Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A bottle of Pluto Water, please ...

Riding on the City of New Orleans,
         Illinois Central, Monday morning rail ...

~Arlo Guthrie

Recently I ran across this old Illinois Central dining car menu left
over from my antique booth.
It's fun to look back on these old menus and see the offerings
and prices.

What is Pluto Water, you ask?  Pluto Water was a trademark for a strongly laxative natural water product.  It was very popular in the United States in the early 20th Century. In 1919, it took 450 railroad cars to transport the bottler's output. Pluto water was bottled at the French Lick Springs in French Lick, Indiana.  It was advertised "America's Laxative" with the slogan "When Nature Won't, PLUTO 
Will".  It's namesake was Pluto, the Roman God of the underworld. 

The water contained a number of minerals including lithium salts. The sale of the water was halted in 1971 when lithium became a controlled  substance.                                                                                                                                                                       

The water was advertised that the laxative was effective from half an hour to two hours after ingestion.  I can't imagine a worse place than a train to drink this water ... well, maybe on a plane.

Google images

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Can Never Go Home Again

Some scenes around Clinton yesterday, here and below.

Good evening, dear friends ... yesterday I drove to my old hometown and visited my sister.  She says she never gets to eat at Shoney's so we ate there for lunch.  As a matter of fact, I don't get to eat at Shoney's that often either.  We had lunch very early, around 10:15 and we enjoyed it ...  no crowd and there was quietness.  My sister and I are needing some peaceful times in our lives right now, we have some big frustrations going on in both our lives.  We did accomplish some things yesterday and paid some taxes. 

Clinch River

Baker Cemetery

Buck from Call of the Wild

One of the best books I've ever read.

Yesterday I was feeling a little like Buck from Call of the Wild. I was wondering how I had lived in my hometown all those many years.  It was not feeling like my old home yesterday, as though  I (warning: another book title coming up)  was a "Stranger in a Strange Land".  My sister tried to cheer me up:  You wanna go to Kmart?  You wanna go to see the ducks under the bridge?  You wanna go to Hammer's?  You wanna go to Big Lots?  We'd already been to Walmart.  :-).

We did go to the Goodwill and we left there so proud and happy!  We had left a Goodwill empty handed, yeah for us accomplishing such a feat! The last thing either one of us needed was another something we didn't need.

Back to Buck from Call of the Wild.  At the beginning of the book I was rooting for Back to return home to his idyllic life on Judge Miller's estate in California.  Buck had been kidnapped and was taken north to the Klondike.  After Bucks many trials and experiences, I realized Buck could not go back to his former home before he was kidnapped. Last night I was comparing my ten years, the last eight years in the Dallas area as my "Klondike" years as Buck had experienced.  Those were the most valuable eight years of my life, growing in ways I had never imagined and I would not change a thing.  After many years in the Klondike, Buck was recovering the instincts of his wild ancestors.  Buck did go back every year to the place where his master, Thornton, had died.  After these visits, Buck returned to his  life in the wild.  These visits to his master's place of death reminded me of us visiting the grave sites of our loved ones.

My sister is the most generous and giving person I have ever met.
She insisted yesterday she buy Clint this peculator, she knew he/we had been wanting one.
Thank you, Patti, we love it and the coffee was fantastic!

No, this is not from Google images!  This was our stove this
morning when I tried to remove the basket  while "not over the sink"
as the instructions "suggested".

You all are the best listeners!  Thank you all so much for stopping by.  Next time I'll make sure I don't
spill the coffee all over everything.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In Remembrance of Snow

Here it is February 25th, 2012, and we have had very little snow here in east Tennessee.  Suzy Snowflake made only brief cameo appearances.  We are now only days away from March.  We are approaching spring when  "a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love".  I always think of that Tennyson verse every spring.  This is a farewell post to anymore thoughts of snow for this winter.

Can you see the owl face in this photo I made
from our porch light?

My daughter pointed the owl image out to me.

A scene from our Great Blizzard Trip of 2009.

We had just left this McDonald's somwhere
in South Dakota off an interstate.

The visibility was better in the photo than
in reality.

We were headed to Omaha.  A convenience store employee handed
me his card and asked me to call him when we made it home safely.
We had stopped there for gas.

I called him when we had made it safely home to Texas.

In my wildest dreams I would have never dreamed
I'd find myself in Deadwood, South Dakota.

We spent three wonderful nights here,
the hotel food was fantastic!  It was several degrees minus zero.

Clint's Thermapedic pillow that was in
the car trunk froze into a solid boulder.

It was quite funny to me!  No pillow fights, either!  :-)

Our goal, we made it to Mount Rushmore only to be greeted
by an irate park employee who yelled at us about parking.
What a greeting after such a treacherous drive up the mountain.

There was not another soul around and we are being yelled at about
our parking?  I yelled back and asked, "give me two seconds" and snapped this photo.

I could not even see a human, just heard her yelling.

If you want to build a snowman,
I'll help you make it, 1,2 3 ...

~Suzy Snowflake

Last year in Plano, TX, we had quite a bit of snow. I made this little snowman, he was about 11 inches without his forelorn top hat. I have to tell you, the 11 inch tall snowmen are much easier to make. I brought in snow from outside in a plastic container. I made snowballs for the body on the kitchen counter and then put them in the freezer.

If you want to build a snowman,
I can help you make it, 1 2 3 ...

~Suzy Snowflake

Pleased with their shape and size, I then decided on materials for the head and body. I got out some mulling spices and picked out two cloves for the eyebrows. For the eyes I chose some dried peppercorns from the mulling spices A bit of dried orange peel made a cute little nose and another dried piece gave him that crooked little smile.

"Tap, tap tapping at your windowpane
To tell you she's in town."

~Suzy Snowflake

I alway loved this little video and song when I was a child. Suzy Snowflake originally aired on Chicago TV in December 1953 on "Garfield Goose and Friends".

"I haven't long to stay."

~Suzy Snowflake

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Pickle

Frank Kafka

Whenever I get myself into an existentialist pickle, I ask myself, what would Kafka do? Got it! Turn into a cockroach!

~Joe McFadden

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Message From Candy Johnson

Dancer Candy Johnson performing with the Exciters.

In recent months I have received emails from a relative of Candy Johnson after this relative had read a blog post I wrote about my remembrances of Candy Johnson from last February 2, 2011.  This relative was kind enough recently to share some of Candy's personal photographs  and memorabilia with me that I could share on my blog.  One can imagine how thrilled I was to receive these precious photos and clippings. Two very special photos of Candy were for me personally, not to be shared on the internet. What a special and treasured gift!  I had always been a fan of the dancer Candy Johnson after seeing her perform in Beach Party with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.  (At the end of this blog  post, please click on my link to read my previous Candy Johnson blog post)  Candy's niece wanted Candy's fans to know she  "is really flattered that people still remember her aunt and wants to thank them all for keeping that era alive and her contribrution to it."

For those fans wondering what happened to her, she would just like to say after her career ended, her life did not. She has enjoyed living a quiet but fulfilling life enjoying the things she loves and being with her family.  She never remarried after Red her manager but has many friends with whom she spends her time. She still loves to dance, although at her age she doesn't twist anymore but loves a good slow dance every now and then.

Candy celebrating 400 hours of dancing at the
El Mirador Hotel in Palm Springs.

A smiling and dancing Candy with the Exciters.  Could
she ever WoW a crowd!

A magazine article about Candy performing
in Muscle Beach Party, 1964.

Thanks again to the niece who graciously sent me the photographs and other memorabilia of her aunt.  Candy's niece also has this message for me to share with all the Candy Johnson fans:

Thanks for keeping my aunt alive in your blogs, she got a raw deal in life and when I told her about you and all her other fans she was absolutely thrilled. So Thank You and your other bloggers, you can pass that along.

A detail from the above magazine article.  What a description of Candy,
the writer referring to her as this "Phenomenon of the Century".

Candy started taking tap dancing lessons
while in high school.

Candy giving an up close dancing demonstration.
One-of-a-kind, I can't imagine anyone else
being able to dance like Candy.

Candy performing with the Exciters on Halloween 1963.

Candy between takes of filming
on the set of one of the beach movies.
Notice the onlookers in the background.

Here is my favorite YouTube of Candy dancing.  Crank up
the sound and get ready to smile.

Please take a moment to see my original blog post posted last February, 2011, by clicking on the link below.  In it I shared
some remembrances of Candy Johnson:

I like what "Drew" said in the comments on my previous Candy Johnson post:  "If you are not grinning from ear to ear after watching Candy dance, my friend ... something inside you is broken.

I could not agree more, Drew!

We all love you, Candy Johnson!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fleeing Matamoros

I said to Clint, "We can't get in this taxi!  We have to wait on another

Clint replies, "YOU Are Getting In This Taxi!"

I had always considered myself street smart.  In the summer of 2004 we went to South Padre Island, TX, for a vacation.  One day we decided to actually use our passports and we drove down to Brownsville and thought we'd see Matamoros right across the border.  We had an uneventful taxi drive to Matamoros and I had never seen such friendly guys, rushing to open the taxi doors for us.

We walked up and down a vendor lined street at an outdoor market. I had been needing a new black leather purse and found one from a street vendor.  I asked him if they were genuine leather and he said, "Si, leather".  I thought I was getting an excellent deal and paid for the purse. In no time the purse was wrapped in lots of paper and handed to me in a bag.

Meanwhile, Clint was becoming increasingly alarmed, a gang of guys were following us.  I am usually the one who is easily alarmed, it is unusual for Clint to be alarmed so when he expressed his concern, I knew something was up.  He said we needed to get out of there as soon as possible.  He hailed the taxi that was shown above.

As you could read under the above caption, Clint had to make me get in this old taxi and I was also concerned about the age of the driver.  Very nervous, I climbed in and the back seat was almost touching the floor, the stuffing had come out of the seat.  The driver did not use brakes at all, he sped through intersections full speed and honking his horn repeatedly.

Finally we arrived in one piece (respectively:~)) at the bridge in Brownsville, TX.  There again were those friendly men opening doors for us. I am going to confess my naitivity, I had not realized the "friendly men" were only wanting tips.

We made it back to Brownsville, once again there is another
"friendly" man opening the door for us!  Notice the pile
of stuffing coming out of the seat as Clint prepares
to exit the taxi.

About my great deal on the genuine black leather purse?  As soon as I got into the car after we arrived back in Brownsville, I checked out my leather purse.  I noticed a little metal decorative emblem was attached upside down but thought I could live with it.  The little white label I found next:  I can read "Made in China, All man made materials" from any direction.  In other words, 100% vinyl!  To top off the day, we stopped back in South Padre for lunch and had the absolutely worst Mexican lunch we have ever had in our lives.

Just another tale in the Ellison family lore.  Today when I ran across these photos, we both were laughing.  Seriously, I am glad we escaped with our lives.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This beautiful flowering tree was in the Atlanta area Saturday.  The wind was
so fierce I had to hold them limb steady with one hand and snap the picture w
with the other hand.  Odd to see blooms when the temperature
during the weekend had been as low as 18 degrees.


We travel this road often near our house, I took this
photo today ... Clint was driving, of course.  There is no shoulder
and I can only imagine all the downed trees in an ice storm.  This road scares me.

So far "they're" not "callin' for" any ice storms.  For some reason
we laugh at the expression "callin' for" in weather forecasting.

Last week we actually heard "they" were "callin' for" ice pellets
in northern Alabama.  Yes, we laughed at this, too.

Pellets? :~D

This photo could win for Most Boring Photo in Blogger History but this
scene hopefully marks a milestone for me.  After much research, I now
have my gessoed canvas panel ready for my oil painting.

Today Clint did a blog post on numerous famous people who have died from drug related deaths.  He was talking about these talented people throwing away their lives and not using their God given talents.  The words "God given talents" jumped out at me, I am have been guilty of not using my talent for some time now. Not getting younger, either. That is why I am excited about starting my new oil painting of the Smoky Mountains. Hopefully the next project will be a mural in our dining room. We have a perfect wall awaiting a beautiful scene.

Last week I mentioned I had received an exciting email concerning a blog topic. Well, I received another anticipated email on Tuesday.  I now have most of the blog draft done, this upcoming blog is a collaboration in some ways and hope to post it as soon as I can.

Thank you for listening ...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Message to Michael

After searching Google images I realized I had my own perfect
 little blue bird image here at home.  My Plano neighbor Suzan
was always giving me special bird gifts because she
knew I loved them so.

For days now I have been haunted by a song, "Message to Michael".  Until recently, I had not thought of that song in many years. "Message to Michael" is a 1966 Top Ten hit by Dionne Warwick, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. The song's lyrics are addressed to a bluebird by a woman in Kentucky whose sweetheart is vainly pursuing musical stardom in New Orleans; the woman asks the bluebird to take a message to Michael, asking him to return to her.  My Valentine post today is about this song. Maybe by posting it I can get it somewhat out of my mind.

I just couldn't bring myself to post a cutesy blog with red hearts and teddy bears. Cutesy things like that are just not me. To me there's such meaning in this song about a woman singing her heart out in angst about a lost love.

Message To Michael

Dionne Warwick, March 1966

Spread your wings for New Orleans
Kentucky bluebird fly away
And take a
Message to Michael, message to Michael
He sings each night in some cafe
In search to find wealth and fame
I hear Michael has gone and changed his name

Its a year since he was here
Kentucky bluebird , fly away
And take a
Message to Michael, message to Michael
Tell I miss him more each day
As his train pulled out down the track
Michael promised he'd soon be coming back

Oh tell how my heart just breaks into
Since he'd journeyed far
And even though his dreams of fame fell through
To me he will always be a star

Spread your wings for New Orleans
Kentucky bluebird fly away
And take a
Message to Michael , message to Michael
Ask him to start for home today
When you see him please let him know
Rich or poor I will always love him so


I didn't go into all the "politics" concerning this song but at one time, Burt Bacharach and Hal David were opposed to Dionne Warwick singing what they maintained (in its English version) was a man's song.

Hal David, in his 1968 book, emphatically admitted his misgivings over Warwick's recording "Message to Michael" proved ill-founded, indeed stating "Dionne's vocal was so brilliant that it was obvious we had subconsciously written the song for her even while we thought we were writing it for a man."

On this day of celebrating love, I hope anyone reading this is feeling loved and appreciated!


Monday, February 13, 2012

My Year With Edgar

(All the photos of vignettes were made by me.)


The first time I was introduced to the poem, Annabel Lee, I remember it like it was yesterday. My aunt had just received her latest "Book of the Month Club" selection and she had chosen The Best Loved Poems of the American People. She began telling me a little about Edgar Allan Poe and then read me his poem, Annabel Lee, from her new book. I remember where I was standing when she read it, I had never heard anything as beautiful. My love affair with Edgar Allan Poe began that day, I was probably about ten years old.

My dear Edgar ...

My treasured photo of Edgar with
a special inscription for me.

Detail from the above photo.

The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Complete and Unabridged.

Clint's copy, a birthday gift from his mom and dad, 1984.

Okay, back to reality and my "year" spent with Edgar Allan Poe. In reality I spent a year reading
Kenneth Silverman's, Edgar A. Poe, Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Referred to as a

"biography that will be a lasting monument among Poe studies." This book made me more

aware of Poe's association with other early American poets. One favorite quote about the book is

"A book that is as readable as any fiction published this year... ~Houston Chronicle

Clint also shares a love of Edgar Allan Poe.  In 2002,  we visited the

Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia.

We visited Poe's grave and had our photographs made by the monument. Unfortunately

those photos remain on a floppy disk :-(

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible reality.

~Edgar Allan Poe


Thank you, dear readers, for your time playing along with me.  I had originally
posted this blog in January of 2011.  Today I thought I would repost it. My,
how easily I can entertain myself. ;~)