A Meme

What the heck, I’ll bite.  Here is a Meme published by friend Bev Sykes in her site here at Airy Persiflage.  And, since I had to copy and paste Bev’s whole meme into this page, why not just leave Bev’s answers here with mine following hers?  I’ll try it and see how it goes.

1. Which living person do you admire the most, and why?
Bev:  Especially now, the Obamas, who led this country with grace and dignity despite overwhelming odds.  When I see what has happened in the last month, I miss them more than ever.  I used to be proud of our president.  The one we have now is an international laughing stock.  Also Dame Daphne Sheldrick, who runs the foundation in Kenya that saves orphaned elephants.

Bex:  I could legitimately just copy all that Bev said above.  I don’t know Dame Daphne Sheldrick, however, so I’ll just say it’s someone who is still living, and that is my best friend in the world, my husband, Paul.  I said this in 1985 when we first started dating, he’s the “best” person I’ve ever met… in so many, many ways.
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2. When were you the happiest?
Bev:  Probably any time when we lived in a place where I had lots of friends around and I had friends to hang out with.  The five years working with the Lamplighters were some of my favorite too.
Bex:  It has to be the day of my wedding in 1986 and also the following 3 weeks we spent touring around our dream vacation, in England and Scotland.  Our first overseas trip ever, and seeing the “land of our dreams” up close and personal was the high point for me in this life, and getting to spend the last 30+ years with this man has also put the icing on the cake!
3. Besides property, automobile or furniture, what is the most expensive thing you have bought?
Bev:  Hmmm….I guess my computer.
Bex:  Paul’s lobster boat, the one to replace his original one that got eaten up by the Atlantic  Ocean back in the 1990s.  I guess that could be considered under the category of “automobile” or “property” – but otherwise it must be our 8 vacations we’ve taken across the Pond to England.
4. What is your most treasured possession?
Bev:  I’ve answered this question several times.  This is it:  (It is Delicate Pooh, and I have told his story here.)
Bex:  Even though I hesitate to consider a living being a “possession,” I’d have to say “Belle,” our beautiful life-saving collie dog.
5. Where would you like to live?
Bev:  If I were rich, I’d live in or near Santa Barbara so we could be closer to the grandchildren, but I’m happy living in Davis.  I have no desire to move to some exotic location.
Bex:  In Yorkshire, England.  (This was a no-brainer!)
6. Who would you get to play you in a film of your life?
Bev:  Rosie O’Donnell or Melissa McCarthy
Bex:  Hayley Mills.
7. What is your favorite book?
Bev:  This question again?  I always answer either “The Mother Tongue” by Bill Bryson or “Prince of Tides.”  I might add the “Outlander” series now too.
Bex:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
8. What is your most unappealing habit?
Bev:  Pick a habit, any habit.
Bex: Making uncontrolled noises when I least expect them… (sorry!) (I’m old)
9. Twitter or Facebook? (Or if both share the differences in your opinion.)
Bev:  I never really got into Twitter until recently (figuring it was self preservation to find out what the president was saying). I kinda sorta enjoy it, but I’ve been on Facebook for about 9 years and have made many casual friends there.
Bex:  Although I have a Twitter account, I never use it.  I do use Facebook regularly, having once given it up and then gone back to it.  It has its advantages of enjoying social contact with not only old friends/family/acquaintances, but making new ones, as well.  And besides, without FB, we would never have found and adopted Belle the Collie-Girl from Mit Skinner in Iowa!  One of the most amazing things for us.
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Mit Skinner, Belle, and Paul – the day Mit & her son Shawn delivered Belle to us all the way from Iowa to Massachusetts!
10. What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Bev:  I never do costumes.  Last time I dressed in a costume was more than 40 years ago.  (I dressed as our friend Andrij Hornjatkewyc.)
Bex:  Sweatshirt.  Tee-shirt underneath.  Jeans.  White socks.  Crocs.  The same as I wear every single day of my life.  I never want to have to “dress up” again!
11. What is your earliest memory?
Bev:  I have two, and I don’t know which is earliest.  When my sister was a baby, I wanted to find out what it was like to be in a crib drinking from a bottle.  I would have been 4.  I also have snippets of memory of a train trip I took with my mother to Pasadena.  I was probably younger than 4.
Bex:  My 3rd (or 4th)  birthday.  I can remember one scene right before my little friends showed up for my birthday party, it was in my first home in West Medford, MA, and I had my “posh frock” on and Mother kept telling me not to rough-house around the apartment (we lived in a 2-family, on the 2nd floor, that my Great Nana Ingersoll owned), but when someone came to the door and rang the bell, I can remember running to the top of the stairs and then sliding down all the stairs on my bum, to get to the door fast!  Mum was not happy with me.  After that, we moved to Marblehead, MA, where I spent my childhood.
12. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Bev:  Any over the top sundae or milk shake from Fenton’s Creamery.  Fortunately I rarely get there.
Bex: Every so often I get an uncontrollable craving for something either salty or sweet.  If it’s the salty craving, I’ll get a couple of bags of Cheetos and they might last 2 or 3 days.  Guilty!  If it’s sweet I am craving, I’ll order some exotic expensive type of chocolates and keep them in a stash somewhere, out of the prying noses of curious collies!
13. What do you owe your parents?
Bev:  My sense of humor, my love of music, my love of San Francisco, and, from my father, my curly hair, from my mother my love of books.
Bex:  Now I had to read Bev’s answer to get this one.  I would have said “Nothing” meaning in a monetary way.  But as far as attributes go, I guess I owe my being alcoholic (recovering now since 1983 without a drop to drink) to my mother, who was one.  Despite the fact that she also smoked cigarettes like a chimney all my early years, I owe the fact that I never smoked to my Dad who heroically lived with her and put up with her smoking and drinking for all those years but never did so himself.  He loved his ice cream but that was the worst habit he had.  He was a good and wonderful but underappreciated man.  I miss him.  He died 39 years ago today.
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14. To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
Bev:  Sigh.  This question again.  Peggy …. for whatever it was that I did.
Bex:  To my Dad, Reese.  For not showing him more how much I loved and appreciated him, because I was still young and foolish when he passed away.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Bev:  My family.
Bex:  Paul Hooper Crowell.
16. What does love feel like to you?
Bev:  Comfy as a pair of old slippers,  no drama.
Bex:  Safe.
17. What was the best kiss of your life?
Bev:  No one kiss stands out.
Bex:  Two… see below.  The moment I became Paul’s wife, and a few minutes later in the garden of our soon-to-be new home in Marblehead (before Crow Cottage days).
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18. Which words or phrases do you overuse?
Bev:  They all have four letters.
Bex:  GDFA.  I know.  Not nice.  But I never claimed to be “nice.”  I swear a lot when I’m alone, or when it’s just the 3 of us here… poor Belle!  You see, I drop things and that drives me right up the wall and back down again when I do it, which is all the time!
19. What’s the worst job you have done?
Bev:  I worked for an attorney here in this town for awhile.  He was a most annoying man and the day I quit was one of the happiest of my life.  He later asked if I could come in and work for one day while he was in court.  He asked me to stop by his house to get instructions.  Turns out he wanted me to pretend to work and keep track of who talked instead of working while he was out of the office.  I said no.  He never called me again and I was happier for it.
Bex:  Wow, I have to go back to when I was 18 and had my first full-time job right out of high school.  (All my other jobs, of which there were many, were OK and had good vibes about them).  At 18 I was hired as a “clerk” in the Bookkeeping Dept. of the Essex County Bank & Trust Co. in Lynn, MA.  I worked in a one-story, flat-roofed building that went back for ages with glass partitions all the way down the length so you could see everyone who worked in there in one fell swoop.  And, back in those days (1966), most of the employees in that hermetically sealed building were Smokers!  I wasn’t, but the air was so thick with the smoke every day that you almost couldn’t see clearly to the back of our area!  I cannot believe I worked in that hell-hole of smoke for almost a year!  If I wind up with lung cancer, I blame it all on that job!
20. If you could edit your past, what would you change?
Bev:  One thing I wish I could change was advice I got when I was choosing courses in my first semester at UC Berkeley.  My roommate told me that Speech-1 was an “easy A” and I should take that.  So I did.  For someone terrified of public speaking, and someone who loves to write, taking that class set me up for failure from the beginning.  I might have finished college if I had taken an English class instead.
Bex:  I wish I had had the chance to go to college.  My parents (mainly Mother) made it abundantly clear that they were not going to provide the means for me to go to college and that I had to start paying her rent to remain living there within 2 weeks of graduating from high school, which I did.  That bank job described above was it.  I think I paid her $45/month for rent to remain in my childhood home, but by the end of that first year as a a working adult, at the age of 19, I was gone, moved into Boston on my own and then out into the big world for years and years after that.  I did eventually enroll as a freshman college student after I was married to Husband No. 1, in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was in graduate school working on a Ph.D. in Political Science, and I was a lowly freshman majoring in history.  But our marriage fell apart and so did my chance at college.
21. What is the closest you have come to death?
Bev:  I almost drowned at a lake when I was a little kid.  I remember the lifeguard carrying me out to shore.
Bex: This is a long story and I have related it somewhere, probably my blog, before.  But long-story short, I was walking home in Boston, MA (where I lived in a small apartment at the age of 19), in the wee early hours of the morning, after having stayed overnight with someone, and all I had was my house-key and no money on me.  A car pulled up beside me filled with young scary-looking men who stopped me and opened the door, pointed a gun at me and said “get in!”  My life flashed before me, I though I was a goner, but a Boston police cruiser happened to pull up right at that moment, behind the boys in the car, and scared them away.  The lovely police drove me home (about a mile down the road, very near the famous Fenway Park in Boston)  and gave me the lecture about not walking alone around the city without protection.  That was close!
22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Bev:  Raising five kids to adulthood, seeing what good people they are, really liking them, and considering them some of my best friends.  Writing the Lamplighters history ranks up there too.
Bex: Making it to the age of almost 69 whereas so many of my contemporaries and friends have passed away already!
23. When did you cry last?
Bev:  As I have said many times, I cry easily (my grandmother used to call me a “spitzmuller”).  I cry at Hallmark commercials.  I cry if anything emotional comes on TV, even something as simple as a contestant winning a game show.
Bex:  The other day when I was talking with Paul about our Kip.  The best boy collie dog in the world.  The late great Kip Crowell.  (sniff)
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24. How do you relax?
Bev:  In my recliner, in front of the TV, with a laptop at my side to check e-mail.
Bex: Crocheting.  Listening to music.  Watching British DVDs.  Playing online.
25. What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Bev:  A different resident in the White House
Bex:  A body that does not hurt all the damn time!  (and second, what Bev said above!)
26. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Bev:  People you think are going to be your friends forever, won’t.  (Char is hanging in there, though.)  Jobs that you give your all to, thinking you will be there forever, turn on you.  Never give up yourself for someone or something unless you really want to.
Bex:  Never make a life-or-death decision until you are well and truly a grown-up!

So there you have it, a Two-Fer.
Oh and BTW, thirty nine years ago today my Dad passed away.  He was shoveling out the back bulkhead during the Blizzard of ’78 when he had a fatal heart attack and just keeled over in the snow.  Mom and Sister found him when they got back from shopping.  It was the Presidents’ Day holiday, as it is today.
I won’t say “Happy” Presidents’ Day because just the thought of ours makes me nauseated.  I’m trying to ignore it all by taking up crochet, which is calling my name, so off I go back to my current project a brightly colored corner-to-corner blanket.
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Cheers,
Bex & Co.
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Me looking at you looking at me…

Right, out my front door looking at P’s house across the street.

Left, out P’s front door looking at our house, across the street.

Both taken this morning, 16 February 2017.  We got dumped on overnight.

Cheers for Winter in New England!

Bex & Co.

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Status February

Hello Friends,

So, this is what’s been happening here since the end of last calendar year (I think I first began this journey with yarn on 16 December 2016).  I’ve been making things; some nice things, some horrible things.  Two snow storms have come and gone, and one is here right now.  Here’s the incriminating evidence below.

Cheers,

Bex The Hooker

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I’d Rather Listen to Dan…

Just for the record in my blog, here is an entry from Dan Rather’s Facebook page concerning his views of the recent inauguration of our country’s President this week.  Dan Rather is someone whom I admire and respect, unlike the subject of this essay.  Written on Inauguration Day in America, 20th January 2017, by Dan Rather (and with my comments about Dan following his essay):

And so it begins.

Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country. Those are plays upon the stage. What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans, a majority of our country if the polls are to be believed, that face today buffeted within and without by the simmering ache of dread.

I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.

I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.

I have never seen the specter of a foreign foe cast such a dark shadow over the workings of our democracy.

I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world.

I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.

Despite the pageantry of unity on display at the Capitol today, there is a piercing sense that we are entering a chapter in our nation’s evolving story unlike one ever yet written. To be sure, there are millions of Donald Trump supporters who are euphoric with their candidate’s rise. Other Trump voters have expressed reservations, having preferred his bluster to his rival’s perceived shortcomings in the last election, but admitting more and more that they are not sure what kind of man they bestowed the keys to the presidency. The rest of America – the majority of voters – would not be – and indeed is not – hesitant in sharing its conclusions on the character and fitness of Donald Trump for the office he now holds.

The hope one hears from even some of Donald Trump’s critics is that this moment might change him. Perhaps, as he stood there on a grey, drab, January day, reciting the solemn oath of office demanded by our Constitution, as he looked out across what Charles Dickens once called the “city of magnificent intentions”, he would somehow grasp the importance of what he was undertaking. Perhaps he would understand that he must be the president of all the United States, in action as well as in word. Perhaps, but there has already been so much past that is prologue.

There is usually much fanfare around inaugural addresses. They are also usually forgotten – with some notable exceptions. I think today will be remembered, not so much for the rhetoric or the turns of phrase but for the man who delivered them and the era they usher us forth.

Mr. Trump’s delivery was staccato and there was very little eye contact as he seemed to be reading carefully from a teleprompter. His words and tone were angry and defiant. He is still in campaign mode and nary a whiff of a unifying spirit. There was little or nothing of uplift – the rhetoric of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Reagan. We heard a cavalcade of slogans and one liners, of huge promises to “bring back” an America – whatever that really means to many who look at our history and see progress in our current society.

The speech started with a message of an establishment in Washington earning riches on the back of struggling families across the country. It was an odd note, considering the background of many of his cabinet picks. President Trump painted a very dark picture of the current state of our nation, beset by gangs and drugs and violence, regardless of what the data shows. His words swelled with his economic populism and the nationalism of “America first.” The applause was sparse, and I imagine many more being turned off, even sickened, rather than inspired by what our new President had to say. President Obama looked on with an opaque poker face. One could only imagine what he was thinking.

It bears remembering that one never can predict the arc of a presidency. It is an office that is far too often shaped by circumstance well beyond its occupant’s control. Those challenges, wherever and however they may rise, now will fall on the desk of President Trump. We can only see what will happen. We hope, for the security and sanctity of our Republic, that Mr. Trump will respond to the challenges with circumspection and wisdom. Today’s rhetoric was not reassuring.

Our democracy demands debate and dissent – fierce, sustained, and unflinching when necessary. I sense that tide is rising amongst an opposition eager to toss aside passivity for action. We are already seeing a more emboldened Democratic party than I have witnessed in ages. It is being fueled by a fervent energy bubbling from the grassroots up, rather than the top down.

These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed. That means President Trump now works for us – all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him.


Many years ago, when I was just separated from my first husband, Bill P., and I was living alone in Salem in a tiny apartment in an antique house on Beckford Street, I saw an advertisement in the Salem News that Dan Rather would be appearing in Salem soon to give a talk.  It was within walking distance  of my new home.  Even though I’d only just become separated from my first husband, I called Bill and asked if he would be interested in going to see Dan Rather give his talk… and Bill, being a political science major in college, jumped at the chance and said “yes.”  So he and I went to see Dan in person.

I cannot, for the life of me, remember now what the topic was.  This was back in 1976, and politics back then were hot and heavy.  But I do remember the wonderful calm that came over me as we sat there on the fold-up chairs in downtown Salem listening to one of my all-time favorite newsmen.

When his talk was over, we shuffled up front to meet with him, shake his hand, tell him how much we liked and respected his work and his thoughts.  He was so charming and lovely.  He looked us right in the eyes and talked “to” us… not around us, something our newly intstalled President can’t seem to do, apparently.

I was sad that Dan had to leave his television news show, and I can’t even remember why right now.  I miss him as a regular presenter of news.  The only person these days who even comes close to him, in my view, is Rachel Maddow on MSNBC each weeknight at 9 pm.  Rachel is terrific, and if she were the ONLY news presenter left on TV, I’d be happy. She is the only person we watch with any regularity these days, local news excepted of course, at the dinner table.  She gives a slant on the news that no one else does.  She makes it all easier for us laypersons to understand the big scope of things and the importance of subjects that seem to get short shrift with the other circuses that call themselves cable news shows.

Anyway, I wanted to memorialize Dan’s take on the recent inauguration.  Take a deep breath and just pray 4 years goes by in a flash!

 

Cheers,

Bex & Co.
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The Last Sunday

Hello,

I did it again.  I changed Themes.  No, I can’t remember the name of this one (I went and looked, it’s “Two-Twenty” I believe.)  But I wasn’t really loving that other one that much.  This is a bit more plain and simple.

The comments are probably at the bottom of the entry.

I am lamenting what the title of this entry means for us here in this country.  The last Sunday for so many things, not the least of which is that we have a leader of our country who is great and are going into an era with a leader who is far less than great.  To put it mildly.

I haven’t talked much about politics lately.  I’ve had to divorce myself from it, for the most part, as it was making me sick inside.  Especially after November the 8th.  Then, we still had time to hope and pray that something would happen to turn it around, to make it not happen, but now here we are, just days away from a new leader being installed, and just thinking about it is making me nauseated all over again.

And that is why I started crocheting again.  I needed to turn off the cable news, the non-stop screaming and yelling from that big black box over there, across the room.  Listening to lie after lie after lie coming from the mouths of the “other side” was just too much to handle anymore.

Now yarn is my main concern.

I have more than enough yarn here to keep me busy probably for years.  I do not have the gigantic stash of it that some crocheteers have, but mine is now finally and happily all organized right here near me after I splurged and paid a whopping $7.49 for this handy-dandy hanging cubby-hole thingy to hold all my yarn.

This black thing is only 48″ high, it has a velcro piece at the top that opens up and closes around a rod, so it could go into a closet.  But my closets are all full, so I snuck it in next to the curtain here and filled it with all the yarn I could find plus the new yarn I’ve bought recently.

Those two see-through bags of yarn are both from England.  One contains the rest of the yarn for the Moorland blanket (it contained 15 skeins of yarn and I did not make the blanket as prescribed but rather a few smaller things, and I still have quite a bit of the yarn left – in fact, a lot left.  The other see-through bag contains 8 skeins that are for making a bag called the  “Jolly Chunky Bag.”

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Above is the bag all made up by Lucy at Attic24 (in Yorkshire, England).  I love this bag – it’s so cheery and happy!  I can keep my current work in there and sitting near my chair and it will make me happy just to see it.  So that is on the horizon to do soon.

My blanket for Paul is coming along after some glitches.

I started out making it using a stitch I found on YouTube called the “extended moss stitch” which was a new one for me.  I did like it, but it was a not an easy flowing stitch, it took real concentration to do each and every stitch, and even some muscle power sometimes when the place where the hook was supposed to go was not easily accessible.  Finally, I gave up but didn’t want to rip out and start over, so I continued down the blanket in the plain old double crochet stitch which goes much more quickly, and I’m just treating that top part as a kind of “header” on the blanket… so Paul can tell the top from the bottom!

Pretty soon I will begin the 3 stripes of colors he wanted – to match his lobster buoys, of white, dark green, and yellow, as you can see by the picture below of the late, great Whitby girl and Paul’s stash of freshly painted buoys:

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8(Update:  Jan. 19th… I am on the home stretch now with the blanket (see photo below).  I am putting that “header” of the moss stitch on both the top and bottom and also I will go around the edges with the regular single crochet moss stitch for the edging.  So it will be 8-10 inches longer than this in the end.  I think.

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At left are all the knitting implements I found when I went hunting for old yarn the other week. I did a fair amount of knitting back in my day, but I don’t have a lot to show for it as I made things for other people. Paul does have a nice vest I made for him and one day I’ll haul it out and photograph it.

Below are the implements I have for crocheting, and I do need to acquire a few hooks that are for larger items, using chunky yarns. I’d really love to crochet a bath mat for in front of the tub, something nice and chunky and soft to step on out of the shower.

OK. I’ve almost lost this entry several times here, so I’ll wrap it up.

You may have noticed that I changed the Theme again. Hope it’s working for you.

Cheers,

Bex & Co.

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