Lilac bush – update!

My little lilac bush I’d transplanted from my South Dakota trip last summer has survived the brutal southern winter. It dropped all its pretty heart-shaped leaves in anticipation of harsher times to come, I’m sure, but it never froze. Well, maybe it did that one night–for about an hour, just before dawn. But, does that even count? Ha! I’ll be watching these buds, hoping they’re nourished and thriving, eager to burst forth with glossy dark leaves. Fingers crossed!Spring Buds 3-17-2016

Letting Go, with Love!

J Logo sm[NOTE: this is a repost from two years ago, but worth revisiting.]

Isn’t it odd, that when the time is right, the Universe sends you the one message you need to hear on any given day? I found that to be true, today. This is Saturday morning, late September, and I’d slept in. I’d just finished my coffee so thought I’d empty the dishwasher. That load had been waiting several days already. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re busy people. Don’t judge, okay? Okay.

The bottom rack has the utensil basket and I always start with that, then move on to everything else. With all the hardware back in their slots and bins, I noticed a three inch long piece of masking tape, edges curled and crisp from age, in the bottom of the utility basket. The tape had finally come loose from a pie server that had belonged to my mother.

Mom had been a second grade school teacher for 32 years, played the organ every Sunday at mass, and sang at many weddings in our little community. It was her habit to mark stuff when taking a pot luck dish to the numerous events, and over the years, I got used to having my last name on the back or bottom of most everything we owned.

"Giddy-up, Grandma!" Many years ago, my sons and my mom. Great memories!

“Giddy-up, Grandma!”
Many years ago, my sons and my mom.
Great memories!

Mom passed away eight years ago and, like everyone else who’s suffered a similar loss, I’ve missed her every day. I’ve since incorporated many of her kitchen items into my own, but that one pie server is the only item that refused to let loose of the pesky label. Who knew that masking tape was that strong? I’d dug my fingernail into the ends of the tape, run the thing through the dishwasher numerous times, and it’s never let go. Until today.

Tears filled my eyes as I saw that bit of tape—with my maiden name inscribed in my mom’s unique handwriting—at the bottom of that basket. It was like mom was hugging me from Heaven. Of all the days in the year, she picked this one day to let me know she’s never truly gone away. You see, today is my birthday.

Thanks Mom, I love you, too!

Saga of my little Lilac Bush

J Logo 75My recent road trip up north brought back many fond memories of home and all things South Dakota. How much I’ve missed my favorite flower, the lilac! Their beauty is unmatched, especially when paired with their unique scent. Sadly, my home in coastal Texas has been too far south for a lilac bush to survive, let alone, thrive and blossom. It’s not the intense southern heat, it’s the lack of a real winter. These hardy bushes actually need the longer winter months to generate those huge, heavenly scented blossoms.

Well, with our recent move to the edge of the Texas Hill Country, I’m giving lilac bushes a try. My dear friends near my home town of Mission, Walt and Sonja Lurz, donated part of their bush and a bucket of native soil. I’m giving that bush every possible chance, including scattering ice chips near the root system to extend my southern winter. LOL! Wish me luck. I’ll keep y’all posted on my little lilac’s progress.

My favorite flower, lilacs!

My favorite flower, lilacs!

2015 Road Trip: Texas to South Dakota, and back!

J Logo 75Made it HOME, and wow, what a great time we had. Just might take the rest of July to recover, but it was so worth it! Met my sister’s best friend from high school days, Sandy Hunger Hendley, up in the Dallas area and we made the rest of the trip together. Just like a couple teenagers, we shared memories and giggled the whole way.

Nazareth Convent Sisters of St. Joseph Est. 1913

Nazareth Convent
Sisters of St. Joseph
Est. 1913

Sandy Hunger Hendley under the front gate of the convent.

Sandy Hunger Hendley under the front gate of the convent.

We stopped for a break in Concordia, Kansas, and stumbled across Nazareth Convent, established in 1913 when my dad was just one year old. Enjoyed lunch at Kristy’s Family Restaurant [Great food!] and fell in love with the town.

Brownstone Hall

Brownstone Hall

In fact, Brownstone Hall is the old mansion at the top of the hill that I must use in my next story. Love the lions! Can you find them?

 

 

 

 

IMG_1508

Home of Walt and Sonja Lurz near Mission, SD.

Home of Walt and Sonja Lurz near Mission, SD.

We stayed at a lovely ranch near Mission, the home of Walt and Sonja Lurz. Sandy and Sonja are sisters. We loved every minute with them and hated to leave, but vacations don’t last forever. Never enjoyed myself more and I’ve adopted their whole family.

 

 

 

 

TCHS: the gymnasium

TCHS: the gymnasium

My home town, Mission, SD, is the home of the mighty Falcons! Awesome high school reunion, but before you start yawning, the town isn’t very big. It’s so small, they only host reunions once every five years, and you have to have graduated at least ten years prior to be included. Let’s just say that as a 1969 graduate, I definitely qualified. LOL!

 

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Me, revisiting The Wall (sort of), in the lobby of TCHS.

Me, revisiting The Wall (sort of), in the lobby of TCHS.

Here’s a picture of me in the 1968 yearbook. Yeah, I’m hanging from The Wall. The annual staff photographer caught me in one of my more unique moments while I was out of class and wandering the hallways. I’m blaming my wedge heels for not being able to climb that wall this time. [Okay, just go with it. I tried. Ha!]

Street Dance after the high school reunion dinner. Shut down the whole street!

Street Dance after the high school reunion dinner. Shut down the whole street!

After the banquet and much greeting and hugging of old friends and neighbors, we found our way to the center of town and the Main Street dance. Yeah, they shut down the street for us. [Like I said, it’s a very small town!]

 

 

Hidden Timber, SD (The dam/lake is new, to me!)

Hidden Timber, SD
(The lake is new, to me!)

We took a couple extra days to travel around the county from Hidden Timber to Parmalee, then to Wood, Witten, and O’Kreek. Remember Jordan Hill? So many changes, yet things somehow remained the same. Loved that! There never used to be a dam along Hidden Timber road, but the little valley is absolutely lovely.

The cliffs and dock at the Rosebud dam.

The cliffs and dock at the Rosebud dam.

Summertime fun, sunbathing at the dock in the middle of Rosebud Dam.

Summertime fun, sunbathing at the dock in the middle of Rosebud Dam.

And, here’s the Rosebud Dam. Never used to be moss in the water, and there weren’t any trees or shrubs below the cliffs. It has been quite a few years, and nature takes over. We used to dive off those cliffs and swim out to the dock and sunbathe. Great memories!

 

 

 

 

Francis Case Bridge over The Missouri River.

Francis Case Bridge
over The Missouri River.

My new bed partner, Nick!

My new bed partner, Nick!

Katie with her sweet and cuddly cat, Nick.

Katie with her sweet and cuddly cat, Nick.

We crossed The Missouri River on our way to Sioux Falls where we spent several days with my niece, Julie Sell. Julie’s daughter, Katie, kept us giggling and her cat, Nick, became my new bed partner. So cuddly!

 

 

 

IMG_1606IMG_1592On our way out of town, we toured the reason for the town’s name: The Falls on the Big Sioux River.

 

 

 

 

Entrance to The Palmer Candy Shoppe, home of the notorious Twin Bing candy bars. Yum!

Entrance to The Palmer Candy Shoppe, home of the notorious Twin Bing candy bars. Yum!

An old fashioned candy vat sitting at the entrance to the shoppe.

An old fashioned candy vat sitting at the entrance to the shoppe.

Just a sample of the goodies to be found inside the candy shoppe. See the Twin Bings?

Just a sample of the goodies to be found inside the candy shoppe. See the Twin Bings?

Our last official stop was The Palmer Candy Shoppe in Sioux City, Iowa. If you’re from the Great Plains and moved away, you know you can’t get Twin Bing candy bars where you now reside. So, while there, I bought a couple boxes of ‘em, along with a few souveniers. And, high on a shoppe shelf, I also found a couple small jars of Choke Cherry Jelly—another item not found in Texas.

Here's my haul: Palmer Candy hat, cookbook, and a whole box of Twin Bings. Yes!

Here’s my haul: Palmer Candy hat, cookbook, and a whole box of Twin Bings. Yes!

We’ll see how long the candy lasts. Between me, my kids, and my sister, I may have to hoard a few Twin Bings. LOL!

Thanks for coming along with me down Memory Lane. What’s your favorite childhood or teen years memory? Lazing on a dock in the middle of a lake? Horseback riding? Or, a candy bar you can no longer get? Careful, it just might end up in a book!

Road Trip: TCHS Reunion 2015

J Logo smI haven’t been able to attend my high school reunion since 1985, so I’m heading up north to South Dakota. I’m sure I’ll need name tags and photo I.D.’s in order to know who I’m talking to. Considering that it’s been 46 years since I graduated, I’m just hoping to see happy, healthy classmates and a whole slew of home town friends and neighbors.
Just in case my memory fails—which is a strong likelihood—I’ve been flipping through my high school annuals. Here’s a few laughs for you.

Homecoming 1969:  Proud and thrilled to represent our senior class.

Homecoming 1969:
Proud and thrilled to represent our senior class.

Fall 1969, and probably the last time I ever had really short hair. [Those were borrowed cheer uniforms as ours weren't in yet.]

Fall 1969, and probably the last time I ever had really short hair. [Those were borrowed cheer uniforms as ours weren’t in yet.]

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Junior Class Play - 1968 Some of the most fabulous students in our class, and boy did we have fun. [[pay no attention to the noted scene stealers, Prissy Pet Jan and Alley Cat Dave.]]

Junior Class Play – 1968
Some of the most fabulous students in our class, and boy did we have fun. [[pay no attention to the noted scene stealers, Prissy Pet Jan and Alley Cat Dave.]]

High School humor: vintage 1968. Not sure where I got this, but found it in my junior class annual. Love the spelling, too.

High School humor: vintage 1968. Not sure where I got this, but found it in my junior class annual. Love the spelling, too.

Luggage, Road Trips, and a Sleepy Muse!

J Logo 75

My new luggage. Love!

My new luggage. Love!

I’m in luggage heaven. Look what just arrived! I’ve been searching for carry-on size luggage pieces that are suitable for a long weekend trip, or longer. These fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, are very light weight, have space for my writing stuff as well as clothes and toiletries. And, the unexpected bonus: the two pieces fit inside the itty-bitty trunk of my Z4 with plenty of room left for my travel partner’s stuff. Road trip!

Speaking of road trips, I’ve got two trips scheduled for 2015. My sister and I will be heading up to our old stomping grounds this coming summer. We plan to see a few family members as well as attend our high school reunion. It’s been a while since either of us have seen the home town crew, so I’m sure we’ll be checking out those name tags. Ha! The trip will take us from Houston up to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and back to Texas, with various stops along the way. With all that gorgeous scenery and fun, my artist’s well is sure to be restocked and well fortified by the time we get home.

My second road trip in 2015 will be to attend a week-long writer’s retreat near Nashville. I’ll be meeting up with my online critique group, The Lalalas. This is still in the planning stages, but be forewarned, there will be about 18 of us in the neighborhood sometime in October. Oh, yes, while we’re there, many books will be plotted, brainstormed, revised, edited, and written. I know this is a whole year away, but I can hardly wait to spend time with these incredibly talented ladies. I’ll be plotting and storyboarding a new writing project just for this event.

See what a couple pieces of new luggage did for my sleepy muse? I’m all but salivating with the urge to pick up the pen. I can already visualize the settings for a story, and a couple characters have popped into the fray, ready to create some mischief. So, have you ever stumbled onto a strange way to kick-start your muse? I’d love to hear what works for you. Apparently, my muse has been pouting for luggage.