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Sentimental Saturday and Senior Moments

19 Jan

I walk down memory lane because I know that I’ll run into you there.
Yesterday, I was talking about old friends, the old bowling team from the 90’s. Well, not to date myself, today, I had a brief four hour lunch with my girlfriend, Linda, from high school in the 60’s. I say brief because, we could have used another four hours and not run out of things to say. Unfortunately, the snow started coming down pretty fast and furious around 11am, but she ventured out anyway, picked me up at Mom’s place, and we slipped and slushed our way randomly down Randall Road looking for a place to have lunch.

The poor waitress at the Squire restaurant stopped by four or five times before we even looked at the menu. After we got our food, she didn’t check back quite so often, as she got the idea that we were in for the long haul. About two hours into catching up and sharing stories about kids, family, teaching and the old neighborhood and friends, we started reminiscing about old high school teachers and classes.

“Did you have Mr. Dyer for Spanish?” I asked. “Yah, I did,” was the reply. Then I chimed in, “I threw up all over myself the first day of freshman year, first period in Spanish class. I’ll never forget!” Yuk! What a way to remember Mr. Dyer and Spanish class. Ah, those were the days!

We were so young, innocent, and optimistic back then. I recalled my story about being moved up to Honors English a few weeks into the semester during sophomore year, and I cried for two days because I didn’t know anyone. I went to Mr. Ruby, my counselor, and cried some more. He wrote a note and I went back to my old regular old English class, in my old seat right behind Diane. (Did you notice I don’t handle change very well, not to mention parting with friends?)

Yep, a lot of walking down memory lane. The year was 1967, the school was Amos Alonzo Stagg H.S., the memories are clear and crisp, and the friends were amazing… and still are. Thanks Linda for a nostalgic stroll down memory lane and the corridors of high school. FRIENDS RULE…OLD FRIENDS RULE FOREVER!!!

Over 45 years later…still best of friends!


Saturday: Sharing Sites, Sage Words, and Stoup

24 Nov

Hope is that beautiful place between the way things were and the ways things are yet to be…
Ritu Ghatourey quotes
Saturday has become a special day, sharing time with friends and/or strangers. Today, I snapped a few pictures while traipsing around the Square. It was a chilly, gloomy day, but when you are with friends and visiting your favorite places, it becomes a happy, special day.




I enjoy researching quotes that relate to my day or how I’m feeling. Sometimes, I just enjoy sharing inspirational words of encouragement. Then there are times when I’m “ticked off,” and I want to scream and get something off my chest.(not today, thank goodness.) Here are a few sage words from Helen Keller:

And now for the “stoup.” I thought I had invented the word, but noooooo! Rachel Ray uses it all the time. Friday, I made a big pot of beef vegetable stew/soup. It started out as stew, but I kept adding more vegetables and broth until it was a giant pot of stoup. I took it over to Towne creek to share with my senior artists and told them I made stoup. They thought it was pretty funny, not to mention delicious with fresh garlic bread. Life is much happier when you share!


Tipsy Tuesday: Sideways Zumba

2 Jul

Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (

No, sideways Zumba is not the newest exercise or dance craze sweeping the country. What it entails is, a ditzy camera person, (yours truly) an iPad, and a room full of energetic women in a Zumba class at the local YMCA. I never know when the iPad is going to switch directions on me, or how to change it in movie mode afterwards. I did figure out though, how to pick out stills from the movie and turn those right-side-upways.(I made that word up too. Feel free to borrow it.) So, that’s not too ignorant, is it?

OK, I’m sure a 9 year old could explain all this techno-editing-enhancing mumbo-jumbo to me, but I’m old and I don’t have any 9 year olds around. Consequently, I will be forced to stumble around through the cyber world totally confused and alone. Thank goodness most of my friends are in the same boat without a life jacket, so they will understand.

If anyone knows how to fix this, let me know, or just tilt your head sideways like the rest of us.



Monday Memories: High School in the 70’s- Far Out!

14 May

Just when I think I’ve run out of ideas to blog about, the universe throws something right in my lap. To be more accurate, right into my laptop. When I was checking my emails this morning, I found something from They’re always sending these cryptic posts saying, “Antoinette, someone is looking for you. See who it is.” (Who calls me Antoinette besides my husband when he’s really mad at me?) Well, anyone who has really wanted to find me has already found me. But, then I get curious and click on the link. Yep, the names are all blurred out and I’m asked to sign up and pay for a membership plan.

Today was different. There was a link to check out my high school yearbook. Was this just another ploy to get my money? I still have my yearbook from the prehistoric 70’s somewhere upstairs, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Low and behold, the entire 1971, Amos Alonzo Stagg High School yearbook was right there. It was scanned cover to cover. Ah, a walk down memory lame. (Freudian slip…or is it?)

Oh man, memory lane is pretty lame.
It was fun looking at all the weird hairstyles, crazy clothes, and photos of my favorite teachers. The girls had long straight hair and the skirts were shorter than short. The guys had long hair too and bearded faces. (If they could grow a beard) Mr. Carroll was my all-time favorite teacher (art of course), then and now. I still keep in touch with him these forty some years later. Love ya, Mr. C!!!

I’m the first one in the second row.(I used to straighten or iron my curly-kinky hair back then) I still look the same, don’t I? NOT!!!

It’s hard to believe how quickly the years fly by. But they do, don’t they? So, just a little stroll down memory “lame.” Admit it, you want to run and look for your yearbook, don’t ya? NOT!!!


Wednesday Words of Wisdom

1 May

When we were kids in the 60’s and 70’s, it was the time of Kennedy, Viet Nam, and Watergate. The draft was calling young men to serve their country at the tender age of eighteen, but not allowing them to vote in their country’s elections. I just turned 18 when the 26th Amendment was passed, and I was proud to have the privilege and honor to be given this right.


“The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.”
– The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Some forty years later, I was still honored when I cast my ballot in our city of McKinney elections. Whether it be a national or local election, it is our right and our duty to vote.
Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.
William E. Simon

This is a frightening statistic. More people vote in ‘American Idol’ than in any US election.
Rush Limbaugh

To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.
Louis L’Amour

So, if you don’t vote, don’t even think about complaining about government. You lost that right when you didn’t vote. It’s in your hands now!


Friday: Following the Sunset

2 Mar

Every Friday evening, I drive heading west down the same road at the same time, 6:05. My radio is blasting some tune from the 70’s, as I sing along, my head bobbing up and down like a teenager. Yes, I’m a sixty year old teenager, and I don’t care.

Spring is attempting to emerge, with tiny sprouts of green popping through the grey-brown dormant grass, with daffodils protruding bursts of gold from their winter hibernation. But, what amazes me this time of year are the sunsets. The glorious sunsets. The colors could never be duplicated on a canvas. When I see these spectacular miracles of nature, I drive home as fast as I can, (minding the speed limit, of course) to the highest unencumbered point in my neighborhood. There’s a perfect spot, high up on the hillI, where I can capture the moment. I fumble for my camera or iPhone, then start snapping away.

I find myself chasing the sunset in many ways. Hopefully, I will catch it one day.

The golden glow of winter
Slowly courses into Spring
With hues that pale the rainbow
That only dusk can bring.


Monday Memories: Chicago in the 50’s

12 Feb

How far back can you remember your childhood? Can you remember things and people from when you were three or four years old? I can’t go back quite that far, but my memories are pretty clear after about five years old. There are some vague foggy snapshots in my head from earlier, but not that crisp. Mom didn’t have many photos from those early years. I guess she was too busy working and raising three young daughters to stop and take a photo every five minutes like parents nowadays.

The first house I remember was 2301 S. Ridgeway, in Chicago. I was around five years old, maybe a little younger. My phone number was LA 11344, and that was 1958. I’m not sure why I still remember that, but I imagine it was because it was the first important thing I had to memorize in kindergarten. The house was on a corner and the Burlington Northern trains ran just a stones throw outside our window. I can see it in my minds eye like it was yesterday.

Sometimes it’s interesting to research your past. Today’s technology is amazing and can be instrumental in uncovering buried memories. Google and Google Earth can become addicting when doing research. I found a photo of my old house, grammar school, and neighborhood. And yes, it’s still there. Well, not the school, but the neighborhood. I guess not everything can last forever, even memories. Too bad!

The photo of three little girls was taken in that backyard on Ridgeway. I’m in the middle.



Terrifying Traumatic Tuesday

5 Feb

Yesterday, I wrote a happy little story about the carefree life of a young girl growing up in Chicago in the 1950’s. My train of thought was inspired by the game “steal the bacon” that we played as kids. I was waxing nostalgic about the simple games that required no batteries, data plans, or wireless remotes. My train must have gotten off the track, because I was later informed that I must have forgotten all the terrifying and traumatic events that took place during those years. Growing up on the southside of Chicago was often a dark and scary place. There were break-ins, muggings, and beatings happening all around us. Yes, I remember every single moment. I didn’t forget.

Unfortunately, I remember every frightening detail. Being an artist and writer, my right brain is very visually oriented and I have the memory of an ancient elephant. I could draw pictures in detail of my childhood home, the interior of each room, and pieces of furniture dating back well over fifty years. I remember old neighbors, and names of kids I went to grammar school with. Lambert Benavidez, if you ever read this, I had such a crush on you in the second grade. And, Bunny Masalski, we were best friends in ’63. What ever happened to you?

My memory isn’t bad, but rather, my choosing to write about the pleasant events and experiences is what brings me joy and comfort. I was just trying to convey that our simple childhood games have been replaced by high-tech mindless handheld brain-drainers. Life has its evils and perils. I just prefer not to write about them or read about them.Tuesday might be terrifying and traumatic for somebody somewhere, but for me, today is terrific. Happy Tuesday!


Monday Memories: Chicago in the ’50’s

5 Feb

Growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950’s was a blast. Well, at least I thought it was.To quote my mother, “We were poor, but everyone else was, too, so we didn’t know we were poor.”

Kids weren’t plugged-in and tuned-out back then. Everyone walked to school without earbuds blasting from an iPod or texting their every thought. After school, we played outside until we dropped from exhaustion or the front porch light flashed on and off, signaling time to come in for dinner and a bath.

Did you ever play steal the bacon? We used an old scrub brush as the bacon. Do you even know what a scrub brush is? Just kidding! We had two teams, each assigned a number. If the number one was called, the two kids who were ones, ran to the middle of the sidewalk, and one kid would try to grab the scrub brush and get back to home-base before getting tagged by the other kid. When we had a large group, we played in the middle of the street. Not much traffic back then. After 6pm, most everyone was home.

If you were a little girl, you played hop scotch and jump rope. Then, there was the complicated art of double dutch. I vaguely remember being able to jump between the two ropes, but I wasn’t that great at it. I spent endless hours playing with my Barbie doll. I made clothes for her with scraps of fabric and yarn. They didn’t have Barbie dream houses or pink convertibles back then. No Ken doll either. I think my Barbie was going to join the convent and become a nun. Can you imagine? Sister Mary Barbie?

Yes, life was simpler back then. I’m not sure if today’s technology and modern conveniences have really changed the world for the better. The jury’s still out on that one. Wish I still had my Barbie!



Theme Song Thursday

31 Jan

When I look into his guilty face
I’m not sure just what he did
And I hear this theme song in my head
“Here’s looking at you, kid”