Being a grown-up


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If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort coloring!

I don’t think I want to be an adult any more. I think being an adult is over-rated. In fact, today I think that being an adult stinks!

If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort coloring. Or in the garden hiding behind the clothesline. Or driving around aimlessly in my Jeep, eating chocolate and talking on the phone.

Today started out nicely, as I spent the morning picking the brain of a sweet friend about the mysteries, perks, and pitfalls of having an etsy store. I am excited about a potential new direction for my Close To My Heart business and a sales venue for many of my mother’s things. Who knew etsy had a vintage division? I certainly did not!

The day started its downward slide as I talked with my cousin about how well her father-in-law, my most favorite uncle, was doing now that he is home from the hospital. It got a little better when my sister answered her phone and we started talking about that same uncle and how he is progressing. (For those of you who have been reading for awhile, this uncle is the husband of my precious Aunt Betty I have written about more than once.)

The truth is that none of us know when it is our time to go Heavenward. So we must make the effort to gather our loved ones around us. So I was talking to my sister on the phone (again about Uncle Phil and Aunt Betty) when our brother called. I just let it ring and kept talking. And he called back again, which is unusual. I put Melody on hold to talk to Donnie, only to hear that my east coast (actually southern) most favorite uncle (my dad’s little brother) had died. Our first concern, of course, was Daddy, and whether he was up to a cross-country trip for his brother’s funeral. And then for our aunt, who relied very heavily on her husband and now would be bereft.

We talked about the reverberations of Uncle Jim’s death throughout our family…about the great-grandchildren who would lose their playmate, about (in my case at least) remembering Uncle Jim before he married Aunt Jackie and gave us cousins. About how he in no way was the one we had thought would be the next relative to approach Heaven’s gates. And we came to one golden conclusion:

Being a grown-up bites! We are tired of having loved ones die and having to report the news to other loved ones. We are tired of watching loved ones become more and more confused and frail. And (this goes for me only) I am not feeling up to the challenge of becoming the next matriarch of our clan.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, coloring.

Picking and choosing


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A blogging friend of mine recently put out a call for guest bloggers to appear on her site on Sundays. She calls them “Ruby Slippers”, and has had some very delightful guest posts. With some trepidation I shot her an email volunteering for a guest post, and received a gracious affirmative reply.

Then the fun (and challenge) began. Never did I think that picking a favorite blog post would be so difficult! It was rather like having to pick a favorite child…well nigh impossible.

I began at the beginning and read forward, taking notes along the way of posts that I thought might have a wide appeal. Then I whittled my list down to two, which I sent back to my friend with a request that she make the final selection. And on Sunday we will see her choice.

Meanwhile, if you would like to visit her at Peace, Love, and Patchouli, here you are.



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‘Ohana means family. Families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember each other, according to Wikipedia. And ‘ohana is such an integral part of Hawaiian culture that an ‘ohana unit is part of a house or a separate structure on the same lot that may contain a relative, but which may not be rented to the general public.

I am missing Hawaii tonight, and especially missing that spirit of ‘ohana that we felt with each visit. It was there at The Guest House in Lahaina, where we were welcomed into the home of an aunt of one of my daughter’s classmates. On a later visit, it included helping decorate the Christmas tree with seashells and Hawaii-themed ornaments, and teenagers on street corners passing out candy canes from pillow cases. Mele Kalekemaka!

It continued the year we timed our visit for The Tournament of Kings, and after the competition was over we were invited back to the home of a local student of Mr. “Huk” Planas for a luau and music…the Scotch flowed and the mood was mellow, and I could have stayed there forever, mesmerized by the guitar and ukulele. Even the geckos were content as they sat by the lamps waiting for bugs to snack on.

My beautiful sister in our kitchen at Lahaina Shores, June 2011.

My beautiful sister in our kitchen at Lahaina Shores, June 2011.

And the last time…my sister was with me, and we shared all my favorite places on Maui. I watched a YouTube video about Duke Kahanamoku, who saved the tradition of surfing and popularized it outside of Hawaii, and remembered sitting at Duke’s Place and listening to the waves on the shore. The only thing better would be to have my whole family with me.

Which brings me back to ‘ohana. ‘Ohana means family.



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According to Wikipedia, “a bridal shower is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding. The custom originated in the 1890s and is today most common in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”

Today it was my pleasure to participate in showering a young friend in anticipation of her upcoming wedding. I received the ultimate compliment when the bride’s friend who was keeping track of presents (for thank you notes later) listed me as “Aunt Fawn”, and then asked which side of the family I was on. The bride was a high school coworker of my daughters many years ago; the girls introduced their mothers, and we bonded over scrapbooks. The person who wrote “a friend is a gift you give yourself” was most certainly describing us.

Directions for the Bride and Groom

Directions for the Bride and Groom

A well-done bridal shower is a truly magical event, as it reflects the joy and anticipation of the upcoming wedding, but purely focused on the bride-to-be and her mother. And this one was masterfully done, from the tiniest detail of the decor to the delicious brunch buffet (and, of course, the presents).

Next up: The wedding. I can hardly wait!

Sentimental journey

My sister and brother-in-law made it to California today, and even though I will not be seeing them this trip, I am so happy they are here. I know it makes no sense, but my heart’s logic says that having her in California is much better than in Ohio. This is a sentimental journey for them, back to the town of his childhood. I hope it is a satisfying visit for them both.

Visits “home” are hard sometimes. Vistas change, landmarks disappear or are replaced, you no longer run into friends on every street corner. Or (possibly even worse) you do, and they have changed so much that you have no memory of why you were ever friends.

And going home when your parents are no longer living is bittersweet, at best. I know half of that story, as I go home each month to my parents’ home without Mom there. In my case her personality was so strong (and collections so numerous) that reminders are everywhere, and I glory in them.

Happy traveling, Melody and Ken.

Grammy Buffington


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Today is my grandmother’s birthday. And not just any grandmother — my Grammy Buffington, the one I was named after. She died 25 years ago, but she is so present in my memories that it doesn’t feel like nearly that long.

Grammy was one of the most gracious women I have ever met. She felt that there was already enough negativity and ugliness in the world, so we should each do our part to add sweetness and grace. She didn’t tolerate gossip, and by the time I was a teenager she had totally sworn off watching the nightly news or reading the paper. Her love story(ies) are the stuff of classic romance novels, and someday I will tackle writing about them.

This is the way I first remember her, May 1952

This is the way I first remember her, May 1952

Fawn DeMurl Pender, Myrtle DeMurl Bateman Buffington, Hazel DeMurl Fenley Pender, Melody Kay Pender, c.1957

Fawn DeMurl Pender, Myrtle DeMurl Bateman Buffington, Hazel DeMurl Fenley Pender, Melody Kay Pender, c.1957

Other girls had mousy or dumpy grammies, but not me! I was secure in the knowledge that not only was my mother beautiful, but my grandmother was, too.

Happy Birthday, Grammy Buffington. You were the best ever.

More vehicles


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When I realized that three of the seven “facts about me” from yesterday’s Lovely Blog post were about vehicles, it started me thinking about the others of significance in my life. To wit:

The car known as “the big Buick”. Mom learned to drive on this 1953 fully-loaded Buick Roadmaster when I was five, and then many years and as many vacations later I learned to drive on it, too. I was also the first one to put a scratch in the paint (not a scratch, exactly — more like a gouge all the way to the base metal) not too long after I began driving it. That’s what happens when an inexperienced driver tries to take a big car through a narrow drive next to a set of tall steps. I was SO terrified to tell Daddy what had happened. His response? “Well, I guess we better go get some paint and fix it.” Not only was I allowed to live, but I continued driving!

My college room mate’s shiny new 1969 VW Fastback that I totaled coming back to Fresno from a weekend at the Coast. I flipped it over going 65 mph, rolled it three times, landed on the wheels on the edge of an embankment, and walked away with a skinned shin. The CHP officer’s question to us as we returned to the car after calling home? “Does anybody know what happened to the body?” Somewhere Daddy has a picture he took of the wreck in the salvage yard. It will give you chills!

My 1959 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon that Daddy bought me to replace Margie’s wrecked VW. She was the perfect car for a college student — could go from yard sale to yard sale with aplomb, and was a great help when moving, too. This was the first car with a name. I called her Phaedra.

Phaedra was her name (the only extant picture, to my knowledge)

Phaedra was her name (the only extant picture, to my knowledge)

The 1980 Harley Davidson ElectraGlide that caused — or was caused by — a marriage proposal. We went on our honeymoon on it, and it accompanied us into our wedding-night motel room in Los Banos. (It wouldn’t have been safe parked outside.) That is an entire story in itself.

Leaving the church...1980 HD 80 cu. in. ElectroGlide

Leaving the church…1980 HD 80 cu. in. ElectroGlide

And you have probably read the horror stories about my Jeep’s new engine adventures. I don’t want to tempt fate by talking any more about that.

I think this is a story to be continued. Sweet dreams.

My Lovely blog


My lovely friend AnnMarie over at Anntogether has shared the joy with me by nominating me for a “Lovely Blog” award. In her nomination she called me a “strong, intelligent matriarch whom I admire greatly” (which as you can imagine brought tears to my eyes). There are days when I don’t think I am either of those things, but I write from my heart and am strengthened by knowing that my words resonate with others.

Part of the joy of this award is getting to pass it on to other bloggers who have impacted or inspire me. This is my short list (there are many more, but I have to draw the line somewhere):

Peace, love and patchouli is home to the most wonderful poetry ever.
Mast musings shares thoughtful and brave commentaries on the world, and knows just the right comment to make to pick me up
Laurel at My Foray Into Food shares delicious recipes, wonderful contests through her affiliates, and teaches us how to plan ahead by buying and storing food for the long haul. Her planning inspires me.
Simply said messages is a new blog by an old friend whose courage gives me hope.
the happy lifealcoholic Adi is a tiny 20-year old from India, studying and writing delightful poetry (and chattering non-stop) in the United States.
Rose of Sharon Healing With a heart for healing and exquisite photographs, she educates us about her adopted country of Korea
Ty Spaeth is madly in love with her granddaughter, and it shows! We are grandmothers together.

With this award comes a bit of homework, so as assigned, here are seven things you probably don’t know about me (my sister and daughter probably do, but they have always had an inside track). My nominees — you will need to do this, too, if you want to play along.

One: Many years ago I wrote a children’s book called Boomerschnitzel the Bashful Elf. He hangs out with his best friends, the fairy Felicity and Freddy the Frog. My children enjoyed it when they were babies, and someday I’ll get around to trying to publish it.

Two: My “dream” vehicle (if I win the lottery, perhaps) is a 1955 Chevy, pearl gunmetal grey with deep purple pin-striping and shadow flames across the hood.

Three: My favorite truck (so far) was my little red Chevy S-10 with the KLUMSYK8 license plates…I bought her after Joseph totaled my Oldsmobile, and Grant said, “I don’t care if you buy a new truck, just as long as it isn’t a red one.” The red one was the best buy on the lot — really!

When my S-10 was two weeks old, Donnie, Georgia and I drove to Holbrook, AZ, for the Pender Family Reunion.  She didn't even have real plates yet!

When my S-10 was two weeks old, Donnie, Georgia and I drove to Holbrook, AZ, for the Pender Family Reunion. She didn’t even have real plates yet!

Four: I learned to drive a stick shift down on Oceano Beach in Jack Barker’s dad’s International Scout. That thing had a gear box that was sturdy enough to survive the worst teenaged girl’s attempts at smooth shifting. It was also a real bear to drive, had the world’s worst shocks, and I absolutely loved it.

How did I end up with three “vehicle” things here, anyway?

Five: Of all the wild critters in the world, crickets scare me the most. I think this stems from a “story” I told Mom one afternoon in maybe second grade, where I assured her this father cricket had invited me into his home to meet his family on the way home from school. I told her all about visiting with his wife and children and seeing where they lived (under the ground…do crickets really live under the ground?). When Mom suggested that this was perhaps me wanting to be able to visit the crickets in their home, I adamantly insisted that I had really done it! Neither of us would back down, and I ended up in trouble. I have mistrusted crickets ever since.

Six: If I won the Lottery big-time (after buying my truck in Fact #Two above), my dream has always been to buy a piece of property to turn into a family compound, with homes for my siblings and our children and their families (Daddy, too, of course). Our immediate clan has such good boundaries that we could all live close by and still respect each other’s privacy. Of course, it would need to be within the sound of the ocean’s waves.

Seven: Someday I hope to make money with my writing. When I think of how hard Louisa May Alcott worked to make her “scribbling” pay, I am heartened. And you, my dear audience, have encouraged me and urged me to continue, and I treasure you for that.

Okay, AnnMarie…my part is done. Thank you again for honoring me, and helping me pass the joy on to others.


Interesting things have been happening in my little corner of the blogosphere in the last week or so. Trigger’s Horse has been “traveling” around the world, with a new “follower” in India, an Italian blogger who re-blogs my posts on occasion, and a wonderful gentleman who comments with clarity and grace.

I also have been nominated for a “My Lovely” award by my friend AnnMarie, over at Anntogether. That’s going to take a bit of homework on my part, but I’m working on it.

My heart is full of wonder tonight at this lovely universe that has been created by bloggers supporting and challenging each other. My wish is that each of us may live in a community where we are supported in our efforts and challenged to go the extra mile. Sweet dreams.


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