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Posted On 09/23/2021 13:06:29

Now that 'fall' is here--or will be soon--people are talking about making homemade Chili. I saw some posts on FB talking about 'what' goes into it.  Now, I'm from Southern Indiana. We always had either spaghetti (broken up) or macaroni in our 'chili'. I have a hunch Mom and Grandma did that to make it 'stretch'! But who knows? It does taste good!  And 'our chili' was thick. Not soupy.

According to some of the posts, even some from Indiana don't do that, which surprised me. They call it 'chili mac' if it has any kind of 'pasta' in it, whether it's spaghetti, macaroni, or noodles. Others, from the Southwest, post that they add more 'spicy' things to it. And some don't even put beans in it!   

As for me, I always put broken up spaghetti in mine.  My husband buys canned chili without beans; I choose 'beans' and 'hot' on storebought canned chili.  If I 'buy' chili, I don't bother adding anything to it, so no spaghetti or macaroni in that. 

If I'm making it from scratch, I use Brooks' Chili Mix, which has beans; I use finely chopped ground chuck. And I add Gebhardts chili powder.  I also add diced green chillies, with tomatoes. (T uses several packs of Brooks Chili seasonings & adds extra beans--Brooks Hot Chili beans). Yes, our tastes are different--so we each make what we like!  

Meeting online friends/pen pals-Additional
Posted On 09/16/2021 09:49:25

Have you ever met 'online friends' in person? I'll add 'pen pals' to that, since many of us started out with pen pals back before there even was an internet.  A recent Poll reminded me of this.

And yes, I've met several of my pen pals, over the years, since I started with pen pals back in the 70's. One has visited me several times. We still keep in touch frequently. In fact, she's the one who is now helping me 'edit' the novella I'm sharing here. Others, I only met once or twice in person--and lost touch with years ago. But in all cases, it was an enjoyable experience. 

Actually, there are at least 2 other NOTH members who live in my town. One hasn't been online since 2009 & I only 'found' her when I did a quick search today. Another one that had the same 'town', turned out to be in Canada.

The other one who actually lives here is a non-active member, who I did actually meet a couple of times in person. We had two nice visits. But we really don't have a lot in common; plus, she's very involved with her young grandchildren--the reason she moved to this area, she told me. So she's quite busy with them. We just didn't bother keeping in touch.  But it was fun getting to meet her in person. 

I just reread the original Poll & realized I'd forgotten something: I have talked to at least one pen pal by phone. Judy is one of my 'original' pen pals from the early 1970's. She's the only one I'm still in touch with who doesn't have a computer, so we use normal mail.  I befriended one of her daughters on FB, when it seemed Judy didn't receive a couple of my letters; so now I send a chat message to Debbie when I mail a letter to her mom. That way, she knows when to look for it. 

Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?
Posted On 09/11/2021 09:03:06

I don't think anyone who was alive on that date will ever forget where they were, or what they were doing, or even how they heard about the terrorist attacks on 9-11-2001. I know I won't. 

I was asleep when my husband woke me up to tell me something was happening. We sat in front of the television, watching as the first tower burned. I saw the second plane tear into the other tower.  At that point, we had no idea there were other planes in the air, with other targets. But we soon found out. I don't think we did anything other than watching the live news that day.  A long time later, I learned that my nephew, who was in the US Army at the time, was one of the people who pulled bodies out of the Pentagon. I know that must still weigh heavily on his mind. It's something no one would ever be able to forget. 

Over the years, I've watched several documentaries about that attack, including some videos that were taken at the time.  Apparently, someone was producing a documentary about a New York fire department. Obviously, they had no idea how important that film footage would become--or what it would capture. As I watched it, I saw many firemen go out to help, to do whatever they could.  Later, I saw them wondering where their colleagues were, after they had gone to help. They didn't know if all of them would return. It's been years now, but I think I remember that everyone from that fire house did return safely. 

 Another documentary showed first responders entering the tower building, on their way to do whatever they could. I got to the point that I simply could not watch any more documentaries. It was too hard. And I couldn't watch without crying.  I won't even get into all the stories of the aftermath, how so many survivors or first responders ended up with toxic exposure to the debris from the collapsing buildings. But my thoughts go out to them all and to the families of those injured or killed. 

Today, I'm watching the live coverage of the 20th anniversary memorials. And yes, I still get teary. 

Paper Dolls and Barbies
Posted On 09/09/2021 10:36:46

   I just saw a cute 'memory' on FB that sure brought back memories: paper dolls! I can even remember 'which' ones I had--well, some of them. I remember Ann Sothern, and the Lennon Sisters. I know there were more, but that's what I thought of just now. 


Oh, yes...and I had a Barbie doll (yes, just one!!) when I was about 12.  Mine was 'blonde'; my sister had one with dark hair. I think that was the only choice we had. We made clothes for them since we couldn't afford to actually buy more than 1 or 2 outfits.   I remember using Kleenex for 'furniture'; one folded length-wise made a 'couch'.  Boy, when 'we kids' had imaginations.

When I was baby-sitting (in the 90's & later), I knew 3 yr olds who had half a dozen Barbie dolls. I found that very strange!! And of course, being that young, the first thing they did was take off the doll clothes. And they carried Barbie around by the hair! I had to wonder what the parents were thinking. I sure didn't think that was an appropriate choice. 

Of course, these same parents said to let the older kid play with a 'new' toy until they got tired of it.  Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if I were going to spend a lot of money on a video game, I'd want it to 'last' a while. 

 Yes, different generations have different ideas.  But it does make you wonder about some parents. 

Falling out of Love--short story
Posted On 09/01/2021 18:33:29

You may have to 'zoom' this. The only way I could get the spacing  right! I wrote this in the 70's for some contest. Not even sure I submitted it, though. I  found it recently when looking for other stories.


 The country music blared from the radio, drowning out the sounds of the two children who were loudly arguing in the next room. The woman sitting quietly in the living room seemed oblivious to the loud music and the bickering children. As she rocked gently in the old, overstuffed rocking chair, she stared blankly into space.

Her thoughts focused on the word of the bittersweet country song, its message cutting into her reverie. Tears formed in her blue eyes as she realized just how appropriate the lyrics seemed to be.

Blinking away the tears, she forced her thoughts away from the words of the song as she stood up and began picking up the newspapers and toys scattered around the living room. Then, she hurried into the kitchen to finish up the dishes before turning her attention to fixing supper. It wouldn't be long now before her husband came home from work.

A wry smile appeared on her weary face. She knew the man would be tired and hungry--and impatient to sit down to the evening meal. After a long day at the mine, he wouldn't be in any mood to wait for his supper.

Not that she blamed him. She knew he worked hard. He worked long hours in the dark mine, fighting to bring home enough money to support his wife and two kids. And she knew that beneath the surface, he loved her and the two children.

But sometimes, just knowing that wasn't enough. When she was bone-tired from chasing the children all day, and weary of the washing, cleaning, cooking, and all the dozens of other daily chores which never seemed to end, she wished for something more.

She wasn't sure what she wanted. She just knew that something was missing from her life--something that might make up for all the dreary chores and never-ending responsibilities.

She sighed as she peeled the potatoes. Occasionally, she would stop and call out to the kids, telling them to stop fighting. Then she would turn her attention back to her work. It had become second nature for her to go about her daily chores with only part of her mind focused on what she was doing. She had become accustomed to daydreaming with another part of her mind.

She often wondered just what her life would have been like if she had not married right after high school and had children right away. What if she had just gone on to a business school, or if she had entered the local junior college. Her grades had been high enough, but she had been tired of all the classwork. She had been starry-eyed, positive that all she wanted out of life was to marry her childhood sweetheart and have his children. But what about now--ten years later? Was it enough? If it was, then why was she feeling so depressed and restless? What could she do about it?

She sighed again, knowing she was trapped in her life now. With two children and no extra money, she couldn't possibly go back and start over again. Even if she wanted to--and she wasn't even sure that she did.

The woman had just finished putting supper on the table when she heard the truck pull up outside the back door. A moment later, her husband walked into the kitchen, giving her a tired

look and a quick, perfunctory kiss on the cheek. She could tell he had done his usual quick shower before leaving work.

She nodded as he asked if supper was ready. And she called the children in to eat. As she sat at her place at the table, she listened quietly as her man told her about all the little things that had happened today at work. As he started talking about the rumor of a wildcat strike, she found her thoughts wandering.

She was suddenly aware of feeling as if she were outside of herself, coolly detached from the whole scene and watching as if from a distance. Listening to the stranger across from her, she felt a sudden shock.

“This must be what it’s like to fall out of love,” she thought impassively.

Because she suddenly knew that that was what was wrong with her. She didn't love him anymore. It was as simple as that. Simple, and yet complicated at the same time.

As she sat there, staring uncomprehendingly at the man who was by now talking animatedly about his strong feelings on the possible strike, she could not believe her feelings. Or rather the lack of them. She felt nothing. Only a strange sense of loss as she realized the turn her thoughts were taking.

 Was it possible to fall out of love? She wasn't sure. And yet, that's the conclusion she had made.

As the man finished eating, he stood up and told her he was going in to watch some television. She nodded silently, quickly clearing away the dishes as she tried to sort out her confused thoughts.

That just wasn't possible. Was it? But if it wasn't, then what was happening to her? She wished she could understand what was happening.

As she finished the dishes, she suddenly became aware of the man standing in the doorway, watching her silently. Turning around, she put down the dishtowel and stared at him.

"Honey, I just wanted to tell you---I love you," the man spoke softly, giving her a hesitant smile as he took a step toward her. His eyes told her he was aware of her uneasy feelings. And he wanted to help her over this rough period.

Suddenly, she felt tears form in her eyes as she stared back at him. Swallowing hard, she blinked away the tears and ran to him. His arms went around her protectively and held her tightly to him as he wordlessly tried to comfort her.

Finding comfort in his arms, the woman tried to find the right words to reassure him that everything would be all right. Because she knew now that she could never tell him what she had discovered. He loved her and needed her. And she would not take that away from him.

Maybe time would repair the broken ties of their love. Until then, she would give him whatever he needed. He had given her so much. And she would give everything in return for his never-ending love.

Forcing a smile, she managed to choke back her tears and say the words he needed to hear. A moment later, she was answered by his relieved sigh and quick smile as he hugged her.

He seemed to gain strength from the gentle touch of her body against his. Things would be all right now, he seemed to be thinking. And she gave him a quick smile in return.


Small Kitchen Appliances-& Star Trek
Posted On 08/28/2021 09:20:21

Sometime last year, I pitched our old 'deep fryer'. I  decided that not only was it 'done for', but it wasn't worthwhile replacing it. Deep fried food simply is not good for you. And  I actually hadn't used it much once we got the toaster oven--which was  probably a few years ago now, though I don't remember exactly. 

Now, instead of using the regular oven, we use the toaster oven whenever possible--and more recently, occasionally the air fryer. I know that's even better to use; but I just can't get used to it. The toaster oven is so easy to use!  When our old 4 slice toaster quit,  I decided just not to bother getting a new one--so we now use the toaster oven for that as well.

There's a funny story attached to the toaster oven.  If you've ever seen the movie Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, you'll remember the scene where they landed in Golden Gate Park--and we hear the garbage man make a wisecrack about not spending $40 on a #@# toaster oven!   

I always laugh when I see that scene because at the time the movie came out, I really did want one! And my husband felt the same way as the guy in Star Trek: not about to spend $40 on one!  Years later, when I finally got one, I'm pretty sure the price was down: I'm thinking either $20 or $30--though I don't remember for sure.

It's not a fancy one, but it works great.  And yes...it's used daily! It's definitely worth the price we paid. 

Campy Movies
Posted On 08/14/2021 12:58:07

I just noticed that two of my favorite 'campy' movies--yes, probably called 'B' movies--are being shown today on a cable channel.  I wondered if others have 'favorite' campy movies.   

My all time favorite has to be Night of the Comet, (1984) with a young Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran (later known as Chakotay in Star Trek Voyager), and Kelli Maroney (also from a 'soap opera).  There  are several other familiar faces in it as well. The premise is that two teenagers manage to be 'protected' when a comet decimates most of the rest of the Earth's population; then, they are sought out by some nasty scientists who plan to make use of the girls' blood to save themselves. I first saw Stewart in Days of our lives, as Kayla Brady. She's been in a number of made for tv movies and many tv series over the years.   

The other movie showing today is less of a favorite, but I did kind of like it: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. It stars Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, & Peter Weller (as Banzai). It's hard to describe so I'll just copy the info I found:

The film centers upon the efforts of the polymath Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, a physicistneurosurgeontest pilot, and rock star, to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10. The film is a cross between the action-adventure and science fiction film genres and also includes elements of comedy and romance.

Here are a couple of other favorites of mine: 

 The Last Starfighter starring  Lance Guest, Robert Preston, Dan O'Herlihy, & Catherine Mary Stewart.  Here's the synopsis:

The Last Starfighter is a 1984 American space opera film directed by Nick Castle. The film tells the story of Alex Rogan (Lance Guest), a teenager recruited by an alien defense force to fight in an interstellar war. It also features Robert PrestonDan O'HerlihyCatherine Mary StewartNorman Snow, and Kay E. Kuter.

The Last Starfighter, along with Disney's Tron, has the distinction of being one of cinema's earliest films to use extensive "real-life" computer-generated imagery (CGI) to depict its many starships, environments and battle scenes.

The Last Starfighter was Robert Preston's final role in a theatrical film (though afterwards, he did appear in a few TV movies before his death in 1987). The character of Centauri, a "lovable con-man", was written with him in mind and was a nod to his most famous role as Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man.[2] 

And a newer, favorite of mine is:  Galaxy Quest  starring Tim Allen, SIgourney Weaver & Alan Rickman. And also Tony Shalhoub (later known as MONK in the tv series):  

The alumni cast of a space opera television series have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help. However, they also have to defend both Earth and the alien race from a reptilian warlord.

That's all I can think of right now, but there are probably others.  So what are your favorite 'campy' movies? 

Age and 'social media'
Posted On 07/28/2021 07:49:38

It's obvious that different generations view social media and 'electronic devices' differently. I've often commented that younger generations seem 'attached', almost physically, to their smart phones. They feel they 'must' answer every single 'beep' signalling a text--even if it's just a 'news' item. Personally, if my simple cell phone doesn't 'say' a name I'm familiar with, I ignore it. I don't 'rush' to see what it is. It will still be there when I get around to looking at it--and to be honest, it's mostly 'spam' anyway.  

A few years ago, I saw a young couple with a small child in a restaurant; they were apparently waiting for 'take out'.  They didn't even take the child's coat off, but they gave her something to snack on as they waited; and the two adults spent the entire time 'texting'--not one word to the child, who appeared maybe 3 or 4 yrs old--or even to each other, actually. I will never forget seeing that.  

As for me personally, during a holiday meal, I had to actually say: no phones at the table! No, I don't want/need a smart phone. I have a cell phone, courtesy of my daughter, which I mainly carry with me whenever I'm away from home--in case of emergency. Otherwise, it sits here on my desk. Family knows to always try the house phone first, but if I hear their name I will answer the cell phone. 

As for social media, my generation--sadly, now possibly considered 'elderly'--often sees this as our 'window to the world'.  Many of us have physical disabilities that limit our mobility.  Maybe we can't physically get out and about. Please don't say 'old age is easy' until you reach at least 70+ years old.  And if you are older than that and still have your mobility, please don't take it for granted! 

Only 5 years ago, I was able to walk without 'hobbling' or pain. I could go up and down steps without using a 'railing' for support.  And I could sit here all day without pain!  Now, sitting too long irritates my arthritic  back.  I won't bore you with details of all my health problems. Suffice it to say, a trip 'out' grocery shopping takes me a day to recover. 

But, still, I'm glad that I am able to 'visit' my online friends, 'see' so much of the world through my computer, and still have my mental faculty.  I keep 'busy' with writing, making graphics, and helping others learn about computers via our computer group.   I feel that as long as my mind/brain is active, I am all right. Ok, so I am 73 now; I 'feel' much younger  (except for the physical, of course). 

Posted On 07/18/2021 08:57:06

My word for today is Ubiquitous. This is one I use frequently!  It means: "present, appearing, or found everywhere".  It may have started when my husband made a few wisecracks about how I always have facial tissues sitting around. So I joked, that yeah: it's ubiquitous. 

Between allergies and sinus infections, I have always used a lot of them; back when I was growing up, I think Kleenex was the only brand. So, I've always called 'facial  tissues' kleenex.  But for the last twenty or thirty years, I've actually used Puffs. 

Anyway, just to explain: I have a box right beside me here at my desk, a box next to my favorite chair, and more over on my bedside table.  And, even though I'm not in the living room much lately, I always keep a box on the end table next to the rocker/recliner in there as well. 

So, yes, it's 'ubiquitous'--found "everywhere" here in my home!

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