It must be the pool.  He wasn’t even in the dream, but pools and swimming always remind me of him, and I guess it only makes sense that a dream about a pool party would bring his memory sharply into focus. 

I still didn’t know how to swim, the summer I was 10.  Oh, I frolicked a lot in whatever swimming pool was available, and those weren’t hard to find in California in the 70s.  I was a water baby, you just couldn’t keep me away.  I had the chlorine-green blonde hair to prove it!

One place my mother and I lived, had a big rectangular pool right out front.  That blue door in the center on the 2nd floor was my apartment for a year.  It’s hard to see in the picture there, but just beyond that brick entry, was the pool.  That’s where I learned to swim.


Tucked away, in the last bottom apartment on the right, lived a man, his wife, and their 17 year old son.  The old man told everyone, even the kids, to call him Rick.  “No Mr for me!  I’m just old man Rick.”  He was the 1st grown-up I was permitted to call by his first name.  He spent his days sitting on a bench in front of his apartment, smoking and watching the kids swim.  He reminded me a lot of Jackie Gleason. 

imageI learned a lot about Rick that summer.  He loved water, he loved kids, he’d been a diver in the Navy during the war (WWII) and his eardrum had burst during one of his dives.  He’d worn one of those old diving suits with the big brass helmet.  I had visions of him dressed up like an astronaut, only exploring the bottom of the sea for treasure, not space. 

imageHe was kind and he smiled a lot.  He loved teaching the kids how to dive into the pool.  “Bend your knees just a little!  Keep your back straight!  Relax!”  Sometimes he’d throw the spare change from his pocket into the pool to encourage us to dive the 12’ in the unheated water to go get it.  Our reward was getting to keep it.  He taught me how to do the backstroke, and the butterfly, although I wasn’t very good.  I grew to love that old man, although in retrospect he probably wasn’t as old as I thought.  Not a gray hair on his head!  He was probably in his 50s. 

His son, Rick Jr,  would dazzle us kids by climbing up on the railing in front of my apartment and jumping into the pool.  Oh he made my little girl heart flutter with his daring and bravado! 

Even after school began that fall, I’d come home and see Rick on his bench, smoking.  I’d wave and he always waved back, ask how I was.  The weather turned cooler in November and one day his bench was gone.  Worried, I wanted to go check on him but my mother wouldn’t let me “bother” him.  “He probably just puts his bench away for the winter,” she said.

Could a man go that long without stepping outside to smoke?  I wondered.  My heart was scared and I didn’t know why.

One day in January, we ran into Mrs Rick coming out of the laundry room.  I grabbed my chance.  “How is Rick?  Is he alright?  Did he quit smoking or something?  I never see him anymore and his bench is gone!” 

Her eyes clouded and I knew before she could say it.  “Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry, I thought you knew … Rick died last November.” 

I don’t recall how I responded to her, if I said anything at all.  I do remember lying on my bed, weeping.  His wife was a widow, his son was fatherless, and I had lost a friend.  How was I supposed to get through this?  Rick was still teaching me, only now it was about death and sorrow.  Bend your knees a little!  Keep your back straight!  Relax!  If you think about it, if you keep that in mind, you can pretty much handle anything.  You can withstand the blows life will deliver, if you remember those things. 

The aquamarine shimmer of a swimming pool will always stir my memories of old man Rick.  So will the sunlit sparkle of coins under the water.  Those memories of him are my own under-sea treasure.

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I was listening to the kids talking about robotic toys while I was ironing.  They’d seen some toy cats and dogs the other day at Toys R Us, and made the comment that robotic toys were new. 

“Uh, no, new to YOU maybe, but robot type toys have been around a while.  I even had a couple of dolls when I was little that were robotic.”

Thankfully they spared me the “Wow, that long ago?!” lines.  🙄

So, since I was ironing, I told them about one of my favorite dolls that I got when I was 6 or 7, called “Bizzie Lizzie.”  She came with a little iron and ironing board, feather duster, and vacuum.  I think it must have been my mother’s hope to inspire me to clean my “pigsty” of a room.  Do mothers ever use any other phrase to describe their kid’s bedroom?  Hmm.  I remember her screaming at me when I was little, “If you don’t learn to clean up this mess, who’s going to clean it when you’re out on your own?!”  My nonchalant answer back then was, “The maid!”  I might have been slapped for that one but I can’t recall. 

I spent a lot of happy hours with Lizzie.  She had long golden pony tails that came out of her head – they were just plugged in.  The plug ends looked like the ends of shoelaces.  My favorite thing to play with was the feather duster because that really “worked,” being simply a miniaturized version of a regular feather duster.  The iron and vacuum, not so much.  Mostly, she was the giant maid that came in to clean Barbie’s Townhouse.  Because Barbie was the ruler of my magical little play world, and more than anything else I wanted to grow up and be just like her.  Yes, I did have a ton of Barbie shoes.  And boots! 

But I loved Lizzie for a time.

And the irony struck me, as I stood there ironing, that in a few ways, I ended up much like Bizzie Lizzie and not nearly as much Barbie as I’d thought I would. 

Lizzie’s reality crashed my Barbie dreams I suppose.  Oh well.  I didn’t really want to be a Malibu beach bum anyway.  I burn too easily.  Winking smile



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funny pictures of cats with captions

In the early moments of when Darc and I were dating, we spent a lot of time IMing each other, trying to get to know one another.  We tried not to waste too much time on that “putting your best foot forward” thing and instead wanted to get down to the bare knuckles of each other’s self.  Neither of us wanted to spend unnecessary time on what we thought was “fluffy” stuff, like what’s your favorite color.  Who cares?  Much more important is, “Have you ever done time?” 

As some of you know, Darc has an off-beat and irrepressible sense of humor.  I swear, I’ve laughed more in the years I’ve known him than I did in the whole life I had before I met him.  So when we were getting to know each other and I asked him if he had anything hidden in his past I should know about, he popped off with,

“I killed someone once […]



Then there’s my other, darker side.”

Since we were online, it took me a full beat to realize he was joking.  And then I laughed and laughed until I had tears.  Darker side!  After homicide!  Ohmygosh, that’s rich! 

When I was a very little girl, I had a “dream guy” list, and #1 on it was, “He makes me laugh.”  Now I have that, in spades.   😆

What Darc never knew was that he really had me at .jpg.  The laughter was bonus points.  Open-mouthed smile

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funny pictures-meh.On Thursday.  Thanks to some powerful storms, possibly including a tornado and a microburst in some areas (but not mine), there wasn’t any electricity to get a Whensday post ready for Wednesday.  And I discovered something.  I am addicted to electricity.  Yes, I confess.  Life is kind of meh without the power to make things go vrooom, and make the electronic pilot light work on the water heater so there’s hot water to at least take a shower or wash the dishes.  Or run the washing machine.  I really like having those things. 

But sometimes the power goes out, so you wash the dishes in cold water.  Or you have to try to light your stove with matches so you can at least try to boil some water for coffee.  And then you have to stand there for 10 minutes pouring water through the little funnel you’ve rigged up to make coffee.  Only you can’t use cream because that would mean opening the fridge and you can’t do that because then whatever cold air is left in there will escape.  So you have to use the yucky dry powdered cream that you keep on hand for emergencies, and this counts as one.

Actually, this is the longest I think I’ve ever been without power.  Not counting the occasional camp out.  So that’s a pretty good record, I think.  I know the power company has been working hard to get power restored here, and I also found out that we were among the early groups to have their power turned back on.  We got lucky!  Praise the Lord we didn’t lose anything in the fridge either!  I expected to have a bin full of water under the ice maker, but no, it was wonderfully full of ice, after 17 hours without power.  Is that awesome or what?

So, the power being out reminded me of something that happened to me several years ago. 

I was doing my regular grocery shopping and had only been racing through the aisles for about 15 minutes, when suddenly, the power went out in the store.  It was a big store so it got pretty dark near the back, since the windows were all in front.  I heard a couple of women scream, like they do on TV when they see a mouse or something.  I thought that was kind of funny for some reason.  But while I was standing there waiting for my eyes to adjust – because I didn’t want to chance crashing into the shelves in the dark – I noticed several glowing vertical lines start to appear.  Turned out the grocery carts had glow in the dark bumpers on the outside corners and they’d kicked in when the lights went out.  Then I started hearing people exclaiming, “Oh wow!  Would you look at that!  The carts glow in the dark!”  It was pretty cool, I have to say. Smile

The poor cashiers were lost without their registers.  They couldn’t open them since there wasn’t any power, people couldn’t check out without the power to work the scanners, or scan their cards, everyone got stuck just waiting for the electricity to come back on.  Which it did after about 15 or 20 minutes, so it was sort of a little adventure. 

Do you have any “powerless” adventures?

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There was a time I would have killed for her. At the end, I mostly just wanted to kill her.

I met her right when high school started, in gym class. She muttered something to herself, and in my dorky way I made a less-than-witty comeback. She quirked a brow, I extended my hand, and thus we became pretty much inseparable during those high school years. Due to her own family issues, she even moved in with me and my family, so she felt more like my sister than simply my friend. “Joined at the hip,” some called us. “Two peas in a pod,” said others. We shared clothes, hairbrushes, even makeup! But not boyfriends. Never boyfriends. Our tastes were too different, and that was a good thing.

In that regard at least.

She considered herself a “wild child” while I was … not. Not then anyway, but I learned a lot from her. She was pretty rebellious, prone to running away (which is how she came to live with me), and into drugs. Lots of high school kids in the 70s were, even me, to some extent.

Yeah, I learned a lot from her.

In the end, she even rebelled against me. Because she was my friend, and it was because of me that she even lived with us, my mother decided I had to be responsible for her. I didn’t like being in that position, and she liked it even less, so we fought and she was gone.

And that was that.

I looked her up on FaceBook a while back, just to see if there was anything to see. Sometimes people cross my mind.

It was kind of funny and kind of weird because she seemed exactly the same to me as she was in high school, like some kind of time warp. And as I read her profile, I realized we have absolutely nothing in common. I wondered if we ever did. She is still a “wild child” and I’m still not. What did we talk about all those years ago, besides how much we “couldn’t stand the ‘rents”? Was our friendship based on nothing more than proximity, and drugs? Her life seems to have followed the path that everyone predicted it would take. She made her choices and lives with the consequences, it would seem.

As we all do, I suppose.

I wept such bitter, angry, heartbroken tears when our friendship ended. I felt like I would never have another friend as close to me as she was. Such is the drama in the lives of 17 year old girls.

I look back and wonder if that friendship was mostly a misperception on my part. We were really friends or just convenient? What was I crying over, really?

She’s a stranger to me.

Maybe she always was.

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funny pictures - "GIB ME LIVER TREAT  OR GIB ME DETH!!"

I confess, I have a weakness.  Just one, mind you!  Winking smile  I love liverwurst sandwiches.  They must be prepared a certain way though, otherwise forget it.  Sometimes I’ll have liverwurst on either Townhouse or Ritz crackers, but those are the only ways I’ll eat it.  It’s a treat I only get maybe once every 2 or 3 years, and only Oscar Mayer will do.  image

Several years ago, when we still had our furry canine girl, I decided to indulge in my special treat.  She heard me in the kitchen making a sandwich, so she trotted her little 7 lb self in to see if she could score any bits.  She knew the rule!  We all did: if it fell on the floor, or was below a people-knee, it was hers.  I had the most crumb free floors! 

Anyway, she and I chatted while I made my sandwich.  She sat, waiting patiently but expectantly.  I’d often toss her a little piece of something whenever I was fixing food.  As I spread the liverwurst on my bread, a piece fell off the knife onto the floor.


She was on that bit in nothing flat! 

Then she sniffed.

And backed away.

She gave me the most quizzical dog face I’d ever seen, and if she could speak in human words, I know she’d have given me a “WTF?” 

“It’s just liverwurst!  G’head!  Eat it!  It’s yours.” 

Nothing doing.  She backed away another step.

“What’s the matter?  It’s liverwurst!  Dogs love liver!”

At that, she got up and trotted out of the kitchen in a huff.  Clearly I had offended her, not once, but twice.  Not only had I offered her liverwurst, which she obviously considered not-good-enough, but I’d called her the d-word.

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funny dog pictures - psst, hoomin left cheezburger on koffee table

When I saw this picture, I laughed, because it brought a memory to mind.

Shortly after Darc and I were married and we combined households, he brought a puppeh and I brought 2 kittehs to our new family.  One of my kittehs was getting up there in years but the other was barely out of kittenhood and liked to cause trouble.  She liked to tease the puppeh sometimes.

One afternoon, Darc and I grabbed some fast food for lunch and brought it home.  In the middle of eating, I remembered that we had a load of clothes in the laundry room that needed to go from washer to dryer.  The laundry room was on the floor above us, but a trip there and back would take maybe 3 minutes, tops.  People weren’t happy if someone left clothes in any of the machines, so I knew I shouldn’t just wait until after lunch. 

We left our lunch on the coffee table and ran up to the laundry room and were back in a flash, much less than 3 minutes.  I loathe cold fries.

We walked in and right away knew there was trouble.  First, the puppeh had decided that she didn’t like it when we left without her and to let us know, she left a stinky mess on the floor.  She was typically a very well behaved dog so I knew this was to punish me.  Secondly, I saw that my cheeseburger was gone.  No shredded wrapper on the floor, oh no, not from our delicate little furry girl!  She properly unwrapped my sandwich before she inhaled it, and I found the wrapper, spread whole, on the coffee table.  She was just a tiny little dog, my kids weighed more when they were born than she ever weighed!  I had no idea she could even get up on the coffee table, let alone inhale a sandwich that was at least the size of her head – all in 2 minutes. 

I learned not to underestimate her that day!  And I’d give a whole bunch of cheeseburgers to have her back with us again.  Smile

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