Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

When I think of the things that make me the happiest, it’s always the little things in life.  When I went out to dinner last night with my hubby, we walked past the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop and memories came rushing back from my days in high school.  My dad loved Baskin Robbins Burgundy Cherry.  My mom’s favorite was Daquiri Ice. I still remember them ordering those over 35 years ago.  It wasn’t an expensive treat or that unusual.  But I remember those trips to BR like it was yesterday.  We all had such a good time looking at those 31 (or more) flavors and trying to decide what we would have…only to go back to the tried and true favorites!  We’d get a scoop (or two) and laugh and talk about whatever was on our minds, enjoying the afternoon together.

Today I went to lunch with a friend.  It wasn’t a special lunch…nothing fancy.  But it was one of those little things in life…time with a friend.  Last night, I worked at commencement and had the chance to help hood the master’s candidates.  All I was doing was making sure their hoods were on correctly before they participated in commencement.  They were wonderfully appreciative for the help.  And it felt great!  The little things.

This morning, my little baby kitty (5 year old baby, that is) curled up with me in bed as my alarm was going off, purring and rubbing his nose on mine and then he licked the tip of my nose.  It’s the little things in life…

Tonight, as I was driving home and the sun was shining and my sunroof was open to let the sunbeams in and the fresh breeze blow across my face, I realized how great it feels.  Little things make me smile.

Fourth of July fireworks, a walk on the beach picking up shells, a beautiful sunrise, snuggled up on the couch with a roaring fire and a glass of wine, a drive in the country down a tree-lined lane or a rainy day curled up in bed reading a good book.

“It’s the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder


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I just got back home earlier this week from a quick trip home to Kansas.  I do consider Kansas my home state.  Although my father was in the military for my entire childhood, he was stationed in Kansas longer than anywhere else.  And I graduated from high school there, headed off to college and even my first job as an adult was in Kansas.  In fact, I lived there for over 25 years.  So, I consider it home, even though I left there over 14 years ago. 

It was such a good feeling to cross that state line into Kansas and drive through Wichita, on through the Flint Hills and up the highway all the way to Kansas City.  Yep, Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come…that’s what I was humming as I drove down the highway.  I could feel myself relax as all those familiar places flashed past my car windows.  I stopped off in Matfield Green to see the Knute Rockne memorial, in Emporia to see Soden’s Grove, in Olpe to see the Olpe Chicken House, and in Leavenworth, I saw the federal prison, the front gate to Fort Leavenworth and the Missouri River.  

Kansas may not be that huge tourist destination, but folks don’t know what they’re missing.  People in Kansas are warm and friendly, helpful, open and welcoming.  And it’s kind of like stepping back a bit in time when you stop to see the beautifully old-fashioned town squares in the small towns that line highway 40 or highway 50.  Nothing is as much fun as hanging out with friends at the local high school football or basketball game and then heading over to the mom & pop hamburger place and visiting with everyone some more. 

This trip, I went back to my college homecoming and met up with friends from my college days that I hadn’t seen in about 30 years.  It was so much fun!  How do so many people not age???  They looked like they did in college and I would have recognized most of them anywhere.  And now, I’m looking forward to next year.  They say you can never go home again…well, I don’t know who “they” are, but they are WRONG!  You can go home again.  I did.  And it was wonderful.

 “You can’t appreciate home till you’ve left it, money till it’s spent, your wife till she’s joined a woman’s club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.” ~ O. Henry Porter

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There are people in our past who made such a huge impact on us that we will never be the same after having met them or having an event take place that was precipitated by something they did or said.   Sometimes, these people cause what Oprah calls “Aha moments” or sometimes their actions created such an incredibly high point or low point for us that they stand out.  And sometimes it was just a feeling we had about that person or an emotion or idea that filled us up in an almost consuming way.  Every once in a while, I look back on the last 50 years and think about those people.  Each left a mark on me.  The earliest recollection of someone who had such an impact was my first grade teacher.  Sadly, I can’t remember her name, but even if I did, I wouldn’t have included it.  I was frightened of her.  She was one of those teachers who pushed and pushed students to excel.  I tried my hardest always and never felt good enough.  I did learn a lot from her, but at that young age, it was a little hard to cope with.  Maybe THAT is why I don’t remember her name.  And I did gain a certain determination to excel.  She also gave me a solid foundation in reading skills that have impacted my entire life.  I love to read. 

Another person who had such an impact was my fifth grade teacher, Miss Blumquist.  She, however, was very positive in her dealings with students.  She very carefully taught me to hold my hand, wrist, and pen in a mirror image of right-handed people when writing.  She didn’t want me to curve my wrist around or turn the paper sideways.  Most people don’t even realize I’m left-handed when they watch me write.  She cared deeply that her students were successful in so many ways, but the little things she did also helped us.  And I wanted to be just like her. It was then, in fifth grade, that I decided I wanted to be a teacher.  And I was.  I hope there is at least one student out there who feels like I made a positive difference in his or her life. 

In high school, I belonged to a youth group at church.  The man who lead the group was an officer in the Army, had a family of his own and his own life to lead.  But he gave so much time to the dozens and dozens of young people who belonged to that youth group.  He inspired us to be giving of our time and to care about others.  So, Col. Hammond is another person who touched my life…and I will never be the same.

While I was in college, I met so many people of different backgrounds.  Each one of those people had a hand in teaching me who I am.  I was lucky enough to have a professor who didn’t put up with my procrastinations, didn’t want to hear any excuses…he wanted me to be successful.  And not long before I graduated, he told me I reminded him of his daughter.  It explained a lot of why I felt he was always pushing me harder to be a better person and a better teacher.  I found myself doing the same thing to my students…wanting them to be successful.  No excuses. Thank you to Dr. Downing!

The man who killed my father also has had a huge impact on me, but in more subtle ways than the obviously enormous way that comes from losing a loved parent to a violent, uncalled-for death.  He taught me to stand up for my rights.  He taught me persistence.  He taught me that eventually good does win out.  He taught me to cherish every day, because we never know how long we have with those we love.  I will not list his name, because he doesn’t deserve to be publicized.  He deserved to die in prison for what he did.  And he finally died last year without receiving the parole he requested.  I never gave up fighting those requests.  And my persistence paid off.  Good won out.

My students changed my life.  Some in very positive ways and some in negative ways, but each one had an impact on who I became.  I do remember some more than others, but I taught approximately 1500 students while I was a teacher.  Mike, Shannon, Amy, Sally, Matt and Mike (the twins), Lisa, Tara, Shay and Laine…the list goes on and on.  They are special people.  I hope I taught them even half of what they taught me.

Friends through my life have taught me loyalty, understanding, the need to have friends even when one is married (a spouse cannot be everything to you, no matter how loving and caring he is).  My friends have been there for me when I needed a different perspective.   They have taught me that my creative side needs an outlet…And I need an outlet for fun with the girls.  My dear, sweet hubby doesn’t like to paint pottery, scrapbook or watch chick-flicks.  They do.  And I appreciate them for that and so many other things.  Without them, I would never be the same.

I look back on someone I knew in high school.  Missy Etheridge.  She was Missy back then.  Now she’s Melissa.  And she taught me to reach for my dreams.  Never give up.  And to be who I am.  No apologies.  No regrets.  And for all of that, I will never be the same.  Her music was her dream.  Like I dreamed of being a teacher.  She reached her goal and so did I.  And we both have lived our lives in the way we chose to.  I hope for her a fearless love.  I have mine in my wonderful Beau.         

“I Will Never Be The Same”

So you walked with me for a while
Bared your naked soul
And you told me of your plan
How you would never let them know
In the morning of the night
You cried a long lost child
And I tried oh I tried to hold you
But you were young
And you were wild

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

Secrets of your life
I never wanted for myself
But you guarded them like a lie
Placed upon the highest shelf
In the morning of the night
When I woke to find you gone
I knew your distant devil
Must be draggin’ you along

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

And you swore that you were bound for glory
And for wanting you had no shame
But I loved you
And then I lost you
And I will never be the same

But I, I will never be the same
Oh I, I will never be the same
Caught in your eyes
Lost in your name
I will never be the same

~ Melissa Etheridge

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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising is off and running (or walking).  I’m a team leader in the fundraising effort and am really looking forward to exceeding my goal of raising $2500.  I’ve already received my first donation and I’ve only just sent out the e-mails!  In addition, I’ve posted information about the fundraiser on my Facebook page and am hoping that will do some good.  I’m dedicating the effort to all of the amazing women I know.  As far as I know, I only know two women who have battled breast cancer…my friend Sabine, who is from Germany, and a friend from high school, Melissa Etheridge.  I’m looking forward to finding creative ways to raise the money.  If you have any ideas, please let me know.  And if you’d like to support my effort, please click here and you can make a donation online or download a form to mail in with your check to the local American Cancer Society fundraising office.    

 As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.” ~ Victor Hugo

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As we go through life, so many memories fade until they are just a whisper, a faint tug in the recesses of our minds. But there are some events that stand out, details recalled even after decades have gone by–completely unforgettable. These are the events that shape us. I can still distinctly remember seeing the Cliffs of Dover as we traveled on the ferry from Calais to Dover. It was when I was about 6 or 7 years old. But it had such an impact on me, I wrote a poem about it years later. And that poem earned me an A+. But that didn’t mean as much as reading it even years later and still being able to visualize those cliffs. A couple of years ago, I again crossed the English Channel and saw the cliffs and felt swept back in time to that same trip as a little girl and the awe I felt. It was like coming home after a long journey. Not only was it unforgettable, but it felt like it was truly a part of me.

I remember the day I met my husband. I was 16 and had gone to a Friday night basketball game at the high school and he was there, in the band. A girl in my German class was also in band and, after the game, I ran into her. She asked if I’d like to go to Pizza Hut, so I went. And that’s where I met him, as I sat down next to him at a table full of students. The following Monday, he came by one of my classes and asked me to go to a dance with him…not just any dance, but THE dance…the ROTC Ball and he was the Brigade Commander! I was thrilled that he asked me, and I didn’t even know he WAS the Brigade Commander. I still remember the first song we danced to. Even years later, after we had gone to separate colleges, he’d moved away and I had moved a few times, I would still tell people that he was the nicest guy I ever dated. I would catch myself, in college, comparing the guys I dated to him. He had a profound impact on my expectations. And twenty-five years later, I found him again, and fell for him again, because he was unforgettable.

Again, when I was in high school, I sang a solo at church and a family friend commented that I should be in the local Junior Miss pageant. I’d never had much confidence in my singing, but was flattered. So, without my parents knowing, I filled out the paperwork and entered the pageant. And from there, my love of performing began. I can remember what I sang and the feeling I had as the curtain closed. And I’ve been performing ever since…community theatre, college theatre, church choir, the National Anthem for sporting events, weddings, funerals, talent competitions, karaoke…the list goes on. And all because one person gave me the confidence to give it a try. She is unforgettable, because she gave me such joy in my life.

The day my father was buried is permanently etched in my mind.

The teacher who made me realize I wanted to be a teacher, too. Miss Blumquist. Fifth grade at Oakington Elementary School. She was everything I wanted to be.

The teacher who made my life a living hell…who made me work harder than I’ve ever worked before or since and who made me realize I could do anything I set my mind to…Mr. Lockhart, seventh grade English at Patton. I hated him at the time and now respect him more than any other teacher I had. He had high expectations and made me want to meet them and then exceed them.

A student who made average grades and hated math, yet nominated me for Educator of the Year. Another student who was so incredibly smart and gifted. And a student who caused problems for teachers, intimidated them and yet sought me as a mentor. These faces live in my memory.

The young soldiers I met while I lived in Germany…their young faces and love of life are unforgettable. And whenever I hear of another soldier who has been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, I cry. It could be one of them or someone else just as young and who was just as full of life.

We are who we are because of the people we meet along the way and the places that feel so much a part of us that it feels as if we must have lived there in another life.

“Unforgettable, that’s what you are
Unforgettable though near or far…” ~ words and music by Irving Gordon

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Food for Thought

What a weekend! Friday, I took the day off and ran some much-necessary errands. Then I cleaned house and got the guest room ready for company. My friend, Jennifer, drove over from Houston for the weekend. When she arrived, she helped me get ready for the Pampered Chef party I was having on Saturday morning. Then we sat around, talking, relaxing, and sipping rum & Cokes and Bailey’s & Buttershots. Mmmmm! Definitely a nice way to end the week! At midnight, we called it quits and decided to get some sleep.

Saturday morning, my alarm went off at 7am and I started cooking for the brunch. Jennifer got up a little later and helped me do the prep work and arranged a great fruit platter. At 9am, the consultant showed up and started setting up and at 10:30 the guests started arriving. From there, it was a whirlwind of cooking, talking, drinking mimosas, eating, and laughing. We had a good time.

After it was all over and everyone had left (except Jennifer), we headed out to the local winery for a wine tasting. We had a good time sipping wine, but the girl who was doing our tasting seemed to lack any sense of what her job entailed. Granted, Jennifer used to work there and mentioned that, but this girl took it as an opportunity to ignore her job completely…except pouring the wine. And she also gave us the two reserves that are not normally included in the wine tasting. Needless to say, we were NOT impressed by her. About the only info we got out of her was personal information. She used to live in San Francisco and went to a culinary institute there. She had worked in restaurants, but had decided to try something new. I have to say, I was a little puzzled by the fact that she’d go to a culinary institute and then not work in that field. If she put the same effort into cooking that she did into the wine tasting, though, it could explain A LOT!!

After the winery, we went back to my house and I took a nap while Jennifer went out to dinner with some of her other friends. I was absolutely POOPED. With a new kitten, I’ve been getting very little sleep…he likes to play at night. When she got back from dinner, we were supposed to go to a party, but I didn’t feel very good (I think I was a little dehydrated and a lot tired), so she went and I fell asleep.

This morning, we got up and went to the Guenther House here in San Antonio for breakfast. We met 5 friends there and had a great meal, good conversation, and it was really sad when it was time to scatter back to our separate lives. Jennifer came back to the house and got ready for the trip back to Houston.

All in all, it was an enjoyable weekend of food, fun and friends.

“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” ~ M.F.K. Fisher

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What more could a person ask for than a relaxing, fun-filled weekend with two great friends and gorgeous weather to make the setting spectacular??? I can’t think of anything (except a wonderful weekend with Beau instead). Since Beau was traveling for work, this was a great way to spend my time. My friend BJ and I met early Saturday morning and loaded up the car for our road trip. First, though, we made a detour to Gruene, Texas, for Market Days. After browsing the stalls and sipping hot tea while we wandered, we stopped for lunch at the Gristmill, a restaurant in a historic old mill that hangs over the Guadelupe River. We sat on one of the terraces overlooking the water. It was a beautiful day and we had their award-winning chicken tortilla soup and we each had a dinner salad with their awesome creamy balsamic dressing. Yummmmmmmmm! It was great! Then we hit the road…over 3 hours to Houston to visit our friend Jennifer. We arrived and got great directions to her apartment. It was so cute! She and her dog Maverick greated us and we unloaded the entire car into her place. Then we sat around, drinking wine, while Jennifer finished putting together some Cuban sandwiches for our picnic. Then we loaded everything up and headed for the park. We found a good parking spot and walked to the amphitheater to watch the opera. Great food, great wine, great friends and a glorious night weatherwise added to the fun of seeing Hansel and Gretel. The sets were amazing and the puppets (the guardian angels, birds and cat) were done by the Jim Hensen Puppet Company. Wow! The witch was frighteningly talented and intriguing and scary.

After the opera was over, we went back to Jennifer’s apartment and drank some more wine and talked and talked. Then we headed to bed. I got the futon in the living room and BJ had the aero bed. Neither of us had the dog. 🙂 Jennifer kept him to herself in her room. So, the next morning we woke up, showered, ate Jennifer’s “from scratch” cinnamon rolls and then went shopping. I got two pairs of shoes and a Ralph Lauren silk blend sweater for under $75! Love that Dillard’s clearance center. After that, we went to Central Market (it’s a tradition for us on Girls’ Weekend. Central Market, for those not familiar with it, is a gourmet grocery store and many of them have a wonderful indoor/outdoor cafe with live music on the weekends. It’s a great relaxing way to shop, snack your way around the store (samples) and look for interesting things you can’t find other places. Then we had lunch at a local Cajun restaurant. After that, we went back to Jennifer’s apartment and loaded the car and headed home. We got back to San Antonio around 7pm and went our separate ways. But we have great memories of the time we spent with good friends!

“It’s the friends you can call up at four a.m. that matter.” ~ Marlene Dietrich

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