Spring is begun…

“And though the vegetable sleep will continue longer on some trees and plants than on others, and though some of them may not blossom for two or three years, all will be in leaf in the summer, except those which are rotten. What pace the political summer may keep with the natural, no human foresight can determine.  It is, however not difficult to perceive that the spring is begun.”

—Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

20180224_110725-1.jpgI started reading this book a few years ago and decided that this Spring I want to take the time to finish it and also to spend a little more time outside working in my small flower bed in front of my house. Yesterday, I pulled some weeds that I should have cleaned up in the Fall.  At my two mail box planters – I pulled out my dead mandevillas and geesh, the right side planter was swarming with fire ants, so I definitely need to treat that.  Time to start planning a few flowers for my flower bed for sure.  It’s the beginning of GA Spring pollen too – the yellow clouds of pollen are just getting started. My son washed my car the other day, as he was washing his car in my driveway.  Lots to do!

I found some inspiration in the above Thomas Paine quote, which is on one of the first pages of this Founding Gardeners book – heck, who doesn’t find inspiration in Thomas Paine, LOL…

Have a nice day!

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Stitching on

The day kind of got away from me, so I never sat down to write a blog post.  I started another plastic canvas tissue box cover, this one is for my oldest daughter’s foster daughter.

Other than that I was busy working in my house doing some major house cleaning;-)

Have a good day:-)

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Courage!

Last year I purchased The Little Book Of Virtues perpetual calendar at the Hinesville, GA Goodwill.  I wrote a blog post on this:  The value of a Goodwill book?

I’m trying to keep up with using this perpetual calendar.  I keep it on the hutch of my computer desk, so I can look at it while I BLOGGGGGGG as my husband calls it. When I am a sitting here for hours he will ask me, “Are you working on your BLOGGGGGGG again?”

The little wooden soldier is from that long ago Prague shopping trip.  I had gotten a blue soldier and a red one for each of my sons.   They were never really much into my knickknacks gifts.  However, when we sent our oldest son to Russia for a study abroad he brought back several gifts for me – the red little Khokhloma box in the photo. He also gave me a Russian cookbook and a very beautiful tea-pot:

There is a red bird crystal tray from my time in Pershing in 1980-1981, behind the tea-pot – not sure if this was one from my husband or his friend.  His friend egged on my husband, by giving me pieces of this crystal as thank-you gifts for my husband and I allowing him to stay with us in our apartment.  He had unexpectedly found himself without an apartment, due to a romance gone wrong.  He needed a place to stay until he PCSd back to the States.  Each time the friend gave me a piece of crystal, my husband came home with a fancier piece the next day.  After several days of this, I told both of them to quit with the crystal competition.

In case you couldn’t read the quote for today’s date on my perpetual calendar:

“Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts  of courage with which men… have lived.  The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.”

— John F. Kennedy

 

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My favorite Army cookbook

 

This is a really fun Army cookbook, if you ever want to attempt cooking Army recipes from America’s front line troops, throughout American military history.  There’s even a recipe for Colonel George Washington’s small beer.  The recipes come with ingredient lists for feeding 10 or feeding 100.  I really liked that.  And as an added bonus, this book is brimming with tidbits of military history and lore.

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Boys

Boys are a path of non-stop destruction… even when they are toddlers…

My oldest daughter’s playpen was in pristine condition when she got done with it.  My next child, a son, never sat in that playpen, except occasionally he would sit a few minutes with little plastic books, look at them a minute, then try to tear them apart with his teeth.  Most of his time in the playpen, he would run from one side to the other and throw himself against it.  He did that over and over until he tipped the playpen over and crawled away.  For his next escape tactic, he pushed his face against where the mesh met the netting and CHEWED A HOLE THROUGH NYLON THREAD….. trying to escape.  Finally he stomped in the middle, where the hand holes were holding onto the side of the playpen and stomped a hole in the bottom.

My mother had come to visit, because I was due to have my third child, another boy.  My mother, who had seven children,  said she had never seen anything like this.

First, my mother was appalled that I no longer had the nice cushioned playpen pad in the bottom of the playpen.  I had tossed in a small baby blanket.  I told her that he would demolish it, but she insisted on going to the store and buying a  replacement playpen pad.  I think that pad lasted a few hours, until he had it torn into pieces and was gleefully throwing the pieces over the sides of the playpen, onto the floor .

Next my mother, never one to accept defeat easily,  went and bought a very nice wooden playpen and proudly told me, “He won’t be able to break that!”  He couldn’t tip it or escape, but he found other paths to destruction.  My mother told me that babies should have shoes and socks on.   So, off we went to the mall, so she could purchase some Stride Rite, brown leather, high top baby shoes.  We went to another store to purchase new socks and my mother even insisted on buying those little bells that attach to the shoelaces.

My mother proudly dressed Andrew and she was so happy with those expensive brown leather baby shoes, that she said looked so nice with the new outfit  she had put on him. My mother sat him in the wooden playpen and within minutes he had his leg up to his mouth.  He began chewing and within minutes, he had the socks unraveled down to the tops of his lovely expensive high top baby shoes.  My mother was so frustrated.

I got sick of those brown leather high top baby shoes, which my mother proudly boasted had nice thick soles.  Whenever I held my son on my lap, all he did was kick the heck out of my legs with those amazing soles on those, oh so wonderful, brown leather high top baby shoes.

When we moved to my husband’s next duty station, I found out what life was like with two toddler boys running amok in my home. You’d think pulling himself up and standing at the side of the playpen would be a child development benchmark for my second son. Nope, you would be wrong. He stood there holding on to the side of the playpen, having just learned to do that and immediately worked his leg up to the top on the playpen rail. He hooked his toes over the railing and pulled himself up, so that he was perched on top of the playpen railing.  Then he shifted his weight and dropped to the floor and crawled away.  He did that maneuver in his crib too except  his crib rail was pretty high and a scary drop to the floor – didn’t stop him.

My husband put a lock on the gate at the chain link fence in our backyard. Many times my elderly next door neighbor called me to tell me that my sons had escaped again. She told tell me her husband had them so, they couldn’t get any further. My husband and I walked around the backyard pondering solutions and I remember one time muttering, ” I don’t think it’s legal to use concertina wire on a residential fence.”   My husband did smile at that idea.

One time I walked into my kitchen and there was my second son sitting on top of our side-by-side refrigerator, gleefully waving his arms. We figured that he had climbed up to the counter using the drawer handles on the section of four-drawers, as toeholds.  How he made it to the top of the side-by-side refrigerator, I have no earthly idea.

Another day, I was in the kitchen washing dishes and I had noticed my sons making several trips from our backyard into the small bathroom on that side of the house. I decided that I had better see what they were up to.  They had taken our oldest daughter’s play kitchen pots and filled them with sand from outside.  In the sink of that little bathroom, they poured in potfuls of sand and mashed in nilla wafers, from their snack, then turned on the water.

It was like cement in that drain.  I made three trips to the Shoppette for various drain cleaners and nothing made a dent.  I called my elderly neighbors for suggestions, because that elderly man seemed to have a solution for every home dilemma and maintained a beautiful home and yard.  Within a few minutes, he was at my door and he came in and told me he would snake it.

When my husband came home, he said, “How was your day?”

Oh, it was just an ordinary day dealing with my husband’s sons…

One time I didn’t hear them get up and I woke up when I heard the vacuum cleaner start.  I rushed into the living room and there was my oldest daughter, trying to vacuum, as my sons, each with a box of cereal in hand, gleefully waving them around – throwing cereal everywhere.  My daughter looked at me apologetically and said. “Mom, I tried, but I couldn’t get them to stop.”

Yep!

Boys are definitely different…

 

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Lost in Prague

More paper sorting today.  I found this print of a lady reading a letter, which I purchased in Prague, shortly after the Wall came down.  Very quickly, shopping trips to several Eastern bloc cities became a booming tourist industry.  I took one of those bus trips with my husband’s company commander’s wife and her sister, who had come to Germany to visit.

Thinking back on that trip several things struck me as worth mentioning.  The first thing I noticed when we entered Czechoslovakia was the towns looked very run-down and nothing like the towns in West Germany.  I was on a tourist bus with other U.S. Army wives and we were all excited, because of the lure of fine crystal and other high-quality wares available at bargain basement prices in Prague.

I purchased this print. despite it having a good bit of water-staining on it, because there was just something so romantic about this elegant little lady, reading her letter.  It was dirt cheap, just like just about everything else in Prague back then.

Now, thinking back on this trip, several things would assuredly not pass PC muster today.  The truth though is they were based on living in a fact-based world,  rather than a Leftist’s hazy ideological cloud.

As the miles rolled by, the tour director, an American lady, stood at the front of the bus and went through a rather lengthy list of rules, customs and above all else strong warnings about how to safely shop in Prague.  Can you imagine lengthy and detailed warnings about how to be on the look-out for and tips on how to deal with bands of Gypsies, who really were thieves.  Yes, we were given a long list of things to keep your eyes peeled for, to avoid being mugged or even kidnapped by roaming bands of Gypsies, who preyed the streets of Prague.

Along with warnings about the Gypsies, she went through a long list of dos and don’ts to avoid any problems with the Czech police.  By the time the briefing was over, I was wondering if perhaps, I should have just stayed in nice, clean, safe West Germany, but you know “bargain basement prices” sure worked to allay any fears.

I have the worst sense of direction, of anyone I have ever met.  For decades my family laughed, because I frequently got lost getting off of and back on interstates, frequently being headed in the wrong direction.

Prague tested me.

So, there we were my friend, the wife of my husband’s company commander’s wife and her sister, who had come to Germany to visit, and me.

Very quickly into this shopping trip it became obvious that Prague was a very different shopping environment.  There were not only numerous bands of Gypsies easily spotted as soon as we got off  of the bus and headed from the train station into the center of the city.  Everywhere your eyes turned, as you scanned the shopping area, there were some of the sketchiest characters imaginable. , .  It should have registered as a really dangerous location. Every little side street or place you turned there were significant criminal dangers.  There were aggressive taxi drivers, just waiting to lure unsuspecting Western European shoppers into less than stellar neighborhoods.

We were also warned about how to deal with any interactions with the Uzi wielding police.

Most of our day went off without any problems, until shortly before it was time to head back to the train station, to load up and head back to West Germany.  I forget exactly how my two shopping partners and I got separated.   It was one of those, “we’re going to run in this store, while you run in that last shop you didn’t want to miss” situations.  And with dirt cheap prices – let me tell you, most women will overlook a pretty risky security shopping environment.

So, somehow when I came out the store, where I had been making my last great purchase, I didn’t see my friends in the store they had gone in.  I went in that store walked around and they were no where to be found.  I looked in every direction scanning crowds of shoppers and … bands of Gypsies, but also that whole array of sketchy-looking people lurking everywhere I looked.

Oh, no, I thought, I am lost in Prague…

Well, immediately I began walking, head held high, a little swagger in my step,  acting like I had a purpose, because they warned you not to stand around…. “looking lost”.  I kept glancing at my watch, worrying that each step might be taking me in the opposite direction of the train station.

We were also warned that the buses weren’t waiting around – so we needed to be there on time.  I walked a couple of blocks and then I made my second totally unPC decision of the day.  I spotted a small group of black ladies coming out of a shop. I made a beeline to them and asked them if they were Americans and they said they were and then I asked them if  they were part of the tourist groups parked at the train station.  Yes, I racially profiled… big time.

They told me they were just getting ready to head back to the train station, so I asked them if they minded if I stuck with them.  When I arrived at our bus, my friends were already there and they told me how they had searched for me and had no idea how we got separated. I assumed they were hunting in the store I had been in, while I as searching their store.

The amazing part of all this is we were so excited about all the amazing stuff we bought, that dangerous bands of Gypsies and ruthless taxi drivers had made not even a dent in our enthusiasm;-)

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Churning up old memories

Along with being a craft and needlework hoarder, I am, um, well just a hoarder, in general.  Today  I was sorting, okay, beginning to sort would be more accurate, old letters from my pen pals around the world endeavor:

Multiculturalism My Way

I came across a 1980 DOD publication that has a photo of me and my Army AIT boyfriend in it, at the Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS) at  Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, IN..  The title of the story says it all:  Wizards who tell the story.  My boyfriend was a tall, handsome…… Marine;-)  Enough to make a girl’s heart swoon.

Ways to go on this blazing paper trails in my house.  Later…

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