Sometimes the hardest part about blogging (besides turning on the laptop) is coming up with a title. With that said, I am simply calling it what it is, which is a review of my last week.
It was a good week. The weather has gotten had, really, really hot and humid and cicadas have arrived, so it is noisy, very very noisy outside!
Work was busy, I spent my shifts resetting the cosmetic wall, to add in the new products from the make up companies. I have a love/hate relationship with this bi-annual project. This is easier than the winter reset, which I worked on with a team of two others and we started at 4am!
Tara and I have continued to have fun with Pokemon Go. We took two evening drives into Philly, and found lots of new Pokemon driving the streets!
This photo below was taken last Monday when we took a drive to Valley Forge. Our flag has been flying half-staff far to often with all the violence and senseless acts of terror around the world.
Philadelphia is the host for the Democratic Convention. The city is all “dressed up” and ready to be in the spotlight. I want to try and get down one evening after dary to get some photos of some of the landmarks that are being light up for the occasion. Tara was in the city on Sunday night and she said the police presence was very noticable.
There is a new art installation from City Hall to South Street. It looks really amazing, and is called “14 Movements” A Sympony in Color and Words” by Mat Tomezsko. My picture doesn’t really show the true colors as it was evening and lots of other lights. Click here for a great arial view.
We took advantage of Tara and I having some time off together and also took a quick drive to Green Lane in hopes of finding some good Pokemon. Pokemon were not cooperating but I did see many many dragonflies. I love dragonflies. I was not able to to get too many photos, I was not able to get too close to the waters edge. I like how this one turned out though!
Saturday, Tara and I continued our tradition since 2009 and saw Star Trek Beyond at the Movie Tavern. We have not been to many movies lately, so this was a real treat for me. I enjoy the Movie Tavern experience. The movie and the food did not disappoint!
Sunday, I finally did a grocery shopping. I still HATE grocery shopping, but with the savings I can realize at Aldis on so many things I have not been using on line ordering! I loaded up on fruit and veggies and healthy foods.
Although it was really hot, I did cook a nice dinner with a couple recipes I found.
Mexican Chicken and Cauli-Rice. They were inspired by this recipe, but I made a few alterations. It was really good. I also made Blueberry Crisp with oatmeal and pecans in the “crisp”. I made sure to keep it healthy and did not add much additional sweetner. It was yummy!
Monday is here, and it is the last day of my four day break from work. I was up very early. We had a thunderstorm that woke me up, and I never really went back to sleep. Trying to make the most of the day! Maybe Tara and I will head out on an adventure once she gets up! If not I have plenty of projects here I could get into!
Thanks for stopping by.
It seems the longer I put off updating my blog, the harder it is to know where to start.
I finally made some hosting changes, and now my site will just be www.marthakasper.com. Once upon a time, I had time for THREE blogs, before Instagram, Twitter and Facebook took over the social media world. I shared my photos on one, our adventures and recipes and such on another, and the third I had created as a local blog when we moved back to PA. Who has time for that anymore? Certainly not me. Photos are shared instantly on Instagram, thoughts are shared on Facebook, etc. I really keep this blog as a journal of sorts for myself. Hopefully since I finally made this consolidation I will not feel so overwhelmed.
It feels good to have everything under one roof. Like downsizing my stuff, I am down sizing my digital presence too! Let’s not talk about all the digital photo files I am trying to purge.
Who can believe that we are already 1/2 way through July? It is flying by so quickly. Work keeps me busy and tired. In a good way these days. Not stressful for the most part (except for some people issues.) I think we are in a good place right now, except for being down a key holder once again. They are hard positions to fill. Full time retail, with the need for a very flexible schedule, days, nights, weekends, holidays and truthfully not the best in pay. As much as having a Mon-Fri, set schedule job might be, I have gotten used to being able to have a morning off, or a Monday off. Weekends are not always what it is all about! All that aside, I do enjoy my job, and being tired at the end of the work day isn’t the worst thing in the world!
Tara is working 4-5 days a week, and many times we are on opposite shifts, so we do not get to spend too much time together. We have had a very few adventures since she got her license. That’s okay. She is able to come and go as she pleases, not having to rely on me. A freedom she waited a long time for but in the end, the wait paid off. She was able to get a nice relatively new car, that I feel comfortable with her driving.
This is her adorable 2013 Chevy Spark. I get to drive it sometimes. We traded in our white Dodge Caravan to help with the down payment on this one, and I drive Mom’s mini van that she is not using anymore to go to and from work.
Tara finally received her high school diploma in June. Better late than never. She had been done classes since January, but had to wait for the diploma. No post high school education plans right now. That is fine with me. I don’t want her to start off with college debt for a degree in something that she may not use. She really is not sure what she wants to do. Right now food service/hospitality, are what she is looking at. Tara is not a morning person, so an 8am-5pm job is probably not for her right now!
Mom turned 92 on July 4th. We had a small gathering at my sister Linda’s new house. She moved into a 55+ older community just the week before. It was nice to gather with a family and friends. I did not get too many photos, it was a little hectic and I had worked early in the day after falling in the freezer at work the day before, and was not feeling my best!
Mom with Ben and Jessica Kepler (grandson and daughter-in-law of our friend Bobbie.) Bobbie has baked mom a birthday cake just about every year I can remember recently.
I spent a day out by myself taking some photos with my “real” camera. Something I really don’t make much time for these days. It is just so much easier to grab the IPhone. Sometimes you just need to pull out the DSLR and shoot away.
I spend a couple hours at Pearl S Buck house. The grounds are beautiful, it was quiet and peaceful and just what I needed that particular day.
I can’t think of too much more right now. I still need to get more of Robin’s letters transcribed. I have five out of the next days off, so hopefully I can get to some more of my “to do list”!
Oh, the one thing Tara and I have been finding time for together is taking a ride, even if it is 9 or 10pm looking for Pokemon in the Pokemon Go game. It is fun for us. (I know some “grown ups” thing it is dumb!), but Tara grew up (or evolved) with Pokemon, they were a huge part of her childhood, so an activity that we can spend a little bit of time together after our busy days is a good thing in my book!
Today, I opened an envelope that I knew contained some documents regarding Robin’s death. A few newspaper articles, and other official papers.
What I forgot this folder contained were letters from then President Nixon, General Westmoreland, our governor at the time and other local officials.
I wonder at the time my parents received these whether they were received as comforting sympathies or with some anger. Maybe both, as I remember my parents handling this differently. My mother seeemd to quietly (not with out tears mind you) accept this as what was to be. She firmly believes when it is your time, it is your time and that Robin was where he felt he was doing what he was to do at that time in his life. My father on the other hand struggled much more, it affected his health and he was never really one to discuss Robin’s death. I am sure there were memories shared, and stories told, but never much about Vietnam.
Here are some of those letters.
On this Eve of Memorial Day, I am taking time to once again share on of Robin’s letters. I had put the project on hold, and like so many things, never got back to it. I have about 23 that I have yet to share. It is a time consuming process, and uninterrupted time is something I have lacked for too long.
The weather forecast is not looking too good for tomorrow morning. I hope that the rain breaks or holds of for before noon. This is one day that my family looks forward to each year. Gathering together, and joining with others who too have lost a loved one. The one ceremony, honoring the high school alumni that lost their lives in Vietnam and the Gulf is a smaller more intimate ceremony that is conducted by our high school Key Club, along with the ROTC, band and choir members. These teens give up a few hours of their holiday weekend to help us celebrate our fallen heroes.
I had hoped to take a drive to the Freedom Foundation in Valley Forge today. I wanted to take my mother to see the Gold Star Family monument. The weather was far too hot to have her out too long. At 92, she tires quickly, and I would rather her be feeling her best for tomorrow.
Instead I ran and errand with Tara, cooked a nice dinner and worked on my blog. I do not blog often these days, but find I just can’t cut ties with it. I actually have two, which today I merged into one, so how I have some cleaning up to do due to the import process. Sometime in the near future when I figure out how, this blog with change to my other domain, www.marthakasper.com, which currently is mostly just a photography blog.
Ok, on to what most of you are hear to read, another installment of “Letters from Robin”. I believe this is the 2nd or 3rd letter once he got to Vietnam. I have already shared one, and the other was just a quick note.
Saturday, 28 Sept 68
Dear Mom & Dad,
I received your letter last night I was very happy to hear from you. We only get mail up here about every other day or sometimes every three days.
You asked in your letter how I got from Bien Hoa to Chu-Lai, I flew up on a military transport. Also I flew from california on a Northwest-Orient 707. We had stewardess’ and the works. We had about 5 or six meals during the flight. (I was just re-reading the letter I got, it’s the one from Dad, and you ask me if mother told me you went camping? This is the only letter I have received from home. Did you write one before?)
The unity I am in is not exactly a long range recon unit. It is the battalion recon platoon. Every batalion has one. Most of the time they use us almost like a line company, but I haven’t been here long enough to really say. The recon unit itself is only a platoon size. The rest of the company is made up of a 42 inch mortar platoon and a ground surveillance platoon (radar).
Since I wrote last we have had about 5 missions. The night I wrote the last letter we went on an ambush patrol. the only thing that happened was about 42 guys getting soaking wet, it rained all night. I though the day would never come. The next day we had off, I slept most of the day. The day after that we got another mission. We had to recon a valley where a comany was going to make a sweep through. They wanted to know very simply if a company could move through it easily. The next day we had a CA (Combat Assualt) into a valley sight near here. That’s a helicopter assault. Then we joined in on a sweep with another company . We just got on a line, and every village and hooch we cam to we rounded up all the people and took them with us, and searched the place real quick. By the end of the day there were over 500 people. It was near the beach so wee took them all out there near a little fishing village. The village was on the beach. When we got there we found a bunch of South Vietnamese soldiers already there. They had gone into the village and found three NVSA and killed them. I saw the bodies. It wasn’t a very pretty sight, but it didn’t really bother me. One was shot through the head and one had a couple holes in him, I don’t know which one killed him. The third was hit by a grenade launcher, it hit him in the shoulder and the shrapnel was all over the upper part of is body. They got another one while we were sitting on the beach waiting for the work to go back to Thunder. They dug up a tunnel and found him down there, they shot some grenades down the hole and wounded him. The ARVN soldiers are very brutal, they have no respect for life. Another thing out of all the people we herded out of their houses there was not one single middle aged man or woman. They oldest kid you see is about 13 yrs old, the rest old people.
Yesterday and today the platoon went out, I didn’t go. I’m not exactly sure why, they leave behind about 3 guys from each squad. One reason might be because they got work that a few people are going to be sent to the other units because we are over sized right now. The word was that the new E-5’s would be leaving but the platoon is trying to keep us. So far there has been no definite word either way. I hope I stay because that would really mess up my mailing address, I might lose some mail in the change. Until I find out for sure don’t send any packages or anything valuable. I suppose you already sent my rain jacket.
The loss of my records might create a little problem, especially in the financial section. Come pay day, I am liable not to get paid. But everything will work itself out.
The place is really pretty nice. They have a mess hall that serves good chow, the only time we eat C’s is when we go out and then we usually are back by supper time. They show a movie every night too, so the place isn’t too bad.
Well, write soon and often, mail doesn’t come often and I like to get alot.
I tried! LOL!
I love to blog, as a way of journaling, I wish I could find time do it every day! I really l wanted to share Christmas all month, but Christmas at work is kicking my butt.
Last night I worked my first ever “open until midnight” shift. We had just 2 customers in the two hours we were open past normal closing. I did get things done that I had been having trouble finishing up, with the inevitable interruptions when we have shoppers in the store!
I was exhausted when I got home at 12:30, but except for an aching back, I feel pretty good this morning. Tonight is another late close and then I need to be back at the store by 7:45. It will probably all catch up with my on my day off Thursday.
I have the ideas, but most of the ideas done properly require photography as well as writing. The writing I could do but the photography done right, takes time!
I think I will have to use photos I already have to tell my Christmas story if I want to move it along!
I think I left off around day 7, and now we are just 10 days out! I am ing to try and catch up and will back date my posts so they are at least in order! Cheating I know. The ideas have been in my head!
I had two days off last week, but those just flew right by. So many weeks my schedule is such that I get just one day off, and that many times is just not enough to fully recover!
10 days before Christmas and we still have NO TREE! If where up to me, I would not even put one up this year. I am just really not feeling it the effort it takes! Maybe just a tree with lights and no ornatments?
I have my Christmas cards printed…. now lets see if I get them addressed and mailed! Christmas shopping, two words, GIFT CARDS. Oh, and I just bought two gifts while I was sitting here!
We enjoyed unusually warm weather the past few days. When I came home from work early this morning, it was 66 degrees!
The photos are from a couple years ago, but I felt this post needed a picture or two!
That is all for this post!
(I know, I missed day 7, it is coming!)
On this day, in 1945, my parents were married.
Thanks for all you did for us Mom & Dad. I love you both.
I wish they had more time together, today would have been 70 years.
While I am sure they had their disagreements, they kept it between the two of them. They were faithfully in love; for better and worse, richer and poorer, in sickness and in health.
My father worked hard, and sometimes long hours. Mom was at home for most of the years that us kids were growing up. She had a job when I was in elementary school, at my school, so she was never really far away! I got my love of driving (at least road trips), my punctuality, and my work ethic from my Dad. Mom and I are as similar as we are different.
My parents loved to travel. They camped throughout much of the US and into Canada, and traveled to the Virgin Islands. They were a team when it came to driving! Dad drove, Mom navigated and kept him feed and hydrated. She would knit when they were on the open road. I loved traveling with my parents, even as a teen when so many kids didn’t want to be with their parents. After my dad passed away, we did some traveling on our own. She was a pretty amazing traveler with her camper on her own! She put a lot of miles on her Suburban and travel trailer!
I have been watching Christmas/holiday movies on The Hallmark Channel since the beginning of November, yes a little early but not all of them are all about Christmas. Most are just about families and relationships. Some make me laugh some make me cry!
I do have have my “not made for TV” favorites too, in no real order
I have been “good” and have not watched any of them yet this year!
Do you have a favorite movie?
“Santa I know him!” Buddy the Elf.
- The Santa Clause (1,2 & 3)
- Jingle all the Way
- Deck the Halls
- Christmas in Conneticuit
- Holiday Inn
- A Christmas Story
Today, I would like to remember my brother Robin, on what would have been his 66th birthday. Robin was killed in Viet Nam on 3.9.1969.
Memories of Christmas’ past with Robin are very vague to be the me, I was probably 9 or 10 the last time we celebrated with Robin at home. I wish I had clearer memories of us all together on Christmas morning.
The photo I shared above is one of only a few that I have found of me (the baby) and my siblings; Linda, Bill and Robin. This would have been my first Christmas. I was 10 months old, Robin had just turned 9, Linda was 10 and Bill would turn 12 just a few days later.
I wonder quite often what Robin would have become had he returned from Viet Nam. Would he have a family? Would he be dealing with any of the trauma or health issues so many Viet Nam vets struggle with? How different would our family be? One can only wonder how life would have been had that one moment in time been different.
Instead I honor and remember his life by sharing bits and pieces of his “history” that I uncover. You can read about his time in the Army in post I have written by clicking on the link below.
Love and Lattes,
Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie or holiday baking tradition!
I do not have just one favorite, that is what is special about Christmas cookies, you don’t get them all year long.
Years ago my sister Linda and I would take a Saturday and bake all kinds of cookies. Spritz cookies with my favorite gadget the cookie gun, snicker doodles, snow balls, cut out cookies and several others. It was always a fun time.
Over the years I continued to bake cookies with friends,my mom, Tara and even alone. Tara always got bored after just a batch or two. Lately I have not had the energy in December to bake. We did participate in a cookie exchange for a couple years since we returned to PA. That was a fun way to get a variety of cookies!
For many years my mom has made Pizzelles, Italian waffle cookies. She would prepare several batches using her Pizzelle iron. She made them for many years and loves sharing with family and friends. She is not able to stand long enough to do too much in the kitchen but maybe we will make them together this year.