Friday, December 31, 2010

Something To Do With Change

Dear Diary, 

I'm not sure what a New Years Resolution is.  But I think it has something to do with change.  So while everybody else is making their list...  I've decided to do my part...

1.  I will wait until after 7:30 am to start scratching my ears and licking my butt.  

2.  I won't jump up on Rissie the minute she walks in the door.

3.  I will not jump in Mom's chair as soon as she gets up to go to another room.  I'll jump in Dad's chair instead.

4.  Okay.  I won't jump in Dad's chair either.

5.  When it comes time to clean my ears, I'll sit passively and allow Mom to dump that wet stuff down my ears and massage them... and I won't get up and go crazy, rubbing them all over the carpet and pillows.

6. Barking at passersby is out of the question.  I will pretend there is no one outside of my window walking down the street.  I will convince myself that it is a figment of my imagination.  

7.  I will sleep in Gracie's bed at night.

8.  I will stay away from all bugs.

9.  I will not chew up any of Rissie's toys.

10.  I will not beg for chocolate.  I know it's off limits.  

In Return, I am asking that Mom and Dad do a little changing of their own.  

I mean, a dog like me deserves a little respect.  Don't you agree?  


Happy New Year Everyone!

  May 2011 be Blessed beyond Measure!!

An Unfair Advantage

My sister sister Angie is two years older than me.  We were close growing up.  She was born with a hole in her heart and had to have several surgeries as a child.  Mom and Dad were often back and forth from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with Angie.  Sometimes they would take me along...  because I wanted to be with them.  Mom said I was always good, and she didn't mind taking me.  Though I was very young, I can remember it quite vividly.  The medicine-like smell, the pictures that other children had colored that were plastered over a big glass window leading to a play area for the children, the huge, consoling statue of Christ that welcomed us into the hospitals lobby, and my sister lying in a bed smiling, relishing her presents and the attention she was getting at six years of age.  

Now one time, for some reason, they had to take the train to Baltimore (and we were very poor).  "You are five years old," Mom schooled Angie on her sudden age-change before getting onto the train.  When a child turned six, a ticket needed to be purchased.  When it came time to collect tickets, the conductor asked Angie how old she was.  "Well," she answered.  "I'm five when I'm on the train, and six when I'm not on the train."  Mom was appalled.  

Angie never got married or had a family.  She was the only one of seven children who went to college.  She teaches Social Studies but has also taught English Literature (I think) at a middle school in the Annapolis area.  

And she has convinced me to play 'Words with Friends' with her via my IPod Touch.  

The game's great... almost identical to Scrabble.... and you can make your word whenever you have free time - then it's the next persons turn.  As you can see on the screen, Angie is winning this game.  She wins them all.  When she was here over Christmas, I'd notice her tinkering around with her IPhone... I thought she was texting.  It turns out she has a half a dozen games going with different people.  

I'm humoring her, and playing along.  But I think she has an unfair advantage.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Was Spooked

Let me start this post by saying "I don't spook easily".
God and His goodness are my life's focus, and I steer clear of anything that would attempt to refute that. 
 I know that I know that I know...  God is Good.

The house that I grew up in is now owned by our then neighbor.  She's a good person.  She purchased the house from my mom years ago... because it is right beside her own property.  

Every Christmas they turn on their display... the most awesome Christmas display in town, I'd say.  (Mom would be so proud.)  

Growing up, I remember when they burned the house next door (on the other side) to the ground and made it into a cemetery.  Nothing unusual for us though.  It was just an extension of the cemetery above our house.  So we had a cemetery above and beside our home.  Again...  no big deal.  We were used to it.  Tombstones began to appear, and soon the cemetery beside us was very.... ahem...  un-lived in... if you know what I mean.

Okay.  I'm leading up to something here.  

My sister was in from Annapolis this week.  We had so much fun.   We were leaving my daughter's apartment last night and I said to her... "Why don't we stop and check out the home place?"  And so we did.

It was quiet on the hill.  A clear night with no one around.  We carefully walked the path that once led to our outhouse...  then around what used to be our house...

The display was even prettier from this side of the street.  A wonderland... really!!  I didn't get the pictures I wanted to get... And they did not do it justice at all...

Picture below:  The window on the left was our bedroom window growing up.  It looks eerie, don't you think?  Like someone might be looking out. I didn't think anything about it till I saw yet another one of the pictures that I took.... I don't think anyone actually lives in the house.

Walking around the house, I noticed a huge dog cage with a big white bull dog-type standing erect and staring at us.  It did not bark, just stared.  Spooky if you ask me, the way it stared, motionless.  "Angie, do you see that dog?" I asked.  She didn't see it.  I was starting to think he was not real, because he didn't move.  Just stared.   We stood there for a minute and he and I had a stare-off.  He didn't budge.  "Is that dog real?" I asked.   Careful not to slip on the ice, we made our way to our neighbors house and knocked on the door.  The dog began to bark.  There was no answer and Angie had just got a text message that our nephew and his family were meeting at my place... so we couldn't wait around.  

We began walking back up the driveway...

Stopping for a few pictures...  

So many memories in this old house...

Wonderful, fun, good memories...

OKAY >  You tell me.  What happened here?  
The night was still and clear.  No fog.  No noise.  No people.  Stars bright in the sky. What happened with this picture?
I looked at it after I took it... "hmm  I wonder why that one didn't take...." I said, thinking I must have moved...
But when I got home and loaded it onto my computer, I could see that it wasn't in how I was holding the camera... but rather something there...  ???

I know, there has to be an explanation.  But last night, I will admit.  I was spooked.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Smile... You're On Candid Camera

About last night

Christmastime... a time to reflect... a time for family... a time for practical jokes.

Three of the sisters and my son's fiance, Jess got together for some Password fun.  While my older sister went to the bathroom, we decided to quickly share the next four words, and put them onto our cell phones so we'd remember.  When she came back it was all we could do to contain ourselves and keep a straight face.

Me: "God"


Jess: "Image"

high five

Me: "Are we good, or what?!"

Jess: "Citizen..."

Me: "senior"

Another high five

Me: "Train"

Jess: "Caboose"

high five - and a little irritation from the opposing team

You get the picture....

Sister Lynn was pretty impressed that Jess and I were were guessing the word from every clue.... especially since we were painfully losing before...    in the end we won the game.
Yes, I secretly recorded it.  No, I cannot share.  My sister would kill me!! 

"Smile...  You're on candid camera..."  

Monday, December 27, 2010

It Was Hard To Say Goodbye To Socks

Have you ever gone against the rules and did something totally bizarre....  ???

 I always wanted a house pet.  Preferably a dog.  But my landlord at the time said, "NO PETS!"

It was the summer of 2003 I believe...  and Gary's daughter Athena was with us.  While he worked, Athena and I visited the pet store.

"Please, lets get him... Please... look at those eyes!" she begged. I was too busy looking at her eyes.
I knew it was a bad idea, but I did it anyway. We named him Socks.... and he was with us for a total of three hours, then we returned him to the pet store  from whence he came...  thanks to the level headed advice of my hubby who insisted we'd get found out and end up living in the streets for disobeying our landlord's no pet's rule.

It was hard to say goodbye to Socks... 
 He was so adorable!!

And I am such a pushover.  

Mondays Mug: Noah's Ark

Mondays Mug:  Sight and Sound Theatre 

 Noah's Ark

This mug has high priority and has been my coffee mug for many years. 
 It was an experience I will never forget.  
Have you ever gone to the Sight and Sound Theatre?  There is one in Branson, MO and one in Lancaster PA.  We were able to catch Noah's Ark while it was still playing in Lancaster.  

It was an incredible experience and 
when I left the theatre I could hardly speak!!  

Luke 17:26  And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Pretty Chaotic Day

Dear Diary,

Christmas day was just what I suspected.  First came the antlers.  Then came the Christmas sweater.   I was appalled.

The Cupcake and Room Runner arrived at about 1 PM.  Then the chaos began.

The Cupcake said that Santa got her just what she wanted, as she finished tearing open the last of her presents...  a Bouncing Baby Babbles.  I'm hoping she'll lay it somewhere and forget about it so I can chew on it's foot.

She also got a trunk full of different dress-up stuff.  Mom said she was a princess.  Whatever that is.

The Room Runner was wearing a pair of cowboy boots that I was a little leery of.  One kick from them and I'd be down for the count.  When he started chasing me I ran to Mom and she saved me.

The Cupcake - turned Princess scuffed around the house in her new robe carrying a baby.  No worries with her...

They all seemed to migrate to the village where Dad played train with them for the longest time.  

The Princess started going a little ballistics on us and began firing the Room Runners gun randomly at everyone in the room....  so unlike my Rissie...  I guess the temptation was too much.

All the peoples got together for a picture and Mom insisted that I smile.  Honestly, the lady's nuts.

Wearing the sweater was tolerable since I did get a pretty neat Christmas stocking in return...

Inside was a cow that squeaks.  It must be made of some pretty good stuff, cause I've only been able to chew off the ears and one leg.  I'm no quitter though.  The heart (squeaker) is coming out!!!

All in all, a pretty chaotic day.

After hours of play, the Room Runner and Princess finally went home.  But they took Mom with them... saying something about stopping for Chinese.

They didn't bother to ask me if I was interested in joining them.  And after I put up with their shenanigans all day.

Oh well, the day's over now.  And I need to rest.  

Goodnight.  Gracie.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

If you get a chance, check out this YouTube video someone sent us....  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Getting Lost In A Book

SCENE1: Curtain opens.  Four girls sit before a fireplace. 

JO: (Slamming the book closed.) Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents! 

AMY: I don’t think it’s fair for other girls to have pretty things, and we shall have nothing at all.

I swallowed hard and tried not to think about the thing that frightened me the most – beyond the dusty stage floor where I stood with my sixth grade counterparts- and into the stale school smell.  Though the small musty cafeteria turned auditorium was dark, I knew the audience was out there… and my line was next.  I hoped they couldn't hear my teeth chattering or the squeak in my voice.

BETH: We’ve got Father and Mother and each other.

I did it!  I made it through my first line without fainting and I actually remembered my lines. 

It was a triumphant year as I faced my stage fright  head-on, and following the grade school performance  the magic of Santa filled the auditorium as he handed out an orange and box of candy to each student.  It was important to act fast when telling him what we wanted under our tree... there were many children waiting their turn.  I went along, and asked for a new pair of shoes, even though I was strongly suspicious that Santa was not real, and that our parents were the real Santa's.  

It was bittersweet, being old enough to know the truth. Letting go of the magic left a sadness that would live in my heart forever.  I wanted to believe that life was magical and innocence commonplace.  Growing up is something we wish for when we're young and detest when we're old.  

That Christmas I would receive the one thing that would shape my life from there-on-out.  My Grandma arrived at our house shortly after noon with her bag of presents.  It was something we always looked forward to, all six of us kids.  We'd already tore open the Santa  stash, and we couldn't wait to dig in to Grandma's presents next.  

"Wow, a book!" I said.  Then I began paging through...  I couldn't put it down.  

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.  

And so began part two of my magical, mystical escape from life.  Getting lost in a book is like being in a time machine, taking you to another place somewhere in time.  You feel what others feel, see what others see and are involved in whatever is happening on that page.  

May your Christmas be magical.  May your heart be light.  To all my blogging buddies:  I wish for you safety, good health, love, happiness, joy, and a wonderful and blessed Christmas.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come into your lives by reading your blogs, to see, experience and feel what you feel.  Knowing you has made my life better.

These very old videos I found on YouTube are some of the magic from my childhood days.  They take me back... to a simpler time...  Enjoy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Drumroll, Please

It's Thursday!  Welcome back all you
 Time Capsule fans.

(If you don't wish to watch the video there are pictures of the contents below the video)

Keep in mind, what makes this time capsule unique is the sad story of alienation and the sudden death of Pop Pop... all which happened in 2006 - 6 years after the time capsule was buried. 
And now for the moment you've been waiting for: drumroll, please...

FYI:  It wasn't 8 years ago, but 10 years ago. (Gary made a few bloopers in this video.)  And it wasn't his grandfather> it was his father.  

What Pop Pop didn't think of....  Furbie had a battery and rested against the tin lid and over time it leaked and ate through causing the contents to get wet.  
Tip for the day: Never bury batteries in a time capsule.  They will leak.

Ironic>  The name Eileen Diehl is scribbled on the top of this photo.  Pop Pop must have thought about using her when he was fighting for his grand-parents rights for visitation with Athena.  Unbeknownst to him> Hubby used that same attorney in 2007, a year after his father passed away, trying to get visitation back with Athena as well.

Dear Diary,

There's talk that I'll be wearing my Christmas sweater on Christmas day.  Ugh!  Mom took her Christmas sweater back cause it itches.  Too bad I don't have that option. Humph!! Gracie.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stay Away From The Malls!


If you want to see the true meaning (spirit) of Christmas: 
Stay away from the malls!  

I was going to tell you of a few horror stories that I beheld today.  But I just don't have the heart. 
Let's instead focus on good.  Remember, I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff.

Marissa and her mommy came to help bake cookies and in between batches we watched the train whiz around the track carrying Santa, some children, a snowman, and a deer.

We watched ice skaters on the colorful fiber-optic pond, gently gliding back and forth.

We baked and we baked and we baked.

And the results were good.