movies

Some historic events seem to continue to intrigue us, many years after the event took place. The RMS Titanic was one of those events. The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912…as we all know, considering the movies that have been made detailing and even romanticizing the tragedy. Of course, the way that so many people lost their lives that night is something that many people have wondered about all these years. Musicians who played well into the disaster, in an effort to keep people calm, the many men who died because they did the honorable thing and allowed the women and children to be saved first, and the women who would not leave without their husbands…all of these gave us a glimpse of a time when people did the right thing no matter the cost. There are precious few of those kinds of people around these days.

With all the interest concerning the Titanic, an idea occurred to someone, that maybe there should be a duplicate Titanic…a way to return her to her former glory, even if it is only a duplicate. The new ship is supposed to be an identical copy of the infamous ocean liner, which sank in 1912 following a collision with an iceberg. However, to avoid a repeat disaster, Titanic II will be outfitted with plenty of life boats, and will have a welded, not riveted hull, plus modern navigation and radar equipment.

The project initiated by Australian businessman and politician Clive Palmer, has not always been smooth sailing, however. The project was announced in April 2012, which was 100 years after the original Titanic sank. The plan was that Titanic II would be the flagship of the proposed cruise company Blue Star Line of Brisbane, Australia. At that time, they intended to launch the Titanic II in 2016. The project was delayed until 2018, and then to an expected 2022 date, but with the 2020 Coronavirus worldwide shutdown, I wonder if that date will also have to be moved back.

“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York, but she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivaled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits,” said Palmer in a statement. The planned maiden voyage will take passengers from Dubai to New York, however, reports CruiseArabia, with the first sailing scheduled to take place in 2022. It’s possible for this maiden voyage to happen, but it will take a few less problems going forward.

My niece, Kellie Hadlock is a girl who is so sweet and thoughtful that people can’t help but love her. She is literally the favorite aunt among her nieces and nephews, and I suppose that I could get in trouble for saying such a thing, except that I didn’t say it, her siblings did, and if anyone would know this, it would be them. Kellie loves to babysit all the “babies” of her siblings. Her nephew, Ethan Hadlock, and nieces Aurora Hadlock, Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore all love to do things with Kellie. Kellie takes the kids to Jump Craze and the movies, or just to her apartment to hang out. When the kids see Kellie, their faces light up with delight, because they know that she is going to make them laugh, and they are going to have a great time with her.

Kellie has been dating Travis McDaniel for a while now, and they are very happy. She still loves her job at American Title, and is super qualified and well liked there. Her sister, Jessi has nicknamed her Pie, and likes to tease her that her birthday is actually March 14th, which is Pi Day. That said, Jessi tells her that she will not be celebrating with her today, because her birthday is actually yesterday…which of course, isn’t true. That is just how Jessi likes to tease her sister. Nevertheless, Jessi and her husband, Jason love to have Kellie come over to hang out. It’s nice to just do nothing and being content, and Kellie makes that easy.

Probably the greatest thrill in Kellie’s life is singing. She gets to lead song service at our church quite often these days and totally loves that. Singing is a must for Kellie. She just can’t imaging life without songs about God. She is an amazing blessing at church, and to anyone who has ever heard her sing. Singing is truly her life, and I love to listen to her…like anyone else who knows her.

For their birthday, my sister, Allyn and husband, Chris let their kids pick an activity, dinner, and of course, cake for their special day. Kellie has chosen to go bowling for her birthday. For dinner, she chose Allyn’s fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. All of her family will be coming over to help celebrate, including sister, Lindsay and her husband, Shannon Moore, who live in Laramie, as well as her brother, Ryan and his wife, Chelsea. Of course chocolate cake will not be on the menu for this birthday party, because Kellie hates chocolate. She chose a Funfetti cake instead. Today is Kellie’s birthday. Happy birthday Kellie!! Have a great day!! We, like everybody else, love you!!

There is a wall that lots o people might have known about, or maybe few people know about, but while I’m sure I’ve seen parts of it in movies, I didn’t really know about it. The series of walls, known as the East Bay Walls or the Berkeley Mystery Walls. Of course that doesn’t really apply to one area, because the reality is that there are many of the crude walls throughout the hills surrounding the San Francisco Bay area. In some place the walls are as much as 3 feet tall, and 3 feet wide. The walls are very old and they were built without mortar. The walls run in sections, and they can be a few feet to over a mile long. Even more odd, is the fact that the rocks are a variety of sizes ranging from basketball-sized rocks, to large sandstone boulders weighing a ton or more. Parts of the walls seem to be just piles of rocks, but in other places it appears the walls were carefully constructed. No one knows the exact age of the walls, but they have an old appearance. Many of the formations have sunk far into the earth, and are often completely overgrown with different plants. The walls are not continuous, so they are not fences. They are not tall enough to have been used as defensive walls. The East Bay Regional Park District simply calls them “rock walls” and insists that they are not mysterious. Livestock, such as cattle, have grazed in the east and south Bay Area hills since the arrival of European settlers. Clearing land of scattered rocks would have eased the ability to move livestock. Placing the rocks into walls would have helped to guide the movement of the animals or to help corral them. That makes sense, but some of those rocks were very heavy. So how did they do that.

There is no written documentation to identify when they were built, by whom, or why. So, some people consider them mysterious. It has been suggested that the Ohlone Indians might have been the builders, but in reality, they were hunter-gatherers, and didn’t build permanent structures. Some specialists have mentioned that the walls look similar to structures found in rural Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine, but they are different in that those walls were built around farms by the early setters, and these don’t have the same kinds of layouts. In 1904, UC-Berkeley Professor John Fryer suggested that the walls were made by Mongolian Chinese who traveled to California before the Europeans. Unfortunately, there is little evidence for this or for pre-Columbian Chinese influence in America. Forensic geologist Scott Wolter has theorized that the wall is only two to three hundred years old, suggested by the thick weathering rind on the limestone rock he was authorized to sample. Recent testing of lichen on the rocks suggests that they were probably built between 1850 and 1880, the early American era in California. Settlers might have built the walls using Chinese, Mexican, or Native American laborers, although specifically who built them has not been determined.

One of the many old stone walls that appear around the San Francisco Bay area is in the foothills of eastern Santa Clara County. The stone walls are accessible in several area parks, including Ed R. Levin County Park in Santa Clara County and Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Alameda County, as well as many other parks. As of 2016, archaeologist Jeffrey Fentress has been measuring and mapping the walls, hoping to eventually gain protection from development or other destruction. Additional stone walls with unclear origin or purpose occur in other places near the San Francisco Bay, and researchers continue to discover more information about the walls. Whether these walls had a purpose at one time or not, they are certainly strange to those who try to look into them these days.

My older sister is without doubt, one of the nicest people I know. She is always careful of peoples feelings, and is generous to a fault. If she can help someone, she will help them. Cheryl is just a very caring person. She gave up much of her time to take care of our parents when they were ill, and often takes her youngest granddaughter, Aleesia for the evening, so that her parents can go to the summertime activities in downtown Casper with their sons. I’m sure that one day Aleesia will choose to go with them, but he loves her grandma very much and loves spending time with her.

Cheryl is a legal secretary for Williams, Porter, Day and Neville legal firm, and works for one of the busiest attorneys there, often working late hours to get everything done that needs to be done that day. She is very good at her job, and the attorney she works for has said that he would be lost without her, and really wishes she could see her way clear to refusing such things as vacation, because it is a real hardship for him when she is gone. Nevertheless, he has to persevere, because everyone needs a vacation.

Cheryl is a big fan of old movies or chic flicks, and so every Thursday night, she and I go to dinner with her daughter, Liz, and then we go back to her house and watch a movie. She and I don’t always agree on what makes a good movie, but usually we do. She has pretty good taste in movies…once you get away from things like “The Sound of Music” anyway. I know she would roll her eyes at me on that one, but there are just some shows that I can’t get into. Nevertheless, she got me going on the “Love Comes Softly” series, and “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” both of which I really enjoy. That sister time is really important to both of us, as we are very close, and we like to keep it that way. We have been good friends (and sisters) all our lives, and we don’t see any reason to change that now. Today is Cheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Cheryl!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

1524622_671825779529276_1711248615_naSquatting down to look upLots of kids love to spend the night with their grandparents, and my grand niece, Siara Harman was no different. Lots of girls are drama queens too, and again, my grand niece, Siara was no different. What was different was that Siara was a drama queen and grandma’s girl at the tender age of just two years. Siara and her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson loved to spend time together, but with Cheryl working, they were more limited to the weekends. Problem solved…almost every Friday, Cheryl would have Siara spend the weekend with her. Siara loved it. She would come in the house, and immediately get comfortable, by stripping right down to her undies, something lots of kids find the most comfortable. Who needs clothes anyway…right.

Siara and her grandma would do lots of things, like watch movies, play games, and read books. Of course, there were the aunts and uncle there too, because they were just barely in double digit ages themselves. That made it lots of fun too, because Siara had lots of kids to play with. Nevertheless, it was her grandma that Siara really came to see. They were best friends, and even though Siara is 23 years old now, they are just as close today, although Siara doesn’t spend the night any more. Siara loved sleeping with grandma those days, and even liked hanging out in Grandma’s bed during the day. It was their way of having a lazy girls weekend. I wish I could spend the day in bed sometimes. Of course, Cheryl couldn’t spend the day there, during the day, it was mostly just Siara…chillin’…for a few minutes anyway, until she went to see what her friend, i.e. grandma was up to, because that was more interesting, after all.

When Sunday morning rolled around, it was time to go to church, and Siara liked that as much as any other part of the weekend. The problem occurred after church…when it was time to go home. Her mom, Chantel would come to pick her up, and the drama queen came out. When she was told that it was time to go home, Siara would slump down in her chair, with her head flopping down in an exaggerated show of utter devastation, and yell, “It’s only been a minute!!!” My niece, Chantel Balcerzak, Siara’s mom, said, “No baby, you have been here all weekend.” Again, Siara would yell, “No!!! It’s only been a minute!!! Now for a grandmother, that kind of display immediately tears at your heart. Cheryl would say, “Can’t you come back later and get her?” Chantel mostly said that Siara had spent enough time, but sometimes she would give in, or Cheryl would agree to bring 20131_237936679000_2548401_n15672720_10208173123661731_7457098709153368598_nSiara home later. The thing is, it wasn’t a tantrum, that made Siara argue about the time to go home, but rather that she loved her grandma so much, and she hated to leave, because it seemed an eternity until the next time she got to come over. Of course, she loved her family too, but her grandma time was special, and after all, it had only been a minute since she got there. It couldn’t be time to go home already. Time flies when you are having fun, and I think most of us can relate to Siara’s thinking on the matter. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

World Trade CenterAs the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks approached, movies that had been filmed following those horrible events began to show up on television again. I think I’ve already watched each and every one of them, but I always feel compelled to watch them again. It isn’t out of a morbid sense of curiosity, but rather as a reminder that there are people out there who are so evil that it is beyond our ability to comprehend. It is also a way to remind myself that there are heroes out there who set aside self, no matter what the danger, in an effort to save others.

I like to hope that I would be one of those people who come together to save others, but I don’t think that the average citizen really knows what they would do, until they are placed in that position. Our flight instincts seem to be based on just how big a danger we perceive ourselves to be facing. I don’t think that I could leave someone in trouble, but I don’t know how I would feel about actually running into a building like the World Trade Center on September 11.

As I was watching the movie, I was reminded that there were a number of people who were simply never found World Trade Center Two Collapsesat the World Trade Center site. Never found!! In fact, there were over 1000 people who were never found. It was like they were simply vaporized. Of course, there might be pieces of them in the many, some small enough to fit in a test tube, pieces of human remains that have not been identified. It is shocking and sad to me to think that there are actually people who have never been given closure concerning their loved ones. All they know is that their loved ones were killed on September 11, 2001. They don’t know if they suffered, or if it was instant. There is simply no way to know. And that is horrifically hard. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I have a really hard time when I think about the fact that in just a few hours, more than 1,000 people simply disappeared. In our world of DNA matches and so many other methods of identifying people, and so many pieces of bodies that have been found, I just don’t understand how those people could simply be nowhere, but they are. I think that true closure often comes from being able to view the body, and have a funeral using the real body of the loved one. In the absence of that body, the mind plays tricks on us. We hope that maybe they somehow survived and simply have amnesia or something. Even though we know that is probably wrong.
World Trade Center One Collapses
As this fourteenth anniversary of that horrible day arrives, I pray for those who lost loved ones, and those who will never know what happened to their loved ones. I pray that they are able to have emotional closure, even if they can’t have full closure. For the rest of us, I hope that we will never forget what happened that day, the people who died, and the people who did this. Terror and terrorists continue to exist in our world, and they don’t care if their victims were tolerant of their beliefs or not. They have one agenda, and one agenda only, to kill all infidels, because in their minds, that is their obligation and their right. We must stay alert, lest we find ourselves open to another attack.

Showing Off11831748_10152933035697237_2899247419928410035_nMy grand niece, Aleesia Spethman is a child who can steal your heart. She has a smile that can light up your whole day. Aleesia has spent a lot of her life posing for pictures for her parents, so now, when someone pulls out a camera, she automatically goes into pose mode. Aleesia is such a girlie girl, and when I think of her, the word princess comes to mind. She loves to dance around the room. She loves all things bling…from nail polish to back packs that light up. She likes things that catch the eye. At three years of age, she already knows so much about who she is and who she wants to be. No, I’m not saying that she already knows what career she will choose, but she knows what kind of girl she is, and that it’s ok to blend girly with tomboy.

Now, just because Aleesia is a girly girl, does not mean that she can’t keep up with the boys. You can’t be born the baby girl in a family with three boys, and not figure out how to handle yourself around those boys. Aleesia can easily rough house with her brothers, Xander, Zack, and Isaac at one moment, and then totally turn around and run things like a queen. Even though her brothers are older than her, Aleesia is definitely the boss when it comes right down to it. Quite possibly that is because Xander, Zack, and Isaac love their sister so much, and they are so protective of her. I suppose that they let her run the show to some degree, but it’s only because they love her so much.

If there is an area where Aleesia is just like any other three year old child, it is in the area of her cartoon choices. Aleesia loves Despicable Me. Minions are her favorite people. I had never really had a chance to watch Despicable Me, until Aleesia started spending Thursday evenings at my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s house. Cheryl is Aleesia’s grandma, so it stands to reason that she would be there at times. The rest of her family goes to an event in downtown Casper on Thursday nights, and it’s a lot of walking, which is not so easy for Aleesia, so she spends the evening with my sister and me, and sometimes, Cheryl’s daughters, Chantel Balcerzak and Liz Masterson, and granddaughter, Siara Harman. We have a really great girls night. We watch movies, and we have been scanning pictures…as well as just enjoying each others company. If Aleesia had her way, we would watch Despicable Me every night, and for the whole evening, but she is good about letting us have a say in the 11822552_10204840411466009_7871988624026754987_nBouncy Girlmovie we watch, as long as Despicable Me is on sometimes. She just can’t get enough of that show.

Aleesia is the kind of girl who draws you into her world. She giggles, smiles, and laughs her way into your heart. She likes to pose, because she knows how cute she is…and yet she isn’t prissy. She is almost an actress, because she really knows how to play a part, and she knows how to capture an audience. She’s cute, and she knows it. Today is Aleesia’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Aleesia!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Cheryl getting ready to kiss CarynBeing the second child in a family is a special place to be. I know this because that is exactly what I am. The first child in a family comes home as the only one. There are no playmates waiting there. They must make their own way in every step of those early years. But, as the second child in a family, I didn’t have to make my own way, because I found my sister there. My older sister, Cheryl made my homecoming and the years that followed so special. Cheryl, I can’t imagine what my life would have been like had I not found you there.

As little girls, Cheryl and I had great times. She was such a great big sister, and since there were three years in which she and I were the only children, we had lots of time to become close. I love watching the old movies of us playing, because of just how comical two little girls can be. My sisters and I are in the process of transferring the old movies onto DVDs, so we will be able to watch them Sisterson our televisions. I know we will all enjoy them immensely.

Over the years, Cheryl continued to show me the way. Her style and abilities were standards I looked up to. During my awkward years, I was able to look to her as role model. I could never quite figure out how she could always manage to be so together, when I was such a mess, but she was always willing to help me to be more comfortable in my own skin. I really can’t tell her just what a blessing it is to have her as my sister and my friend. It is just another reason that I have felt so blessed to have found her there when I came home.

In the past few years, our friendship has grown stronger and stronger. I find myself very much enjoying spending Thursday evenings with Cheryl. It is our traditional evening together, that began as an evening with Cheryl and our mom, Collene Spencer, and now has become just Cheryl and me, and sometimes her daughter Dad, Caryn, & CherylLiz Masterson, who has added a wonderful aspect to our evenings. Those Thursday evenings have become such a special time for me.

As I look back on our lives, I find myself more and more thankful that I found Cheryl there when I came home as the second child, as well as being thankful for each of my sisters as they made their grand entrances. Having four sisters is such a blessing, because girls usually think a lot alike on matters, but having such an amazing oldest sister has been a wonderful blessing for us all. Today is Cheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday Cheryl!! I’m so glad that when I came home, I found you there. Have a great day!! We love you!!

George and Hattie ByerWe all have memories of home…the home of our childhood. Most of those memories are as sweet as they can be. Memories of laughing and playing with our siblings, or special dinners with the family…always bring back the warm coziness of those carefree childhood days, when your dad and mom were there, taking care of you, and you knew you were safe, because their love surrounded you and every part of your world. As a kid, I experienced a closeness with my family. Dinners were eaten together, and we talked about our day. It was our way to reconnect with each other after a busy day at school or work. But, while we had a close family life that was far different from many families of today, it was nothing like the evenings that my mother and her siblings spent at their home, and in many ways, I feel like it was I, or rather our generation, who missed out. We may have had things like movies and television, but the closeness they had, and the stimulation of their imaginations…well, our world just couldn’t really compare to theirs at all.

The hours after school at my grandmother’s home involved getting dinner ready for the family, eating dinner, washing the dishes, with everyone singing while they worked. Finally, the work is done, and the evening turns cooler. Grandma and Grandpa, George and Hattie Byer would sit together on the couch covered with a blanket. All the children would get a blanket of their own, and sit around the floor and their parents feet. Everyone was cozy and warm. Then, Grandma Byer would read to the family. It was like the movies of today, except that the screen was in your mind. It was a nightly tradition, and since there was only a certain amount of time to read, a book could take weeks to read. The family never seemed to mind that, however, because the result of stopping for the night was a curiosity about where the book was headed and what would happen the next day. Every night was much the same, with the children listening intently to their mother’s voice telling them the story of cowboys and Indians, or sailing ships from far off places.

As my Aunt Sandy Pattan, who is my grandparents’ youngest child, told me about this nightly tradition from her childhood, I could hear in her voice that the thought of it was taking her back to a time when all was warm The Byer Familyand cozy in her life. I could picture just how much fun it must have been to sit there at Grandma Byer’s feet listening to her voice reading the story, and creating a picture in your mind that was almost like being right there, in the story. It was such a pleasant story, that I began to wish that it had been a tradition in my own life, or that I had thought to start such a tradition in my own family. The mind is such an amazing part of a person, and to think that it could create a movie like story from the reading of a book, is really amazing. I think that the cozy scene I pictured in my head from just hearing Aunt Sandy tell of it, probably paled next to the reality of just how amazing a tradition it really was to listen to her mother read while sitting at her Momma’s feet.

Taking a WalkWhen I think about the time that our grandparents lived in, my thoughts go back to a more slow paced world. Yes, the people worked hard and long hours, but they didn’t rush off to the gym, the movies, constant sporting events, and many of the other things that we do today. I know of a number of people who have something going on every night. There is so little of what I would consider family time that we have gotten to the point where we don’t even realize we are missing it. We have mistakenly counted sporting events, concerts, plays, and other school activities as family time, when in reality, our child is out on the court or on stage, and not with us at all, so it’s not exactly family time.

It used to be that families ate dinner around the table, and talked about their day. I think that makes for being Family gatheringable to know each other better. These days, if people do eat together, they do it in front of the television set…just as often as not. Instead of spending time together, they are just sitting together. I find that I am guilty of this one quite a bit, and while my kids are grown and on their own, spending time actually talking with my husband would be good. We do like to take walks in the evening, so we talk then, and I guess that makes up for some of the time in front of the television set during dinner.

Still, not too many years ago, people did things much differently. Instead of driving a car to town alone, they walked in groups. That allowed for time to enjoy each other’s company. Instead of going to movies with friends, people took walks with their friends. Maybe it was just that their options were more limited, and maybe 150they felt like it was a boring time, but I suspect that they didn’t, because they didn’t know any different.

Of course, there were also the different times people got together to do things like quilting, sewing, and socials, often held on the front porch of the house, so maybe people of times past had just as many events that took them away from family. I guess it’s possible that we just think that things were so much different in times past, but I don’t think so. Even just as far back as my childhood, dinner was eaten aroung the table. I don’t know what ever happened to that, but I think it’s just a little bit sad for sure.

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