Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nostalgia #5

Lesley's comment to Nostalgia #4 reminded me of the time I fell down the stairs as a teen. It was the only time I ever told my mother to shut up and lived to tell of it.

We lived in an old Craftsman style house with a long and steep set of wooden stairs leading up to the attic bedroom I shared with my sister. As I started down the stairs one day, I missed my footing and sat down with a thud. I immediately made a rapid descent, shooting down the stairs on my butt. Bump-bump-bump-bumpbumpbumpbumpbump ...

I landed unhurt in an ignominius heap at the bottom of the steps, where my mom had witnessed the entire episode. All she could do was laugh and sputter like a hyena. When she asked me if I enjoyed my ride, I gathered all my teenaged dignity about me and said, "Shut up!" and stormed to the bathroom to massage my wounded posterior.

At the time, I was too embarrassed to see the humor in the situation, and I resented my mother's obvious glee. I got over it fast, however. Not too long after that, my brother did the same thing, and I was right there at the bottom of the steps to laugh with everyone else.

Do you have an embarrassing childhood memory, one that perhaps haunts you to this very day?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Baboon Butt

We interrupt this nostalgia series to bring you this important announcement: Sherrie Holmes has baboon butt. Sherrie Holmes is not a happy camper. Sherrie Holmes is in PAIN!

Yes, I have a flaming red backside and backs of my thighs, thanks to 6.5 hours scooting around on the wet roof on my butt. I was scraping off moss with a screwdriver and broom, then wetting down the roof with the garden hose and broadcasting Tide laundry detergent over the entire surface. (Tide is an excellent moss control for roofs)

Unfortunately, I discovered that scooting around on a wet composition roof (think sandpaper) makes your jeans very wet. And scooting around on a wet roof in wet jeans while grinding laundry detergent into the tender nether regions gives you a painful (very painful!) detergent burn on baby-tender skin.

I am typing this standing up. I cannot sit down. The skin is raw and weeping in places. I tried putting soothing Lubriderm Advanced Therapy hand lotion on the inflamed skin, and all it did was make me do the Mexican Hat Dance. Talk about sting! I looked at the ingredients on the lotion bottle. First ingredient - water. Second ingredient - ALCOHOL!

So now I'm walking spraddle-legged in my undies because I can't bear anything to touch my skin. And I have a flaming red baboon butt and flaming red thighs, plus a flaming red calf on one leg for good measure. I'm too old for this. I'm going to bed, since I can't sit.

Have you ever done anything stupid like this? I would dearly love to know I'm not the only one who does stuff like this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nostalgia #4

One of my most nostalgic childhood memories was when my sister Lori and I used to go for what we called Walks. These weren't ordinary walks. When we said we were going for a Walk (capital W), it meant we'd be gone for hours, exploring the woods and different neighborhoods, picking blackberries, admiring pretty houses, and talking about our dreams. I always took my turquoise Instamatic camera or a sketch book. We walked everywhere, and never worried about boogeymen. Nowadays, no right-thinking mother would let her adolescent daughters go for walks in strange neighborhoods and be gone for hours.

The worst that happened was the time my sister and I were picking blackberries on a little bluff that overhung a large, briar-filled gully. I leaned out too far trying to reach some plump berries in the briars, and fell face-first and spread-eagled on top of the huge briar patch. Despite being suspended 15-20 feet above the ground by painfully wicked briars, my sister and I got the giggles at the sheer idiocy of the situation. Besides, I looked funny spraddled out on the briars.

Lori was able to push a flat board across the briars and I managed to ooze my body onto it. Then I inched backwards to safety along the board, poked full of a million holes. Had I taken a drink of water just then, I'm sure I would have sprung a dozen leaks.

What kind of favorite nostalgic memory do you have? Did you ever do something idiotic as a child? (What child hasn't!) Tell us!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nostalgia #3

Today I had a blast doing the sister thing. My sister Lori and I spent the day making and baking. I made a corned beef hash casserole and she made a zucchini casserole. I made squash bread and she made salsa. We sliced and diced and laughed and reminisced. It was quality time. And it fits right in with my Nostalgia Series, because what we did today was build memories.

And boy, were we tired! After spending all day working in the kitchen, we were too tired to bake the chocolate chip cookies at the end of the day. We divvied everything up--each of us getting 2 casseroles, squash bread, salsa, and cookie dough.

I'm sitting here at 10:30 at night, full of good food and happy memories. Do you have happy family memories? Are there certain meals you fix that make you nostalgic? Perhaps it was a meal you loved as a child. My favorite nostalgia meal is meatloaf and scalloped potatoes. Comfort food. What's your comfort food?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nostalgia #2

When we were little kids, the highlight of the week was garbage day. My sister and brother and I would crowd about the bedroom window and wave madly at the two burly guys who rode standing up at the back of the truck. After they had emptied our garbage can in the alley behind the house, they drove to the end of the alley and circled around, coming past the front of the house. We'd race to the front window and wave madly once again. They always waved back.

One rainy day, we'd thrown away an old umbrella that only had the handle and spokes left--no cloth. After the garbage men emptied our can and drove through the rain to the end of the alley, we ran to the front window as usual, to wave goodbye. One of the men had pulled that old umbrella out of the garbage, and as the truck drove by in the rain he was standing at the back of the truck, holding the skeletal umbrella over his head and grinning like a fiend. We thought that was just about the funniest thing we'd ever seen. How we laughed!

I wonder if he knew how much pleasure that one incident gave our family over the years? To this day, we still talk fondly about it. It seems to me that spontaneous acts like that were a way of connecting with others in a friendly way, without worrying if you were being intrusive or, God forbid, offensive. I miss that. Do you have memories from your past that you treasure?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nostalgia #1

I've been trying to write a blog post for over a week, and it just keeps getting longer and longer. No way could I post something that long, and no way could I cut anything, so today I had an epiphany: cut it into smaller sections and make it part of a series on nostalgia. I will try to post a new installment every 2-3 days or so. This is my first installment. ~Sherrie


There's a nostalgic part of me that wants to go back to the way things were in the 1950s when I was a little kid. We lived in a neighborhood where no one locked their doors. The neighbors all knew each other, and the stay-at-home moms often got together for coffee and gossip in the mornings. We kids played from sunrise to sunset in the summer, and the mothers kept an eye on us (community mothering).

When color TVs came out, one of the neighbors got one. On Sunday night our whole family would go over to their place to watch The Ed Sullivan Show, and the Walt Disney Hour, and sometimes Lassie. On Saturdays we kids watched Fury, My Friend Flicka, and Sky King ("From out of the clear blue of the western sky comes . . . SKY KING!").

On Saturdays we always cleaned house and baked cake or cookies, because Sunday was the day for drop in company. Nowadays, no one would even contemplate dropping in on an acquaintance unannounced. Back then, it was perfectly acceptable, and even looked forward to with pleasure. I think the custom came about because people went for Sunday drives after church, and often found themselves in the neighborhood of an acquaintance. (Does anyone go for a Sunday drive anymore?) On Sundays we lived in hopeful expectation of surprise visitors, and when we kids spied someone parking at our place, we'd always yell, "Company's here!" to mom.

I miss those times. I miss the happy feeling that came from visiting with folks we hadn't seen in awhile, but who dropped by because they were "in the neighborhood." I miss the homemade coffee cakes and cookies. I miss the openness and innocence of that bygone era. We live in the fast lane, now, and I think kids growing up today are missing out on a social opportunity that was very very special. We're losing our connection with the past, and kids are being raised with a different set of values.

Do you remember something about your past that makes you nostalgic? Is there a tradition from the past that you wish you could resurrect? (Sunday drive, anyone?) Do you have mementos from your past that you've kept for the sentimental value? Please share your stories!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Wasting Time

Oh dear. I'm crazy busy, and need to be more efficient, so I'm doing a minute-by-minute time sheet of everything I do for the next several days. I'm finding enormous time wasters. I could be grouping some tasks for better use of time, and I'm doing stuff I shouldn't--eating at computer and playing FreeCell while I eat, under the guise of "it's my lunch break." Naturally, once lunch is over, I discover I've played several more games of FreeCell, and before I know it, I've wasted half an hour. Bad. Very bad.

I need to set up routines, too. I'm always forgetting to take my vitamins or wash my face in the morning because I get involved in stuff and forget. Have you ever done a time sheet on yourself? If so, did it help to identify problem areas? And how dedicated were you in addressing those problem areas? Did you start out with good intentions (I'm going to wash my face first thing every morning) only to fall back into old habits?