Archive for September, 2012

Young at Heart (if not in Body)
September 27, 2012

And if you should survive to 105,
Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive!
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.
~ Frank Sinatra

Many pewperson readers know that I work with the youth choir at our church, and also help promote the Fine Arts Ministry in general by writing articles, releases, reviews and such. I’ve been doing it for years and enjoy it very much.

The kids (6th – 12th graders) are amazing and really fun to be with. They know I’m “old”, and that’s ok with me, because they are so very young! Of course, I’m old to them.

As to the rest of the FA staff, they are in general about my age, so working with them feels right. We’re all in the same boat.

However, lately I’ve taken on a new project, and that is to do the same promotion for a different ministry, this time the Youth Ministry. Meeting with the Youth staff has made it very clear to me. I AM old.

They are so young! I could be their mother! Truly, one dynamic young man is the age of my Shannon. This came as quite a shock to my system, because I don’t FEEL old, even though I’m beginning to notice the effects of the wear and tear of the years.

Sitting around with them lately, I immediately noticed one thing. None of them use notepads to scribble notes during meetings. They all have their iPads or smart phones to take notes. Of course, I did not, and felt really old fashioned.

I got to thinking about other things young people seldom use anymore, besides note pads. In no particular order:

  • ice cube trays (just buy a bag if you have no icemaker)
  • land line phones (what? how do they work? Is that all it can do?)
  • wrist watches (I’ll just check my smart phone)
  • hard cover Roget’s Thesaurus (I use mine often, but still cannot figure out the method behind its organization!)
  • hard cover Encyclopedias (Google to the rescue!)
  • hard cover Dictionaries (ditto)
  • hard cover books in general (where’s my Kindle?)
  • paper maps (but how do you choose alternate routes when forced to detour? I’m sure there must be an app for that)
  • postage stamps (who sends snail mail anymore?)
  • bank checks  (debit card is the only way to go!)
  • paper bank statements (all done online now…)
  • telephone directories (makes a great doorstop if you can find one)
  • recipe boxes ( to the rescue!)
  • a deck of playing cards
  • pay phones or telephone booths (whatever will Superman do?)
  • Rolodexes (contacts are all in one’s smart phone)

(an aside: visiting my banker the other day, I was surprised and amused to see a Rolodex on her desk. Often when I can’t place a name, I’ll say that my brain Rolodex is moving slowly. And yes, I’ve been asked by a young person, “What’s a Rolodex?”)

I’m sure some of my young friends may disagree with some of the items on my list or think of others.

It’s a new world out there, and I’m being dragged along, kicking and screaming. I may be slow, but I am sure, so just give me time to catch up. But by then, I guess, there will be even MORE new technology to learn. Sigh. When will it ever end?

Answer? When I stop being young at heart. So I am determined not to stop (although you’ll have to pry the pen out of my hand first!).


Sister Camille!
September 20, 2012

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters…~ Irving Berlin 

It’s been great fun having my sister staying out in our garage apartment until she moves into her own place. Each of us has things to do during the day, but usually in the morning we’ll walk the dog, run or ride bikes together.

Camille and I are the third and fourth of six children. She is the “upper middle” child, and I’m the “lower middle” one. We were born only 16 months apart, but were two years apart in school. If I’d been born two weeks earlier, I’d have been in the next grade up!

For many of our growing up years, we shared a bedroom, played, squabbled, did chores, rode bikes, fished and just had fun together. Obviously, we share many memories, and whenever we get together, the question is often raised, “Do you remember that time…

  • when Mom got stuck in the hammock on the Girl Scout camp out?”


  • when we heard reindeer hooves on the roof?”
  • when you dipped your face into your soup when you bowed your head to say the blessing?”
  • when Pokey came home on Halloween with a white painted face after she got into a paint can in someone’s trash?”
  • when you got a raisin stuck up your nose?”
  • when I got that fake Barbie doll for Christmas and Mary got Miss Babette?”
  • when you got a fish hook in your arm and Mom took you to the doctor still attached to the fishing pole?”

I could go on and on. Invariably, the conversation leads to another memory, followed by much laughter. And we continue to laugh together about new hilarious things. For instance, just this morning we were out walking Tucker and managed to bump into one another while trying to get out of the way of a cyclist. We both said, “OOF!” at the exact same moment, which tickled both of our funny bones. Seriously, we couldn’t stop laughing!

Another morning found us singing silly old Vacation Bible songs while we were running. “Deep and Wide! Deep and Wide! There’s a fountain flowing hmmm and hmmm.”

How much fun it is to share a history and enjoy just being together. And when we two are multiplied by two more sisters, we double the laughter every time all four of us are together!

Sisters are a true blessing, and I am so glad that my upper middle one is back home…

Mi viaje a San Antonio
September 13, 2012

Deep within my heart lies a melody, A song of old San Antone. ~as sung by Patsy Cline, Bob Wills, et al

San Antonio calls to me. My father was born there, and his maternal family has a history there. I always love visiting this historic city… it’s been way too long since I’ve been back!

In previous years, we’ve always stayed in hotels along the Riverwalk, which is the place to be, as far as clubs, restaurants, shops, etc. In my mind, the Riverwalk has always been a sort of secret oasis beneath the busy city streets. One must walk down a level of stairs to access it, and when you do, you are in a different environment.

But this time, we stayed north of town at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort, because the convention that Joel was attending was centered there. It’s a long way from downtown, but that’s just the way it was.

This was Joel’s first Intellectual Property Organization meeting, and so we really knew no one. He did recognize a few names on the list, but when we wandered into the Sunday night reception, we were definitely newbies.

What struck me was the international aspect of this group. There were people from all over the world! We wandered about, looking for a friendly face, and first met Judy from Shanghai. It was her first meeting as well.

Next we met Jose in line at the bar; he was from Mexico City, and a delightful new friend! An acquaintance of his named Shlomo from Tel Aviv was the next person we enjoyed meeting.

I have to admit, I’m not very comfortable walking into a room in which I know nobody. It all dates back to being the new kid in the 8th grade when our family moved back to Houston. Whenever I had to go to conventions in my medical administration days, that residual discomfort manifested itself.

But because Joel was there with me, wandering about wasn’t unpleasant at all, and I loved meeting these interesting new people!

The weather in San Antonio couldn’t have been any more perfect after season’s first cool front. Following the reception, we ate dinner al fresco there at the resort.

And then came the really fun stuff (at least for me!).  On Monday morning, I jogged around the property in the cool temps. It was sunny, but very pleasant, and I reveled in being outdoors. The only downside was the hills. I am such a flatlander; running in the hills just does me in. Downhill is great, but uphill? I walk.

Bubble bath? Check. Lunch? Check. Nap? Check. Book? Check. In other words, it was just about a perfect girl day!

The evening activities included a trip out to a ranch where we were treated to cowboy fare, country music and a rodeo. All the first time Texas visitors absolutely ate it up! And I did, too! It was so much fun…

I’ll admit, I was looking at the evening with a jaded Texan eye, but the Marriott people really put on a wonderful experience for this crowd, and it was a big success, in my book.

They offered good “cowboy” food, plentiful drinks, photo ops on gentle longhorns, armadillo races, pistol drawing lessons, hayrides to tour the property and a rodeo to top off the experience. It was all well done, and I was proud to be a Texan in the middle of all this Texana.

We made new friends with folks from Canada, Japan and all over the USA. I loved it and hope to attend another convention of this particular group on another occasion.

On our final day, Joel once again was occupied all day with meetings and business, but I indulged in a facial at the resort’s Lantana Spa. It was my first time ever, and it was quite relaxing. Back in our room, I was reluctant to ruin the effect by putting make up on!

That evening we took a cab down to the Riverwalk to eat at our one of our favorite restaurants, Boudro’s, which has been in business for 26 years, amazingly enough.

Thankfully Joel had made a reservation, because when we arrived, they were telling walk ups that there was a 45 minute wait. I was a little worried that we’d have a wait, as well, but the maitre’ d seated us immediately in a riverside table, the best ever.

We enjoyed the great food, the fun people watching, the river barge traffic and the comical ducks! All in all, it was a wonderful three days for me, and even Joel says that it was a good experience, connection wise.

I really appreciated getting away from my desk and just relaxing, and I am grateful to Joel for indulging me and allowing me to tag along and be such a lazy bum!

Hasta la vista, San Antonio… until we meet again!

Princess Grace Moments
September 6, 2012

Your physicality is this great thing, but it is also the thing that makes you clumsy and limits you in the world, so to speak. ~Amy Ray

This morning I went bike riding with my sister to show her some of the interesting things to see around the neighborhood. Riding while pointing things out and not paying attention to where one is going is not a very smart thing to do! Not once, but twice did I lose my balance and almost do a face plant. And now I’ve got a nice scrape on my calf as a souvenir…

It seems lately that I’ve had a run of klutziness, with the scars to prove it. My bio-rhythms must be off or something, or as the Buddhists might say, my karma must be bad. At our house, we call these episodes “Princess Grace” moments.

So let’s take stock:

First I sliced open the inside of my left ankle while trying to step over a box in my hoarder-worthy garage, managing to tip over my niece’s bike which gashed my leg open with its pedal clip. If I tried to replicate this tricky maneuver, it would have been impossible. The awkward angle and the timing must have been a case of my stars not being in alignment.

The cut was jagged and deep and bled profusely. I hopped back inside and cleaned it, then put pressure on it for a very long time. Probably I should have gone to get a stitch or two put in, but I didn’t.

I’m just stubborn like that. If the scar looks too bad, well then, maybe I’ll just get a butterfly tattoo to cover it! Actually, maybe a Nike “Swoosh” would be better; it kind of looks like one.

(if Joel is reading this, I’m just kidding)

Next came a whack to my right cheekbone from the car door as I turned back to suggest to Joel to get an umbrella. It was our anniversary, and Joel had booked a Town Car and driver to take us to a restaurant, so we could relax and enjoy ourselves. I guess I am not used to being deposited into the back seat of a car by a driver, and as I turned back, I caught my cheekbone on the very point of the window frame. OW!

On any other day, I might have gone back to get an ice pack to quell the swell, but we were running late, and of course, I was all gussied up. So I did not, and thus had a lovely purple lump on my face all night. And I still kinda, sorta do, although by now it has faded somewhat.

Some people have noticed and asked about it; I’m wondering if they suspected that Joel smacked me one? I laugh it off and say that a guy named “Lincoln” smacked me one.

Then I managed to burn my forearm in a cooking incident. I just briefly grazed the top of the very hot Dutch oven. Yowzers! It was worse than I thought it was. After dousing the area with cold water, I thought it was nothing. But it was something. And I’m still soothing it with balms. I’ll likely be adding another scar to my collection.

Next? Joel and I were moving furniture around while getting ready for my sister to come stay in our garage apartment. As it was, the apartment had two dressers; one highboy was from Joel’s old childhood days. While Shannon and Kat lived out there, they needed the extra storage, but the plan was to move that one back upstairs (from whence it came).

For those of you who don’t know what a highboy is, it’s a dresser, probably about five feet tall, and very heavy. Back in those days, furniture was SOLID… not like IKEA stuff today.

Why call a mover? Oh no! We can do this ourselves. Ha! It took six trips of removing the drawers and taking each upstairs, then wrestling the highboy onto the dolly, maneuvering it out the door, into the house and then up the stairs with two 90 degree turns on each landing. Joel was pulling it up, while I was pushing it up. I can’t believe we did that.

And now I have a LOVELY deep purple bruise on my chest, from where it met the foot of the dresser as I pushed that darn thing up the stairs. Shall I sing Smoke on the Water to go along with my deep purple bruise? It looks like a purple badge of courage! Oh well, at least it won’t leave a scar.

Finally, another bike accident! I mentioned my sister above; she is staying with us temporarily, and her bike has now been added to the fleet in the garage. As I was getting my bike out to ride the other day, I stumbled into hers and banged the shin on my right leg on HER pedal clip (to match the gash on my left leg). Happily, it didn’t break the skin, but rather raised another lovely purple lump.

Seriously, if I were to go to a doctor now, he or she might look at me and wonder if I were being abused. Happily, that’s not the case, because sadly, I am just a klutz!

I wonder if it’s contagious? Joel recently sprained his ankle… hmmm. “Prince Grace” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, now does it?