Mar 30, 2011

Note to Self

Encouraging quotes sound so "right"...so why do they cause me to feel worse...Is it because I am so far away from the end results promised..is it because they make me feel like such a failure..is it because they cause me to consider that I may just not have what it takes to be the person that I want to be...the person I thought that I was....just wondering..


Repeat over and over and over and over...and try to believe it .


"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens…
Not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.
A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results."


“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
~ Charles Swindoll
`

"Adversity can be a witness!…not only is it making us stronger it is temporary. But people are watching to see how it affects us. How we let it make us or break us."

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure”
~Peter Marshall~

Mar 28, 2011

How Did This Happen?

When did this adorable, big-brown-eyed, curly haired little boy turn into this

adorable, big-brown-eyed, curly haired, hairy legged, pimpled faced young

man?



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Mar 27, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow

The perennials have started peeking through the warmed-up garden soil,

the resilient pansies have their heads upright and bright,

the garden has been plowed, the leaves have been raked and mulched,

I've planted about 3 dozen bulbs...tulips, daffodils, irises, ...

and the renegade  tree has been trimmed...

to allow sun to shine on my front yard and enable grass to grow...

Rain, rain go away....bring it on...

we're ready to start prettying thing up again
.



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Mar 26, 2011

IT'S OFFICIAL

We'll be there...JUNE  3rd.....Memphis...Michael Buble'

The three amigoes and the tag-along mom...


Mar 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home ----or rather, "the American Dream"

I have been reminiscing about the homes Bob and I have been blessed to own over the past 57 years.....

Like most young people in the early 50's we were unable to purchase a home when we first married...the widowed owner of this lovely house in Covington, Tn. converted one side of the upstairs of her house into a small apt.  This was the home we shared our first year together...She was called Mamsie...her husbands name was Robert Sanford..I don't recall how long she had been widowed but I remember seeing/hearing her cry as she sat in her bedroom looking at some of her things..letters, pictures, etc...I now have total empathy with her and what she was going through. Our apartment was upstairs, left side. We lived there for one year.

 



From Covington we moved to Memphis...where the company Bob was employed with  was located. We rented one side of a duplex located on Snowden Ave. near Overton Park and Rhodes College...peviously known as Southwestern College.

We lived in Memphis for one year ...until his employer...Straton Warren Hdwe Co... put him "on the road"  as a salesman.  We were then located  in Mena Ar. and Little Rock Ar. for two years.

We rented this house in Mena...the two older children in this picuture are my brother and sister. When we left Tennessee we brought my mother and three of my sibblings from Covington to Mena to live with us.



In April of 1957 Bob quit his job with Straton-Warren and with three children, no job and about $300....we left Arkansas and headed for Dallas. .Mom, JoAnn and Nicky had gone back to Houston...that is where she and dad had lived when they were together...she still had friends there.. Bob took the first job he could find - with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co..we lived in a duplex in Irving for a while - then rented a small house in Pleasant Grove..then the "company" sent us to Corsicana, Tx.   It was 1959 before we were able to purchase a home of our own..a very small "tract" home . ..(per Mr. Wikipedia....a style of housing development in which multiple identical homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots..).

....four small rooms, a kitchen and one bathroom...It wasn't much but it was ours.... One of God's blessings at that time was to place us next door to a couple who  became our best friends  - and remain so to this very day! Paul and JoAnn Stephens... now residing in Rowlett, Tx. ......their life together  started out pretty much the same as our's...except that  Paul had been able to attend college...he graduated from Texas Tech, was a smart business man.. and  many years later he retired as one of the  VP's of the The Gap Corp.....in spite of their obvious financial success they are the very same sweet, unassuming  people today that they were then.
A favorite memory: The houses were built so close together we could sit in their kitchen--playing bridge and eating the delicious chocolate cream pie that she whipped up in about 15 min. time -  and still be able to hear any of our kids who might awaken from their sleep in our  bdrm. next door.....which was  maybe 10 ft. away from their back door....
this is the little house....

 We had three children when we moved there..but there were seven of us living in that tiny house before we left....

Boy! did we have our hands full....five children in eight years. We lived in Corsicana for five years.
In 1962 Bob's company (RJ Reynolds Tobacco) transfered us back to the Dallas area ...
for the next couple of years we were again forced  to "rent" ...After Bob changed jobs - and I stopped having babies every other year - I  entered the "business" world  and after a couple of years we became  home-owners again...

a five year old, 4 bdrm.,  2 bath,  2-car garage...brick,....1101 Intervale, Garland, Tx. Another "tract" home but four bdrms., We  were thrilled!

1963 - This was our second home..



That large vacant land behind the house soon became a busy shopping area..The location was at the corner of 635 (LBJ) and Centerville Rd. The freeway that looped around part of Dallas(named "LBJ") was under construction at that time and  the kids roller-skated and rode their bikes on the paved yet still unfished freeway ...JoAnn and Paul had also moved from Corsicana ane were living nearby in Garland. This picture was the last we took together before we  were transfered "again" --to Ca.   in  1973




We were in California for only two years 73 - 75...Bob worked very hard, as he always had... finally started recieveing good promotions and generous salary raises...and we were able to "upgrade"...also a tract home but a new, typical California , two story, 3 bdrm., plus a  "loft" room,  2 and 1/2 bath, living room AND dining room AND den..about 2000 sq ft . We loved living in California...!!! Spent much time landscaping the yard, spending time in San Francisco, Sausalito, Carmel/Monterrey, Santa Cruz....a truly beautiful area of our country but quite a culture shock moving from  Texas  to Ca.... in the 70's. Our two oldest children did not move with us ...they were 18 and 19---and altho our  family  had  always been very close--they were unprepared and/or unwilling to relocate again...the transfer came just a few weeks before Laura's highschool graduation so she stayed in Texas with JoAnn and Paul until she found a job (with a bank) and got an apartment of her own. Herk also worked and stayed with friends for a year while finishing his last year at Garland High.

This was our 3rd. home....The California house
1973...  4198 Rosenbaum, San Jose ...We paid 49k for it. Sold it two years later for 55k, just before the Ca. housing market began to skyrocket.

32 years later, in 2005 we were in Ca.  and  checked it out.
still a good-looking house in '05...



I checked on the listing price of a 31 yr, 1700 sq.ft. home in the same area ...listed today for $485,000
my, oh my, oh my

Another one of our children stayed behind when we were again transfered...Barbara had met David...an Alabama boy who was out there for a short time...they soon returned to his home town - Huntsville,  Al. - and were married.  
  Our next transfer took us to Chicago. I wanted something other than what was "just about the same as every other house on the street".. Bob was such a good sport and let me do exactly as  I pleased about it......he left everything in my hands as he was still  traveling every week...we put our money in land instead of a house. It was a very tiny, 75 yr old place that had been the original home on a farm site...I mean it was tiny!!!  and in very bad condition on the inside. There were  3  (11 x 10) rooms,  a small kitchen,   and  a half bath downstairs  ----the previous owners had added a second story- 3 bdrms and a bath upstairs.......... It was on an acre of land in an unincorporated area of one of the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I took a year off from work and updated everything . We paid 50k for the purchase... spent  probably another 35k  ? in improvements..  we replaced the well,  septic tank and septic field, all windows, doors,  floors, paint and wallpapers, bathrooms updated,  alum. siding, bow windows on front... sold it 13 years later for 140k... still a nice profit...

This was our 4th. home............Before our "changes"

...brother Nick and his family were here from Texas for a couple of days and were delighted to see a "MAY" snowfall..





here's the "after" .....



brother Ed and his family were living in Mn. so we were able to see them fairly often...here in 1982


1984 - the kids came as often as possible...they were in Al., Tx. and Ca.



 About 10 years ago that property was listed for sale as a "tear- down" for the price of......get ready for this.. $ 1.4 million. All the home sites on what had originally been  that farm land  were on 1 or more acres and had been upgraded and/or torn down and replaced with homes that probably cost half a million to build...And the area had been incorporated into Inverness...a very exclusive area.
We really enjoyed our 13 years there .. I was employed by an accounting firm in  downtown Chicago... in the "loop"... thank goodness for the  rapid transit system ...I used the commuter train to get to/from work.   Bob's office was in Northbrook...he had a private secretary and was  in and out of O'Hara Airport every two or three days.... He had advanced with Borden Inc., Chemical Division, ... ...(Elmer's glue, mystic tapes, etc.)...as a  marketing  mgr..of the Midwest Region  (he managed 9 states at that time), he and his "reps" made sales calls on the buyers for the national chain stores such as WalMart, Ace Hdwe., Ben Franklin's, True Value Hdwe. etc...He also worked at "trade shows"  in Atlanta, Dallas, SF, LasVegas, New Orleans, and on and on..I was able to accompany him on a number of those week-end trips.. At age 62 after 25 yrs. with Borden he took early retirement .  
Another of our children stayed behind when we moved back to Tx..Nicki was 19 and had lived there since age  11..  Chicago was her home...and still is...A few years prior Eddie had left Chicago to attend college at   UT-  Austin...our children had all flown the coop...

We   returned to Texas  (1988)  and purchased a  25 yr old house.... a nice, spacious yard..backed up to a small creek.....a settled neighborhood, mature trees, ...we lived there  for eleven years  and loved it also...For the very first time we were living in the same vicinity as some of our grand-children....'can't top that!
My mother, who was still residing in Houston after returning there in 1956,  was in ill health .... we drove down  and brought her back to live with us for the last 10 years of her life. She died from complications of emphysema  at the age of 79..  

This was our fifth home to own... 1988 - 1999


 this "family room" was appx. 20' by 24'..the large fireplace separated it from the dining room...at the end of the dining room, through french doors, was a small solarium...which I used as our office.





Next began the "down-sizing" period

...There was no debt on the house but. when the "bottom fell out of the market" in the early 90's we lost about 60k. of our retirement savings ...until we just "bit the bullet", sold everything  and put what was left in CD's... ..Merill Lynch had invested us in far too many junk bonds...


One of the young,  assistant pastors of the small  church we attended wanted to buy the house but was unable to quality for a loan in the amount of the appraised value ...we  wanted him to have it  so we let it go for 12k less than the appraisal ...
We enjoyed that home for 11years.  

our first "down-size"... this five year old smaller home  in Garland... 1600 sq ft.....






we lived here from 1999 - 2006


The sale of that home was not prompted by a company transfer...that move was to enable us to live closer to our son who had been left with the care of his two boys... we picked them up after school and usually stayed at Eddie's until after supper....driving Plano to Richardson -and- back  every day..sometimes twice a day..for over a year..we were grateful that we were able to do that..but we were aging ...it became much easier when we leased an apartment only five minutes away from their home and it was a new experience for us -  living in an apt ....for the first time in our life..we enjoyed that as well....we even had our own swimming  pool  right outside our patio   :)

We were there 18 months...When Bob was diagnosed, endured 7 weeks of radiation, was deathly sick from the effects of it, but  seemed to be recovering I decided it was time to build his cabin...



and lastly, Peete's Landing, ...Bob's "Little Cabin In The Woods..."
 Barbara had long desired for us to move to Alabama to be near her and her family...'we had spent much time visiting over the years and knew we would like it here.  She and David's home is on approx. 3 acres of land, at the end of a housing development that backs up to a woods, farmland  and a  creek...just the perfect place for the cabin....so because of their love and generosity we jointly financed the building and so began our last move (to date). We left  our Texas family: three children,7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren and came here to be near our daughter,  two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren who live here..She was elated over the possibility of spending quality time with her father, whom she adored. Much to our sorrow she was not given that time. I do not regret the move..on the contrary I'm sure it was the best place for me to be under the circumstances.






It would be the perfect conclusion to this story except for one thing...
he is not here