Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prom - 1963

With proms all over the country last week and this week, Lynilu and I talked about recalling our own proms. Was it fun. Did anything go wrong. What were the traditions at your school?
I graduated from high school in 1963. Back in those days, the Junior class put on a prom for the Seniors. The prom was in the high school gym and we decorated it according to a theme. The prom we gave for the Seniors in 1962, was Wonderland By Night. I had a date for that prom, but I don't remember much about it. I don't even remember my dress (since I can't seem to find any pictures). But what I do remember is how much fun it was getting the gym ready. The decorating, the bonding of our class members, the laughter, all blend together in a wonderful prom memory.
Then there was my Senior Prom. I was in love during my senior year. The love of my life was quite a bit older than me and in the army. He was stationed in Korea. Hence, I had decided I wouldn't be going to the prom.
One night a few weeks before prom, I was sitting on my front porch when my next door neighbor came bounding up the steps and said, "Hey, I can't find anyone to go to the prom with so we might as well go together." Well, what girl wouldn't be flattered with a proposal like that?
What a fun time we had. No romance, no nerves, no expectations. Bob and I are still good friends today and I believe that friendship was strengthened by that non-date. We went to the prom and then off to breakfast at our church. Leaving the church, a bunch of us came back to our house and played games. Dawn found all of our group tired and dragging to our own homes to bed.
Prom nights have changed much since those "good old days", but prom is prom and kids are kids. Have fun.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Since we have no assignment for today, I decided to vent a little about the SNOW we woke up to today.

I told Jim we were coming home too early. I really love April in Las Vegas. I was ready to stay one or two more weeks, but no, we had to get home to mow the grass. So, here we are.

We arrived home to spring in all its beauty and glory. The tulips were blooming, the forsythia, golden, the flowering shrubs and trees resplendent. I wasn't convinced. I kept saying it is too early, it is too early. "Naysayer" was the response I heard from friends and neighbors. "Spring is here."

But I wasn't fooled. Nosiree! I have kept the flannel sheets on the bed and am still wearing my socks to bed each night. And when I woke up at 7:30 this morning to find my early bird hubby still in bed, I was vindicated.

"Why are you still in bed, I asked?"

"GRRR! Grumble! *#@+!"

"What? I can't understand you" say I.

"It's snowing!" mumbles the lawnboy.

And sure enough, it was snowing. Big fluffy flakes. True, they weren't collecting on the beautifully mown green grass. But the air was surely full of the white stuff. And all I really wanted to do was crawl back in bed, not put on my capris and sandals and venture out to get a pedicure. Alas, I couldn't cancel at that late date.

My toes look really nice, I think.....inside my snowboots.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

The WeWrite4Ten assignment for today is:

If you had the opportunity to do one activity for one week without any worry about
finances, cost or other outside commitments,
what would you love to do for this week.
I decided to answer this question with the very first thing that came into my mind.
I graduated from the smallest school district in Pennsylvania. Truly, we were, and still are, the smallest school district. My graduating class, the largest to graduate at that time, had 25 members.
Needless to say, we didn't have the best academic choices available. We had two languages in our school, Latin and French. The way it worked was that you could take Latin your freshman and sophomore years and French your junior and senior years. Planning to further my education after high school, it was essential that I take language.
I wish I could say that I learned a lot and thrived under the tutelage of our language teacher(s). Such was not the case. We had Miss Collins for both languages through our junior year, when she retired. I liked and respected Miss Collins. I did all I could to please her, but I did not learn much from her. The boys used to say she knew Latin because she taught it to Julius Caesar. She had been teaching long past her prime.
Mrs. Fickinger came into my life at the beginning of my senior year. She was wonderful. A beautiful person and a very good teacher. Alas, I had a lot of ground to make up, and when she left in January, I hadn't done a lot to rectify the problem.
As teachers weren't exactly clamoring to teach at our school, our illustrious board hired Mr. Meier, who besides having no classroom management skills, knew NO French. Non, nada, none. So, you can imagine how much French I know today.
Which brings me to what I would do this week if I didn't have to think of the cost. I would order Rosetta Stone French and begin my studies of that language all over again. If the truth were to be known, I probably could afford to purchase that program without the unlimited finance tag. However, I am afraid I would not stick to it and that's a lot of money to sit on my bookcase.
So, although I'm not sure whether I'll spend my personal money for Rosetta Stone French, I'm positive I would spend my fantasy dollars on it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

WeWrite4Ten's Sunday assignment is: If money was no object what would you do differently? Bigger house? How big and where? New cars? What kind? Travel? Where?

What would I do if my ship came in? Well, in the first place, I'd probably be at the airport. But, seriously, what would I do?

Jim and I talk about it sometimes. I'm assuming we are talking about lots and lots of money. In that case, the first thing I would do would be pay off all my kids' debts, mortgages, school loans, whatever. Then I would set up trust accounts for them and any future progeny. I would delight in knowing that they were financially set, allowing them to pursue their dreams.

Just yesterday, Jim said that if we had lots of money he would build a garage where our turnaround is and turn our kitchen, dining area into a great room. I totally agree with that.
A patio, pond and fountain in the back yard would also be on the list, which would about do it for our living arrangements.

The driveway would sport a Mini-Cooper convertible for me and a Cadillac CTS for Jim. That's it for cars.

Oh yes, let's go back to living arrangements for a second. I think we'd buy a condo in Las Vegas and another Mini-Cooper for the garage there.

Then, we'd travel. Anywhere our little hearts desired. The list of places we would like to visit is longer than I have time to write about in ten minutes. We have dreams of taking river cruises in Europe, seeing Italy and Spain. Costa Rica is on our short list, along with Ireland.

Although I know Jim isn't interested, I would drag him back to France to the Loire Valley. I'd also take my niece to Paris. We are planning to go in 2011, but if money were no object, I'd treat her and her mom to the entire trip.

To quote our friend Dr. Seuss, if money were no object..."Oh The Places You'll Go."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stick 'em UP

Talk about the most frightening moment in your life. I want to feel your fear.
It was Thursday morning and I was in the conference room of our small finance company working on the monthly bookkeeping. I heard him say, "Don't move and put your hands on your desk."
"Oh, that's that crazy Jim Surdevant being silly again," I thought. I got up from my desk and was walking to the door to give him back some of his own,l when I heard him say, "Who else is here?" By then I had arrived at the doorway and saw him.
He wore a black ski mask and gloves. He was holding a gun and a paper bag. Motioning with his gun, he told me to go sit at my desk. He shoved the paper bag at my boss and ordered ordered him to fill it with money.
Of course there is follow up to this story. I will post it at a later time.
Oh my God! I'd be glad to give him all the money in the drawer, but this was back in the day when we took our cash to the bank night deposit. We had no alarms, no way to protect ourselves other than to take all the money out of our office overnight. But, looking down the barrel of that gun, looking at the bullets, all I could think was that my life was over.
Bill looked at me helplessly as he said, "There is no money in this drawer." Our masked friend began waving the gun around and said, "I told you to put the money in the bag."
From deep inside came my words as I shakily spoke, telling him the truth about why we had no cash in the drawer. I had just been busy. The bank opened at 9. It was 9:15 on a very quiet morning and I was concentrating on my bookkeeping. I just hadn't gone to the bank yet to retrieve my deposit.
Each word I spoke was filled with desperation. Would he believe me? Would he be just angry enough at being foiled to shoot us? Lately several people in the state had been killed in finance company robberies. If he shot, who would be first? Could I escape by diving under my desk? In those few terrifying moments my life didn't pass before my eyes. My thoughts didn't turn to my mother, my friends or loved ones. No, my only thought was if he shoots Bill first, do I have time to dive under my desk and save myself.
As quickly as he came, he left. Oddly enough, he demanded the bag back, told us to stay where we were for ten minutes, and backed out of the office. We immediately sank to the floor and crawled into the bathroom, taking a phone with us.
Minutes crawled by as we waited for the police. I heard footsteps on the stairs, entering the office and approaching the bathroom door, quietly. My hear was racing, my mouth dry. This time there was no place to go. Expecting the sound of a gun firing, my heart started beating again when I heard Police Chief Johnson say, "You can come out now. You're safe."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm way behind in the WeWrite4Ten assignments, but I promised Lynilu that I would play catch up this weekend. My body has been getting used to Upstate, NY weather and I've slowed down, but here goes.

The assignment for Wednesday (my idea) was to write about our favorite dessert.

I have a bit of a problem. You see, I love desserts. Dessert is sometimes my favorite part of the meal and I have the extra pounds to prove it. I think I was born craving chocolate. There was a time in my life when I believed if it wasn't chocolate, it wasn't dessert.

I have since matured beyond the chocolate only stage, but I think I would have to say that my favorite desserts still have an element of chocolate in them.

That said, imagine this. Flaky pastry, rolled perfectly into a pie pan. Fresh picked blueberries with just the right amount of flour and butter to make them hold together, warm from the oven. Add to that a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream. Serve with fresh brewed coffee. Take said pie and coffee out onto the screen porch and consume.

Can anything top this?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random Tuesday

Lynilu and I have decided to write about this on our Random Tuesday post:

Do you frequent Starbuck's? If so, what is your favorite drink? If not, why not.

I have always loved Starbuck's. There isn't one in the town where we live. Hey, there isn't even a grocery store in this town, let alone anyplace as sophisticated as Starbuck's. Consequently, I had developed a real hankering for the place.

In Penfield, a suburb of Rochester, there is a Starbuck's. Back when I had a dog and was helping plan my daughter's wedding, I used to take the dog to the groomer, go to SB's, get a mocha and read for an hour. It was my stress reliever.

Then, the mall where I shop put a SB's in the center of the mall. So, any shopping trip had to include a trip to SB's. Their hot mocha drink was, without a doubt, my favorite. A year or so ago, I started drinking mocha Frappacino's in the summer. So, now I had two favorite drinks.

BUT, someone has stolen my heart away from Starbuck's. Can you guess who that might be? If you guessed a clown, you are correct. Ronald McDonald has started having gourmet drinks, and his (MC)frappe is delicious and much less expensive than the SB drinks. And to top it off, there are McDonald's in every town around us.

So, although I still sometimes frequent Starbuck's, I have defected and spend more dollars and time at Mcdonald's.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The WeWrite4Ten assignment for today is: Rain. Do you like rain, tolerate rain or hate rain.

My very first thought when I read today's assignment was, "Yes." And that is true, I like rain, I tolerate rain and I also hate rain.

I just read Lynilu's post for today and like her, I enjoy a rainy day curled up with a good book. I like being able to take a day off and enjoy listening to the rain hitting the roof and windows. I especially like to be on my screen porch and watch the rain come straight down. I like the smell of rain, I like looking for a rainbow after the rain, I like knowing it is nourishing my flowers and vegetables. So, yes, I like rain.

Sometimes, though, rain is just something to be tolerated. It's dark and dreary and rainy and I would rather see sunshine and bright, blue skies. But, I tell myself, "You live in Upstate, NY. Just what do you expect? Put on your big girl panties and buck up. It can't last forever."
Rain is definitely something that is necessary and must be tolerated on those days.

But then are the days when I hate rain. Like when I've planned an outdoor event that can't easily be moved inside. Or the week of Vacation Bible School, when I plan to have 90 children playing outside during recreation time. Or when I'm on vacation at the beach. You get the idea.

I especially hated rain during the years when my husband supplemented his teacher's ten month pay with summer painting. When our checkbook was getting thinner by the minute and we depended on his summer wages, I especially hated to see a rainy day. Although it meant Daddy was home with us for the day, it also meant I would need to rob Peter to pay Paul this week. Those were some of our most difficult and wonderful times, and I really didn't like the rain all that much.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

Our assignment for WeWrite4Ten today is: "The sun. What does it do for you. Not the banal health things we all know that. But how does it effect your daily life, your daily tasks, etc.? Why do you love/hate it?

Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun. It's all right. Oh yes, it's all right. I love the sun. It's not the cold I dislike about winter. It's not the snow, the ice, the shoveling. No, it's the absence of the sun. I always say, "I can take anything as long as the sun shines." Well, I'm not sure I want to put the "anything" to the test, but I do believe everything is easier to bear if the sun shines.

Jim says we see more sun in our eight weeks in Las Vegas than we see all year in Upstate, NY. Maybe that's not 100% accurate, but we do see a lot of sunshine in our little winter sojourn in Nevada.

Summer is without a doubt my favorite season. I love spring when the buds are coming along and the grass is beginning to green up. It has been fun on this trip back east to see all the signs of spring along the way. But the best part of Spring is the advent of more and more sunny days.

I think June is my favorite month. I'm not sure if statistics would prove me right, but June is the month of sun for me. When I think of June, I think of happiness in the sunshine. Maybe part of this is the fact that June always heralded the coming of summer vacation, for myself when I was a child, and for my children and husband in later years. In my mind, I equate June with sunshine. The beginning of sunshine that lasts, sometimes, until November.

The sunshine makes me feel happy inside, it gives me energy and enthusiasm. In the sunshine, I hang my laundry out to dry. In the sunshine, I walk for exercise and pleasure. In the sunshine I plan picnics, sit under a tree and read, eat dinner on my sun porch. In the sunshine, I blossom.

Heavenly sunshine, heavenly sunshine. Filling my soul with glory divine.

Monday, April 12, 2010


WeWrite4Ten's assignment for this Monday: Think of a you like, one you don't like, one that you think feels like you, on that you'd like to be...You choose. Write about that flower. What does it look like? How does it smell. How do people normally react to it?

Flowers, I can't think of a flower I don't like. If you follow Pam's Ponderings at all, you know I love flowers. I photograph flowers often. I have created a flower scrapbook. I'm hooked on flowers.

Although I carried yellow roses at my wedding, and told Jim if I didn't wake up to yellow roses when the babies were born, the baby and I would be moving in with my mom, I think my very favorite flower is the gardenia.

It's interesting that I hadn't thought about gardenias much as of late, but as a child and teenager, I was overwhelmed with my desire to have a gardenia corsage. I remember that my mom had several gardenia corsages as we were growing up. One of the things I remember my mom telling me about gardenias was not to touch it as it would turn brown.
I just did a little research before writing this piece and found that gardenias are of the evergreen family. They have an odor similar to jasmine. They love direct sunlight, heat and humidity. Hence, they grow well in the south.
Although we don't live in the south, I think I'll get a gardenia bush and plant it in my perennial garden this spring. I'll plant it in direct sunlight, mulch it, water it weekly, talk to it and hope that it survives and presents me with beautiful white blooms next year.
I'm so pleased that this writing project has led me to remember my love for this plant and bloom. If I succeed in growing a healthy bush, I think I'll make myself a gardenia corsage to wear to church.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The name game

WeWrite4Ten today is: Do you know why you were given your name? Were you named for a relative, a movie star, etc.? Tell us about your naming.

My name is Pamela Louise. And yes, I know how my name came about. My mother was reading a romance novel at some time during her pregnancy and came across the name Pamela. At that time, there were very few Pamela's around and mom really liked the name.

My mother's oldest sister is my Aunt Louise. Hence, Pamela Louise. I'm sure that my mom thought it was an honor to my Aunt Louise to name me after her, but I wonder just how many times she said the name aloud before putting it on my birth certificate.

Now, there is nothing wrong with either name and I like them both. I really liked my Aunt Louise a lot. She was rather an unusual lady, but then I'm not the most normal person on earth, so the name probably fits. The problem for me was the La-la part of the name.

PameLA, Laweez! Get it? It was just too much of a mouthful to suit me as I was growing up. Actually, not just as I was growing up. It's too much of a mouthful for me now too.

When we were asked what name we wanted on our high school diplomas, I said I wanted Pamela L. Huston. I went home and told my mom who had a royal fit and insisted I go in the office the next day and change it to Pamela Louise. She said that was what she named me and she wanted it on my diploma.

As soon as I was married, I followed my mother's lead and took my maiden name as my legal middle name. That solved the Louise part of my name problem.

There is another fun part of my naming though. As I said, my mom read the name in a romance novel and really liked the name. Although my family is not Catholic, I was born in a Catholic hospital, the only hospital in a 75 mile radius of the town where my family lived. After I was born, a nun came in to ask my mom what she was naming me. When she said Pamela, the nun said that that was a heathen name and she couldn't name me that.

So there you have it, I was marked from birth. Good thing Jesus didn't hold my name against me, isn't it?

A Tropical Trek

The topic for WeWrite4Ten today is, "You are going on a survival trek into a tropical forest. You can take only 5 items with you. Describe those items and explain why you chose them.

I'm packing for a trip to a tropical forest. This is a dream trip for me, but in my dreams, I was going in style, not in survivalist mode. Hey, whatever, I'm getting to go. Now, what to take. The rub here is that I can only take five items. This is survivalist at it's best.

Okay let's see.

  1. I think the first item I'll take is some sort of mosquito and fly protection. Something with a strong dose of Deet. Taking this item is pretty self explanatory, I guess. I hate to itch.
  2. I know I'll need a good safari hat with mosquito netting. I've been in hiking situations where I was sweating and the bugs were having a heyday with my sweat.
  3. Maybe my Bible should have been my first choice. I think on this very difficult trip, I'll need all the encouragement I can get. I know the Psalms have helped me through some very tough spots. Then there are the Israelites wandering in the desert. They had a guide though, even better than mine.
  4. I don't know for sure what the food and drink preparations will be on this trip, but I'm going to be sure I have my coffee every morning. I have a small French Press so I'll pack that with a supply of coffee. Does that count as two? Nope, that's just one.
  5. Now I have to think very carefully. This is it, my last item. I'm assuming my clothing items are understood, so I don't need to list them. What do I want for my last item? Okay, I know. I will bring my tweezers. For me there is nothing more irritating than a wild hair growing out of my chin. I could go stark raving mad in the middle of the jungle if I had a hair and couldn't yank it out.

So there you have it. My crazy list of survival objects. Once again, this post proves just how loony I am. Happy Trails.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Housing Gone Bust

Seven years ago when our kids bought their modest home, Las Vegas was the fastest growing city in the country. The building industry had gone wild. It was insane.

I remember the day my Aunt Bets and I went with Brian and Gretchen to look at home models. They were selling them faster than they could possibly build them. B&G signed a contract and had to wait eight months before their home would be ready for occupancy.

Everywhere you looked luxury communities were popping up and real estate was selling. Not so today. Today one in every eighty-six homes in the valley are in foreclosure. Many who aren't being foreclosed upon are struggling to make their excessive balloon payments. Then there are the people who, through no fault of their own, are upside down in their mortgages. People who might like to sell their homes, perhaps because of job losses or opportunities, can't because of the huge losses they would incur.

Houses in B&G's neighborhood, that four years ago were selling for $250,000 plus, are now selling for $85,000. Brian keeps saying we should buy a house there. People who once had big paying jobs in the gambling or building industries, are now trying to live on unemployment and pay their huge mortgage payments.

I watched a house being foreclosed upon last week while I was out walking. I didn't know those people, but as I saw the marshalls walk up and say, "Okay, we're going to lock it up now." my heart was heavy for the displaced. Okay, maybe they should have known better, but that doesn't lessen the sting of being homeless.

What's the answer? Better minds than mine are trying to figure it out. I'm just going to pray.

Monday, April 5, 2010


WeWrite4Ten today is - Baking....what is your favorite cake? Why? If you don't like cake, what about pie? Have you ever made your favorite? From scratch or from a box?

I have to say that cake is not my favorite dessert, although I have grown fonder of it as I get older. My favorite cake is my mother-in-law's chocolate cake with chocolate icing topped with walnuts. And no, I've never made it like she does. She says there is no secret, but nevertheless, mine is not as good as hers, just like her baked beans, but that's not the issue here.

I prefer pies to cake and was apt to bake more pies in my baking years. I would say my best pie was apple. Back in the day, during apple season in Upstate NY, I used to make a dozen pies and put them in the freezer for the winter. It was always nice to be able to thaw a pie, pop it into the oven and take it to a sick neighbor or surprise my family with fresh apple pie for dinner.

My favorite pie, however, is blueberry. I have a pretty good recipe and still make a mean berry pie. Today, however, I do not make my own crust. I buy the pie crusts out of the dairy case and Voila! I have a delicious pie in half the time.

So now you know my dirty little secret. Anytime you're in the neighborhood drop in and I'll whip up a pie in a jiffy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Little Women

I suggested that WeWrite4Ten members write about a favorite book. I have a few, but I guess I'll write about the first novel I ever read, and probably my all time favorite.

I was in second grade when I received Little Women for a Christmas gift. My mom and grandmother both loved to read and probably collaborated on the gift. I really don't remember who gave it to me, probably Santa. Looking back, I can hardly believe that I could read the book by myself at that age. A genius, I am not.

I was a lover of words and reading though, and I know I read it. My mom and grandmother had been reading to me since the day I was born, I believe and it was just natural for me to continue in that vein.

I remember the first word that I discovered by myself was "laugh". It was in a Dick and Jane Book and Puff had gotten into something and turned white and Sally "laughed". I was so very excited to think that I had figured out that word by context.

So, I began to read Little Women over that Christmas vacation. I'm sure I had finished it by the time we went back to school the following week. I was totally engaged in the March family's life and affairs.

Beth was the favorite, of course. I remember how I cried when she died. My little heart was broken. Of course, Jo was the fun one and the one we all wanted to be like. Even in my young life, I knew Amy was spoiled and I didn't want to end up like that. And Meg, who wouldn't love Meg.

They were all so brave and loving. I was too young to realize that Mr. March was away fighting in the Civil War. I just knew their life was hard and that Marmee made it all worth while.

It's hard to believe that after all these years, I can still be there in their house, watching their dramas and sitting by their fire.

One of my greatest disappointments as a mother is that my girls didn't have any interest in reading Little Women or having me read it to them. I think I'll put the book on hold at my local library to read when I get back to Upstate NY.