Today is Memorial Day – the day we honor those fallen warriors from all our wars.

I find that I’m having a difficult time with this holiday.  I have a difficult time with all patriotic holidays that honor our nation’s service men and women.

It’s not that I’m anti-military – to the contrary – Big Al was in the Air Force for 20 years

and worked as a DAF Civilian

for another 13 years.  I appreciate and admire anyone who puts their life on the line for their country.  I even appreciate those who didn’t die in the service.  My father served in World War II

(in fact WWII is the reason for my existence, because he never would have met my mother if he hadn’t been in the army).  And obviously, Big Al didn’t die in Vietnam or Thailand during his time of service.

My problem comes from the time of Vietnam.  Al went and served in Vietnam and Thailand.  I stayed home and raised a son by myself.  The Air Force messed up his pay, and, but for my parents, my kid and I would have starved or been on the streets.  And I lost that year out of my life.  To this day, I have to consciously think about how old I am, or how old my son is (subtract year of birth from current year, etc.) because I blocked that year out of my memory.  I never heard the phone ring, or footsteps on the porch without steeling myself for the chaplain’s visit.  And after Al came home there were months of readjustment – to each other – to our family roles – to “normality”.  Unless you have lived through a time of separation when your spouse or sweetheart is in harm’s way for a significant portion of that time, you can’t imagine what it does to you.

My problem now with patriotic holidays is a holdover from that time.  Because when he came back there were no parades.  There were no partiots meeting him at the airport.  There were no prayers for his safe return in church.  There was no thanks from a grateful public.  He was required to travel in uniform, but as soon as he could he changed his clothes.  He didn’t wear his uniform to church.  He didn’t wear it in public at all, if possible.  Because he didn’t want to be spit on, or booed, or otherwise reviled.

So now, when the country has at last come to its senses and is once again appreciating the sacrifices of men and women in uniform, I have a hard time getting into the spirit.  Because I remember how it was when we were the ones doing the hard thing and serving our country, and we weren’t appreciated and loved and cheered.

Gloom, despair, and agony on me!

I jumped out of the bed this morning, and straightened up the family room – disappeared all the glasses and coasters and napkins – put away the TV trays.  Then I went out front and deadheaded the geraniums in the bed in front of the house.

I took my shower, and chased Big Al out of the bed, got the clean sheets and towels out of the wash, put on clean pillow cases, made the bed (complete with throw pillows).

Then I ran to Calloways and got some new plants to replace the petunias

and geraniums that have burned up in the heat.

I dropped a pretty penny (upwards of $80 for two shade arrangements and two hanging baskets), but, I thought, “What the hey!  If it will make the lookers happy, and make them think this is a wonderful house and garden, it’s worth it!”

We got everything looking great and were just getting ready to grab a bite for lunch when the phone rang.

“Cancelled by Agent”.  Gloom, dispair, and agony on me!

When we finally got this listing, hope sprang eternal.  I had visions of this being the perfect potential buyer.  I had hopes of being out of Dallas before the end of June.

And now they aren’t even coming to look. 

Just shoot me now…

Hot and Dry, Mostly Sunny

It’s a quarter after 2 in the afternoon and it’s only up to 95 deg. headed for 98 deg. in Dallas.  Back in the crib for the duration, it seems. 

The petunias have definitely seen their last, and the geraniums are not far behind.  The ferns gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago.  I guess I’ll make a quick run to the nursery tomorrow morning early (before it gets out of the 80s) and get some new baskets of “seasonal color”.  Gotta keep up appearances for potential buyers!  You never know what will appeal to them.  The roses inside are doing great, though.

I got up and went to 9:30 church.  Big Al was struck with a severe case of “morticus sabatacus” (that’s that vile disease that strikes about 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, and keeps you from going to church.  Then it miraculously disappears about 11:30 a.m. so you can go out to dinner with the family.)

Glad he got a chance to go to lunch with me, though.  We went to Tokyo One – a sushi buffet – that has lots of all-you-can-eat sushi as well as soups, salads, grilled chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, steamed clams, vegatable stir-fries, made-to-order hibachi grills and stir-fries, tempura shrimp, chicken, and vegatables, crab legs, and sabu-sabu pots, and lots of desserts like fresh fruit, gelatins, tortes, flan, and creme brulee.

I’ll definitely miss Tokyo One when we move to Tacoma, but I’ll bet they have really good sushi of their own.

We polished off another 5 episodes (4 hours) of West Wing last night.  I’ve got to run the first disc to the post office, so we can get disc #4 before we’ve forgotten where we are.  I can almost repeat the dialogue with the actors, I’ve seen it so often, but I still love watching it.  And it’s better than any of the drek that’s on broadcast right now.

Maybe as soon as I get back from the post office, I’ll go put my feet up and read (and probably examine the insides of my eyelids for a while, too).

The Boredom of Holidays

When you’re retired and have no family living near, holidays can be incredibly boring.  Because of a city-wide furlough day (scheduled to make a four-day weekend for city workers who might not get paid, but at least didn’t have to work), we didn’t get to play bridge on Friday.

I would love to go somewhere and do something, but the heat

dictates doing something indoors, and Big Al’s back means it can’t be anything that involves walking any distance.  So we spend the holiday weekends just like we spend every weekend – only an extra day of it.  We don’t have the funds to go anywhere overnight, and any decent scenery to drive through is more than a day – round trip.  We have to save our sheckles for moving to Tacoma.

And as retirees, weekends don’t feel any different than weekdays, except for church on Sunday.  At least we get to play bridge during the week on Tuesday and Friday mornings at the rec center, and Wednesday afternoons (Big Al plays at the church and I substitute pretty regularly at a ladies’ bridge group).  But after June 4th, we won’t be able to play on Fridays at the rec center, because they won’t have room for us. 

At least when we get moved into Franke Tobey Jones ( in Tacoma, we’ll be able to just walk across the street from our house to find a bridge game, get lunch, attend a class or even use the exercise equipment.  And we won’t have to worry about the heat!

People wonder how we’ll cope with the constant grey skies, and rain in the Pacific northwest.  We lived in England for 6 years, and I didn’t think it rained enough.  You just buy a good raincoat and an umbrella, and maybe some wellies, and you go out and live your lives (without sweating as soon as you walk out the door.)

We enjoyed the beginning of our annual West Wing marathon last night.  We have to be careful, though, because the holiday weekend means a lag in receiving replacement discs from Netflix.  We can’t use up everything we’ve got on hand or we’ll find ourselves without anything to watch on Tuesday night.  I’m eternally grateful that we can watch instant movies with the XBox and Netflix.  It keeps Big Al from watching ahead after I go bed.

Nice little Shower

Credit where credit is due.  We had a nice little shower that dropped the temperature to 80 deg. for about 15 minutes.  It’s already back up to 88 deg., but we take what we can get.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there was enough water, or enough cool to help the poor little petunias.  They are pretty sad.  The one basket that get shade all afternoon will probably last another week or so, but I’m afraid the other two baskets have had it.

We’re looking forward to spending the evening in the beginning of our yearly West Wing marathon.  We got Discs 1, 2, and 3 from Season 1 from Netflix today!

Location, location, location

It’s 89 deg. already and it’s not noon yet.  We’re looking at 95 deg. at least today.  Less than 10% chance of rain.  We had some thunder about supper time last night, but no rain.

I also realized that today makes two full weeks since anyone came and looked at the house.  We were averaging 3 or 4 appointments a week, and suddenly – NOTHING – like somebody pulled the plug, or turned off the tap.  Did we get left out of Multi-List?  Did we make somebody mad and they put the word out to boycott us?  It’s VERY frustrating…

They say that the only rule in real estate is location, Location, LOCATION.  Well, if that’s the case I ought to have folks beating down the door. 

We live a block away from one of the best middle schools, and one of the best high schools in Dallas. 

It’s an older, established neighborhood with big trees and sidewalks, etc. 

We live within walking distance of DART rail station.

We’re close to two hospitals – Presbyterian Dallas and Medical City Dallas.  Perfect location for nurses, staff and other medical personnel.

Northpark Mall is 5 minutes away, Valley View Mall is 10 minutes away, the Galleria is 15 minutes away.

Restaurants and shopping abound.  Tom Thumb, Krogers, and Whole Foods are all “in the neighborhood.”

The house itself is in great shape.  All the infrastructure has been upgraded and kept in good repair.

The house is handicapped friendly (no stairs, accessible with one step-up through the garage, no sunken living room or anything, walk-in shower with seat).

It would be perfect for a single person, or a professional couple.  There’s a formal living room and formal dining room, enormous family room, breakfast area in the kitchen, two offices, and a large master bedroom.  Of course, the offices could be converted back to bedrooms if desired. 

We both have computers, and a home server, and we’ve upgraded the wiring to accomodate that.  We also have Cat 5 wiring into the family room for our Netflix and XBox.  The wireless access point serves the laptops.

I would dearly love to know why no one is even willing to make an offer.  We’re not asking but $6,000 more than a similar house (but smaller) sold for back in November (economy even worse then).  There’s a twin to this one two doors away that they are asking $27,000 more for.  Even if people are looking for upgrades (although I’m not sure what they might be – our kitchen and baths have been redone), you can do a lot of upgrading for $27,000.


Another hot, dry, sunny day in Dallas.  Forecast for 95 deg. and no rain in sight. 

Big Al went off to the doctor this morning only to find out he had neglected to make the change to his calendar after he requested that I move his appointment to coincide with mine.  It’s for June 10th!  At least he got his form for his Handicapped Hanger delivered.  He is really unable to walk very far.  He has a “Disabled Veteran” license plate, but that’s not always good enough for parking in Handicapped spots.

He called me when he found out he didn’t have an appointment today (to fuss at me, I guess), then he went off to the grocery store.  I figured he would be taken care of for an hour or so, so I went to take my shower before a new potential client stopped by to bring me a laptop with QuickBooks issues (don’t ask).  I had just gotten out of the shower, and I was rushing to dress when the phone rang again.  It was Big Al wanting to know if we needed hot dog buns for Saturday night.  I told him “No, we have enough left” and he proceded to count the ones he thought we had eaten out of the last package.  All the while, I’m standing in my underwear expecting the doorbell to ring any minute.  I finally told him to just wait a minute and I’d go look in the frig to see, but he kept talking over me, even when I’m scurrying down the hall to the kitchen.  I looked, and, sure enough, we had three buns left, so I hurried back to the phone, but he had hung up.  Then I called him back and he didn’t answer.  Then I left a message, saying I had three hot dog buns.  I was just headed back to the bedroom to throw on some clothes, when he called back!  He had seen that I had called, but he hadn’t bothered to listen to the message!  Aaaarrrggghhh!

To make matters worse, the potential client still hasn’t shown up – it’s 11:15, and he said he’d be here around 10:00.

People in the northwest (Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, etc.) are complaining on Twitter about cool, rainy weather. 

And I’m so jealous of the cool, rainy weather, I could cry. 

I love wearing socks, and sweatshirts.  I hate breaking into a sweat when I walk out the door.

Yellow Roses

As a peace offering for the phone incident this morning, Big Al brought me these.  He’s been bringing me yellow roses ever since we were first married.  Back in the dark ages (1965) he could buy a dozen yellow roses from the Tyler Rose man on the side of the road for $ .50 a doz.  We might not have been able to eat out or go to the movies or anything else in those days of $100 a week paychecks and $100 a month rent – but I had fresh yellow roses every week!

As you can see, all our vases have either been sold or packed away, in anticipation of moving.  The roses are still pretty and I will enjoy them for quite a while.

Boring stuff about me

You will probably get tired of reading about my bridge hands, and the food I’ve eaten.  That and the reruns on TV are about the center of my life right now.  Oh, yeah, I also will probably talk some about my Nook and current book that I’m reading, and maybe (if I can get my act together) something about my current knitting project.

Big Al and I went to bridge at the church today.  He played with the men (just one table) and I played with the folks who seem to be just learning to play duplicate.  It’s been years since I’ve played anything but party bridge, but it was fun.  I probably came in very low because I didn’t have a regular partner, and she’s pretty timid, while I’m aggressive when bidding.  If we got any top boards, it was probably because our opponents messed up.  Oh, well, we had a good time anyway.

We sent off our three Netflix in anticipation of receiving the first three discs of the first season of West Wing.  Our copies are packed away in a box in a closet somewhere, and rather than dig them out, we thought we’d just let Netflix supply our annual summertime marathon West Wing fix.

It’s 95 deg. today, and I’m afraid we’re staying the the house, except to go to the car.  Air conditioning is the only thing that makes Dallas livable during the summer.  Weatherbug shows the dreaded dome of high pressure firmly in place, with little popup thunderstorms skating around the edges, starting in Wichita Falls, riding up into Oklahoma, and then dipping down through East Texas and Louisiana – giving them a little relief from the heat, and leaving us sweltering.

I’m totally bummed about the fact that I seem to keep gaining weight – probably not a good idea to only eat one meal a day – but I don’t seem to have any moderation.  When I start to eat I can’t seem to stop.  That and the fact that I get zero exercise.  I just don’t seem to be able to get motivated to get out and walk when it’s this hot.  I was doing pretty well until about two years ago when I got busy taking care of Papa in his last days.  By the time he had died, and we’d had the funeral, the heat had descended, and I had stopped walking.  I hope I can nag myself back into a little exercise, by writing this blog.