Sunday, July 14, 2019

212 Hot & Grumply


I woke up feeling hot and grumpy.

Oh, I wish I could write like Dr. Seuss. It might go something like this:

Hate is a word you should not say 

But I will say it anyway 

I hate summer

I hate heat

I hate sandy, dirty feet

I hate the pool

I hate the beach 

I hate bugs

I hate hugs

It’s too hot

To even speak

I do not want to be so mean

But I hate everything growing green

I do not want to pull a weed

Let it all just go to seed

I hate to have to mow the grass

It is all a pain – I speak with sass

Go away and let me be

I do not even want to chat

I hate to feel so fat

It’s the humidity - the nasty rat

I hate to eat outside

I hate that salad - looks like it died

I hate to grill

I have had my fill!

It’s my plight

It’s my fight

I hate July

I hate August

Leave me alone

We’ll talk in autumn

When the weather is as it ought’m!

With much love and sincere apologies to dearly beloved Dr. Seuss.

And, of course, a “shout out” to my beloved Google! 

Stay COOL, Glenne

Sunday, July 7, 2019

211 Literary journal

Literary journey 

When we decided to head to the mountains for our anniversary this year, we really weren’t sure where our travels would take us.

I started researching the area around Asheville, N.C. and found a few stops we would have to make.

The first was the home of Thomas Wolfe, author of “Look Homeward Angel.” 

 The American writer grew up in Asheville where his mother’s boarding house, the Old Kentucky Home, is situated in the downtown area of the hustling, bustling city. It is captured in time with the furnishings intact from when his family resided at the stately residence.

Stepping back many decades, the tour guide presented a well-documented account of Wolfe’s life as well as his family’s. The state of North Carolina owns the property, The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site, which the family donated, and keeps it preserved in the manner it deserves. High-rise buildings surround it but that doesn’t take away from the feeling visitors get as they follow his life events.
The visitor center which was built in the back yard of his family residence houses an exhibit with his belongings that are not part of the time he lived in the house. Items from his other dwellings are showcased in the exhibit--clothing, books, etc.

One fact that stood out to me was he never learned to type. He wrote out his masterpieces long hand and someone else would type them. This would have been a considerable number of pages to type since most of his books were more than 500. His first novel was about his life in Asheville but he changed the names although many people recognized themselves and were not happy. But Wolfe did come home again even though his novel title 
was You Can’t Go Home Again as he is buried in Asheville. 

I reluctantly left after soaking up all I could about this famous author. To walk in the rooms he did was beyond belief. 

So moving on to another American author--Carl Sandburg, we stopped at his home in Flat Rock, N.C. which was not far from Asheville. The family purchased this home as a retreat later in life and lived there until he died in 1967. His widow sold the house to the National Park Service including all furnishings. It is part of the National Park Service and is a National Historic Site. 

Items in the house are placed exactly as the family left them including personal items, clothes, dishes, etc. The number of books is overwhelming. Now there are about 12,000 in the house but when the family lived there the number was tens of thousands more.

The tour guide reported that the house had undergone a major renovation several years ago, but all items had been placed back in the house exactly as the family had left them. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet also wrote a six-volume biography of President Abraham Lincoln.

The park is located on 264 acres and offers hikes, farm visits including goats (some descendants of the Sandburg goats), and productions by local artists. Sandburg is not buried in the area but returned to his midwestern roots for his final resting place.

One can’t help but think of his poem “Fog” which starts with

      The fog comes 
      on little cat feet. 

      It sits looking
      over city and harbor
      on silent haunches
      and then moves on. 

Again, it is overwhelming to view and be present in the actual home of an amazing writer.
If that wasn’t enough of a literary thrill, we continued to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville where many famous people stayed, including F. Scott Fitzgerald. A display case explains his tenure at the magnificent stone structure. His wife Zelda had actually stayed at Wolfe’s boarding house before she took up residence in a nearby medical facility. 

He preferred the inn which he frequented on many occasions.

Of course, I purchased books by each author at each site and purchased some online. This became an automatic list for my summer reading and will probably take me into fall. 

If you are ever in the Asheville neighborhood, I highly recommend putting these literary stops on the list.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

210 The damned persistence of things

The damned persistence of things

I am not talking about Tootsie, but the pillow on which she is resting.

On a recent trip, while Tootsie was reclining on her pillow, I noticed the pillowcase.

In 1969, my parents brought me to the Roanoke apartment that I was renting with three other student teachers from Radford College. When we arrived, we discovered that we would need to buy sheets for the bed. We went to lunch, a meal that I remember very clearly. The next stop was to Penney's where we purchased two sets of twin sheets in the pattern you can see under Tootsie. I thought the print was very pretty.

So pretty that when Harry and I married in 1971, I wanted to use them, but we had purchased a king-size bed. 

My mother came to the rescue and taught me how to make a flat-felled seam to join the flat sheets together. I had never heard of it, but the seam worked perfectly since there was a finished seam on both sides--no loose ends.

The sheets served their purpose for a number of years--finally being demoted to dog chair cover and eventually to paint drop cloth.

Since we had king-size pillows, the regular pillow cases did not see much use until I need a dog pillow cover, eventually residing in the truck for long-trip use. (Tootsie, by the way, demands a pillow for every surface on which she resides--she has five in the house.!)

So one pillowcase has lasted for 50 years. I cherish the memories it evokes but resent it for persisting while my parents are long gone. 

We are told not to hold on to things. I may hoard that pillowcase for many years to come!


Sunday, June 23, 2019

209 June 24,A Day in history

June 24 – What & Who Happened

Hello, readers and Facebook friends. Surprise! I have no rants and just one ironic “oh, good grief story.”

It was a calm week for dear husband and me! I can’t even complain about the weather. Here’s the quick take on the “oh, good grief story.” 
Our Directv box in the kitchen was being strange. One day, fine; the next day, no signal. About midnight I got a bit irritated (i.e. p…..d off) and called the 24 hour Directv service. I got an English speaker on the phone. We could have a service call for about $200 or an upgrade for $0. Since this is the only service available to us, I said, “FREE? Upgrade? Why not?” Scheduled for between 8 a.m. and noon the next day. Sure. 
The nice, wonderfully geeky tech guy comes. Well, seems the box that is in the kitchen does not have the same serial number as that which Directv has on file. SOOO…in order to switch the box out, get rid of the bad, install the new, the poor tech had to have his boss’s permission to submit an error form, wait for the boss to okay, take out the old, install a new working box. Shall I tell you the poor guy got a tip? I think it is the first time we have EVER tipped a utility-type workman. But we can now watch both PBS and trashy TV in four different rooms. 

Apologies for the LONG introduction, but while I couldn’t watch TV but needed to be at home, guess what this Savvy Broad was doing? YEP! YOU GOT IT. Google. Oh, Google, my pal, my time-waster friend. 

Here is what I found that is really fun to do. Pick a date and you can find out everything that happened historically of note, who was born, who died, and even what the Cancer (June 24th--day this blog appears) zodiac sign “means.”

The following is thanks to Google, Wikipedia, and (much duplication of info!). Here are some interesting faces, facts, and figures for you to share with friends and colleagues this week!

JUNE 24 - Cancer (the Crab)--quirky, generous, but not always organized, can be a “drama queen.”

Lucky numbers: (go get that lotto ticket) 5, 6, 10, 17, 23

  • 451 – 10th recorded view of Halley’s Comet
  • 1497 – John Cabot claims eastern Canada (Nova Scotia) for England, but thought he had landed in Asia

  • 1509 - Henry VIII crowned king

  • 1519 – Lucrecia Borgia dies (she was Pope Alexander VI’s daughter!!)
  • 1664 – colony of New Jersey founded
  • 1771 – French chemist E I DuPont born
  • 1853 - President Franklin Pierce signed the Gadsden Purchase for $10 million from Mexico – now Arizona and New Mexico

  • 1861 – American Civil War - Tennessee is 11th and last state to secede
  • 1901 - Pablo Picasso--first show; he was 19!
  • 1901 – Chuck Taylor--basketball player and shoe salesman born

  • 1908 – Grover Cleveland dies
  • 1916 – Mary Pickford-- movie contract for $1 million – first woman to make a million in the movies
  • 1933 – John Wayne marries  

  • 1948 – Berlin blockade put into effect--the Cold War begins

  • 1949 – Hopalong Cassidy show first aires
  • 1976 – President Jimmy Carter pays no taxes (hmmm? Bad peanut year?)
  • 1982 – Equal Rights Amendment fails
  • 1992 – Mafia Boss John Gotti begins life sentence
  • 2006 – Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean” premieres at Disneyland - $1billion + gross
  • 2017 – Yemen cholera outbreak--worst in history

  • 2018 – Women in Saudi Arabia win right to drive cars

A few interesting tidbits for the water cooler chats or a few “did you knows.” This was entertaining for me. Hope something of interest caught your eye!

Remember: “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived!” Thanks, Henry VIII!

Enjoy the weather!! I know I will likely complain come August!

Savvy Glenne

Sunday, June 16, 2019

208 10,000 steps

10,000 steps

How many steps a person takes every day has become a popular topic and part of exercise and health programs. A recent news broadcast surprised the public (at least me) with the revelation that the step goal may be causing stress!

Really--an exercise goal brings about stress. I have never been the type to worry about exercise so maybe I just can’t relate.

I guess getting to that 10,000-step goal is often a problem for some people, but it is meant as a help to keep people moving not a pressure point of concern.

I have three Apps on my phone that register my steps. Two are in constant use and never close while the other has to be activated. (These are free, by the way.) Some days I reach my goal while some days I don’t. I try but life gets in the way of reaching this made-up goal that I created myself.

One hint to those that are finding the 10,000 steps a problem—lower it. I have on several occasions lowered the goal to 8,000 which is sometimes easier to achieve. 

I get the celebration going on with the number turning green--no idea why it turns green but I do like to see it.

What some people don’t realize is that the steps don’t have to be while exercising. I add steps to my goal while in the grocery store, shopping, or just getting from place to place. It really isn’t that hard.

When I heard the news broadcast about the steps causing stress, I was surprised. It seemed to focus on the younger population in their 30s and 40s. I can remember those days when stress centered around jobs, children, education, etc. Certainly, stress was not brought on by not attaining a goal I had set myself and really didn’t affect me professionally or my family personally. I worked full-time, had two children to manage, a husband who worked full-time and coached as well as a couple part-time jobs, and other family matters we dealt with daily.

I certainly had very little time for my own exercise goal but I seemed to stay in shape by doing all the things I had to do to keep the household moving as well as my job obligations.

I am definitely not saying exercise should be on the back burner--it is important for all of us to stay active but don’t let a number discourage or be a deterrent.

But it is surprising how many steps are accrued on a normal day -- up and down the steps to do the laundry, in and out to work in the yard, running errands, etc. 

Also, as a suggestion--when possible, walk to a store, library, druggist, or any other place you can reach easily and can carry back what you picked up. If this is not possible, maybe drive to a shopping area and walk from shop to shop and take items to the car as needed. I try to park several blocks away for the exercise as well as avoiding parking meters.

If there is an indoor mall, that is an ideal place to walk during rain or extremely hot or cold. Again, shopping can be done while exercising at the same time. Also, park far away from the doors to get more steps. 

 Schools can be great destinations as many have walking trails around them.

Several years ago, Savvy Trish and I walked all the streets of Winchester. I bought a map and we checked them off. Think of a goal like that and start your walking – I bet 10,000 steps will add up quickly.

Another friend and I take the real estate sales listings and walk to the houses to check out the houses while judging whether they are worth the price or not! We have learned a great deal while adding up the steps.

I do have to confess – when I get a message from one of the Apps telling me I only need a few more steps to reach the goal, I walk around the house and usually reach the required amount!

The only advice I can share is to try to do the best you can and don’t stress out over lost steps. Take the Savvy Broads approach. You can always step the next day or the next or the next!!

Stepping Frances                

Sunday, June 9, 2019

207 Remember tourist homes?

Remembering a Tourist Home

It's not just any old place that was a tourist home--it is my house!

We live in my husband Harry's boyhood home. We recently replaced the furnace oil tank in the basement that obviously was quite old. Because behind it we discovered this sign:

It is a two-sided sign that must have pointed up the hill on what is now Selma Drive. My mother-in-law, Eloise Ridgeway, named the hill on which our house sits "Robin Hill." According to Harry, my in-laws built the house in the 30s, took in boarders before and during World War II, and stopped before he was born. The sign could be from the 1930s or 40s.

If you live in or have lived in Winchester, a great Facebook page to follow is "If you have lived in Winchester a long time, you would remember . . . " It is a closed group that requires you to sign up. 

I found the sign so fascinating that I posted a picture of it to the group. I received many interesting responses! A few people confused it with the tourist home that used to be on Boscawen Street across from the Handy Mart or with the mansion Selma that is just a little southwest of our house.

We also heard from some younger folks who were asking their parents if they were related, which they are. Other people remembered Harry's father, Harry senior, from the Amherst branch of Farmers' and Merchants bank that was in the same shopping center at the A&P.

Two individuals spotted a signature at the bottom of the sign that I had not noticed. They remembered that Tom Halterman had a sign shop on Morgan Street and thought he had painted it. So I looked closer:

I am not sure if this is the way Tom Halterman usually signed his name but what a great local connection!

Several people told me that their parents had stayed at the house. According to Harry, they rented out rooms in the basement, the attic and on the 2nd floor. I bet the line to the bathroom looked like this:
According to several articles about boarding houses on the web, they were very common until after World War II when the move to suburbia began. 

I loved finding out more of our home's history. The sign now sits on our living room mantel!


Sunday, June 2, 2019

206 My dog is mad at me

My Dog Is Mad at Me 

This blog likely will have more pictures than words. My feelings are hurt by my dog Max. 
Usually happy Max 

I know that professionals in the veterinarian world say that dogs’ reactions are immediate and not long-lasting. I didn’t even bother to Google this information as dear husband and I have had nine mini Schnauzers in our 40-year marriage. However, I would love to have some dog psychiatrist analyze these photos! 

"I'm not looking
at you."
Max (age 7 ½) is really angry with me. Unless we are on vacation (about once a year) when he and his cohort Bogie (age 4) go to a posh dog camp with doggy runs, water play, and air-conditioned play rooms, he is with me. 

He has let me pretend I am “alpha dog” since we bought him. I think it has all been a ruse on his part.

Since the beginning of May, I have been away virtually all day, every day substituting and also working my part-time job. This means I leave about 7:15 a.m. and return just before 9 p.m. Usually Max is in the drive way to greet me when he hears the car come in the drive with Bogie bouncing along behind him. But NOT IN THE PAST THREE WEEKS. I have been shunned! 
"This is as close as I am coming,
and I ate your aqua garden glove!"

Check out these photos!
On the patio--not at the car!

Obviously, delivered our standing order and since I wasn’t home. Max, with Bogie’s help, I assume, decided he would open it for me. 

And it has rained. Usually when wet, the dogs head to their cage which is lined with towels and toys. Max, however, did not. HA! Ha! 

I changed the bed! Took the dirty sheets to the laundry room. When I returned this is who I found. 

Next morning, we found this when we came downstairs too early to be nice! 

Please note he is heading to his crate. No one had to say BAD DOG!

Then I found this on a website of dog-related gifts: Yes! We are stubborn, but we are intelligent and handsome! 
The school year is almost over. I will be home more. I hope I am forgiven soon. Yes, yes, yes! I am a sucker for my dogs! Especially Max! 

I am well-trained! 

Bogie watching Max sulk!

Somewhat Savvy Glenne                    

Sunday, May 26, 2019

205 Carry-on craziness!

Carry-on craziness!

Why does the person who carries on far more than allowed always takes his or her time storing it while holding up everyone else waiting to get seated!! 

The person appears to be completely oblivious to what is going on around him or her. Does this person think no one else wants to get seated or ready to go? It is often hard to tell what motivates this type of person. On a recent flight, a gentleman (and I use the term loosely), who had at least three bags to store, took forever to put them in the overhead bin while holding up at least 10
to 20 people who just wanted
to get by. Just when you thought he was finished, he pulled out something else he absolutely had to store. The final straw was 
disrobing in the middle of the aisle, pulling his sweater
over his head. That is something
the rest of us did not need to see. 

Again, he was holding up the other passengers so he could be comfortable while appearing completely unaware that he was affecting so many others. We were already seated so we got to watch this spectacle unfold feeling tremendous sympathy for those waiting for this idiot to complete his storing ritual.

I can’t figure out how people are so unaware of what is around them or how their actions affect others. I know this may seem trivial but it can cause the plane to be late taking off. I remember one case in which a family could not decide who was sitting where--the seats they had purchased--and the flight attendant kept warning them to take a seat or the plane would be delayed! Again, total disregard for the rest of the passengers. 

While the aforementioned gentleman was obnoxious, one of the worst I have witnessed was a woman who sat in front of me on a non-stop flight to Paris from D.C. If she was out of her seat once, she was up 100 times (a little exaggeration but not much). She just had to retrieve items from the overhead bin over and over and over again.

I could not imagine what she needed so desperately that she had to open and close the bin as well as her carry-on case countless times, disturbing all those around her including me!

Again, like the carry-on king previously mentioned, she was completely oblivious as to what she was doing to the rest of the passengers. I kept hoping she was not going to be on the same tour we were meeting in Paris. Thank goodness she wasn’t, as I found out later!

As we were preparing for the landing and exiting the plane, she started searching frantically around her seat and then exclaimed – “I can’t find my shoes!”

My initial reaction was laughter, but I contained myself and tried not to make eye contact. I busied myself with what I had to do to get ready to leave so I am not sure of the outcome of her lost shoes, but I would be surprised if those were the only things she couldn’t find.

Please readers when you enter or exit a plane, keep in mind the others around you. This is not your living room and personal space you own. We are all in the same boat trying to get from one place to another, so try to be as considerate as you want others to be. How many items do you really need to carry on!! If you do need to store an item, move out of the way so others can get by. It really can be accomplished with consideration and concern for others.