder over and over again WHY it had to happen in the first place, coming up with a long list of "if only s"; and this, by the way, continues to be fueled by emerging theories as to what exactly happened (two new ones were just in the paper this week). One of the most obvious blunders, of course, was that most people on board's actions (or inactions) were driven by the belief that the Titanic was unsinkable. A story goes that, a female passenger, uneasy about being on the ship, asked a crew person as she boarded if the Titanic was safe. He replied with something like "Madam, God himself couldn't sink the Titanic". In hindsight, not a wise thing to say.
  • Titanic is still around. Yes, it's at the bottom of the ocean in at least two if not more pieces, but, it's THERE. As long as it is, there will be talk about maybe turning it into a museum. That's unlikely to happen, I think, as there are more people than not who believe it should remain undisturbed but there will likely be ongoing controversy for while yet. Moreover, artifacts continue to be unearthed (unoceaned?) and brought to the surface. Just recently, a few possessions of a key player in the Titanic tragedy, First Office William Murdoch, were discovered.
  • More than few things changed in both ship design and safety regulations because of the Titanic. Thanks to the Titanic, you won't have to worry about not having a seat on a lifeboat if your cruise ship sinks. And, speaking of cruising, who hasn't thought about the Titanic when standing on deck during your muster drill?
  • Sayings, such as "The Tip of the Iceberg" and "Women and Children First" are frequent reminders of the Titanic and what happened to her and her passengers and crew.
  • Since the Cameron film in the late 90s and leading up to this, the 100th anniversary of its sinking, the Titanic has become a fad. Everyone is interested in it now (as I write this, the banner on Google is a picture of the Titanic).
  • Many of us ponder what we would do in a similar circumstance; imagine the heartache of climbing into a lifeboat without our husband while he remains gamely on deck smiling reassuringly at us, all the while knowing he was likely to perish; or, the horror of searching for our missing child, or the panic and confusion and total chaos that ensued once people finally realized the ship really was going to sink.
Over the years, I've read many books about the Titanic, seen all of the movies and was lucky enough to see the traveling Titanic exhibit at a museum in Raleigh in 2003. My love of and interest in the Titanic was the primary reason I wanted to go on The Queen Mary II (in essence a "sister" ship of Titanic) for our honeymoon in 2005; to experience the glamour without any fear of the tragedy (thankfully we did not have that Italian "Chicken of the Sea" captain as ours).

Now that we'll soon be past the 100th anniversary of her sinking, I wonder if the interest will continue? What else will be discovered? What new theories put forth? Will the general public get bored once the landmark day of April 15th, 2012 has passed and no one will likely be around for the Bicentennial?

Somehow, I doubt it. I think she'll always be an object of fascination, and, thus, will continue to be remembered.

Mrs. B

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Going Without Facebook: A Reflection

I gave up Facebook for Lent this year (and, judging by the picture I found online to post with this entry, I was not the only one!)

This meant from February 21st (I started a few days early) to April 8th, I did not engage in an activity that, up to then, I'll admit I was somewhat addicted to. It's sort of scary to admit that; being relatively addicted to logging onto a social media site and both reading up on what all of my 100-odd so "friends" were up to and posting several times per day myself about what I was up to, or thought, or found interesting, etc. Giving what was going on in my life; how much time I had to spare, I was on Facebook off and on several hours over the course of a day. And, this meant I was in all likeliness on Facebook when I really should have been doing something else.

I'll have to admit, though, even as I was asserting that I was giving up something I truly loved (and I meant it), I was also thinking in the back of my mind that perhaps this was a good time to start weaning myself off Facebook a bit. Truth be told, there had been instances where I found myself more annoyed than entertained; sometimes downright pissed off. How silly is that, then? To constantly subject oneself to the possibility of getting angry. And, over what? Some other person's opinion on (fill in the blank) subject? The fact that no one was commenting on some picture I posted (or that someone did and I found what they said to be extremely inappropriate and even hurtful?)

Facebook is a social "place". And, as with other places where people hang out (school yards, classrooms, workplaces, parties), there is a degree of who is the popular one, who says all the witty things, who is trying to say all the witty things, who is being shunned, who is being insulted, who is being talked about, etc. And, because this is all online, people can be a lot more bold; "saying" things on Facebook that they'd never have the guts to say to a person's face.

Anyway. As I said. To be honest, I was not going to miss that aspect of Facebook.

What became important to me as I approached Lent was, what would I do with "all of the time" I'd be saving not being on Facebook? Well, true to form, I had a long list. I won't share the whole list here (15 items) but here is a sampling:

  • Help Mark/Business
  • Read
  • Blog
  • Write (as in WRITE)
  • Spend more time with family
  • Play with Lucy and the kitties
  • Help people "somehow"
  • Think and reflect
As it turned out, due primarily to the time of year and our personal circumstances, what I ended up doing, mostly, was assisting with the preparation of income taxes. Not exactly the spiritual intention of Lent, but, life happens.

For both fun and sad reasons, I also spent quite a bit of time with family and I was also able to blog here and there. Maybe I got a bit of "helping people somehow" in there as well, indirectly, I suppose.

Several times throughout the Lenten period, a family or friend would comment (via email), "I sure do miss you on Facebook!" Interestingly enough, with the exception of those few folks, I did not hear squat from the majority of my Facebook friends, even though my email is clearly posted on my profile page. What does this tell you? I'm not upset about it, mind. It's simply an observation. It's a lot easier to stay in touch with hundreds of people through a few key strokes on one site than to send personal emails, or a text, or make a phone call or, God forbid write an actual snail-mail letter. I'm not saying I'd be any different. In fact, during my absence from Facebook period, I was a dismal failure at another item on my list, "Write personal notes to family and friends". I wrote ONE (not including birthday cards and the like). What's important for me to take away from this observation is, if I decided to never go on Facebook again, although it may take awhile, I'd eventually get back to communicating via an alternative method with the people who really matter and factor into my life.

Because I am a disciplined soul, I was not really tempted to cheat and sneak a few peeks of what people were saying on Facebook during the six weeks. Maybe this means it wasn't a hard enough thing to "give up" or maybe it means I was committed to keeping my promise. In either case, I didn't do it. I was, however, able to post two things remotely onto Facebook. I thought about it and decided it wasn't cheating because I wasn't actually on Facebook, nor would I go onto Facebook to see if and what people had to say about it. These two things, one a tribute to Margot (a link to my Blog) on March 1st and the other a link to my FIL's obit, I felt people would want to read/know.

As an aside, it's a bit scary how many sites these days have a button these days of "Do You Want To Share This On Facebook?" It made me ponder if, eventually, every single thing we do will have this option. "You just saved $12.35 with coupons at Publix! Do you want to share this on Facebook?" "Your pap smear is negative! Do you want to share this on Facebook?" Your husband just told you your butt looks big in those pants. Do you want to share this on Facebook?"

But, I digress.

Don't get me wrong. There were many, many times I wished I could share a thought, or an article I'd read, or some pictures from this or that. And, I truly missed being "up on things". Even though I read the paper on a daily basis, I always found out more about what was going on in the world by being on Facebook. Yeah, sometimes I didn't CARE (e.g., about Tim Tebow), but, at least I knew who the heck he was. Oh, and at times some (what I thought was) a funny or amusing quip would go through my mind and I thought, "Gee, too bad I couldn't post that on Facebook". But, I'm sure all my friends survived without my humor and "wisdom".

So, Easter rolls around and a few people said, "Oh, you'll be able to get onto Facebook!" I was busy Easter Sunday and didn't log on until late that night. I checked my profile (new timeline, great, something new to learn) and read the several comments there in response to my two remote posts. I checked each of my lists (BFFs, Family, School Days, etc.) to see what all my peeps were up to. I uploaded a new profile picture (this took some time since the format has changed). I posted a status update. By then, I was exhausted and there is simply no way I'll be going back through the past six weeks to see what everyone posted. Just won't do it.

So, going forward. What will be different for me? Here is what I am hoping to do:

1. Limit my time on Facebook. Check it once or twice a day. Don't leave it up on my computer. Not read every single thing people post and feel I have to comment on same. Keep what I post to a minimum and this to things that are more about what's going on in my life; updates, pictures, etc., NOT my opinion on every darn thing.

2. Refrain from having Facebook stuff sent to my phone. In fact, I'll probably remove the app. I may still send an update from my phone from time to time (or a picture).

3. Absolutely positively never post anything offensive, rude or hurtful to anyone. Ditto with comments.

4. Post more of my Blog entries as opposed to links to this or that article, site, etc. This way, I can keep my focus on writing/blogging (e.g., like I'm doing right now).

5. Get rid of Pinterest. Ok, technically, Pinterest isn't Faceook, but it seems somewhat connected to me and It's another time suck that I do not need.

I could probably add a few more but this pretty much covers it.

I guess I cannot end this entry without addressing why I'm even going back to Facebook. in the end, I still believe it's a great way to keep in touch with both people I know and what's going on in the world. I have learned many things from Facebook activity over the almost four years I've been on it (thanks to the new timeline version, I now know that I joined Facebook on September 27th, 2008). And, I think it's important to keep up with the way the world is or else I'm apt to get run over and passed up by the people coming up behind me. That's not something I'm ready to do.


Mrs. B