Thursday, December 31, 2020

Football Guide

 My sister is nine years older than me. 

      If I tell you her age, promise you won't figure out how old I am. 

            She's coming up on her 96th birthday. And, just look at her. 

                    She's sharp as a tack, too. 

Well, on most things she is...

We both love to watch college football games. But, of course, with us living abt. 800 miles apart, we don't get to do that together. 

But, come Saturday mornings and my phone rings. It never fails! 

"What time does Alabama play?" she'll ask and as soon as I tell her, she wants to know what station. 

"Oh, wait a minute", she'll say. "Let me get a pen and write that down." And, so I wait and then we continue our conversation. Our tv stations are not the same numbers so I have to be careful and just say CBS or ESPN. She'll find it well enough. 

Then it's "What time does Auburn play? Are they playing today? What station?" and so on. It just makes me laugh. 

Yesterday she wanted to be sure she had all the bowl games lined up so she could watch tomorrow. There are plenty of them!! So, yes, I got The  call....

She has never learned how to use the guide on her television. I guess at that age, she can be forgiven! 

So, I am her personal college football guide. I am going to miss those Saturday morning calls when football is over. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Christmas Was Different This Year.

but that was not all bad. It even gave us some new ideas for future get-togethers. 

                                  Here are a few pictures of my Christmas.

I sat and watched Shirley, John and Michael decorate the Dietz Xmas tree. 
So happy I don't have the job of doing that anymore!

Michael and I went back to Alabama for his participation in the Parade of Boats at Joe Wheeler State Park. We were very careful about the Covid threat and made it fine. 

Michael returned to Virginia with me so we could have Christmas together.
I found my apartment complex beautifully decorated! 

Shirley invited Michael and me up for a baking cookie day.
She and I made apple cookies, the guys did their graham cracker box fruit cake. 

After gift opening on Christmas day I got a huge hug from my two kiddos.

On Sunday after Christmas the entire family met for another celebration but I choose to stay home. Too many people for me to feel comfortable with. That was fine. Like I say, it was different this year.

Yesterday, the 29th, Michael and his sweet little doggie, Sadie, headed back to Alabama. 
The three of us had been together for 6 weeks!!

It sure is quiet around here. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Baking

                                            CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN

                                                      Just 1 more day

Today was fun and filled with memories of Christmas from long ago. There were moments of sadness, nostalgia and wishing 'what if'. 

Michael and I drove up to Shirley's where we baked Apple Cookies. I'd say they were my hubby's favorite but most food was his favorite, so I'll just say that he really liked them. 

Michael and Shirley's hubby, John, kept up a tradition of putting together a fruit cake. It's the crushed graham cracker, raisins, cherries, toasted pecans etc. with condensed milk to bind it all together. It's a no bake! You just press it all back into the graham cracker box. Yes, it fits. 

Shirley made us some yummy chicken quesadillas for lunch. Christmas music was playing in the background. Just like we've done off and on for years and years. Nice to keep up the traditions that bind a family together. 

I'd post pictures of our baking but dummy here left her camera at Shirley's. At least it will still be there for our Christmas morning activities. 

It's no comment time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Countdown to Christmas Day 3

                                                     CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN

                                                                  3 more to go

1. The day is early yet but I have compiled gifts for 4 girlfriends who live here at the Commons. I'll be hanging them on their doors later today.

2. I need to look my best for Christmas so at 5 I get my hair done!! Yippee!!

3. My son and I have plans for lunch. Don't know yet if we will go through a drive-through but there are restaurants that we feel comfortable in. So, maybe, just maybe we can have a meal out.

4. I am feeling less stress now, more organized. I do this every year. Panic early then the last few days it's easy-peasy. I need to work on doing the easy-peasy in the beginning and forget the stress. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Being Alone on Christmas Eve - a poem for YouTube

 Since several of us ladies on here are widows I thought I might share a YouTube video that I made today about Christmas time through a widow's eyes. 

It's a little poem that I jotted down this morning, just something on my mind. I hope it will mean something to you.

And, I hope you will visit my YouTube Channel and perhaps subscribe. That would be very much appreciated.  

Countdown to Christmas Day 4

                                  COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS


The chores I got done today in preparation for Christmas

1. Wrapped one present πŸ˜€

2. Made a 'Widow's Christmas' video for YouTube and posted it.

3. Gee, I guess that's it. Maybe more tomorrow. Don't rush me. I'll get it done. If not.... hey, I'm old and can get away with anything.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Parade of Lights

 One week ago today... Saturday 12th, I was in Alabama to see my son Michael participate in the Lighted Boat Parade at Joe Wheeler State Park. 

boats lining up for the parade

He'd come to Virginia to get me and boy, were we careful travelers, stopping only for gas and potty breaks. We just about used a can of Clorox wipes and our faces were masked every time we got out of the car. So, keep your fingers crossed, we did it up right. 

He brought me back home so that we could spend the holidays with some of the other family. We arrived yesterday and it felt good being home. The visit was special and he and I both were happy I got to see the parade. 

He'd worked so hard on preparing his boat... lights strung up the mast forming a tree shape and the lights were constantly changing colors. Lots of lights around the hull and he (dressed as Mr. Grinch) was pulling his dinghy with his Elf On A Shelf riding along behind. Elf on a Shelf was his last years decoration for the parade. 

He got me a room at the lodge overlooking the parade route. He and his little doggie, Sadie, slept on  his boat. She's not allowed in the lodge! So, I had the room all to myself. It was warm enough that I sat out on the balcony to watch the procession of lights, boats, music playing and people calling out 'Merry Christmas'. It was pretty cool!

Below: Michael as Mr. Grinch with his award

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

2020.... What We Have Gained?

2020 has been filled with losses, some small, some devasting... It's so easy to let yourself be overcome with the emotional crosses we sometimes must bear. Depression sets in, we lose our way. 

But, that really got me to thinking. Oh, I could make a list a mile long of what I have lost. I have complained that I felt cheated out of life (and my life is short at this point. I want it all). I lost family time, the get up and go attitude I had, the desire to be adventurous and it goes on and on. 

So, what have I gained! I have gained patience. Just waiting around with a somewhat 'happy' attitude that maybe this would soon be over.

I have gained the ability to find ways to overcome boredom. I've tried several new projects.

Creativity is key in finding ways to be with family... you learn all sorts of new technology in order to see our loved ones, talk to them, connect.

I've learned to let God be in control. He has this! It's not up to me to figure it out. So, trust can be added to what I have gained. 

I have also gained the knowledge that things don't always have to be done the 'familiar/old' way. Trying new ways to solve problems is a challenge and often has it's rewards. 

         So, let's all make our 'What I've Gained' lists. 

                           What have you gained?

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Shopping UGH!!

 I am trying to figure out how to handle gift-giving this year. 

Some recent years I have resorted to giving gift cards. Makes it so much easier on me, not having to go from store to store, fight crowds, depend on others to get me to places I need to go. But, they feel so impersonal. I know, I can always lay it on my 'age'. 'I just can't get around like I used to so this is what I got you.'  UGH

Then there are the children, grands and great-grands who live away. I have no idea what they like or what size they are so what do I get them? Back to the gift cards again! 

Then I found a blog online and just fell in love with it. I bet there are a ton more blogs/websites out there that fill your head with ideas. I just have a find them. There's stuff that I hope somebody will buy me. Heck, if they don't maybe I'll gift myself some of those things. 

(this is Rebecca who has the everydayparisian blog)

Somethings are pricey, some items just don't suit my taste but there is a lot that I love about what she shares. Besides giving you gift ideas she has food and travel and a bunch of fun things on there. Give her a look-see. I bet you'll like her. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Crossing the Mojave Desert

 I've been sharing life stories with my children and grandchildren. Thought you might like this one.


August 1964

My hubby had been in the Far East on a tour of duty with the Navy while I was back in my home town in Alabama, with the four children. His ship was due to return to Concord, California in Sept. so I decided to take us five out to greet him when he returned.  

I'd had major abdominal surgery the first week of July so I was still not 'back to normal' when I took off in our station wagon with luggage, four kids, me and my aunt (who insisted I needed help with my 15 month old) How could I possibly drive with a baby that small needing my attention? She never had kids, she just didn't know how we moms multi-task all the time.

I'd driven out of Alabama, then crossed Mississippi, Louisanna, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. After I had entered California I stopped  to gas-up in Needles. 

A guy ambles up to the gas pump, takes one quizzical look at my 'female' brood and asks where I am headed. "West on 40", I answer. 

"M'am, bad time of day to be driving across the desert." 

We continued to chat, him giving me warnings about the dangers of being in the desert in the daytime. 'The heat gets up to 100 , 120 sometimes,' he says. 

Then he says, 'M'am, if I was you, I'd just check into a motel during the heat and head across the desert tonight."

I look at my four lively children. They've been cooped up in the car for days. You think they are going to be quiet while I try to sleep in a dadgone motel. I would need to stay awake during the night and I knew that was not going to happen.

I grinned at him. Thanked him for his advice, cranked my car and drove out onto the highway. We were about to cross the Mojave desert... in the middle of the day... 

Oh, I forgot to tell you. My dashboard instrument panel had taken out on me sometime back. I could  not listen to the radio, could not tell if the car was running hot or needed gas, the windshield wipers didn't work (not that we'd need them out here in the desert) but I said a little prayer and drove on. I was either a raving lunatic or a daredevil. You figure out which one. 😏

It is about 150 miles between Needles and our next town, Barstow, on the other side of the desert. That doesn't seem like much but those were the days without cellphone, my car did not have air-conditioning, and there were no service stations, no farms, houses, nothing if I ran into a problem. We saw but little traffic. I was traveling on a wing and a prayer!!

The road seemed endless, straight, flat, desolate. Nothing much to see except scrubgrass, some scrawny cactus, a dry 'wash' here and there and mountains in the distance which we never got to. The movement of the car kept a nice breeze (warm but not too hot) coming in the open windows. 

I finally pulled into Barstow. We had done it. The Man Upstairs kept his eye on us, that's for sure. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Muddy Little Dog

 I am not a dog person....

But, this little pooch really gets to me. We sort of love each other. She's my son Michael's dog. Cutest little face. 


when she gets into a mud puddle. What a face greeted us at the door this morning after her romp with her two puppy friends from the neighborhood. 

She got a bath!!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Missing Christmases Past

 In an effort to spark some Christmas cheer for the two of us, my son Michael turned on some Christmas music. It was nice for awhile. He had some errands to run so I sat here alone, reading a James Patterson book with the music in the background.

And, there came Bing C. with the 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' and I could just hear my funny husband mimicing Bing and I just got up and hit the off button. It hurts, I think this year more than ever... His being gone, I mean. It's been a rough year anyway and there's milestones coming up... our wedding anniversary and right after Christmas, the 10th anniversary of his passing. I suppose I am just very nostalgic right now. 

You widows out there, do you have triggers that set you off? drag you down? We just won't ever forget and I guess we  will never quit hurting.

And,, you with your spouses still by your side. Enjoy every second of every minute, of every hour of every day. When it's gone... it's gone. 

I don't mean to be a 'downer' today. Just sharing some pain I am feeling. The sun will come out tomorrow, or so Orphan Annie says! 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Cooking For One

 This pandemic has been so hard on everyone. And, to top it off I began to realize that things were never going to be the same for me. I will never be 20 again, or 50 or dadgum it, 80. 

I can't open a jar or a bottle! The grip in my hands are gone. If I buy something with a lid on it I have to wait until somebody comes along to open it for me.  It's so frustrating to have a craving for a certain kind of food, the thing is sitting right in front of you and you can't get to it. 

It's so hard to cook for one!  If I cook a regular meal I end up eating it for days! But, hey, the slack in appetite has it's rewards. I've lost 10 lbs. Yippee. But, now I can't wear any of my rings. Maybe I lost those 10 lbs. because I can't get that can of food open. Hehe.

I decided one day to try a new recipe for one. I marinated a piece of chicken then put the broiler on, slid my pan of chicken on the rack under that high heat. It wasn't but a couple minutes til my smoke alarm (my 2 smoke alarms) went off. And, I couldn't get them to shut up. I opened the door, fanned the air with a towel and still they  shrilled loudly. I was scared my neighbors would call the fire department on me. 

FINALLY... all is quiet! I open the oven door and (yes, I had a potholder in my hand) I reached for my pan of 1 chicken piece and burned my finger! After icing that down, I put my chicken on my plate and sat down to eat. That chicken was tasteless, tough, stringy. So much for new recipes! And, my kitchen was a MESS... oh, and the apartment smelled like smoke. 

I got online. Typed in HOME DELIVERY IN MY AREA. There's 14 places in my area that you can order what you want to eat and they bring it right to your door. Perfect. .I will order my meals! Well, a few of them anyway, 

Do you know? That was weeks ago and I still haven't ordered home delivery. I guess I am just an old-fashioned type of girl. 


Monday, November 30, 2020

Decisions, Decisions!

 I am packing a suitcase this morning. 

Decisions, decisions. This one was more or less taken out of my hands. I could say no, what with the pandemic and all, but who says no to someone who has put so much effort and love into making it possible for me to do something I wanted to and couldn't?

I've not made many decisions since March. Except to stay inside and twiddle away the hours. That was a no brainer! After all, I am in the 'age bracket' where Covid could really do some damage. 

But, I hadn't seen some of my children all year and I miss them. My son was calling me, telling me about a Boat Parade of Christmas Lights on Joe Wheeler Lake back in Alabama. I am afraid I said more than once how much I would love to see him go floating by in his boat, all decorated. He won one of the divisions last year. 

He had plans to come up for Christmas this year. I was excited about that. But, he decided that if his Mama wanted to see that Boat parade, he'd make it happen. He got a Covid test (negative, of course) and drove up to spend Thanksgiving with what part of the family is here. Now, we are heading to Alabama....

Do I have concerns.... YES. But, the only time we will stop will be for potty breaks and gassing up the vehicle. We are going with tons of masks, plastic gloves, disinfectant and food to eat. And, while down there, the Parade will be the only outing we do. 

How could I say NO to all he did to make sure his Mother is there to see that Parade she talked about? Are we stupid? Probably. Are we going to be careful, extra careful? You better believe it. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Blessings on Thanksgiving Day

 We got through Covid Thanksgiving!! 

                                            Different to be sure but we did it.

The gathering around the table was small, just those folks we felt safe with. I just hope that next Thanksgiving will be normal. You know, lots of people. As for food, this year we had turkey and goose and all the trimmings. And, we were so blessed to just be together. We were well, had some family around us, and we had food to eat. God is good!

How was your Thanksgiving? So many people were without their families this year. That's so sad. But, it sure makes you appreciate what you do have when you have it. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

 I did not want to let Thanksgiving go by without telling each of you how thankful I am for your friendship. I miss you. 

A lot has happened since my last post. It took awhile but I think I have finally come to terms with this 'getting older' thing. It was tough. My husband always said that when his time came he would accept the Lord's wishes. But me.... I announced to anyone who would listen that this old girl would leave this world kicking and screaming. 

And, I pretty much am doing that.

I finished doing a revised edition to a book that I wrote way back in 1991. Do you realize that was 30 years ago? Holy ..... You know what I mean. I had said I'd never do it. But, my daughter kept pushing for me to upgrade that book. (It's a history of a town in Alabama).  I think she needed a project and she hopped onto my bandwagon with full force. I would have never made it without her.

A big box of printed books arrived today from the publisher.

So, that project is now marked off my bucket list. Hallelujah.

Quite by accident I started a You Tube channel.
You ask how in the dickens a person does that.... by accident.
Some time back I wanted to post a video to this blog (or maybe it was my FB) and it kept telling me I had to go through YouTube to do it.

So, I posted it on YouTube so I could use the link. And, then I discovered I had a few people that liked my video and then a few more and so I was hooked.

One thing about YouTube, I completely control my posting schedule. I always felt with  blogging that you needed to post frequently and then you needed to check everybody else's blog and leave a message and so it just became overwhelming for me.

I want you to know that I miss you. I will post ever so often. I will check your posts when I can. I will leave a comment when I can but please don't expect a lot out of me. I am just getting old and tired. πŸ˜€. 

Oh, good gosh. I sound like I am on death's door. Not true at all. There's some really good LONG LIVING genes in my family so I should just shut up about it. Don't you just hate people that whine? 

So, have a wonderful Thanksgiving

Much Love From Latane

Thursday, October 15, 2020

To Friendships and Goodbyes

Time just seems to be marching on whether we can get out and enjoy it or not. That makes us have a lot of time to reflect, plan, contemplate. That can get you in a whole lot of trouble or it can simply your life.

I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to simply my life. I am strung far too thin, can't seem to finish what I know I must or find joy in the tasks I have thought were the most important. 

You just have to make priorities! 

I have loved blogging. Been at it about 12 years. And, in 12 years I've gotten older and slower and needing to make priorities. So, I am going to say goodbye. 

I am going to miss all you wonderful people, my blogging buddies. I've cherished your friendships and won't forget you. You've brightened my life so very much. I've learned lots, cried with some, laughed with others. That's what friends do. 

I am going to keep my facebook account open. (have to have some way to keep  up the grandkids who think social media is the only way to go these days). πŸ˜€ If you like, look me up on facebook and send me a friend request. I'm listed as Willie Latane Barton. 

I wish you the very best, now and always. Keep on keeping on!! With love, Latane

Saturday, October 10, 2020

My Only Sea Voyage

 It was 1959 and my husband and I were standing on deck, hanging onto two toddlers and keeping an eye on our 7 year old. We were waving goodbye to our friends on the pier. The Navy band was playing 'California Here I Come.' After two years of duty on both Hawaii and Midway Island we were headed home.

As the ship pulled away from the pier, I took the lei from around my neck and toss it into the water. Tradition had it that if the lei floated back to land, you would return to the islands, as well. But, sadly that has never happened.

We made our way down to our 'stateroom'. Hey, we were on a military transport ship. No stateroom. I remember two sets of bunk beds, a porthole, a closet, a head (that's bathroom in sailor talk). Maybe there was more. I don't know.

As the ship eased it's way out of the harbor, there came a loud announcement over the speaker. "This is a drill. This is a drill. Put on your life vests and report on deck".  I was beginning to feel weird... already. I'd taken a dramamine, not working. And, we weren't out of the harbor yet. Oh boy, I knew I was in trouble. 

As hubby helped the children with their life vests and was headed out the door (do you call it a door or a hatch?) anyway. There I am struggling with that darn life vest. I got it half on and hurried after them. 

Once we were on deck hubby took one look at me. 'You have your life vest on backward.' So, I turned it around. And, I am getting more and more unsteady. We are given instructions on what to do in case we started to sink. I had been so stupid. The week before I had gone down to the theatre and watched the movie 'Titanic'. Duh.. Bad Idea. Drill over, we go back to our room. And, I hit the head and then the bunk. 

And, I stayed there for most of the entire trip, unable to stand up. Hubby kept saying that this is the calmest sea he's ever been on. Well, Goody for him. But, it doesn't feel that way to me.  Every time I stood up, I threw up. 

He took over the care of the children, a two year old, a three year old and the 7 year old who thought she was big enough to take care of herself and did. When he dressed our little three year old daughter, he had one requirement out of me. 'would you please brush her hair?'  She had Shirley Temple curls that would be tangled. And, I had to tie the little sashes on her dresses.  And, back on that pillow  I would go. 

Every mealtime hubby would take the children down to eat. The steward would ask, 'Missus sick again today?' and hubby would nod yes. So, the steward would bring fresh oranges and packs of saltines for him to bring to me. 

The voyage took six days if I remember correctly. When we finally sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked in San Francisco I was one happy woman. I bet hubby was happy too. Now maybe some of his babysitting chores could be shared. I was never so glad to put my feet on land again! Oh hallelujah! 

I had lost 10 lbs. that week. Not my favorite way to diet, I tell you.

As you can imagine, I have never been on a cruise or taken a ship again. Nope, that trip cured me of any future voyages on the sea. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Fire-breathing Dragon

                                        You can just feel Fall in the air! 

Yesterday was one gorgeous day so Shirley and I escaped our four walls and did a little fun stuff.

We went to a nice restaurant next to a creek. We've been there before so we knew the food would be great. And, they were doing a great job keeping everyone safe during this virus. So we felt that it was the best place to get some yummy food. 

When I saw collards on the menu... well, that decided it for me. They came with Memphis Barbeque chicken and french fries. It was soooo good. 

Shirley got a Cobb Salad with extra shrimp. It looked good, too but since we moved to Virginia 20 years ago, I've eaten so much seafood.... I'm about tired of the stuff! So, bring on the collards!!

I'd been seeing a gift shop on facebook and asked if we could stop there. It was huge, a big 2 story house with every room crammed full of things. It was just tooo much! I bought some large tomatoes and a bag of orange slices. Wish I'd gotten more tomatoes. Best tasting ones I've had in forever. 

There were some nice pumpkins and mums outside.

We stopped then to check out a fire-breathing mosaic dinosaur. He wasn't in the fire mode. But, I know he does that because there was a propane gas tank attached to his tail.😁

Our next stop was Evans Farm Market. It's small but did offer a nice photo-opt area. 

 Time to head home. Tummy full, naptime!!