Saturday, October 1

A fine fat arse


Last, but not least of my Phoenix Comicon 16 experiences, local author Diana Gabaldon signed me, too!

Gabaldon has written the wildly successful Outlander books, which are being recreated as a television series on Starz. 

Knowing how much Jamie Fraser appreciates a well-rounded arse, Momma asked Gabaldon to sign Mine!

I think that was a first for all of us!



Friday, September 30

Doll Trek:TNG

Here's another belated photograph from Phoenix Comicon 16 - Gates McFadden of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame playing with Clementine and I! (Gates had just had cataract surgery so she was wearing sunglasses.)

She obviously liked us and spent a few minutes talking to Momma about her own childhood dolls. 

Oh, and she signed Me right above Wil Wheaton's signature. 

I'm getting quite the autograph collection!



Thursday, September 29

Hello sweeties!

It just occurred to Me that I never shared this photo of Clementine and I with Alex Kingston of Doctor Who fame!

We met her on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at Phoenix Comicon. She, of course, loved us and later that day signed our photo.

Thankfully, the power of our TARDIS backpack saved us, and the TARDIS bag Momma carried saved our signed photo when our house was destroyed that night by The Fire. 

All hail the TARDIS!



Tuesday, September 27

Taco trucks on every corner

Look at what Momma found for me! My very own taco truck!

The phrase "taco trucks on every corner" was stated by Donald Trump supporter Marco Gutierrez on Sept. 1, 2016, and has since received widespread attention during the 2016 United States presidential election.

National Public Radio news wrote that taco trucks "now straddle the worlds of political symbol and internet meme."

We can't tell you how much we want to get Target's Our Generation Sweet Stop Ice Cream Truck and convert it into a taco truck!!



Thursday, June 16

Smoke gets in your eyes

Clementine and I have spent most of the last week-and-a-half sunbathing in Momma's brother's back yard. 

Momma scrubbed us down ("Don't forget to wash behind your ears!") and carefully hand-washed the Doctor Who outfits we wore to Phoenix Comicon 16 on Saturday before the fire. Other than one or two minor soot stains on our cloth bodies and Tardis bag, we're practically good as new!

Momma says I need to be restrung, but that can wait until she assembles the necessary materials again. 

Meanwhile, Clementine and I plan to write a Strongly Worded letter of praise to the manufacturer of our Tardis backpack. I hate to think what our appearance would be without it. 

Saturday, June 11

No strings attached

In three hours it will be one week since our nightmare began. One week since my parents' home of nearly 41 years went up in flames. It was the single most terrifying moment of my life - and one that I would not wish on anyone.

Despite losing our home, one car, generations of possessions, and two dearly loved cats we have gained much: love, compassion, generosity.

We have been astounded by the outpouring of donations and acts of kindness. A car. Monetary donations. Gift cards, Hugs. Raffles. Water. Shade. More hugs. Someone to cry with. Free services. The list goes on and on and on.

We have discovered we are not alone. 

That no man (or woman) is an island.

We are family.

And we thank you.

"Here is a good stick for your house. It is a gift. A free gift. No strings attached. Signed, a member of your family." from Barrington Bunny by Martin Bell

Thursday, June 9

After the fire

Hello world!

Clementine and I are still airing out but doing better!

Up in smoke

You never think it'll happen to you. 

Until it does. 

Our house went up in flames at 12:35 a.m. on Sunday, June 5. All of the people barely made it out and most of the pets. 

Momma discovered Clementine and I safe in our TARDIS backpack late Sunday afternoon. (We're sunbathing in the nude for now.) Thankfully she hadn't taken us out yet after returning from Phoenix Comicon that afternoon. 

We are smoky and wet but salvageable. The house is a complete loss and Momma, family, and friends are still salvaging items from the ruins. 

Sadly, two cats did not escape and Grandpoppa's car was totalled, too. 

Keep the people you love close. 

In the blink of an eyeJust a whisper of smokeYou could lose everythingThe truth is you never know

Meghan Trainor



Saturday, May 21

If you can read this, thank a teacher

Hopefully everyone has at least one teacher who has made a difference.

At least one teacher who believed in you.

At least one teacher who thought you were everything you thought you could be - and then some.

For Momma, that teacher was Gerri B. Fiedler. And today was Mrs. Fiedler's memorial service.

Momma first met Mrs. Fiedler in the spring of 1979. Momma had a crush and started hanging around the journalism room at Coronado High School in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The crush faded in time, but her love of writing and photography grew and was nurtured under Frau Fiedler's tender relentless tutelage.

All Momma really needed to know she learned in Gerri Fiedler's classes. 

This was "old school" journalism: Typewriters, 35mm cameras, darkrooms, carbon paper, newsprint, rubber cement, pica poles, late nights, early mornings, deadlines, pizza.

Frau Fiedler was always there, whether it was 6 a.m. or midnight.

Mrs. Fiedler was always there.

It has been 34 years since Momma graduated from high school, but Momma never forgot Frau Fiedler and Frau never forgot Momma - or any of her kids.

Momma would call her every now and then to share life events. Frau Fielder would call every now and then - especially after seeing Momma's byline.

She was always so proud of her kids.

Frau Fiedler was always there for her kids.

And now she's not. 

We'll see you again at the great newsroom in the sky.


Feb. 21, 1930 - April 29, 2016



Friday, May 20

Step on a crack...

...break your mother's back.

Hello! I know it has been Much Too Long, but it has been Crazy around here.

Grandmomma fell and broke her back two months ago, so Momma has been a wee bit overwhelmed. The Good News is Grandmomma is scheduled to come home next week!

Momma is also eyeing Grandmomma's back brace. She saw a steampunked version on Epbot in January and thought it was amazing. Little did we realize we'd get our own soon enough!

Also, a BIG Happy Birthday Tip of the Tiny Top Hat to my Big Sister who turns 13 today!

Yup, it's Friday the 13th for Us!


Very superstitious, writings on the wall,
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall,
Thirteen
(year!) old baby, broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past


When you believe in things that you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way

 Stevie Wonder

Monday, March 7

Betsy-Tacy Go Downton Addie

Momma and I have survived yet another Betsy's Ray of Sunshine!

Nine ladies (Dare I say, Perfectly Awful Girls?) from around the United States gathered this weekend in the sun-drenched historic Willo District in Phoenix to eat, drink, laugh, drink, play (the Wildly Inappropriate) Cards Against Humanity, drink, listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, drink, shop, and watch the final episode of Downton Abbey together - while drinking.

What brought them together? A deep love of the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace and a chance to eat, laugh, and drink together.

We greeted old friends, made new ones, and missed those who have gone to the Great Library in the Sky. 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Wednesday, February 24

It's what we drink around here

CBS This Morning
For those poor souls who have never heard of Vernors Ginger Ale, let alone tried it, I shall endeavor to give you a brief history.

Vernors is a ginger-flavored soft drink and the oldest surviving ginger ale brand in the United States - although there were a lot of commercial ginger drinks prior to 1866.

Vernors is a highly carbonated, sweet "golden" ginger ale that gets its color from caramel and has a robust flavor similar to ginger beer. The golden style was common before Prohibition, when "dry" pale ginger ale became popular. 

According to company legend,
Detroit pharmacist James Vernor experimented with flavors in an attempt to duplicate a popular ginger ale imported from Ireland prior to the start of the Civil War. When Vernor went off to serve in the Civil War, he stored the ginger syrup base of 19 ingredients in an oak cask.

Vernor joined the 4th Michigan Cavalry on Aug. 14, 1862 as a hospital steward, was promoted to second lieutenant on Sept. 20, 1864, and was discharged on July 1, 1865. After returning in 1866, he opened the keg and found the drink inside had been changed by the aging process in the wood. It was like nothing else he had ever tasted, and he allegedly said it was "Deliciously different," which remains the drink's motto to this day. 

Some stories say it was created in 1866. However,  James Vernor, Jr., admitted in a 1936 interview that the formula was not developed by his father until after the Civil War was over. This was confirmed in a 1962 interview with former company president, James Vernor Davis. According to the 1911 trademark application, Vernor's ginger ale first entered commerce in 1880, not 1866. (As a reference, Coca-Cola was first sold on May 8, 1886, and in 1893, "Brad's Drink," became an overnight sensation. On Aug. 28, 1898, it was renamed "Pepsi-Cola.")

For most of its history, Vernors was a regional product only sold at soda fountain franchises. Later Vernors was bottled for home consumption. Vernors was not mass distributed nationally until the 1960s. Even after expansion, Michigan accounts for 80 percent of Vernors sales. Michigan, Ohio and Illinois are the highest-selling states, but it is also popular in Florida and Arizona, which has many retired mid-western residents.

A number of slogans have been associated with Vernors over the years. Advertising in the early 1900s used the slogan "Detroit's Drink." It began using the slogan "Deliciously Different" in 1921, and for a time in the mid-1980s Vernors used the slogan, "It's what we drink around here."



It is what we drink around here.


Tuesday, February 23

Life is like a beautiful Melody

American Girl
I honestly don't know how I'm going to survive until this summer when Melody Ellison is released.

American Girl has been doing an excellent job this week promoting Melody because of Black History Month.

Because February is Black History Month, your daughter may be learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights movement in school. But even in our own changing times, civil rights issues and the social climate of the 1960s may be difficult for her to fully understand. That is why we are so proud to introduce our compelling new BeForever™ character, Melody, whose story reflects the changing face and history of the nation during that important era.

Nine-year-old Melody is growing up in Detroit in the mid-1960s, a time of great energy, optimism, and change for the African American community. She is a singer and loves to perform in church, with her family, and in her community. Her stories are set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, which was gathering momentum, and the music scene, including the success and popularity of Motown Records and its artists.

As Melody gains more awareness of racial inequality and her sense of community grows from her extended family to include her neighborhood and, ultimately, all African Americans, she is inspired by Dr. King to have a dream of her own: to lift her voice for fairness and equality.

Because many girls are interested in music and performing, as well as starting to find their own "voice" and express their opinions, they'll find Melody's stories engaging and entertaining. You'll love that they're educational, too, helping your girl connect with the past on a more personal level. Come meet Melody Ellison and introduce her to your girl today!

But what is Momma most excited about? Vernors. Melody constantly drinks ginger ale in her first book, especially Vernors - a Detroit invention and midwestern favorite. And what did Momma spot on the table during yesterday's CBS This Morning broadcast? A teeny-tiny bottle of Vernors!

So what's the deal about Vernors? That will be a lesson for another day.



Tuesday, February 16

Wednesday, February 10

The next generation

I am so going to crush this!

First Wil Wheaton at Phoenix Comicon 11, and now his mom.

Well, his show mom.

Gates McFadden was cast in 1987 as Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation as a widow balancing motherhood and a career as well as Captain Jean-Luc Picard's love interest.

McFadden was replaced by actress Diana Muldaur as the Enterprise's Chief Medical Officer
at the end of the first season. (Muldaur's character, Dr. Katherine Pulaski, didn't make it to the third season.) McFadden was persuaded to reprise her role, which she retained through the remainder of the series.

McFadden reprised her role for all four TNG movies and also provided her voice for personal computer games Star Trek: A Final Unity and Star Trek Generations. Also, McFadden directed the TNG episode "Genesis" (her only directing credit to date) and choreographed the dance routine in "Data's Day."


I shall be dressing as the doctor herself.

Wow, that makes two Doctors in one weekend!


A River Song runs through it


Who is coming to Phoenix Comicon 16?

Known for roles in some of the most popular television series in both the United States and the United Kingdom, 2008 saw Alex Kingston in one of her most beloved recurring roles to genre fans when she guest-starred in the fourth series of Doctor Who. Her debut as the character River Song was in the two-part episode "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead.” Originally thought to be a one-off, River Song was such a hit with fans she has since appeared in 15 episodes of the series ... and counting.

So what shall we wear?

Clementine plans to wear an outfit inspired by the one worn by Mels as she regenerated into River Song.

I shall be dressed as the 11th Doctor - fez and all!

Momma will be busy!

 

Thursday, January 28

Pink bombshell

Hallelujah!

Barbie announced today the expansion of its Fashionistas® line with the addition of three new body types – tall, curvy and petite – and a variety of skin tones, hair styles and outfits. 
The new 2016 Barbie® Fashionistas® doll line includes four body types (the original and three new bodies), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and countless on-trend fashions and accessories. Adding more diversity into the line continues the journey that Barbie started in 2015 when the brand added 23 dolls with new skin tones, hair colors and, most notably, a flat foot.

The 2016 Fashionistas® line will include:
  • 33 new dolls
  • 30 hair colors
  • 24 hair styles
  • 22 eye colors
  • 14 face sculpts
  • 7 skin tones
  • 4 body types
The new dolls can be viewed on Barbie.com and will be available to order on Jan. 28, 2016 on Shop.Mattel.com in the U.S. The collection will be available starting in spring 2016 at major toy retailers worldwide.


Sunday, January 24

Hill of Sacrifice

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Momma and I are now well rested enough to write about our whirlwind trip to Honolulu.

I shall start with a little background. Nineteen years ago Momma's aunt flew her extended family to Honolulu to be with her when she interred the ashes of her late husband at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He was a World War II veteran and a survivor of the Battle of Iwo Jima, Feb. 19 - March 26, 1945).

Momma does not know too much about his wartime experiences as a Marine simply because he Did Not like to talk about it. She does know he was running up the beach at Iwo Jima when there was a blast or explosion which knocked him to the ground. When he looked up, his two best friends (who had been on each side of him) were dead. He was later shot through the wrist and received a Purple Heart. 

That service qualified him for burial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (informally known as Punchbowl Cemetery).

Momma's aunt enjoyed having her entire family with her so much she always said she wanted us to do the same when she died and made provisions for such a trip in her estate. So this trip was planned since her death in October. 

Few national cemeteries can compete with the dramatic natural setting of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The "Punchbowl" was formed about 75,000 to 100,000 years ago during the Honolulu period of secondary volcanic activity. A crater resulted from the ejection of hot lava through cracks in the old coral reefs which, at the time, extended to the foot of the Koolau Mountain Range.

Although there are various translations of the Punchbowl's Hawaiian name, "Puowaina," the most common is "Hill of Sacrifice." This translation closely relates to the history of the crater. The first known use was as an altar where Hawaiians offered human sacrifices to pagan gods and the killed violators of the many taboos. (During the late 1890s, a committee recommended that the Punchbowl become the site for a new cemetery to accommodate the growing population of Honolulu. The idea was rejected for fear of polluting the water supply and the emotional aversion to creating a city of the dead above a city of the living.)

The Punchbowl Cemetery is a national cemetery located at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawai'i. It serves as a memorial to honor those men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces, and those who have given their lives in doing so.

The view of Honolulu from the rim of the Punchbowl crater.
It is administered by the National Cemetery Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Millions of visitors visit the cemetery each year, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawai'i.

In February 1948, Congress approved funding and construction began on the national cemetery. Prior to the opening of the cemetery for the recently deceased, the remains of soldiers from locations around the Pacific Theater—including Guam, Wake Island, and Japanese POW camps—were transported to Hawai'i for final interment. The first interment was made Jan. 4, 1949 - 10 years before Hawai'i became a state. The cemetery opened to the public on July 19, 1949, with services for five war dead: an unknown serviceman, two Marines, an Army lieutenant, and one noted civilian war correspondent, Ernie Pyle.


Since the cemetery was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1949, approximately 53,000 World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans and their dependents have been interred. The cemetery now almost exclusively accepts cremated remains (cremains) for above-ground placement in columbaria.

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific contains a "Memorial Walk" that is lined with a variety of memorial markers from various organizations and governments that honor America's veterans. As of 2012, there were 60 memorial boulders (bearing bronze plaques) along the pathway. Additional memorials can be found throughout the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific—most commemorating soldiers of 20th Century wars, including those killed at Pearl Harbor.

Among the many memorials is the quote from Abraham Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby: 
 
The solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.


That costly sacrifice can take place with lives lost - or the emotional toll it later takes upon our veterans and their families.



Thursday, January 21

Down under


Momma and I are still recovering from our whirlwind trip to Honolulu (Momma brought back a cold, too), but I wanted to post one special photo of two of my newest friends from Australia!

Momma and I met these two lovely Aussies, their parents, and Grace and Maryellen while staying at the Royal Hawaiian!


I was, of course, delighted to meet them and see my Good Friends, but they laughed when I told them about my desire for Nugget the Wombat!
 

Oh well, I tried.

G'day mates! I hope your travels were fun, good and safe.



Tuesday, January 19

In the pink

Don't swoon, but I have overcome My aversion to pink.

We are back in Arizona, but Momma and I stayed at the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki with the rest of the family. 

Momma's aunt flew the family to Hawai'i 19 years ago for the interment of her husband. She enjoyed the celebration so much she always said she wanted the family to do it again when she died.

So we stayed at the Pink Palace of the Pacific, courtesy of her Estate!

The opening of The Royal Hawaiian on Feb. 1, 1927, ushered in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawai'i.  The resort was built with a price tag of $4 million and was completed in 18 months.

The six-story, 400-room structure was fashioned in a Spanish-Moorish style, popular during the period and influenced by screen star Rudolph Valentino. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin described the newly opened Royal Hawaiian as "the first resort hostelry in America."

I shall share more history, stories, and photographs this week, but I'm exhausted!



Wednesday, January 13

Aloha 'Oe

Momma and I are heading tomorrow with the family to inter her aunt at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The song Aloha 'Oe, composed by the late Queen Liliʻuokalani, seems appropriate:


Haʻaheo e ka ua i nā pali Proudly swept the rain by the cliffs
Ke nihi aʻela i ka nahele As it glided through the trees
E hahai (uhai) ana paha i ka liko Still following ever the bud
Pua ʻāhihi lehua o uka The ʻāhihi lehua of the vale


Hui: Chorus:
Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe Farewell to thee, farewell to thee
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
One fond embrace, One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au 'Ere I depart
Until we meet again Until we meet again


ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki mai Sweet memories come back to me
Ke hone aʻe nei i Bringing fresh remembrances
Kuʻu manawa Of the past
ʻO ʻoe nō kuʻu ipo aloha Dearest one, yes, you are mine own
A loko e hana nei From you, true love shall never depart


Tomago: Refrain:
Maopopo kuʻu ʻike i ka nani I have seen and watched your loveliness
Nā pua rose o Maunawili The sweet rose of Maunawili
I laila hiaʻia nā manu And 'tis there the birds of love dwell
Mikiʻala i ka nani o ka liko And sip the honey from your lips
Hui Chorus

Saturday, January 2

Hats. Why did it have to be hats?

I can see already that Lea is going to be trouble.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E

Momma got Me a Fun Fedora yesterday at the American Girl Scottsdale store, but what did Lea do last night?

She stole it.

I admit she wears My Fedora with panache, but really.

The word fedora comes from the title of an 1882 play by dramatist Victorien Sardou, Fédora being written for Sarah Bernhard. Bernhardt played Princess Fédora and wore a center-creased, soft brimmed hat. The hat became fashionable for women, and the women's rights movement adopted it as a symbol.

It dropped in popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but Indiana Jones re-popularized the fedora in the Indiana Jones moving picture franchise.

No one messes with Indiana's hat, and they better not mess with mine.


Friday, January 1

Karma chameleon

Checking out Lea's Rainforest House ($395). The Lea
slumped in the chair is the newest member of our Vinyl American family.
Boy, talk about what goes around, comes around.

Momma's wallet was stolen in November. The banks were quick to replace what was stolen from her accounts, but her gift cards?

Gone.

All the stores said there was no way to replace them since Momma had not bothered to write down any of the numbers on any of the gift cards.

Sadly, that included the more than $100 in American Girl gifts cards that Momma was planning on giving my Big Sister for Christmas so she could choose her own 2016 Girl of the Year Lea Clark on the release date.

Momma was devastated and told people on Facebook of her loss and disappointment.

That was when her friends (and some fans of My Blog!) stepped in and sent Momma more than enough cash and American Girl gift cards to cover the stolen AG gift cards.

So off we went early this morning for the 10 a.m. opening of the American Girl Scottsdale store and Lea's release.

After paying for Lea, we went to get her ears pierced at the doll salon.

That's when Momma spotted a small wallet on the ground at her feet. Thinking it was an American Girl accessory, Momma picked it up and casually glanced in it - only to discover is was stuffed with currency. Leaving my Big Sister and I in line, she went to find an employee.

Just as Momma started telling an employee what she had found, an emotional young girl rushed up saying, "That's mine!"

Boy, that felt good and one of the few times Momma could honestly say, "I know how you feel."