Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Captain Cavedweller and I drove many hours this weekend to be able to attend his grandmother’s 95th birthday party.

Grandma Nell balloonsThere were balloons, presents, cake, and much good cheer as we gathered to celebrate Grandma Nell’s special day.

It was an honor to be able to join with family to mark this milestone event. CC had the opportunity to visit with his two cousins, as well as a cousin from Texas enough times removed I can’t keep it straight, but she is a real hoot regardless of where the branches sprout in the family tree. I also finally got to meet CC’s uncle and his wife, which was fun (especially after waiting twenty years to do so!).

Grandma Nell 1lrI can only hope I’ll be half as “with-it” as she is if I should live to be her age. Other than needing the assistance of a walker, Grandma does really well, her mind is still sharp, and she is as feisty as ever.

It was just after her birthday twenty years ago that I first remember meeting her.

For many, many years, CC’s grandparents spent the summer months on a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Grandma worked as the ranch cook during the busy guest season. CC and I had been seeing each other several months and it was the first time his grandparents had been home since we’d started dating seriously.

Grandma was so friendly and welcoming, she made me feel right at home. One thing that stuck with me, all these years, was how excited she was to show us a photograph taken on her birthday of her riding a horse. She was so proud that, at the tender age of 75, she’d still been able to get on one and ride. Even then, I recall thinking, “Wow, I want to be like her when I grow old!”

After meeting her that first time, she and I quickly discovered we both loved cookbooks and recipes. Over the years, Grandma has shared many of her favorites (both books and handwritten specialties) with me. The best chocolate bundt cake you’ll ever eat comes from Grandma Nell’s recipe.

There were many times I was convinced Grandma could run circles around both CC and me. She is a go-getter, determined, and full of sass. She’s also sweet and thoughtful, and very loving.

Thanks to CC’s cousin Robb, Grandma even has her own website where she shares her recipes and has her very own cookbooks available for purchase.

Every time I see her, I’m just amazed by Grandma Nell and her ability to live life so fully and so intently. She is truly an inspiration.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Grandma!

We love you!

CC and His Sidekick

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Today, apparently, is going to be one of those days.

It started out with me oversleeping.

Despite my frenzied efforts to put some hustle in it, Captain Cavedweller was standing at the door doing his best not to remind me we were already late leaving the house as I was hopping around trying to put on my second shoe, grab my purse and find the car keys.

We got in the car only to have the gas light come on. Guess who drove it home last night on empty? (And it wasn’t CC.)

And just because it was off to a great morning, I, of course, choose the longest possible route to the gas station.

By the time the attendant filled our nearly empty gas tank and we got back on the road, CC was anxiously watching the clock. He has never, in all the years I’ve known him, been late for work. Ever. Not even close.

If I didn’t get a move-on, it was possible today would be the day.

Pulling into the parking lot at my office (across the street from his), I started to grab one of three heavy boxes in the back seat I need to mail today. (The post office is across the street so it’s easier to take them to my office then go to the post office when it opens than trek out to the car and have to lug them to the post office – at least in my mind.)

“What are you doing?” he asked, practically jogging in place, eager to hurry me along.

“I need to mail these today,” I said, trying to stack a second box on top of the first.

With a long-suffering sigh, he grabbed the second and third boxes and managed to restrain himself from giving me a nudge forward.

Wisely, I managed to keep my mouth shut and trot after him, or as fast as I can trot in my heels.

As luck would have it, I couldn’t find the key to access the employee door. He continued to glance nervously at his watch while I fumbled in my purse. Finally, I found the key and he escorted me to the elevator, dumped the boxes and ran out the door. According to my watch, he should have made it with a few seconds to spare.

I am often reminded I am married to a good man. One who loves me despite all my faults and annoyances. Especially on days like today.

And days like today, thank goodness, don’t happen too often.

Today also happens to be my sister’s birthday. She would have been 57 today.  One of her greatest pleasures in life was watching Elvis Presley movies.

So because it is one of those days, and because it’s her birthday, here’s a little Elvis…

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The other day I inherited a stack of teen magazines that originally belonged to my sister.

flip magazine 1974 october

What makes these unique and oh-so-interesting is that they are from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s.

Tiger Beat October 1975

Some of them look like they probably did the day she got them from the store.

teen life september 1975

Others are missing the covers but the pages are mostly in good shape.

Since most of these magazine were before my time (or when I was young enough my biggest concern was which baby doll to lug around that day and how to get my dad to take me with him irrigating so we could make a candy run to the neighborhood store and Mom would be none the wiser) there were a lot of names and faces I didn’t recognize.

the new seekers

Like the band The New Seekers.

the hudson brothersOr The Hudson Brothers. Member Bill is the father of Kate and Oliver Hudson.

jeff eastI also had no idea who Jeff East was, but apparently he gave a rousing rendition in a 1970s version of Tom Sawyer.

michael gray

Michael Gray played in a TV series called Shazam! (That I also have no recollection of ever seeing.)

One thing I noticed is that the magazines seemed to assume anyone buying them would recognize the people featured because I noticed several times no last names were mentioned and on full-page photos, some had no identifying names at all. While probably cool at the time, not so cool now when you have no idea who these people are – forty years later.

There were also some faces and names I recognized.

donny and marie

Like Donny and Marie. I think they are mentioned in almost every magazine.

robbie benson

And Robbie Benson. How could you not know Robbie Benson? (The theme from Ice Castles is right now playing in my head.)


Of course there would be Randy and Kev from Emergency! One year for my birthday, I may have been five or six, I got an Emergency fireman’s hat with their pictures on the front. I wanted to be a fireman for Halloween that year but I think I got dressed as a witch or cat or something not nearly as exciting. You know, back in those days, little girls were not firemen, or so my mother said.


Vincent Van Patten. I’m pretty sure he looked twelve in some of the magazines although the one article claimed he was 16.


He and Shaun Cassidy offered their thoughts on “Our Secret Love Tricks – or How we Make Out!” They each talked about different kinds of girls and the “tricks of the trade” they use to attract each different type – like the Shy Type, The Good Looker (that was tops on both their lists), Miss Hard-T0-Get and Ms. Liberated.

I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised and completely entertained by their responses.

Other names that were easy to recognize included Leif Garrett, Alice Cooper, Linda Blair, Susan Dey, Cher, Freddie Prinze and Michael Landon.

Oh, and I can’t forget the advice column on love and relationships from Maureen McCormick  (Marsha Brady).

The fashion columns nearly pushed me into fits of hysterical laughter, so I think I’ll stop for now.

I’m sure I shouldn’t be so thoroughly amused and fascinated with these magazines, but I am. I’ll try and take as good of care of them as my sister did. Who knows, someone twenty or forty years from now might really get a kick out of them.

She Who Is Craving Pop Rocks and Chick-O-Sticks

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johnny jump ups

The other day I noticed a random pot bursting with colorful blooms in the wasteland of our backyard. I didn’t plant these sweet little violas here, they somehow, magically, grew without my help (which is probably why they look so good!).

These little flowers are pretty special to me. They remind me of my Grandpa, my dad’s father, who always had them growing in his flowerbeds. He called them Johnny Jump Ups, so that is what I’ve always referred to them by.

Apparently, viola tricolor is a European wildflower and also known as  heartsease, heart’s ease, heart’s delight, tickle-my-fancy, Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me, come-and-cuddle-me, three faces in a hood, or love-in-idleness. Americans bestowed the Johnny Jump Up title and refer to it as a wild pansy.

Whatever you want to call it, I know that the sight of one of these darling little blooms always makes me smile. Not only because of the bold, bright colors, but because it reminds me so of my Grandpa.

She Who is Feeling Nostalgic Today

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