Saturday, August 1, 2015

Grandma said....

About a year ago, my hairdresser Joan and I began the discussion of beginning to lighten my hair color. I remember as a child, my grandmother, who colored her own hair until the day she died at 82, telling me that as one ages, they need to go a shade lighter, about every ten years. We all know some dark brunette that continues to color her hair really dark and it looks ridiculous. I wanted to avoid that.

At 60
I was 60 years old and I had very healthy hair and I had a color that people complimented me on. But I knew it was time to start the discussion. I also wanted to grow my bangs out and have my hair be all one length. The jury is still out on this endeavor as my hair is SO fine. Eventually, I will let it all grow to shoulder length before it starts flipping up and I look like Patty Duke.

At 62
It took about four months to finally get the new color on. You start with the regrowth and cut a little bit each time and eventually you can cover it all with the new color. I like this color too, but it is lighter and someone redder. Although there is plenty of red hair in my family, thanks to said grandmother, I didn’t get it. However, I spent way too much time in the sun in my youth and always had “sun-lightened” hair, then became an adult and permed my hair a good bit—so all of this is to say that this lighter shade will not shock anyone!

Joan says that I am about 33% gray overall. Although fine, it still is healthy. I am blessed.

Until we “connect” again……

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why Attend Your 45th Reunion?

Why attend your 45th Reunion? 

Why go back when you have so much interaction on Facebook and other Social Media outlets? I am going to try and address that question.
  • You may not be around or able to travel to the 50th, which admittedly will be larger.
  • Face-to-face communication is what we grew up with. I want to SEE my friends. I want to laugh until coke comes out of my nose with my old friends sitting at the table with me. You don’t get those endorphins from a text.
  • You want to see what has become of your Home Town. It’s a mixed bag, but there is much good left. While we have chain restaurants by the Mall area, there is nothing like Giovanni’s. We are blessed that there is a restaurant from our youth still left. (Well, it moved down two doors, but that’s a minor detail).
  • You may not have family left here, but there is someone you want to visit. A former neighbor, a person from your church, or just get together with classmates around the pool at the motel.
  • There is simply no one like the kids you grew up with. While our children and now grandchildren are having different experiences, you know what? When they are 62, they will say the SAME THING!
  •  Hopefully, you know longer care about looks, status and wealth. As we age, the inner person is more important to us. I won’t preach, but personally, I think this is in God’s plan. We see each other as young people, but the reality is that the young person is just a small part of who we are now.
  • Along that line, you will find people that you never talked to (much) in school that you have all kinds of things in common with today! Quilters, anglers, philosophers, we’ve got them all! I am writing a series on friends that I wasn’t friends with in school, and are very close to me today. Stay tuned for that.

Hopefully, you will find enough reasons to “come home.” We want to see you.

Here is a link to a “rerun” that I posted for the 40th Reunion.

Until we “connect” again…….

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

45th Reunion--Beginning Again

Your Reunion Committee has had a “core” of people in between reunions that bounce information and ideas off of each other, and maintain good relationships during these times. We welcome others at any time, as there will be some time one or the other of us cannot serve anymore.

My cancer diagnosis was certainly a wake-up call! I began thinking about who needs to know what. We have one committee member who needs an artificial heart. While her ideas may still be good and feasible, her body is not going to do what it did last time. However, we do not cast her off—we deal with all decisions and upcoming jobs with what we have.

And I must admit, that is an older committee!

Well, we’re at our 45th year, and we figure if anyone wants to find us, they are able to. We have our own web site and thanks to all of you that “hit” us frequently, you can just stick in Google “Fairborn High School Class of 1971” and we are there at the top! Try it!

That said, we don’t spend a lot of time in our Sherlock Holmes outfits; but we welcome anyone that finds us, or that a classmate finds for us. It’s a job for all of us, especially in connecting our close friends. Pass the word along, please!

I realize that there are those who just are not interested, and we should respect that. But we can TRY! Go to the site and on the left side of the page is a link to “Missing Classmates.”  Some of those classmates are not truly missing, but we don’t have official contact information for them. If you know where they are, and have their permission, at least I can enter them into the database. They don’t have to join the site, but they will get reunion mailings.

Speaking of reunion mailings, many classes are going to completely organizing their reunions through Facebook or other web sites. Our age group sits on a border of those who do not want to do social networking or computers any more than necessary; and those to whom social networking will become a major part of connection. As far as we are at this point, our reunion committee has committed to mailings, and they do cost. We are ordering fewer postcards this time, and some will not get them because they already have the information, but we will do a mailing.

So when you see the cost of the reunion, remember that printing and postage is included. We are committed to that for this period of time. If you come to “free” events, a donation toward postage would be nice.

I know there are younger classes that have “Facebook Reunions,” which begs two questions; Why have Reunions at all when we interact regularly on Facebook (that’s another blog)? And, what about those who are left behind because they don’t use Social Media?

I am going to digress a little here because, from where I sit, I have been able to watch people in the last five years “catch on” more to Social Media. The humor from my perch is how people who swore “NEVER” are having a very good time. BTW, this is about more than my classmates, it’s about relatives and other friends. Anyway, like all things, Social Media is good, bad and evolving.

We are not going to “entertain” you as much for the weekend. We are having four meals, three of which you are on your own, so you do not have to register for them and can order appetizers or whatever works for you on that day. It is our hope that you will gather with family, former neighbors or each other during the down time. If someone wants to plan another event, I will publish it, but I am not managing it. (E.g. golf)

Why come back to a Reunion at all? We’ll talk about that next time.

Until we “connect” again…….

Sunday, July 12, 2015

An Unplanned Opportunity

I live near the Cincinnati, Ohio area and during the last week (and year) all we have heard about is the 2015 All Star Game. I mean ALL the time!

This morning I read an article in the newspaper written by Hall of Fame journalist Hal McCoy as he named the top 25 Reds players of all time. I think he did a good job and I can’t share the link here as it is “premium” content for subscribers only. Maybe it will be available in the future, but it is not today. It is a list of those players that you would expect to see, stars of past and present Reds players.

One of the stories particularly interested me, and I had to get out my Wikipedia, to check my details.

In 1987, the Reds day-to-day third baseman was, David Gus “Buddy” Bell, who was an easy player to love to watch. He was the son of Gus Bell and is the father of two infielders, David and Mike, one of the "first families" of Major League Baseball. Although he was drafted by the Indians and played for many teams during his career, earning six gold gloves and five trips to the All-Star Game, he was a good solid day-to-day player, reliable and worthy of those honors.

He had been traded to the Reds in 1985 and in 1988, he was on the disabled list for opening day. The Reds needed a third-baseman: Chris Sabo, who had spent FIVE years in the minor league system was called up. There was no looking back. Chris Sabo became a star!

This is how it is in baseball, and other aspects of life—someone has an injury, screws up in some other way, and an opportunity presents itself. For Chris Sabo, it meant going from a minor league player to the person that a Hall of Fame level journalist names as the 13th best Reds player during his (Hal McCoy’s) tenure covering the Reds. It also meant him being named Rookie of the Year of 1988.

I won’t go into the highlights of Chris’ career, you can find that here. If you watched him play, you didn’t forget him.

Both Sabo and Bell continue their work in promotion of the organizations they have been a part of, but their priorities are their families. Chris has been inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, and is a promoter of fan functions.

Baseball is in the blood.

Until we "connect" again.....

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Change in Lifestyle

It may seem incongruous when I preach my minimalist theories ( is my favorite blog) and then move into what we could easily call a luxury condominium. At least it’s luxury in the world that I have lived. Luxury in the sense that the baseboards and the window sills are finished off, our “basic” choices in tile and counter tops were beautiful, and we were given a substantial amount of upgrade money to spend.

I could go on about that, but that is not what I want to say today. I would like to first say that we never would have been able to do this without saving during our lifetime. Period. And, our savings earned well, even during the lean years. I give credit to our financial adviser for our being in the place we are today. It’s not just a dwelling, it’s a lifestyle that I am still adjusting to. We have always had more yard, but we had people and animals that used it. Now, it’s enough to sit in the sun room or the patio and wave at the folks that go by.

We built an in-ground pool in our first house. I am not sure it was the smartest thing to do in a one-bathroom house; as we could not see the future with four people using one bathroom. However, we loved it and it was used! I have missed it since we moved to a larger home to raise our children in. Now, I have a pool I can use just about any time I want to. There are “hours” but those of us who live here know the code and could go for a midnight swim if we wanted. Don’t count on it, but we CAN! This year we will not be on any list, but next year we will take our weekly turn of opening and closing, and checking PH during the day.

But the bottom line is what we gave away and what we kept. We kept what we love and purged the rest. As I look around my home, I don’t have “art,” but everything hanging on the wall has some meaning to us. If it didn’t, we got rid of it. And trust me here, the place is NOT empty!

I didn’t keep all the kids’ toys, but I did keep the children’s books! Both of us purged our own books! I have electronic books. We don’t need yard tools (although they recommended keeping a snow shovel in the event we needed to get out before the snow-removal company comes around) and we don’t need a “pantry” in the garage. Our garage is full enough to store everything that had been stored in the basement. Christmas tree, ornaments, old letters, diaries and pictures from the history of our families and my Bible studies. These are the important things to me. If you are in my graduating class, the class filing cabinet is right to the left of the door—one step out the back door in cold weather.

This is my new sofa-bed with it's matching
love seat in the adjoining sun room.
So, did we need anything new? Of course we did. We got a new bedspread for the second bedroom as the colors were terribly wrong. I can handle eclectic style, but I want colors to coordinate! I insisted upon new living room furniture. If we were going to lose a bedroom, I wanted a sleeper sofa. We put it in the living room and the matching love seat in the adjoining sun room. I got two parsons chairs and some pillows from, which were VERY reasonable! I also used Ebates while purchasing them. We got new bathroom rugs. These are items which should service us for many years, barring any accidents. But aside from miscellaneous hardware, that was all.

Although I enjoy my easy living, I will still be minimalist. I don’t buy what I don’t need. I admit that in the winter I “stock up” on those things we stock up on, but otherwise, I get what I need and that’s about it. I do always like to have something, be it just cheese and crackers, to serve drop-in company.

My favorite thing. The builders built a
desk for me. I am looking for a chair.
I own six dresses and one of them is my mother-of-the-groom dress, which I probably won’t have many occasions to wear, and I don’t NEED more! What I MIGHT need is another bathing suit! But I know when the sales are, since I was born mid-summer.

So, I believe minimalist living can coexist with quality. And I’ve always said, we save here to spend over there. Well, we sure did that!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until we "connect" again.....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Hall of Honor

It was overdue. Long overdue. I think we all knew it, but who was going to do anything about it?

The man who was our choir director in high school should have been inducted into the school Hall of Honor twenty years ago! He spent twenty-two years at our school, directing choirs, ensembles and winning awards. Outside of teaching high school, he was music director at church, adjunct professor at the local university, and many other things I never knew about!

He is 80 years old and we need to do this while he is living.

It started with a Facebook Page. We fretted over the name, as we wanted to make it exclusively choir during the years he was director, not before and not after. Oh, we admitted some others, relatives of deceased members, and a few people who had sung for him outside of our school setting.

We missed the cutoff for the first year we wanted to nominate him, but that worked out fine. It gave us more time to collect information. This task went to another person, as I was struggling with my cancer diagnosis and treatment. She did a fabulous job of assembling the application.

In the “things we don’t expect” department: on the second day of my treatment, a friend of mine, a current band mom, was instructed by the band director to clean out a storage room. She and I had previously talked about our black and red robes—not the school colors—and they never seemed to show up. Well, on that 85 degree day in August, she found them.

I didn’t think about how I felt, I just went. She and I and some high school kids we roped into helping us, brought down six totes of robes, about 50 choir plaques earned at contest, and most importantly, reel to reel tapes from 1963 to 1977—when VHS kicked in and until this date, we have not found those.

I threw it out on Facebook: would you buy a robe to help raise money to transfer these tapes to digital? Would you “adopt a tape?” I did sell some robes, but most of them were not in good shape. However, the money rolled in for the transfer project. While I am struggling with my treatment, I found a place in the next town to do the project. We’re talking $1400 here, but the money rolled in.

Former students wanted access to their music. The shop told me the tapes were in magnificent shape for their age and they transferred well.

I uploaded them to Google drive and another alumnus went through them all, named them and made it easy to differentiate the pieces from each other. That was tedious work and I just wasn’t up to it.

Eventually, we could publish the link to the Google drive and alumni could access the music they wanted. He made CDs for those who didn’t want to download it themselves. Many others just downloaded the music. Both this alumnus and I have flash drives with back-ups—mine is in the lock box—and another woman is going to keep the archival CDs. She’s on the younger end of these folks and we feel that is best.

So, as we worked on this project, we waited to hear if our teacher would be inducted. (I really didn’t have any doubt).

When we learned that he was to be inducted, we learned something else. The school did not want the plaques that we had earned. So, another alumna came up with the idea of buying ONE plaque to cover the information on all the other plaques. It was a good idea, but not a cheap one. The total came to $1263.00. Without worry, again I asked for money. It came in like gangbusters, and my husband just shook his head as he brought in the mail each day. (As an aside, remember, my husband taught with this man). We ordered the plaque and it would be there to view at the Hall of Honor induction. (Later it would be installed)
Back in the Day--My Senior Year 1971

The actual Hall of Honor plaque provided by the school.

A group picture of some of those who turned
out to honor him.

We had a beautiful table set up. This includes the
plaque that we purchased for the music hall.

Signing the guestbook.

My project was to make a scrapbook with letters and pictures from all the years. It came together fine, but that was during the last week before the induction.

Well, we were all psyched up for this induction evening in late April and then totally disappointed to learn that the teacher's doctor would not let him travel. I know why, but I don’t talk about it and I am not revealing it here either. We were all just crushed!

However, if there is anything that 48-68 somethings have learned in life, is to make lemonade, and to cherish the time with EACH OTHER, even if he couldn’t come!

Some gathered for lunch that day and others gathered for a meal/snacks after the ceremony and reception. We all celebrated that time in our lives when we enjoyed our music, fellowship and accomplishment.

As for the ceremony itself, one of his students, the perfect choice as far as I am concerned was the “presenter.” He gave his speech, and when he got to the part where he said “Mr. (Superintendent), I now present so-and-so for induction into the Hall of Honor,” his former students gave a rousing standing ovation as if he were actually there. The “presenter” then had notes that our director had given him during the week, as an acceptance speech. It was flawless and excellent.

I wish we could have Skyped, but the news came too late to set that up. 

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful evening and we truly connected with each other, our history, and our thanks to a man who gave us love for music.

Thank you, Mr. Mac!

Until we connect again……

Two Months of Insanity!

Yes, two months have gone by since I have put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be. What a two months it has been!

I have blog posts rolling around in my head, and I have written a few as we begin the next phase of planning for a 45th high school class reunion. Those need polished, but they will be posted.

BUT, in the meantime; my husband had arthroscopic knee surgery at the same time I was involved with the induction of a former choir director to our high school’s Hall of Honor; we both recuperated, and began the task of packing our house. It took much of the month of May, along with the various miscellany of life.

My annual mammogram was clear, we closed on our old home, and we moved June 1st into our condo, literally before we had closed on it. Don’t ask. It all worked out fine. I was rather discombobulated when the condo association decided to pave the whole place the day we were planning to move (2nd), but it was all good. I was tired. The biggest work was carrying boxes in prior to the move. Even though we had purged and purged some more, I just couldn’t believe how many boxes there were. We had help from the football coach and his wife and there was STILL so much to do!

My curio cabinet
fit perfectly!
I learned some things about us. I keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom and kitchen. We lost a bathroom in the move. However, by the time I had unpacked, I had cleaning supplies in an overflow cabinet and ANOTHER overflow cabinet. We won’t need cleaning supplies for two years. How in heaven’s name did we collect all of these?

The condo itself is wonderful for us. It is truly the “open concept,” with a den off to one side and a sun-room off to the other. The only doors are to the two bedrooms and hall bath. Well, there is a door to the laundry room. We have a big great room with a dining area that can be for four or twelve. The den is as cozy as can be. It may be my favorite room in the house—housing Jerry’s “command central” desk, our old couch, chair and TV, plus two bookshelves, one for Jerry and one for kids’ books.

My trophy kitchen!
The kitchen is HUGE and I may be forced to cook. For the first time in my life, I have all of my linens in one place, I have a cabinet for small holiday decor, a "wine cellar," and they built me a desk between the refrigerator and the laundry room door. It has four drawers and then the cabinets above that I can use. It is literally six steps into the garage, where I have my class filing cabinet right by the door!

MY room is the four season sun-room. It has my piano and my brother’s guitar, a love seat and chair, and a table for all of Jerry’s plants. A couple of years ago, Mom bought me a water feature which is perfect in there. The sun-room opens to our patio. It’s small, but our four chairs and table fit fine. It’s like sitting on a front porch of bygone days, and waving and talking to those who walk and ride bikes by in the evening.

We’ve met several of our neighbors and moved in just in time to attend the Annual Meeting, so we were able to elect two new board members. We didn’t talk much that night as there were just so many people there. We have met several people at the pool. Our neighbors are lovely. Thank you God.

So after some little bumps in the road, we are settled. The dishwasher broke a piece off the shell of the inside of the dishwasher, so that will be replaced this week. We hung pictures without killing each other, and we did a job that I am proud of. The garage is completely organized and we had two cars residing there within two weeks.

Come see us!

The left knee that I have been having trouble with since April 25, 2013 is really stressed. I know Jerry’s knee was stressed also, but he was supposed to be fixed, and as far as we know, he is. I didn’t worry about going to exercise class. I figured boot camp had nothing on me in terms of work. My upper body is strong. But that knee is nagging me, to the point that I don’t sleep at night because of the pain.

So I went back to the most wonderful surgeon in the world and we scheduled me for July 2. It will be arthroscopic and it’s the opposite knee from Jerry’s, so after I get off meds, I have no driving restrictions. Hopefully this gets me back to exercising. My Fitness Journey has been non-existent and it shows. Harrumph! We have a pool and I’ve been pool walking and that feels good. I lift my 5 lb. weights in all kinds of formations.

It has been a crazy time in life. I am grateful for no other drama, illness or major problems. I have learned over the years that when things like having the condo association decide to pave the day we decide to move, it WILL all work out. Our buyer couldn’t have been more patient and helpful.

Until we “connect” again……

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Buying and Selling in Three Days!

The old.
I haven’t written in a while. I've been too busy. As far as my “Fitness Journey” is concerned; I have relapsed because I have been too busy to get to the gym. I do what I can at home and try to make good choices in what I eat.

Let it not be said that we do anything without research. Jerry said one day that he was ready for a condo. I said no—I wasn't. But after a few hours of thought, I sat down with him and said “This is what I can do and this is what I cannot do.”

So we started looking. We found two communities we were interested in. The new condos were beautiful. We briefly considered the HECM loan, but decided it was not for us. It was much study before we decided that. That involved our trusty financial adviser; who also sat down with us and figured out how we could do this. (This is not to dis the HECM product, it can be good for some people.)

Therefore, we had plenty of meetings and appointments. We finally decided which community we wanted to live in. It comes as no surprise that we are moving back to the community we raised our children in. Once that was decided, we talked with the saleswoman about specifics, but we needed to sell our home.

This condo builder builds to the drywall and the customer comes in and picks out what they would like. We did some of that before listing our home, so we had a general idea of what we wanted.

We called the Realtor that sold our last home in 2008. She sold it in a terrible market, after it had been listed over a year. It’s a better market today and she would get the job done.

She listed the home on a Friday afternoon, and Friday evening I fielded three calls to show the house the following day. I was flabbergasted! Even more so, the first person to look at it gave us a full price offer without a contingency! Our Realtor came over on Sunday afternoon and we signed that contract; and then on Monday we went to the condo salesperson and signed our contract with them. This is a contingency in case something falls through, but that is unlikely.

The new!
Buying and selling in three days. My head is spinning. This is a good time to have a partner, who looks at things through another pair of glasses, to see all the paperwork. Although I would definitely say that no one in this transaction was pushy. We all want what is best.

We don’t do this every day. But once we decide on something, we go for it. The end result will be lovely to look at and our lives will be less complicated. We would like to be able to just go on a vacation at last moment, although that won’t be happening this year! We will have enough room to entertain, and enough for the kids to visit. That was my first desire. I couldn't go back to a 1200 square foot living space.

Although we lose our basement, and I am working on that as I write this, our first floor living space jumps from 1550 to 2050 square feet. I think we’ll be fine! Much of this is in the kitchen, which will be the family joke as I am not a big cook. They are building me a desk in my kitchen to have all of my computer and office things together (my books will be in my bedroom closet). There is a sun room which my husband thinks that he is going to claim. We’ll see about that.

So, I have much work ahead of me. And during this process, we also begin the work of our next class reunion also, so there will be more about that later.

Until we “connect” again…..