The moat surrounding the castle is filled with snapping turtles and swans. Here we have the Tortoise Lounge.
But we all recognize this guy!
Thank ya, thank ya very much.I love anything that's shiny red!
I'll have some of them french fried potaters! (Actually, maybe I should pass!)
Craig said this basket was loaded with people. They actually dipped right over our backyard, but by that time, I was hiding under the covered patio to get away from the photographer.
This balloon was a little more polite and kept its distance.
There's something in a flying horse,There's something in a huge balloon.
I had planned another post for today. A funny little post about being caught out in my nightgown and being photographed from afar. The thing I least expected to be doing was posting another memorial tribute. This time to my aunt, my father's sister. My Aunt Betty. She would have gotten a huge laugh out of the story. My only regret is that I didn't call her this weekend before she died. I made a mental note to do that because I know Memorial Day is tough for her. But I got busy and she died before I could make that last call.
She was a second mother to me. Actually, more like a best friend. She used to say I was the little girl she never had, although she had two wonderful boys who were the best sons! And the best daughter-in-law a mom could ever hope for. But she and I were pals for life. My North, South, East, and West. The person I could confide in when times were good and when times were tough. And she always had the support and the answers. And the sense of humor to pull me up out of the dumps. We'd laugh about it all! We could take a long car trip and laugh all day!
The trips we took together and the things we did! When I lived in K.C., we'd drop Michael off at the all day pre-school and peel out of the parking lot on a mad dash out to the country antique stores. Antiquing was one of our favorite pursuits together. She lived in Vermont for a few years and I'd fly to see her in the fall and we'd head out on the leaf-peeper antiques road show. We had the same tastes in antiques and gardening.
She also loved the beach. How I wish I could have taken her to Isla! She would have fallen in love with it. I made an album of photos for her after every trip and collected shells and seaglass so she could travel vicariously from her armchair. I used to visit her in South Padre when she was wintering there. We'd spend hours beachcombing for shells. We'd get up before dawn to pick the olives (not the tree variety) as they rolled in with the tide. And that shrimp salad down at the Jetty Restaurant was the best thing we'd ever put in our mouths. Of course, we said that about everything we ate whether it was the prime rib in Shelburne or the shrimp and peel in Padre. And she had the sweet tooth too. She'd bring me creme puffs when I was little, and we'd go to Pie Day at Lori's Bakery whenever I managed a trip to Oswego.
Birds were her favorite hobby. She had an elaborate set up of bird feeders and spent hours everyday feeding and watching the birds. Orioles, woodpeckers, bluebirds, redbirds -- they all flocked to her backyard. I loved sitting in her sunroom watching the birds come to us. She had a beautiful view down over a hill. She called it an infinity view. When the river flooded below, she was lakeview. She kept binoculars handy and watched the deer, coyotes, etc... in the fields below.
So today's a very sad day. One of the saddest since my dad died. I'd been expecting this phone call for awhile. In fact, I had a premonition a few months ago and couldn't go to work until I made sure she was still there. Her health had been failing for the past few years. Her heart was bad and I know she felt awful, but when you talked to her on the phone, you could rarely detect it. Because she was one of the most 'with it' people I've ever known. She was such a life force! And how she will be missed.
Aunt Betty's the little girl in the oval on the top left. My dad's in the top right, with my grandmother and her sister on the bottom. These were tin ovals with mirrors inserted on the back.
She lived a long good life. We just weren't ready to see her go. She came into the world on Groundhog Day and left us on Memorial Day.
On base with one of his best buds. Wish my dad was still here to tell me the guy's name.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad and I. I'm guessing he'd just gotten home from work because he's in his office (engineer) clothes. He was a civil engineer who designed and built roads and bridges for the Kansas Department of Transportation -- KDOT. Before the war and joining the Navy, he played football at Oklahoma State his freshman year. Then After WWII, he went back to school and got his engineering degree from Kansas State.
Hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day. I'm going to try and stay away from the 'tater salad'.
The two were evidently given at different times. The stars represent how many sons a mother had serving at the time in WWII. For example, Craig's grandmother was referred to as a two-star and then a three-star mother because of her sons' service. I'd never seen these framed star mementos before, and I was thrilled when his mom sent them home with us.
I thought Memorial Day weekend would be the perfect time for this post when we're all remembering our loved ones who served. Craig's dad served in the South Pacific fighting the Japanese in the islands. He never talked much about it, but I do know that he never cared for Asian food after that. In fact, he objected to it! Recently, at Craig's mom's funeral, his uncle (father's brother) told us that actually when Craig's dad came home from the war, he was really ill with malaria for quite awhile. By the time he recovered, he had a really hard time finding a decent job because all the other returning soldiers had already scooped up the good jobs. That's something we'd never heard him mention. Being the daughter of a WWII veteran, I think a lot of us Baby Boomers never gave much thought to the hardship our dads endured at such a young age so far away from home. I remember as a child hanging out at the VFW when my dad went to meetings. I had no idea what VFW really meant. Below are a couple of photos of Craig's dad. I'll post some of my dad on Memorial Day.
Craig's Dad in the South Pacific
Love this song and the video! What a great Saturday! We were 98% done on our project at work Friday, so they gave us the option to not come back in on Tuesday morning since we'd probably only work a few hours. They didn't have to ask me twice! I could hardly concentrate to get anything done for the final hour after I got that message! I was kind of surprised that it was only me and another woman who opted out, but I guess that has a lot to do with the economy right now. Anyway, I'm excited to get busy around here getting everything sorted out! I'm giddy as a teenager on the first day of summer vacation! And Craig's thrilled that I'll be taking over dog walking duties in the morning so he can sleep in a half hour.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! We're hoping to take a little Arizona day trip tomorrow. Can't wait! I need to get out and explore! : )
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Rain! All night long! And it's still raining! That would definitely be a downer for a lot of people, but not down here! Wooo hooooooo! What a relief from the endless string of 100 plus degree days!
This is celebration day. I can see life at the end of the tunnel again. Today and maybe a few hours on Tuesday and we'll be done with the current project! All that and a bag of chips!
I'm working on my 'things to do' list once again.
Clean the house! It's so bad right now. It looks like the last time I came home from Mexico and the two bachelors had been living in it for weeks without me!
Start reading again! I've got a new stack of books waiting for me. I picked up Jodi Picoult's Handle With Care and Stuart Woods' Loitering With Intent at the library today, and I'm in the middle of Adriana Trigiani's Very Valentine at the moment.
Get back to the gym! I'm shocked at the toll from sitting on my rear all day for three months. Back to the elliptical and the 8:30 a.m. circuit training class!
Find a class for making those soldered charms! I've got so many cute old black and white family pics that would be perfect for those!
Anyway, one more full day. By the way, I've busted my rear at work this week and may be up to the point where I can break even and end up making about the same amount as the last project. But what a killer. I have blister/callouses on the fingertips of my mouse hand (not to mention my fingers on that hand feel numb at times). I'm glad I'm almost done until next month! I pretty much learned to ignore The Whip and not let her get to me. She's also been staying out of the room, probably because she knows we'll be filling out evaluations today. And believe me, I'm not stupid enough to really think those are anonymous since you're logged in on a company computer!
We were laughing yesterday about who the heck they'll find to do this project next year. Maybe a whole new bunch of newbie employees? I think our whole group learned a very important lesson from this project. What was it George W. said?
This tree always reminds me of the 'Myrtle' incident. My mother had an aunt named Myrtle. As a teenager, that was kind of an embarrassing name. I don't know why, but it didn't exactly sound trendy. (I apologize to all the Myrtle's out there reading my blog.) Anyway, one time we were shopping in the metropolis (Joplin, MO) about 40 miles from our tiny hometown. I was really self-conscious just because I was in the big city after all (not to mention I was at that awkward age). I always remember feeling like a duck out of water whenever we were in anyplace larger -- more sophisticated. Can't get much more sophisticated than Joplin after all! We were walking down the main street when suddenly, my mother started screaming MYRTLE, AUNT MYRTLE repeatedly. She had spotted her aunt (a woman I barely knew) about a block away. My brother and I both tried to hit the pavement. I think we actually ducked around a corner to get away from the embarrassment of it all. She just wouldn't stop yelling MYRTLE!
First the bad news. On Friday, I actually had the audacity to ask the project head (The Whip), a week into the project, if we could find out what we were being paid. I mean, she asked if we had any questions! The absolute nerve of me! Well -- that set her off. I wouldn't know anything about that -- blah blah blah. Well, of course she's aware of it because she's already lost two people who refused to work under the current conditions, and she had the head of H.R. come in and quell the insurrection on Monday. The head of H.R. suddenly put in an appearance once again. We'd all had a chance to view our pay stubs online for the first two days of the project and knew we'd been had. The H.R. head admitted to having 'misspoke' on Monday when she clarified that we would be paid the site minimum. We will NOT be paid the site minimum on this project. I guess they'd been keeping that dirty little secret until our pay was deposited!
But here's the good news! The insanity will end soon. We're 50% done after only a week of floggings! So I'm hoping to be off this hell-bound train by next Friday just in time for Memorial Day weekend. For a lot of people in the room, that is a hardship because the length of the project was obviously also overestimated -- just like the pay. So people who desperately need the money in this economy will be done. But as one woman said --this project is a lose-lose situation. So thank GOD it's almost over.
Several people said they will not be returning on Monday. I'd probably do the same, but in the current economy, who knows if you'll need that opportunity again next year! Part of me pines for an all-out Norma Rae style revolt, but then again, that would only lengthen the misery for those left behind!
Towards the end of the day on Friday, The Whip ran through the room again dusting us with her negativity and wisdom. Speed up. Make some money. I'll lock you out of your computer if you go too fast and your quality falls. You should all feel lucky to HAVE a job. I guess she felt the need to grind some more salt into the wounds. I had my earplugs in (literally), but I couldn't escape her shrill little pearls. We also heard her plight as to how much money she's lost from her 401K this last year and her husband's recent layoff. Cue violins. She evidently doesn't realize the room is full of professionals with degrees laid off from jobs who are now working for pennies? As one woman later noted at break, The Whip is being paid at least double what we are and there's probably not one person in that room who doesn't have their own economic sob story at the moment. But she's special. Because she HAS the whip! The woman in the break room also confided that her own home is being auctioned June 12. I had a hard time not tearing up.
We're all supposed to return in June or July for a week on another piece of this same project. With The Whip in charge. Hmmmmmm. Once again, they said we will be paid the site's minimum and not a piece rate. Uhhhhh -- can we have that in writing please! Only in this economy can corporations get away with stuff like this! Well, maybe they've always gotten away with it in Arizona. This state is notorious for not being worker-friendly.
ONE MORE WEEK! ONE MORE WEEK!
(if a bunch of people don't quit)
It just hit me yesterday that this same time last year, we were enjoying Isla. Here are some newly edited photos and a few favorite repeats from our 2008 May trip!
Sunning my toes in the sand.
Enjoying my own private Happy Hour!
While watching the sunset!
Watching the colonia wake up from my favorite perch!
Cruising past the ruins on an early morning ride.
Walking the loop past the Shellhouse.
Exploring the beach on an early morning walk.
Taking a morning dip on Playa Norte.
Napping under the palms!
And watching one more glorious sunset over a plate of fish and chips at Bally Hoo!
Boo hoo. Maybe this fall!