Monthly Archives: July 2019

Celebrity Sightings

Over the years we have had a connection with celebrities.  It might have been on a trip to Hollywood, and seen one or two of them in the grocery store or restaurant.  It could be a home town celebrity we have known.  Many different things makes people well known.

3955LafayetteThe first home I lived in was in the city of St. Louis on Lafayette Avenue.  It was a duplex, and a lovely neighborhood back in the day.  The last time I drove past the place, it was boarded up along with many other homes on the street.  It’s kind of sad to see these building go the waste.  When I was a child, my mother subscribed to “Life Magazine” and one of Betty-Grable-1943the issues was about Betty Grable.  Is that name familiar with you?  She was an actress and model who starred in 42 movies in the 30’s and 40’s.  She was a “Pinup Girl” for many of the service men during World War 2.  Her legs were insured for $1,000,000 by Lloyds of London.  In the article in “Life Magazine,” it stated that she was from St. Louis, Missouri, of which they listed her home address, and, lo and behold, it was the address of the first home where I lived.  We never met her, but we lived in the same rooms that she had once lived.

Another celebrity was a local boy from Alton, Illinois.  He was known as the “Alton ImageGiant.”  He stood 8 ft. 11.1 inches tall and weighted 439 lbs.  He died at age 22 from a foot infection.  He was the tallest man in recorded history.  My mom was raised in Granite City, Illinois, which was about 20 miles away from where Wadlow lived.  Wadlow became famous after he did a tour with the Ringling Brothers Circus.  Although my mother didn’t know him personally, Robert Wadlow, would come out of his home to welcome anyone who came to see him.  It was a different day back then, and people would go to see someone who was considered unusual.  Here is a photo of my mom and some of her family and friends who came to meet Wadlow. When he died, 40,000 attended at his funeral.  I assume my mom was one of those folks, since I have an original copy of his funeral program.  There are also a couple photos below that I found on the internet.  I was really impressed of the one of him with Shaq O’Neal.  He makes Shaq look small.

I had not met either of these celebrities.  I did have the opportunity to meet one of the British Royal Family.  I worked for GKN Aerospace from 2001 until 2007.  This is a British company that can trace its origin back to 1767.  The company has a fascinating history that I used to share with new employees as part of their new hire orientation.  The company started as iron mines, then steel, moved on to producing metal fasteners, then automobile parts, and then airplane parts.  The company grew from the early 1800’s by acquisitions (and you thought that was a new concept), and was even run by a woman, Lady Charlotte Guest, in the mid 1800’s when she took over at her husband’s death.  The whole history and timeline of this company is a totally interesting story, and one I loved sharing with new employees.

In October of 2003, Prince Andrew came to visit GKN.  From 2001 until 2011, his was the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment,  working for UK Trade & Investment, part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.  Therefore, as part of his responsibilities, he traveled to St. Louis to see the andrewoperations of GKN Aerospace.  The day before his arrival, several of us found out we would actually be meeting him.  We went through instructions on how to behave before a Royal.  The most I remember was to never shake hands with a Royal, and only speak to him, if spoken to.  It was kind of an artificial meetup.  We were in a large hallway, where about a dozen of us were waiting for his arrival.  Prince Andrew came through with his entourage, which consisted of some big guys who we would call “secret service agents,” and a few of the company executives.  I was in the first row of about two rows of employees.  He walked over to where we stood, looked directly at me, and asked what function I served at GKN.  The business woman in me automatically put out my hand, and immediately I realized that was a no-no, and I quickly moved my hand down to my side, and I answered his question.  He chatted with a few other folks.  Two of the employees were young professionals from the UK, and upon him addressing them, they curtsied, and they addressed him in a formal manner as a subject of the crown would, although I do not remember exactly what they said.  It was an interesting and awkward moment, but I can say I definitely met an internationally famous person.  This photo of him is from an actual press release about his visit to GKN in St. Louis.

Actually, none of these encounters are terribly exciting.  Each of them are just human beings who happened, because of birth, medical abnormalities, or a chance to be beautiful and famous, made them celebrities.  It is kind of fun to say we had some connection to famous people, but in real life, these are not important people.  To me, important people are the everyday people who have gone through life, struggled, and overcome.  Those are the celebrities who I care about.

What famous person have you seen or met?  Was it what you expected?


Our Wheels Are Falling Off

I am not used to being the bystander.  For the many hours I have spent in hospitals, I was usually the patient.  Now the tables are turned.  Dennis is the patient.  He is getting his left shoulder replaced.  He has known for about three years that he needed to do this, but 1 wheels offhe finally gave in, when this year, his shoulder ached continually and he couldn’t do the lifting that he had done in the past.

Dennis has said that once we hit 70, our wheels seem to fall off.  So true.  I had my left hip replaced last November.  I got to the point that I could not walk, sit, or lay down without pain.  It was time to throw the old hip away, and bring a new one in.  The surgery was a success, and my mobility is back.

1 shoulderNow it is Dennis’ turn.  He has never had major surgery, so this is a first for him.  Pretty lucky guy, that at age of 73, he is getting his first ever big surgery.  I was 6 years old when I had my first surgery.  I had my appendix removed, and the following year, the tonsils were gone, and then the list goes on and on for years of strange things happening with strange surgeries.  

We had to arrive at the hospital this past Friday at 8:15 a.m.  Okay, that’s quite doable.  It’s like being employed again.  Set alarms, get up, and shower, get dressed, do makeup (for me, not Dennis), and jump in the car and off we go.  What complicated this whole process is that we had a viewing of our home late that afternoon.  Fortunately, about a IMG_1869week ago, I did a deep cleaning of the house, so it was more of straightening, clearing off counter tops, and making sure everything looked open and inviting.  Before leaving at 7:30 a.m., we went around the house and turned on all the lights.  

We arrived at our designated time.  Dennis was prepped for surgery.  After that, I got to sit with him until they rolled him into surgery, which would take 2 to 2-1/2 hours.  As he was in surgery, I found a cafe to get a cup of coffee, and then I took it outside to what they call “The Healing Garden.”  It is a beautiful and peaceful spot between the IMG_1873towers of the hospital.  I finished my coffee, and then hiked to my car parked around the other side of the building.  I needed my jacket.  It is warm in Columbia, Missouri, but hospitals keep their temperature low (to prevent growth of  bacteria and viruses), and then I could comfortably sit and wait.

I forgot that hospitals are always cold.  I am curious what their air conditioner bills are—well, really, I don’t want to know.  I sat in the waiting room with a smattering of other folks waiting on their loved ones.  I checked the screen for the status.  Dennis is assigned IMG_1876a number, and it tells if he is being prepared for surgery, in surgery, in recovery, etc.  I guess they cannot print their names because we could be violating HIPPA or some other privacy issue.  Really?  It doesn’t say what he is having done, but I guess they don’t take risks of giving out patients’ names. 

Now I understand how Dennis, and in the past all my family, were as they waited while I was in surgery.  It’s really boring, and there is nothing interesting at all in the waiting room.  I dare not leave, because as soon as the surgery is complete, the doctor will come out to speak with me about the surgery.  Then I will wait again, while Dennis is in the recovery room, until they take him to his room.  This was a long day, and fortunately I had my laptop with me to keep me busy.

IMG_1877Around 12:30 p.m., the doctor came out to tell me that all went well, and that I should go get some lunch because Dennis would be in recovery for about 90 minutes.  I left, and returned the same time he was being brought to his room.  I expected him to be groggy.  I am always groggy after surgery.  I sleep for a good 12 hours after I have been under anesthesia.  Dennis was wide awake and perky!  He was happy and in no pain.  It was eight hours before he asked for something for pain and only wanted Tylenol.  They had not ordered anything that weak.  They gave him a pain medication, and told him that they will half the dose the second day, and if that works, he can just take Tylenol.  Who doesn’t have pain when someone cuts off their bone?  I am impressed, because I would be pushing that button for pain relief, and he is such a trooper!  

By day 2, and he was fit as a fiddle.  He had occupational therapy to teach him how to get dressed with one arm, and physical therapy (although he is not allowed to move his shoulder yet).  They sent him home around noon.  He was really tired because he did not sleep well the night before.  He started to feel some pain, and took his pain meds, and went to bed early.  I woke a few hours later to take another dose, and he finally slept through the night.

This is my first time as the caretaker.  I hope I do a good job.  He thinks he will just pop up and start doing what he has always done within a couple days.  Surprise—surprise!  That’s not going to happen.  He is a novice at surgery.  He will be in pain.  Fortunately, he is able to walk.  But, he is going to need help getting dressed and undressed.  He is going to be in pain because they cut off his bones.  Of course, he has lived with this bad shoulder for a long time.  I must say he does have a high threshold for pain.  But, I do believe he will be in pain for a while.

We have all the big work done at our home.  We are going into August, which traditionally has been really hot, and the grass doesn’t grow fast.  He will not be able to cut the grass.  I cannot do it because the ground is hilly and I am not experienced on his riding mower.  If for some reason, we have have cooler weather and rain, and the grass grows a lot, I will find a professional company to come cut our 3 acres.  It’s probably only 1-1/2 acres.  The other half is wooded.

So, as his caretaker, I will make sure he gets fed.  I will cook his favorite food.  I have been married to him for six years this August, and I don’t know his “favorite” food because he pretty much likes everything.  He is very easy to please. The night before surgery, we went out to dinner, and had a special meal, since it will be a bit before he will want to go out to dinner.  He will be in a sling, and have only one arm to eat.  It looks like my main job will be cutting up his food, and helping him dress.  Yes, that is what I did for all my toddler sons!  Also, on the plus side, I won’t have to entertain him, like I IMG_1881did for toddlers.  I think if I have to go to the store, I won’t have to hire a babysitter.  This is so much better than having a toddler.

I posted a photo of him in his hospital bed on Facebook.  Whenever I post him on my Facebook page, I get more “likes” and comments than I do on anything else.  He’s like when folks post cute puppy dogs, they just all hit the “like” button!  This man is loved by everyone.  Even our nurse technician wants to adopt us, or does she want us to adopt her?  I could do that—she was the most delightful young lady.  

I want to give a shout out to Boone Hospital Center.  It is a great hospital.  Every time we have to be there, it has been a great experience.  

So, Dennis is on the road to recovery.  He is not giving me real experience at caregiving.  I am thankful for that.  I need to be inched into that role.  Watch out, world, he will be out an about before you  know it.  

A few photos from the Healing Garden and the beautiful landscaping at Boone Hospital that makes it a delightful place for a visitor.IMG_1875IMG_1890IMG_1892IMG_1882IMG_1887.jpeg

Organizing a Teenager

IMG_1565Now that my grandson has graduated from high school and is getting ready to go away to the University of Missouri in less than a month, my son and daughter-in-law have decided to downsize and sell their home.  Their home is beautiful, and is sitting in one of the top school districts in the state of Missouri.  Their home should sell well once it is on the market.

I went to St. Louis this week to help them get ready for this transition.  My job was to get my grandson organized so he could pack for college, and leave very little for his parents to do when they move.

Jack has a room in the lower level of the home.  When the house was purchased about seven years ago, they had their lower level (basement) completed so that all three children within this blended family could have their own room.  The lower level has a completed bedroom, full bath, and family room, along with the cleanest most organized unfinished area for laundry and storage.  The finishes in this level are so well done and modern.

Yesterday, before Jack ran off to do what young people do, which was a Cardinals baseball game with his girlfriend, I was able to lasso him in to do this work.  Usually his days are filled with working at the Muny Opera. The Muny Opera in St. Louis is America’s largest outdoor theater with seating for 11,000, and with 1,500 of those seats that are free.  muny_spotlightIt has been in operation since the early 1900’s, and brings professional musical theater to St. Louis every summer.  This is the 2nd year Jack has worked for The Muny.

Before he headed off, I offered to help him organize.  We went to his room and I told him the first thing he was to do is remove anything in his closets and drawers that he will never want to wear again, and that he doesn’t have any emotional attachment to—which means he can keep the shirts for all the plays he has performed in since he was in 6th grade.  

UnknownWhy do kids keep everything forever unless they are helped to walk through it?  I know that some of the clothes he kept for sentimental reasons may go away in future years.  I think he also owns a cap for every ice cream and fast food restaurant where he has worked.  He cleared out a lot of clothes rather quickly.  Then he had to leave to pick up his cute little girlfriend and head out to Busch Stadium for an afternoon ball game.  

While he was gone, I ran his clean clothes through the dryer to de-wrinkle them, and then folded them and put them in his drawers in an organized fashion.  Then I washed and dried all his dirty clothes along with his bedding.  I am sure it won’t stay that organized, but usually one does try for a short period of time, so maybe it will last until he leaves for AVECE0593school.  At least, he will know what he has when he packs.

His room no longer smells like a locker room!  He apologized for it, and I just smiled, and said that I raised four teenage boys, and I understood, and we were going to clean it up.

My grandson will be 18 years old in about 5 weeks.  He was the sweetest and most animated little guy growing up.  He was happy

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 8.48.23 AM

Jack as Amos Hart in “Chicago”

all the time, and a bundle of energy.  As he has matured, he has become a quiet laid back guy.  I don’t know how that happened.  He is still a delight to be around, and I love the fact he has no problem hugging and being hugged in public.

Jack started his acting gig in his early years as a “Blue Man on TV” and a squirrel.  When he was in 6th grade he was Tweedle-Dee (or was he Tweedle-Dum) in Alice in Wonderland Junior.  By the time he graduated, he played “Amos Hart” (the supporting lead) in the musical, Chicago.  

My youngest son, Jonathan, was in theater in high school, and when he graduated more than 20 years ago, I knew I was going to miss attending all the shows, and having great entertainment, and bragging rights as a parent of a performer on stage.  I feel the same about Jack graduating.  I will miss his performances on the high school stage.  I have a feeling, though, that I will see him performing in the future.

So, Jack’s room is cleaned up and organized.  He showed up after the game, to take a shower.  It was extremely hot, and sitting in the sun at a ballgame can be a sweaty event.  He was leaving again to pick up his girlfriend to have dinner.  Before he left, he thanked me for the help with his room and gave me a big hug goodbye.

I am glad I got to do this little bit with and for Jack.  I am really excited that when he starts at the University of Missouri, he will be only a half hour’s drive away.  He has already said I will hear from him (especially if he is hungry), and we can go out to dinner together, and that he will come by while it is still warm to swim in the pool (we don’t usually close the pool until the first of October).  This young man has a bright future ahead of him.

This video is from his last performance.  The school put on a “Senior Showcase” for the seniors involved in theater.  Jack and his best friend, Nate (who will also be  his college roommate), performed this song.  I think it is a great song for two friends to perform.  I just smile every time I watch it.  There is something about grandchildren that just warms my heart.

Looking For The Words

I am really struggling. For the past week I have started writing a blog for it to go nowhere.  What’s with that?  The girl who can talk about most anything is found speechless!  Yikes!  What is happening to me?

I think part of the problem is that I have been sick with a nasty cold, or upper respiratory infection, or the plague for almost four weeks straight.  I realized that many of my blogs are inspired by something or someone—maybe from a conversation, or maybe from an observation.  While sick, I only observed my living room and my bedroom.  Yeah, that didn’t bring a lot of inspiration.

It does make me think how our interacting with others and with our community brings ideas and revelations.  I am a connection person.  I love connecting with people, and I really love connecting people together who may not know each other, but who I know have a common ground.  That was missing for the last few weeks.  It left my brain kind my brainof blank.  But then, maybe my brain was needed to go into overdrive to fight this bug that was invading my body.

Maybe I just needed to take a brain-break or is it brain-brake?  I did brake my brain to take a break.  Oh, the English language—don’t you just love it?  Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, metaphors, and similes.  By the way, break and brake are homophones, which means words that they are words spelled differently, sound alike, but have different meanings.  Of course, the most famous of the homophones that people have trouble distinguishing which to use (why, I don’t know) are there, their, and they’re. A word such as lead can have different meanings, such as to be in front of like to lead a band, or the metal lead.  Those are called homographs.  Some say those are both homonyms, and some say not.  I will leave those discussions with the scholars of the written word.  It’s like, who came up with this English language that is so filled with these double meaning words, and exceptions to the rule, like “i before e except after c?”

Okay, I’m done with the vocabulary lesson, although I must say that I am fascinated by words, not only their meanings, but also their sounds.  Have you ever said a word over and over until the word sounds really odd and out of place?  Or, is that only me?

So while I am turning my brain back on to thinking and writing, I am curious to hear from you who read my blogs, what ones do you like the best?  

Here is a list of possible categories and blogs.  You can click on the link to see each blog.  This is just a sampling under the categories.  I am really wanting feedback of what my followers like reading.

33 articleBiographical – Either my story or stories from my family tree.

Who’s you Daddy?, The Mother-In-Law, Exploring My Roots, Love in Any Language, Accidents Happen, She Would Have Been 100

Philosophical and Spiritual – How I interpret life and its meaning.

Life Lessons and Trees, What Do Your Scars Look Like?, I’m Dying, When God Says No

road tripTravel – Stories of my travels

King Of The Road, Crossing The Pond, Views Of My Arizona Mountain

Work – The good/bad experiences in the workplace

Miraculous Healing In The Workplace, Are You like Them?Are You Not?, Bad Bosses—I Had My Share, And You?

Holiday Traditions – Stories about my holidays

A Stressless & Delicious Thanksgiving, Oh, Tannenbaum, Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, The Magic of Christmas

0 music quoteFriendship – Stories of Friends and connection

Losing Friends Too Soon, Do You Have Class?

Random – Stories that just come out of nowhere

What Makes You Laugh?, Sleep, Can You Make It Happen?, Musical Memories, Baking Queen

Do you have a favorite of all the blogs I have written over the past couple years?  What are they?

I am so fortunate that I have 165 followers on this blog page, and an additional128 who follow through the Facebook blog page which links to this blog page.  I appreciate everyone who stops and takes a few minutes to read my stories.  Thank you!

I hope that I get many responses, so I know what you find interesting in my blogs, and what topics you would like to see more.  

Help my brain unlock the many stories that are still in those little grooves in my brain.  I know there are more—I just need to know what topics you like reading.  I am sure it is different for everyone, and that is great.  It will just inspire me to find those stories.

Please leave a comment below, and encourage me to find those other little stories.  Thank you again for reading my ramblings. thanks