Archive for August, 2017

Time on My Hands

August 21, 2017

I haven’t been dating this summer, probably due to my last relationship which ended in silence. Yes, silence. I have no idea what happened, but if someone doesn’t want to be with me, I’m not going to pursue him. I haven’t’ had anyone email me from POF (Plenty of Fish dating website) and I haven’t gone fishing.

Slim Jim and th3

I love to listen to live music, so I make an effort to do so with my “gal pals.” This past weekend on Saturday afternoon we rocked to Slim Jim and the Car Thieves at the Pinewood Country Club. I had made myself two small lamb chops for lunch at home, but indulged in sweet potato fires and onion rings while I danced and listened to tunes.

Mother Road Trio 2017

On Sunday, late afternoon, we went into Flagstaff to the Southside Tavern, to listen to my favorite band, The Mother Road Trio. The Southside Tavern is an historic building at 117 S. San Francisco St., between Butler and the railroad tracks. The place has an embossed tin ceiling and a down-home atmosphere. One of their specialties is a thick tomato soup. My favorite dish is the “grilled cheese sliders.” A yummy grilled cheese sandwich is cut into four triangles and each is served dunked into four shot glasses filled with the tomato soup.

The Mother Road Trio (Steve, Larry, and SammyMac) played their eclectic music: blues, old rock n roll, ballads, and their own songs. I have their CD and it keeps me company when I’m driving.

I also decided to take up a new craft. Everyone I knew already had one of my quilts and no one was clamoring for another. I know I should make some for charity, but I’m not that nice. Quilts take tons of time and effort.

While my grandchildren were taking their craft classes at JoAnn’s, I arranged for rag rug lessons. (JoAnn’s will find someone to teach you any craft you hanker after.) I split the four-hour lesson into two parts so I could master the first method before going on the second.

The first session taught me how to use strips of material and crochet them into rugs, placemats, table runners, etc. It’s best done with long lengths of material, like an old sheet. My neighbor Elaine told me the Community Church is using plastic bags with this method to make pallets for the homeless to sleep on.

I started out with hand-woven fabric I’d bought in China in 2007. Tearing it in two-inch strips gave my arm muscles a workout. I made a “thing” to dress up the coffee table in my living room. I then bought fabric (good thing I had a 50% off coupon) to make a table runner for a friend’s birthday. Then I bought more fabric to make placemats for another friend. The latter are not very practical as the placemat is thick and there are many spaces in the crocheting.


The second session involved making rag rugs with material and yarn. I tore up an old sheet. (I highly recommend ripping fabric as a stress reliever.) I bought some variegated yarn and was quite pleased with how it looked when I started the project. However, I didn’t count stitches and it turned out looking like the first scarf I’d crocheted in 1970: nice in the middle but the rows weren’t the same length. As instructed, I washed the projects in Dreft and put them in the dryer until they were only half wet. I then blocked the placemats and rug. They look better, but not professional. They are relatives of those “loving hands from home” items one sees at craft bazars.

rag rug

I figure if I tell people the rugs are for use outside their doors, the recipients won’t be worried about whether the rug looks “professional.”

At the very least, making these projects keeps me out of the sweets while I’m watching TV.



I’m No Good At Small Talk

August 15, 2017

A. E, E 1981

Elizabeth, Emily and me in 1981

Whenever I meet someone new, I dread the small talk. It starts with “Where are you from?” “What do (did) you do for work?” And eventually “how many kids do you have?” That’s the stumper.

In August 1986, I was a single mother with two daughters. In August 1987, I was married with two stepsons living with me. That’s about as radical a change as life can throw at a person.

Thirty years ago, on August 16, 1987, my life changed completely. On that date, Northwest Airlines Flight # 255 crashed outside Detroit. Both of my daughters, ages thirteen and seven, were killed. It’s not something I want to mention in casual conversation. At first, I felt compelled to do so, to not deny their existence. That proved to be a conversation stopper; awkward for everyone.

I have written about my journey to go on to a new life in my memoir, As One Door Closes. I wrote the book so I wouldn’t have to talk about it. Anyone who has lost a child understands that the pain never goes away, one learns how to handle life around it.

The problem was I couldn’t promote the book as I would then have to talk about their deaths and the aftermath, negating the whole idea behind the book. I did one interview, on the Pat McMahon Show, He asked questions that surprised and ambushed me. I never did another interview.

This year is the first I can look at photos of my daughters and enjoy them, treasuring the memories.

If you see me on August 16, just give me a hug, but don’t expect me to talk about the crash. I can only write about it.

My memoir is available on Amazon


Pickleballing as a Single Person

August 3, 2017

pickleball Annie

There are many sports you can do as a single person or as a couple: golf, tennis, softball, bowling, and skiing. Unfortunately, I have no talent or interest in those sports. I do bowl with the grandkids, once or twice a year. That’s enough for me.

Pickleball is also a sport where you don’t have to be part of a couple. It takes four people to play a game. If more than that show up, people rotate in. Pinewood Country Club has four courts, but many times there aren’t multiples of four. There are couples who come to play, but they don’t usually rotate in together. This makes the sport especially attractive to single people or those whose spouses or significant others don’t play the game. There’s absolutely no stigma in going to the courts alone.

That having been said, some places make distinctions on the level of play. Good players prefer to play with other good players. There’s no handicapping, as in golf, to make up being teamed with a poor player. I always joke that I should have a handicap so whoever plays with me has a chance of winning.

I’ve played between fifty and seventy games this year. I’ve been on the winning side a handful of times. This would be discouraging to many people. I improve each year, but then so does everyone else. And many of the newer players start out better than me because they are athletic, which I’m not. It’s a good thing I’m not competitive or I’d get upset when I lost, which is most of the time. I see Pickleball as extra steps on my Fitbit and time in the outdoors spent with fun people.