Monday, July 31, 2017

I have a secret....

.....I have always loved music or anything to do with music.
Early in life I was a Christmas Angel in our church Christmas Program.
I was 6 1/2 years old when I got my angel wings. In spite of my best efforts to be a good angel,
my wings were a little crooked and my hands were not at all centered over my head.
When I look at this photo, it makes me think of the song in the early 70's
I did have an angelic smile; however, it is hard to be a good angel when you are wearing 
atrocious socks.   My stint as an angel was short.

When I was in the 4th grade, we moved to Cary, a small city just outside of Raleigh.
My family loved watching The Lawrence Welk Show on TV every week.  So much music
so many beautiful voices and instruments.  I especially loved to watch
Myron Floren, play the Polka on  the accordion.   I loved how the music sounded.
I begged and I pleaded to take accordion lessons. My parents told me I was too small to
be able to handle that large instruments....then lo and behold they did a little research and found out 
children my age played what was called a Junior Accordion.  A little more research and they found a place to buy the perfect accordion for me. It was very much like this one below.
It came in a beautiful case just the right size for me to manage.
They found an accordion teacher, Mr. Ruggiero,  not to far from our house too.
My lessons began in the fall I was thrilled.  There were about 4 other students 
in the class. I practiced a lot too.    Turns out I had an ear for music and caught on fairly quickly.
My little fingers were racing up and down that vertical keyboard.  
The only problem I had was all during my lesson my teacher opened his mail.
He did not seem to be paying attention.  Sometimes I would watch him and YIKES
I'd loose my place and miss a note and boy did he pay attention then.
We had our first recital in the Spring.

There were no lessons over the summer but we did have things to practice to keep our fingers nimble.
I was very good about practicing in spite of the fact that all my friends were coming to the door asking me to come out to play.  I got so bored doing the required practicing.
I loved "Lady of Spain" that I heard on the Lawrence Welk show  almost every week.  I decided to try to play it by ear w/o sheet music. Much to everyone's amazement I was successful at picking out the notes my ear.    Needless to say I was very excited and could hardly
wait to show my teacher.  When he asked us to show him what we had been practicing over the summer I did, then I said I had a surprise. I played "Lady of Spain" completely w/o any music.
I was beaming with proud when I finished only to look up and see Mr. Ruggiero frowning.
He scolded me right then and there and told me never to pick out a song by ear.  I forgot all his reasons but one being I needed to learn to read all music before I ever ever did that again.
I was very embarrassed and discouraged.  Neither of my parents played music so they pretty much had to go along with what the teacher told them.  I continued my lessons for another year
but basically my enthusiasm had been squashed.  I no longer enjoyed it and wanted to stop taking lessons.  I had a ~$250.00 accordion (back then you could not rent instruments you had to buy them).
Needless to say anytime Lawrence Welk show came on TV I went to my room to read...
it was a very sore subject in the house for some time.  Maybe I should not have played w/o sheet music but I still to this day feel like the teacher could have handled it differently.

To this day when I tell folks I used to play accordion most have a most quizzical look on their face as if to say WHY the accordion?  I say Why Not.
Many years ago I took dulcimer lessons which I enjoyed.  I was working and practicing was hard.
I think the guitar would be fun to learn but I have not acted on that yet.
My husband's Uncle learned to play guitar after he retired  and my brother in law
took piano lessons in his mid 40's and had recitals with children.  He is retired now too
and still loves playing for his own pleasure.
I'm retired I have time I guess I just need to want to do it!!

To this day I love music especially instrumentals.  I wish I had continued the accordion.  Maybe someone reading this with more musical experience than I had can enlighten me on why my teacher was not just a wee bit more encouraging or perhaps someone had a similar experience when trying to learn something new.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

FRIENDS with Tomatoes

Friend: (n) person attached to another by a personal regard*

When I was 12, I met my friend Sally.  We formed an immediate and lasting bond.
There is no doubt we are attached to each other by true and lasting regard for one another*.
We meet at our church, Tabernacle Baptist.  Ironically the year we were in 7th grade, Hugh Morson,  the Junior high school we were to attend was too crowded.  Tabernacle was across the street from the junior high school.  Back in the early 1960's junior high was divided into a science and math block
 and  literature and English block. There was one teacher for each block.
After lunch each day, the teachers switched students. 
 The powers that be made some type of arrangement with the church to house two such blocks of students.  Our school classroom was in the exact section of the church that our Sunday School class was located.  Sally and I got a kick out of telling everyone we went to church six days a week.
The students housed in those two rooms of the church formed quite a tight bond.
The only time we went to the actual  school was for lunch everyday,
P.E. class and Music Appreciation which met 2 days a week.
In January of 1962 W. G. Enloe High School was completed near my home. It was the 
first school built out in that area for grades 7-12th. I was very sad to learn I 
would be transferred to Enloe.  However, since Sally and I went to the same church we remained very close.  We attended rival high schools but that didn't matter we were still friends.
After high school graduation, Sally attended Appalachian State University, which was located in Boone,NC about 4 hours from home.  We teased about the fact that she was gonna meet some mountain guy and never come back to Raleigh.  She assured me she would not.  
THANK goodness she found a mountaineer aka Gary won her heart.  

Sally and her husband Gary July 19, 2017
Sally and I have a lot of history together and made so many memories growing up.
We spent almost every Friday night together. When she came to my house
we loved watching Dr. Ben Casey on tv.
I am one of two childhood friends who knew her parents and she is one of two childhood friends who knew mine. Her parents were about 10 years older than my parents.  Sally had an older brother who loved entertaining Sally's friends. I loved going over there and hearing her dad tell stories and eating her mom's delicious meals.  Sally has followed in her mom's culinary footsteps.
She always prepares the best meals for us and usually surprises us with a new dish each year.
Her brother loved having a 'fresh' audience aka me to practice his craziness.   Sally and I completed each other's youth. 
She and Gary got teaching positions at schools in Yadkin Co. She never came back to live where she grew up.We raised our children together through real snail mail letters.  We wrote each other about twice a month back then. 
About 8 years ago we started visiting Sally and Gary every summer.
Our husbands only knew each other casually at the time of our first visit in 2009.
I am thrilled to say the men have become very good friends too.
We have continued to make so many fun memories....our husbands
just shake their heads and laugh at us each time we say
"remember when........"!!  
Gary has a small vineyard, he makes his own wine and sales grapes each fall to
the public.  Sally fondly calls, them 'grape nuts'!  
Sally and Gary's daughter and her family live here.  They often come down
to babysit the grands which gives us extra opportunities to visit during the year.

Bryan and I July 19, 2017
 This year was the first time over the last 8 that we have arrived during tomato harvesting time!!!!
I must say Gary has a green thumb for growing red delicious tomatoes.......
AND he gave us 10 ready to eat ones on Friday July 20th.
 As soon as we unpacked yesterday we had a fresh tomato sandwich.
Tonight we have having hamburgers with fresh tomatoes.  We will
continue to stuff them in our faces trying not to think about the fact that soon we will have none.

Last week I read this quote:  
Life is short, spend it with those who make you laugh
today I add the below to the quote
......and give you tomatoes.

Every time we are together we talk so much we get hoarse and we laugh so much our faces hurt!!! We are already talking about tentative plans for next year. 

Friends are family you pick.
Nurture the friendships like a beloved tomato vine. They will grow and blossom more and more each year.

Thanks for stopping by today.  For sure my mind's eye is full of memories today of times gone by but never forgotten.  Those times contributed to who I am today.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I am told my first 5 years of life were an adventure

When I was  just over 2 years old, I was cover girl.

My Mama worked at the Farmer's Cooperative Exchange aka FCX.
I'm not really sure what my she did there.  She was 100% a city girl.
They had a quarterly magazine.  The powers that be asked Mama if I could pose with some baby chicks for a few pictures.  Lo and behold I was a natural with the chicks and knew how to work the camera.
My career peaked and tanked all at once.


I stayed with my *Annie Ma (maternal grandmother) while  Mama worked.
*I'm told the first grandchild could not say "Gr".  She started calling my our grandmother
Annie Ma.  It stuck we all called her Annie Ma.
  Annie Ma loved dogs.  She  had a beautiful Collie named Lady.
Lady had a litter of puppies that I'm told I adored. I learned to love animals early.
Annie Ma had a huge fenced in yard.  One day I was out there with Lady and the pups.
Somehow, some where I found some scissors.  No clue where to this day.
  I had cut all the puppies fur on one side, cut my own bangs up to my hair line one side and I cut som of Lady's fur.  When Annie Ma came out to check on us, I'm told she nearly fainted when she saw me with the scissors and they were her sewing scissors.  She  try to be calm as she walked toward me asking me what I was doing.  I'm told my reply was, 
"I gave the puppies a hair cut and they didn't even move".
It is a wonder I didn't poke my eye out with the scissors when I cut my bangs.
As you might have guessed Lady was a very very good dog.  

Fast forward about 2 years, I had one other hair raising experience.

My cousins and I  were running through Annie Ma's (that was a no no) but fun until
you were caught.  Well guess who fell toward a glass front wardrobe catching herself with her left hand? ME.  My left ring finger was bleeding profusely, I had to be taken to the 
ER.  I'm told when the doctor tried to come near me to look at my hand I was throwing a fit and slinging blood all over the ER walls. They had to call in 2 nurses and an orderly to hold me down.
They had to restrain me with some kind of contraption so that they could see my finger.
Seems I had a diagonal cut on my finger running from the first joint underneath all the way to the front by the nail. I had to have several stitches.  I still have a scar and to this very day if by chance I hit that finger in just that very location I still see stars.


In spite of all of this lived to start school at age 6 where I'm told I was a very quiet, well behaved student.

Next installment of My Mind's Eye I'll tell you more about Annie Ma

Monday, July 10, 2017

Marvelous Moments at Red Cliff Lodge

My Mind's Eye will never ever NO never forget the beauty of this
beautiful setting where we witnessed some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets
from the patio right outside our room.  That is part of the might Colorado River too.
 The first two photos were taken with my iPad...I had not idea how the photos would turn out...

Sunrise over Red Cliff Lodge

These next photos were taken with my Nikon 8100
These were taken from the veranda where we had breakfast two mornings and one supper
Straight out of the enhancements of any kind...TRUE colors!!Most who know me know how much I LOVE THE COLOR RED!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Farewell Flippy and Green Cross follow up

Subtitle: Welcome to the 21st Century
I don't believe in rushing into any new adventure. 
I have a very scientific philosophy:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!

In 2009 I bought a new TMobile it was the all rage flip phone.  At the end of my three year contract,
 everyone I knew had iPhones or smartphones. Most were having trouble with them. 
BUT they all kept saying oh you should get one it is wonderful. Rather than join the Army of guinea pigs,  I like to mull over things for a long while.  Since I only use my phone when traveling,  I decided to accept TMobile's offer to just add funds to my phone as need be.  
  No mess, no contracts no monthly fees, I could add a little as $10.00 or as much as $100.00.  The first $100.00 carried me into another year. What a deal. I had phone service whenever I needed it.  I had  a MOST economical price....hundreds of dollars less a year than those with iPhones and smartphones. In the past years, I rec'd at least a 10-12 day notification when my funds were running low.  This gave me plenty of time to add funds. Evidently Tmobile stopped providing advance notice.  When our plane landed at RDU International Airport at 9pm on Monday night 6/26/17.  I discovered I was out of funds when I tried to confirm our shuttle reservations.  Thankfully RDC airport shuttle was there waiting for us.  I decided it would be silly to add funds to an 8 1/2 year old phone.
I was not dragged into this decision kicking and screaming!
I knew it was time I took an itty bitty baby step into the 21st Century last week.
I am not smart enough for a SMART phone nor did I need all the functions, apps etc.
I was Smart enough not to pay $600.00+ for one either.
I bought a LG  Rebel 2 LTE, Android Smartphone by Tracfone for 79.99.
I purchased a 2 month talk, text, data plan for 25.00.
BEST NEWS OF ALL I COULD TRANSFER MY Tmobile cell number to the Tracfone.
No fuss, no mess no contract.
Thus far I have learned how to turn it on, set up voice mail and take a photo with it.
I need to set up my contacts phone numbers in it.
I rec'd a text from tracfone thanking me for my purchase....
I did not texted them 'you are welcomed'.
I doubt very seriously I will use the text function.  I have not set up my email on it and I doubt I will.
But who knows...I think my fingers are too big.
I already make enough typos on my iPad keyboard.
I like the size of it.  It will stay in my pocketbook. I don't wear pants with tush pockets.
All in all I'm ok with it.  It will serve my needs at an affordable cost of ~$17.50 a month...
more than I was paying for Flippy but at least I'm still way under the cost of the
big girl phones.  Last year at the B.A.R. I was the only attendee with a flip phone,
I could not take photos, text or receive email...and I had iffy connection.  I have much better connections all over with this little ditty.

NB and NC here is your last chance to say good bye to Flippy and hello to Traci my Tracfone.

I hope you are impressed....Madi was not!!

On Saturday June 24th I posted about a most interesting adventure I had looking for
a drug/pharmacy in Silverton.
 Click here if you missed it.

Jackie from Memories of Eric and Flynn sent me a very interesting email pasted below

5. The Green Cross
This was first introduced as a pharmaceutical symbol in continental Europe in the early 20th century as a replacement for the Red Cross. This is because the Red Cross, previously used by some medical institutions and pharmacists, was adopted by the International Red Cross in 1863. The Green Cross did not arrive in Britain until 1984 when it was adopted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as a standard symbol for British pharmacy. This symbol is now widely recognized across Europe.

There are a lot of variations on the green cross and these are two of the most common ones. Often they are done with flashing LED lights.

Thank you Jackie!!!
In spite of not knowing this was a widely recognized pharmacy symbol in Europe
I don't feel quite as 'uninformed' about things as I did the day I entered that 'drug' store that was flying a just a green cross flag w/o a circle

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Colorado Springs, CO: Meeting a Friend

Shortly after I started my original blog, I met a most amazing young woman named Amber. She lived far away from us in Colorado, with her hubby, her two dogs Mayzie and Ranger and two cats Angel Cap'n Ripley and Abby. After Cap'n Ripley passed in 2011, they rescued Smudge a most handsome Tuxie Man. About four years ago, Amber started her own business as a Copy Writer for the Pet Industry. It is called commahound. She runs this very successful business from her home. Her paws are full so she no longer blogs. She asked me to tell everyone who might remember Mayzie, Ranger, Abby and Smudge hello. All the furbabes are seniors now but they are are well. She says Mayzie is her constant companion during the day. Mayzie has to gently remind Amber that it is time for a Walkie!!
I always told Amber we were coming to Colorado one day. In April of 2017..we finally made arrangements to take this trip. The first thing I did was contact Amber. Our last night of the trip out west was spent in Colorado Springs...where Amber and her pack live. Amber joined us for supper that night at Cajun & Creole restaurant in The Mining Exchange Hotel.
Pictured borrowed from their website

The property reopened in 2012 as The Mining Exchange Hotel. The public areas are elegant yet casual with comfortable seating areas- perfect to catch up on work or share a drink with friends.
Below is a photo of Amber and me taken in the lobby of the hotel on June 25, 2017. She is a beautiful young lady, she has a heart of gold for her family and her friends.
It was our very first meeting 'in the furs'; however, after reading her animal blog for a few days in the beginning I knew she was a special young lady. I was right!! At our meeting it felt like we had known each forever!
She is exactly as I expected her to be. If you ever get a chance to meet a blogging friend in the furs,

Just over our right shoulders (to the left when looking at the photo) was
This is an old vault in the lobby of the hotel that was used when it was
Built in 1902 as a stock exchange for the local mining companies.

This was probably the largest piece of marble I have seen....
Seems to me maybe the fireplace in the lobby could have been BIGGER

Colorado Springs is a beautiful city and full of art and fun.
Currently the city has a fun scavenger/humpty dumpty hunt in progress.
We were able to find 4 of these adorable egg heads within a block of the hotel
The one on the left below is playing a violin, on the right he is about to ski off the building

This happy egg head is reading a book. I thought this might be a library building 
but I wasn't able to confirm that
Look under the K in parking you will find another egg head hanging upside.

Not sure why!

More art in the city...I'm just not sure what it was

We arrived at our hotel at 6:30 pm on Sunday 6/25. We only had about an
hour the next day to walk around before we had to board our
motor coach to head to the airport in Denver. I would love
to go back to Colorado Springs, CO. It is a large city but appeared to 
be very easy to navigate.

The Story of Jerry and Elsa

In September 2015 we  took a land tour with Globe Treks Travel out of Hendersonville, NC.  Globe Treks caters to Seniors...(not high scho...