Thursday, December 22, 2011

Old Ornaments Holding Memories

From the '60s.-the era of tiny
grabbing hands
Decorated by a youngster in
bed with mono.
Kent painted a Santa acording
to each family member's hobby
                                                               

     What would have been my best Christmas ever? I remember one, with a little boy getting his first puppy and a teenaged daughter getting a sewing machine. Then there were the ones with  the tricycles, the new clothes, the dolls...... And I remember the year the deed to the site of our new home-to-be was on the tree.
     But nothing–––nothing–––can rival the the excitement and anticipation of a Depression Age five-year old when that fragrant cedar tree is set up and decorated. That is what I remember most.                                                          

    The tree was set up, supported in a bucket filled with rocks and the ornaments and ropes of tinsel were hung. The living room had huge honeycomb appearing tissue bell hung here and there and red wreaths hung in the two windows and on the front door. They weren’t big or elaborately festooned with holly and cones – they were only about seven inches in dia. and a faded red. Each had a tiny crushed wisp of greenery and a few bedraggled red berries.

     The tinsel was crushed, the rough paper ropes were faded and so were some of the ornaments.  No matter. It was Christmas. The decorations said so.
      The tree stood at the end of the room opposite the old wood-burning heater. That is where I spent hours gazing into the red globes that distorted my image; admiring the little ornaments with deep recesses that sparkled like jewels. I gazed at those ornaments until I was numb with cold, and then stood by the heater until I was practically singed. Then back to the tree.

     The color, the magic, the dreams that that little cedar tree held in its branches! Santa Claus would visit and he would leave gifts. There would be wonderful new things; things I could play with ---a doll, maybe one with sleepy eyes and long hair.

     So my memory is of the excitement of anticipation; of the magic of color and glitter in a world that had very little to offer in that regard; it was the promise of something special and the mystery of that wonderful person who gave to little children---Santa Claus.

       In later years I learned that my mother had one dollar, or less, to spend on my gifts and she supplemented that with wonderful doll clothes. My dad, probably remembering his sisters’ enjoyment of their Christmas dolls, always picked out the doll that stood under the tree.

     Looking back on those lean years, I can imagine the difficulty of saving enough nickels and dimes to help Santa retain his status.

       So little brought (not bought) so much.


In special memory of
 Kent

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PEARL HARBOR

December 7, 2011––December 7, 1941

Seventy years ago. An unbelievable happening. A jarring wake-up on a peaceful Sunday morning.

My dad had turned on the old battery powered radio expecting the usual rather mundane news to blare out. Instead of hearing unemployment statistics or congressional disputes we heard WE HAD BEEN ATTACKED BY THE JAPANESE--ships destroyed--hundreds killed.                    

I expect my parents more fully recognized the seriousness of what our nation was facing than I. I was still young (really, now, I was), and although the semi-weekly newspaper had been filled with reports of the war in Europe, that was far away, That was a world away.

My dad was an independent man who had chosen the life of a farmer, partly because he loved growing things and the outdoors, but also because he wanted the freedom of doing his work the way he thought best, free of interference from anyone.

 By this date, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt had been in office almost eleven years and in his efforts to move the country out of its deep depression, had promoted many new laws, some extremely beneficial, some very restrictive, and some determined to be unconstitutional. My dad, the independent farmer, had found himself being told what to do, when to do it, and how. He expressed his opinion of our nation's leader quite frequently and quite expressively, all negative.

So, is it any wonder that the two most memorable statements of the next day were, first, President Roosevelt declaring in that unmatched ringing voice of his: "We are at war." and second, my father saying, "Dannie, you've heard me criticizing our President, but you'll not hear another critical word. We are at war and he is our Commander-in-Chief."

What a hornet's nest that attack had disturbed. Going to war meant winning the war, and that's exactly what we intended to do. Men 'joined up.' Women went to work outside their homes. We bought War Bonds to help finance it, and endured severe rationing in order to supply our troops. Old methods of manufacturing were trashed and the assembly line created. Classmates were drafted or volunteered. And before the year was over, we learned some would never return.

Those who were left on the home front listened to heavily censored news. Letters from servicemen had sections blacked out. The newsreels we saw at the movies (no home TV watching of an invasion) were horrible, showing burning convoys of ships, bombing runs and then the resulting devastation. There was an unspoken fear––were we going to be able to win this war?

Tonight, I saw the faces of survivors of Pearl Harbor––old weathered and wrinkled faces of men in their late eighties and nineties. There were photos of the young men they had been and there were a few stories of their war years that followed. To see those old warriors, to remember the battles they fought for our country, should make us all stop and give serious thought to what we have––and why we have it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dandy

   Woof, woof.   I hate to admit that this has been one boring place since all those silly cats disappeared. I've watched a few deer grazing and once a fox crossed my front yard but since he was trotting along and seemed to have no interest in lingering, I didn't even bother to bark.
      Once, when I was outside, sniffing the air, I spotted a deer lying by the rock wall, and when I let out my fearsome bark, it leaped high and left the country.  I was rather pleased with that. I'm just a little fellow,  but that big deer didn't stay around to discuss squatter's rights.
  

      Most of the time I don't even bother to bark. They're almost as dumb as those cats. I would bark and the silly things would look up and twitch those big ears a bit, then go back to grazing.  I guess they were smart enough to realize I was locked in the house and couldn't get to them. I betcha if I'd been outside they'd gone off my hill, pronto!
      My Lady is rather lax about watching out the windows for unwanted visitors, so it's left up to me. I don't mind. She has made me a convenient place by a front window, and I watch the traffic and its nice to see someone turn in my driveway.
      My neighbor's dog comes by every morning but I'm not very interested in her. She a feisty little black and brown terrior type, always jumping around, wanting to play when I'm outside. I consider myself too mature to waste my time on that silly stuff. After all, I'm my Lady's guard dog and I'm going spend my time taking care of her.
      Yesterday, while I was watching, I saw an enormous German sherpherd type of dog out front in my yard. This fellow was big-g-g-g. I dug down for my deepest, scariest bark, but he didn't seem to notice. I expect he was too far away to hear me or he'd have left this place in one giant leap. My Lady noticed my alert, and that is good. She needs to listen to me! Anyway, she looked out and saw this dog and petted me and called me a good dog. I like that, but I was hoping she'd open the door for a better look. If she had, I'd been out of here, and taken care of that intruder. There are times I suspect  she knows my intentions and outsmarts me.
      Oh well, it was nice being called a good dog.  I barked some more and didn't get scolded and sent to my bed, so I'll continue to be on a look-out. You'd better be my friend if you're planning to come in my yard.

Relaxing after guard duty.

Woof, woof.
Dandy


                                                                 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Resetting the system

Soon after the new Facebook was thrust upon us, I wrote and published my new posts as usual but did not realize until this morning, that they went out to only a select few...a very short list that FB had selected when I failed to create my own.

Although there was nothing special about this one from my rocking chair, but now that I've discovered the problem, and hopefully will remember to follow the new procedure, I'm reposting....I hope.



SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2011

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,
 I hope you know that I have tried very hard to like the new you that you have served to me on your Ethernet platter. You have even garnished your serving with a great variety of tantalizing tidbits, all intended to please me.

I’m sorry, Facebook, but I am not pleased. All this involves change, and these days I am leery of change.

Change involves energy and I’m conserving mine. Yes, I know I am usually sitting down when I’m scrolling through Facebook, making that a low-energy project, but I’m referring to the energy my brain’s going to use as I sort through all the benefits being offered by your new look.

And, yes, I realize the brain needs exercise, lots of exercise, to ward off those dreadful things that happen when the brain is allowed to become idle. I read all this kind of stuff. That’s why I’m stingy in using my brain’s energy on your changed system; I need to put my brain’s energy toward keeping up with these latest brain-improvement projects.

I’m sorry, Facebook. Keeping up with your whims is not on my brain-improvement list.

But Facebook, I am annoyed that you have taken my friendship for granted. I am surprised that you did not realize that I would be vexed by your taking every click on the keyboard, every link I have followed, every “like” I have clicked, to create  a computer image of  Dannie Woodard. Didn’t you even care? So many relationships have ended this way. It’s sad.

 Ah yes. Facebook, you rascal you, I remember the occasional innocent questions you’ve asked, the new opportunities that have been introduced.  Now I understand! All were a prelude to the biggest opportunity of all…that of navigating the new Facebook and facing the challenges of finding an option that will protect the remnants of our privacy.

You know so much about me, Facebook: your computer brain has analyzed all my keyboard clicks,  you know where I live, my age, that I’m Caucasian and female. That last should have warned you. A woman can be helpless or capable, she can be fickle or faithful. She may be stuck in one persona or she may be as changeable as the weather. So remember, Facebook, that what you think I am may be changed by tomorrow. Please don’t assume you know my preferences. Remember…tomorrow I turn a fresh page.

Dannie

PS. I am so thankful that I did not write this when I was angry.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,
 I hope you know that I have tried very hard to like the new you that you have served to me on your Ethernet platter. You have even garnished your serving with a great variety of tantalizing tidbits, all intended to please me.

I’m sorry, Facebook, but I am not pleased. All this involves change, and these days I am leery of change.

Change involves energy and I’m conserving mine. Yes, I know I am usually sitting down when I’m scrolling through Facebook, making that a low-energy project, but I’m referring to the energy my brain’s going to use as I sort through all the benefits being offered by your new look.

And, yes, I realize the brain needs exercise, lots of exercise, to ward off those dreadful things that happen when the brain is allowed to become idle. I read all this kind of stuff. That’s why I’m stingy in using my brain’s energy on your changed system; I need to put my brain’s energy toward keeping up with these latest brain-improvement projects.

I’m sorry, Facebook. Keeping up with your whims is not on my brain-improvement list.

But Facebook, I am annoyed that you have taken my friendship for granted. I am surprised that you did not realize that I would be vexed by your taking every click on the keyboard, every link I have followed, every “like” I have clicked, to create  a computer image of  Dannie Woodard. Didn’t you even care? So many relationships have ended this way. It’s sad.

 Ah yes. Facebook, you rascal you, I remember the occasional innocent questions you’ve asked, the new opportunities that have been introduced.  Now I understand! All were a prelude to the biggest opportunity of all…that of navigating the new Facebook and facing the challenges of finding an option that will protect the remnants of our privacy.

You know so much about me, Facebook: your computer brain has analyzed all my keyboard clicks,  you know where I live, my age, that I’m Caucasian and female. That last should have warned you. A woman can be helpless or capable, she can be fickle or faithful. She may be stuck in one persona or she may be as changeable as the weather. So remember, Facebook, that what you think I am may be changed by tomorrow. Please don’t assume you know my preferences. Remember…tomorrow I turn a fresh page.

Dannie

PS. I am so thankful that I did not write this when I was angry.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dandy's Yogg

Neglect


     My Lady  borrowed this from a dog lover's post on FaceBook:
 "He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dogl You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." 
     Now, I had never before given much serious thought to a dog's life, but the quote above seems to be pretty descriptive of what we want to be. 
     I know that as an inside dog, I am one of the fortunate ones but I hear daily warning about the extreme heat being dangerous for all of us. Some are being left in locked cars and almost die before they are rescued.  Others are dying daily from lack of water or other neglect. These instances are seldom newsworthy. We're only dogs!
      Sometimes we get left behind when the family moves and no longer want the bother or expense of keeping a dog...or cat. I hate to admit this, but I've never known a cat to be helplessly kept in a back yard as dogs often are.  They are escape artists. How sad and how unfortunate that we much more intelligent (ahem)  dogs don't have the same skill. 


   
A well cared for and loved cat.
When I was new to this house, I was
 not sure I should be up here.
Checking out my surroundings. I think
I will like it here.
     A recent happening passed on from a North Texas resident, has My Lady upset. She says it is heartbreaking and I agree. It seems that a small dog was tied with a short leash that allow it to rest in the morning shade, but did not allow it to escape the hot afternoon sun. Day after day its water bowl was empty and was filled by compassant neighbors. The little fellow always greeted them with happy barking but he may not have been getting food or the heat may have been weakening him, for his barks became whines and then he was found dead. 
Another well-loved dog. but she's
a bit fiesty for an old fellow like
myself.
    Woof! That's a bad thing. I think someone should have reminded that dog's owner of what was happening. Maybe the police should have been notified. I have heard that there is a Humane Society that helps when animals have such bad troubles.
     My Lady keeps raving about "responsibility." I don't have a large vocubulary, but from the way she says it, I've decided it's a good word: Responsibility...  It has a nice sound, doesn't it? I think better things happen when there is responsibility.
     

     My Lady says to mention that three "C" words describe neglect: Cruel, Callous, and Criminal.


Being patient with my friends'
foolishness
Woof, Woof!
Dandy

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Open Road


         
       Did you know that in addition to our town"s historical courthouse and marvelous old homes, it also has a bit of history preserved in a portion of the old Bankhead Highway? The Bankhead extended from Washington, DC to San Diego, CA and was a part of the National Auto Trail system. It was a symbol  of our nation’s modernization. It made possible travel from coast to coast, which in 1930 was considered quiet a feat. The route was marked by a pole marker that was white with yellow stripes on the top and bottom and the letters "BH" in black. 
          The Texas Historical Commission is charged with focusing attention on historic highways and byways of Texas, and we can hope the Bankhead is on its list.  
           Like many other highways of that era it had many branches or splits.  In Texas, there were a total of 11 splits as it took different routs through the state before they all came together at El Paso,
           . The main route passed through Texarkana, TX, before arriving at Fort Worth, where it turned into former U.S. Highway 80, and continued westward, going on through Midland and Odessa before rejoining the branch route at El Paso. The route from Fort Worth to El Paso is now followed by Interstates 20 and 10.
        Browsing through the records of that bygone era, will soon make it evident that standardizing the system was a great improvement. Never mind that we sometimes take the wrong exit or in a complicated interchange get on the wrong highway. Believe me, what we presently have is a vast improvement!

    Todays signs are highly 
    visab even on 
     foggy days.
    Steep grades on today's
    have deep sand escape lanes
    for runaway trucks


    Four lanes are far
    differentfrom old
     dirt roads of the past.



    Even mountains don't stop the
    interstates.
         Today we expect nothing less than a well maintained route to get us to our destinations as easily and quickly as possible. For most of the present generations of travelers, good highways have always been a fact of life but not too many years ago, at least in the memory of some of our oldest citizens, navigating the country was a totally different experience. It was time consuming and at times, hazardous.
         In the 20s most of the roads were hardly more than the old wagon trails they had once been. The highways that were paved were usually in major cities and were, of all things, cobblestone.
         For years they were not marked until several trail association initiated change and by 1925 there were over 250 named highways.
        The first named was the Lincoln Highway: there was a Jefferson Highway, a Dixie Overland, the Glacier Trail, the Great White Way, and well over 200 more including the Bankhead Highway which ran from Washington, DC to San Diego, CA
         Each highway had their own type of colored signs and they were placed haphazardly on barn roofs or other flat surfaces that faced the oncoming traffic. Signs were sometimes placed on telephone poles.  
         The Federal Government recognized the confusion that was developing and advanced the radical idea that the highways should be standardized with a numbering system and standard signs. This proposed change was not popular: people had bonded with their highways’ names and disliked the idea of substituting numbers which had no meaning.

          It becomes easier to understand how the road system was so slow to become more efficient when you remember that in those years only the rich had automobiles, making extensive highway use nonexistent. Most people contented themselves with their horse and buggy or of streetcars in some of the cities. Longer trips were made by train. Only a few of the more daring automobile owners ventured out on sightseeing trips. At the time, to do so was an adventure comparable to an African safari.
    Trouble on the road.It was a brave
    person who dared take a picture of
    a man with car trouble.
          Think of them, wearing their dusters, poring over poor maps, and hoping they were fully prepared for emergencies, with cans of water, gas, spare tire a tire tool, and a tire pump.
         All  that changed with the popularity of Henry Ford’s Model “T”, They were affordable to almost anyone with a well paying job, dropping down to under $300 in 1920. Although they were not known for comfort, they made possible increased travel and an  increased demand for good roads. Thus our present highway system came into existence.  

         Although the names have mostly disappeared from our maps, the nostalgia remains. The people of those days of change were correct in their belief that the numbering system was a colder, less personal one, and the only numbered highway to find a special place in our memories is Route 66. The pathos of the travelers of the 30’s led to it being immortalized in song and fiction.
          The name is a magnet that pulls us to its old route and Texas has a small section running through Amarillo. That it was lined with antique stores was an added enticement when we occasionally visited that town, for in years past, I seldom willingly passed an opportunity to share with them most of my available cash.
          It appears that I am fascinated with the old days  and the changes that have been made. See more highway nostalgia in the July 16, 2010,Rocking Chair Journey.


    Dannie



























    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Sewing in the Good Ole Days



             Remember when we sewed? Department stores had bolt after bolt of fabrics and sewing notions of every description: thread, buttons, lace, and a counter of pattern books. These were huge hard backed catalogues filled with  pictures of available patterns, which were filed in large cabinets.
            These catalogues changed with the seasons and if a seamstress was alert she could be the first to place her name on the front cover and when the new one came in the old catalogue was hers to take home.
         Over the years I managed to reserve several and kept them until they were badly outdated before finally selling them and some old patterns at garage sales.
           It appears that I would have been smarter to have kept them somewhere, anywhere, even collecting dust bunnies under the bed, and listed them on today's eBay!  Today I followed a link to eBay’s collectibles RARE VTG 1940s HOLLYWOOD COUNTER Pattern Catalog 1946 and viewed a 1946 Hollywood pattern book that with only four bids had reached $316. Several pages of patterns were shown.  
          I do not remember our stores stocking Hollywood patterns but there were Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls and Vogue, which was the queen of them all. The Vogue instructions were sometimes difficult to follow and I remember once making a suit and coming to a halt when I could see no way to make the limited directions work. I remember going to bed a very frustrated seamstress and after sleeping on the problem decided to quit thinking and start sewing as the instructions stated and the garment turned out perfect.
          My daughters did not have ready-made clothing until they left home and my youngest continued the hand made trend throughout her college days. Several times I made four of five garments (all needed immediately, naturally) and put them in the mail. I expect that today's postage wouId be near the cost of the entire group.
     I enjoyed the sewing and most of all, picking out the fabrics. Occasionally it became a design project with yards of fabric spread across the dining table and pieces of different patterns fitted together in an effort to create a style I had been unable to find in the pattern books. Those were the times I became a wee bit irritable if I were interrupted by rough-housing kids running through the house.
          This prom  formal was a real problem. The shade of fabric we had in mind was not available so by combining two layers of tulle, one apricot and one beige, we were satisified and did the same with the net that was used. The tulle roses were also made of the two combined colors. there were about forty of those with tiny green leaves all thandmade. Yeah, those were the days but somehow, I'm thankful that today all that fabric is not covering my dining table.
          It was fun, fabrics were beautiful and it saved a ton of money. Not so, today.  In the past I often made a garment for a third of what a pattern alone costs today. The remnant table always called me to browse, much to the despair of my daughters. They preferred making their choices from nice fresh bolts of fabric, not a garment made from a pattern adapted to fit on a remnant..  Remnants were a bargain and a challenge I loved to tackle.
          There were occasions when the challenge was greater than I expected and I remember once when working with a Vogue pattern and a remnant of velveteen (one way nap) it took every speck of my patience and every inch of material to make my outfit. Then I discovered it badly needed a self belt and pieced togather the remaining scraps of material  to create strips that then had to be braided to hide the piecing seams. I don’t have any of that remnant left in my scrap box! I do have a cedar chest stuffed with a few favorites including the dress shown.
          As a "fabricaholic" I also have drawers stuffed full of 'bargain fabrics,' their colors and prices were irresistable.
    I wonder if I would have the patience to again make a garment. I even have some already cut out, waiting.

    Patterns from long ago. Back to the
    days we square danced and went
    partying.

          A few years back fabrics disappeared from our town. Even Walmart discontinued their stock and patterns became nonexistant. Our Gibson's continued to stock cottons but little else. Yesterday I noticed Walmart had created a new area of sewing materials but I didn't investigate the type. Nothing fancy, I expect.
          Did you know that patterns can be viewed and ordered online? I haven't but that sewing machine and those drawers of fabric are whispering to me. 



    Saturday, July 30, 2011

    The Doss and Illusions

    I’m sitting here, with a cup of hot coffee, making a quick visit via FaceBook, and it occurs to me that despite all the frustrating, maddening news of each day, the opportunity to see messages from friends across the nation (world) is  terrific way to start a morning.

    Yesterday,with a daughter,we braved the heat and visited the Doss Heritage Center to see the new Illusions exhibit. As we walked down the long loggia  leading from the handicapped parking.(my strength is still rather limited), I could not help but admire the architecture itself and appreciate the building and its setting..

    This is not a museum with long halls of permanent exhibits of  scenes from the past  or of  unusual archeological findings… someday there may be space for such, for I am sure there is an abundance of both among the county’s residents. Perhaps, instead, they will be grouped under a common theme, making them even more interesting.  

    At present, a beautiful stage coach, built by the late Jay Brown of Parker County, dominates the large entry room and many small antique artifacts related to Parker County’s history are displayed nearby.

    There is also a room devoted to Weatherford’s beloved Mary Martin. It is filled with mementos of her life  and that of her son Larry Hagman, probably best remembered for his J.R. role in Dallas.

    The Center’s recent exhibits have been nothing less than awesome. The Connecting Threads exhibit featuring tapestries by Sherri Woodard Coffey and Masks by Pat Souder remains on view but a exhibits of paintings  and sculptures has replaced the impressive needlework exhibit of the last few months.

    Walk in the entrance to this exhibit and your first thought may be “Where are the paintings?” The walls are lined with a variety of hangings some appearing to be interesting arrangements of wooden blocks, some appearing as framed needlework.
    What you are seeing is neither! All are indeed paintings and fully express the exhibit’s title, Truth in Illusion featuring the works of Michael Bane and Pamela Stern.

    Take a closer look the  sculptures may hold a few surprises and the wall’s displays definitely will. All are definitely paintings of the most amazing type. One,a small piece, appears to be a be a photograph of a thread of mohair attractively arranged in a circle. It is instead, a painting with each fine bit of fuzz so accurately portrayed that you can almost feel its softness and if you’re one of those who are allergic to mohair you may expect your nose to begin to tickle.

    One of the first pieces on view is a large matted and framed picture of the Last Supper. Each detail was reproduced by tiny brush strokes or perhaps more accurately, brush touches. Every facial feature, each article of clothing, every shadow and a 3-dimensional effect is achieved with a variety of minute touches of what must have been tiny brushes so delicate that the work had to be done with magnifying help.

    The “mat” which appeared to be of linen, was painted, each inch of its entire length showing linen’s distinctive weave…all done in paint. To so accurately reproduce with paint, several yards of  woven fabric is an amazing feat. The same applies to the “wooden” frame…all done with paint. The artist stated that the work took him thirteen months, which is also amazing. I would have guessed several years.

    Across the room were hangings of interesting arrangements of wooden strips and blocks some joined by tiny screws.  Closer examination shows no wood exists, only paint with every varying grain of wood accurately created with paint and the screws’ appearance so accurate that one feels the urge to test their tiny slot and turn it a wee bit.

    These are only a few of the outstanding works of these artists.

    If seeing is believing, this Truth in Illusions exhibit is well worth seeing but it remains almost unbelievable.

    My coffee is cold!

    Dannie

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Dandy's Yogg


    Woof. Woof.

          I’ve been outside with my Lady and it is hot out there!  I may be little, but I’m no wimp. This heat has me panting before I can even get off the porch.
         Now, I hope you realize that I’m wearing two coats. I need to talk to my Lady about this. I think its time for another grooming. That would help a little.  If you think I’m extravagant, you put on two coats and see how long you last outside!

          I remember not being too pleased with the cold and the white stuff all over the ground, but once I I became used to it, I found it kind of fun to run around in. I sure didn’t need to pant.

           Of course, I remember having some trouble burying that piece of bread that I snitched from the cats  and I remember having a problem getting enough traction .to chase that black cat because of that hard clear stuff that covered our porch. That was rather embarrassing, you know. Imagine being flat on your mid-section with your legs and arms going every which way, besides being in front of a bunch of smirking cats!

          This afternoon I tried to tell my best friend all about being a dog but he and my Lady started laughing after a bit so I had to give up. I was trying to tell him about there being something hiding beneath my Lady’s old office. She won’t let me go near it any more since the day I almost scratched off a board so I could rid the premises of unwanted varmints.  I don’t think she liked the dirt I was throwing up into the air, either, or that little board that landed at her feet.
     

          Well, I know my job, and I’m going to do it whenever I have a chance, but for right now, I am a very lucky dog to have such a nice pillow and a cool house. 
         You people drink plenty of water and take advantage of air-conditioning whenever you can.

    Woof,
    Dandy

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    A Cool Look

    Okay, it's hot. It's hot almost everywhere. If the temperature is lower, the humidity may be higher and the misery remains  ......well, miserable.

    In searching through my photos for a 'lost' picture, I came across these, which although they won't lower the temperature, they are at least refreshing.



    Remember Spring? Left. wild primroses.   Center, Golden Bell Forsythia.           Next, a peach colored Iris.



    Right, is from  friend touring our own southwest. Feel that moist air!

    Below: From the same friend, while visiting the English country side.

    Acres of tulips from an email
                                 

    The cone flower blooms in late spring or early summer and is a native wild flower. I got this one at a nursery although I have had them growing wild in what is now a wilderness behind our house. We're hoping our plants grown from seed will survive.

    Last year's rose bush in bloom.
    This year...bare stems.

    Welcome color-from another 
    year.




                                            Remember when............?  Remember wishing for summer?
                                                                 We have it and more to come.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    By Necessity


          

    FDR reassuring the people
    during Fireside talk. 

    I wouldn’t dare inflict history lessons on you would I? Of course, I wouldn’t! I do understand that there is a popular opinion that history is a useless study and that what is over is over and we should focus on moving forward.

    Yet there comes a time when you wonder “Wot happened?” Then you may take a moment to look back. That’s what last year’s political turmoil did for me.

    We know, or should know, that our nation was founded by hard working people with ambitions of bettering themselves and being free of laws that hindered their rights. When unreasonable restriction followed them to their new world, they fought and died to maintain those rights and upon winning that war, highly intelligent and fair-minded men devised a system of government in our Constitution to assure that the beliefs that had been fought for would continue to rule the nation.

    The country grew and with growth came changes. The pre-depression days were far from perfect.  The poverty of many people was severe. The abuses in the workplace, especially of women and children, were terrible. Corruption among the powerful and in the government was commonplace and despite our ancestor’s dreams and skillful framing of our method of government, our society had become a sad reflection of those original dreams.

    The stock market crash of ’29 and the following Great Depression capped a period of opportunity for many and misery for some and with at least 13 million workers unemployed it was a  time of desperation for most of the nation. President Hoover’s policies were blamed; his failure to correct the situation was cursed and a new President was duly elected.

    As mentioned in a previous blog, FDR’s first 100 days were busy ones as he used his great political skills to create programs to get our country on the move again.  All were created to boost the country out of its deep depression and to remedy many other destructive problems that had developed. These laws and regulations were spoken of as “the first New Deal. At that time, the words, “New Deal,” were often spoken in the same tone of voice as some of the worst of curse words. Some of today’s programs suffer the same fate.

    Regardless of opposition, President Roosevelt moved forward with his agenda, In addition to the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Public Work Program, the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act was created and was of great benefit to the large number of farmers who had loss their farms in foreclosures after the stock market crash.  Under the Farm Act, only small down payments were required to purchase a farm, and if the entire bi-annual payment could not be made, the smaller amount of interest due was accepted, postponing the payment on the principal. Under this program many families who had been eking out a living as tenant farmers, were able to make a fresh start with farms of their own, although farm life remained hard and many mortgages were not paid off until WWII.
    Besides the previously discussed programs, the Tennessee Valley Authority  (TVA) was created, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were created, all programs that are beneficial today.

    In 1935, after the economy had begun to recover, our beleaguered Social Security program came into being under Roosevelt’s  “Second New Deal “ which covered many areas such as labor, women in the work force, the arts and many others.

    Social Security or Old-Age and Survivor’s Insurance (OASI) came into being at this time with a carefully planned system, calculated to make it self-supportive with its trust fund.  According to charts, its fund showed its first deficit in 1975. There are interesting charts and graphs showing the income and outgo of the program over the years and many versions of the outcome, some frightening, some reassuring. It is a political hot topic because it affects everyone.

    Over the years, there have been numerous changes in the government’s accounting procedures, giving rise to a few erroneous tales about Social Security. However, it appears that it is true that the government is allowed to borrow from the fund, backing its debt with Treasury notes and bonds. Then, when there is a need, the government honors its bonds and the fund is again viable. I am sure there are a variety of opinions on the feasibility of this arrangement.

    There is no denying that the Social Security program has been a great benefit to thousands of elderly parents and grandparents. That also translates in to being beneficial to their offspring who would have otherwise been bearing the burden of their care.

    There were numerous other helpful programs for the nation’s suffering citizens Surplus food and subsidies made nutritious school lunches available for five cents each and surplus food was made available for the public. Other practically unknown programs assisted the needy populace. One, for high school students, paid for various jobs, such as janitorial or library duty, within the schools. I had library duty and that small dollar amount on my government check looked rather large in those days.

    President Roosevelt had many ambitious plans for helping the country recover. Some were declared unconstitutional, some were discontinued when WWII broke out, and wrangling and jealousies within the administration destroyed some.

    CCC history pamphlets state that infighting among a few of Roosevelt’s cabinet members that signaled that program’s end. Another program, the National Recovery Act, or NRA, placed a certain amount of price and wage control over businesses and those participating displayed a NRA symbol of a blue eagle in their windows.  I remember seeing these signs displayed in store windows, for not to show that the store was participating, brought a risk of being boycotted. This law was one that was ruled unconstitutional. Many citizens claimed this symbol signified evil and was a “sign of the devil.”  I seem to remember that some folks felt it had something to do with biblical predictions. That was long ago, early in FDR’s administration and I was rather young.

    Other programs that were disliked intensely were created in hope of raising and stabilizing prices for agricultural products. They placed controls over the amount of acreage planted in various crops thus causing many acres to lay barren.  Especially disliked was the slaughtering of cattle and the law that the meat had to be destroyed. With people starving throughout the country, this and the plowing under of crops were contrary to all that farmers and cattlemen believed in but they dutifully obeyed the law.

    Undoubtedly, there were long titles and initialed acronyms for dozens of addition acts, but those discussed here are the most memorable and perhaps the most noteworthy and beneficial ones of the FDR administrations.

    Roosevelt’s policies are still being debated and the effects of many of them still linger. At the time they were generally extremely helpful for our troubled nation but there is little doubt that this period can be considered the beginning of many, sometimes unwelcome, government controls.


    THEN ALONG CAME HARRY TRUMAN......
          More to come after we all rest.
          Dannie



    Friday, July 22, 2011

    The Golden Years

    WE SENORS...

    Are we who have accumulated an excessive number of years, the only group to have so many humorous saying about our predicament?

    Small children laugh at the darnest things but their humor isn’t selectively pointed at their age group.

    As for teenagers, how many jokes do you hear about not being given extra money to buy the latest electronic gadget or not being allowed to have the car for a spin around town?

    Are their parents laughing at their own peculiar ways?  Of course not. If they’re still coping with teenagers they’re thankful they’re not crouched in a corner muttering gibberish; if those years are behind them, they are not yet able to see humor in their lives.

    So it is we who have moved over that invisible line, who see humor in all our foibles.  The cardinal rule is that you must be one of us.  This is surely a happy time in our lives for there is humor in all that we do.

    We laugh about our frequent naps; we laugh at our relief when adorable but whiney grandkids have gone home, we even laugh at the days our own children were in their teens. Above all, we laugh at our forgetfulness, as in such daily occurrences as hunting your sunshades (which are perched on you head), or that favorite shirt which is hanging in plain sight but somehow invisible.

    Then there are the trips to a room and upon getting there, you stand looking around and wondering why you are there. This is very scary if you’re driving and best not mentioned even as a joke, foe one’s precious  liberties might be sharply curtailed. Watch this closely for we’re talking a potentially serious problem!

    On the fun side, here are some old favorites:

    ~You Forget names .... But it's OK because other people forgot they Even knew you!!! 
    ~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "  ON"  and "  OFF"   Switch.
     ~You tend to use more 4 letter words ....  "   what?"  ....."  when?"... ??? 
    ~Now that your husband has retired .... You'd give anything if he'd find a job!

    Old is good in some things: Old songs, Old movies, even the Good Old days when quality was appreciated, Good morals were respected and Going Out was fun.

    AND THEN THERE IS THIS……….

    MIDDLE AGE TEXTING CODES:
     ATD -at the doctor. BFF -best friend fell. BTW -bring the wheelchair. BYOT -bring your own teeth. FWIW -forgot where I was. GGPBL -gotta go, pacemaker battery low. GHA -got heartburn again. IMHO -is my hearing aid on? LMDO -laughing my dentures out. OMMR -on my massage recliner. ROFLACGU -rolling on floor laughing and can't get up. TTML -talk to me louder! Share a laugh xx


    Have a chuckle along with us!

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    BeenThere Already



    I have just now received this little item from a friend, and as an old-timer, I found it both amusing and informative about our changing times and associated problems.


    The Green Thing
    In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.  

    The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
    The clerk responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

    He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day. 

    Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled. 

    But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 

    We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 

    But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. 

    Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 

    Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 
    In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. 
    When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 
    Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. 

    But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
    We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 
    We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

    But we didn't have the green thing back then. 

    Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. 
    We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. 
    The current philosopy is that generations of the past have been poor custodians of our resoources and I expect that may be partly true, but consider the changes that we are now experiencing to get a better understanding of the scope of  our present day environmental problems.

    Thanks, MA for the forwarded piece!