Friday, February 20, 2009

A Memory

I read three newspapers a day. The local paper early in the morning and the larger papers when my son brings them home with him in the evening. The big boys bought our local paper a few years ago and combined it with another beach cities local. Most of the quirky writers that I loved were fired and the paper itself was made smaller and a lot less interesting, but I like to know what is happening locally so I pay for a paper that feels very like I'm reading a high school journalism project. That and a cup of John's strong coffee will wake me up every time (not necessarily with a smile).

A few weeks ago I opened the L.A. Times and came face to face with a memory. A very sweet memory that really did put a smile on my face. There on the page looking exactly as I remember him was the face of "Dr. George". It tickled me so much I turned to my son and asked, "Do you remember Dr. George?", which in turn tickled him so much he got up and came over to sit beside me to play "I Remember Grandma".

My father used to watch the news on KABC every night after dinner. My mother used to watch the weather on KABC after dinner. As John says constantly, 'we don't have real weather', but my mother became addicted to the news about tomorrows non-weather. The reason...Dr. George Fischbeck. She loved him.

The article in the Times said that he still looks the same. "the thick, black-rimmed glasses, perched atop that beak of a nose, the mustache still animated, if a bit grayer than when he left KABC in the 1990's."

"Fischbeck made an instant impression when he landed in Los Angeles in 1972 by clinging relentlessly to his lack of polish. He flapped his arms and raised his Groucho Marx eyebrows. He shuffled through hand-drawn charts, someitmes struggling to find the right one. He sometimes got so caught up in lecturing about the atmosphere that he forgot to deliver the forecast." My mother loved him!

She was so taken with him she made a special effort to be free when the news came on, which was very unusual for my mother. She always had a project of some sort going. Her usual after dinner activity involved that project until Dr. George arrived in town. One evening with Dr. George on the TV and she was hooked. All things were put aside when the news and Dr. George were on. My father used to get more of a kick out of my mother then he did with the tale of weather to come. It became a family tickle and we used to tease her about it.

Then one afternoon she and one of her friends went 'downtown' to celebate the friends bithday. They went to one of their favorte hotels, the one with the glass elevator on the outside of the building. My mother loved riding in that glass elevator and always came home with a tale or two. This particular evening she came home not only with a tale but with a sparkle in her eyes.

After lunch, while she and her friend were waiting for the elevator to arrive to the top floor a man came and stood beside her to wait too. My mother never met a stranger so she turned to say something friendly to him and 'lo and behold' there standing beside her was none other then Dr. George. My mother was never known to be speechless even when excited so she did her usual friendly Bonnie thing. She says they had a great time. She lavished him with praise and adoration and he lavished her with his quirky smile. She could almost reiterate the conversation word for word, and it was a long one, afterall they had to go all the way down the side of the building in the glass elevator.

She said they talked like old friends laughing and sharing during the ride down and when they reached the ground floor he told her how glad he was that they had met and then reached over and kissed her on the cheek.

She had so much fun the following week telling all of us that we were not allowed to kiss or touch her on her Dr. George cheek. That was the cheek reserved for the weatherman.

My mother would have loved reading that article in the Times. It tickled my son and I so much we had a lovely time remembering Grandma's Dr. George cheek. Isn't it nice to have a happy memory drop in on you unexpectedly?

Take care of yourselves, my friends. Love, Pennie/Sandra

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


We made it through.

It wasn’t fun, but we survived it with our love for one another intact and our inclination to laugh and tease undamaged. I won’t moan and cry. There are so many families that are suffering. We are blessed and we know it.

Isn’t it amazing how life can take you into a negative cycle? You think you are doing everything right and life decides to curve you into everything wrong. But you hold your breath, continue doing right, and sooner or later the cycle will break and you can start breathing again. This was the longest and hardest cycle that our family has ever had to go through, notwithstanding health matters.

We had some really hard bumps when it looked as if the stress had caused some very serious health concerns for my son. But he kept telling the doctors he wasn’t seriously ill, he was just seriously stressed. When the stress ended his good health returned. But the doctors still want to see him every Thursday for the next two months. I’m glad they do. I was seriously worried about his bodies stress reaction myself.

You will never know how much your thoughts and prayers have meant to my family and me. You have seen me through so much. I am so grateful to have all of you. Thank you from all of us.

Now on to something happier.

In the mid 90’s my son dated a woman that I’ll call M. At one point they talked of marriage, but things got complicated and the marriage talk turned to friends forever talk. I was a bit disappointed when the relationship turned to friendship, but that was their decision to make, not mine.

Sometimes the mother and the girl can forge a better relationship than the girl and the boy. She and I have developed a friendship that has only gotten stronger as the years have passed.

This past July, for my birthday, she sent me a card with a bookstore gift card in it. I called her to thank her and in doing so I told her that I had just put a book written by one of my favorite authors in my “Book Wish” notebook.

“Now I can get on the computer and order it. I’m so excited. I thought I was going to have to wait awhile before I’d be able to afford it. Thank you so much. You have really made my day. Day hell, you made my month!”

We both laughed and continued our chat about our families and kids.

I didn’t give the conversation much thought until after Christmas when I received a letter from her. She wrote, “You are the only person I know that actually writes down the books you hope to read someday in a notebook. You are the only person that I know that actually works to save the money to buy the books that you have written in that notebook. And lastly, you are the only person I know that actually buys and READS the books that you have written in that notebook. I got these for Christmas and I know that I won’t buy and read anything with anywhere near the pleasure that you will have choosing books to buy from your ’Wish’ notebook. Enjoy! Love, M.

And out fell $100.00 worth of bookstore gift cards.

You’ll never know how much joy I had going through my ‘Book Wish’ notebook and selecting the books I would buy. It was one of the greatest gifts I have been given in a long while. Is there any wonder why I love her so much?

Another Family Story -

My son and grandson did their usual weekend thing and got up at dawn and went to watch their British team play football. I took it from the bits of conversation that I overheard that it was an important game, and I knew the minute they walked into the house that it had not been a winning morning. These men were not walking they were slumping and shuffling.

My son came and sat down and said that he didn’t recognize himself. He has been into sports his whole life. He has played most of them and watched all of them, but he has never gotten so emotional about a team in his life. He said, “I actually get depressed when they lose. That’s a totally new reaction.”

So I started asking questions, trying harder to understand their love and dedication to this particular sport. He said that he got interested in British football when he started following the story of Didier Drogba. I don’t know that whole story well enough to write about it, but I do know that the two men in this house are passionately into Chelsea. They have bought shirts, jackets, and scarves on e-bay and every weekend they don their shirts and scarves and dressed for success take off for the pub that shows the games. I’ve also picked up that when a man is playing good he is ’on form’, and I’ve heard several of the songs that they sing while the team plays, and I’ve learned the name of several British breakfasts that they love; primarily a Crows Nest.

My son was so enthusiastic his best friend decided to go with him one weekend. A new fanatic fan was born. My grandson’s best friend was invited to go with them; another new fan was born.

My grandson’s best friend’s sister’s has a boyfriend that my grandson has never really cared for. The other day that boy that he doesn’t like came up to him and touched his Chelsea insignia on his shirt and said, “If I had known that you were into Chelsea we could have been friends all this time. I hear that you go to the pub to watch games every weekend. Do you think I could go with you next weekend? I love Chelsea.” My grandson came home with his head swimming.

There are several other incidents very similar that have happened when my grandson or son leaves the house with their Chelsea shirts on. I have watched this thing mushroom from just the two of them doing a father son thing into a caravan of men getting up at dawn to watch British football. It’s been fun to watch.

I also got told that no women are ever there ... None, never
The only woman is the one that serves them breakfast, but they really like her and tell some great stores about her.

Very Interesting!

My granddaughter has gotten an after school job at a local pizza shop. She is the only blonde that works there. When the owners young daughter came to the shop one afternoon she exclaimed, “Cinderella works for my daddy!”

It has been decided that my granddaughter will put on a Cinderella costume and entertain all the young ones that come into the shop for a day. For that she will receive a raise. Not bad for a girl that has only worked there for 2 weeks.

Her new job works real well for her father and brother. They love pizza. She comes home with free pizza a couple times a week, not to mention that she gets a great discount on any and all pizza that she or her family want to buy. Other than tacos, pizza is the number one taste treat in this house.

The men can gorge themselves on pizza when they come home depressed about a Chelsea loss.

I personally don’t like pizza, but I love the break from fixing dinner that her new job has given me.

Take care of yourselves friends.

Love, Pennie/Sandra

Monday, January 19, 2009


Please forgive my absense. My family has been in distress and I haven't wanted to get on here and write 'woe is me's'.

It has been one of the hardest times that I can ever remember. But then again I don't think we are unique. We are a nation of heart breaking stories at the moment. We have been going through one of those series of disasters that life hands out. It's just that I have never had so may disasters dumped on my house at one time. The lesson learned is how well one survives and the strength that is gained by that survival. I can't determine those things just yet because things haven't really settled down. It feels more like a bit of fresh air before the next hammer falls on our heads.

No need to fear. We will overcome our difficulties ... wouldn't it be great if we knew just when. My biggest problem is I am used to taking my problems and concerns to the beach and dumping them in the ocean. God and the sea are connected in my heart and head. Can you sit on the sand and watch the waves roll in and not believe in God's love. I find it impossible. The sand and sea have always helped me gain straight thinking and resolve. I cant drive anymore so getting to the beach for some solo comtemplation is impossible.

During several nights of wakeful worry I have heard my son retching in the bathroom. He feels he has the sole responsibility of everyone in the house and the stress has taken a toll on him. AND that is why I have not written .......

I hope everyone in my blog world is doing well and that life is treating you nicer. God Bless, Pennie