Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Show and Tail...GUILTY!

Today I'm participating in Tuesday's Show and Tail sponsored by Angela over at West Virginia Treasures.  For a list of this week's particpants head over to Angela's blog.


Need I say more?


Today our oldest son, Keith turns 42 years old.  How time flies!  He was born in Naples, Italy while Jim was in the Navy and we were living in Sicily.

There were no newborn pictures taken at the Naval Hospital.  We flew home from the hospital when he was 2 1/2 days old.  I got to write first bus ride, first plane ride, and first car ride in his baby book for that day.

He now lives in Austin and works for the State of Texas.  He came for the holiday weekend and we celebrated his birthday on Saturday by going over to Kemah, Texas to eat.  If you click on this picture and enlarge it you can see how far we were from New York City.  (I found that interesting.)

We went to T-Bone Tom's since it's a place that Keith enjoys.  It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network and it looks like it will be on again on June 3rd.  Click on the show link for the time.

I had trouble getting a photo of everyone at once because it was a little tight and I would have had to stand on the table next to us in order to get it.  Here's Keith and Troy...

and Jim and Reid...

I took a picture of a shark egg and fried pickles.  The shark egg is actually a jalapeno pepper with crabmeat stuffed inside and then breaded and fried.  My family likes them, but I like fried pickles.  Talk about healthy eating!  (Note:  Edited...I had originally called them armadillo eggs, but Keith tells me they were actually shark eggs this time.  They've had the armadillo eggs in the past and they look the same.  The armadillo eggs have a jalapeno pepper stuffed with barbecue and then breaded and fried.)

 I had a steak sandwich and the steak was very, very tender.  Everyone raved about their meals. We all came home stuffed.

Here's Keith leaving T-Bone Tom's...

He opened presents when we got home.

Monday morning we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then Keith and his cats left for home...

Happy Birthday Keith!!

Friday, May 27, 2011


Today Beverly over at How Sweet The Sound is throwing a party for Pink Saturday's Third Birthday!

How time flies!  I'm afraid I haven't done a Pink Saturday post in a long time.  Perhaps a year or so, but real life sometimes gets in the way and I also found myself running out of pinkness.   When I received Beverly's E-mail about Pink Saturday's big day I knew I'd have to participate  I hate to miss a party.

I've found Blogger to be a little finicky lately and I'm hoping I can post some pictures.  Usually when I have trouble I just sign out and then sign in again and things are OK, but for the last couple of days I have had trouble signing out.  Good thing I'm not on a public computer.

I've also been having trouble leaving comments on blogs that have the little pull down menu for "Comment As: Select Profile."  For some reason it wants me to sign in again (even though I'm already signed in) and then it still won't put the comment through.  I've gone around in circles signing in again and again to no avail.  Anyone else having trouble?

I decided I'd repeat some of my previous Pink Saturday photographs since some of you are probably new and hopefully the rest of you are as forgetful as me and it will be like new again. 

I'm a doll collector and often showed my dolls in pink...

The first one is my childhood Ginny doll...a 1954 Bent Knee Walker.  The rest of the dolls were collected in recent years.

Sometimes I did show other things...

Like the pink squares I crocheted over 40 years ago when I was pregnant with my second son.  I started putting a blue border around them, but never finished.  (Back then we had no way of knowing if it was a boy or girl.)  I keep thinking I'll get this finished someday, but I no longer remember how to crochet them.  I also bought the wool while we were living in Italy, so it's not like I could get more if needed.

OK...now Blogger wants to center the text ever since I added that last picture and I'm not going to argue.

I've always liked this bag with the pink trim...

And my sweet little Zoom in her pink bed.

OK...now the text is no longer centered.  I think I better get this post published before something else happens.


This font is supposed to be pink, but it's really more of a mauve because I was hoping it would be easier to read.  Is it working?

Now head over to Beverly's blog for a list of this week's participants and information on how you can join the party.

Thank you Beverly for organizing and keeping track of Pink Saturday!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's a Blogger conspiracy...

Just as I suspected...it's a Blogger conspiracy. 

They're trying to drive me crazy.

Please don't think I'm paranoid.

Yesterday I couldn't sign out of Blogger.

Today they make me sign in over and over again in an attempt to leave a comment.

My comments don't appear...Blogger hates me.

I will not let them destroy my sanity.

I've found a way to cope.

Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday..."F" as in FAN

Welcome to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  For a list of this week's participants and information on how you can join in on the fun head over to Ms. Jenny's blog.

This week we are studying the letter "F" as in FAN.  To be more specific, I'm talking about one of the most loyal and dedicated Chicago White Sox FANS that ever lived...my Dad.

When Dad was around 14 years old his Boy Scout Troop in Westwood, NJ decided that they'd each pick a baseball team to root for and support.  He told me that most of the teams were taken by the time they got to him, so he chose the Chicago White Sox almost by default.  His relationship with the White Sox spanned many decades and lasted the rest of his life.  No one can ever say Dad wasn't loyal.

That's Dad making the tag in this picture.  His brother is the umpire and his friend Clarence is out at the plate.

Of course, growing up and living in a suburb of New York City until his late 80's, he was surrounded by mostly New York Yankee fans, but Dad didn't care.  It would have been easy to root for the Yankees especially during all their winning seasons, but Dad was a White Sox FAN and that was all there was to it.  He made a commitment at 14 years old and he wasn't going to renege.

Initially, the only way to follow his team was in the newspaper or on the radio.  He'd listen to games when they played the Yankees and when TV came into being he was sometimes able to watch them when a Yankee-White Sox game was televised.  These were the days before satellite and cable TV and coverage was limited.  However, sometime during the 1950's he discovered that his car radio could pick up a Baltimore radio station, so when the White Sox played in Baltimore he'd sit in the hot garage and listen to the games on the car radio. 

As I recall, most games (if not all) were played during the day.  My mother would listen for the scores and warn us if the White Sox lost.  She'd say, "Don't bother your father when he gets home because the White Sox lost and he won't be in a good mood."  So, we'd keep our distance and give him a while to get over the disappointment.  However, if they won I knew he'd be in a great mood and that's when I'd hit him up for a dollar or a trip to Woolworth's or the doll store to look for something new.

People would often ask if Dad grew up on the south side of Chicago.  No, he was born in Jersey City, NJ and only went to Chicago a couple of times in his life and never during baseball season.  One time we drove to Chicago to catch a train to California for a convention and another time we went to visit some friends that had moved to one of the Chicago suburbs.

Dad did get to go to some games at Yankee Stadium when the White Sox were in town.  We had a neighbor that had season tickets and the box was right at the first base line.  He would sometimes give Dad tickets and we'd all go to Yankee Stadium.  It was always a thrill for Dad to see his team up close and personal.

Everyone knew that Dad was a Chicago White Sox FAN, and he sure knew his team.  He could tell you the latest score, batting averages, etc., at the drop of a hat.  What always amazed me was that he mostly followed his team by reading the sports section of the newspaper, The Sporting News, or catching the latest score on the radio or television sports report.

Over the years we never had trouble figuring out what to get him for Christmas, birthdays, Father's Day, etc.  We'd just buy him something with the Chicago White Sox logo.  Back in 1993 my mother convinced him to dress in some of his latest White Sox garments and pose for a picture.  She wrote on the back, "All dressed up and no place to go.  Is this a White Sox FAN - or is this a White Sox FAN??"  (I think the picture was taken under duress...he doesn't look very happy to me.)

In 2005 the Chicago White Sox played the Houston Astros in the World Series.  Mom had died in 2001 and Dad was living by himself in New Jersey.  I'd watch the game from Texas and he'd watch from New Jersey and then he'd call me afterwards.  He was so excited!   The White Sox were doing well, but there was one game when Dad didn't call.  I became concerned and called him to make sure he was OK.  He explained, "Honey, your team is losing and I don't want to rub it in."  I laughed and said, "Dad, I know you've waited all these years for the White Sox to win the World Series.  You earned it, and you wouldn't be rubbing it in."

In 2006 Dad moved to Texas and Assisted Living near me.  The following baseball season I discovered that I could sign up for White Sox TV online and Dad would be able to watch the games.  For the first time in his life he was able to see just about all their games that season.  He'd sit in front of the computer screen and this almost 89 year old man was suddenly that excited 14 year old boy again.

They had a 4th of July party at Assisted Living one year and face painting was part of the festivities. Look what he had painted on his face!

Sadly, Alzheimer's took it's toll on Dad and for the last year or so of his life he didn't even ask about the White Sox anymore.  He died last September at almost 92, but up until the day he died he still wore his White Sox cap just about every day.

For Christmas 2007 we gave him a White Sox Legacy Brick enscribed "Bill Durgin of NJ - Loyal Fan Since 1932."  The Legacy Brick program gave FANS a chance to have their names immortalized at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and seemed an appropriate gift for the White Sox's most loyal FAN outside the state of Illinois.  The original bricks were arranged in a diamond shaped plaza outside Gate 4 and Dad's brick is located somewhere near first base on this plaza.  Each of the FANS received a duplicate brick for themselves.  I now have Dad's brick sitting on my fireplace in the den.

I still receive the White Sox scores by E-mail.  I've been getting them sent for years so I could keep Dad informed when he missed a game.  Now I just like receiving the scores because it makes me feel like a part of my Dad is still with me.

Old White Sox FANS never die...they just slowly fade away.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog and visit some more Alphabe-Thursday "F" posts.

P.S.  If anyone lives in Chicago and goes to White Sox games at U.S. Cellular Field could you please send me a picture of my Dad's Legacy Brick?  I'd love to see it!  Thanks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday..."E" as in Endeavour

Welcome to Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny over at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  For a list of this week's participants and information on how you can join in on the fun head over to Ms. Jenny's blog.

This week we are studying the letter "E" as in the Space Shuttle ENDEAVOUR.

The Space Shuttle ENDEAVOUR blasted off for the final time from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Monday, May 16, 2011.  ENDEAVOUR is NASA's youngest space shuttle and this is her 25th flight into space.  Unless you've been on Mars yourself, you probably know that ENDEAVOUR is commanded by Captain Mark Kelly the husband of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The Space Shuttle ENDEAVOUR has had quite a history over the last 20 years.  This excellent 9+ minute video shows some of the highlights.

As exciting as it is to see a shuttle launch (and I've only seen them on television) I've always been fascinated with the way NASA transports the shuttles on the back of a 747 aircraft.  Perhaps it was my fear of flying that made this feat seem unbelievable to me.

We live near the Johnson Space Center and Ellington Field and had the opportunity to see ENDEAVOUR on top of the 747 when NASA took delivery in May 1991.  ENDEAVOUR was built  by Rockwell in Palmdale, California to replace the space shuttle Challenger that was lost in an explosion on January 28, 1986.  (We always remember that date since our son, Reid, turned ten years old that day.)

On May 6, 1991 ENDEAVOUR made a stop in Houston at Ellington Field on the way from California to Florida.  Reid, Troy and I went out to see her.  (I can't believe how young we look in these pictures, but it was 20 years ago!)  I had to scan these photographs since digital photography wasn't even in our vocabulary back then.

I had to get the kids to cooperate.  After all this was an historical occasion and they had to be photographed.  They preferred to fool around.

Finally, they cooperated.  They look so young and I didn't even remember Troy having long hair.  He was going through his hard rock phase.

Of course, I wanted my picture taken with ENDEAVOUR too!  I haven't changed a bit.  I still look this young!

Over the years we've gone to open houses that NASA has had at the Johnson Space Center and Ellington Field and I've had a chance to get on the 747 and ask questions of one of the pilots.

Actually, that was the day I realized that fear of flying is a phobia.  The 747 was parked at Ellington Field with the doors wide open.  As we climbed the steps and walked inside I was surprised by my reaction.  My heart was pounding and I was ready to turn around and run.  I couldn't believe it since it was so obvious that the plane wasn't going anywhere any time soon.  Besides, the inside of the plane was pretty much gutted in order to cut down on the weight.  There were only a few seats in the front and the rest was just a wide open space and here I was reacting the way I did anytime I stepped on a plane to fly somewhere.  It was definitely an ah-hah moment.

The pilot who was standing near the doorway turned and surprised me by asking if I had any questions.  Of course, I did!  I blurted,  "How do you get this thing off the ground?"  He apologized and told me that he didn't understand my question.  Here I thought it was so obvious.  I said, "You have this big plane with the equivalent of another plane on top of it...don't you have trouble getting it off the ground?"  He assured me that he didn't.  He told me it was just like flying any other plane except they needed a long enough runway.  I already knew that a heavier plane needs a longer runway for take-off and landing, so that made sense.  He also told me that they couldn't fly through turbulence.  Ah...I thought I had him there.  Obviously, turbulence must be extremely dangerous just as I had suspected and NASA wouldn't want to take a chance with the expensive shuttle.  He told me, "No, it's just that the way the shuttle is mounted to the 747 they don't want to take a chance of jarring something loose."  They fly at a lower altitude and another plane always flies ahead of them to warn them of turbulence.

Eventually, I overcame my fear of flying and that day at Ellington Field went a long way in helping me.  It's pretty amazing to see that thing fly. I'm still hoping to see it one more time in person.  After this mission ENDEAVOUR is heading to Los Angeles, California and its final home at the California Science Center.  I'm hoping they'll fly it through here on the back of the 747 one last time.

Here's a short video of ENDEAVOUR on the back of the 747 in 2008.

For the latest ENDEAVOUR news check out NASA's website.

Now head over to Jenny's blog and visit some of this week's "E" posts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Quick Tip

Today I have a laundry tip that I learned from Keith. 

I always had trouble when I'd wash bedspreads or slipcovers.  They would always roll up tightly in the dryer as the drum went around, and then come out full of wrinkles.  I think it was always worse with the dryer I have now, but when I called the manufacturer they claimed it happens with all dryers.  I would try and remember to open the dryer door every 15 minutes or so and unroll the bedspread or slipcover, but within a few minutes it would happen again.

Then Keith told me the secret for wrinkle free bedspreads and slipcovers.

Not the dog, but the tennis balls.  (I would suggest buying brand new tennis balls.)  You just toss three of them into the dryer with whatever it is that keeps getting rolled up and wrinkled.  I've found that the items still get rolled a little, but loosely rolled and there are no wrinkles.

Keith said he learned this tip at the laundromat from the lady that works there.  Maybe some of you already know this one, but it was new to me.

Tuesdays Show and Tail...Zoom has OCD

Today I'm joining Angela over at West Virginia Treasures for Tuesday's Show and Tail.  Head over to Angela's blog for a list of this week's particpants and information on how you can join in on the fun.

I'm afraid little Zoom might have OCD.

Most morning's we wake up to this:

And if I go somewhere during the day and no one is home she unrolls the paper towels in the kitchen.  I know I have a picture of this somewhere, but I can't find it right now.

She isn't a kitten.  This is a grown cat.

Usually when I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner she comes in and joins me.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times she opens this cabinet.

I close it and she opens it.

Over and over again we play this little game.

A long time ago I kept cat treats in this cabinet, but Zoom kept chewing the lid off the plastic container I kept them in, so I moved them to the pantry.  That hasn't stopped her from continuing to open the cabinet door.

Eventually, she opens the door and comes over and bites my calves.  I guess she wants to make sure that I've noticed she hasn't gotten a cat treat yet.

Of course, once she bites me I give her a cat treat so she'll leave me alone.  I know, I'm reinforcing this behavior, but the bites are a little annoying.

I do have a rubberband that I can hook around the cabinet knobs, but she can still get it open a couple of inches and then it bangs shut.  That goes on and on too, and becomes a little annoying.

Could Zoom have OCD?

She had a difficult start in life.  You can read her story here.  Zoom is a little strange, but I guess understandable.  She is very possesive about food and one of the reasons I have that rubberband for the cabinet doors is because if the dog comes in the kitchen she'll go over and start hitting her.  She doesn't want the dog near the open cabinet that used to hold the cat treats.

There's never a dull moment with Zoom, but we love her anyway.

Now head over to Angela's blog for more information on Tuesday's Show and Tail.