Friday, November 29, 2019

March 28, 1944

March 28, 1944

Hello Sugar Puss,
Not much has happened here to me is particularly interesting except that we have seen the sun for about three days straight which is unusual. Took a walk into the country to look at the city from the side of the mountain but the mist was so heavy that I couldn't see much. On the way out to the hill I saw a number of hot houses where they have flowers. The were so many that I asked about them. They said that a great many people who live in town do not have enough room by their houses to grow flowers and plants, so they rent a small hot house at the edge of the city. They say that the plants are well cared for by their owners, and like most everything here, they appear to be immaculate.

They use a lot of bikes here and have quite a few of them built for two. The boys dress in corduroy gym shirts and the girls quite often the same for cross country travel. When each rides their own, it is quite polite to ride rather close together and travel slow so they can talk all the while they are moving. And of course they ride with the fellow on the side next to the middle of the road. They all carry a rather large repair kit with them and some of them no doubt come in pretty handy from the way they sound when they go by you.

Sandra's picture came all right but there was none of you and Puss, that will not do so in  your next letter, be dern sure you have one of yourself in it and then send it by air mail just like the other. I'll get a box off to you if possible with some things I have purchased here for you and Sandy. The 31st of this month is the main reason. Happy Birthday, Puss.
All my love,

That Weird Thanksgiving When We Had The Bed Bugs

We traditionally host Thanksgiving every year at our house with a crowd of friends and loved ones. Tuesday night, we found bedbugs in the house. The exterminator can’t come out until next week because of the holiday weekend but warned us not to have anyone over for fear of sending them home with bugs, nor could we leave the house before following an extended protocol. We cooked and had a quiet night with just the three of us. It will always be remembered as That Weird Thanksgiving When We Had The Bed Bugs. And we have so much to be grateful for.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Perfect Turkey

The perfect turkey is one I no longer have to make myself.

A Very Busy Coffee Table

If every picture tells a story, this is the story of a coffee table with:
My books
A $50 parking ticket from the City of Pasadena
Bob's school books
My book of lists
Jeff's mini-recording studio
Medical tape for taping up an injured toe
Cup of coffee (duh)
Baseball cards
And Levi

Monday, November 25, 2019

It's Mademoiselle Magic Stuffing Time!

It's the return of a perennial favorite. That's right! It's Mademoiselle Magic Stuffing Time! Cut your celery! Dice your onions! Drive all over town trying to find a store that sells that most crucial but elusive of ingredients, dried currants! Use all the exclamation points! You can do it and it will all be worth it! Click this link and travel back in time to meet up with your favorite recipe.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Smacksy Sunday Links

Partial View of Spelunking by Christ Fraticelli, Mixed Media, 2019

Understand your values.

Solid financial advice.

How to be kind to yourself and still get stuff done.

An introvert's tips for loving the holiday season.

Tiny house bookstore on wheels, in France.

Declare it art. 

And baby penguins.

Happy Sunday.

Smacksy Saturday Photo: At Bat

In Southern California, the season lasts all year. Thank goodness.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

March 23, 1944

March 23, 1944

Hello Puss,
The Air Mail letter with Sandra's picture came. Gee, she looks like a butter ball sure enough. It's no wonder at all that they make over her so much. If they don't spoil her now, I will when I get back. But there sure is someone I'm longing to spoil a great deal more and I'm going to do just that when we move into our new home. Hope that you are able to get the film there in Amarillo 'cause those snapshots are the things that carry you half way around the world in a second or so, leaving some dern nice memories. They are of the kind you don't forget ever. It's just like dreaming in your dreams. Everything is perfect.

Certainly would be grand if Ford was right the other day when he said that the war would be over in about two months. He said he could give no reason for saying so now but he did have something to back his opinion on.

Have been looking in shop windows for trinkets and such but they are so scarce. But I know that I'll have something by the 31st even if it will be a bit late getting there. All this of course means Happy Birthday from this lug across the pond that loves ya gobs.


He doesn't love thunder.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Waiting For The Rain: A Holiday List

The rain was supposed to start at midnight and last until the late afternoon. It's morning now with dark, heavy skies and not one drop has fallen. It will, they say. It probably will. The world is balanced on the edge of her seat, waiting for so many things to happen.

Because Thanksgiving is on the last day of November this year, we get one less week of the holiday season. It's up to us to plunge in, maybe earlier than we usually might, and make things merry. Like, rock the hell out of merry. Even if you're not feeling it. Especially if you're not feeling it. We need merry makers right now, regardless of the facts.

Play Christmas music in the car. Feliz Navidad and Carol of the Bells are irresistible.

My friend Anna swears by serving supper and snacks on fancy holiday dessert plates. Now.

Watch a holiday movie. Maybe one of the new ones streaming on Hallmark or maybe an old fave like The Grinch.

Get a little something-something for the house. A cranberry scented candle or a little ceramic house with a light inside. A trip to Tarjay or the 99 Cent Store will do nicely.

Decorate an orange by sticking whole cloves straight into the peel in a pattern and hold a little holiday magic in your hands. And nose.

Tie a bow or piece of tinsel on the dog's collar. This situation will only last a few minutes until he pulls it off so take a quick photo and use it as the wallpaper on your phone.

Call your Aunt Sophie in Texas just to check in. If you don't have an Aunt Sophie in Texas, you already know who you should be calling. (Whoever popped into your mind first.)

Bring the Christmas cactus inside.

Sit still for a minute. Just one. Concentrate on your breath. It helps us in our interactions with others. It helps with interactions with ourselves.

What's your holiday go-to food treat item? Fudge? Pomegranates? Gingerbread? Dark chocolate with almonds? Eat it.

Send a few seasonal cards early. My mom sends them the day after Thanksgiving. That will work. If that sounds hard - even just one card. Or letter. A quick note. (She also likes to have her Christmas shopping done by August but that's another story.)

Send a little something to your favorite charity, or donate some time. Hand a few dollars to someone who asks for it and don't worry about how they will spend it. (That's none of your business.) Do whatever works best for you. Giving is magic.

Do you traditionally hang holiday lights outside? Put a decorated tree in your window? Hang a wreath on your door? Don't put it off. Decorate your place. Let your home share the season.

Two words: Hot Chocolate

Read, perhaps for the hundredth time, Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

Sit still for a minute. Just one.

Monday, November 18, 2019

March 20, 1944

Another letter from my grandfather to my grandmother.

March 20, 1944

Hi you and little you,
Several evenings ago I tried my luck at bicycling and like a good bit of other luck, it wasn't as good with English bikes. The front brake was broken and the back one broke while I was riding it, so I just rode around a bit without any brakes. The chain jumped off a couple of times also - more fun.

Had tea last evening. This time they served tarts and maids of honor. The tarts are a bit of jelly placed in the center of a bit of bread dough. The maids of honor are about the same with a small sponge cake top. The crumpets are something like a biscuit. All of them are swell when served with tea. The pictures I told you about are finally ready. They are definitely not good - they look too much like me. Going to send to you just to let you see what your old man looks like sometimes when he is looking over the situation.

How nice it would be to hear a jukebox again with a bit of American jazz pouring forth in its sentimental manner. Just think, to be able to go down across the street from the bus station and play some music, eat a sandwich, and drink a cup of good coffee. Many is the time I have though of it.

Time for me to get some shut eye so bye for now.
Love and kisses,

Saturday, November 16, 2019

6 Years Ago

Bob was seven. My mom's dog Sam was a few months. Time is mysterious. Also, Facebook likes to squeeze my heart with these memories.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

March 18, 1944

From my grandfather, stationed in England to my grandmother in Texas. From the address it seems that she was visiting her Aunt Bernice. At this date, my mother (Sandra) was just two months old and he had yet to meet her.

March 18, 1944
Hello Puss and Little Puss,
Another week has just about passed into oblivion with but little to write and tell you in my Sugar Report. Did receive two letters from you on the same day, dated February 14 and February 24.

Sandra seems to be causing quite a commotion all across the country. From your letters it seems she has received so many nice things from so many widely scattered people and it does seem they all make such a fuss over her. It's no wonder though, just look who she belongs to. I'm not going to bust the next to last button off my vest - they are too hard to sew on. Too bad I can't come to the States to spend my time off with you. A bit later perhaps we can solidify our dreams and I do pray for that day.

I accepted an invitation to tea and had quite a nice time. The fellow is a merchant and has a shop in the middle of town. His family is quite nice and I have very nearly adopted their little girl. Sweet she is, but what should I do with two now? May go back at some other time to see them again. Really do like the tea but that's about all because of the lack of seasoning in the English food. The "chips" are French fries and that's about all you can get in the restaurants too, outside of fish and tea. I don't eat fish so I drink the tea.

Be sure to keep me posted on things and let me know how you're doing. And do take good care of yourself and the chick, 'cause I love my gals with a capital L. I'll try to look after this funny looking guy for you too.
All my love,

I Know What I'm Getting Him For Christmas

Sleep mask!

Monday, November 11, 2019

March 8, 1944

Happy Veteran's Day. Today, for Veterans Day, I read aloud a V-Mail letter on my YouTube channel. To see it, click here. Below, I'm continuing with an excerpt from another letter sent to my grandmother from my grandfather during WWII.

Hello Puss,
... When you write, say anything you wish for your mail to me is not searched by the censors. Of course you know that I can't buy any clothes here so maybe you could send me a scarf, green in color. Bought a handmade knife at a very reasonable price. Bought a bell in a pub and looked at the bottom of it - Made in the USA. That was one time the joke was on me.

Get pretty blue over here - not by myself I know, but this time it's bad. I want you near me so much and the thought of it being a long time maybe, just about shakes the props out from under me. Tried getting a bit blotto but it was only a waste of dough. Now it may seem a bit odd but when I do get the blues, I can't sit down and write like I want to. One fellow said if he could just cry for a few minutes, he could get rid of it but he is like me. He can't cry no matter what. To get a letter helps to make them vanish so write often Puss, please.

Sure gets dark here - finally got a hand torch so I wont run into my hand when I put it up for a guide on a dark night. You know Love, that's getting pretty dark.
I do love you Puss, just a little and you know that means with all my love,

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Smacksy Sunday Links

My great-grandmother Albinita and my Aunt Dolores

A few words from Warren Buffet.

Home is always worth it.

How a 17-year-old is helping feed the homeless.

This is a lovely tradition I've been doing for a few years now.

Things I wish someone had told me when i started cooking.

This street photography. 

And ravens exhibit complex intelligence behaviors similar to humans.

Happy Sunday.

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Waiting

Watching Mr. Rosenberg making pancakes. 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Another Thing I Made

And the music's not immortal;
But the world has made it sweet.
-Alfred Noyes, The Barrel Organ

Thursday, November 7, 2019

29 February, 1944 - Leap Year

The next letter to my grandmother from my grandfather, during World War II.

Hello Sugar Puss,
Received your letter of the 3 February on the 27, two days ago. And today's Sugar Report will start in where my last letter left off. I was, at the time, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. After due course of time, we landed and are now somewhere in England.... England has been at war for four years. A husband, brother, sister, or any combination of such, is nine times out of ten, missing from the family and it naturally leaves a surplus of girls. After so much of the heartbreak of the war, they live for what pleasure they can possibly derive. So it is not the destruction of a country that ruins it. Rather it is the last hope which is gone and they term it morale. The longer the fight, the lower the morale goes. You can see now that a country degenerates terribly and loses even though they may win the so called victory for they send to war, the cream of the crop...

English are very generous. when you eat a meal at their house. they will put a week's ration on the table and tell you to eat it all. But out of politeness and to save them from starving, you eat but very little.

I look for mail from you every day and day after day there is none but I know that as soon as they are able to, the mail will come thru to us. Sure wish I had put you in my pocket before I left for now I could take you out and let you live near me. The first time I come home, I'm going to do that very thing. Put you in one pocket and Sandra in the other. Give her a kiss for me and keep most of them for yourself and here is a bear hug. Keep the home fires burning for this guy over here cause he sure does love you and miss you terribly. The war won't last forever though and when it's over I'll come back and no more do I roam by myself. Be sure to write.
Love, Lee

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fall Back

Pet Store Clerk Guy: Ok, great. Do you have a discount phone number with us?

Me: Yeah. 323... Wait. I don't have a 323 number.

PSCG: No problem.

Me: 626... Hold on. Um.

PSCG: I found you by your name. Do you want to put in a different number for next time?

Me: Yeah. I'll use my cell. I don't know where my brain is.

PSCG: It's okay. It's only Tuesday. Still early in the week.

Me: Isn't it Wednesday?

PSCG: Oh, yeah. I guess it is.

Me: High five.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

January 26, 1944

This letter from my grandfather to my grandmother was sent from Camp Howze, Texas where he was stationed at a training camp. The Kathleen he refers to is his sister. My mother (Sandra) had been born fifteen days before and he had yet to meet her.

"Hello Puss, and Little Puss,
Today there was no word from you but  letter from Kathleen came this afternoon. It is enclosed and the cross cannons she spoke of are those that I wore during the first two years that I was in the Army. If you would like them, tell her and she will send them to you.When I left on the train last week, I forgot to tell her what to do with them. Both Mother and Kathleen came down there to the station to see me off.

From your letter of Sunday, it sounds as if Sandra has been handed both of our temperaments all rolled up into one. Quiet and easy going most of the time but gets riled if someone steps on her toes. Good for her. Am anxious to see the pictures of her you intend to have made. Do it as soon as you can. And be sure to let me know how your check up with the doctor comes out and how much Sandra weighs and how she is getting along...

And now if the censor passes both letters, I and I think he will, I'll go to bed and get some sleep.

Loads of love, Lee" 

How I Got Into Show Business and Other Stories

I'm back here to invite you again to subscribe to, or just watch even, my YouTube channel. Smacksy is here to stay and isn't going anywhere, but on my YouTube channel I can get a little more in depth about topics I want to share with you. Click HERE to see the latest post. I talk about Sliding Doors and answer a question I get a lot - How did I get into show business? Come follow, friends!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Smacksy Sunday Links

Why it's a terrible idea to put your resolutions on hold.

Declutter your fantasy self.

How to remember what you read.

What our Hudson News haul says about who we are. (XL Smart Water, Real Simple Magazine, Peanut M&Ms)

Country house libraries.

An unexpected story of love at first sight.

And this sweet owl.

Happy Sunday.

Smaksy Saturday Photo: So Helpful

When I'm trying to make the bed and this guy happens. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

It's Me. For you. On YouTube.

Here's the little intro video I made. It's an announcement about my announcement that I have started a new YouTube channel for your viewing enjoyment. It will be sort of like the blog but different because different content but also because it's me talking to you instead of you reading to yourself. I'm kind of excited and it as excellent as winging it on the fly can get. Maybe. Click HERE to see the new channel. Please Like, Comment, Subscribe, and press the bell to get notifications about when I post some new goodness for you. You guys are nice.