Monday, March 30, 2009

Michigan State Heading To Final Four

My late brother, Harold Gariety, was an avid Michigan State Spartan fan and sports recruiter. He would be so delighted to learn that Michigan State will be heading down the road 90 miles to Detroit to be a part of the Final Four.
These photo I took in 2007 while returning from our cross country trip to Seattle and Alaska. This is the Michigan State football stadium. Harold made sure that all his brothers and sisters had a chance to attend a football game here while he was attending Michigan State University. When we did so I remember staying at the student run hotel on campus that is the focal point of Michigan State's Hotel and Restaurant Education program.
Speaking of hotels did you watch Celebrity Apprentice last night and get to see Joan Rivers as hotel concierge and the rest of the ladies cleaning toilets, sinks, and shower stalls? Obviously these rich ladies never clean up after their very own house guests or else they wouldn't have gone bananas over finding a hair in the bathroom or on the bed. There are worse things in life for throwing a banana fit.
I won't even comment on the men's team and poor Dennis Rodman who got fired this week. Dennis will be on The Jay Leno Show this week so maybe Jay will ask Dennis about his bizarre behavior on Celebrity Apprentice. I thought Jesse James did a fine job of playing spokes person for the men's team in the boardroom.
News Flash: I want to thank the Anonymous Commenter on yesterday's blog post who explained more than me about all those white bicycles in the city of Manassas on Sudley Rd. This person pointed out that the bikes are rearranged into a gigantic white Christmas Tree for the holidays and that in the summer time they sometimes sport sun umbrellas. So that means that the bicycles are not welded down. But how they stay up and how they are not stolen or vandalized in some fashion I do not know. We will have to post more photos of this strange Manassas phenomena sometime in the future. In the meantime thank you Anonymous Commenter for your enlightening comments.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

White Bikes in Manassas

On Sudley Road in Manassas there is a residence that once you pass it you will never forget it. This photo doesn't do justice to the display of bikes featured on this corner lot. All the bikes are welded together and look like they are the riderless bikes in the Tour de France. There must be at least 25 bikes and the owner for the each major holiday decorates the bikes with a theme. I snapped this while Jack was breezing down the street. We will have to go back and do some closeups of this bike display when Easter is here. When you see an unusual display like this in someone's front yard doesn't it make you want to meet the owners and find out how unusual they are? Click on the photo to see this display better.

More great basketball today. When you get down to the Elite Eight all the teams are great and that game last night between Pittsburgh and Villanova was perfectly matched. Jack and I cheered for Villanova because their star player, Scotty Reynolds, is from Herndon High School right here in Northern Virginia. We always enjoyed watching him play in the high school basketball playoffs. Scotty does it all and well and has a very likeable personality.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NARFE Is Educational

My husband Jack seen here in the green shirt next to the U.S. flag is the new president of the Manassas Chapter of NARFE. NARFE stands for National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees and Jack with 32 years with the federal government qualifies to be a member. NARFE works to keep our organization strong and to be the one group that negotiates with the federal government concerning retirement and health care benefits. In these troubling economic times we need to work to maintain our current benefits. NARFE also provides educational and social programs for its members. Here are photos from our February and March meetings.

Note: spouses are invited to join and participate. In fact the current NARFE president, Margarite Baptiste, is the widow and spouse of a federal employee. Now look below.

At the February chapter meeting we got to meet a Portuguese water dog like Obama is getting for the White House daughters. This beautiful black dog has a large head and expressive eyes. His coat is similar to a poodle's coat and his feet are webbed like a Labrador retriever since this breed functions as water retrievers. We learned that the Oakland A's use Portuguese water dogs to retrieve stray baseballs from San Francisco Bay. And some golf clubs use these dogs to retrieve stray golf balls in the water.

Nice doggie. This one works as a social therapist by visiting senior centers and hospitals. Notice that the webbed feet are covered with fur.
Now look at those intelligent and expressive eyes. Doggie, do you want to go to the White House when one of your breed gets to move in with the Obamas this spring?
Now look below again. This photo was taken last week at our March NARFE meeting. This lady is the coordinator of arts and history at the anti-bellum Liberia Mansion in Manassas. She came in full anti-bellum regalia and spoke on women's anti-bellum fashions. She passed around a hoop skirt, a corset and a pair of pantaloons.
Who knew that anti-bellum pantaloons were more risque than a thong from Victoria's Secret? Today we see the sanitized version of pantaloons. Back then they had an opening for the world to see version of pantaloons: two legs held together by a string but nothing in the middle. Why???? So that when a lady went to the privy in her hoop skirt she didn't have to raise the hoop skirt over her head to use the privy. She just slipped the hoop over the privy hole and spread her legs and went. There was no material to mess up since they were designed ala open. (I just reread this. I hope nobody thinks I'm being nasty and pornographic. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm just stating the facts as I heard them from this history buff. ) Now who says history isn't fascinating.
Final note: this historian does not want to be called a Civil War reenactor. She is a college educated historian. She told us that she likes to see the old movie Gone With The Wind but cringes when she sees all the inaccurate things portrayed in the movie. For instance, Ladies did not where hoop skirt on long train journeys because they would be too uncomfortable for both themselves and the people squeezed into close quarters with them. And notice that in the photo she has her apron pinned to her dress. It was not customary for aprons to have shoulder straps or ties. By the way, the outfit she is wearing would be the dress of the house servant or slave. The first wife of the man who had Liberia Mansion built was from the famous Carter Clan of Virginia and she died from childbirth complications. We learned that back then women were required to wear a corset even when nine months pregnant. Two reasons women died from childbirth during these times: those corsets shifted their internal organs around to create that 18 inch waistline and that deemed them vulnerable to birthing complications. Plus back then it was considered unacceptable for a male doctor to touch a woman that was giving birth. That's why the midwife came to the home: they were in the middle taking medical advice from the doctor to relieve the suffering of the woman giving birth.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Story About Piqua, Ohio

Here is something else I remember about Piqua, Ohio. Ohio used to have lots of small and large manufacturing plants and Piqua used to have an old many storied brick building that was built as an underwear manufacturing plant. Yep, BVD's for men were made there.

Now would you believe this. Our fifth/sixth grade teacher who was a Roman Catholic nun teaching at Russia Local School arranged a school field trip to this plant to show us students how things got made in manufacturing plants. We learned all about division of labor as it pertained to making BVD's! One lady sewed the front, one sewed the band and one sewed the label on the band. Others cut fabric for the BVD's and still others packaged the finished products.

By the way the reason I labeled this teacher as the fifth/sixth grade teacher is that we had 55 students stuffed into this normal size classroom. Half were fifth graders and half were sixth graders. Can you imagine being that poor teacher with so many students and so little in the way of resources! No wonder the Russia School District quickly passed a bond levy and additional classrooms were built onto the "high school building" of the Russia Local School. My father was on the school board of Russia Local School at the time and I distinctly remember him bringing home curtain samples for the windows of the new addition.

Now as Paul Harvey would have said "Here's the rest of the story. But my teacher was a Catholic nun which meant two things: one, she was strict and tough and not above taking a ruler to your knuckles for misbehavior and two, by golly by the grace of God you were going to learn to read, write and do arithmetic! Plus get exposed to history, literature, music, art and religion.

But can you imagine today if a teacher arranged a trip to an underwear plant for elementary school kids. Victoria's Secret here we come. Why I imagine that there would be a public outrage. Why I just read this week of two incidents where students were suspended for doing something very human----passing gas and creating a little stink!

But remember we were under the watchful eye of our Catholic nun so no inappropriate behavior developed. Oh, but if she could have just read our little minds!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

If You Are From Russia Ohio, .....

If you are from Russia, Ohio, are you old enough to remember the Mill Brothers of neighboring Piqua, Ohio? These four brothers began their musical careers singing on the street corner of Green and Main in downtown Piqua or at the village square where their father had a barbershop and founded a barbershop quartet called the Four Kings of Harmony. The brothers were able to imitate the sounds of jazz instruments: John, the tuba: Harry, the trumpet, Herbert, second trumpet and Donald, the trombone.

The brothers got their first big break when they headed to Cincinnati for an audition at WLW-C. which led to a contract with CBS radio. The brothers went on to sing and do TV shows and movies and had a long and illustrious career during the depression, World War II and during the second half of the twentieth century. Even as time passed and brothers died the remaining ones continue on until the last brother Donald died in 1999. This group was without a doubt the most famous entertainment group from my part of the state of Ohio. Dean Martin credited Harry Mills as his greatest musical influence-----more so than either Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby or Sammy Davis, Jr.

I have moved to the top of our playlist some Mills Brothers songs. Take a moment to listen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Lunch at Mimis Cafe

There is a new restaurant in our neck of the Virginia woods called Mimis Cafe and we celebrated St. Patrick's Day yesterday at this New Orleans themed restaurant. Many other folks were doing the same thing. In fact, we ran into our next door neighbor Ken Bond at the restaurant.

This restaurant really plays up the New Orleans Preservation Hall jazz theme. It is very colorful and cozy.

Several ladies groups came out yesterday to the restaurant. If you enlarge the above photo by clicking on it you will see the ladies wearing green for St. Paddy's day. In the background you will see a lively group of Red Hat Ladies who decorated their hats with some green for the St. Paddy's Day luncheon. I think everyone at this restaurant was having an excellent time and a great meal. And speaking of meals look below.

Jack had the French dip sandwich with the crispiest and tastiest onion rings on the side. And would you believe that he followed that with a bread pudding with a butter whiskey sauce. Oh my, Jack!

What did I have? Look here. I had quiche Lorraine that had a delicious puff pastry crust along with a tossed salad, fresh fruit and rich and decadent carrot muffin. That muffin was my dessert. We each had a beer just because it is a St. Paddy's Day tradition. Jack had a Samuel Adams from Boston and I had a Belgian wheat beer with a slice of orange.

This restaurant is a great new addition to our neighborhood and we will definitely be back for more great food. Here is this restaurant's website:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday Night Was Book Club Night

Friday night was book club night. The March host was Dickie and the book for discussion was Lee Iacocca's Where Have All The Leaders Gone?
If you want, you can learn more about this book discussion by going to my other blog: PiedmontReaders:
This was a timely read.

Fishing Guy Gave Me A Friendship Award

Hey, everyone, look over to the right. You will see a box entitled Friendship Award and the box has some colorful blooms. Fishing Guy from northeast Ohio gave me this award the other week and told me to pass it on to some blog friends so I will. I want to pass it on to two folks who live in Piedmont: Dickie the quilting neighbor who does the blog Dragonquilter and to Cindy, the mother of the three sets of twins who writes about their exploits on the blog Two By Two By Two.

Thank you Fishing Guy. I hope you are still taking it easy but recovering nicely from your recent heart stent surgery. You are such a sweetheart that everything has to be coming up roses on land and croppies on the water for you. By the way, Fishing Guy's blog is a real award winning blog. Check out This Is My Blog. You will enjoy it immensely.

NARFE Convention In D.C.

Last week the NARFE Executive Convention in Washington D.C. wrapped up on Wednesday morning and two NARFE representatives of the state of Georgia stopped by to have lunch with Jack and I before beginning their drive back to Atlanta, Georgia. In the photo above you see Jack posing with Sandy McTheney McKinney and Tom McKinney. Tom is a graduate of Akron University and was an army auditor for his entire federal career. During the Vietnam War Tom went to the battle zones to audit army clubs in Vietman. Sandy is also a retired federal worker. With names like McTheney and McKinney don't you imagine that they do enjoy St. Paddy's Day.
So we sat around the breakfast table discussing both old times in Germany and NARFE endeavors. Tom told us that their local NARFE chapter in Atlanta will hold a garage sale this spring to raise money for Alzheimer's research which is one of the important projects of NARFE.

So we drank a little wine.
We had quiche and salad for the main course.
A Wegman's fruit tart and coffee followed for dessert.
Sandy and Tom, thanks for stopping by to see us. And readers, this is the same man who got married for the very first time last April when he was 65! (You can see photos of Tom and Sandy's wedding day if you look under my labels for Wedding Day.)

These Flowers Are For Brother Carl

These flowers are for my brother Carl who is still in the Upper Miami Hospital after two weeks of tests and recuperation.

Carl, hope the staff is treating you well and that you are getting better so that you can go home to celebrate St. Paddy's Dad and the beginning of spring this week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

Do you need a chuckle or two on this frosty March morning? Well, then click here on Patty Lincoln's blog to read a really really funny child's version of the bible--both new and old testament. It is called The Children's Version of the Bible in a Nutshell. It is so funny! Click here:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The 1-Minute Writer Award

Last week I learned that on The 1-Minute Writer I won the award for my writing post on a day's writing challenge. The challenge one day last week was to write a slogan and I wrote this:
That extra soft toilet paper is no good
If you want to save the world's remaining hardwood.
And then I created a link to this site for folks to learn what's wrong with those extra soft fanny wipes:

March 3 Girls Day in Japan

Did you know that in Japan March 3 is known as Girls Day? Little girls dress in kimonos and in their homes they set up a display of their porcelain dolls. This photo I took on March 3, 1970 on Okinawa with my Japanese Pentax camera. The girls in this photo were the girls in my first grade class at Zukeran Elementary School.

They all now would be in their early forties. My how time flies. I wonder what all these sweet little girls who were the daughters of U.S. Army soldiers stationed on Okinawa are doing today. Are they married and living somewhere in the U.S? The little girl on the right with the flaming red hair was an exceptional student. She was already reading on a high school level when she entered my classroom in August of 1969. For our holiday Christmas show I had her read aloud the Gospel of Luke of the Christmas Story. Everyone in the audience who heard her read the gospel were totally blown away for she read with such great expression.

This photo was taken under the porch eve of this open design school that was located very, very close to the army headquarters on the island. Every time a helicopter carrying the top Army brass landed or took off from the headquarters you had to stop teaching for about five seconds because everything being said was drowned out by the roar of the helicopter. And believe me with the Vietnam War still in active warfare then this happened several times each and every day at the school. In my classroom I had the children of lowly privates as well as full bird colonels.

To see how this same DOD school looks today go the schools website by clicking here:

You will find a slide show and an updated photo of this same school where I taught for two years: 1968-1969 and 1969-1970. To the right in the school photo you will see the same school wing with overhead porch. We went outside every time we left our classroom to go to the library, gym, music room, and cafeteria. The roaming primary Japanese culture teacher visited our classroom three times a week and taught us all some Japanese phrases like arigato (thank you). And from this web site you can explore other DOD schools in the Pacific as well as Europe. Have fun exploring.

Final thought for today: I hope these little girls held on to their Japanese kimonos for I'm sure that they are very valuable today and hold priceless memories for these American girls.

News Flash: I think it is appropriate here since we are thinking of the Pacific to mention that my friend and fellow blogger Dragonquilter has now posted the most beautiful pictures of a family wedding she attended this past week in Hawaii. Stroll down my blog roll to find her blog and take a look. So beautiful! And the flower girl in pink almost stole the show!

Monday, March 2, 2009

My World Tuesday = Snow!

My World Tuesday = Snow At Last!
March 3, 2009
Virginia finally got a good snow storm. We have about four to five inches of snow on the ground now. This is the biggest snow event in Northern Virginia since the big snow of February or March 2003. And this was the first time in years that we had enough snow for Jack to warrant using his little red snowblower to clear our drive and entrance. The very last time Jack used the snowblower was in February of 2005! Jack and I haven't seen this much snow since we got stranded in Butte, Montana in 2007 in a late May snowstorm. Believe me that was a butte in Butte!
But back to Northern Virginia and our recent snowstorm. We had over 150 car crashes today in Northern Virginia and all schools both public and private had the day off. Jack and I spent a lot of time watching all the birds that descended on our bird feeders for food. See video of this on last blog post. Tonight 850 trucks are treating the roads for tomorrow's morning commute because the remaining snow will turn to ice overnight because of the low temps. And our county, Prince William, will not have school tomorrow.
Meanwhile our neighbor , good friend, and fellow blogger, Dragonquilter, got stranded at an airport on her way back to Virginia from a weekend trip. I'm sure she will report on this on her blog this week after she gets unpacked. You can check her blog on my blog roll.
As for our grandson, Jack Aidan, he didn't know quite what to do with the snow. He liked it and he didn't like it. He wanted to go inside till he got to the doorstep and then he wanted to stay outside. Our daughter Jennifer finally took him inside to warm up and thaw out his little red hands that kept feeling the snow. Obviously he was trying to figure out what this strange white stuff falling from the sky was and why it was in his yard. I think many Virginians were wondering the same thing. Why is this white stuff here in March and why do I have to get out and go to work in a white out.
Now please hop out of this Virginia snowbank and go visit some other My World Tuesday folks by clicking here: