3 days 3 quotes challenge

People say the most interesting things don’t they? I just love quotes so last month when I was challenged to participate in the 3 days 3 quotes challenge from a blogger friend,  masgautsen  over at The thoughts of life and me, I couldn’t wait to jump in. Yeah right, you might be thinking! Well here I am a month later. Quotes have been swimming around in my mind so I decided that today is the day to take the challenge.

Here are the three simple rules:

  1. Post 3 of your favorite quotes, 1 per day, for 3 consecutive days. The quotes can be from other people or may come straight from your heart.
  2. Nominate 3 bloggers to participate in the challenge.
  3. Don’t forget to thank the person who nominated you.

First, let me thank masgauten for this challenge. Ordinarily this might be something I would take a pass on but if you follow my blog you might have noticed that I actually enjoy these often witty and thought provoking one liners. I am certain it stems from my father who had a variety of quotes he used to keep us kids in line as well as inspire us to follow a straight path. In honor of him I will offer my first quote. This is something he often told us:

It all depends on where you sit how the picture looks

I just love that quote! It is a such a great reminder that we don’t all see the things in quite the same way. I have searched for the actual author of this marvelous quote but unable to confirm it. Possibly Dad cleaned it up a bit and took it from a line in the book by Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye.  That would make sense as he was an avid reader. Regardless, it is a favorite of mine-in fact our entire family!

 Let me say that  will in no way be offended should you not choose to accept the challenge. Accept only if you would enjoy doing so. If anyone else would like to take the opportunity to take part, please feel free to jump in!

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Looks good from here!

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(1st quote)

A Mother’s Day letter to Mom

A mom is such a special person. Mom’s seem to care about all of those little things that probably don’t much matter to anyone else. Yes, they care about the big stuff too but somehow since you have been gone, it is  the little things that I miss the most.

When the kids were young I would call you for advice or just to listen.  As I have grown older (and so have my own children) I began to realize how tired you must have been coming home from a long day at work. You still had dinner to cook,  teenagers to deal with, a house to keep up, and many other things pulling at you, but somehow, you always made time for my phone calls. When maybe all you wanted to do was soak in a warm bath, you found the time to listen to me anguish over parent teacher conferences,  unexplained rashes or fevers,  parenting, and anything else that I called about. You always remembered to follow up after doctor appointments or check in on that headache that wouldn’t go away. You never forgot a birthday and as sure as the sun rose in the morning there would be an Easter, Halloween, or Valentine card in the mail for each grandchild. You understood the thrill those little ones felt from getting a piece of mail addressed to each one of them. And yet..how did you know to do this this? You did not have the childhood of story books or a mother you could call when you were raising six young children. How did you know to braid our hair or polish shoes for Sunday school? Who taught you how to help with homework or play Candy Land and Old Maid? It could not have been easy and yet…you seemed to do it all with such expertise that one would have thought you learned these things from your own mother-which sadly we knew was not the case.

You were my champion in the (so called) fight to grow up. While we had an amazing father (many could only dream of), he was strict as well as loving. You were there, the quiet force behind the man, guiding us to independence and  knowing that letting a bird fly free would allow them to grow. And we did. You were the heart of our father. Together you taught us respect, honesty, faith, integrity, kindness, patience, and most of all love.

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I miss you, Mom. I miss those phone calls.

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I miss our breakfasts together and sitting around the dining room table with you. You never sought the limelight but always allowed us to shine. You seemed to bask in our successes and loved us through our failures. You bandaged our scrapes and held us when we cried. You supported us every step of the way and I have tried to follow your example. When deciding what to do I often reflect on how you might have handled a situation and follow your lead. You never pried and never offered unsolicited advice-which I am still working on.

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As we face another Mother’s Day without you I am reminded of how much you were loved and of how much you are missed. I am grateful for the years we had together. I know you are at peace. I am very grateful to have had you as my mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom

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I love you.

 

 

Reading, books, and other random thoughts.

I love to read! Let me clarify that… I loved to read. In recent years I have found it difficult to get through a book. I no longer invest the time it takes to complete an actual book. Why is that I have wondered. I have spent all of my life reading every book I could get my hands on, every cereal box placed in front of me, just about anything with the printed word!

So why now, when I actually have time to read has it become such a chore?

Let me go back to how my love of reading began.  It started with my father. My father was one of the smartest and most well read people I have ever known.  He grew up in a in a rural area during the Great Depression.  He only completed the eighth grade before he was called home to work full time on the farm. Probably not uncommon for many kids of the era. By the age of 15, he fled his home (with the blessing of his mother), to enlist in the US Navy and his ‘real’ education began. Perhaps it was during this time he developed a thirst for knowledge and a love of reading, I don’t really know. I do know he read everything you could imagine. It makes me wonder if his life had been different what doors might have been opened to him!!

Not only did he share his love of reading, Dad introduced us to poetry. He read to us about the moon being the North wind’s cookie, about the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat,  The Owl and the Pussycat  (who went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat) but his very favorite was anything written by Robert W. Service.

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This poet wrote of the gold-seeking days of the Yukon. When I was in the 7th grade there was an all school speech contest. While others entrants were focusing on Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Longfellow, and other more conventional poets, he encouraged a very shy me to enter and memorize the entire saga of The Cremation of Sam McGee. Perhaps not a junior high school literary choice by some but I actually won first place with that poem. To this day I can still recite most of it (but cannot remember my bank password)! The following year we moved on to The Ballad of Salvation Bill but no prize. Since it is a story about a crusty old drunken prospector and a preacher, the novelty might have been lost on the judges that year.

I  still have my father’s treasured poetry books.

We were not allowed to read comic books because Dad said if you were going to read, read a real book (he excluded the Sunday funny papers from this rule). Because of him, some my earliest memories are the hours spent in libraries. Having a library card was like having a golden key to a wide world of possibilities. I worked my way through The Bobbsey Twins,

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Ellen Tibbetts,  Henry Huggins (and Ribsy),  Trixie Beldon, The Happy Hollisters, and just about anything else. As a pre-teen, I moved on to Nancy Drew, the famous girl sleuth.

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Next came The Hardy Boys.  I loved mysteries! I was scouring school libraries and exploring all of the library branches I could talk my parents into driving me to. I checked out the maximum number of books allowed and read most of them. I grew up in a time when you did not own many books but the ones I had-I read them over and over!! I was never without a book in my hands.

In high school we were required to read many books.

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The Iliad, The Odessy, Grapes of Wrath (which turned out to be my all time favorite book) The Jungle, The Great Gatsby, Anne Frank, Catcher in the Rye, and many more. The required reading continued in college. Don Quixote, Canterbury Tales. Malcom X-I was just never as fond of reading when it was required. I read many of the classics such as; Hans Brinker, Heidi, Jane Eyre, John Steinbeck, Moby Dick, Treasure Island, To Kill a Mockingbird, Black Beauty, Mark Twain-some as a child, some by choice-others required. My first grown-up type novel was when I “borrowed” an Ian Flemming-James Bond book.

I probably said good bye to the books of my youth after that.

And then I became a mom. Although I liked  the popular fiction of the day-Love Story, The Exorcist,  Jonathan Livingston Seagull,  James Michener books,  Looking For Mr Goodbar, and  The Thornbirds  …

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Dr. Seuss, The Berenstain Bears, Goodnight Moon, and Where The Wild Things Are now became a huge part of my reading.  When my kids had required reading (and long  faces) we would read together.  I was now reading Newbery and Caldecott Medal books while trying to inspire them to enjoy reading as much as I did. I  too was reading them poetry with their favorite being The Spider and the Fly. When the romance novels came on the scene I was hooked. Sea Captains, castles, Southern  mansions-the longer the saga the better. Later it was popular fiction authors such as; Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, Dean Knootz,  Jean Auel, John Grishman, David Baldacci, Jeffery Archer, and Nelson DeMille. I spent many nights turning just one more page.

So subtly did my love of reading slow down I didn’t notice for awhile. My coworkers shared books around the office. It seemed to take me forever to complete so I stopped accepting them. No longer did I ask for a particular book or bookstore gift card for my birthday. My friends, who are avid readers, made some fabulous suggestions and I would dutifully jot down the titles with the best of intentions of reading them. I would reserve books at the library, scour the bookshelves of friends and family, frequent the second hand book shops and read book reviews.  I read a few of them. Some I started but never finished. If I did finish a book it might take me months to turn that last page. I still love books and have a pile just waiting for me. I have a collection of antique books. I still check out books from the library.

I want to read, I really do. It isn’t for poor eyesight, overdue library fines, time, or lack of good titles to select from…

So what is it?

I have no idea.

A Father’s Day tribute to my Dad

Father’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. Without a father to celebrate with it is just not the same. It does, however, allow me to reflect on the wonderful father that I was so blessed to have.

I am the oldest of 6 children. We are a very close group!  Although very close to both of our parents, the relationship with our dad (and I am sure I can speak for all of my siblings) was very special. He was the soul of the family, the hugger, the kisser, the listener, the head of the family.

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Dad and I had our share of battles during my teenage years. The issues were nail polish, make up, dating, and all the other rights of passage. My mother (sweet incredible woman that she was) was somewhat old-fashioned in the sense that Dad had the last say on most issues. I am sure she was a quiet force behind the scenes but growing up in the era that we did, the man of the house was…well, the man of the house!   He was most reluctant to allow me to grow into a free-spirited teenager which included me wearing sensible shoes (for good arch support) rather than the styles of the day. Despite all of this I survived-and better for it I like to think.

Dad was a hard worker and a good provider. It must have been hard but we never went without. He did not have a high school diploma having been raised during the depression and was needed to help out on the farm. He was, however, one of the smartest people I have ever met. Not only did he have good common sense, he was self-taught on just about any subject because of his love for reading and hunger for knowledge. He worked 6 days each week, was loved by his co-workers, customers, friends, and most of all by his family. He taught us the value of hard work and the rewards it offers.  Dad would say there was nothing like ending a day tired and knowing a job was well done. Each evening when he arrived home he would embrace our mom in a big hug  to give her a great big kiss! My friends were astonished when they saw this as many of them had never seen their parents show affection to each other. Then in turn, he would kiss each one of us. He taught us to show love and affection.

Dad also instilled into us to be honest. The  value of telling the truth ranked very high with him. Honesty, integrity, and fairness. He was our guide. He was loving but we knew the boundaries.

As adults we still had the great love and respect for him. He was not our friend, he was our dad and as our dad he was one of a kind. We could laugh, talk, argue, or whatever but before we went to bed at night or left for our own homes, he would kiss us good-night and his love was ever faithful.

With his love of reading we became readers. With his love of poetry we learned to love poetry. With his kindness we learned to give kindness. He taught his four daughters to be women and his two sons to be men. He always had a joke to tell and loved talking about life. He loved sitting at the head of the dinner table-to look out over his family and count his blessings.   He always cooked the Thanksgiving turkey, made the stuffing, cooked the roasts throughout the year and when he retired he even learned to bake.

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Our parents were married almost 50 years before he died.  While he was the head of the family, our mom was his heart.

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A few years ago we had our parents laid to rest at  Arlington National Cemetery and his last wish was fulfilled. He was in the Navy during WWII.  He was shown all the respect due each and every one of our servicemen and women.

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Dad, I miss you. I am so thankful that God picked you to be my father. I am sorry I kept you up nights worrying. Thank you for your heart for family. You taught me so much.

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I love you, Dad.

 

 

 

 

Do It Yourself

Have you ever had to watch your husband, significant other , or father “fix” something? If they are out of their area of expertise, it can be quite painful for the observer (or the gopher). I can remember my mom suffering through the home improvement projects that my father took on-some with more success than others. Not everyone has the fix it gene.

Things have not changed much (except no You Tube videos for my dad). When our dryer stopped heating, I suggested Thommmee try watching a YouTube video and see if he could fix it himself rather than spend the money calling out a repair tech. Reluctantly he agreed and was pleasantly surprised to find it did not look that difficult. He jumped online and ordered the part (which took a week to arrive while the laundry piled higher). The part came today just before I got home. I walked in to find the dryer pulled apart and him cursing up a storm.

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I tried to help where I could but mostly just tried to stay out of the way.

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I offered to get the Swiffer to clean the inside but that suggestion was not met favorably. (He finally got the hand-held vacuum and took care of business). Other than handing him a few key items, he managed to replace the igniter without much difficulty. I swept up and before you knew it mission accomplished. The dryer is working. A load of clothes is busily washing away and we will soon have a load of clothes in the dryer (and clean socks).

thI am so proud of Thommmee. I really thought he could do it-and he did!