Bring Me That Horizon

Welcome to jennyweber dot com

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Home of Jenny the Pirate

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This will go better if you

check your expectations at the door.

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We're not big on logic

but there's no shortage of irony.

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 Nice is different than good.

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Oh and ...

I flunked charm school.

So what.

Can't write anything.

= Jennifer =

Causing considerable consternation
to many fine folk since 1957

Pepper and me ... Seattle 1962

  

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Belay That!

This blog does not contain and its author will not condone profanity, crude language, or verbal abuse. Commenters, you are welcome to speak your mind but do not cuss or I will delete either the word or your entire comment, depending on my mood. Continued use of bad words or inappropriate sentiments will result in the offending individual being banned, after which they'll be obliged to walk the plank. Thankee for your understanding and compliance.

= Jenny the Pirate =

Hoist The Colors

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I am a Blue Star Mother

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Insist on yourself; never imitate.

Your own gift you can present

every moment

with the cumulative force

of a whole life’s cultivation;

but of the adopted talent of another

you have only an extemporaneous

half possession.

That which each can do best,

none but his Maker can teach him.

= Ralph Waldo Emerson =

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Represent:

The Black Velvet Coat

In The Market, As It Were

 

 

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Contributor to

American Cemetery

published by Kates-Boylston

A Pistol With One Shot

Ecstatically shooting everything in sight using my beloved Nikon D3100 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G prime lens.

Also capturing outrageous beauty left and right with my Nikon D7000 blissfully married to my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D AF prime glass. Don't be jeal.

And then there was the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f:3.5-5.6G ED VR II zoom. We're done here.

Dying Is A Day Worth Living For

I am a taphophile

Word. Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Great things are happening at

Find A Grave

If you don't believe me, click the pics.

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Dying is a wild night

and a new road.

Emily Dickinson

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REMEMBRANCE

When I am gone

Please remember me

 As a heartfelt laugh,

 As a tenderness.

 Hold fast to the image of me

When my soul was on fire,

The light of love shining

Through my eyes.

Remember me when I was singing

And seemed to know my way.

Remember always

When we were together

And time stood still.

Remember most not what I did,

Or who I was;

Oh please remember me

For what I always desired to be:

A smile on the face of God.

David Robert Brooks
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 Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.

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Keep To The Code

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You Want To Find This
The Promise Of Redemption

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, AND THEREFORE HAVE I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak;

Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4

Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again.

~ Ronald Reagan

Photo Jennifer Weber 2010

Not Without My Effects

My Compass Works Fine

The Courage Of Our Hearts

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Daft Like Jack

 "I can name fingers and point names ..."

And We'll Sing It All The Time
  • Elements Series: Fire
    Elements Series: Fire
    by Peter Kater
  • Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    Danny Wright Healer of Hearts
    by Danny Wright
  • Grace
    Grace
    Old World Records
  • The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    The Hymns Collection (2 Disc Set)
    Stone Angel Music, Inc.
  • Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Always Near - A Romantic Collection
    Real Music
  • Copia
    Copia
    Temporary Residence Ltd.
  • The Poet: Romances for Cello
    The Poet: Romances for Cello
    Spring Hill Music
  • Nightfall
    Nightfall
    Narada Productions, Inc.
  • Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    Rachmaninoff plays Rachmaninoff
    RCA
  • The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion
    by William Voegeli
  • The Art of Memoir
    The Art of Memoir
    by Mary Karr
  • The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
    by Emily Dickinson
  • Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    Among The Dead: My Years in The Port Mortuary
    by John W. Harper
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
    by William Zinsser
  • Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them
    by Steven Milloy
  • The Amateur
    The Amateur
    by Edward Klein
  • Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    Hating Jesus: The American Left's War on Christianity
    by Matt Barber, Paul Hair
  • In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
    by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    Where Are They Buried (Revised and Updated): How Did They Die? Fitting Ends and Final Resting Places of the Famous, Infamous, and Noteworthy
    by Tod Benoit
  • Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
    by Candace Savage
  • Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans
    by John Marzluff Ph.D., Tony Angell
  • Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!
    by Andrew Breitbart
  • 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
    by Paul Kengor
  • Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
    by Bernd Heinrich
  • Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits
    by Matthew Rolston
  • Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt
    by Todd Harra, Ken McKenzie
  • America's Steadfast Dream
    America's Steadfast Dream
    by E. Merrill Root
  • Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    Good Dog, Carl : A Classic Board Book
    by Alexandra Day
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
    by Lynne Truss
  • The American Way of Death Revisited
    The American Way of Death Revisited
    by Jessica Mitford
  • In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    In Six Days : Why Fifty Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation
    Master Books
  • Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    Architects of Ruin: How big government liberals wrecked the global economy---and how they will do it again if no one stops them
    by Peter Schweizer
  • Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    Grave Influence: 21 Radicals and Their Worldviews That Rule America From the Grave
    by Brannon Howse
  • Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow: The Tragic Courtship and Marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore
    by Eleanor Alexander
Easy On The Goods
  • Waiting for
    Waiting for "Superman"
    starring Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee
  • The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    The Catered Affair (Remastered)
    starring Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor
  • Bernie
    Bernie
    starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
  • Remember the Night
    Remember the Night
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, Beulah Bondi, Elizabeth Patterson, Sterling Holloway
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
    The Ox-Bow Incident
    starring Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn, William Eythe
  • The Bad Seed
    The Bad Seed
    starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden
  • Shadow of a Doubt
    Shadow of a Doubt
    starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers
  • The More The Merrier
    The More The Merrier
    starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, Charles Coburn, Bruce Bennett, Ann Savage
  • Act of Valor
    Act of Valor
    starring Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
  • Deep Water
    Deep Water
    starring Tilda Swinton, Donald Crowhurst, Jean Badin, Clare Crowhurst, Simon Crowhurst
  • Sunset Boulevard
    Sunset Boulevard
    starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Penny Serenade
    Penny Serenade
    starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edgar Buchanan, Beulah Bondi
  • Double Indemnity
    Double Indemnity
    starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Porter Hall, Jean Heather
  • Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged
    starring Gary Anthony Williams
  • Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
    Passion River
  • It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    It Happened One Night (Remastered Black & White)
    starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
  • Stella Dallas
    Stella Dallas
    starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Boles, Anne Shirley, Barbara O'Neil, Alan Hale
  • The Iron Lady
    The Iron Lady
    starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head, Alexandra Roach
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
    starring Peter Sallis, Anne Reid, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde
  • The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    The Red Balloon (Released by Janus Films, in association with the Criterion Collection)
    starring Red Balloon
  • Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    Stalag 17 (Special Collector's Edition)
    starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck
  • The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    The Major and the Minor (Universal Cinema Classics)
    starring Ginger Rogers, Ray Milland
  • My Dog Skip
    My Dog Skip
    starring Frankie Muniz, Diane Lane, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon
  • Sabrina
    Sabrina
    starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Walter Hampden, John Williams
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer
    starring Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Shirley Temple, Rudy Vallee, Ray Collins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
    starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport
  • Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    Now, Voyager (Keepcase)
    starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Gladys Cooper, John Loder
  • The Trip To Bountiful
    The Trip To Bountiful
  • Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
    Hold Back the Dawn [DVD] Charles Boyer; Olivia de Havilland; Paulette Goddard
That Dog Is Never Going To Move

~ RIP JAVIER ~

1999-2016

Columbia's Finest Chihuahua

Simple. Easy To Remember.

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Saturday
Feb232019

Random retail ruminations of the valentiney variety

The week preceding Valentine's Day was, for me, fraught with missteps and mishaps and near-misses and -- I am happy and grateful to report -- swift and satisfying resolution of all of the above.

Still. It was mildly harrowing.

Or at least it had the potential to be.

Allow me to elaborate.

It all began (continued?) on the Saturday before Valentine's Day, when TG and I were out and about, doing a fair amount of shopping, because my best buddy at church had a birthday the next day.

I had her gift but I wanted a stick balloon to go with it.

Except, our search for said item at a certain oversized (and overly vexing) retailer which I will not name, was frustratingly fruitless because out of the hundreds of stick balloons available, not one was of the Happy Birthday persuasion.

They were all Valentine's Day balloons and that's not what I needed. 

I mean, I get it: Valentine's Day is five days away and people are shopping for their flowers and cards and chocolates and stuffed animals and what-not, and as a cutesy add-on, a ninety-seven-cent stick balloon fits the bill nicely. 

A cheap thrill, as it were.

But holy smokes, people have birthdays in February too! Leave two or three birthday balloons out for those people.

Nope. None to be found. The landscape had been cleansed of everything resembling a birthday balloon.

So TG and I moved on, and he had the idea of going to Dollar General where they were sure to have birthday-themed stick balloons.

There's one near our house (a DG, that is), and so we went there, and after asking a nice young man wearing a name tag whether we might find any non-Valentine stick balloons on the premises, and being told noooo ... don't think soooo ... we found them with no help from anyone.

They were right over by the greeting cards, which made perfect sense. And there's a minute of my life I wasted asking for help when I didn't need any help. Let that be a lesson.

Having secured my birthday balloon for Joyce's present, I also scored a few Valentine-themed stickers and a small craft project to do with Dagny during the coming love-obsessed week.

Then I decided to go in search of one more item -- a certain kind of cosmetic bag at a certain negligible price -- which I found instantly and was all, wow, look, cool, I'm getting this.

So it was that upon checkout, we had items in two bags (the super-find cosmetic purse going into a plastic bag all its own). Except, when TG was paying I grabbed one bag (the one with a stick balloon sticking out of it and stickers and such stuck down inside it) and walked out.

TG followed me and as we got into the car (actually I first attempted to get into a car that looked just like ours ... not even the same make and model ... but it was dark ... both the night and the cars), TG and I were chatting about something or other.

The Raven was perpendicular to the store, as we'd just backed out of our parking space and were ready to roll, as it were, when in my peripheral vision I noticed a sudden flurry of movement.

Turned out it was the DG cashier, another nice young man, running -- literally sprinting -- towards our car, brandishing my forgotten bag which contained the second half of our order.

I opened the door (I have difficulty finding the right button to push to lower my window, especially in the dark, so I didn't even try) and thanked him profusely and took my second bag, wondering how I could have forgotten that.

The next day, after church, it was decided that TG and I would take Dagny out to lunch and back to our house for a nap. It was a cold, rainy day and she naps better at my house than at home.

Audrey wanted a quiet afternoon to herself and who can blame her?

Brittany and Andrew joined us at one of our favorite places for Italian -- TG and I were both peckish for lasagna and Dagny's order is ALWAYS spaghetti.

I do believe that child would walk into an ice cream parlor and order spaghetti. She'd order spaghetti at Starbucks. She'd ask for spaghetti at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. She'd request a dish of spaghetti at Vinny's Vegan Venue.

With no shame.

When we go over to Andrew and Brittany's for dinner, somebody stops by the store and picks up a microwaveable single-serving of spaghetti. That way we'll be able to have a conversation while Dag is occupied getting the noodles onto her fork and into her mouth.

But at an Italian place? Yeah; spaghetti. And she eats five or six bites, then the rest goes home in a box. But what sacred silence while she manages those half-dozen bites.

That Sunday -- the one before Valentine's Day -- was no different. Except, as the fates would have it, Dagny was wearing a winter-white dress. The Nautica number we got her for Christmas.

My lasagna got cold from the number of times I jumped up to re-drape her with napkins.

When she was finished? Her outfit was decorated with so many orangey spaghetti-sauce spots, I knew I'd have to treat the stains and wash the frock while she was snoozing in my bed that afternoon. There was nothing else for her to wear back to church that evening.

Oh well. I am so blessed to have a bottle of Spray 'n Wash on the shelf in my laundry room. I know how to use it, too: Spray. Wash.

But when we left the restaurant? I was about to board The Raven when our waiter came out wildly waving something white.

The box containing the remainder of Dagny's bisketti.

Because I myself had asked for said box, placed most of the child's entree inside it, and promptly left it on the table.

Great save by the vigilant waitstaff of Papa Gio's. He could've just pitched the box. Saluto.

I should introduce him to the nice kid at DG who ran after me the night before with my left-behind cosmetic bag. They have so much in common.

That afternoon, while Dagny slept, TG watched over her and I went shopping.

I do that maybe one Sunday afternoon a year; it's anything BUT my habit. However, I had a major Kohl's (I go there maybe once a year too) discount, and I wanted to shop for the birthday of one of my kids who likes certain lines of merchandise at Kohl's.

Why on a Sunday, you may ask. Because I was dressed and had already been out and about, and Sunday afternoon is limbo time.

As in, it was something productive to do in a dead two hours without having to get gussied up to go out on a weekday when I'd rather stay home.

So to Kohl's I went, and I wasn't there long at all before I found exactly what I needed. I think I ended up with four things.

Except, when I got home, my bag contained only three things. And a receipt for four things.

I called Kohl's. I asked for the department where I'd been shopping and where I'd actually checked out.

The kind (if ditzy) sales clerk remembered me (it had been all of sixteen minutes), apologized, and assured me that she had my missing purchase. She'd neglected to put it into my bag.

She offered to leave it at Customer Service with some Kohl's Cash included for my trouble, since I'd have to go back after church that night to fetch it.

I was tempted to ask her why she didn't fly out of the store behind me, waving the missing item, and stop me from leaving without it. And whether she'd like to meet the guy from DG and the guy from PG, because they could show her how it's done.

But I didn't.

Is there a moral to this story? No. Except, check before you leave anywhere -- ANYwhere -- to make sure you're taking away everything that's yours.

Speaking of what's mine, TG gave me some beautiful (costume) jewelry for Valentine's Day. Good and gallant and charming man that he is, he let me pick it out.

And since I bought it online, there was no checking out without what I'd he'd paid for.

As a surprise however, TG left the mug pictured at the top of this post, beside the coffee pot on Valentine's Day morning (I get up later than he does), with a romantic card.

Funny Trump-isms aside, if my husband of nearly forty years really thinks I'm a great wife, beautiful and terrific and fantastic, compared to whom all other wives are total disasters?

He's delusional. But that's the kind of romance I like.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Saturday

Monday
Feb112019

May all your problems be mall ones

I'm fifth from the left, wearing the black velvet coat. Outside Rich's, Perimeter Mall, Atlanta, Christmas 1977 or '78.

Oh hey. Today I am moved to explore a certain topic to which my consciousness has been raised by two things: my last post, and a post on Shorpy.

As to Shorpy, let’s just say I’m addicted. Not a day goes by. Maybe this type of thing is not for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned, a site with nothing but commentary-free (except for the awesome Shorpy-community comments and Dave’s occasional acerbic-sarcastic corrections on grammar, spelling, usage, and general knowledge) historic pictures with clever titles is, to me, catnip with a side of Junior Mints.

As to the mall part, I could write a ream on how much — and why — I detest shopping malls. 

To illustrate, let me assure you that as a rarely-broken rule, nowadays I decline to go near a mall except to buy makeup at Dillard's when Lancôme and Clinique are in gift. And even then I take pains not to come within sight of the interior mall part; the soles of my shoes touch only the shiny floor of the anchor store. 

The reason is that for the year between college and marriage, I was a salesgirl at Evans, a dress shop at Southlake Mall in Merrillville, Indiana (the "Chicagoland" area). My territory was the coat department.

(It’s the very store — and department — where I bought the black velvet coat. Only, that was a whole year before I became an employee.)

Much like this year's Chicago weather in the news, and as I have previously outlined here, the winter of '78-'79 was bitterly brutal even by the rigorous standards of what’s colloquially and affectionately known as "da region" by dese, dem, and dose guys.

I rode to work with my roommate, Leah -- she being, of the two of us, the only one with transportation -- because she worked in another store in the same mall. Only, we had anything BUT the same schedule. Work it out: I was stuck in the stale recycled air for hours either before or after my shift, wandering, with nothing to do. 

Unless my adored fiancé could come and get me, of course -- but as a teacher and basketball coach, he worked long and odd hours too. We couldn’t even get officially engaged until the season concluded.

(There’s more than corn in Indiana; there’s hoops, and in the Hoosier State, it's more than a game. It's a religion.)

Looking back I wonder why, during my long lull times, I didn’t simply sit on a bench and read a book. Or write one. Or people-watch. Or shop — I love shopping. 

(Or at least, I used to. Now I point and click, and that suits me just fine. Going out among people is becoming more and more of a chore. I could easily become a recluse. What am I saying? I’m semi-reclusive as it is. Ask anyone. Ah. Subject for another day.)

But how many Orange Juliuses can one person drink? How many times can one cruise around the fashion displays at Casual Corner before putting something on layaway? How many engravable items can one consider buying from Things Remembered?

(Actually, I did buy TG an engraved letter opener from Things Remembered for Christmas that year. Forty-plus years later, it's as shiny as when he removed it from its box and said, that's nice. And it's still used on a daily basis to open our mail.)

I think during that winter before my June wedding, I may have been distracted by love-sickness. It’s a distinct possibility. There’s also the fact that, dressed for work in an elegant shop and with a hard bench to sit on, I found it difficult to relax enough to enjoy a book. Maybe I just wasn’t being very bright. Or chose the wrong book. We will never know.

Be all of that as it may, that did it for me as far as shopping malls go (and I wish all of them would): after the experience of a winter confined to a large space full of strangers and no windows, the smells and sounds of a mall almost instantly bring about a case of the fantods. 

On Shorpy, however, yesterday over early-morning coffee, I studied this post, featuring a photo of the first-ever actual shopping mall as we know them today. And I let it speak to me. 

I admit that I'm drawn to the concept of a mall — stores, restaurants, good lighting, climate control, mood music, a fountain here and there — and as far as that goes, Southdale Center looks to have been a fine one (actually it is still in existence and operational). 

There was a time when, as a kid, I would have loved going to a place featuring floor-to-ceiling birdcages full of parakeets. A store like Woolworth's, with a lunch counter (next to coffee shop, two of the most delicious words in the English language when spoken together), would've been a huge draw too.

Hamburger and fries, with a real milkshake? Yes please. 

But with no mall needed, I still remember the smell that greeted your nose when you walked, holding to the hand of your mother, into a downtown Sears Roebuck store in the ‘60s, before downtowns as serious shopping destinations faded to memories and the ghosts they rode in on.

The aroma emanated from the candy and nut counter, and it seemed to me that it pervaded every corner of Sears Roebuck. 

It was sugared warmth trapped in a display case under lights meant to induce drooling, sweaty palms, impulsive pointing, and pleading eyes — the kind that made your mother relent after the initial we’ll see and reach for her change purse.  

It was pecans snuggled with caramel under blankets of chocolate. It was plump cherries and snowy coconut and sugar-frosted jelly fruit slices and soft peppermint taffy and peanut butter fudge and almonds robed in exquisite pastel shells. It was decadence and playfulness and wish fulfillment of the intensely treat-centric variety.

What floated out from the candy and nut counter at Sears Roebuck was a presence as much as it was a scent and I can smell it in my mind to this day. No mall could ever match that fragrance.

Well, wait. There are those pretzels as big as bicycle wheels. And the cinnamon rolls as big as your head. Okay forget it.

So at one time prior to 1978, it’s possible that Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota, would have held a strong allure for me. Except it’s in Minnesota, which in winter is even colder than Illinois, so if I’d had a choice, I would’ve passed on it for that qualifying detail alone.

Nevertheless, you can see from the picture above that on at least one occasion I did go to a mall voluntarily with my mother and some of her friends from church. From pictures taken on the same day as this one, I know that we had a festive lunch at the Magnolia Room in Rich's department store, which anchored the Perimeter Mall in Atlanta.

I've no memory of why we would have done that. 

Nor do I recall why I'm whispering in my mother's ear as the picture was snapped, but most likely I'm suggesting that when this lively party breaks up, let's you and me find someplace to get a snack.

Hastening to my conclusion, I'd like to tell a small story that, technically, is not mine to tell -- it was contained in one of the comments by a member of the aforementioned Shorpy community, on the post about Southdale Center.

And it struck a chord with me because of the similarity to a story that is mine to tell, and which I in fact did tell, in this post on this web site, in 2008.

Both stories involve parakeets and children.

While I like to think my story is humorous enough in its own right, the Shorpy commenter's tale is funnier -- not least because it wasn't intended to be.

Said commenter told of being a small child -- the youngest of four -- growing up on a farm in Minnesota in the 1950s when Southdale Center opened to great fanfare.

Since the family lived an hour's drive from Edina, and Mom didn't relish driving on the freeway, there were exactly two excursions per year to the mall. Once every six months, they'd plan the trip and drive to the big city and spend the day at Southdale. They'd buy new shoes and eat cheeseburgers and admire the parakeets.

It was a big deal.

One year, the children persuaded their mother to buy one of the parakeets, with all the gear that went along with it. The parakeet lived for years, but eventually died. As they do. On the next scheduled visit to Southdale, the family chose a replacement bird and purchased it.

Except, this second budgie perished on the way home. When, back at the farm, they opened its little paper traveling carton, all they had was a parakeet corpse.

What would you have done? Driven immediately back to Southdale Center -- or if not immediately, at least by the next day?

Hashtag me too.

But that's not what happened. Mother-from-Minnesota, practical farm wife who disliked that long drive, wasted no time fussing or fuming. Instead, she popped the dead parakeet into the freezer, along with the dated receipt for its purchase.

And six months later, she presented a partially-thawed dead bird to a clerk at Southdale Center, and asked for, and received, yet another replacement bird.

The commenter does not reveal (may not remember) how long that third bird lived, from which I took that it enjoyed a normal life span -- or at least that it didn't buy the farm on the way to the farm.

If only every problem were so deftly and simply solved. When they open a mall selling that, I'll stifle my urge to panic and be there on opening day.

And that is mall all for now.

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Happy Monday :: Happy Valentine's Day Week

Tuesday
Feb052019

Dog days

Oh hi. Did you miss me?

I'll take that as a yes.

For the past two weeks I have experienced, not mere distractions; I have had even greater distractions that distracted me from the original distractions.

In fact, there were a few moments in there when I feared that my hair had actually caught fire.

But no. I have all of my hair -- un-singed -- and my brain did not explode. And I am among the living.

And in a practical sense, not significantly the worse for wear.

So here we go. 

What do you think about all of this weather? 

As I ask this, my second question of the day, our projected high temperature here in Columbia is 75 degrees.

Last week when, on the worst day of the polar vortex, it was 22 degrees below zero -- actual temperature -- in Chicago, I paused to reflect on our visit there last August.

Chicago is my favorite city in America. TG shares my enthusiasm, not least because he's been a die-hard Cub fan for nearly 50 years.

I love the Cubs too, but not in the same way and certainly for not as long. But Chicago? I'm pretty sure my affection for Chi-town exceeds TG's.

Not that it's a contest.

Having lived in Chicago several times as a child, and having lived thirty miles from it during most of the '70s, all of the '80s, and the early part of the '90s, I've experienced its weather more times than I care to remember.

There was that time -- January 20, 1985, to be exact -- when Chicago's all-time low temperature record was set. It was 27 below zero that day -- lower by five degrees than last Wednesday's low.

And then there was Saturday, December 24, 1983, when the temperature -- not counting wind chill, and you must count the wind chill -- sank to minus 25. There are no words to describe that kind of weather to someone who's never felt it, so I won't try. 

But on that Christmas Eve, while I was at home with three-year-old Stephanie and nine-month-old Audrey, baking cookies, TG left to go a few miles away to the hardware store.

When he was ready to head back home, and attempted to start our car, the vehicle declined to acquiesce to his request. TG called a friend, who came to help him. He eventually got home.

I do remember wearing a red silk dress to church services on Christmas Sunday, so apparently the car recovered.

And I won't bore you with tales of the brutal weather we endured in the Chicagoland area throughout the mid- to late '70s. You could look it up.

Suffice it to say that at least once while TG and I were dating, when he'd come to pick me up at the mall where I worked, the doors to his Toyota Celica were frozen shut and I had to climb in the window.

I was lean and lithe back then. Not to mention eager to hang with my beau.

At one point during that winter of 1978-79, there were 40 straight days in which the temperature did not rise above freezing. (Not a record for Chicago -- that was in 1976-77, when for 43 straight days the highs were below 32 degrees.)

Fast forward -- and I do mean fast -- to last August. While we were in Chicago to take in the city sights and delights (the restaurants! I can't even) plus a Cubs game, they were having a whole string of days with temperatures in the nineties.

On Monday, August 27th, our first full day there, the high was ninety-seven. Also by no means any kind of record for Chicago. But still.

My hair didn't ignite that day either, but I texted to Audrey -- who revealed that it was significantly cooler in Columbia-- that if I'd been at home, I wouldn't have left the house in ninety-seven-degree heat. 

And yet there I was, walking up and down Michigan Avenue in the unofficial furnace of the Midwest. Fry an egg on the sidewalk? Forget that. You could show an egg the sidewalk and it would fry up in its shell.

Right where TG and I walked, it was 119 degrees colder last Wednesday in Chicago.

So there you have it: the vagaries of the weather. We were in the Windy City during the Dog Days of summer, and as intense as that was, I'd go back to that tomorrow before I'd want to be there when it's 22 below zero.

These K-9s for Cops dogs have decorated the streets of Chicago for a few years now. I'm a dog person so naturally I snapped as many as I could even though I was in dire need of air conditioning.

Yesterday? It was fifty degrees in Chicago. In February! I've been there when it was fifty-five -- with wind and rain -- in July.

So it's true what you've heard: If you don't like the weather in Chicago, wait ten minutes.

Which is about how long it's taken you to read this post. For which I thank you.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Tuesday :: Happy February

Wednesday
Jan232019

Flame throwers

I took the clear acrylic bird feeder down from my kitchen window.

The squirrels were cute for awhile, snacking up there at eye level, but I got tired of looking at the sunflower seeds that fell between the feeder and the window, which looked sloppy.

News flash: squirrels aren't neat eaters. Besides, it was never my intention to feed the squirrels.

So now the bird feeder sits, gleaming, on the kitchen desk, waiting to be installed on another window.

I haven't decided yet which window it will be. Since we know that no birds are likely to come and dine, I'm hoping to find a window that the squirrels can't get to.

Maybe a good place would be one of the large windows that make up the sun room itself. Can squirrels climb glass? I guess we'll find out.

Meanwhile, cardinals, chickadees, and Carolina wrens have begun coming to the deck, to peck at the small seeds that remained when the squirrels were done hogging all of the peanut halves and sunflower seeds.

These aren't great pictures but bear in mind, I was sitting in my chair on the far side of the sun room, shooting these with a long lens through a glass door.

Rizzo may have been bumping my elbow too. So there's that.

There are cardinals in my yard every day; they seem to like it around here.

So I threw what little was left of my stash of birdseed, down on the deck for them to enjoy.

And the deck is decorated pretty much nonstop with birds having a good time. I love that.

The cardinals look like little fire engines out there. Oh but wait ... here comes a squirrel.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Wednesday

Monday
Jan142019

A walk on the wild side

Last Friday, TG took Dagny to Riverbanks Zoo.

Someone had given him two free passes. I was more interested in a quiet afternoon at home than I was in seeing the animals, so I lent TG my Nikon and bade them go and have a good time.

(Although my beloved took all but one of these photos, and a total stranger took the one he didn't take, they were taken with my camera. Plus I cropped and edited them all. Hence my customary logo appears on these excellent shots.)

And they did. Dagny, a child with the energy of half a dozen children of equal or lesser size, bounded from one exhibit to the next so quickly that, within an hour, she declared the adventure concluded and said she wanted to go home.

But TG said no, we're staying here. It was a beautiful, sunny -- albeit chilly -- day, and there was still lots to see.

He slowed it down a bit by making Dag pose for various pictures with sculptures and the animals themselves.

He bought her a meal of chicken nuggets, which went over (and down) pretty well.

A nice passer-by took a picture of Dagny and Papaw together, with a bronze elephant as a prop. A thoughtful gorilla provided additional comic relief.

When it was time to take a ride on the Spots and Stripes Railroad, Dagny chose the peacock car. Because why not.

In the category of gaudy exotic birds, Dagny marveled at the flamingos, who turn pink because they eat brine shrimp.

The giraffes were of particular interest.

One gorgeous example of the tallest living terrestrial animals seemed to have something to say. Like, you talkin' to me?

Dagny especially enjoyed watching the bright parrots and communing with some large, friendly goats.

My favorite picture may be the one where Dagny is standing on top of a rock flanked by matching signs that stipulate, politely:

PLEASE NO CLIMBING

Mmmmmkay. I'm pretty sure she had to climb in order to get up there.

Way to go wild at the zoo, Dag.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Monday

Friday
Jan112019

Something's come up

Yesterday I noticed that out back, by the pool, we were being stalked.

By an early-blooming narcissus paperwhite.

I didn't plant that. As you know, I avoid such activity. I can't grow anything except, apparently, squirrels.

Paperwhites bloom in profusion during the winter, but usually that's in pots. Indoors.

This brave gaggle of white blossoms showed up outside, where, until yesterday, we'd had an unseasonably warm spell.

As in, we were fixing to haul out the pool toys and check to see if the local snow cone stand had reopened.

The flower was a trifle confused perhaps, but that's understandable. I like its enthusiasm.

After all, lots of times, half the battle is simply showing up.

You do you, little paperwhite.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend

Monday
Jan072019

No greater joy

Last night, in our church's Sunday evening service, Andrew and Brittany sang a duet for special music.

I've heard them sing together before, but only once: at Cherica's wedding, last May.

They blend beautifully. Andrew's voice is a smooth baritone and Brittany's is a creamy but clear alto.

They've both had a great deal of experience in church music. Andrew has been singing both as a soloist and in groups since he was a teenager; Brittany has sung with her mother and sister for practically her whole life.

As TG remarked when the song was over, Britt didn't let Andrew drown her out. Not that he would have, but his voice is strong.

His bride more than held her own. The song was melodic and meaningful, and its delivery was heartfelt. It was not a performance.

So naturally, as they sang, my eyes began to sting with tears.

I'm a lifelong cryer. Rare does the day occur when I don't cry at least once. I don't resist anymore; there are worse things than crying.

Like, for example, not crying.

But you know how it is. Your young'uns are on display, putting themselves out there, taking risks, contributing, giving their all, offering their best, bringing value to a situation not for their own glory, but for God's.

Your throat swells first, then come the prickes behind your eyeballs, then the veil of moisture, then the grubbing blindly in your purse for the handkerchief to dab discreetly in a bid to save your mascara.

At least, that's me.

When the song was almost concluded, Brittany was unable to sing the last few words. At first I thought she'd gotten a tickle in her throat, but as Andrew sang the last note alone, she put her hand on his chest and smiled and looked up at him.

It was a half-second -- maybe less -- but it touched my already swelling heart. It was a gesture of dependence and of love. As the amens rang out, they walked down from the platform and sat in their regular place, one pew ahead of us.

TG looked at me and his eyes were glazed with emotion. He was trying to hide it but no go. I sniffed.

I looked to my right, at Audrey. Her eyes were welling. She looked at me.

Whoa, Nelly.

(I have noticed throughout my life that if one of my children witnesses a tear either forming in or falling from my eye, they immediately begin bawling. I don't know what makes them do that. But if they're already emotional, then see that I'm out of pocket? Katie bar the door.)

It was that point in the service when our pastor bids us stand and sing the first verse of Amazing Grace, before milling around for a minute or so, greeting one another and being friendly.

Hand-shaking time, we call it. Also there's a fair amount of hugging.

So as our pianist played the Baptist National Anthem, everyone spilled into the aisles.

We Webers? We instantly and instinctively moved toward one another -- TG, me, Andrew, Brittany, Audrey, Dagny (Chad and Erica were sitting in another section, with his parents, or they would've been in the middle of it too) -- and commenced hugging and rejoicing and shedding a few excess happy tears.

We were like a clot of overgrown babies, laughing and blubbering all at the same time. Even Andrew misted. Brittany's eyes were still damp and she was shaky. 

People friends who sit near us noticed our dilemma and were smiling too. One of the World's Sweetest People -- her name is Becky -- came to us and joined our loving bubble.

I know, I know, I know! Becky said, her pretty face glowing. Because she does. And we were all kind of embarrassed but not really.

And as everyone returned to their places to prepare for the preaching, Becky and I agreed that we have no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in truth.

Many years ago a wise person told me that we shouldn't say we are proud of our children.

Yes; I know what we mean when we say it. But God hates pride -- it goes before destruction -- and I have enough of it naturally occurring in my sinful obstinate soul, that I refuse to actively engage in anything that remotely smacks of pride.

And I'm certainly not going to announce to all and sundry that I have anything to be proud of.

What you should say, the wise person told me, is that you are grateful.

And I am. So grateful for my children -- each one of them -- for the ways they've grown, for how hard they work, for all that God has both done for them and enabled them to do, and for each time and any way in which He sees fit to use them.

They are all imperfect people, the offspring of flawed individuals. They've had a lot to overcome, as have we all. But I see them seeking and taking a direction opposite of the one the world encourages all people -- especially the young -- to take, and I am full of gratitude for that.

And in case you were wondering, here are the words that Brittany and Andrew sang.

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When I'm low in spirit, I cry Lord, lift me up

I want to go higher with Thee

But the Lord knows I can't live on a mountain

So He picked out a valley for me.

He leads me beside still waters

Somewhere in the valley below

He draws me aside to be tested and tried

But in the valley he restoreth my soul.

It's dark as a dungeon and the sun seldom shines

And I question, Lord, why must this be

But He tells me there's strength in my sorrow

And there's victory in trials for me.

He leads me beside still waters

Somewhere in the valley below

He draws me aside to be tested and tried

But in the valley He restoreth my soul.

= Dottie Rambo=

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Happy Monday

Thursday
Jan032019

No small thing

click to embiggen ... if you dare

By now you will have picked up on the fact that several squirrels are availing themselves of the food I put out for the birds.

Now, I know there are those among you who may think it imprudent to encourage squirrels to maraud about the property, filching seed from a feeder meant for another species of critter entirely, munching away at length and at will.

But we've lived in peace among the squirrel population for many years -- with a mature white oak towering over our house, and tall pines ringing the back yard, that's going to be a given -- and they don't bother me.

I realize they're rodents but I think they're cute.

So we're not going to worry unduly about squirrels in the bird feeder. We have more important fish to fry.

After all, they're small and they need to eat too. It's not a big deal.

Speaking of animal activities, Rizzo and I have been taking walks, something that has never been part of our routine. In the two years (on Monday) that Riz has been my dog, for much of that time I couldn't walk long distances.

A long distance in this case being, for example, from my door to my mailbox.

But now I can, and I've discovered once again that it's no small thing to be able to put your dog's harness and leash on him, and stroll down the street in fine weather.

We are enjoying it big time.

Speaking of pet dogs, Rambo stayed with us for Christmas week, as Andrew and Brittany were out of town to be with her family.

He was a delight as usual. You know (because I've told you) that he's the most docile, agreeable dog in all the world. He'd sit there with lights around his neck until next Christmas if I asked him to.

But toward the end of his time with us, it was obvious (to me at least) that Ramby was pining for Andrew and Brittany and especially for Maverick. You could see it in his big brown eyes.

He has grown accustomed to having Mav as a buddy and I do believe he was ready to resume the playful camaraderie they enjoy on a daily basis.

It's no small thing to have a friend you can count on.

Speaking of friends, it's nice to see my daughters enjoying the company and companionship of their new sister-in-law, who's a doll. An itsy bitsy one.

And if we're on the subject of little dolls, Brittany decorated her new house so adorably for Christmas.

If there was a theme, it was of the cabin-in-the-woods variety. Her nine-foot flocked Christmas tree as well as her table decorations included ornaments that reflected her love of snow in general -- snowmen in particular -- and of rustic scenes, and of nature.

There was a diminutive reindeer here ...

... a tiny twinkling truck there ...

... and a wee sweater-hatted gnome to remind them of the wonderful trip they took to Sweden and Norway in the fall.

On December twenty-first, the smallest (as in shortest) day of the year, we all gathered at Andrew and Brittany's to celebrate both our Melly's birthday, and part of Christmas (the part that included those who would not be here with us on the day).

In the category of grandchildren, Melanie, although now fourteen years old, weighs less and wears smaller clothes than her sister, Allissa, who is three-plus years younger.

We tell her it's all right to be little bitty. Butterflies are tiny too but they're no small wonder, which is why they're continually marvelled at by all who see them.

Our only grandson (we call him Little Andrew) gave an impish grin during the festivities, when Allissa opened a gift that came equipped with a lock and remarked it was a good thing, because it would keep her little bother brother out of it.

Brothers can be big inconveniences until you need one to rescue you.

Our littlest grandbaby, Dagny, lives here in Columbia, so we get to see her all the time.

On the Sunday before Christmas, she came home with TG and me for the afternoon, between church services.

I told her she'd have to open a present, because she needed to change out of her church clothes. She loved this little play dress I found for her in an online boutique called Coco + Carmen.

Her Unicorn Academy jacket stays here because I keep my house cool, and I don't want her to be chilly in case she's wearing short sleeves.

Before we left to go back to church, after she'd gotten re-dressed in her Christmas-Sunday finery, Dagny posed by the Christmas tree.

She held out the tulle layer of her skirt because wearing a pretty party dress is a big thing to a little girl.

And so is cake.

Last Sunday, on New Year's Eve eve, Dag came home with us again. This time, she planned for it and brought her suitcase with a change of clothes.

On the way home, we stopped at a new store near our house: Nothing Bundt Cakes.

We had received a card in the mail for a complimentary "bundtlet" and Dagny is holding it to show you how luscious it looks with its abundance of cream cheese icing.

The ladies at the bakery gave her the pink balloon too, which was a big hit.

Later she lay down for an afternoon nap in my bed (not having brought along the dalmatian-themed sleeping bag Brittany and Andrew gave her for Christmas) and did not go to sleep.

Instead, we could hear her little voice on and off for two hours, singing and talking to herself on the cusp of a new year, the year in which she will turn five years old.

It was sweet.

Speaking of sweet, Brittany brought back for me from Florida a darling tiny bulbous jar of orange coconut marmalade (words have not been invented that could accurately convey my adoration of orange marmalade) -- which, though a small gesture, was no less a beautiful one, and made me so happy.

TG and I both enjoyed the luscious treat on English muffins -- the kind with little nooks and crannies to hold the butter (and the marmalade) the very next morning, as part of our New Year's Eve celebration.

So we embark together on a new year, which seems young and small now, but which grows larger and older every day. Join me in making the most of every single minute.

And that is all for now.

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Happy Thursday