Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Let-Me . .. . .. . .. En-Ter-Tain-You!

I distinctly remember Mom taking me to see the movie Gypsy when I was 5.  I did the math.  I was born in '57.  It came out in '62.  I also distinctly remember her trying to blow smoke over the fact that Miss Gypsy Rose Lee was a STRIPPER like a nervous parent glosses over the first innocent inquiries a child makes about where babies come from.  Instead of  "Oh...a mommy and a daddy love each other so much that God gives them a little baby!" she simply cooed, "Aren't their dresses preeetty!" and "That lady sings with a funny voice, doesn't she!?"

A few days ago as I was making my bed, I turned on TCM and there was Natalie Wood (my all-time favorite actress) saying, "Don't worry Momma, we'll find a job somewhere!"  I dropped the pillows I was holding and gasped, "Ohhhhh!  Gyp-seee!!!"  Well, you know the old story.  When the going gets tough, some mothers make their daughters become strippers.  And, some of those daughters get really good at it.  ..  .  ..  .  ..

Back in 1962, I didn't realize that there was anything particularly naughty about the movie because I was already enamored with the Ziegfeld productions that I watched in old movies on our the grainy black and white TV.

Fast forward to the best part - 3:43, and say hello to Judy.
Then, watch the magic happens as the Dream Girls float down the staircase.
To a little girl, Dream Girls and Miss Gypsy could be sistas.
DON'T MISS Pom-Pom Girl at 4:42!!  I have no words.
I. Die.

So, as I was smoothing out the quilt on the bed I had a little flashback to my childhood.  I remember trying to mimic Gypsy's sexy stripper strut in our living room while breathing through my snaggle-toothed grin the tantalizing tease of the high hat - teh-teh-TEHHH! teh-teh-TEHHH! teh-teh-TEHHH!"  Strut. .. . .. . ..to the front door. .. . .. . ..then, BACK. .. . .. . ..to the couch where I'd begin trilling "Let-ME-EN-ter-tain-yooooooou!  Let-me-MAKE-you-SMILE!"  Perhaps I stumbled about in one of mom's tea length party dresses with clouds and clouds of pink netting and my plastic gold dress-up heels with the ever-so-comfortable black elastic straps.  (See "Green Box 4 - Carolyn - Dress Up Clothes" in attic.)  My lips were probably caked with Mom's Coty Flamingo Pink lipstick.  No doubt my ears bleated from the pain of her dressy clip-on rhinestone "pink diamond" earrings the matching dazzling necklace lying cool against my neck.  I can hear my little girl voice calling out...

Hi!  My name's Gypsy!  What's YORES!

I don't remember Mom running into the living room with Ajax and a damp sponge clutched in her rubber gloved hands panting, "Stooop!  Nice girls don't pretend to be Gypsy Rose Lee!  Have you played this with Kristi and Penny?  What about Jane?!  Have you played stripper with Jane?!!!  Have you?!!  Have you?!  I'm gonna have to call their mothers!!!"

A fine 2012 mother would heed the warning signs of the stripper strut and throaty strains of "Let-ME-En-ter-tain-yooooooou!"  She would google "my child plays like she's a stripper" and call the pediatrician crying.  "She probably...sniff sniff...saw little Elizabeth playing stripper...sniff sniff...at the Montessori School.  Can you give me the name of a top-notch play therapist!?"

I guess my Little Mother figured that a little girl who was engaged to Paul McCartney and played with a doll named Poor Pitiful Pearl (See "Green Box 3 - Carolyn - Keepsake Dolls) was already pretty messed up.  A little Gypsy never hurt anybody.

I'm off to click my heels together three times in hopes that I'll float down from the fly space in a fabulous theatre in New York onto one of Mr. Ziegfeld's spiral spinning sets.  Tony Martin will gently take my hand and sing, "Carolyn stepped out of a DREEEEEEAM!"

Seriously, did any of you ladies "live" musicals when you were little girls?  Or, was it just us Poor-Pitiful-Pearlites?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

When is Singles Happy Hour?

Once aboard the Allure of the Seas last June, my little 86-year-old mother, The Meems, asked me to check the activities schedule to find out when they had "anything special" for singles.

"OK, Little Mother, I'll get right to it as soon as I _________________."
(Fill in the blank with ANYTHING - "Unpack my suitcase."  "Powder my nose."  "Swim a mile alongside the ship."  "Have open heart surgery."  Anything to buy enough time for her to forget that the question was on the table.)

She can't remember where she put her Clinique "Have a Nice Day" moisturizer.  Yesterday, I straightened her bathroom drawers and cabinets.  I unearthed 4 bottles of Clinique "Have a Nice Day" moisturizer.  Three were still in the box.  "Well.  I guess I forgot I had those."  But Singles Happy Hour?  Crystal clear in her memory.

After the 5th time she asked me about the activities for singles, I gave in and scanned the schedule.

"Looks like they have Single & Solo Travelers Get-Together every evening from 5:45-6:00PM at the Rising Tide Bar."

For all of you visual learners:
Go back to yesterday's post and imagine little Meems in her wheelchair riding high tide.

"Did I already miss it today?"

"Dang.  It's already 6:14!"  [give or take 10 minutes]

"Well."  [pause]  "Will you tell me when it's time tomorrow?"

Yikes.  How do I explain to Meems that there won't be many octogenarian males at the Rising Tide?  And, if there are any, they will be hittin' up on the hot 50-year-olds like...well...me.  Which prompted me to ask.

"Exactly how do you plan to get there?"  

I was hoping that her macular degeneration coupled with her non-motorized wheelchair would save the day.  Not so much.

"You could push me there."

"Mom, I don't think that Alan would like for me to go to a swinging singles bar."

"Well."  [pause]  "You could push me there, and then come back and get me."

What?!  I felt like my 11-year-old legally blind daughter was asking me to drop her off at the big bad mall.

"Hmm."  [thinking.  thinking.  thinking.  then, snap!]  "You know, Mom.  A lot of times those things are nothing but meat markets.  Singles looking for someone to sleep with.  It's a different world out there.  You never know what a man might be thinking."

"Ohhhhhh.  I didn't think about that!  Well."  [thinking.  thinking.  thinking.  then double snap.  Meems turns to her 18-year-old granddaughter.]  "Kelly, would you go with me?  It would be nice for you to meet some people your age."

[Kill.  Me.  Now.]

"Uhhhhh, Mom.  I think that Kelly just wants to hang out with us.  Besides, I don't think that her daddy would like for her to be at happy hour with a bunch of 50 year old men."

"Oh, yeah.  Well."  [thinking.  thinking.  thinking.  searching for a thought long lost in her frontal temporal lobe.  comin' up blank.]

"Mom, you sound really anxious ["hellbent" was my first choice] to meet some 'new friends.' Are you lonely?"

"I'm not lonely.  I'm with you and Kelly.  I just thought it might be nice...."  [voice trails away.  thinking.  thinking.  thinking.]  "I know of a lady who met her 3rd husband on a cruise.  They met at a singles activity.  Wasn't that nice!"

"Oh!  You think you might find someone to marry?!  Is that what this is all about?!"

"Noooo!"  [light, unconvincing chuckles]  "I don't want to get married again at my age!  I just thought it was neat that my friend met her 3rd husband on a cruise.  He had LOTS of money." 

[Time to call her bluff.  Smoke her out.  See what she was really made of.]  "I will roll you to the singles mingle, then, I'll just come back and get you!  You might just meet someone!  And, if you do and want to go to dinner with him, Kelly and I will totally understand!  But, you'll totally have to go back to HIS cabin.  IF, of course, he's strong enough to roll you by himself."  [the wheelchair, silly.  i was talking about the wheelchair.]

"Oh, nooooo.  Not if you think that there will be men who are just looking for someone to sleep with!"


"Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot about that.  You sure don't want to set a bad example for Miss Kelly!"

There.  That's settled.  Let's move on.  No.  With Meems - there is NO move on.  Know this.  There is NO move on.

Later that night at one of the shows, Mom bent the ear of the 60-something lady sitting next to her.  The lady kept slipping "help me" glances and insincere smiles my way.  I simply sweetly smiled back as if to say, "You asked for it, Lady.  When you asked Meems where she was from.  You.  Asked.  For.  It."

"The lady next to me went to that singles mingle last night.  She said that all the people there were waaaay younger than 'we' are.  I'm so glad I didn't go!"

Who knew that it would be a total stranger who would put me out of my misery?  

Here, Lady.  Have a breath mint.  And, for good measure, I'll make sure Meems has one as well.  You're welcome.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Where Have All the Paid Dancers Gone?

 If she asked me once, she asked me a million times.
"Will there be paid dancers?"

"Paid dancers?"   I asked brows furrowed with confusion.  "Pray tell.  What is a paid dancer?"

"On some cruise lines, they have people who are paid to dance with all the single ladies."

"All the single ladies?"

Here is my 5 second mental side trip.  Except, in my brain I could 
only sing "All the single ladies!  All the single ladies!" 
because those are the only words I can ever remember.
And, I mentally added The Meems as one of Beyonce's "paid dancers."

The question of paid dancers came up even before we booked our cruise, and, every week during the six months until the cruise.

"Will you ask the travel lady if they have paid dancers on that ship?"

"Yes, I will ask the travel lady if there are paid dancers on that ship."

Truth be told, I had my fingers crossed behind my back.

"Nope.  The travel lady said there are no paid dancers."

I may have made a little catty remark about how all the paid dancers went down with the Titanic.  Yep.  They danced right there beside that stringed quartet until the ship went down in the drink.  I may have also used the word "gigolo."

"Hmm.  They used to have paid dancers on cruise lines because so many widows like to go on cruises."

"That must have been so nice for all those widows to have dance partners."

"You didn't have to be a widow.  Just a woman traveling without a man."

"Good to know.   I sure wouldn't have wanted to pose as a widow to dance with a paid dancer."


That's all.  Just "Well."  "Well" and "Hmm" are Meems' signals that either she doesn't agree  with your opinion or has nothing further to say on the matter.

Like in the children's book Are You My Mother? in which the little baby bird asks everyone he meets the same question - "Are you my mother?"  "Are you my mother?"  "Are you my mother?"  "Are you my mother? -  my mother asked every human she encountered from waitresses at her retirement home to the lady at the Naturalizer store in the mall.

"Do you know of any cruise lines that have paid dancers?"

"Uh, no ma'am."


In the case of the lady at the Naturalizer store -

"Do you sell any shoes that are good for dancing?"

My boys got a big kick out of the thought of Meems dancing with a paid dancer.  Bryce kept egging her on.  

"Hey, Meems, are they going to have any paid dancers on that cruise?"

I glared viciously.

"They say they don't have any paid dancers any more.  They used to.  But, not any more."

"Dang!  That's a bummer!  You'd think that they'd have paid dancers!"


Once we boarded the Allure of the Seas, Meems continued her quest for the right answer asking everyone in her path about possibility of paid dancers.  (Travel agents simply can't know ev-er-y-thing, you know.)  Most of them looked past her to give me a sweet, sympathetic smile.  In hindsight, I should have slipped a bus boy in the main dining hall a twenty...


A Teaser for My Next Blog Post:  Meems and "When is Singles Happy Hour?" 

[Shoot me now.]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Preeeesenting! My Attic!

After digging through box after box in search of the Barbie clothes of my childhood, I decided "with God as my witness!" to organize, no archive, my attic.  Anything worth having is worth archiving.  "Archiving?"  Yes.  I wanted to be able to put my fingers on any particular treasure in my attic with a moment's notice.

My plan:
  • replace all the mismatched plastic and deteriorating cardboard boxes with color-coded plastic boxes with latching lids
  • label each box with some sort of permanent, easy-to-read labels
  • record the contents of each box on a spread sheet
  • make a color-coded map of my attic
First, I researched labels that will survive the extreme heat and severe cold of a West Texas attic.  After much googling, I came up with identa-labels.  The website was pretty convincing, but I couldn't justify the cost.  Then, I "met" Amy on youtube who tipped me off on the fact that identa-labels can be purchased at Walmart.  So, off I went to Walmart!

I bought one package of 3X5 labels (6 per package) and one of 2X5 labels (8 per package).  Then, I went home to experiment.

Following Amy's advice, I downloaded the sample label templates from the identa-label website.  Nothing matched my needs since I wasn't packing up soccer equipment or camping gear.  So, I copied and pasted a blank template onto a Printshop page and began making label magic.  I decided to go with the 2"X5" size because they were more cost effective.
I wanted large numbers on each box.  Then, I wanted to know whose keepsakes were in the box.  Finally, I wanted to know what was in each box.  All of the boxes containing Carolyn and/or Alan treasures were placed in lovely green Sterilite boxes.  Because the boxes are "clear" I put a little "defining momento" at the front of the box to announce the contents of the box. (See the Barbie book in the front of Box 1?)
An unexpected benefit came from sorting through all of our old attic boxes.  I was able to find all of the Valentines, letters, and cards Alan and I have exchanged since 1977.  Also, as I sorted through the boys' toys, I was able to put all like toys together.  Buzz Lightyear had migrated to the GI Joe box.  He was really glad to be reunited with his old pal Woody!

I even found a long lost TV remote snuggled in with the Star Wars guys.
As I purchased each different box color, I made sure that I bought 1-2 extra for future "expansion" since Sterilite doesn't always make the same colors every year.

So far, I've finished organizing and archiving all of our family mementos.  As each holiday comes around, I am going to reorganize my holiday/party boxes.  I can't wait until Target puts out their Halloween storage boxes!  With about 3 more orange and black ones, I'll have Halloween perfection in my attic!

Woe is me.  I didn't take a "before" picture of the attic.  Just imagine a pigsty full of jicky mismatched plastic boxes and crumbling cardboard boxes (some of which were creating leaning box towers because they were disintegrating beneath the weight of their contents).
To the left and straight ahead are the holiday boxes that have yet to be archived.
The archiving begins on the right.
This is the attic spreadsheet.
I decided to store the old letters and cards in a cedar chest in the guest room.
The all-important map.  Never again will I have to call up the attic pull-down stairs to a frustrated husband, "Look BEHIND the boxes on the far left!"

During the time that I spent slaving over the Sterilite boxes sorting Barbie shoes and GI Joe weapons, Alan watched from a safe distance making little comments.  "You are making it SO easy for the boys!  When we're gone, they can just march all those colored boxes to the dumpster!"  If they do, please, God, strike them with lightning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I [heart] Paper Medallions

Over the summer, I became totally enamored 
with paper medallions thanks to Pinterest
 Once I began making them, I couldn't stop!

Love, love, love them on gifts!

Love them for low budget centerpieces!
This is for my Bible Study.

Love them as place cards!

I even made some to hang from a Social Studies classroom ceiling...

Another obsession:  maps.

I'm ready to start Christmas shopping so that I can start making Christmas-y medallions for my packages!  Wooo Hooo!

Clever-Funny-Witty Pinterest Board Names

Every now and then, I take a little peeky-poo at my blog's "traffic sources."  One category is "Search Keywords" - which is kind of a hoot.  The number one search phrase that brings innocent bystanders to my blog is "clever pinterest board names."  This little google leads to my 08-11-11 post, "Do Not Stumble Upon Pinterest."  Which, with 1096 pageviews, is my most popular post.

I always feel a tinge of guilt when I see those numbers rise.  It means that some poor, unsuspecting googlers happened by my blog in earnest need of help on setting up clever (or "funny" or "witty") pinboard names.  So, this morning, I woke up with guilt-driven determination to make up for all the disappointment felt by my "misguided" readers.

Clever-Funny-Witty Pinterest Board Names

With the meteoric rise of the popularity of Pinterest has come a new sort of peer pressure.  The naming of the pinboards.  It's kind of simular to the need most people feel to post extremely clever quips on facebook - but with an artsy twist.  Don't ask me why, but the naming of the pinboard is almost more important than the pins that are placed upon it.  Each time I've added a pinboard, I've found myself racking my brain in search some profound moniker that can sum up the collection of, say, pictures of monkeys that I intend to amass for the sake of loving monkeys.  

                  No.  monkeyshines.  The lowercase "m" seems to   
                  be more powerful.
Monkey Business?
                  No.  People might take it the wrong way.
Monkey Madness or monkey madness?
                  Hmm.  not so much.

Then I find myself googling "monkey terms."

Pretty Cute Primates...pretty cute primates?
furry friends?
                  No, that could refer to cats, dogs, mice, or lions
                  leading to massive pinning confusion.

I think that you get my drift.  Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.  If you googled the ever-popular "pinterest board name" phrase, that is exactly why you're here.  If you are here searching for pinboard names to promote your business, you need to go here instead.

A great way to come up with a great board name is by checking out the names of other pinners' boards.  If you are a card-carrying foodie and want to start pinning pictures of homemade ravioli, simply click on the word "Pinterest" at the top of your page.

This will take you to the "newsfeed" of all of the pinners you are following.  Click on "category" at the top of the page and click on "Food & Drink" on the pull down menu.

Which will deliver you to this page:

At the bottom of each pin by the picture of the person, the name of the pinner's pinboard is listed.  For instance, the amazing Chocolate Cover Pumpkin Pretzels is pinned onto a board titled "Food!"  Scroll down the page and find a pinboard title that sings to you.  Keep in mind that it's very helpful to make your board's title as specific as possible.  I need to separate out my food pins into categories that indicate whether the food is savory, sweet, totally fattening but worth it, or mean and lean.

Scrolling down the Food & Drink page, I'm lovin' on boards like "Dinner Time" and "Insatiably Decadent."  Those are board names that I tend to click on to see what's up with that.  If you don't want to copy someone else's board name - which is completely OK - look up the words of the title in your thesaurus and come up with another version.

There is a particular pinner who has inspired me greatly - Linda James.  I was introduced to her pins by a dear friend and her extremely cool & hip daughters who both aspire to "BE Linda James."  Linda's board names are simple and chic.  Her pins are Ah-mazing.  I repin her ideas like a stalker.  On the rare occasion that she repins my pins, I feel extremely validated as a human being/pinner.  Oh, yeah!  That's me!  I'm cool and hip!

Thank you, Linda James.

One of my all-time favorite board names comes from one of the aforementioned friend's cool and hip daughters.  It's titled "Future Mr. DEF."  (The title has her full name.  I just went with her monogram...)  This board contains pictures of guys who look like the man she someday hopes to marry.  I get a huge kick out of seeing her McDreamies and reading some the quotes.  "I liked his monogram, so I gave him a chance."

It's time for me to get out of this bathrobe, shower, and enter the world outside.  So, I'll sum up my clever-funny-witty pinterest board names advice:
  • Fall down the rabbit hole of whatever topic you want to begin collecting by clicking on that category - food, fashion, geek, tatoos - and find board names that are interesting.  Click on them - then click on the fun board names you find on the pins listed on that board.
  • Make your board names very specific so that you can remember what goes where.  ("Try This" could refer to food, crafts, or weird yoga poses.)
  • Don't fret so much about rocking the pin world with your clever board names, you can always change your "Food" board to "Nom Noms" when you get your groove on.
  • Remember to clean up your boards every now and then - sometimes I accidentally pin something like a picture of weird red shoes to my "aqualicious" board.  Also, it's a good time to subdivide boards into more concise categories.  (I need to go back and make sure that all of my board names are typed in the all-powerful lower case!)
Happy pinning!  Feel free to "Follow Me" for hours upon end!  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carthage: Show and Tell

I spent many an hour up in my attic before the trip.  Searching.  Searching.  Searching.  Berating myself for throwing things randomly in attic boxes over the years in the name of "gittin' 'er dun."  There were high school football spirit ribbons tucked away with a doll here and a few Barbie outfits stashed with some random tea set dishes there.  Where, oh, where were my precious troll dolls?!  Bryce and Alan dragged box after box down the precarious attic pull-down stairs in the 100 degree heat.  Some of the boxes were falling apart, the old masking tape dried and flaky.  "Careful!  Hold them from the bottom!! That stuff is irreplaceable!!!"

Slowly, but surely, I began to unearth some treasures.  I squealed when my Campfire vest came tumbling out of a crush of keepsake childhood dresses hand-sewn by mother.  The felt symbols of my Campfire Indian name were still glued to the back.  Sunflower.  Yes, I was Sunflower.  Soon I was washing the hair of Barbies, Midges and Skippers with my this-is-my-special-shampoo-don't-even-ask-to-borrow-it Keihl's Olive Fruit Oil Nourishing Shampoo.  Alan stood nearby with his mouth open wide in disbelief.  "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE USING YOUR GOOD SHAMPOO ON THOSE OLD DOLLS!"  I simply shot back a look that told him to slowly back away from the kitchen sink.

Once my Barbies and friends were laid carefully out to dry, I tediously hand-washed each and every outfit and put all of the pieces of the ensembles together.  My heart literally sang as I matched up shoes and bags and dresses.  Alan kept circling the area eyeing me with building concern.  "Why are you doing all of this?"  My dear, if you have to ask, it is quite clear that you have never been a little girl with Barbie dreams.

After much consideration, I finally packed up my favorite Barbie outfits - each in its own Ziplock baggie, my troll dolls, a few favorite Barbies, my Campfire vest, and my mother's old half-slip that once served as my bridal/nun's veil.

bridal veil - for marrying Paul McCartney
In this picture, he is looking at me.  Carolyn NMN Kinzbach.  I die.
from www.last.fm
nun's veil - for my role in the Sound of Music
"What will this daaaay be like?  I wonda.  What will my few-chu be?"
from homevideos.com

After much anticipation, we gathered in the family room of Penny's lake house after a wonderful lunch.  Our show and tell items were tucked from view in sacks and boxes.  Then, one by one, we shared our treasures and our sweet, sweet memories.  

Janie Bug and her amazing scrapbook
Kristi and her hot wheels
Penny and her mint condition troll dolls 
Me, Maria McCartney, and my most coveted Barbie treasures
Good times.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ParaNorman...Uh...Not So Much

This post is coming more than a day late and a dollar short.  The movie, "ParaNorman," came out a few weeks ago.  Alan and I had it on our list of movies to see, so off we went to a matinee last Saturday.

Alan and I arrived just as the movie started and parked ourselves on the first row where we could prop our feet up on the railing.  We have become creatures of habit.  Matinee.  First Row.  Prop Feet.

The theatre was pretty full - families with small children, couples with babies, "mature "(40+) adults.  Lots of little voices and squawks of infants rang out in the darkness as the movie began.  One of my favorite parts of seeing animated films is hearing the reactions of the children.  Gleeful giggles make the slapstick humor all the more enjoyable.

Our expectation:  ParaNorman is a humorous animated movie (meaning FOR CHILDREN) based on the experiences of child who can see and communicate with ghosts.

Here is the trailer:

The trailer contains pretty much every bit of humor that the movie has to offer.  The rest is either, well, pretty intense or a bit boring.  About 20 minutes into the movie, I turned to Alan and whispered, "I'm really trying to like this movie.  But, not so much."  I woke him up.

The bullies in the movies are more than cruel.  The monsters are more than creepy and scary.  At least 5 times I woke Alan up to say, "This is NOT a children's movie!"  The 3-D animation was excellent.  It was a visual treat despite the gore.  The attention to detail was remarkable - I loved Norman's sisters manicured nails!  But, the movie trailer didn't quite convey the intensity of the thing.

In the middle of the crescendo of action towards the end of the film, the little girl behind me (I'd say she was early-elementary aged) turned to her mother and asked in her "outside" voice, "Mom, is this an adult movie?" 

There was some typical "bathroom" humor laced throughout the story.  My motto is "If you don't have anything funny to say.  Say nothing."  Norman's friend, Neil, was the best part of the movie.  You can't help but love a sweet, good-hearted child.

During the "big ending" scene during which all of the "morals of the story" are the focus of the dialogue ("Norman, you're NOT like everyone else!"  "Norman, you're a HERO!"  "I'm OK!  You're OK"  Blah, blah, blah), the older brother who is a body-builder-bumbling-idiot drops a line about his sexual orientation that is meant to be funny.  In a children's movie?   It was unnecessary and totally unfunny.  And, it made me mad.

As the credits began to roll, I grabbed my purse and said, "Let's get out of here!  I did not like this movie!"  It was disturbing on so many levels when viewed through the eyes of a parent with young children.  My sons are grown, but I still filter things through "Mommy" eyes.

Alan and I saw the movie, "Brave," earlier this summer.  We clapped when it ended. I actually cried during a couple of scenes.  It was one of the best movies I've seen all year - animated or "real."  I would see it again.  I would take my 86 year old mom to see it.

ParaNorman.  Not so much.  It should have a PG-13 rating.  I'm just sayin'...


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...