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Hurrah!  This is not about Germany, and of course we are back in Virginia.

In spite of falling asleep at odd times for close to a week, I am semi alert and almost fully functioning.

Next:  A Family Visit

And having emerged from tracking in the footsteps of the ancients, I am  now enjoying the excitement of a visit from our son and three grandgirls.

They are volatile, young, fun, and sort of tornadic.

Black BearA Bear Stops By for a Look

To add to the excitement, a bear came for a visit too and my middle grandgirl, Kendall, fearlessly dashed out on the deck to get a picture!  The bear admired her beauty for a minute and then headed for the woods.

Celebrating Birthdays

Two of the three girls share close together birthdays, so we are celebrating those too.  Their birthday dinner request is always for Hungarian Paprikash, a kind of stewed chicken with “knuckles.”

When my brother and I were little we could not pronounce the word  Nokedli (little dumplings) so we called them Knuckles, and that stuck (the word, not the dumplings). And I still cannot pronounce Nokedli.

On a sad note:

Our old friend, Buddy died while we were in Germany and today was his Celebration of Life.  Buddy did not want us to mourn but to remember him with happiness.  We loved him so and had so many years of grand laughter and shared kindness.  The memories are many and we are grateful for that friendship and to continue it now with his daughter, Pam and the rest of his family.

Bill and Buddy

Bill and Buddy

To the Drive-in Movie

This evening our son and grandgirls are headed for Hull’s Drive-In Movie Theatre.  Remember those?

Tonight’s weather prediction is for FROST!   I will stay home in a warm place for dozing and predict they will not make it through the first feature.

Virginia Safari Park

Virginia Safari Park

 

Safari Park

Tomorrow is dedicated to pumpkin carving and a traditional visit to Safari Park, where we have been going since the girls were little.  No visit is complete without high pitched screaming in the car when an emu or other big critter sticks its head through the window for a little more snacking!

The Shock and Awe of Silence

When everybody leaves our home and life returns to a normal routine, I may be accosted by the shock and awe of silence.  But for now, it feels like an extension of our vacation and a time to contemplate the joyful ties of family and friends.

 

 

 

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Bert and Friend

Bert and Friend

Good Old Days -Dor, Litle Brother and Cousins

Good Old Days -Dor, Little Brother Steve and Cousins Charlotte and Bert

This is a Random ONE Friday since there was only one momentous event this week.

Bert and his beautiful wife, Rita, came for a visit!

Bert is my “long lost cousin.”

How did so much time go by?

I haven’t seen Bert in about 40 years.

But time stopped this week, and there they were!

And it was as if we were still children, talking, talking, laughing, laughing, and eagerly reliving visits to each others’ homes, silly summers, beaches, feeding the pigeons, and rehashing old family stories.

We didn’t forget Bill of course, but Bill is a wonderful listener.

And we didn’t forget Rita either.  Rita is a wonderful talker.

Buffalo Creek View 1

Buffalo Creek

We went on tour of our rural Virginia neighborhood with a stop to visit a lonesome horse.

And onward we meandered down a country road along the Buffalo Creek.

It was a one lane road with the creek on one side and steep cliff walls on the other.

Rita and a Lonesome Horse

Rita and a Lonesome Horse

And then it was off to downtown Lexington, Virginia to the old Robert E. Lee Hotel.

The old girl is now upscale and POSH (not me – the hotel).   It was a rundown place before but has recently been restored to modern day glamour.

There are New York style revolving doors at the entrance and the only thing missing is a doorman! And in the lobby are original recessed telephone booths to retain the historical flavor of the place.

Robert E Lee Hotel

Photo of Robert E. Lee Hotel by http://www.expedia.com

There is also a jewelry store in town (Hess & Co.) in a rennovated building that was once a bank.  I often take folks there to see the old thick vaults from the good old days.  Above the vaults at ceiling level, are little inside windows.  Bank guards used to sit behind those windows with rifles pointed and ready to shoot at potential robbers!

Can you see the ceiling-high windows in the back?  I love it that Hess is not only a wonderful jewelry store in the middle of Lexington, Virginia, it is also a historical fixture.

Hess n Co

Anyway, there just wasn’t enough time to see all there is to see and do in my part of the world, but the visit was fast (maybe too fast) and so much fun.

And that’s my Random One.  And it was all about my long lost cousin!

Notes: 

The Robert E. Lee Hotel is a six-story luxury hotelbuilt in 1926 in Lexington, Va. The recently restored classic hotel has thirty-nine guest rooms,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge

Today Was a Good Day

Show us what makes you happy.  Share your ideal day, recount a memorable day in the past, or share your favorite things.

B,D&Girls onTractor

This photo was taken here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  It was at a time when our grandgirls were little and loved the joy of a ride on a tractor.

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salt-shaker-pouring-400x400“The cook is not in love.”

That’s what my unforgettable Hungarian Dad used to tell us (with a smile) at the dinner table.  He claimed it was a popular saying from the old country that meant the cook (in this case, my mother) did not put enough salt in the food.  I have never heard that again but I always taste and re-taste to avoid the label “not in love.”

Lately, I have been thinking of all the sage words of wisdom my parents offered us kids growing up.  The parents are long gone now but many of their beliefs and admonitions live on.  And surprisingly, I think much of my life is still parent-directed (or maybe mis-directed as the case may be).

Dad used to say,

“Never visit a person’s home without bringing a gift – bread, wine or candy.”

Yep.  I do that.  If you were thinking of inviting me over, you may be in for a treat.

Chocolate 1

“Never borrow.  Never go into debt.  Pay CASH.”

Do credit cards count if I pay them on time?   Always do.  No debt here Pop.  Nope.  No debt here.

“Do not get FAT.  Your husband will divorce you.” 

Uh oh.  Well Dad, I am  “pleasingly plump” and  still married.  However, due to that warning I am always a bit worried about a slimmer woman taking over.

Weight

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“Do not sit by an open door or window during a thunder storm. And do not pat a dog.  Dog’s attract LIGHTNING!” 

No wonder I head for the closet!  Used to blame it on the dog’s fear though.

 “Allow for cross ventilation in a hurricane or the wind will take the roof off.  Be sure to open two windows.”

We lived in Florida and had hurricanes.  Dunno if Dad’s observation was true but a roof is important right? I don’t live in Florida or even in a hurricane prone area, but still keep two windows cracked just in case.

“Only FOOLS sing at the dinner table.” 

Does humming count?  I can’t carry a tune, so maybe he invented that one to ensure silence.

But Dad wasn’t the only one who came up with interesting cautions and observations.

Mom said,

“You are not really old until you are 60.  It’s all downhill after that.”

Uh oh.   Thanks A LOT Mom.  It’s  definitely a steep decline.

“Always carry a dime for an emergency telephone call.”

Huh?  I suppose now it would be, “Don’t forget your cell phone!”

“Don’t be an OMELET!” 

Can you guess what she meant by that?

“He’s a big Butter and Egg man.” 

How about THAT?

“There is no excuse for bad manners.”  

Agreed.

“Don’t be a doormat.”

(Stand up for yourself)  Agreed.

After a cursory revisit to the words of wisdom of my parents, I have concluded it may not really be the sins of the fathers or mothers that shape our lives, but the sayings.

What did your parents say to influence your life today?

Note:  The cartoon of the woman on a scale is from an unknown source.  It came to me in an email and I cannot make out the bottom credit.

 

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Friday arrives too quickly to invent mysterious melodrama.  However, if you read these mundane Ranblin’ Randoms, you may discover, hidden among them, some secret messages about preserving youth.

We had dinner with old friends at an old place we all used to love.

Over the years, the four of us went regularly to a favorite restaurant elegantly decorated in Colonial style.  New owners have stripped the drapes and painted the walls light green.  They added an enormous bar, and we’re told they plan to rip out the carpeting and add all hardwood flooring.  We were stunned and a bit saddened by the new décor, but the people were warm and caring and the food was warm and good.  They say to stay young, you have to tolerate change.  Thus, in the interest of maintaining youth, we decided to return another day for another fine meal in somewhat stark splendor.

Before

Before

Herman’s Produce again.

I returned for the best tasting tomatoes, homegrown garlic, the prettiest eggplant ever, and “donut peaches.”  Wow!  If you haven’t tried these sweet little babies, now is the time. Summertime and the living is easy, especially when you have  farmer’s market resources like in Lexington, Virginia.   Note:  Trying new things will keep you young or at least keep you in a state of shocked adaptation.

Can you find the donut peaches?

Can you find the donut peaches?

Our weather forecasts have been consistently Hot/Muggy/Stormy.

But the local forecast for tomorrow is simply written as “Beautiful.”  That’s nice because Noche (the German Shepherd) and Judy (my niece) are arriving tomorrow for a farewell visit before they move to California.  We have become attached to Noche of course and have always been attached to Judy.  I’m afraid there will be tears at the close of their visit.  But in the interest of preserving youth, we must accept the ravages of change.  And I do plan to go out kicking and screaming, “NO!!!!!”

Judy and Noche on a previous visit

Judy and Noche on a previous visit

This week featured a trip to the dentist. 

Speaking of kicking and screaming, clean teeth are” in.”

Tooth Selfie

Tooth Selfie

And after a visit to the dentist my teeth are Vogue-cover worthy and no cavities either!  Chancy is the best dental hygienist ever, but she just got married.  That means I worry about her longevity (in the dentist’s office that is).  Babies have a way of changing things.  Of course personal longevity is at stake too, so in the interest of at least looking young via bright white teeth, I continue to take my chances with Chancy.

Replacing the Bathroom Floor

On the Way to New FloorFinally, we are replacing a much abused 26 year old master bathroom floor! Two of our expert handy-person friends are working on it now.  My own preparations included finding a place for everything where there is already no room.  There are now items like the bathroom scale in the clothes closet, extra toilet paper in the kitchen cupboard, shampoo in underwear drawers, and lotions and medicines in the linen closet.  I hope to relocate such items and restore them to their proper places in the bathroom before Judy arrives tomorrow or she may be in for a shock.

All my floors are pristine and germ free of course, because germs are the roots of all evil and the cause of premature death.  Notice that Paranoia is not included (but maybe should be) in the following list.

In case you missed any of the hidden messages though, here’s a summary of how to live a long and happy life:

Get a good dental hygienist.

Avoid germs.

Get a dog.

Don’t let family move far away.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Get a dog.

Try new things.

Accept change.

“Go with the flow.”

Get a dog,

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Full etching

Artist EtchingWriting on EtchingWhen tragically, my sister-in-law was killed by a drunk driver, Bill and I and our son, Corky, tried to salvage those of her personal effects we thought would always remind us of Carol.

Our son rescued an etching which is now residing at our house. Carol must have loved this remarkable piece and the more we look at it, the more astonished and enthralled we are.  It is intensely beautiful in a unique way.

Rothenberg Clock Tower

Etching Details on BackThe etching is of a street beneath a clock tower in the medieval German town of Rothenburg.  The  mesmerizing image is a night scene, where under a clear starry sky, musicians are dancing and playing.

Etching Musicians

There is light coming from a nearby window and the silvery glow of moonlight creates shadows on the street. The old buildings’ flower boxes emit muted color through the evening’s glow.  And the whole effect is transfixing and transporting.

But the oddest thing about this story is that Bill and I are now planning a trip to Europe.

And before we had even seen or acquired this remarkable etching, we had arranged a tour of Rothenburg!

So, we will see the old city and maybe even find the very street where Carol walked and where the artist must have enjoyed the inspiration.

Rothenberg Flower Boxes

Rothenburg on the Romantic Road is perhaps the best preserved medieval town in Germany and the entire walled town is considered a living museum.  The wall connects five medieval gates complete with guard towers that date from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.  Gothic, renaissance,  and baroque houses and fountains are highlights of the town as you walk its cobblestone streets.

 

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Mist in the Treetops

My friend, Debbie at The Mountain Kitchen  just wrote a great story about a water pump problem at their house.  There are  emotions that come with sudden water loss and she tells a mesmerizing tale.  At the end her post brought back memories of an incident at our house that still makes me laugh.  Country living does have its challenges.

It was a summer weekend when we lost our water.  Isn’t it always?  And to make things worse, our son and family (with three young grandgirls) were visiting and we couldn’t even call a plumber until Monday!

We had lived here long enough to know that several things happen when there is no water :

  • There is nothing to drink.
  • Cooking becomes problematical.
  • Washing up from cooking becomes problematical.
  • There is nothing to wash bodies with.
  • Sanitation becomes problematical.
  • The toilets will not flush.

bucketThere are also steps that can be taken to survive the above crisis:

  • Buy bottled water.
  • Bring in water from the pool to flush toilets.
  • Eat out.
  • Use sanitary wipes to wash bodies.
  • Go to a motel.

But we were facing surviving the weekend (or longer) with a total of seven bodies in the house.

The visiting family had two choices:

  • You will not hurt our feelings if you pack up and go home now, or
  • You can stick it out.
prepforshtf.com Water Storage and Procurement

prepforshtf.com
Water Storage and Procurement

Oddly enough, they decided to stick it out.

  • We trucked buckets of water in from the pool for three bathrooms.
  • We rented a motel room about 2 miles down the road (for showers only).
  • We bought tons of bottled water.
  • We bought tons of paper plates, plastic glasses, and utensils.
  • Don’t ask me what we did for meals!
  • And we stuck it out until Monday.

On Monday morning I drove to town to get more drinking water and Bill called our Farmer’s Co-Op for help.

And when I got home, 30 minutes later,  the water was on!

“What was it?” I asked Bill.

“It was a switch,” he answered with a wry grin.

“A switch!?  But we did check the breaker box!”

“Yep, it was only a switch.”

Evidently the man from our farmer’s cooperative came out right away.  The first (and only) thing he did was to inspect the breaker boxes.  He noticed there was another little box across the room.  We forgot about that one!  It was an emergency box that was installed for a new generator.

And the Co-op Man found it and flipped  the switch that was plainly marked, WATER!

Such is life in the country .

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SilhouetteI have been on a “diet” most of my life and am always shocked at how many different approaches there are to achieving a slim profile.   I think my slimmest profile was probably at birth because the search for a foolproof diet has never ended.

Well imagine my delight when looking through a box of old memories I stumbled upon forgotten words of wisdom from my long-departed mother.  The yellowed crackly piece of paper inspired my imagination.  I had found a long lost treasure on how to lose weight.

Talk about excited!

I was so thrilled I immediately began retyping the whole thing – for you, my friends, who may also be in search of a diet with a guarantee. And I graciously accept your words of gratitude (in advance) for sharing this with you now.

A WEIGHT LOSS DIET GUARANTEED TO WORK

BECAUSE MY WISE OLD MOM ONCE TOLD ME SO:

Monday

Breakfast – Weak tea.

Lunch – One bouillon cube, half cup diluted water.

Dinner – One pigeon thigh, 3 ounces prune juice (gargle only).

Tuesday

Breakfast – Scraped crumbs of burnt toast.

Lunch – One doughnut hole without sugar, one glass dehydrated water.

Dinner – One fish egg – shad or sturgeon (minced).

Wednesday

Breakfast – Shredded egg shell skins.

Lunch – Belly button from navel orange.

Dinner – 3 eyes from Irish potatoes (diced).

Thursday

Breakfast – Half ounce strained unflavored jello with one peeled grape.

Lunch – Half dozen poppy seeds.

Dinner – Bee’s knees and mosquito knuckles sauté with vinegar.

Friday

Breakfast – Two lobster antennae.

Lunch – One guppy fin.

Dinner – Fillet of soft shelled crab claw.

Saturday

Breakfast – Four chopped banana seeds.

Lunch – Broiled butterfly liver.

Dinner – Jellyfish vertebrae a la bookbinder.

Sunday

Breakfast – Pickled hummingbird tongues.

Lunch – Prime ribs of tadpole and aroma of empty custard pie plate.

Dinner – Tossed paprika and clover leaf (one).

Notice:  All meals to be eaten under microscope to avoid extra portions.

Good luck with this diet my friends.

You have now met my Mom, whose sense of humor was one of her most remarkable traits.

She is long gone to her better place, but comes back to me in strange and wonderful ways.

Silhouette of successful weight loss figure from www.fatlossmentality.com .

 

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This is Photo Story #4 for the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge.  The rules are to post a photo a day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo.  It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph.  Oh yes,  and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.  Today I nominate Ana of Celebrating Sunshine, who has a blog that shines with a truly happy outlook on life. 

A Walk on the Wild Side - Our Forest

Beyond my home there is a forest glen

where hoof prints and purple shadows

 line a path of dappled shade and sun

deep with a woodland reverie.

Come upon a rustic bench for resting

a place where you can think unfurled.

Sit there,

where you can hear the world.

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Horse Hat Rack 1A

This is Photo Story #3 for the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge.  The rules are to post a photo a day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo.  It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph.  Oh yes,  and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.  Today I nominate Eliza Waters who once sent me a surprise gift.  Thank you again Eliza.

There is a strange tradition in my family.  We do not send gifts at expected times.  And we only send peculiar, laughter producing, or  perfect things calculated to insert the element of awe into our lives.

One of those awesome surprise gifts came yesterday.  It was in a giant box that weighed heavily and was filled with a whole lot of bubble wrap.

There is just no describing the heart-quickening excitement that comes from opening an unexpected mysterious package.

The return address was not familiar.  A secret admirer maybe?  One never loses hope even into extreme maturity.

We had not ordered anything, so I must say I was puzzled.  Could this be a mistaken delivery of gold bullion from Fort Knox?

Aha!  It is a Coat/Hat Rack – but not just any old hat rack.  And then I guessed who sent it.

This is another one of those delightfully unexpected, unconventional, perfect gifts from my brother and sister-in-law!

  • The four horses fit right in since we live in a rural area of Virginia devoted to equestrian activities.
  • The steeds are all looking back as if to say, “Happy Days are Here Again.”  That’s an old song.  Do you know it?
  •  We are a family of dedicated travelling companions and enjoy each others’ company, so the plaque symbolizes all of us together and “on the road again.”
  • There is only one fair person in our human group and there is only one fair horse in the hat rack.
  • The four horses and their “business ends” perfectly represent my fun-loving brother who is famous for taking pictures of the back sides of all varieties of living things.
  • And in the end  (pun intended), this perfect gift is a happy reminder of love and the importance of family.

There is something to be said for giving unconventional gifts at non-traditional times of the year.

Thank you Steve and Viv!  I am not disappointed (well, maybe sort of) there were no gold bars in this package and Bill and I both love the hat rack!

And we can’t wait to see you both again as we ride fly off together into the sunset.

 

Notes:

Although I was born long after 1932, I do know that the song, “Happy Days Are Here Again” was Franklin Roosevelt’s selection for a campaign song that debuted during the 1932 Democratic Convention.  He was the first President to choose a pre-existing song for a campaign and it became the Democratic Party unofficial theme song for years to come.  

“On the Road Again” is a song made famous by country music  singer Willie Nelson and was one of his most recognizable tunes.

For some reason, I am into quoting old songs for blog posts.  

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