Saturday, December 26, 2009


There just aren't enough times in one's life when you receive some thing that makes you feel so special. Well do I ever have a pair of earrings that will add bling to anyone.  Lucky, lucky me, I received these beauties for Christmas from my mother and father in law. During my latest trip to Washington DC, I saw them at the Renwick Gallery's store. Thought they were oh so beautiful.  Bling is not usually my style, there was just this special something about this pair, and I thought if I ever had the money I would purchase them.  And we all know how often that happens, not very, we usually forget about the item long before we can remember to get them.
When asked what I wanted for Christmas, I remembered not my two front teeth...but the earrings!  Last night I received them, it was wonderful, and I am going to say enchanting.  They are authentic reproductions of earrings worn by Jackie Kennedy to an official state dinner for Shaw and Empress of Iran on April 11, 1962.  She wore these waterfall earrings, a Sunburst pin in her hair, a Hampton bracelet and an evening gown with a white satin bodice and pink sating bell skirting. Can you imagine the setting, the picture, I can, pure glamour and enchantment.
And now I am a very proud owner of an authentic copy of the one's she wore.  Life sure affords us some wonderful surprises.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards 
The earliest known designer of a Christmas card was Sir Henry Cole, the first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was both the Penny Post postal service in 1840 and the industrialization of the printing industry however, that led to the popularity of sending Christmas cards. By 1846, one thousand were sold at one shilling each. Cards in unsealed envelopes could be posted for half a penny. A German printer by the name of Louis Prang was designing and selling cards in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1874. Ten years later his shop was selling more than 5 million cards a year. What a beginning.
This year I actually had time for my cards instead of fitting them in on a Saturday night or just not sending any at all.  I am so organized now, have my list, verses saving the envelopes from the year before or doing a web search for them. 
I had the cards all addressed, sealed and ready to be mailed today so I was off to the post office. Upon entering, Oh no, there in front of me a crowd, a large crowd, a half hour or more wait, I almost left, I hate lines.  No I couldn't, really wanted to get this one thing off my mailed. With forty unyeilding cards and a box to mail, I couldn't leave so  I stood and stood. Bought my Hanukkah stamps, mailed the box and paid the bill.
Asked myself, when did mailing Christmas Cards become so expensive? After attaching a stamp to each wonderful, beautiful Christmas card envelop, I was's completed.  Finally can mark this one item off my list.  This list seems to double at least every third day and I cannot figure out why... there certainly cannot be that much more to do when one is not employed.
Outside I realize I cannot find my car keys! Back inside now to check everywhere, ask the service agent and even some one in line...Did you see any car keys?  No they weren't there. Outside again, I can't see the keys, but they could be under some coupons I had printed out on the front seat, not sure. One thing I knew though that all of the car keys are here all three of them are in the car. There is no way to have a friend bring me an extra key because they are here inside this car.  There is a reoccurring problem with the ignition switch that costs around $300. to fix and I have been delaying that repair...if one key doesn't work then use another.
Opening my purse, I pull out my change purse to locate the AAA card.  There are just some things in this life that are a necessity and this card is one of them. 
After a half hour wait, the service man was there, thank you Lord, it was getting cold out and I really had to go from the cold you know.  With a few nifty tools and five minutes, he had my car unlocked. And the keys were on the front seat. Another miracle, the car started, thank you again, needed the ride home to be quick. It was.
Two of the traditional Christmas items completed, Christmas decorations outside up and the Christmas Cards mailed...two to go!  The tree and finish my Christmas shopping. Tomorrow is apron day, I have six to make in the next few days. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving in Ohio

This year was delightful, I was able to share this day with my ex mother in law, who bless her heart is 95 years young. Sharp as a tack and happy to be alive and sharing her time with us.  Though her eyesight is failing and she doesn't hear very well, she is still up on the news and is a lively person, though she is restricted with her movements.  No longer able to visit her favorite restraunts, whenever possible, some one brings her dinner from the Red Lobster and Wholly Bears.  The time spent is worth the travel to get here.  

She lives in Penfield, Ohio which is about 45 miles southwest of Cleveland.  The house is situated on twelve beautiful pine tree filled acres with a pond and lots of wild life.  Speaking of trees, look at the adjacent picture...this tree was maybe ten feet tall on my first visit to this charming house around 40 years ago...oh my...time has gone by. Now it is over 40 feet in height and just a beautiful tree. Unfortunately the picture doesn't show it's full size and glory. 
This trip brought back lots of Thanksgiving we were snow bound for three days. Couldn’t' t get the vehicles out, so we enjoyed being snowed in and time spent in front of the fireplace. Cooking was always Vi's expertise.  And she could cook; lots of comfort food, along with some Polish and Hungarian recipes thrown in.  Always knew you were welcome and you were going to get plenty to eat...And a dance around the kitchen to annoy her was always part of the welcome, as well as a trip to her cookie jar. Things have changed, the cookies are still there, though store bought now and unfortunately she doesn't cook any longer.  Missed her great meals.

We weren't sure who would be joining us for the day, with lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren living in Ohio, it's always a toss up to see who will be able to come.  Much to my surprise and joy, Kim, her husband Dan and stepchildren Elisabeth and Kelly drove up, 
from Dayton to spend a couple of days here. They brought a complete turkey dinner along with what we had prepared, we had a wonderful and filling meal.  Lots of left over’s made for delicious meals for the next couple of days.  I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my time with this wonderful family. We worked on puzzles, took trips to antique shops, a candy shop, Roots Candles, a wonderful bakery and of course, we ate. 

Friday morning gave us a surprise, there was snow falling. Though not really a surprise in the part of Ohio, it was wonderful to see after living in Arizona so long.  A walk in the snow, being drenched by very wet snow, made this holiday memorable.  It didn't last long, sure help make this a true homecoming though. Left on Saturday to come back to Arizona.  I could have stayed longer...going back in April, my promise to Vi. Going home (Ohio) can be wonderful and it was.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Washington DC

The day started early with my arrival at the MARC train depot in Fredrick, Maryland at 6:45 am.  The train ride to DC is approximately one hour and a half long...this is a commuter train with lots of sleepy  people aboard and its Monday morning.  The train was comfortable and the sights along the way, beautiful...trees, small farms, deers roaming and downtown areas of some of the small towns that we stopped at. We arrived in Union Station around 8:40 and I was off.  Found a helpful lady that directed me to the Metro and planned my route to the White House...this lessened the amount of walking thru this great city which I was grateful for, the weather was damp and cold with rain forecast. And being from the southwest, it was chilly...chilly.  Forgot to mention, windy at the same time.  One of those days where you can see steam rising from the manholes and you know its cold.

Each time I go to DC, a visit to the White House is always on the list of places I see, it’s like a reference point for me. The house looks stately, crisp and clean even on this dark day.  Next on the list is a visit to the DAR headquarters, which is located about two blocks south of the White House, the real reason for my visit. With my daughter moving, I was not sure when I will return to DC, I had to make it this trip. And the visit didn't disappoint me.  I was fortunate to get a wonderful docent named Nancy, who was from Annapolis and she volunteers here each week. For the next hour and a half, I got a private and educational tour of this fine building and its contents.  The various DAR state chapters have decorated rooms in different periods dating from the early 1800's to 1930. Some rooms have been decorated as drawing rooms, bedrooms and studies. All done by donations right down to the wallpaper.  The DAR library is inspirational and a beautiful room. As with most buildings in DC, there have been some adaptations in their use, the library was once a place for plays..imagine the moldings, and decorations.  They have left the items to be true to the original purpose and have worked around them.  After the tour I enjoyed the museum, which had on display quilts, samplers and a Wedgewood collection from England.

After conferring with the receptionist about a good place to eat that was close( didn’t want to travel far, I was hungry), he directed me to a little cafe located in the basement of one of the federal was great and cheap compared to DC standards. Once outside, I noticed or should I say I felt the rain.  And it was coming down cats and dogs.  Needed an umbrella in a hurry or give up, it was that bad. Thank God there was one of those souvenir stands located next to the mall and just a couple hundred feet from where I was. Cost $5.00, that’s all and it worked.

With that purchase, I could now look around and determine where I need to go…and there before me was the Washington Monument at the other end of the Mall, my other point of reference.  The World War 2 memorial is located adjacent to the Washington monument.  When I say adjacent, that doesn't mean close, it’s a good walk.  By now my pants are wet to my knees, but I was warm. Borrowed my daughter's LL Beam coat, which I was thankful for the warmth and for it being waterproof.Thought this was an interesting picture of the monument, with the mounted park patrol, the flags and the monument itself.  On previous visits, this area was crowded and I actually got to see more of it and look closer at the inscriptions while it was raining.

Adjacent are some pictures of the World War 2 monument, a picture cannot capture size and scale, and it must be visited.  Met a volunteer park ranger who told me some stories about it and also found out his wife and him are from Arizona.  She works for the FBI, the reason they are in DC.  He is retired, but as he said he volunteers to get out of their small condo and to avoid housework.  Now who wouldn't? So much to see in this city.

The picture of the War Department Files is that of my uncle. I have been trying to locate more information on him and find my cousin, who I know is living in Prescott, just haven't been able to find her yet.  Uncle Francis was either killed in a plane crash over France or in England. I haven't been able to determine this yet. Sad though I didn't have time to visit the War Department for his records.  With this information I found, I might be able to find some other documents regarding his service. While Jefferson Monument is at the other end of the pond, it’s a little to far for this type of day and a third visit is not required today.

Remembering seeing the Renwick Gallery, which is located across from the Executive Offices, I decided at this point I to head back, at least this way, I knew how to get to the Metro Station.  This Museum was unique, lots of odd things, like this glass dress. At close inspection, you can see every ripple and bulge as though it was actually molded over some one's body. The museum also had lots of original landscape paintings from the 18th century. This building had been used for various things thru the years and has under gone a partial restoration.
With a quick look at the time and noticing that it was getting dark, time to leave DC. Though I did stop at a couple of shops on my way back to the Marc. Union Station has lots of upscale shops and eateries to look at.  Back to Maryland on the train, seemed a fitting end of the day.  I was thankful for the warmth of the car as we traveled thru the night.